China on the Offensive
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UNTIL quite recently, Canada presented to American eyes a pleasing, if specious, appearance of simplicity. Like honest little Finland who always paid her debts, friendly little Canada had her place in the album of American folklore -- the northern home-from-home, the foreign country that was indistinguishable from a 49th state. Even her political parties seemed directly and precisely comparable to those in the United States. There were the Conservatives, counterparts as their name implies of Hoover Republicans. There were the Liberals, just like Democrats without That Man in the White House. Liberals even had their Solid South, represented by the French-Canadian Province of Quebec; but they were refreshingly devoid of anything resembling a New Deal.
This simple, two-tone picture, if it still exists in the American mind, is soon to be shattered. Canada today is in a political ferment which has no exact precedent in her 77-year history as a nation. Talk about "revolt in Canada" is nonsense -- nothing has happened or is likely to happen to justify such a phrase. But far-reaching political changes are in progress, changes which in the course of years may come to warrant the milder sense of the word "revolutionary."
At the moment, with a national election due as soon as hostilities end in Europe, two salient facts are discernible. One is a surge to the Left, strongest and most general that Canada has yet experienced, even stronger than the agrarian Progressive movement which sprang up after the last war and which captured 65 of the 200-odd seats in the federal Parliament. The other is the fragmentation of Canada's old party structure. Her two-party system has cracked irrevocably. There is strong possibility that the next Canadian Parliament may comprise three major and several minor parties, with none commanding an over-all majority.
Of the Leftward surge there can be no doubt, and it will make itself felt no matter what party or coalition of parties may emerge as the next Canadian Government. Last year, to the Gallup Poll question "Do you want to see great reforms in this country after the war?" more than two-thirds of all Canadians answered "Yes" -- 71 percent, to be exact, compared to only 57 percent who said "Yes" in radical Britain and to the 58 percent of Americans who voted "No."
Every party has taken cognizance of this fact. At the last session of Parliament the present Liberal Government brought down an impressive docket of social legislation, including not only a veterans' reëstablishment plan described as "the most generous in the world," but also a Family Allowances Act which ten years ago would have sounded like Bolshevism. No party voted against these measures. The Conservatives, desperately fleeing the tag of Tory, asked only "Why didn't you do this long ago?" or "Why don't you do it better?" They had already sought to divest themselves of the taint of Big Business by changing their name to Progressive Conservative Party, and by importing as national leader an agrarian Progressive, John Bracken, onetime professor of agriculture and for 20 years Premier of the wheat-farming, free-trading Province of Manitoba.
Threatening the supremacy of both older parties is a third major group, the Socialist farmer-labor organization which bears the unwieldy title Coöperative Commonwealth Federation, usually shortened to CCF. Founded in 1932, it languished through eight years of depression but began to pick up amazingly as the war boom waxed. By 1941 it was strong enough to become a powerful official Opposition against a coalition of both old parties in the Pacific Coast province of British Columbia. It has since become the official Opposition in Manitoba against another coalition, and in Ontario against a minority Conservative Government which depends on Liberal support; while in the prairie province of Saskatchewan it has actually taken power. In the next Federal Parliament it will probably be official Opposition, and has even a slight chance of becoming the Government of Canada.
But Canada's political crevices and cross-fissures run in more than three directions. Six of her nine provinces have held elections within the past year, and victory has gone to five different parties. The elections returned two Liberal Governments, one Progressive Conservative, one CCF, one Social Credit -- the only one of its kind in the world -- and in Quebec the government of Maurice Duplessis and his Union Nationale, which has no counterpart anywhere. To make any sense of this complicated picture it is necessary first of all to forget the oversimplification that identifies Liberals with Democrats, Conservatives with Republicans, and which lumps both as "the Right" against a Socialist Left. Canada's political picture is extremely complex, so complex that even most Canadians do not understand it as a whole.
Both the older parties have deep roots, traditions that go back more than a century, for they are older than the Dominion itself as now constituted. The Liberals of today are lineal descendants of the Reformers and Les Patriotes who fought the Rebellion of 1837 against the bureaucrats of the British Colonial Office and their tight, grafting little clique which is still remembered with hatred as the Family Compact. It is not wholly a coincidence that the Liberal leader and present Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, is grandson of the rebel leader William Lyon Mackenzie.
