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CormioHT Canada 1921 Bt 

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This stndy of popular goveminent in Canada derives a 
peculiar interest from the fact that while the economic and 
social conditions of the country are generally similar to 
those of the United States, the political institutions have 
been framed upon English models, and the political habits, 
traditions, and usages have retained an English character. 
Thus it is that in Canada, better perhaps than in any other 
country, the working of llie English system can be judged 
in its application to the facts of a new and swiftly growing 
country, thoroughly democratic in its ideas and its institu- 
tions. Let us begin by looking at those facts^ for they de- 
termine the economic and social environment into which 
English institutions have been set down. 

The Dominion of Canada is a country more than three 
thousand miles long from east to west, with a r^on, which 
at the meridian of 114® W. is about seven hundred miles 
broad from north to south. This r^ion is interrupted to 
the north of Lakes Huron and Superior by a rocky and 
barren, and therefore almost uninhabited tract, whidb sep- 
arates the fertile and populous districts of Ontario from 
those of the Prairie Provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, 
and Alberta, lying farther west Unless valuable minerals 
ate discovered in many parts of this tract, as there have 
been in some, it may remain thinly peopled. The natural 

1 The reader is reoocnmeiided to penue first the acooont of democracy 
in the United States, which is oootahied in Volnme II of ''Modern 
Democracies", as much of what is said regarding Canada wiU he hetter 
understood if the description of ihe United States, the economic and 
social oonditioQS of whidi resemble those of Canada, while the political 
faistitutions are diifereixt, has been previously read. 


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resources of the Dominion, besides its still only partially 
explored mineral wealth, consist in vast areas of rich soil, 
in enormous forests, both in the eastern Provincef* and in 
British Columbia and in the fisheries of the Maritime Prov- 
inces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which give em- 
ployment to a large and hardy population. There is coal 
in Nova Scotia and many parts of the West, with large 
deposits on the Pacific coast also; and the total quantity^ 
estimated as second in the world only to that in the United 
States and Alaska, is more than sufficient to cause the de- 
velopment of manufactures on a large scale. Severe as are 
the winters on the Atlantic side of the Continent, the climate 
is everywhere healthy, favourable to physical and mental 
vigour, the death-rate low and the birth-rate high. 

These conditions indicate the lines which economic de- 
velopment will follow. Agriculture is now and may long 
continue to be the chief source of livelihood, and forestry 
may provide employment for centuries if fires are checked 
and replanting is carried out on a large scale. Mining is 
now confined to comparatively few districts, but it, and the 
manufacturing industries also, aided by the utilization of 
the enormous volume of water power, cannot but increase. 
At present the bulk of the population are tillers of the soil, 
dwelling in rural areas or towns of moderate size; huge 
cities like those of Britain and the United States being com- 
paratively few. Two only (Montreal and Toronto) out of 
a total population of about 8,000,000,^ have more than 300,- 
000 inhabitants, and there are but five others whose popula- 
tion exceeds 50,000. Plenty of good land is still to be had 
at a moderate price, and the agricultural class lives in com- 
fort as does also the less numerous class who produce goods 
for the home market. There is hardly any pauperism and 
need be none at all. No such opposition is raised to immi- 
gration as has been raised in Australia, so the population 
is likely to go on increasing for generations to come, espe- 
cially in the western half of the country. The fact most 
important to note is that the land is almost entirely in the 
hands of small cultivating owners, an industrious and inde* 
pendent class. As great landed estates are unknown, so^ 
toOf great financial or commercial fortunes are comparatively 
iln 1911 the population was 7,206,000. 

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few, those who have suddenly risen to wealth having mostly 
acquired it by an increase in the value of land, or of rail- 
road properties, and by speculative land investments. 

With the growth, -however, of commerce and the develop- 
ment of the country generally the opportunities for accumu- 
lating wealth by business are now fast increasing as they 
did in the United States half a century ago. Meantime, 
one may note the absence in Canada of two factors powerful 
in the great countries of Western Europe and equally so in 
the United States. There are not many great capitalists, 
or great incorporated companies taking a hand in politics 
for their own interests and exciting suspicion by their secret 
influence. Neither has the element of working men, con- 
gregated in large centres of industry and organized in labour 
unions, yet found leaders of conspicuous capacity, nor ac- 
quired a voting power which, whether by votes or by strikes, 
can tell upon the action of governments and party organiza- 
tions, constituting a force outside the regular political par- 
ties and, like the capitalists of France and America, using 
them for the furtherance of its own economic aims. 

One feature which is conspicuous by its absence, alike 
in Great Britain, in the United States, and in Australia 
and New Zealand, is here of the first importance. It is the 
influence of Bace and of Eeligion. 

When Canada was ceded to Great Britain by Fraiice in 
1763, the French-speaking inhabitants numbered 60,000. 
They have now grown to nearly two and a half millions, 
or about one-third of the whole population, and this* by 
natural increase, the stock being very prolific, for there has 
been practically no immigration from France. The great 
majority of these French speakers dwell in the Province - 
of Quebec, which was the region first settled, but a large 
number are also to be found in Eastern and Northern On- 
tario, in the Maritime Provinces and scattered out over the 
West. Of those in Quebec extremely few speak English, 
There they constitute a community retaining with its lan- 
guage its French manners and ideas, quite distinct from 
Siose of ther British districts. This separation is mainly 
due to religion, for they are all Roman Catholics, deeply 
attached to their faith, and if no longer obedient yet still 
deferential, in secular its well as ecclesiastical matters^ to 

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iheir biahope and priests. Nowhere in the w<nrld did the 
Boman priesthood during laat century exert so great a power 
in politics. 

During the last twenty years the tide of immigrants to 
Canada has flowed freely, chiefly from Scotland and from 
lihe countries of Central and South-Eastem Europe. There 
have also come into the Western Provinces from tha ad- 
joining parts of the United States a great crowd of farmers 
attracted by the cheapness of good land. Nearly all of 
tiiese have been naturalized as Canadian citizens and are 
rapidly blent with their Canadian neighbouiB. Thus one 
may say, omitting the most recent immigrants, that the 
Canadian nation consists of two parts, nearly one-third 
French speaking and Boman Catholic, two-thirds Engli^ 
speaking and Protestant.^ 

The Constitution of Canada was prepared by a group of 
colonial statesmen in 1864 and enacted in 1867, by a statute 
of the British Parliament The scheme of government is 
Federal, a form prescribed not merely by the diveinities to 
be found in a vast territory stretching westward from Nova 
Scotia to the Pacific, but also by the aforesaid dual char- 
acter of the population, one-third of which inhabits Quebec, 
speaking French and following the Boman law established 
there by France when her first settlers arrived, while in the 
other provinces the common law of England prevails. The 
Federal system roughly resembles that of the United States, 
framed seventy-eight years earlier, and that of Australia, 
framed thirty-three years later, as respects the distribution 
of powers between the Central or National and the Provin- 
cial Governments, each in the main independent of the other, 
while the former has nevertheless, within its allotted sphere, 
a direct authority over all citizens, with adequate means 
for enforcing that authority. 

As this federal form of government has little to do with 
tiie subject that here concerns us> the actual working of 
democratic institutions, it may suffice to call attention to 

iTlioiigh very nearly all the Ft'ench speakers are Catholics, by no 
means all the Catholics are French speakers, for many of the Ger- 
man, Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants are Catholics, so it might 
be more exact to say that three-tenths are French speaking, and rather 
more than one-third Catholics. Conversions from either faith to the 
other are mnoommon, but the children of Cktholics from the European 
Continents often lapse from their faith, the Irish rarely. 

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three important points in if^ich the National Cbvemmeiit 
has powers wider in Canada than in Australia or the United 

1. The legislative authority of the Dominion Govern- 
ment covers a larger field, and includes a power of dis- 
allowing acts of the Provincial L^islatura This particular 
power is, however, seldom used, and practically only where 
such a Legislature is deemed to have exceeded the functions 
assigned to it by the Constitution or to have violated any 
fundamental principle of law and justice. 

2. Judicial authority (except as respects minor local 
courts) belongs solely to the Dominion Government 

3. All powers and functions of government not expressly 
assigned either to the Dominion or to the Provinces re- 
spectively are deemed to belong to the Dominion, t.e. where 
doubt arises the presumption is in its favour, whereas in 
the United States and in Australia the presumption is in 
favour of the States. 

4. Amendments to the Constitution can be made not by 
the people, but only by a Statute of the Imperial Parlia- 
ment of the United Kingdom. This follows from the fact 
that the Constitution itself is a Statute of that Parliament. ^ 
But the provision is in reality no restriction of the powers 
of the Dominion, for it is well understood that in such a 
matter the Britisdi Parliament would take no action except 
when satisfied that the Canadian people as a whole wished 
it to do -so, and were approving any request made by the 
Dominion Parliament to that effect, just as the Act of 1867 
was passed to give effect to what had been shown to be the 
wishes of the Dominion itself. This theoretic or technical 
sovereignty of the British Parliament provides a more con- 
venient method of altering the Constitution than the compli- 
cated machinery created for that purpose in the United 
States and in Australia,^ and is even more certain to 
give to a dissident minority whatever consideration it 

The frame of the Dominion or National Gbvemment has 
been constructed on the lines of the Cabinet or Parliamen- 
1 That fKUbdiiiiery is descrflied in the drnpters on Anstralia Mid 4he 
United States Tespectirely in ^'Modern Democracies'^. 0\het points la 
which the oonstitiitioiial arrangements of Canada diifer from tiiose ef 
the UnHed States wiU l>e noticed in Chapter XXXV of ''Modem 

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tary system of Britain and all her self-governing colonies. 
Executive power is vested nominally in the Governor-Gen- 
eral as representative of the British Crown; but is in fact 
exercised by a Cabinet or group of ministers, who hold office 
only so long as they can retain the support of a majority 
in the Dominion Housa of Commons. They are virtually 
a Committee of Parliament, and in it all of them sit. Thus 
the actual Executive is the creature of the House of Com- 
mons, possessing as against it only one power, that of appeal- 
ing to the people by a dissolution of Parliament. If minis- 
ters do not dissolve they must resign, and if they dissolve 
and the election goes against them, they resign forthwith 
and a new Cabinet is formed. The relations of the Execu- 
tive and Legislative Departments are thus far more inti- 
mate than in the United States, for the Ministry sit in the 
Legislature and are, just as in France and England, the 
leaders of its majority for the time being. 

The Dominion Legislature consists of two Houses. The 
House of Commons numbers 235 members, elected on uni- 
versal suffrage, woman suffrage having been in all the Prov- 
inces also, except three, recently adopted.^ Its legal dura- 
tion, subject to a prior dissolution by the Executive, is five 
years- The Senate consists of 96 persons nominated for life 
by the Governor-General, i.e. by the Ministry for the time 
being, as vacancies occur by death or resignation. A num- 
ber of senators proportionate to population is assigned to 
each Province. Except in financial matters its functions 
are legally equal to those of the House, but it is in fact far 
less important, for though it revises and amends Bills, it 
seldom ventures to reject or seriously modify any measure 
sent up by the House of Commons. The latter is the real 
driving force, just as the House of Commons is in England 
and for the same reasons. The House controls finance; 
and since it has the making and unmaking of the Executive 
Ministries, is the centre of party strife. Cont^ts between 
the two Houses arise only when one party comes into power 
after another party has had for a long time the appointment 

1 In the be^nning of 1920 it had not been enacted in Nova Scotia, 
Quebec, and Prince Edward Island. Women are eligible for seats in 
tiie House of Commons, and are already members of one or two Pro* 
vincial legislatures. 

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of senators, and effective opposition disappears after a few 
sessions, when vacancies filled by the new Ministry have 
changed the party balance. 

