Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[graphic]

and a-half million. Of such houses those whose annual values range from 201. to 401. number more than 1,000,000 ; those whose annual values range from 401. to 801, number 380,000; whilst those whose annual values are anything in excess of 801. number, in round figures, no more than 120,000. In other words, out of the total number of houses broadly corresponding to the number of assessed incomes, not more than one-eleventh, or approximately 9 per cent., consists of such houses as are broadly assignable to families whose annual incomes are in excess of 8001.

Of course this fact in itself throws no light on the question of the actual income which goes to these richer families as a whole ; but by showing how small the number of such families is relatively to the number of those who incomes we have defined as ' moderate,' it will show that there is nothing which is even unlikely on the face of it in the conclusion to which we have been conducted by evidences of other kinds, that of the entire annual income which is produced in the United Kingdom, those persons who can be called rich in the widest acceptation of the term receive no more than a fraction which is approximately 13 per cent.

In other words, just as the socialistic diagnosis of the economic movernent and tendencies of the last 110 years is an absolute inversion of the truth in each of its main particulars, so is the socialistic estimate of affairs as they are now an inversion no less preposterous. The practical results of this fact are obvious, and cannot be forced too insistently on the attention of practical men. In so far as large sections of the population are influenced by the ideas of Socialism, they become, without any reference to Socialism as a reasoned theory, the nervous and super-excited dupes of all kinds of impossible expectations. The widespread exhibition of what is now called ' labour unrest' is largely, though not entirely, attributable to this cause. Here we have a question which possesses a special interest at this moment, in view of the assertions of agitators during the strikes with regard to the minimum wage which is possible for every employed worker, and the violent exhortations addressed to uninstructed multitudes to hope for indefinitely more, and never to rest satisfied with less. How wholly out of relation to anything which would be remotely practicable such assertions are, even should Socialists have at their disposal the entire resources of this country, I propose on another occasion to illustrate by some of the latest statistics, which are far more searching in their character than anything within our reach previously, relating to the principal industries of the United Kingdom to-day.

W. H. MALLOCK.

The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake

to return unaccepted MSS.

[graphic]
[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

In one sense it is unfortunate that Canada should be making history so rapidly. Her best friends, and those who appreciate most thoroughly the pregnant meaning of her swiftly succeeding decisions, hardly have time to adjust their mental perceptions to the consequences of one before another is up for discussion. Yet it is vitally important that the people of the Mother Country, who not only will be greatly affected by these decisions, but whose opinions regarding them react powerfully upon the Canadian judgment, should take pains to understand the situation, and so prepare themselves to 'play up' to each movement in the way best calculated to forward our common British interests.

The decision regarding Reciprocity with the United States seems by now to be perfectly understood in Great Britain. We find even the stoutest Free Traders, who have a constitutional predilection in favour of slaying all tariffs without even waiting for them to plead ‘guilty,' going out of their way to express gratification that Canadians, at all events, are bound to remain VOL. LXXI–No. 423

821

3F

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

British. And, in saying this, they hit upon the true reason for the rejection of reciprocity.

But that decision has barely been recorded when another, only less momentous, is required of the Canadian people. The change of Government which followed the rejection of reciprocity wiped some other things off the slate; and, among them, the Canadian Navy. One of the first definite declarations of the new Ministry was that, whatever it might do, it would not ask the country to proceed with the naval plans of its predecessor. The Premier, the Minister of Marine, and the leader of the Nationalist wing of the Government united in this statement.

As to the future, they announce nothing but 'a clean slate.' The new Minister of Marine is to cross the Atlantic to 'consult the Admiralty ’; and those critical consultations will probably be in progress soon after these lines are printed. The policy of the new Government, in any case, is not to be framed until the Minister has returned from London and is in a position to tell his colleagues what the naval experts of the Empire think Canada should do.

Now, there is a very strong suspicion in Canada that the Separatist naval policy of the late Government was not welcomed by the private judgment of the naval authorities of the United Kingdom. The Lords of the Admiralty were no doubt polite. More than that, they were diplomatic. It would not have been good international policy at the time when the late Ministers went to London to 'consult the Admiralty,' to advertise the fact that 'Canada refused to come to the help of the Empire' in the way the Imperial Government thought she should. Hence if it seemed clear to the British naval advisers that Canada would decline to do what they would have liked to suggest, but that she would do something else which might be presented to Europe as loyal and enthusiastic support, obviously their best policy was to keep their suggestions to themselves-or, at all events, from the public—and hail the only possible Canadian action as a wise and helpful and loyal proposal.

