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adian politics was as bad as the other, with no mention made of the good there was in party government. Had he it in mind to erect an isosceles triangle all for himself in our Canadian ethics ? And would he have no difficulty in showing that the angles at the base of such a triangle were equal? I leave the matter with you to decide. One thing is patent to us all surely by this time, that some influence has to be brought to bear on our political conventionalisms, in order to lift our public life a little, if not a great deal, higher on the plane of its activities, if we would have from our politicians all the aid we need to assimilate our Canadianism in the way it should be assimilated.
The nation is first, and the plea is accurst
Indeed if we keep that enunciation of our problem in the corner of our patriotism we are sure to get there, as the saying goes, in good time.
I would like to refer to our Canadian literary spirit as an ethical force working towards Canadian assimilation. But there isn't time. We are being moved by it to sing our own songs and tell our own stories at our Canadian firesides. But what are we doing beyond that? We have to step in and help out the solving of the problem out yonder in the great western prairie country. There is a wholesome Canadianism in a place like Toronto. I have never had it in my mind to find fault with Torontonians for failing to assert themselves as Canadians, other than after the manner of the streetcar conductor I met yesterday. They are Canadians and embody a lesson for the East as well as the West. Down in Quebec, I have a friend who reads the newspaper in Ontario which has always a grievance in English against the French-Canadian, and I have another friend who lives at the other end of the town who has faith in every word L'Action Sociale utters, and I am glad enough at times that these two friends of mine live with a ward or two between them. In fact if they did get togetherboth of them Canadians, both born in Canada—I am sure I don't know what kind of a triangle would come from their meeting. And so there I leave the matter, believing that in time the two of them will come to understand one another better. Why should any Ontarian and French-Canadian not be as good comrades as the Boer of South Africa and his English-speaking neighbour? Citizenship means comradeship, civic comradeship, and there is no reason why these two elements in our population should not be as good comrades as one would wish to see, both anxious to share in the assimilating of our Canadianism.
And whatever may be said about the Canadian press in the matter of its party pleadings, with the ferule of the schoolmaster in its hands, we all feel assured of the consensus it would promote on this question of national assimilation. And the same may safely be said of our Canadian Clubs which are being established everywhere throughout the land. These clubs are certainly the efficient handmaidens to the commercial spirit-practical in their efficiency, keeping down the cobwebs and parochialisms and otherwise making the house, as far as may be, clean and tidied-up, for the coming of our common citizenship, as a tenant of assured and assuring loyalty.
Then we have our Dominion Day and our Empire Day and our Victoria Day, as a following up of the idea of a St. Andrew's Day and a St. George's Day and a St. Patrick's Day and St. Jean Baptiste Day; and I myself have been in at the inauguration of the All-Canadian Evening, during which may be indulged in the singing and reciting what of a patriotic literature we have. Mr. W. K. Čhesterton says, in his “What is the Matter with the World," that Canada, according to some, may be expected to produce a literature, which is like saying that Canada must soon come into growing a moustache. But Canada has already a literature of its own quite capable of fructifying in us all the patriotic spirit, if we Canadians would only take advantage of it. Therefore let us by all means have our All-Canadian Evenings whenever practicable. Let us sing our Canadian songs and tell our Canadian stories, and recite our Canadian poems whenever and wherever the natural art within us will allow. In the rehearsal that is not ashamed of such songs and recitals, nor in the founding of such an institution as Commonwealth Sunday, there is sure to be found the very strongest of ethical forces to bring the uprising generation of Canadians to realize at once all that there is in Canada for them as a motherland, and that their very own.
And in addressing this Empire Club, the second axiom must have a final short word from me at this time, namely, that Canada enjoys, under the Union Jack, the widest and most influential empire-prestige the world has ever known. It would be scant courtesy to you, its members, not to acknowledge your convictions that what your society stands for is as much of an ethical force
a drawing of us-up-out-of-ourselves force, out of even our broadest parochialisms, as it were,--for the maturing of a Canadian patriotism of the very broadest kind, as is the commercial spirit.
