Previous Index Next

 

CANADA AT WAR   41

tracing their descent to the British Islands, were 85,000; the Canadian-born of French descent 12,000, and the foreign-born 18,000. According to occupation the figures refer to a somewhat earlier date, and to a total of 263,000. Of these 170,369, or nearly two-thirds were drawn from manual labour, outside of farming. Clerks numbered 48,777; professional men, 16,153; business men, 6,530; students, 4,238; farmers and farm labourers, 14,200; and ranchers, 2,844.

There are some obvious explanations for these differences. It was natural that the urban occupations should be more largely represented than farming. The cities and towns contain the greater part of the unemployed men, and also of men whose services could be dispensed with or replaced by female labour. In the farming districts, on the contrary, there was a chronic scarcity of labour, and the withdrawal of a farmer's son or a "hired man" might seriously hamper production.

It was also to be expected that those who were most closely connected with the United Kingdom should come forward first,—that is those who were connected both by race and by birth; that the next in order should be Canadians who were connected by race but not by birth; and that the French Canadians, who were connected neither by race nor by birth, should be last. The writer is here not attempting to argue the case, or to say what ought to have been done, but simply to explain the facts.

It was argued, it is true, that Canada's direct interest in the war, apart from friendship with England, was as great as that of England itself, and that those who went to the front from this country were defending the soil and the people of Canada. But while this was strongly contended, argument is not quite the same as realization; and a state of war was not realized in Canada as it was in England or France.

Geography still counts for something, and those who were thousands of miles away from the conflict did not


Previous Index Next