For twenty years the Hudson Bay railroad has been a project up in air. It is now a project on graded roadbed. Before these words are in print Hudson Bay Railroad will be on wheels and tracks. Then the real difficulty of the Straits will be faced, and probably—as Russia has overcome the difficulties of the Baltic—so will the Canadian Northwest overcome the difficulties of this hyperborean sea.
SOME INDUSTRIAL PROBLEMS
The contest between capital and labor in Canada has never become that armed camp divided by a chasm of hatred known in other lands. This for two reasons: First, the labor of yesterday is the capital of to-day, and the labor of to-day is the capital of to-morrow. Second, from the very nature of Canada’s greatest wealth—agricultural lands—the substantial proportion of the population consists of land owners, vested righters, respecters of property interests because they themselves are property holders. The city dweller in Canada has been from the very nature of things the anachronism, the anomaly, the parasite, the extraneous outgrowth on the main body of production.
To take the first reason why capital and labor has not been divided in hostile camps in Canada, because the labor of yesterday is the capital of to-day—I am not dealing with speculative arguments and opinions. I am trying to set down facts. The owner of the largest fortune west of the Rocky Mountains in Canada began life with a pick and shovel. The owner of the richest timber limits in British Columbia began at a dollar and twenty-five cents a day piling slabs. The wealthiest meat packer east of the Rocky Mountains was “bucking” and “breaking” bronchoes thirty years ago at twenty-five dollars a month. The packer who comes next to him in wealth began life in Pt. Douglas, Winnipeg, loading frozen hogs. The richest newspaper man in Canada began life so poor that he and his father hauled the first editions of their paper to customers on a hand sled. The four men who are to-day the greatest powers in the railroad world of the Dominion began life, one as a stone mason, another as a lumber-jack, a third as a store keeper, a fourth as a telegraph operator. I do not think I am wrong in saying that the richest wholesaler in Canada reached the scene of his present activities with his entire earthly possessions in a pocket handkerchief and a tin lunch pail. Of two of the most powerful men who ever came out of the maritime provinces, one swept a village store for his living at a dollar and fifty cents a week; another reached St. John, New Brunswick, from his home in the backwoods, dressed in a home-made suit, which his mother had spun and carded from their own wool. The fact that the door of opportunity is open to the talented tends to prevent the opening of a chasm of hatred between capital and labor, though it must be admitted that the warfare of capital and labor in the States was developing in the era when Rockefeller and Carnegie were lifting themselves from penury to the heights of financial power.