Conservatives, equally, can trace their ancestry to the other faction in the 1837 Rebellion -- not only to the Family Compact itself, but to those who put loyalty to the Crown and the established government above every other consideration and who, incidentally, won. Then as now, the core and spinal column of this faction were sons of the Tories whose lands and goods in the Thirteen Colonies were confiscated in 1783, and who fled the rebellious United States to a British domain where they became United Empire Loyalists. Also, then as now, their faction had the support of the Loyal Orange Lodge. In Canada as in Ulster, Orangemen tend to compound their anti-Catholic feeling with a chauvinism which is Imperial rather than national.
But no Canadian party can hold lasting power without support in French, Catholic Quebec, where a third of the nation clings resolutely to the language, the faith and the folkways of the prerevolutionary colony of New France. Curiously enough, in the heyday of Conservative power, 50 to 85 years ago, the Conservatives struck their alliance with the most extreme French-Canadian Catholics, ultramontane clericals who regarded the mildly anticlerical, Gallican Liberals as little better than atheists and heathen. In the days before press associations and radio, no discord marred this queer union between those who were more royalist than the King and those who were more Catholic than the Pope.
Liberals, on the other hand, have an anti-clerical tradition in Quebec, a tradition somewhat overlaid by age and respectability in recent decades, but one which still smoulders. The anomaly that an anti-clerical party should have and hold power in a passionately Catholic province is only one of the little puzzles that confuse the observer of Canadian affairs. It derives from two historical circumstances.
First is the Liberal decision, 50-odd years ago, to name as their national leader Wilfrid Laurier, French Canada's most distinguished son up to the present time. Confronted with a choice between voting the clerical ticket and electing one of les nôtres Prime Minister of Canada, the French-Canadian did not hesitate -- he voted Liberal for Laurier, and to a large extent he has been doing so ever since.
The other linchpin of Liberal power in Quebec is, or was, the conscription issue in the last war. French-Canadians are naturally isolationist. Owing no loyalty to a France which deserted them and which thereafter became revolutionary and anti-clerical, and regarding their conqueror England with feelings that vary from a mildly benevolent neutrality to an active dislike, they want no part in Imperial wars. That they, as Canadian citizens, should be conscripted against their will to fight in such wars impresses them as tyranny.
In 1917, conscription was imposed by the Government of Sir Robert Borden, a Government which became Union by acquisition of a number of English-speaking Liberals but which was, and remained, Conservative in root and leadership. Since then, Conservatives have not stood a chance of election in Quebec. They were ruined there as a party, and have since virtually disappeared. The Liberals for 25 years carried Quebec in every federal election by waving the bloody shirt and incanting the magic word "conscription." Now, of course, this broad but curving highway has led them to perdition. Now they are the war party, they are the conscriptionists. True, they have not imposed conscription for overseas service -- Canadian draftees are only compelled to serve for home defense -- but the effect nevertheless has been to make Quebec sullen and resentful. There is none of the violent opposition of 1917, when Quebec was openly rebellious and had to be held down by machine guns, but it is not yet certain that this war will not leave a considerable legacy of distrust, disunity and political estrangement. Certainly it has caused in Quebec considerable disenchantment with both the old-line parties.
Meanwhile, the amputated Quebec wing of the old Conservative Party has not died, but has become a political entity in itself. Maurice Duplessis, who had languished for years as leader of the tiny Conservative group in the Quebec Legislature, catapulted into power after forming, in 1935, his Union Nationale with a group of younger, nationalist Liberals who rebelled at the older party moguls' monopoly on party jobs, and also at the general corruption and decay of the barnacle-ridden Liberal régime. Duplessis was no success as Premier of Quebec and was tossed out of power as soon as he called an election, which was in 1939. But it is a measure of Quebec's discontent that in spite of his personal unpopularity, Duplessis was elected Premier once more in August of this year, over the Liberal Government of Adélard Godbout -- though by a narrow margin.
The present war also created in Quebec another nationalist, anti-war party which was formed in 1942 under the title Le Bloc Populaire Canadien. It is headed by Maxime Raymond, a former Liberal M.P. who has consistently opposed the Government's war policy and was one of a handful to speak for complete neutrality in September 1939. Its provincial leader, André Laurendeau, is a very young and ardent nationalist; he and the young men around him are pupils and followers of the separatist historian, Canon Lionel Groulx. Le Bloc does not go so far as to urge that Quebec break off from Confederation and form a state of its own, but most of its younger men wish that such a policy were feasible.