The judges of the Supreme Court of the Dominion, and 
of the Supreme Courts in the provinces, as also of the 
County Courts, are appointed for life by the Executive (t.e. 
the Dominion Cabinet), and can as in Britain and Aus- 
tralia be removed from office only upon an address of both 
Houses of Parliament They are taken from the Bar, and 
the salaries paid, though lower than in England, are higher 
than those which generally prevail in the United States. 
An appeal lies from the Supreme Court of Canada to the 
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England, of 
which a Canadian Justice of the Supreme Court is a mem- 
ber. There exists no veto upon the legislation of the Do- 
minion Parliament except that which the Governor-General 
at the direction of the British Crown, or that Crown itself 
on the advice of the British Cabinet, might in point of strict 
law exercise, but does not in fact now exercise, although 
cases may be imagined in which its existence might be 
thought useful for the preservation of some interest common 
to the whole of the British Dominions or the fulfilment of 
some international obligation undertaken on their behalf. 
Neither does the Canadian Constitution contain any re- 
strictions upon legislative power such as those imposed on 
Congress by the United States Constitution. The Do- 
minion Parliament is limited only by the assignment of 
exclusive jurisdiction on certain specified subjects to the 
legislatures of the Provinces and by the fact that it cannot 
directly and by its own sole action alter the Constitution as 
set forth in ihe Act of 1867. Otherwise its powers are 
plenary, like those of the British Parliament, whose tradi- 
tions it was desired to carry over into the New World. 

While the Ministers and a very few of the higher officials 
change with the departure from power of one party and 
the accession to power of another, all the other posts in the 
Civil Service are held for life or "good behaviour," i,e. 
a man once appointed is not dismissed except for misconduct 
or proved incompetence. There is therefore no Spoils sys- 
tem in the United States sense of the term, a Civil Service 

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Commission having been veoently created which fills up all 
posts. But in sudb higher appointments as are still left to 
tbe Executive, party affiliations and the influence of leading 
politicians counts for much, so that it is not necessarily the 
best men who are selected* Civil servants having a secure 
tenure are not expected to work for their party, but they 
are not forbidden to do so, though if they do, and their 
party is defeated, they will probably be dismissed as offend- 
ers against propriety. 

The Governments of the Nine Provinces (which corre- 
spond to the States in the Australian Commonwealth and 
in the IJ.S.A.) are also created, or rather re-created and 
remodelled by the Constitution of 1867, for most of them 
had existed before it was enacted.^ They reproduce the 
system of Cabinet and Parliamentary Oovemment provided 
for the Dominion, save in the fact that it is only the legis- 
latures of Quebec and Nova Scotia that have two Chambenk 
The head of the Executive is the Lieutenant-Governor, who 
is appointed for a five years^ term by the Governor-General, 
i.e, by the Dominion Cabinet for the time being, and is 
usually a member of the party to which the Cabinet belongs^ 
and a leading politician of the Province. He does no4^ 
however, take any share in party politics,^ but fills the 
place of a sort of local constitutional king, being advised 
by a ministry of six or seven members which has the support 
of the majority in the Legislature and is responsible* to it. 
The system is, in miniature, that of the British Parliament 
and Cabinet The Legislature is elected by universal suf- 
frage for four years, subject to an earlier dissolution by the 
Cabinet. It has, under the Constitution Act of 186^, the 
power of amending its PTovincial Constitution, subject to 
the rarely exercised power of disallowance vested in the 
Dominion Government In the two Provinces which have 
retained Seccmd Chambers filled by the appointment of the 

1 Manitoba, SaAkatchewan, and Alberta hare received their eonsti- 
tutiona and Governments since 1867. Their territories were purchased 
by the Dominion Government from the Hudson Bay Ck>mpan7. 

'Instances have occurred in which a Lieutenant-Governor took in- 
dependent action in what was deemed to be the general public interest, 
the most recent being that in which (in Manitoba) a judicial oiquiry 
was ordered into misdeeds alleged to have been committed by a Min- 
istry. £ee as to this and the earlier case in Quebec the book of Mr. 
Justice Riddell on the Constitution of Canada, p. 108. 

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Executive as vacancies occur, few oontroyersies have arisen, 
the Second Chamber generally complying with the wishes 
of the popular House. No desire for the creation of a Seo- 
ond Ohamber has been expressed in those provinces whidi 
do not possess one, perhaps because they take their notion of 
such a Chamber from the Dominion Senate^ a body which, 
though not wanting in talent and experience^ is weak be- 
cause nominated: but the bicameral system has been, where 
it exists, of service in preventing jobs, and a Lieutenant- 
Oovemor of Ontario spoke to me of instances in which the 
existence of a revising body would have been useful in mak- 
ing it possible to reconsider and reverse an unfortunate do- 
cision taken by the Assembly. 

This scheme of government seems at fimt sight less demo- 
cratic than that of the United States, because the direct ac- 
tion of the people is not so frequently invoked, their people's 
share in the government being limited to the election of 
representatives to the legislature, Federal and Provincial. 
But the power of the people is in fact by and through that 
one function so complete that nothing more is wanted, and' 
it is in one point ampler than in the United States, because 
the legislatures are restrained by no such limitations as both 
the Federal and the State Constitutions contain. In choos- 
ing and instructing their representatives the citizens have 
all the means, they need for giving effect to their will, for 
the representatives choose the Executive, and if the Execu- 
tive and the Legislature differ, their differences can be 
promptly settled m appealing to the people by a dissolution 
of Parliament. The Frame of Government which I have 
described in outline is accordingly highly democratic, and 
the experience of England in last century commended it as 
having proved both democratic and efficient It fixes re- 
sponsibility upon representatives each of whom can be called 
to account by his constituents, and upon a small number of 
administrators each of whom can be watched, questioned, 
censured, and if need be expelled from office by the L^is- 
latura Given favourable economic and social conditions 
in the country where it is to be worked, it ought to give 
excellent results. 

If any souirce of danger to peace and good government 
was discernible, it lay in the existence of two races which, 

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though not hostile, were mutually jealous and showed no 
tendency to blend. 

Government of Canada has been -worked, as in every 
other free country, by Party. That was contemplated 
when the Constitution was enacted, for parties had been 
in full swing for generations before 1867, and insurrections 
had occurred so late as 1837. In Canada as in England 
the parties run both the legislative and the administrative 
machinery, and are responsible to the people for the use 
they make of it. But before proceeding to examine how 
that machinery is actually worked it is well to look a little 
more closely at the conditions which Nature and History 
have here provided. They are eminently favourable, not 
only to the growth of population and of national wealth, 
but also to the orderly development of free self-governing 

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This land in which settlers from the two great races of 
iWestem Europe have been called to be fruitful and multiply 
and replenish the earth is a land where there is room for 
everybody for generations to come, and in which the ground 
is cumbered by few injustices to be redressed, no sense of 
ancient wrongs to rouse resentment, no slough of despondent 
misery out of which the worker finds it hard to emerge. 

About three-fourths of the Canadian householders are 
farmers, nearly all of them owning theiir own f arms^ living 
in comfort, and all the more so because sobriety has become 
more general than it was thirty years ago. Not only are 
they well off, but nearly everybody is well off, the native 
part of the wage-earning population also being well re- 
munerated and on good terms with the employers. It is 
only lately, and in places where there is a mass of recent 
immigrants, that labour troubles have created serious strife, 
and such grievances as the traveller hears of in the rural 
districts relate to the maintenance of a tariff on imports 
which raises the price of manufactured goods far the benefit 
of home producers and to the undue power which great rail- 
roads can exert in the districts they traverse, and, in some 
districts, to the action of great companies in controlling 
facilities for the transporting and disposal of crops. In 
Ontario and the Maritime Provinces as well as in the Westr 
em Provinces the schools are so abundant and excellent that 
there is' practically no illiteracy except among the new ar- 
rivals from Europe. Every native English-speaking Cana- 
dian is educated, reads at least one newspaper, and as a rule 
takes an intelligent interest in public affairs, national and 
local. This is no less true of that large body of immigrants 
in the Prairie Provinces ^ which has come in from the United 

1 Manitoba^ Saskatchewan, and Alberta. 

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States during the last thirty years, but not true of the recent 
immigrants from Eastern Europe. The people are assidu- 
ous churchgoers, and are, especially in the Scottish districts, 
much occupied mth church affairs, but the pastors, although 
respected, do not generally exert political influence on their 
flod:s. No rural population except that of Switzerland, is 
better qualified for the duties of citizenship and more ready 
to discharge them, though it ought perhaps to be added that 
there have been those who allow their willingness to be stim- 
ulated by the receipt of pecuniary inducements at elections, 
glossing over this lapse from civic virtue by the ai^ument 
tiiat they ought to be compensated for the time lost in going 
to the poUing-plaoe. This habit, not infrequent in Ontario^ 
is quite as prevalent in the State of Ohio, on the other side 
of Lake Erie. 

The class of workers in manufactures or mines is, as 
already observed, comparatively small, for there are few 
great industrial centres, and only four cities (Montreal, To- 
ronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver) with populations exceed- 
ing 120,000. So much of that class as speaks English or 
French is educated and takes an interest in politics, but it 
has not yet grown large enough to form in any one area, 
except, in Ontario and British Columbia, a working men's 
party in a Provincial Legislature. It is, moreover, less per- 
meated by Communist or Syndicalist doctrines than is the 
same class in France and Australia. Here, as in the United 
States, the great strength of the two old parties which em- 
brace men of all classes, has retarded the creation of a third 
party resting on a class basis. Except in the Maritime 
Provinces, the most recent immigrants perform a great part 
of the unskilled work of the country, and they fumi^ a 
soil more favourable to the propagation of the doctrines of 
any group of European extremists than does the native popu- 
lation. Till the Winnipeg strike of 1919, there had been 
few signs of antagonism between the wage-earners and the 

In t^e French-speaking districts of Quebec and of East- 
ern Ontario the conditions are altogether different. The 
inhabitants of these districts do not call themselves ^^ French ^ 
but either simply " Canadians '^ or " French speakers," for 
they have little in common with modem France except their 

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language and some traits of character. So far aa they be- 
long to tVance, it is to a France of the ei^teenth, not of the 
twentieth century. Since the Bevolntion of 1789, and still 
more since the establishment of the present Bepublic in 
France, they have been but slightly affected by French po- 
litical institutions or ideas; for though educated men read 
French books, the anti-clerical attitude of the Bepublicans 
i«iio haye governed France during tiiie last forty years has 
been repellent All through last century English thought 
and English ways told very little upon tiiem; and that re- 
maricable assimilatiye power which French culture possesses 
was shown in the fact that those Scotsmen or Englishmen 
who settled among them were almost always Oallicized in 
speech and religion. It is remarked to<lay that few French 
speakers are to be found among the undergraduates of the 
leading non-Catholic Universities. Wdre Ae two elements 
to blend, they might possibly produce a new type of char- 
acter, combining what is best in each, but of blending there 
is at present no sign. The difference of religion forbids it. 

The birth-rate is so much higher among the French speak- 
ers than in the English districts that some of the former 
have hoped that Canada would end by being a French coun- 
try, but tlie immigrants, if they come from the United States, 
speak English already, and if they come from Continental 
Europe learn English and not French. The probabilities 
therefore are that English will ultimately prevail and be the 
general tongue of the Dominion. 

