Maclean's Editorials

Maclean's Editorials

December 1 1937
Maclean's Editorials

Maclean's Editorials

December 1 1937

Maclean's Editorials


WHATEVER ELSE the Rowell Commission on Federal-Provincial relations may do, it certainly cannot report that it got no concrete suggestions from the West.

A Moose Jaw municipal official, H. W. Bromwich, has sent in a copy of proposals submitted by him to the commission, and they must have left its members breathless.

This is what he suggests as a solution for Canada’s difficulties:

1. Abolition of the Provincial legislatures. The Federal members from the various provinces to act as a provincial council when the Federal House is not in session.

2. Provincial civil services be left to function as at present (eliminating duplication of services), provincial civil servants to be absorbed into the Federal civil service.

3. Wider use to be made of the rural municipal organization, municipal employees to be incorporated with the Civil Service.

4. All policing outside towns and cities to be by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

5. Total abolition of the patronage system.

Says the proposer, “This should result in a considerable reduction in the cost of government, uniform laws and practice throughout the Dominion, more and better social services, and strengthen the country by removing the present friction as between the Provincial and Federal authorities.”

At the time Mr. Bromwich was penning his proposal, Alderman LeRoy Johnson, also of Moose Jaw, was publicly announcing that he favored “one central government with full power over all Canada outside of Quebec.”

Realization that unified nationhood is not possible in a country burdened with ten governments and nearly 4,000 tax-imposing bodies is not confined to two men in Moose Jaw. In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the Maritimes we have heard many men express similar views with increasing frequency.

They are weary of provincial narrowness and the petty politicians it so often breeds; weary of tenfold bureaucracy; weary of wild experiments; weary of waste.

They think it is finer to be a citizen of the Dominion of Canada than to flaunt the label of this, that or the other of its sections.

We hope that those who hold such views followed the example of Mr. Bromwich and sent them to the Commission. To think that the Commission might recommend the unification of Canada under one government is, at this time, to dream a miracle. But with evidence of a growing desire on the part of responsible citizens for a drastic reduction in the multiple setup, for the elimination of duplication and waste, for a nation instead of a sort of League of Nations, the Commission might be encouraged to take the bull by one horn at any rate.

That a considerable percentage of the taxpayers throughout the country do favor reconfederation on a more efficient basis is beyond doubt. The question is whether they can make themselves heard above the protesting din of those who profit through sectionalism.

Christmas Seals

IF IN one year the entire population of a town the size of Kenora, Kamloops, Nanaimo, Mimico or Campbellton were to perish of one disease, the attention of the whole nation would be rivetted upon it.

Last year, 6,753 Canadians did die of one disease—tuberculosis. They were not concentrated in one locality, but that does not lessen their loss.

By the end of 1937, another 6,700 Canadians will have succumbed to the same disease, half of them between the ages of fifteen and forty.

There are 60,000 known active cases of t.b. in the Dominion today.

What of the years to come?

Taken in time, tuberculosis can be conquered. It can be prevented. During the past sixteen years, the death rate in Canada has been reduced from 85.7 per 100,000 to as low as 59.3. The present rate is 61.3.

Saskatchewan has the lowest t.b. death rate in the world, except New Zealand, as a result of free diagnosis and treatment, and well organized preventive work. Treatment is on a state medicine basis. Prevention is not. In that province, examination and guidance of 80,000 persons during the past twent}’years has been paid for by money raised through the sale of the now familiar Christmas Seals.

In all provinces the work of prevention is financed largely by contributions from the public. That is the reason for the country-wide Christmas Seal campaign conducted each year by the Canadian Tuberculosis Association.

Between now and Christmas, buy as many

seals as you can afford. You can rest assured that the money so raised will be spent in saving lives.

Work and Wages

RECENTLY, Maclean's published an article on “Work and Wages” in which the author, S. E. McGorman, set out to demonstrate that labor receives about two thirds of the national, income.

A number of readers have protested that Mr. McGorman didn’t play fair because under “labor” he lumped salaries and wages. Their point is that salaries include the huge stipends of executives.

At first glance the protests would seem to be justified. But, actually, the ratio of large salaries to workers’ wages does not greatly affect the picture.

To take as an example the steel company which pays its executives the largest salaries on this continent, if last year all those salaries and the laborers’ wages had been levelled, the increase in the latter would have been eleven cents a day.

Eleven cents a day might mean quite a bit to a laborer, but there wouldn’t have been any executives. Without them it is just possible there might not have been sufficient work found to bring the laborer what he did earn.

Certainly we would like to see labor’s standard of living improved. But there isn’t any evidence that it can be improved by a general reduction of high executive salaries. That some executives are paid too much is obvious. But most of them are worth what they get—worth it not only to their companies, but to the workers themselves.

It Was One On Us

IN OUR October 15 issue we published an editorial dealing with the total of Canada’s debts—more than seven billion dollars. It was headed “This One’s On You.”

In one respect it turned out to be one on us. By an unfortunate slip of the typewriter we stated that interest on that debt cost us nearly $650 a year for every man, woman and child in the country.

That was wrong. The figure $650 is the per capita share of the debt, which was correctly stated later on in the editorial. The per capita interest figure is in the neighborhood of $35.

We feel terrible about the error. It ruined what otherwise would have been a good editorial.