For a while after its formation, Le Bloc looked like a real threat to Liberal control, and indeed to political stability, in the Province of Quebec. However, it ran into personnel trouble within a year of its foundation. Three of its strongest and best-known adherents walked out, rebelling against the domination of Le Bloc's only big-money man and chief source of revenue. Then during the Quebec campaign many Bloc speakers alienated supporters by their immoderate statements. In the event, Le Bloc was almost completely demolished at the August election, returning only four deputies to the Legislature and collecting a total popular vote of only 180,000, less than 15 percent of the votes cast. Almost certainly, this defeat will eliminate Le Bloc as a serious political threat in the future.
However, that is not the end of the complications in Quebec politics. Further fog is created by the presence of two dominant, dissident personalities. One is P. J. A. Cardin, a lifelong Liberal who rather belatedly split from his party on the conscription issue; his plans for the future are still secret, but he retains considerable personal influence whenever he decides to use it. The other is the famous Camillien Houde, ex-Mayor of Canada's largest city, Montreal. Houde is a curious figure, a combination of Huey Long and Jimmy Walker. A complete and successful demagogue, he has little talent for administration and none for teamwork, so that his career has been a steady alternation of victories and defeats -- he can always get himself elected when he's out, but can't retain power when he's in. Moreover, his faculty for quarrelling with other politicians has created feuds between him and virtually every political leader in Canada. He hates them all, and they have no use for him.
Houde won some notoriety shortly before the war with a speech in which he said that if war should come between Britain and Fascist Italy, French-Canadian sympathies would be with Italy. But he did not become a really national figure until August 1940, when the Canadian Government introduced its home-defense conscription law and ordered national registration. Houde publicly counselled the people of Montreal to defy the law and refuse to register, as he said he intended doing himself. For this utterance the Liberal Government clapped him into an internment camp. Last August, just after the election, they let him out. He came back to Montreal in triumph, greeted by a cheering crowd of about 30,000 people, and assured them on the spot that he was going into politics in a big way. How much weight he will swing, and in what direction he will swing it, is anybody's guess. A good bet would be that Houde will have no trouble getting himself elected to a federal seat, but that he will fail if he tries to found and lead a party.
It will be obvious by this time that Quebec's immediate political future is difficult to predict, to put it mildly. This means that the political future of the Dominion is equally unpredictable, for Quebec is the centre and focus of Canada's major, perennial problem in statesmanship, the problem of reconciling two alien cultures and traditions within a single national framework. Never, except for that dreadful period of storm and schism between 1917 and 1919, has a Canadian Government tried to function without representatives of both major ethnic groups. Few Canadians would wish for such a Government. Almost the definition of a "national" party in Canada has been "a party with support from both races." But at the present moment the Liberals are the only national party with any considerable backing in Quebec. Should they lose that backing at the next election, a one-race Government becomes a possibility, or at best an inquiet coalition of parties whose fundamental beliefs and aims are sharply divergent. And even if the Liberals should hold Quebec, or a reasonably large section thereof, they have still the task of holding the rest of the country. This, by present indication, will be even more difficult and dubious than the fight in Quebec. The politics of English-speaking Canada has become almost as riven and complex as that of Quebec, though its complexities are entirely different.
Outside Quebec the schisms are partly class, partly regional, partly a combination of both. British Columbia on the west coast, Manitoba and Saskatchewan on the prairies, are happy hunting grounds for the Socialist CCF, and the general tone of the population is radical. Many of the prairie Liberals are old-time Progressives who followed their leader, T. A. Crerar, into the Liberal fold when the Progressive wave receded 20 years ago. The typical prairie Conservative, in so far as he exists at all, is also a good deal to the Left of his party's rank and file.
Alberta, on the western edge of the prairie and in the foothills of the Rockies, has just reëlected the world's only Social Credit Government, nominally dedicated to the theories of the British currency eccentric, Major Douglas. Social Credit first came to power in Alberta in 1935. Led by the late schoolteacher and radio spellbinder William Aberhart, in a campaign like California's "ham and eggs" that promised $25 a month "social dividend" to every voter, the new party was swept in by a depression-bound, debt-ridden electorate ready to try anything once. Needless to say, nothing more was heard about the $25 a month, and little about Social Credit theories generally. But the new Government did proceed to hand out debt relief at the expense of the banks and mortgage companies. It gave the banks a kicking around which endeared it to the average elector, and its attempt to found a provincial bank was frustrated only by Ottawa's disallowing the legislation. Also, it gave the province a good, efficient, popular government, built up the best and most progressive school system in Canada, and generally led the way in health and social welfare. It is to this record, not to its monetary theories, that most people credit the Government's continuing hold on the Alberta electorate. At the last federal election in 1940, Alberta also sent a Social Credit bloc to Ottawa. However, the reëlection of the provincial Social Credit Government is no guarantee of victory for the party in the federal field, where most voters prefer to rely on a party of national status. Many votes which went Social Credit in the provincial field will go CCF in the federal.