As compared with the British population of Ontario and 
the Westy the standard of material well-being among these 
Quebec habitants is lower, because the land is poorer, the 
farms mostly smaller, the families larger, the people less 
eneigetic though equally industrious, and less well educated. 
But the greatest difference is seen in the power of the Ro- 
man Caliolic clergy. The Church has large estates, with 
numerous and wealthy monastic establishments^ and the 
people are nearly all fervent Catholica The bishops used 
to rule through the priests, who were wont to direct their 
parishioners how to vote, and were generally obeyed, not 
only by the cultivators of the soil but by the wage-earners 
of the towns, till about thirty years ago. Even now they 
retain a real though much diminished power. Owing to the 

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rapid increase of the French-speaking popnlation, which 
wonld be still more rapid but for the high Tate of infant 
mortality, there has been a considerable migration from Que- 
bec into Eastern Ontario as well as the Western Froyince& 
Wherever the emigrant goes, the priest follows and retains 
a certain influence, but it counts for more in the hamogeneous 
French-speaking masses of Quebec, the Provincial Govern- 
ment of which, tiiioogh legally quite as democratic as that 
of Manitoba or Alberta, is by no means the same in its 

Taking the native population of Canada to be as intel- 
ligent, educated, interested in self-government and qualified 
for self-government as a traveller finds in aay part of the 
English-speaking world, we have next to enquire what are 
the subjects which chiefly interest it, what are the issues by 
which it, like all free peoples, is divided into political par- 
ties, and in what wise those parties conduct the affairs of 
the nation. As I am not writing a general account of Can- 
ada but concerned only with those phenomena which illus- 
trate the working of democratic government, it is enough to 
note in passing, without attempting to discuss, some topics 
which, important as they are, do not belong to the sphere 
of party controversy, such are the means of developing the 
natural resources of the country, and its relation to Great 
Britain and to the other Self-Goveming DcMninions. Ex- 
ternal affairs, however, need a few words, for the fiscal re- 
lations of the Dominion to the United States have at times 
become involved with differences of opinion between Pro- 
tectionists and the advocates of Free Trade or of a low tariff, 
and did in that way affect internal politics, the Protection- 
ists declaring that lie policy of their opponents would make 
Canada dependent on her powerful neighbour to the south. 
This ground of contention has tended to disappear as other 
disputes with that neighbour have subsided. In recent years 
a series of treaties and commissions determining all bound- 
ary questions and providing methods of arbitration for the 
adjustment of whatever controversies may arise over water 
rights and transportation on railways along the borders of 
Canada and the United States, have virtually removed causes 
of quarrel, and hold out a promise, of permanently good re- 
lations between the two great neighbour peoples. The aF- 

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Tangement made in 1817 by which no ships of war, other 
than two or three small vessels armed for police work, were 
to be placed on the Great Lakes, has been loyally observed, 
to the immeasureable benefit of both nations, for it has not 
only made forts and fleets superfluous, but hus created an 
atmosphere of mutual confidence. 

There were at one time persons in the TJnited States who 
talked of the incorporation of Canada in their lepublic as 
a thing to be desired and worked for, and there were a few, 
though always only a few, Canadians who, looking upon this 
as a natural consequence of geographical conditions^ held it 
to be inevitable. But during the present century such ideas 
have died out in Canada, and it is only a few belated and 
unthinking persons in the United States that still give ex- 
pression to them. Those apprehensions of designs on the 
part of the United States for which there might have been 
grounds forty years ago, are now idla The people of the 
United States have laid aside not only any thought of aggres- 
sion but even that slightly patronizing air which formerly 
displeased the smaller nation. Sensible men in both coun- 
tries recognize the many reasons which make it better for 
each nation that it should continue to develop itself in its 
own fashion, upon its own historic lines^ in cordial friend- 
ship with the other. The United States feels itself large 
enough already: Canada does not wish to forgo that nation- 
hood into which she has entered by the recognition accorded 
to her claims in the Peace Treaties of 1919. 

In a country inhabited by two races of a different lan- 
guage and religion, it might be expected that these differ- 
ences would form the basis of political parties. This might 
have happened in Canada, but for two causes. One is the 
Federal system of government which has permitted the 
French-speaking and Boman Catholic population to have 
their own way in that Province where they form the vast 
majority, and which similarly permits the inhabitants of 
English speech and Protestant faith who predominate in 
the other Provinces to l^slate there according to their own 
views. The other cause may be found in the parly system 
itself, which has associative as well as a disruptive power. 
On many questions which have nothing to do with race or 
religion English speakers are in agreement with French 

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speakers^ Protestants in agreement with Catholics^ so that 
each political party is composed of both elements, neither of 
which could afford to offend and alienate the other. Sir 
Wilfrid Lanrier, the distinguished leader whom the Liberal 
party lately lost, was a Catholic from Quebec, though too 
independent to be acceptable to the Catholic hierarchy. Yet 
he had the support not only of many Catholics in that Prov- 
ince but of Presbyterians and Methodists in Ontario and 
the west, while the chiefs of the Conservatives have fre- 
quently been helped by Catholic votes. When controversies, 
sometimes acute, have arisen over religious teaching in 
State Schools in Provinces where there iB a considerable 
Catholic minority,^ there has been a disposition to settle 
them by compromises, for the leading statesmen on both 
sides, feeling the danger of raising a racial issue between 
the French-speaking and the British elements in the popula- 
tion, do their best to smooth matters down, neither side 
wishing to commit their party as a whole because each would 
by such a course alienate some of its supporters. A like 
tendency to division between the two elements of the popu- 
lation has occasionally been revealed when questions arose 
involving the relations of Canada to Great Britain. This 
happened also when the use of the French language in 
schools placed in districts with a considerable French- 
speaking element. Though opinion comes near to unanim- 
ity in desiring to maintain a political connection obviously 
beneficial to both elements, the French-speaking population 
is less zealously ready to bear its share in responsibilities 
common to the British dominions as a whole, so at the out* 
break of the Great War of 1914-18 the opposition to a pro- 
posed general levy of men to serve in that war found a 
wider support in that population than among the English- 
speaking citizens. The controversy, however, though it af- 
fected politics for the time being, passed away, and similar 
circumstances are not likely to recur. 

Another subject which has been constantly before men^s 
minds during the last twenty years has never, as it has in 
England, be^ taken up by either of the established political 
parties, because each has feared to lose at least as much as 

1 Especially in Ontario and Manitoba. In Quebec the Roman hier^ 
arcby get their own way. 

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it ootild gain by committing itself to a policy. It is that 
of the relation or prohibition of the sale of intoxicants. 
Party leaders have been shy of touching this live wire, be- 
oanse it cuts across the lines of party division in the ProT- 
inoeSy so the agitation for prdiibitory legislation, now en- 
acted everywhere except in Quebec, was, asr in the United 
States, left to independent organizations.^ The question 
that has since 1867 been the most permanently controversial 
ia that of & Protective tariff, a question argued less on gen- 
eral principles than with a view to the direct pecuniary in- 
terests of manufacturers on the one hand and agricultuifal 
consumers on the other. The struggle is not between the 
advocates of Protection and those of tariff for revenue only, 
but turns on the merits of a lower or higher scale of import 

Since 1867 — ^and for our present purpose we need go 
no further- badk — the questions which have had the most 
constant interest for the bulk of the nation are, as is nat- 
ural in a prosperous and rapidly growing community, those 
which belong to the sphere of commercial and industrial 
progress, the development of the material resources of the 
country by rendering aid to agriculture, by the regulation 
of mining, by constructing public works and opening up 
lines of railway and canal communication — matters scarcely 
falling within the lines by which party opinion is divided, 
for the policy of laissez faire has: few adherents in a- coun- 
try whidi finds in governmental action* or financial support 
to private enterprises the quickest means of carrying out 
every promising project; So when party conflicts arise over 
these matters, it is not the principle that iff contested — no 
Minister would expose himself to the reproach of backward- 
ness — but the plan advocated by the Government op the 
Opposition as the case may be. The task of each party is 
to persuade the people that in this instance* its plan prom- 
ises quicker and larger results, and that it is fitter to be 
trusted with the work. Thus it happena that general po- 
litical principles, such as usually figurer in party platforms, 
count for little in politics, though ancient habit requires 

iThe sale of alcoholic Uquors (-except for medical and scientifio 
inurposeB) and for export has been practically forbidden, in aliglitly 
different forms, in aU tlie Prorinees eave Quebec. 

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them to be invoked. Each party tries to adapt itself from 
time to time to -whatever practical issue may arise. Oppor- 
tunism is inevitable^ and the charge of inconsistency, thou^ 
incessantly bandied to and f ro, is lightly regarded. The 
tendency to an adaptive flexibility is increased by the duty 
•—indeed the necessity — • of tactfully handling the racial and 
religious feelings of the voters. Thus politics is apt to be- 
come a series of compromises, and the bitterness \^ith which 
elections seem to be fought is softened by the fact tiiat there 
is no sentiment of class hostility involved. The rich and 
the less rich — for one can hardly talk of the poor — the 
farmers, merchants, manufacturers, shopkeepers, profes- 
•ional men, have been found in both parties, and if the 
country be taken as a whole, in tolerably equal proportions. 
No Labour party haa arisen except among the industrial 
workers of Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, 
and among the organized unions of the miners on the Pa- 
cific coast But though the feelings of antagonism which 
most powerfully afltect men's minds are sedulously kept in 
the background, though most of the topics which during the 
last few decades formed the staple of controversy have been 
of transient import, not involving large general principles, 
the fact remains that parties have carried on a ceaseless 
strife with a surprising keenness of feeling. The historical 
causes of this lie far back in the past, behind 1867, and 
only one of them need be referred to — a religious aversion 
which, though not always avowed, intensifies party spirit 
among the more extreme Protestants as well aa the more 
ardent Catholics. There is still in Ontario an Grange party, 
well organized in its Lodges, which rejoices to celebrate with 
triumphant processions and speeches, on the shores of the 
Great Lakes, the anniversary of a victory gained more than 
two c«ituries ago by one of the two parties that were then 
struggling for mastery in an island, distracted then as now, 
that lies three thousand miles away beyond the Ocean. 

In Canada the motive of personal advantage which stimu- 
lates the activity of many party workers in the United 
States is hardly felt, for tiie places to be won are too few; 
to enter into the mind of the average private citizen. 

Neither is an attachment to doctrines essential, for here, 
as among the English-speaking peoples generally, l2ie im- 

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pulse to combat and to associations for the purposes of com- 
bat in politics is so strong that it can dispense with doctrines. 
Party seems to exist for its own sake. In Canada ideas are 
not needed to make parties, for these can live by heredity 
and, like the* Guelf s and Ghibellines of mediaeval Italy, by 
memories of past combats. The pugnacity of a virile race 
is kept alive by the" two unending sets of battles which are 
kept going, one in the House of Commons at Ottawa, the 
other in their Provincial Legislature. Men grow up from 
boyhood identifying themselves with their party and re- 
garding its fortunes as their own. Attachment to leaders 
of such striking gifts and long careers, as were Sir John 
Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, created a personal loy- 
alty which exposed a man to reproach as a deserter when ha 
voted against his party. And besides all this, there wa3 
that sort of sporting interest which belongs to a struggle 
betweSen the Ins and Outs.. 

This vehemence of zeal I have described was, however, 
not usually carried into Provincial and much less into mu- 
nicipal elections, which latter have not generally been fought 
on party lines, though of course a candidate who happens 
to be popular with his party is likely to attract their vot^a 
Neither does party feeling, except in a few localities, intro- 
duce bitterness into social life. As in England and the 
United States, it can co-exist with personal good feeling be- 
tw^n the opposing armies. The same kind of sentiment 
which makes the undergraduates of Oxford and Cambridge 
cheer the rival oarsmen who have just vanquished their own 
crew in a boat race, and which requires the defeated candi- 
date for the Presidency of the United States to tel^raph hia 
congratulations to his successful competitor, mitigates party 
strifa This happy tendency, quite compatible with violent 
talk and reckless imputations at election time, has helped 
to produce, and has been itself strengthened by, the excellent 
institution of the Canadian Clubs. About the beginning of 
the century a club was founded at Hamilton, Ontario, in- 
tended to foster both Dominion patriotism and local patriot- 
ism, and to promote the growth of an enlightened public 
opinion by bringing together men of both parties or of no 
party to listen to addresses on all sorts of non-partisan topics 
at lunch or dinner. Finding favour, the idea spread fast 

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and inxj till within a few years similar clubs liad sprang 
up in nearly all ihe cities of the Dominion. They have 
been of great servide in accustoming men of opposite parties 
to know one another personally and work togedier for com- 
mon civic or national aims, and are now, especially in the 
English-speaking cities, a valuable factor in Canadian life, 
giving to eminent visitors from Europe and the United 
States opportunities* of bringing their views and counsels 
before Canadians of all classes, while in some places also 
filling a function similar to that of those non-partisan asso- 
ciations of business men in the cities of the United States 
which have there work for the betterment of social condi- 
tions and municipal reform. 

