CANADA is today enjoying her full share of the abounding prosperity of the North American continent. At the end of 1950 her population, augmented by the inclusion of Newfoundland in 1949, showed its greatest increase for any decade--2,500,000 or roughly 22 percent--and reached 14,000,000. In that year the value of her national production and her national income attained the record levels of 17.5 billion dollars and 14 billion dollars respectively. There are odd patches of unemployment due to seasonal conditions, but elsewhere there is full employment at good wages for every worker and in some industries a serious shortage of labor. Discoveries of rich oil fields in Alberta and immensely valuable deposits of high grade iron ore in northwestern Ontario and in Labrador will fill serious gaps in the national economy and promise a large increment for the nation's wealth. The outlay of 4.5 billion dollars on capital investment planned for 1950 suggests a continuance of the present high level of prosperity for some years ahead.
The political situation remains very stable, as the Liberal Ministry of Mr. St. Laurent is firmly entrenched in power at Ottawa, with commanding majorities in both Houses of Parliament. The wide divergence in the views and policies of the three parties in opposition prevents any effective combination for the expulsion of the Liberals. But the optimism about Canada's future, which such a happy domestic situation would normally generate, is tempered by grave anxieties about the struggle in Korea and apprehensions that it may prove the seedbed of a third world war. As a result, the international situation and a program for adequate defense against Communist aggressions preoccupy the minds of the Canadian people and their government to a greater extent than ever before in their history.
The foreign policy and defense of Canada remained responsibilities of the British Government for half a century after confederation. It is true that during this period Canada sometimes negotiated commercial treaties through her own representatives, but a separate Department of External Affairs was not constituted at Ottawa
Loading, please wait...