West of the Great Lakes, therefore, it may be expected that the Conservatives will win virtually none of the 71 federal seats, that Liberals and Social Credit will each win a few, and that the CCF will win most, if present political trends continue through the election campaign.
Next we come to industrial Ontario, the largest, richest province in the Dominion. What will Ontario do?
Traditionally, of course, Ontario is the citadel of old true-blue Toryism. Its Progressive Conservative Government, one of the two now in power in Canadian provinces, is headed by Colonel George A. Drew, a man who is outspoken in his loyalty to the British Empire (he seldom says "Commonwealth") and the only Canadian public man of any stature who still refers to himself and his party as Tory. Drew is the idol of those old-line Conservatives whose dominant political emotions are their hatred of Catholic Quebec and their Imperial, not national, patriotism.
Lately there has been talk of a "plot" to oust the mild Progressive, John Bracken, from Progressive Conservative leadership and replace him with the more colorful Drew. The latter has denied these stories categorically with his customary vigor, and indeed there has never been any evidence that he personally had anything to do with such a project. It is, however, indisputable that many individual Conservatives regard this change as a consummation devoutly to be wished. If John Bracken fails to carry his party to victory at the next election, a movement will almost certainly arise to depose him from party leadership in favor of Colonel Drew. Mr. Bracken so far has had no trouble maintaining his superiority over the old Tory faction within his party. But his position will be weakened if, as expected, the old Tory faction turns out to be stronger, in terms of M.P.'s elected, than the Progressive wing of the Progressive Conservative Party.
But even in its own Ontario, old-line Toryism has been heavily challenged -- not by the Liberals, who are probably less popular in Ontario than anywhere else, but by the Socialist CCF. The CCF, which started out as a party of long-haired intellectuals and prairie farmers, lately captured the support of huge segments of the Canadian labor movement, especially among the more radical CIO-affiliated unions. In the Ontario provincial election last year, they elected the astonishing total of 34 deputies to a Legislature in which they had formerly had no seats at all; this was only four less than the victorious Progressive Conservatives.
Premier Drew, therefore, has to govern without an over-all majority, which he does by relying on support from the little six-seat remnant of the Liberal Party in the Legislature. He got through one session successfully by this method, but his chances of getting through another are slight. There is considerable reason to doubt that he even wants to. Lately he has been acting more and more like a Premier in search of an election issue.
When Prime Minister Mackenzie King brought down his Family Allowances Act, under which a cash monthly benefit will be paid to parents for every child under 16 whom they support, the Progressive Conservatives in Parliament voted in favor of it. But shortly thereafter Colonel Drew went on the radio to proclaim his intention as Premier of Ontario of fighting the Family Allowances Act by every means within his power -- means which he did not specify, but which could include a challenge in the courts of the validity of the law under Canada's federal constitution. This stand by Ontario Conservatives, if tested in the Legislature, would unite the Liberals and the CCF in a vote of non-confidence against the Drew Government. An election would follow automatically.
Drew's opposition to family allowances was expressed with a bitter attack upon Quebec. This makes it an ideal issue not only for a provincial but for a federal election -- a challenge which Mackenzie King said next day he will be delighted to accept when an election is called, as it will be whenever European hostilities end, or at latest when Parliament's life expires next spring. But of that, more anon.
East of Ontario and Quebec are the small, remote Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and tiny Prince Edward Island, which together elect about two dozen M.P.'s to Ottawa. Little PEI remained Liberal in a recent provincial election, will probably do so again in a federal. New Brunswick, settled by United Empire Loyalists in 1784, had always been a stronghold of Toryism and the Liberal government of Premier McNair was considered to be personally weak. The blow was all the more shattering, then, when the election of August 28 returned McNair and his Liberals to power. Whether the federal Liberals can do as well remains to be seen.
