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CANADA'S FINANCIAL CONDITION 111

 

the same time to enlarge so effectively its production that the acreage under tillage for field crops was actually increased by fifteen per cent. The partial suspension of businesses other than those of a directly productive character—producing articles which could be immediately turned into cash—released from their employments several hundred thousand Canadians who had been engaged in the structural trades and their affiliated businesses, the sale of land and securities, and other secondary callings, and these men either enlisted or sought work in the productive trades, and later on in what became one of the most productive industries (in the sense of turning out a commodity instantly exchangeable for money) that Canada has ever had, namely, the manufacture of munitions of war.

There was thus effected without difficulty or disturbance a transition, the prospect of which had afforded keen observers not a little anxiety, the transition from an era of construction to an era of production—a transition which, when necessitated upon one occasion in the past, namely, at the conclusion of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway's original trunk line, had involved the country in a long period of depression and grave social and industrial problems. Sir George Paish had pointed out in 1913 that this transition was again impending, and had warned Canadians to make preparations for it; but no amount of preparation could have brought it about so smoothly as did the new economic conditions resulting from recruiting and "war orders." It is true, however, that the productive period introduced by the war was not a permanent one, and that there still remained in prospect another transition, from the production of war materials to the production of the commodities of peace.

The construction work carried on during the first thirteen years of the twentieth century had been mainly that connected with the transportation systems. In the development of a very new country such as Canada,


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