Part of what has been said applies itither to the recent 
past than to the present, for the years since 1914 have seen 
many changes. The first of these was a schism in the Lib- 
eral party, arising over the question of compulsory war serv- 
ice, which led to a coalition of a section of that party with 
the Conservative then in power. This combination may be 
transitory, and is less significant than the still more recent 
smCTgence of a small Labour party in some industrial areas, 
such as Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and the mining dis- 
tricts of British Columbia, and of a Farmers' party? whidh 
in the Province of Ontario ^ suddenly found itself after an 
election lihe largest of the various groups in the Provincial 
legislature, and formed a Ministry there. The example of 
the independent action which the landowning farmers had 
been taking, outside the old parties, in the North-Western 
States of America, did something to rouse Canadian farm- 
ers to a like assertion of their own special interests, inade- 
quately represented in the l^islature. But something may 
also be attributed to a general loosening of party ties and 
loss of confidence in the successive party Ministries, and 
indeed in the politicians generally who had been at the head 
of affairs in the Dominion and in the Provinces during the 
last fifteen or twenty years. Of this more hereafter. 

Party organization is looser than in the United States and 
aoaroely so tight as it has grown to be in England : nor is tha 

illie ''Grain Growers of the Weit Association,*' lately formed in 
the Prairie Prorinees, and now prospering there is another sign of 
agricoltiural discontent. 

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nomination of candidates that supremely important matter 
which it long ago became in the United States, for there ii 
no such octopus of a party machine esrtending its tentacled 
over the country and practically controlling the action of 
most voters. A man gets accepted as candidate much as 
happens in England, often because he is of some local note, 
sometimes because, though not a resident, he is recommended 
by persons of influence in the party; and if once elected 
is, if assiduous and loyal, generally continued as the local 
party standard-bearer. Although, therefore the right of 
the constituency to determine its candidate is taken as a 
matter of course, the methods of choice are as fluid and in- 
formal as they have usually been in Britain. There is an 
increasing tendency to prefer local men as candidates. 
Provincial elections excite less interest, except when it is 
desired to punish a discredited Ministry, than do those to 
the Dominion House of Commons, and though both, speak- 
ing generally, are fought on the same national party lines, 
there are those who think it well to vote for candidates of 
one party in a Provincial and those of another in a Do- 
minion election in order that the former may feel itself 
more closely watched. Neither in the Provinces nor in the 
Dominion does a party victory carry with it a distribution 
of *' good things " among the minor politicians. To win an 
election is of course a gain to the leading politicians on the 
look out for office and to those few underlings who expect 
sometime or other to receive favours at their hands, but 
these places are trifling in number compared to those that 
have to be fought for as spoils of victory in the United 
States. In Canada, therefore, one hears little of Bings, and 
the Boss, though he exists both in and out of the legislatures, 
is nothing more tiban the figure, familiar in many countries, 
of the politician who brings to the business of intrigue more 
of the serpent's wisdom than of the dove's innocence. 

When lie citizen comes to the polls as a voter, by what 
motives is his vote determined? 

In English-speaking districts, primarily by his party al- 
legiance, and to some extent by his ecclesiastical sympatiiies, 
which in some districts are markedly anti-Eoman. In 
French-speaking districts, primarily by the influence of the 
priesthood; yet that influence does not always prevail, for 

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it may be overridden by attachment to a Frencb-speaking 
national^ or even local, leader who maintains an independent 
attitude. Secondarily by his own material interests, whether 
they take the form of desiring the imposition or the reduc- 
tion of protective import duties, or that of seeking grants of 
public money for some local purpose, or of urging the con- 
struction of a railroad calculated to benefit his neighbour- 
hood. This class of considerations has been often strong 
enough to override not only religious but even party loyalty, 
and is likely to grow stronger as party loyalty declines. Sel- 
dom, however, does it affect all the voters in any given 
locality. Thus the result of an election used to be some- 
what more predictable in Canada than in the United States 
or in England, because party loyalty was, generally speak- 
ing, a more important factor. 

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Fbom this study of the average citizen and the sentiments 
that move him when he comes to deliver his will on public 
affairs, we may pass to the machinery by which that will 
is brought to bear on the government of the country. His 
first duty is to elect representatives, so to elections a few 
sentences may be devoted. 

These are fewer than in the IJnited States because no 
administrative officers are chosen at the polls, all, both in the 
Dominion and in the Provinces, being appointed by the 
Executive Ministry. Elections are believed to be honestly 
conducted so far as the presiding officials are concerned, 
but personation and repeating occasionally occur, perhaps 
even ballot stuffing, for in Ontario a Government was not 
long ago supposed to have fallen because its electoral mis- 
deeds had shocked the conscience of the best citizens. 
Neither are there any such riots as used to be frequent in 
England in former days. Each party allows the meetings 
of tihe other to be held peaceably, satisfied with having difik 
charged its own heavy artillery of vituperation. Treating 
is no longer common, the consumption of intoxicants having 
been restrained by law, and will probably decline with the 
increased size of constituencies. Bribery, however, is not 
rare. The laws enacted on lines found effective in Eng- 
land failed to restrain these malpractices, usually managed 
by underlings, and apparently by both parties alike. Hap- 
pening to hear a politician complain bitterly of the heavy 
expenditure by the opposite party which had caused the de- 
feat of his own, I enquired why petitions had not been more 
largely presented by the losing side, and was answered that 
things might have come out which were better left in dark- 
nessv Each side had bribed because it believed the other to 
be bribing, and the wealthier party got the best of it; for 


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money ccfonts here as in most coimtries^ and campaign fonda 
are thongbt indispensable.^ 

From the electors we pass to the legislators. Those who 
sit in the Dominion House come chiefly f rem the profes- 
sional and commercial classes^ many of whom have a private 
income makiiig them independent of their salaries^ with a 
fair sprinkling of agriculturists^ rarely from the wage-earn- 
ing class. The percentage of lawyers is decidedly smaller 
than in Congress, and rather lower than in the British 
House of Commons. In the Provincial Chambers there is a 
larger proportion of lawyers of the second or third rank, the 
rest mostly farmers, and the average level of ability and 
education is somewhat lower than at Ottawa. No law or 
custom requires a member to reside in the place he repre- 
sents, a fortunate adherence to British custcan, for it opens 
to talent a wider door; but though some men of mark from 
the cities sit for constituencies with which they have no tie 
of family or residence, the majority, especially in the Pro- 
vincial L^slatures, reside in their constituencies. The 
tendency to retain the same member from one election to 
another helps to increase the number of those persons who 
possess some experience. There are very few rich men, not 
because such persons would be distrusted by the electors, but 
because they prefer to attend to their business enterprises, 
finding it almost as easy to exert political influence on legis- 
lation from without as within. Membership in the Do- 
minion Parliament has some little social value, but no more 
than that which attaches to any conspicuous success in com- 
merce. In a country which opens up great possibilities to 
the man of business capacity, politics as a career does n.ot 
greatly attract a man too scrupulous to use his political posi- 
tion for gainful purposes, unless of course his oratorical 
talents are such as to bring him at once to the front and to 
keep him there. It is not surprising, therefore, that the 
average of ability in the Federal Parliament should be, as 
most Canadians declare, rather lower today than it was 
thirty or forty years ago, in the days of Macdonald, Mac- 
kenzie, and Edward Blaka Nevertheless the presence of 

1 It was alleged at a general election not many years ago that large 
contributions to party funds had been made by some great manu- 
f aeturing tons. 

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some men of eminent ability occasionally raises the debates 
to a high level. The House of Commons need not fear a 
comparison either with Congress or with the Parliament of 
Australia. Proceedings are orderly: obstruction is seldom 
resorted to; only in exciting times has there been any marked 
personal acrimony. That kindly bonhammie whi<^ is char- 
acteristic of Canadians generally maintains itself even in the 
political arena. 

The payment of members is inevitable in a country where 
there is practically no leisured class^ and where most mem- 
bers coming from long distances to live in a city of only 
90,000 people, which is not a centre of commerce, must sao- 
rifice their business to their political duties. It has not 
produced a class of professional politicians. The salary is 
$2500 (£500) for a session exceeding thirty days, subject 
to a deduction of $15 a day for each day on which attend- 
ance is not given, a sum not large enough to draw a man into 
a parliamentary career, though it may sharpen his eager- 
liess to retain his seat. A feature in which Canada stands 
almost alone is the recognition of the leadership of the Op- 
position as a sort of public office, service in whibh is thought 
fit to be remunerated by a salary of $7000 (£1400) a year, 
the Speakers of the Senate and the House having eacdi $4000, 
in addition to their allowance as Members of Parliament 

The rules, based on English precedents, which regulate 
procedure on private bills have limited the field for " lobby- 
ing," rendering it less general and pernicious than in the 
United States. There is nevertheless a good deal of job- 
bery and log-rolling in the Canadian Legislatures. It occurs 
frequently in connection with the granting of public money 
to localities, such grants being the means whereby a memb^ 
commends himself to his constituents, while at the same time 
committing himself to a support of the Ministry which has 
conferred the favour on him and on them. Though trans- 
actions of this kind have lowered the standard of honour 
and the sense of public duty, they have not led to the grosser 
forms of political corruption, for these are as rare as in the 
United States Congress^ while the Provincial Legislatures 
are probably purer than those of most American States, 
though the average virtue of members varies so much that 
it is hard to make any general statement. "Soae sinks so 

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low as do the Assenabliee of New York or PemiBylvania, but 
the atmosphere of two or three is unwholesome; and nowhere 
can absolute soundness be found. So far as one can ascer- 
tain, the level of honour in them and in the Parliament at 
Ottawa is below that exacted by public opinion from mem- 
bers of the Australian and New Z^and legislatures. Prob- 
ably the temptations are greater, especially in the Provincial 
legislatures, largely occupied with local matters involving 
pecuniary interests, and the proceedings in which receive 
comparatively little attention from the general public. 

From legislators in general wer may proceed to those who 
have risen out of the crowd to be party leaders and Minis- 
ters. In Canada, as in England, political life is practically 
a parliamentary career wMch culminates in the Cabinet. 
There is little distinction or influence to be won in any other 
political field, though of course the heads of great banks or 
railroads, sometimes also those of great universities, may 
exercise quite as potent an influence. A man must begin 
by entering a legislative body and work his way up by prov- 
ing his quality tibere. Whoever shows unusual ability is, as 
in England, marked out for office and for place, so long as 
he can hold his seat, whereas in the United States a man 
may be summoned from the Bar or business to some esaTted 
post and return to the Bar or business after four years with 
no prospect of further public service. It may, however, 
happen that an office requiring special knowledge or expe- 
rience is given to some one not in Parliament, and in that 
case a seat will be found for him or he will receive, as soon 
as a vacancy occurs, a place in the Senate carrying with it 
the prospect of office, so he seldom falls for long out of the 
running. Though eloquence and the tactful handling of 
men are, as by all Parliamentary Governments, valued more 
highly liian administrative capacity, there is no lack of the 
latter quality. Such important departments as finance, jus- 
tice, agriculture, and fisheries are usually in competent 

Describing these things by way of comparisons, which is 
the best way available, one may say that in every Canadian 
Cabinet there are two or three men equal to the average of 
a Cabinet in london or Washington, although the range of 
choice is naturally smaller in a smaller population. In the 

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■■ I ■ II ■ II >■ 1 ■ 

composition of a Ministry regard mnst be had not only to 
talent but also to the necessity for representing different 
parts of a vast area, both because this pleases the outlying 
Provinces, and because the national administration, being 
also the supreme council of the party in power, must be duly 
informed as to local political feeling as well as local eco« 
nomic conditions. 

The methods followed in legislation have been generally 
similar to those of the British Parliament, and here as there 
speaking has become plain and businesslike, with little 
rhetoric At Ottawa, as at Westminster, the never-ending 
battle of the Ins and Outs has gone on, the Ministry pro- 
posing measures and the Opposition resisting them, the Min- 
istry taking steps and making appointments which the Op- 
position condemn as blunders or jobs.. When there are no 
large issues of policy to divide the two parties, there are 
always questions of grants or subsidies or other administra- 
tive matters to furnish grounds for attack and recrimina- 
tion. Much time is thus lost, but the process is inevitable 
where office is the prize contended for, and where every mis- 
take brought home to the Government weakens its hold on 
the country and raises the hopes of the Opposition. It is 
moreover a necessary process, for if there were no fear of 
criticism and resistance who can tell how many more mis- 
takes might be made and jobs perpetrated with impunity? 
Canada, like Great Britain, imposes no constitutional re- 
strictions on the power of Parliament except those few con- 
tained in the Act of 1867, so the immense power possessed 
by an Administration backed by a majwity would be abused 
if the right to interrogate and attack the Executive did not 
provide safeguards against the abuse of power equivalent 
to, though different from, those which the scheme of Checks 
and Balances provides in the United Statea Criticism is 
wholesome for Ministers, and gives a certain sense of security 
to the people, yet it is not a full security, any more than are 
the checks and balances. Although there exist in the Cana- 
dian Parliament and in the Provincial Legislatures rules^ 
modelled on English precedents, regulating procedure in the 
case of those bills, which have a local or personal object^ 
these rules are less effective than in England, because not 
supported by so strong a force of long habit and watched bj 

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so yigilant an opmi(»u Many occasions arise for secret bai^ 
gaining over bills as well as grants, many ways in whidi 
public interests may be sacrifi^ to projects promising pri- 
vate gain. 