As for Nova Scotia, the nozzle of Canada's war supply pipeline and the embarkation point for Canada's troops, it has developed a vast weariness and dislike for the Liberal wartime bureaucracy. Also, as a habitually depressed province whose industries even war has not fully revived, it is in a sore, Socialist mood in its industrial areas. But the Liberal tradition elsewhere in the province is strong, the Conservative woefully weak. Federal results there are anyone's guess.
For the country as a whole, about the only political forecast which this confusion seems to warrant is the probability that no one party will command Parliament with any degree of assurance. To do so requires a minimum of 125 seats, and as things stand today any of the three major groups will do well to win 100.
If the Liberals can hold Quebec, and win, say, 45 or 50 of its 65 seats, they will probably carry on as Government in the same way Colonel Drew is now doing in Ontario; i.e., bring down a legislative program which will be supported either by the CCF on the Left or the Progressive Conservatives on the Right. Even at worst, they could probably count on assembling another 50 seats from the various battlefields of the other provinces, which would give them a compact, reasonably powerful group. But if they lose Quebec, which is by no means impossible or even improbable, they are done for.
Should the Progressive Conservatives win 100 seats -- and even Mr. Bracken has admitted publicly they have little chance of winning more -- they might conceivably try to form a government of their own, but its chances of survival would be slight. It might, however, effect some kind of alliance with some group from Quebec. Once the war is over and the conscription issue out of the way, such an alliance would become feasible; it would not be the first such ill-assorted but temporarily effective union of extremes.
CCF hopes of winning as many as 100 seats are not high. Their leaders would be well content with 75 to 90, with which they would form a powerful Opposition and settle down to learn the technique of parliamentary government and generally groom themselves for power. The CCF is short of trained personnel, and knows it. Its present parliamentary group numbers only about a dozen, and it has no experience of actual government even in the provincial field; its first Cabinet took office, in Saskatchewan, only last June. And it has no support in Quebec; in the provincial election there it took only one riding.
M. J. Coldwell, national leader of the CCF, is a man of rare abilities. He is by long odds the best speaker and debater now in Canadian public life. A moderate man, whose Socialism is only slightly to the Left of a Left-wing Liberalism, he enjoys the liking and respect of all parties in the House of Commons. But Coldwell has too few able, experienced men around him, and he knows it. Doubtless he would not refuse the responsibilities of power if they were thrust upon him, but he would not be avid for it at the present time. He almost certainly would not accept coalition, compromise or a precarious minority rule just to enjoy the sweets of office. What he would like best, probably would be to force the two old parties into a permanent coalition of the Right, and there are many Rightists in Canada who think this would be a good idea. This does not seem likely to happen -- not, at any rate, while 70-year-old Mackenzie King is alive to lead the Liberals. On paper the differences between the two old parties may appear slight; their platforms sound much the same, their ancient wrangle about tariffs was their only economic dispute for years and very little came of it; and their financial support comes from the same quarters. But as already indicated, in their history, their traditions and their approach to public questions the two parties are profoundly different, and they attract different types of men to their ranks. No one in Canada is more keenly aware of these differences than Mr. King. And he is not only aware, he is proud of them.
Mackenzie King entered public life to create the Canadian Department of Labor, and he drafted the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act which is still, after nearly 40 years, the cornerstone of Canadian labor legislation. He first entered Parliament as Minister of Labor. He regards himself, not without reason, as a lifelong radical at heart. In temperament at least, he would find the average CCF Socialist far more congenial than the average Tory. So that although Progressive Conservatives would gladly coalesce with Liberals, especially if the Liberals were fewer than they, Mackenzie King most probably would not have them. It is conceivable that Liberals, if pressed to the wall, might be willing to coalesce on some terms with the CCF, but the CCF in its present mood would not have them. The outlook for stable coalition, therefore, is not bright.
What does all this mean in terms of Canadian policy?
So far as internal policy is concerned, it means any government will have to operate with a maximum of regard for public opinion. Whatever its color, the next Canadian Government will almost certainly have a precarious majority if it has one at all. It will be treading a narrow and treacherous path, beset by rivals alert for every favorable opportunity for a no-confidence vote and an election. Since the Canadian people have declared themselves unmistakably for reform and social security, reform and social security they will have -- provided no method is employed that is unpopular with a large mass of the electorate. That proviso probably rules out any large degree of socialization, even if the CCF should form a government. But it equally rules out retrenchment, budget-balancing, unrestricted "free enterprise" and the other attributes of old-fashioned "sound" government. Canada's next government will have a mandate for economic adventure.
