The East has awakened and is moving west. The West has always been awake and is moving east. The East is sending her teas and her silks to the West, and the West is sending her wheat and her lumber to the East. When these two currents meet, what? If two currents meet and do not blend, what? Exactly what has happened before in the world, impact, collision, struggle; and the fittest survives. This was the real reason for the building of the Panama Canal—to give the American navy command of her own shores on the Pacific. Now that Panama is built it means the war fleets of the whole world on the Pacific. Canada can no more grow into a strong nation and keep out of the world conclave assembling on the Pacific than a boy can grow into strong manhood and keep out of the rough and tumble of life, or a girl grow to efficient womanhood and play the hothouse parasite all her life. Fleets, naval stations, coaling stations, dry docks, whole cities supported by shipyards are bound to grow on the Pacific just as surely as the years come and go. The growth has begun already. Nothing worth having can be left undefended and be kept. Poor old China tried that. So did Korea. We may talk ourselves black in the face over peace and pass up enough platitudes to pave the way to a universal brotherhood of heaven on earth, but in the past good intentions and platitudes have paved the way to an altogether different sort of place. In the whole world history of the past (however much we might wish this earth a different place) the nation most secure against war has been the nation most prepared against war. Canada can’t dodge that fact. With Panama open come the armaments of the world to the Pacific!
How about a merchant marine for Canada? This question was important to the maritime provinces, but the maritime provinces are well served by British liners. On the Pacific seventy-two per cent. of the carrying trade is already controlled by Japan. Now Canada can buy her ships in the cheapest market, Norway or England.
She can herself build ships as cheaply as any country in the world. She can operate her ships as cheaply as any country in the world.
She has no restrictions as to the manning of her crews and, as far as I know, has never had a case of abuse arising from this freedom which her laws permit.
Except for the St. Lawrence after October, there is no foreign discrimination in the insurance of her ships.
Canada can go into the race for world-carrying trade unhampered.
She has yet another advantage. With only two or three exceptions—a fishing bounty, one or two mail contracts—the United States has not given and may never give government aid to ships. The Canadian government does and does wisely! Ocean traffic may be as requisite to prosperity as rail traffic, and you can’t give land subsidies to the sea.