Government is in Canada more concerned with matters 
affecting the development of the country than Europeans 
can realize. The dominance of material interests has brought 
into the field great corporate enterprises, such as lumber 
(timber) and mining and machine-making and fishery com- 
panies, and above all the railway companies. The great 
railway systems have been few but powerful, indeed all the 
more powerful because few. There has been much " trad- 
ing " between them and prominent politicians, for they need 
legislation, and in return for it they can influence votes at 
elections. An organization which has no politics except its 
own profits is formidable, and as an eminent Canadian has 
said, " Capital ends by getting its way." Some philosophic 
observers and some men of radical views have been alarmed. 
But the Canadian farmer is so eager for the extension of 
railroad facilities^ and the man of business sees so clear a 
gain in the rapid development of the country's resources that 
ihere had beeai, down to 1914, comparatively little of that 
angry hostility to railroad corporations which had stirred 
the Western IJnited States during the last thirty or forty 
years. At present, however, the tide of public opinion has 
begun to run more strongly than formerly against ^^£ig 
Business.'^ ^ 

These conditional, and especially this andour, not alto- 
gether selfish, of every community to expand and to make 
the most of its resources faster than its neighbours, have 
made every district and town and village eager to get some- 
thing for itself. When the country began, about thirty 
years ago, to be settled more rapidly and thicldy than before^ 
roads were wanted, and bridges, and in some places har* 
bouiB or improvements in rivers, and everywhere railroads, 
for the proximity of a. line opens up a district and makes 
the fortune of a town. As in eacH locality there was little 
or no capital even for bridge or road buUding, resort was 

1 These lines describe things as they were before 1914!. The taking 
over by the Dominion GoTemment during the War, and the recent 
financial collapse of some important lines have so altered the situation 
that one must not venture to speak of the future. 

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liad, and in some iiistanoeB properly enough, to tiie pablio 
purse. The public purse once reached, and those ministers 
who held it finding no surer way of getting local votes than 
by obliging local applicants, it becsone tibe aim of every 
place and every member to dip asr deep as possible into the 
National treasury. The habit was a demoralizing one all 
round. It intensified the spirit of localism which is as 
marked a feature in Canadian politics as it is in the United 
States, and for the same reasons. It lowered the standard 
of political thinking among the statesmen; it turned the po- 
litical interest of Ihe citizens away f rcnn the larger aspects 
of civic duty. These are phenomena which, though their 
beginnings are intelligible, surprise one in communities now 
so active and so prosperous as to be well able to tax them- 
selves for many purposes on which grants are lavished by 
the Dominion Government, grants often needless, for they 
are given only "to bring money into the town," and apt 
to be wastefully administered. But the habit persists, as 
it is found persisting in New Zealand also. 

What has been said of the Dominion House of Commons 
applies generally, allowing for their much smaller scale, to 
the Provincial Legislatures. They are divided upon the 
lines of the National parties, and upon these lines elections 
are chiefly fought, though with less heat than is shown in 
Federal contests, and with more frequent changes in the 
balance of party strength. The wide powers allotted to 
them by the Constitution, the only check upon which (save 
as regards education) lies in the power of disallowing their 
statutes reserved to the Dominion Government, are some- 
times not wisely used. Cases have occurred in which l^is- 
lation has virtually extinguished private property without 
compensation, a thing forbidden to a State Legislature in 
the United States, and the Courts have held that such a law, 
however objectianable, is within their legal competenoa 
Whether it furnishes ground for the exercise of the Do- 
minion disallowance has been doubled: but in a recent in- 
rtance the propriety of that exercise has been affirmed by 
the Federal Government^ The methods and rules of pro- 

1 See as to this interesting points Mr. Justice Riddell's Lecturer on 
the Conatiiution of Cwnada, pp. 98 and 112 and notes, and also an 
article by Mr. Murray Clarl^ K.C.» in the Camdian Bankert^ Magiutim 
for Jan. 1919. 

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cedure of these Provincial legislatures leproduce generally 
the practice of Westminster and of Ottawa. In ti^em also 
the salutary principle that the public money can be voted 
only at the instance of the Executive holds good.^ Author- 
ity is concentrated in the Legislature and Ministry, instead 
of being scattered among a number of directly elected offi- 
cials; full accounts of expenditure are presented; members 
can interrogate Ministers r^arding every item. 

There are few Standing Committees, usually eight only; 
nor are there many private bills, circumstances which ex- 
plain the slight demand hitherto made in Canada for those 
institutions which have won so much favour in many States 
of the American Union, viz. the Popular Liitiative in legis- 
lation, and the submission to a Eeferendum, or popular vote, 
of acts passed by the State Legislature. The chief sources 
of that demand are explained in the chapters relating to 
the United States, where it is shown that State legislatures 
have lost the confidence of the people because they pass many 
private acts for the benefit of the selfish interests of the 
rich, and omit to pass some acts desired by large sections 
of the people, at the bidding in both sets of cases of powerful 
rich men or companies. Hence the Eef erendimi is applied 
to kill the " bad biUs " and to pass those " good bills " which 
the legislature refuses to pass. In Canada this has hap- 
pened to a much smaller extent, because the rules of pro- 
cedure make it harder to play such tricks, because there is 
no powerful party machine by whose irresponsible control 
of a Legislature such bills can be put. through, and because 
the majority, t.e. the Ministerial party, if it should try to 
oblige the " selfish interests " aforesaid, would have to bear 
the hostile criticism of an alert party Opposition. Assum- 
ing the level of public virtue to be much the same among 
the legislatures of the two countries there is this difference, 
that in an American State Legislature it is not the business 
of any one in particular to check and expose a jobbing bill, 
whereas in Canada — though it does sometimes happen that 
unscrupulous members of both parties agree to '^put 

iln these and other respects Professor Henry Jones Ford compares 
the Provincial Legislatures with the State Legislatures in the United 
States, «to the advantage of the faxmeir (North American Review^ No. 
194 (1911)). 

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through '' a job — the leaders of an Opposition have a con- 
atantly operating personal motive for detecting and de- 
nouncing the misdeeds of any Ministry which should be- 
come the tool of rapacious wealth. Apart, however, from 
private bills there are sundry ways in which the Money 
Power can pursue its ends by obtaining benefits from rep- 
resentatives or ministries, sometimes through l^slation^ 
sometimes through the disposal of contracts or concessions. 
Suspicion has been rife as to the influence which the owners 
or promotens of large business enterprises can put forth in 
these directions, and enough has been unearthed to justify 
suspicion. Most Canadians say that although these evils 
are not new they have grown with the growth of the coun- 
try, but at the same time express the belief, or at least the 
hope, that the fuller attention recently given to them will 
lead to their extinction. 

The whole of the higher judiciary in Canada acts under 
Federal authority, although the administration of justice 
is left to the Provincial governments. Both the judges of 
the Supreme Court of the Dominion and those of the Pro- 
vincial Courts are appointed by the Dominion Executive, 
.'and are selected from the Bar, the police magistrates only 
* being appointed by the Provincial Governments. Men Who 
have made their mark in politics are, as in England, some- 
times chosen, but this, if it sometimes places second-rate men 
where first-rate men should be, has not injured the impar- 
tiality of the Bench, for though a man may owe his appoint- 
ment to political party influences he ceases to be a politician 
so soon as he takes his seat, having no promotion to work for, 
and knowing his post to be secure so long as he does his 
duly faithfully. English practice has also been followed 
in making appointments for life (subject to a power of re- 
moval on an address by both Houses of the Dominion Par- 
liament), but the salaries assigned even to the High Court 
Brach, ranging from $7000 to $8000 (with $10,000 for the 
Chief Justice of the Dominion), though sufficient to secure 
men of learning and ability, do not always attract the lead- 
ers of the Bar. The Courts have, as sound principle re- 
quires wherever a legislature is restricted in its powers by 
tiie provisions of a constitution enacted by superior author- 

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ity/ the function of pacing judgment on the oonstitational* 
ity of statuteB; but it is a fonotion of less scope and less 
difficulty than in the United States, because practically the 
only queetions that arise relate to the respective competence 
of Federal Courts and Provincial Courts as defined in the 
Canadian Ciwstitution of 1867. Moreover, the final deci- 
sion in such cases belongs to the Judicial Committee of the 
Privy Council in England as the ultimate Court of appeal 
in suits brought from the Dominion, or from the hi^est 
Provincial Courts. No such complaints as have been made 
in the United States regarding Ihe cutting down of statutes 
by judicial decisions are heard in Canada, and this may be 
one reason why no one suggests popular election as a proper 
mode of choosing judges. 

The respect felt for the judiciary contributes to that strict 
enforcement of the criminal as well as to that impartial ad- 
ministration of the civil law which are honourable charac- 
teristics of Canada. Lynch law is all but unknown. The 
only recent breaches of public order serious enough to rouse 
alarm were those which occurred during the great strike at 
^Winnipeg in 1919, and they are attributed chiefly to the 
presence of a mass of recent immigrants from the backward 
parts of Eastern Europa The disorders of mining camps^ 
once so common in the western United States, are not seen: 
nor have bands of robbers infested even the wilder districts, 
for the Dominion Government has maintained there a force 
of mounted police whose efficiency has been the admiration 
of all travellers, and the officers of which have been allowed 
— without complaints from the inhabitants — to exercise 
pretty wide semi-judicial as well as executive powers. Such 
of the aboriginal Indian tribes as remain in the North- 
West and in British Columbia have been on the whole hu- 
manely and judiciously treated, with few occasions for the 
employment of armed force, and with few or none of those 
administrative abuses which the United States Oovemment 
found it during many years impossible to prevent or cure^ 
because the administrative posts were so frequently given, 
by way of political patronage^ to incompetent or untrust- 

iThii principle is» howerer, not followed in Switcerlaad nor indee4 
fully reeogplsfBd by most lawyeri of the Enropeaa Continent. 

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worthy meo. Nothing has been more creditable to Canada 
than the maintenance of so high a standard of law and 
order over its vast territory. Here, as in Australia, the 
people are not jealous of executive authority^ because Eng- 
Ushmen have been long accustomed to see it exercised under 
parliamentary supervision*^ 

Of Local Gt>vemment not much need be said, because it 
presents few features of special interest National politics 
have fortunately not been allowed to enter into the elections 
of the local councils, in which the chief aim is to find the 
best men of the neighbourhood. The rural schools are hon- 
estly but rather too parsimoniously managed : the towns pay 
the teachers better and maintain a creditable level of instruc- 
tion. As regards the smaller municipalities the same holds 
generally trua In the large cities the conditions are differ- 
ent, and approach those which afflict the great cities of the 
United States. Where th^re are large sums to be spent and 
to be raised by taxation, large contracts to be placed, large 
opportunities for land speculation offered by the making of 
city improvements, and where the bulk of the voters have no 
interest in economical administration, abuses must be ex- 
pected. Though there is in a few large cities some jobbery, 
the only grave scandals have occurred in Montreal, where 
about ten years ago peculation on a great scale was brought 
home to l^e municipal authorities. Toronto has a toler^ 
ably good record: so have Winnipeg and Vancouver. The 
local party organization sometimes takes a hand in the elec- 
tion of councillors by putting forward men who have served 
it, but the voters do not follow slavishly, for their chief d^ 
sire is to find honest and capable men. It will be remem- 
bered that there is not in Canada, not even in the cities, a 
powerful party machine for choosing candidates^ and that 
there are no administrative officers directly elected by the 
people except, in many towns^ the Mayor. 