This would not be duplicity-it would be diplomacy. Yet the effect would be to deceive that section of the Canadian people who were genuinely in earnest in their desire to help sustain the seapower of Britain. At the moment it may have been necessary; I am not arguing that point. But it is exceedingly difficult for us out here in Canada to believe that, while a policy of almost ruthless concentration was decided on for the ships wholly controlled by the Admiralty, precisely the reverse policy was genuinely desired in the case of ships which were to be controlled by the Canadian Government. British ships on the Canadian station were taken home; but British naval experts professed to favourat all events, they did not condemn-the building of new Canadian

6

ships to be kept on the Canadian station. That would seem to be either a very poor compliment to the prospective Canadian ships, or an effort to make the neighbours 'think that all was harmony in the family,' when, as a matter of fact, the eldest son was shirking his fair share of the work.

But, whatever may have been the necessities of the case before, there is no reason at all to-day why the Admiralty should not speak its mind. In fact, there is every reason why it should. I believe that I am well within the mark in saying that public opinion in Canada is overwhelmingly in favour of either doing something effective or doing nothing at all. We are deeply and permanently disgusted with the puerile policy of trying to do just enough to placate those who want something done, but not enough to disturb those who want nothing done. The late Government tried its best to 'run with the hare and hunt with the hounds'; and it ended in the ditch. Whatever else we may be, we are all out of conceit now with that sort of thing. We may refuse to do anything, and so keep our money; but we are not going to spend our money and yet bear the stigma of doing nothing.

Now, those who want to do something recognise that they themselves are not naval experts; nor are they au fait with the foreign policy of the Empire. In the most natural way possible they look to the Foreign Office and the Admiralty for advice. These institutions have given many lifetimes to the study of precisely the problem that confronts us in this unwarlike country, which is just about to celebrate its 'Century of Peace.' They can tell us better than anybody else what we ought to do. We think it is their duty to be frank with us-their duty to the Empire, their duty to the people of Canada who desire that Empire to last, and who perceive that their own national existence is bound up with the life of that Empire. It goes without saying that this section of our people will welcome the fullest and frankest advice from the experts who live in the Capital of the Empire.

Now let us turn at once to what some people will regard as the most difficult feature of the situation-the Nationalist party of Quebec. Their notoriety rests chiefly upon their opposition to the naval policy of the late Government. They defeated a full year ago a candidate of the Liberals in a Liberal stronghold by crying 'A bas la Marine !' They have undoubtedly created among the Quebec habitants a deep distrust of any Canadian navy, telling them that their sons will be carried off on it to fight in wars in which they have no concern. That has been, indeed, their chief argument against the naval law-the fear of personal service. They have even talked

talked Conscription-always an affrighting word. The habitant, though he is thrifty, has not

[graphic]

6

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

beon stirred up against the cost half so much as against the menace to his boys.

But this fear that his sons may be drafted into the navy can apply only to a local Canadian navy. While our own warships are prowling about our own coasts, it is easy to make unsophisticated people believe that they might swoop down and carry off the stalwart young son of the farm in some time of national stress. But no one has any such fear of the Imperial navy. It has been in existence for a long time, and it has never drafted' a Canadian boy yet. It would be well-nigh impossible for the most unscrupulous 'stump speaker' to convince the most rural audience that the British navy had suddenly turned dangerous and might kidnap Canadian youth at a moment's notice.

Now, frankly, this seems to me to be 'a way out' for the leaders of the Nationalist party. They can never consent to a Canadian navy without stultifying their whole campaign. But they would be put in no such awkward position by advocating an augmentation of the Imperial navy. Such an augmentation is, indeed, going on to-day, and was very vigorously 'speeded up' a year or so ago; but they are raising no alarm over it. So far as the danger of personal service is concerned, what difference does it make whether that augmentation be paid for by the British taxpayer or out of the Canadian Treasury? I do not venture to say that the Nationalists would take this way out-I only say that they could ; and that they could not possibly get out at all, with any shreds of decency left, if asked to support any variation whatever of the Canadian navy idea.

Then there is a'nother point. Such unpopularity of the navy as exists in Quebec is due largely to the fact that no one has ever argued before the French voters in its favour with courage and conviction. The late Government were in a position of apology. They did not try to show the French Roman Catholics of Quebec —what is perfectly true—that they have more to lose by the collapse of British sea-power than probably any other section of the varied populations of the Empire; they merely pointed out in a deprecatory fashion that their offence was a little one.' If ever a party deserved defeat on a specific issue, the Canadian Liberals deserved defeat in Quebec on the navy issue. They took up a policy which, to succeed, must always be a policy of courage; and they fought it as a policy of cowardice and explanation and retreat. The French voter never had the case presented to him. He suffered from flagrant foul play. The Nationalists attacked, but no one defended. The impression inevitably created on the mind of the French voter was that the navy was an admitted evil, imposed upon a reluctant Liberal Government by the Imperialists of Ontario, and that he was asked to say that he did not mind it very much, and would put up with it for the sake

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »