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CHAPTER VII

 

CANADIAN INDUSTRY AND THE CALL FOR MUNITIONS

THE declaration of war in 1914 came at the climax of a period of industrial development in Canada which has few if any parallels in any country of the world, and put a prompt and effective stop to the continuance of that development for the time being. During the war, expenditures for increasing the capacity of Canadian industries were confined to the businesses of munitions and military supplies. Plants were constructed not with a view to permanent utility but with the expectation of earning their cost out of the first order or two. A single important exception to this general principle was found in the paper industry, which, already in a strong position in Canada owing to the depletion of American pulp-wood supplies, received a further and powerful impulse from the shutting off of Scandinavian sources of supply from the American market, and the immense rise in the cost of ocean freights; so that new capital continued to be expended on pulp and paper plants in Canada throughout the duration of the war.

The latest official figures of Canadian industry are those of the calendar year 1910, collected in the census of 1911; and broadly speaking, the rate of progress shown in the decade 1900-1910 was continued at its maximum for the three years following. In 1913 it began to slow down, and in 1914, even before the war came in sight, there was a marked stagnation in the stream of new industrial enterprise. For several decades it had been the ambition of Canadians to employ the vast natural resources of the Dominion for the development of a great industrial community; and in the first decade of the nineteenth century the efforts put forth with this

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