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In estimating the volume and force of public opinion in 
Canada as compared with European countries and the United 
States, one must remember that vast as the country is, its 
population has not yet reached nine millions, that there are 
only three or four cities large enough to contain a society 
of highly educated men who can give a lead in politic^d 
thinking, and that only three or four universities have as 
yet risen to that front rank which is represented in Britain 
by nine or ten and in the United States by more than double 
that number. There is, moreover, a deep deft which sep- 
arates the Frenchns^peaking Roman Catholic element, most 
of it under ecclesiastical influences, from the other elements 
in the nation, so that on nearly all non-economic subjects 
divergences must be expected, for where fundamental ideas 
and habits of thought are concerned, the French mind and 
the British mind do not move on the same lines^ even when 
both may arrive at similar practical conclusions. One can- 
not talk of a general opinion of the whole people as one can 
for most purposes in Great Britain, and could in Australia 
till the rise of the Labour party. As a set-off to this disr 
advantage there has bean, until recently, little in the way 
of class opinion, the native Canadian wage-^amere having 
been moved by much the same sentiments as the farmers 
and traders, neither of the two great parties any more than 
the other identified with the interests of the rich or of the 
poor, and neither seriously accused, whatever imputations 
may be launched during election campaigns, of being the 
permanent friend or tool of capitalists. Most of those ques- 
tions of material development which fill so large a place in 
men^s thoughts, find favour or arouse hostility as they affect 
one particular region of the country, so that upon only a 

few of them can any common or national view be looked for. 


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C(»nparing Canadian opinion with that of the country 
which most resembles it in economic conditions as well as 
in democratic sentiment^ it is to be noted that whereas in 
the United States there is much discontent with the working 
of some institutions, such as the system of elections, the con^ 
duct of the L^slatures and the political machine, and the 
reforming spirit is evoked by a sense of faults which have 
to be cured, no similar discontent took shape till it found 
voice recently in the Farmers' movement in Canada. The 
legislative and administrative machinery had been working 
smoothly, if not always creditably, and such dissatisfaction 
as arose impugned not the machinery but the men who 
worked it Scarcely any one proposed constitutional changes- 
The self-governing powers of the Dominion have so long been 
admitted by the Mother Country that most Canadians, wel- 
coming the fuller recognition given, especially in the negotia- 
tion and signing of t^e Treaties of 1919 and 1920, to the 
right of their Government to be consulted in and express its 
views upon all matters affecting the policy of the British 
Empire as a whole, see no need for altering the present con- 
stitutional relations, loose and undefined as they are, of the 
different parts of that Empire. Such large issues as those 
of State interference with private enterprise, of the respec- 
tive merits of State or private owned railroads, of subsidies 
to steamship lines, of ^e regulation of immigration, espe- 
cially as r^ards Oriental races, are discussed not on grounds 
of general principle, but rather on the merits of any par- 
ticular proposal made. Few people stop to think of the 
principles. What interests them is the concrete instance, 
and it would be deemed pedantic to suggest that an appar- 
ent immediate benefit should be foregone lest deviation from 
principle should set a dangerous precedent. The press is 
ably conducted, and exerts quite as much influence as in the 
United States, but the daily newspapers, even those who 
speak with authority for their party, have only a slender 
circulation outside their Provinces, so great are the dis- 
tances which separate the populous towns. When any grave 
scandal is brought to light, either in an abuse of its patron- 
age by the Dominion Oovemment or in some unsavoury 
job committed by one of the Provincial administrations, 
there is an outcry in the press, and the people put a bad 


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mark agaiiut the peccant Minister, peiliaps e^en against 
the Cabinet o£ whidi he is a member, for the people are 
sound, and hate corruption in whatever form it appears. 
But they do not see how such things are to be prevented, 
even by the dismissal of the particular offender, for the 
fault lies in the men, not in the institutions; so they await 
the next elections as a means of giving effect to Iheir dis- 
pleasure;, though with no confident hope that those whom 
the next elections instal in power will be better than their 
predecessors. Thus there had not arisen before 1914 what 
could be called any general Reforming movement with a 
definite programme. Public sentiment has, however, since 
then enforced one considerable reform, viz. the extension of 
the Civil Service laws to cover nearly all offices, and thereby 
virtually extinguish political patronage. 

The people watch what goes on in the Parliament at Ot' 
tawa and in their Provincial Legislatures with as much at' 
tention as can perhaps be expected from a busy men in a 
swiftly advancing country, and they show an abounding 
party spirit when an election day arrives. The constant 
party struggle keeps their interest alive. But party spirit, 
so far from being a measure of the volume of political 
thinking, may even be a substitute for thinking. A foreign 
critic who asks, as some have done, why the spirit of reform 
may seem to have lagged, or flagged, in Canada may be re- 
minded of three facts. One is tiiat the evils whidi rouse 
the reformers to action, such as has been taken, have usually 
been flagrant, more destructive of true democracy than have 
been the faults of which Canadians complain. A second is 
that in Canada, where the population is* small in proportion 
to the territory, that section of the citizens which is best 
educated and has leisure for watching and reflecting on the 
events of politics has been extremely small, scarcely to be 
found except in a very few urban centres ; and a third is that 
these centres are widely removed from one another, with 
thinly peopled tracts interposed. Toronto and the towns to 
the west of it form one such centre, Ottawa and Montreal 
another. Quebec stands detached to the east; Winnipeg is 
far away to the North-West, Vancouver and Victoria still 
farther off on the shores of the Pacific. Most of these cities 
are of receut growth, and in each of them the number of 

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persons qualified to form and guide opinion is not largeu 
The public opinion they create is fragmentary; it wants that 
cohesion which is produced by a constant interchange of 
ideas between those wha dwell near one another; it is with 
diflficully organized to form an effective force. Here, how- 
ever, time must work for good. The volume of serious 
political thinking in Canada may be expected to increase 
steadily with the growth of the leisured class; with the de- 
velopment of the Universities, already gaining more hold on 
the country; with the increasing numbers and influence of 
the younger and progressive section of the western f armens 
half of them, it is said, university graduates; with the pres- 
ence of a larger number of men of a high type in the legis- 
latures ; and with a sense among all thoughtful citizens that 
the problems, especially the social and economic problems, 
which confront them in our day require more exact and pro- 
found study than they have yet received. 

Here we get down to bed-rock: here the question arises^ 
Is it a fault characteristic of popular government that the 
problems referred receive insufficient study, seeing that in 
such a government as Canada possesses every opportunity 
exists for the men the country needs to show their capacity 
and make their way into parliaments and ministries, and 
seeing also that the nation, not distracted by questions of 
foreign policy and having long ago settled all the constitu- 
tional controversies, is free to bend its mind upon domestic 
questions? Has Canada been behind other countries in 
dealing with social reforms, with labour controversies, 
with tariffs, with the systematic development of national 

I will try to answer this by observing that the most burn- 
ing of eiDcial reforms, that of the sale of intoxicants, has 
been dealt with, because public opinion took hold of the mat- 
ter and did not wait for party politicians to trifle with it^ 
and that to the adjustment of labour disputes Canada has 
made one of the best contributions of recent years in an Act 
prescribing enquiry and delay when strikes are threatened* 
The tariff is being still fou^t over, but so it is in many 
States, and Canada is so far not behind any other English- 
speaking country. But it must be admitted that the right 
method of conserviuj^ and developing natural resouiceft 

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1 ■ ■■ ■ ■ 

either has not yet been f onnd or that it has not been properly 
put in practice^ though no subject is more essential to the 
welfare of a new country. Here the problem is threefold. 
The aimfl generally sought have been (a) to provide the 
maximum of facilities for turning forests and minerals to 
the best account, and for the transportation of products; 
(b) to prevent the absorption by speculators, for tiieir own 
gain, of these and other sources of natural wealth; (c) to 
secure for the nation, so far as can be done without checking 
individual enterprise, the so<5alled "unearned increment" 
or additional value which land, minerals, and water power 
acquire from the general growth of population and pros- 
perity. The pursuit of these three aims raises difficult ques- 
tions as to the principles which ought to be laid down, ques- 
tions which demand die patient thought and wide knowledge 
of the ablest minds that a government can enlist for the 
purpose. The application of these principles to a series of 
concrete cases must be entrusted to men of practical gifts, 
with clear heads and business experience, and with proved 
integrity also, for temptations arise on every sida Neither 
the eloquence of a debater nor the arts of the political in- 
triguer are in place. But the British parliamentary system 
as worked in the self-governing Dominions is not calculated 
to find the men most needed. The talents it brings to the 
front are of a different order, and if men of the gifts spe- 
cially, required are found in a ministry, this will generally 
happen by a lucky chance. Canadian politicians have not, 
any more than those of Australia and the United States, 
searched for such men, and taken pains to stock the public 
service with them. The principles to be adopted would of 
course require the approval of the l^slature, but political 
pressure ought not to be allowed to disturb their systematic 
and consistent application. So long as these matters are 
left to the chances of rough and tumble parliamentary de- 
bate or to be settled by secret bargaining between ministers, 
members, and "the interests," there will be losses to the 
nation as well as groimd for the suspicions to which poli- 
ticians are now exposed. 

As it is one of the most interesting features of the polit- 
ical system of Canada that in it institutions thoroughly Eng- 
lish have been placed in a physical and economic environ- 

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ment altogether unlike that of England and almost identical 
with that of the Northern United States, and as the political 
phenomena of Canada and those of the United States illus- 
trate pne another in many points, it is worth while to sum- 
marize here the main points in which the institutions and 
the practices of the latter country differ from those of the 
no less democratic government of Canada. 

The States of the American Union have wider powers 
than those of the Canadian Provinces, for the Constitutions 
of the Union and of the States impose restrictions on the 
National and the State Legislatures, whereas in Canada 
there are no such restrictions, except those which arise from 
the division in the Federal Constitution of functions be- 
tween the Dominion and the Provinces. 

The President of the United States has a veto upon the 
acts of Congress. There is (in practice) no similar veto on 
the acts of the Dominion Parliament. 

The Senate is in the United States the more powerful of 
the two Houses of the Legislature. The Canadian Senate 
exerts little power. 

The State Governor has in nearly all of the States a veto 
on the acts of his Legislature. The Lieutenant-Governor of 
a Province has no veto, and the power of disallowance vested 
in the Dominion Government is exercised rarely and only 
in very special cases. 

In every American State the judges of the higher Courts 
are either (in a very few States) appointed by the Governor 
or elected by the Legislature, or else (in the great majority 
of States) elected by the people. In the Canadian Provinces 
they are all appointed by the Dominion Government. 

In each of the American States some administrative of- 
fices are filled by direct popular election. In the Canadian 
Provinces all such offices are filled by appointment, nom- 
inally by the Lieutenant-Governor, practically by the Pro- 
vincial Ministry, and the only elections (besides tibie munici- 
pal) are those held for the choice of representatives. 

In the United States all elective offices, National and 
State, are held for a fixed term. In Canada poets in the 
civil service, except those very few whose occupants chang* 
with a change of government, are held for life, subject to 
dismissal for fault or incompetence. 

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In many States of the Union the people vote directly on 
projects of legislation by means of the Popular Initiative 
and the Popular Beferendum on bills passed by the Legifr- 
laturCy and in some they may vote also for the dismissal or 
retention of officials, by the Popular RecalL In Canada 
the Constitutions do not provide for a direct voting by the 
people on such matters. 

In the United States all Legislatures are elected for a 
fixed term, and cannot be dissolved before it expires. In 
Canada they may be dissolved by the Executive Ministry 
before the legal term expires. 

In the United States the principle of the Division of 
Powers between the three Departments (Legislative, Execu- 
tive, and Judicial) is recognized and to a large extent car- 
ried out. In Canada the Executive and Legislative are 
closely associated. 

As a result of this difference, Besponsibility is in Canada 
more concentrated and is more definitely fixed upon a small 
number of persons than it is in the United States. In Can- 
ada, both in the Dominion and in the Provinces, Power rests 
with and Besponsibility attaches to the Cabinet. In the 
United States, Power and Besponsibility are divided be- 
tween the Executive (President or State Governor) and the 

In the United States Federal Government the Cabinet are 
merely the President's servants. In the States of the Union 
the Governor has no Cabinet and advisers such as the Lieu- 
tenant-Governor has in a Canadian Province. 

