The Canadian Commonwealth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 281 pages of information about The Canadian Commonwealth.

It seems almost ungracious in this connection to say that Canada’s far-famed Arbitration Act has been overrated.  That it has accomplished some good and settled many controversies no reasonable person will deny, but it is not a panacea for all ills.

Here is the difficulty as to arbitration.  It is not unlike the situation of Belgium regarding Germany in the great war.  Arbitration depends on “a scrap of paper.”  What if some one tears up “the scrap of paper”?  What if one side says there is nothing to arbitrate?  Twenty years ago—­yes—­wages, hours, conditions of labor—­could have been arbitrated; but to-day the contest in the industrial world is often not for wages and hours of labor.

“Demand three dollars a day for an eight-hour day, to-day,” I heard an Industrial Worker of the World shout in a Vancouver strike.  “Demand four dollars a day to-morrow, till you secure four dollars a day for a four-hour day—­till your ascending wages expropriate capital—­take over capital and all industry to be operated for labor.”

In the great struggle between the railroads and the I. W. W.’s in British Columbia, Canada’s Arbitration Act fell down hopelessly simply because there was nothing to arbitrate.  Labor said:  We shall paralyze all industry, or operate all industry for labor’s profit solely.  Capital said—­you shall not.  There the two tied in deadlock for months, and there all arbitration acts must often tie in deadlock in industrial warfare.  That is why I hope industrial warfare will never become a part of Canada’s national life.  That is why I hope and pray every Canadian settler will become a vested righter by owning and operating his own acres till Death lays him in God’s Acre.


In a country where the public debt is only $350,000,000 or forty-five dollars per head, and the national income is $1,500,000,000 from farm, factory, forest and mine—­or two hundred dollars per head and that fairly well distributed—­for the present there is little to fear of social revolution.  It is not the social revolution that I fear for Canada.  It is the canker of social hate and jealousy preceding revolution.  If fifty per cent. of the population can be kept owning and operating their own land, that social canker will never infect Canada’s national life as a whole.

[1] Thomas Jefferson desired such a rural future for the United States and deplored the day of cities and industrialism.  It came, nevertheless.—­THE EDITOR.




Reference has been made to the facts that Big Business has up to the present been unable to get control of the reins of government in Canada, that the courts have been kept comparatively free of political influence and that the doors of underground politics are not easily pried open by corruption.  Why is this?  Canadians would fain take unction to themselves that it is owing to their superior national integrity, but this is nonsense.

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The Canadian Commonwealth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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