In foreign policy, on the other hand, the broad lines of Canada's course can be charted with considerable assurance. There is virtually no difference between the Liberals and the CCF on foreign policy. Both are for full partnership in a postwar system of collective security, with Canada playing her role as a sovereign nation. Both are for the closest friendship and coöperation with the United States, though not necessarily with American business and financial interests. Both are against any significant change in Canada's relation to the British Commonwealth. They want no return to a centralized Empire or even to anything that looks like it. They are content with the present system -- an association of free and sovereign nations, equal in status, united only by their common cultural background and their common loyalty to the Crown.
Progressive Conservatives, on this question of Commonwealth relations and of foreign policy generally, are divided. Some, including John Bracken himself, see eye to eye with the Liberals and the CCF on this point, though they do not always admit the identity of their views. However, Prime Minister King was able during a recent foreign policy debate to produce a long, detailed statement which John Bracken had made on Commonwealth policy in answer to a questionnaire interview by Maclean's Magazine, a statement which differed in no essential from the views Mr. King himself was then expressing.
Another Progressive Conservative group, which includes but is not limited to the old-line Tories, disagrees rather hotly with the Liberal-CCF-Bracken position. This group wants something tangible done to strengthen the British Commonwealth in the eyes of the world, something to declare in unmistakable terms that British nations will stand together on all important questions in their relation to the rest of the world. It tends to regard the United States with suspicion.
However, this group has been a diminishing minority in Canada ever since the last Great War. It suffered a further setback with the conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London last May, which revealed that this view of the British Imperial relation is equally a minority opinion in the Commonwealth as a whole. It can be predicted with assurance that Canadian foreign and Commonwealth policy will not change, no matter who wins the next election.
If the Liberals can so arrange it, the chief issue at that election will be neither external nor economic, but constitutional. The depression showed that Canada's present constitution is no longer workable, that by giving tax power to the federal Government and administrative power to the provinces it creates a virtual paralysis in the whole field of social legislation. Also, it necessitates a clumsy, uneconomic, unfair tax structure which is a burden and a halter on the Canadian economy. One conference was called to fix it in 1941. It failed, torpedoed when Ontario's Mitch Hepburn and two other provincial premiers walked out. A second conference has been called for next year; it must not fail if Canada's ambitious postwar reconstruction plans are to succeed.
On this issue, too, the Liberals and the CCF will stand more or less together. And here, too, the Progressive Conservatives may turn out to be divided -- John Bracken, when he was Premier of Manitoba, was one of the strongest advocates of the Sirois Report on the reform of the Constitution which the 1941 conference was called to consider and adopt. But it looks as though Premier George Drew might lead at least part, if not all, of the party into an opposite stand. Colonel Drew's blast against the Family Allowances Act contained all the fertile seeds of a states-rights issue. He complained because family allowances would take most money from richest Ontario, give most to the big families of Catholic Quebec. Actually, wealthy Quebec would pay its own way and Ontario's surplus payments would go mostly to the poorer western and Maritime provinces. That, however, is not the point. The point is that Drew's argument is identical with the argument by which Mitch Hepburn, a rebel Liberal, justified his sabotage of the Sirois Conference in 1941.
On this one issue of provincial rights, Tory Drew and Nationalist Duplessis would probably stand together, in spite of their mutual dislike and disagreement on everything else. A federal-provincial conference could not possibly succeed with Ontario and Quebec dissenting. Again, the outlook is dark.
In this constitutional issue lies the one threat to the basic order and good government of Canada, the one danger that "revolt in Canada" might become more than a windy phrase. When the servicemen come back and the war workers go looking for peacetime jobs they will demand a better, more secure life than the dreary, dole-ridden thirties. They are convinced such an improvement is feasible -- "we've done it in war, we can do it in peace" is an argument which takes a lot of answering.
War solved Canada's constitutional deadlock, temporarily, through the overriding power that "emergency" gives to the federal Government. Provincial rights are suspended for the duration. With peace, these rights will come back into force and the old paralysis, unless forestalled by immediate action, will descend on the Dominion once more. There is some reason to doubt that a war-wearied electorate, determined on a more abundant life, would tolerate a return to that legislative impotence. There is some doubt that they would heed legalistic excuses about constitutional process. There is danger -- fairly remote, but danger -- that discontent and disenchantment might then promote the kind of change that goes farther than anyone can foresee.