In the United States no Federal official can sit in Con- 
gress, no State official in a State Legislature. In Canada 
Federal Ministers sit in the Dominion, and Provincial Min- 
isters in the Provincial legislatures. 

To these constitutional contrasts let us add three other 
differences of high significance in practice. 

There is in Canada no party organization comparable, in 
strength and its wide extension over the whole field of poli- 
tics, to that which exists in the party Machines of the United 

The only Canadian elections fought on party lines are 
those to the Dominion Parliament and to the Provincial 

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Legislatures. Local government elections usually turn upon 
local issues or the personal merits of candidates. 

Such influence, now greatly reduced by the creation of 
the Civil Service Conunission, as the Canadian Executive 
possesses over the bestowal of posts in the public services 
applies only to appointment in the first instance. Officials 
are not dismissed on party grounds to make way for persons 
with party claims, i.e. there is no " Spoils System." 

Viewed as a whole, the government of Canada, although 
nominally monarchical, is rather more democratic than that 
of the United States. No single man enjoys so much power 
as the President during his four years, for the Prime Min- 
ister of the Dominion is only the head of his Cabinet, and 
though, if exceptionally strong in character and in his hold 
over his majority in Parliament, he may exert greater power 
than does a President confronted by a hostile Congress, still 
he is inevitably influenced by his Cabinet and can seldom 
afford to break with it, or even with its more important 
members, while both he and they are liable to be^dismissed 
at any moment by Parliament The voter* are in the United 
States more frequently summoned to act, but in Canada their 
power, when they do act at an election, fe li^ally boundless, 
for their representatives are subject to no sttch restrictions 
as American Constitutions impose. Were there any revolu- 
tionary spirit abroad in Canada, desiring to carry sweeping 
changes by a sudden stroke, these could be carried swiftly by 
Parliamentary legislation. 

In winding up this comparison let us pause to note 
another difference between the United States and Canada 
which has some historical interest. In the former there has 
been from early days an almost superstitious devotion to the 
idea of popular sovereignty, and at some moments enthusi- 
asm for it has risen so high as to make every plan which 
invokes the direct action of the people act like a spell. In 
Canada the actual power of the people is just as effective, 
and the same praises of the people's wisdom are addressed 
to the people by every orator with a like air of conviction. 
But in Canada neither the idea in theory nor its applicati(xi 
in the incessant exercise of voting power has possessed any 
special fascination. The Canadians have never, like their 

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seighbours to the south, fallen under the influence of this 
or any other abstract idea. They are quite content to be 
free and equal, and masters of llieir fate, without talking 
about Liberty and Equality. Having complete control of 
their administrations through their legislatures, they are 
therewith content Popular sovereignty receives here, as 
in every democracy, all the lip service it can desire. But 
it is not a self-assertive, obtrusive, gesticulative part of the 
national consciousness. 

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To say that a Government is democratic through and 
through is not to say that it is free from defects. Of those 
which appear in Canada, some may be set down to the 
newness of the country, and others either to the form of 
the institutions or to those faults in their working which 
spring from the permanent weaknesses of human nature. 

Taken as a whole, the institutions are well constructed, 
being in the main such as long experience has approved in 
Britain. Canada has made the first attempt to apply the 
Parliamentary system to a Federation ; Australia and South 
Africa have followed. The experiment has been successful, 
for the machinery has worked pretty smoothly. Though 
some say that the Provincial Governments, each in the pur- 
suit of its local interests, try to encroach on the Dominion 
sphere, while others complain that ten Legislatures and 
Cabinets, each with its administrative staff, are too many 
for a population of less than eight and a half millions, yet 
it must be remembered how difficult it would be to govern 
from any single centre r^ons so far apart and so physically 
dissimilar as the Maritime Provinces, tiie East Central Prov- 
inces, the Western Prairie Provinces, and British Columbia 
beyond the barrier of the Eocky Mountains. 

Upon the working of the institutions, however, both of 
the Dominion Government and of the Provincial Govern- 
ments each in its own sphere, divers criticisms may be made 
which need to be enumerated. 

(1) There has been bribery at elections, though exten- 
sions of the suffrage have latterly reduced it, and from time 
to time and in some districts, a recourse to election frauds. 
Few elections — so it is believed — would stand if either 
party pressed the law against its opponents. Laige sums 
are spent in contests, illegally as well as legally; Govern- 
ment contractors and persons interested in tariff legislation 

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contributing to campaign funds^ and until the days of Pro- 
hibition liquor floi^v^ freely at the expense of candidates 
or their friends. 

(2) How much corruption there is among legislators it 
is hard to discover, probably less than is alleged, but doubt- 
less more than is ever proved. Members rarely sell their 
votes, though a good many may be influenced by the pros- 
pect of some advantage to themselves if they support a cer- 
tain Bill or use their influence to secure an appointment or 
recommend a contract. Two or three Provincial Legisla- 
tures enjoy a permanently low reputation: in the others 
scandals are more sporadic, while the Dominion Parlia- 
ment maintains a passably good level. 

(3) Suspicion has from time to time attached to Minis- 
ters in the Dominion as well as in Provincial Cabinets. 
Charges have been brought of the abuse of official position 
for purposes of personal gain, which, though seldom estab- 
lisheii, have obtained sufficient credence to discredit the 
persons accused and weaken the Administrations of which 
they were members, the heads of which were thought too 
lenient in not cutting off those branches which were becom- 
ing unhealthy. Calumny has never assailed any Prime 
Minister. Sir John Macdonald was blamed and forced to 
resign for having received from a great railway company 
large contributions to party funds, alleged to have been 
given in return for benefits to be conferred on it, but he 
never took anything for himself, and grew no richer through 

The position may be compared with that seen in the 
"United States for some years after the Civil War, when 
scandals were frequent, though they were both more frequent 
and grosser in scale than they are now in Canada, and 
when public opinion, though shocked, was yet not greatly 
shocked, because familiarity was passing into an acquies- 
cence in what seemed the inevitable. However, things 
slowly improved, and tiie public conscience became as sensi- 
tive as it is now in New Zealand and was in England from 
1832 till 1914. So it may become in Canada when the 
pace of material growth slackens, when temptations are less 
insistent, and men cease to palliate the peccadilloes of those 
who are " developing the resources of the country." 

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(4) The power of large financial and commercial inter- 
ests over legislation and administration has at times been 
80 ntiarked as to provoke a reaction; so publio opinion now 
looks askance at the great Companies, and sometimes deals 
rather hardly with them, 

(6) There is, especially in tiie Dominion Parliament, 
which has laiger funds to handle, plenty of that form of 
jobbery which consists in allotting grants of public money 
to localities with a view to winning political support for 
the local member or for his party. ^ 

(6) The intrusion of National party issues into Provin- 
cial Legislatures has resulted in lowering the quality of 
those bodies, because persons who would not be chosen by the 
voters on their merits are supported as *^ good party men," 
and because their colleagues of the same party are apt to 
stand by them when they attempt jobs, or are arraigned for 
jobs committed. 

(7) There is, as in all democratic countries, lavish ex- 
penditure and waste. The insistence of members who want 
something for their friends or constituencies, and the mul- 
tiplication of offices in order to confer favours,^ are the un- 
ceasing foes of economy, while the prosperity of the coun- 
try makes the people splendidly heedless. 

(8) The permanent Civil Service, though not inefficient, 
and containing some few admirable scientific experts, has 
not risen to the level of modem requirements, because too 
little care was taken to secure high competence, and favour 
prevailed even where special capacity was needed, affecting 
promotions as well as appointments at entrance. There has 
not yet been time to test the working of the recently created 
Civil Service Commission. 

(9) The career of politics does not draw to itself enough 
of the best talent of the nation. This defect is often re- 
marked elsewhere, as in Australia, France, and the United 
States, but in the last-named country there are obstacles to 
be overcome which Canada does not present, viz. the power 
of the nominating party Machine, and the habit of choosing 
as representatives none but residents in the district. In 

1 This is called in the U.S.A. the " Pork Barrel/' It is common in 
New Zealand also, and not infrequent in France, 
s This is complained of in France also. 

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Canada the attractive opportunities opened to ambition by 
other careers partly account for the phenomenon, the causes 
of which are general all over the world. 

(10) That decline in the quality of members of which 
Canadians complain has helped to create, here as elsewhere, 
a certain want of dignity in the public life of a nation that 
has already risen to greatness. The imputations which 
party violence scatters loosely even against men of spotless 
diaracter must not be taken too seriously: they do not ex- 
clude a large measure of good nature and kindly personal 
intercoursa But they lower the tone of politics, and affect 
the respect of the citizens for the men who direct the affairs 
of State, bringing those affairs down to the level of that 
type of business life in which a man^s only motive is as- 
sumed to be the making of a good bargain for himself. 

Against these criticisms, which have been stated as nearly 
as possible in the way I have heard them made in Canada, 
there are to be set certain main ends and purposes of gov- 
ernment which democracy has in Canada attained. 

Law and order are fully secured everywhere, even in the 
wildest parts of the West. There is no lynching, and there 
had been, till the Winnipeg strike of 1919, hardly any un- 
lawful action in labour troubles, on the part either of 
strikers or of employers. Civil administration goes on 
smoothly in all the Provinces. 

The permanent Civil Service of the Dominion is, taken 
as a whole, honest, fairly competent^ and not given to bu* 
reaucratic ways. 

The judiciary is able and respected. Criminal justice 
is dispensed promptly, efficiently, and impartially. 

The secondary schools and the elementary schools in the 
towns are excellent, and particular care has been bestowed 
on the provision for scientific instruction in agriculture. 

Legislation of a public nature is as a rale well considered 
and well drafted. The finances of the Dominion, apart 
from those grants to localities already referred to, have been 
managed with ability though not with economy. National 
credit stands hig^, and taxation is not oppressive, having 
regard to the capacity of the people to bear it No abused 

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have arisen comparable to those which Pension laws have 
led to in the United States. 

There are those who regard the prohibition of the sale 
of intoxicants as an inroad npon individual liberty, however 
great the benefit to the community. Apart from that con- 
troversial matter, the citizen is nowhere, not even in Britain 
and the United States, better guaranteed in the enjoyment 
of his private civil rights. The Executive interferes as lit- 
tle as possible with him. Neither does public opinion. 

A government may deserve to be credited not only with 
the positive successes it has achieved, but with the n^ative 
success of having escaped evils that have vexed other na- 
tions living under somewhat similar conditions, A few of 
these may be mentioned. 

Demagogism is supposed to be a malady incident to de- 
mocracies. Canada has suffered from it less than any other 
modem free country except Switzerland. Some of her 
statesmen have been not over^scrupulous, some have deserted 
sound principles for the sake of scoring a temporary tri- 
umph, but few have played down to the people by lavish 
promises or incitements to passion. 

Strong as party spirit has been, party organization has 
not grown to be, as in the United States, a secret power 
bringing the legal government into subjection for its selfish 

Municipal administration, though in some cities extrava- 
gant, has been in most of them tolerably honest and efficient, 
not perhaps as pure as in English, Scottish, or Australian 
towns, but purer than in the cities of the United States, and 
than in some at least of those of France. 

The spirit of licence, a contempt of authority, a negligence 
in enforcing the laws, have been so often dwelt upon as 
characteristic of democracies that their absence from Can- 
ada is a thing of which she may well be proud. To what 
shall we ascribe the strength of the Executive, the efficiency 
of the police, the strict application of criminal justice, the 
habi* of obedience to the law? Partly no doubt to the 
quality of the population, both French-speaking and English- 
speaking; but largely also to British traditions. The habit 
was formed luider governments that were in those days 

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monarchical in fact as well as in name^ and it has persisted. 
Though it is often said that the law is strongest when the 
people feel it to be of their own making — and the maxim 
is true of Switzerland — there is also another aspect of the 
matter. The sentiment of deference to legal authority, 
planted deep in days when that authority was regarded with 
awe as having an almost sacred sanction, has lived on into 
a time when the awe and sacredness have departed, and 
rooted itself in the British self-governing Dominions. It 
was in England never a slavish sentiment, for the citizen 
looked to and valued the law as granting protection while it 
demanded obedience. This is not the only point in which 
the Common Law of England has resembled the law of Be- 
publican Home. Both, while they enforced submission to 
duly constituted authority, gave a legal guarantee to the 
individual citizen for the defence of his personal rights 
against any form of State power, always associating Liberty 
with Law. 

