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that no farmers would be willing to form such an organization, and the remaining correspondents reported that barely 40 per cent. of the farmers stood ready to organize such co-operative associations. The sturdy independence of the farmer would seem to breed a certain lack of the gregarious instinct and without it co-operation cannot exist. A great deal of missionary work would doubtless be necessary before the idea spread to any appreciable extent.20
First, the very freely and generally voiced fear of the organization becoming the object of party politics, the spectacle of candidates for the legislature outbidding each other in promises of large loans being a not too remote possibility.
Second, the asserted lack of business acumen on the part of the farmers. An interesting comment on this was provided in the evidence given at Wolseley where it was averred that the root of the trouble lay in the fact that in the past it was only too easy for farmers to obtain loans at high rates of interest "for expenditures which were quite unjustified in an economic sense." It was, however, agreed that lower rates of interest and rigid supervision of expenditure would raise the level of business practice.
But indeed the whole question of the practicability of introducing any form of co-operation in the west is a very serious one, and it may be well to cite a few more objections that were raised against such a scheme by witnesses before the Commission.
Third, the assertion that mixed farming would prove the salvation of agriculture rather than any artificial, extraneous assistance was freely and very generally expressed. Indeed, the reiteration of the importance of mixed farming for the
20 “In Canada there is no co-operative spirit. This country is full of individualism, the farmer in Canada won't become security for his fellow." Evidence of Sir Edmund Walker before the Committee on Banking and Commerce, 1913.
A similar statement by Mr. J. E. Bradshaw, M.P.P. for Prince Albert in the Saskatchewan Legislature, in the debate on the second reading of the Co-operative Mortgage Bill, Dec. 15, 1913, was met by angry protests from all over the House, one member giving the Co-operative Elevator Company as an instance, which Mr. Bradshaw acknowledged. He would have done better to have stuck to his guns.
West is a most significant piece of evidence, showing that the efforts of the agricultural colleges to impress this fact on farmers are not fruitless.
Fourth, the unhomogeneous character of the settlements and the migratory tendencies of the population. One farmer at Saskatoon declared that he had been for twenty-two years a settler of the Nutana district, that to-day he was the only man left in the settlement who had been resident there when he came in, and that ninety per cent. of the people who are there now are anxious to leave.
And lastly, as one witness at Melville said, the absence in the Canadian West of that sentiment of thrift which prevails elsewhere. It is curious to note how this point is reiterated through the evidence. More than one witness mentions trips back home as one reason for mortgages, others speak of farmers buying high-power automobiles, while several mention the most significant fact of all, namely, the raising of mortgages for real estate speculation. Let it be remembered that this is the evidence of farmers themselves and such evidence must be judged on its own merits.
Only one more consideration remains to be mentioned on this point. It is common knowledge in the West that hundreds of farmers are working more land than they can manage, buying more machinery than they can afford (and letting it rust to pieces in the winter to boot), and borrowing more money than they can repay. Would the proviso in the Committee's report that all applications for loans should be investigated and the purpose for which they are required specified, be a popular one in Saskatchewan? Perhaps there would be a little less real estate speculation.
CONCLUSION. When there is poured into a land which, though marvellously fertile, yet demands great efforts, abstinence and risks, an unhomogeneous mass of all kinds and conditions, rich and poor, experienced and ignorant, industrious and idle, there will assuredly be a period of stress, a time of settling and shaking down into place. That time the Province of Saskatchewan has reached. Strong in the faith of her wonderful resources and the richness of her soil, the province has freely discounted the future and credit has outrun production. And now the pinch is being felt. Money is scarce, and the implement companies are pressing for payment. Some of the farms are not producing so many bushels to the acre as they used to, machinery has to be renewed and livestock bought.
How shall these problems be met? It is easy to preach mixed farming but harder to put it into practice, and it is equally easy to clamour for cheaper credit and harder to procure it. The Commissioners in their report are a trifle dubious as to the marketing of the bonds of the prospective Association, in fact they admit the task of finding purchasers would be much simplified were the provinces of the Dominion admitted to the privileges of the British Trustee List, a contingency which is somewhat remote.21
What then shall we say as to the probable success of this scheme? Except for a few things which are open to amendment it is modelled more or less on a system that has flourished for over a century. Wisely rejecting the Raiffeisen alternative as being impossible, and adopting the Landschaft type as being more in accord with local conditions and the character of the people, the Commissioners are at the very least justified in recommending to their government proposals for a scheme which may very possibly prove to be effective. That the recommendations will be modified is certain; the mutual liability of members cannot hold, the genius of the people is against it.
The problem of agricultural credit has been solved by different countries in different ways, but it has been solved by every country that has faced it. To suppose that Western Canada is incapable of finding a way out of the difficulty is absurd, the only question is, will the recommendations of the Royal Commission prove the right ones? To this we must answer that the co-operative bank system of the Raiffeisen and Desjardins type is utterly foreign to Western ideals; that the Australian state loans system is impossible from political reasons; the Landschaft system, modified to suit local conditions is the only thing left. To the Province of Saskatchewan belongs the honour of making the attempt to inaugurate it in Western Canada.
21So difficult is the problem of raising money for the scheme, that Premier Scott, in the debate in the Saskatchewan Legislature on Dec. 15, 1913, announced that the Bill would be passed but not put into operation, being kept, as it were, in cold storage until a more favourable opportunity arises for selling the bonds in the foreign market. The Saskatchewan Government evidently does not anticipate that the bonds will sell in the Province.
A Selection from Goldwin Smith's Correspondence.
Both edited by ARNOLD HAULTAIN
The first of these two books contains the letters written by Goldwin Smith in his later years; the second is not a biography, but reproduces jottings of conversations set down at the time by Mr. Haultain, and now turned over to the public, without too much editing and trimming. This artless art gives a more vivid impression of the old fighter than a more considered work might have done. Indeed that half of Goldwin Smith's life which was spent in Canada lends itself to formal biography even less than the eventless existence of the average literary man, for it was spent in refighting old battles or in vain endeavour to conduct new campaigns on ground from which the tide of war had rolled away. Somebody has defined hap
. piness as the sense of progress in the right environment. Neither source of happiness was granted to Goldwin Smith, and the acridity of his comments on men and politics betrays the secret wound. The reader of these books is continually reminded of Disraeli's phrase about the wild man of the cloister.' There he might have been wild with decorum, and exercised power in his own academic commonwealth, where even enemies would know him as 'vastiest Goldwin.' But the knight-errant in him drove him on to greater attempts. Mr. Haultain surmises that he had the secret hope of bringing about Anglo-Saxon union on this continent. Whatever the future holds, all the hope and effort expended by Goldwin Smith seemed more than wasted. What more stinging word could even his tongue have used than that describing him in the 'Dictionary of National Biography' as 'Goldwin Smith, controversialist'?
Some letters from that Earl Grey who passed the Reform Act of 1832 give such a close parallel to Goldwin Smith's own state of mind that a few sentences may be noted. Fifty-six years after his own Act had passed, the old statesman, now