It is not for me to tabulate in your hearing during our short session the various arguments in favour of Empire Consolidation. I have only to say that the following up of your advocacies as an Empire Club from year to year cannot but further, even as non-official reflex, a powerful influence in our attaining to the fuller national life. What a proud position is would be were we to become legal claimants of Britain's empire-prestige, by paying our share in the upholding of that prestige. By an immediate and direct payment of thirty-five millions or so, we could have all the naval and empire protection we want or need to-morrow morning, claiming it as our own, as well as being given it cheerfully, with all the advantage on our side.
Look at that flag, ours in common with every British subject-look at it and say what the design in the corner of it means to all of us - English, Irish, Scotch, French, German, as well as those who have lately joined us from across the line! Is the Union Jack of Old England not our very own flag? Is the statesmanship and patriotism of the British Empire not our very own statesmanship and patriotism? And does not the defence of the whole Empire mean our very own defence? The more invulnerable the Empire is, the more invulnerable is Canada. And what resident in Canada, what short-sighted Canadian, with the microbes of parochialism and secondary prejudices, racial or otherwise, playing hide-and-go-seek in his undeveloped patriotism, is there who would have this Empire of ours decline? What Canadian is there who can bear with patience to think of his being called upon in his day and generation, or of his children's children in their day and generation being called upon, to read the opening chapter of the Decline and Fall of the British Empire? We all know that the prestige of British Empire, like all other things, has to advance or decline. There is no standing still for it. Come, then, is there a Canadian who would have the prestige of the British Empire decline before Canada has come into her own as a full grown nation, possessed of a common and self-assimilated citizenship? There is the problem of the day within its wider problem, if you will. Canada is Britain's first-born! Would any of us wish to see the ethical problem we have in hand, now and for many years to come, solved by having that first-born betray his own future by refusing to back up his mother's past? No, sir, the angles at the base of such an ethical triangle as Canada for Britain and Britain for Canada are equal; and no matter how far the equal and equalizing sides of such a triangle be produced by the commercial spirit or any other ethical force, we know that the angles on the other side of our Canadian common-sense and outlook are going to give us the sympathetic equalizations of Canadian aggrandisement and Empire aggrandisement as collaterals in Canada's course towards its nationhood in the approaching future.
And now, by way of a final word, let me focus my main idea in the theoretic history of an Englishman or Scotchman or Irishman or any other of the newcomers who are coming to Canada to prove what kind of neighbours they propose to make of themselves. Let us select any one of them and try to foretell the history of the good amongst them. Isn't this what we may possibly hear for the first year or so of the new Canadian's life?
Listen! He is singing a lilt of the past something like
A debt of love that lieth on my soul,
And olden music greets the lifting scroll.
Thy purple hills, whose silver mists unroll The waving gold of dawn, thy lowing plains And hawthorn banks and braes where hamlet meekness reigns.
And by-and-bye, while he keeps up his industry—his plowing and sowing and reaping—and does everything to emphasize his comradeship with his Canadian neighbours, he comes into the heirship of a broader patriotic feeling, and possibly we can hear him singing some such a sentiment as this in his own emotional way: A nation's love in gentle diapason wakes
The land to sing in chorus Jubilee:
Around our flag its spray of loyalty.
Since bloom it may whatever be its lot: Yet rouse ye loyal! In the love that's free, Find strength of heart and ecstacy of song, Whose laughter's like the tide that murmurs sweet and strong.
In time, his developing fuller patriotism he would have his children assume as their own, urging them to acknowledge themselves the children of the Empire, in words akin to these though perhaps less uplift in tone: Sing ye the songs of greatness born of love,
The harmony of power from reign to reign,
Gift of the centuries growing young again :
The strains that glorify our king and queen