The student of Canadian affairs who compares what Ca- 
nadians have accomplished in developing by their own en- 
ergy the material resources of their magnificent country, 
creating in many districts a wealth and prosperity which 
amazes those who remember what seemed the stagnation of 
half a century ago, feels some disappointment when he sur- 
v^s the field of politics. Struck by the advantages which 
popular government enjoys in a country whose people, ex- 
ceptionally industrious, intelligent, and educated, have a 
vast area of fertile land at their disposal, and enjoy the 
comforts of life in far larger measure than do the inhabitants 
of war-wearied and impoverished Europe, he expects to find 
democratic government free from the evils that have impeded 
its path in the Old World. Here, where there are no mem- 
ories of past wrongs, no dangers to be feared from foreign 
enemies, no lack of employment, no misery or other ground 
for class hatreds, ought there not to be honest and ^cient 
administration, general confidence in the government and 
contentment wili the course which public policy has fol- 
lowed ? These things, however, he does not find. He does 
indeed &ad much to admire and to rejoice at, yet the people, 
proud as they are of their country, are dissatisfied with their 
legislatures and their ministries. There is an unmistakable 

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malaise, a feeling that something is wrong, even among those 
who are not prepared to say where the cause lies. 

We are apt to expect public as well as private virtue wher- 
ever the conditions of life are simple; and it would be a 
pity if this amiable presumption in favour of human nature 
were to vanish away^ But do the facts warrant the pre* 
sumption ? A virgin soil just cleared of trees may be made 
to wave with wheat, but it may also cover itself with a 
luxuriant growth of weeds. 

The difficulties due to the differences of race and re- 
ligion in the population do not explain this discontent, for 
those differences have not corresponded with party divisions 
and have not prevented the growth of an ardent national pa- 
triotism in both races. When on festive occasions one hears 
the English-speaking Canadian singing " The Maple Leaf,'' 
and the French-speaking Canadian the softer and sweeter 
air " O Canada, mon pays, mes amours," one perceives they 
are both alike expressions of devotion to Canada, and of 
sanguine hopes for a happy future. Whatever political dif- 
ficulties may arise in the Dominion Government from the 
necessity of keeping the two racial and religious elements 
in good humour do not arise in Provinces where one or 
other element is entirely preponderant Administrative 
errors, financial waste, the rather low tone of public life in 
three or four Provinces, cannot be thus accounted for; and 
they are the same defects that are complained of in Domin- 
ion Government. May there not, however, be certain con- 
ditions incident to a new country which help to explain 
the dissatisfaction which seems to be felt by thoughtful 
Canadians ? 

The charge most frequently brought against Canadian 
statesmen is that of Opportunism. It is a word which may 
be used, with no dyslogistic implication, to describe the ac- 
tion of a statesman who finds himself obliged to postpone 
measures which he thinks more important to others which 
he thinks less important, because he can carry the latter and 
cannot carry the former. In politics one must use the flow- 
ing tide, one must turn to the best account a people's fluc- 
tuating moods. But the term is mose frequently meant to 
impute to a politician the absence of convictions, or at any 
rate of any fused policy based upon principle, a trimming of 


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the flails to catch every pasBing bieesse so as to retain ofBoe 
by inakihg the most of whatever chance of support may come 
from any quarter. If this latter kind of Opportunism has 
been frequent in Canada and has told unfavourably upmi 
its public life a reason is not far to seek. Since 1867 the 
large and permanent issues of policy^ such as that of Protec- 
tion against Free Trade, have been comparatively few, and 
have sometimes been allowed to slumber; and in their ab- 
sence the smaller but nearer issues by which votes are cap- 
tured have occupied the field. Such were questions relating 
to public works, including that of transportation facilities, 
particularly by the construction and financing of railways. 
To a country of vast spaces like Canada canals and such 
facilities are of supreme importance, but they are treated as 
questions not so much of principle as of practical needs, in- 
volving the claims of different localities in which local wishes 
have to be regarded. There have been many occasions in 
other ways also in which questions of material benefit to a 
district, or a city, or a great undertaking, or a strong finan- 
cial group came before ministries and legislatures. As the 
country grew, demands for assistance from public funds 
went on growing, and those who planned enterprises for 
their own gain had occasions for securing benevolent help, 
or acquiescence, on the part of Government, whether Federal 
or Provincial. Administrations placed in the middle of this 
struggle for favours demanded by the representatives of the 
districts affected, used their opportunities to strengthen them- 
selves in the country and make sure of seats that had been 
doubtful, while now and then individual ministers as well 
as members were not above turning to personal account the 
knowledge or the influence they possessed. In every country 
a game played over material interests between ministers, con- 
stituencies and their representatives, railway companies and 
private speculators is not only demoralizing to all concerned, 
but interferes with the consideration of the great issues of 
policy on a wise handling of which a nation's welfare de- 
pends. Fiscal questions, labour questions, the assumption 
by the State of such branches of industry as railroads or 
mines and the principles it ought to follow in such work as 
it undertakes — questions like these need wide vision, clear 
insight, and a firmness that will resist political pressure and 

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adhere to the principles once laid down. These qualities 
have been wanting, and the people have begun to perceive 
the want^ In the older countries of Europe there is a body 
of trained opinion, capable of criticizing and more or less 
even of controlling the action of Governments, and the upper 
ranks of the Civil Service are a reservoir of knowledge and 
experience upon which ministers can draw. Canadian min- 
istries enjoy these advantages in slighter measure, and the 
element of educated opinion is dispersed over an enormous 
country in cities far from the Federal capital and far also 
from one another. That opinion has not been strong enough 
nor concentrated enough to keep legislators and adminis- 
trators up to the mark in efficiency or in a sense of public 

This last-named function may seem incumbent not on the 
few but on the many, that is on the great mass of honest 
and sensible citizens. But how are they placed? The 
worthy hard-working farmer in Ontario or Alberta reads 
in his newspaper attacks on Ministerial jobs, but as the 
newspaper of the opposite party denies or explains away the 
facts, he does not know what to believe. The seat of his 
Provincial legislature is far off, and Ottawa still further. 
If some gross blunder or crying scandal is brought home he 
may punish the offending Ministry by voting against it when 
next he gets the chance, but the candidate for whom he votes 
may be no better than the member his vote rejects, and may 
support a Ministry of no whiter a hue. 

In every country, whatever its form of government, and 
where a rapid exploitation of natural resources drags ad- 
ministrators and legislators to an abnormal extent into the 
sphere of business, opportunities cannot but arise for bring- 
ing exceptional temptations to bear on those who have fa- 
vours to dispense, and the atmosphere which surrounds the 
tempters and the tempted grows unhealthy. This has hap- 
pened from time to time in England and in the United 
States also. Their experience warrants the hope that when 
normal conditions return, and the air has cleared, the tempta- 
tions will be reduced and the larger issues of policy again 
become the chief occupations of legislatures. As the coun- 
try fills up and the class that is enlightened and thoughtful 
grows large enough to make national opinion a, more vigi- 

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lantly effective force, the tone of public life may rise, as it 
rose in England after the middle of the eighteenth century 
and in the United States after 1880. There are already 
signs of a keener sensitiveness and a stronger reforming pur- 
pose in the general body of the citizens. 

The political faults visible in new countries may be dis- 
appointing, but they are more curable than those of old 
countries, so historians note with a graver concern symptoms 
of decline in European peoples to which the world had 
looked to as patterns of wisdom or honour. Yet these also 
may be due to the sudden advent of new conditions bringing 
dangers hitherto unsuspected, and these, too, may pass away 
as one generation succeeds another. A young country like 
Canada must be expected to have some of the weaknesses 
of adolescence as well as the splendid hopefulness and energy 
which make the strength of youth. The great thing after 
all by which popular government stands or falls must be 
the rightmindedness and intelligence of the people. These 
Canada has. 

Striking the balance between what democracy has done 
for her and what it has failed to do, it must not be forgotten 
that the coexistence, not only in the Dominion as a whole 
but in several provinces, of two races differing in religion 
as well as in language, contained the menace of what might 
have become a real danger. Think of Ireland 1 Canada 
has so far avoided that danger by the elastic nature of her 
institutions and the patriotic prudence of her statesmen. 
To those who have been watching the wild and wayward 
excesses to which the passion of nationality has been run- 
ning in Europe, this will seem no small achievement, no 
smfdl witness to the wisdom of the Canadian people and the 
spirit of mutual consideration and good feeling which the 
practice of free self-government can form. As the other 
general lessons which a political philosopher may draw from 
file history of democracy in Canada have been already indi- 
cated, one only seems to need further enforcement It is 
drawn from a comparison of the experience of the United 
States. The Canadian Constitution was an adaptation of 
the British Constitution to the circumstances of a new coun- 
try in which a Federal and not a unitary government was 
needed. It reproduced, with variations, certain features of 

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the United States Federal system which experience had ap- 
proved, while seeking to avoid the defects that experience 
had disclosed* It followed in other points the parliamentary 
and Cabinet system of Britain; and — what was no less im- 
portant — it carried over into Canada the habits and tradi- 
tions by which that parliamentary system had thriven. 
Hardly anything in it is traceable to any abstract theory. 
The United States Constitution was also created partly on 
the ancient and honoured principles of the English Common 
Law, and partly on the lines of the seK-governing institu- 
tions which had worked well in the North American Colonies 
before their separation from the Mother Country.^ But 
both the Federal Constitution and those of the several States 
of the Union were also largely affected, if not in spirit yet 
in form, by abstract conceptions, especially by the dogmas 
of Popular Sovereignty and of the so-called *' Separation 
of Powers."^ Experience has shown that those constitu- 
tional provisions in which the influence of these doctrines 
went furthest are those whose working has proved least sat- 
isfactory, both in the National and in the State Govern- 
ments.* Here, as elsewhere, history teaches that it is safer 
to build on the foundations of experience and tradition than 
upon abstract principles, not that the abstract principles can 
be ignored — far from it — but because it is seldom posr 
sible to predict what results they will give when applied 
under new conditions. Philosophy is no doubt the guide of 
life. But political philosophy is itself drawn from the ob- 
servation of actual phenomena, and the precepts it gives are 
not equally and similarly applicable everywhere: if they 
are to succeed in practice they must be adjusted to the facts 
of each particular case. 

This suggests the remark that the experience of Canada 
has been short Only half a century has elapsed since the 

1 Visitors to Canada are apt to be misled by the external 
blances to the United States, in such things as the aspect of the 
streets, the hotels, the newspapers, the railway cars, the currency, 
into supposing the people to have been more affected by influences 
from their southern neighbours than is really the case, fa character 
and in political habits there are marked differences. 

^This subject is more fully explained and discussed in the chapters 
OQ the United States contained in ^'Modern Democracies", VoL II. 

8 Such as frequent elections, short terms of office, the election of 
judges by the people, the relatioos of Congress to the President. 

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Federal system of the Dominion was set to work. Since 
then the eomitry has been developing and population has 
been growing at an increasing rate of speed. Though im- 
migration is not likely to change the beliefs and tendencies 
of the inhabitants, and though the proportions of the French- 
speaking and English-speaking elements appear likely to re- 
main for some time the same as they now are, so too the 
preponderance of the rural population over the urban, of 
the agricultural over the manufacturing, though it will 
diminish with time, as it is already diminishing, will ap- 
parently remain because depending on the conditions Nature 
has created. Neither is there any present prospect that in- 
stitutions which have gained the general approval of the 
people will be fundamentally changed. But as economic 
problems arise, threatening internal strife and as intellectual 
movements are propagated from one nation to another, new 
ideas inspire new political aspirations and find their ex- 
pression in politics. This much may be said: Canada is 
well prepared by the character of her people, by their intel- 
ligence and their law-abiding habits, to face whatever prob- 
lems the future may bring, finding remedies for such drfects 
as have disclosed themselves in her government, and making 
her material prosperity the basis of a pacific and enlightened 

The End. 


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