24 NOVEMBER 1939, Page 28

Quebec and the Far West

CANADA'S success in handling her large French-speaking minority is a fact of great importance in these days when

racialism run mad is devastating much of Europe. Thus Mr. Bovey's dispassionate and well-informed account of French Canada makes a timely appearance. A third of Canada's population is French-speaking ; in Quebec four-fifths of the people are of French origin and mostly Roman Catholic. Mr. Bovey sketches their past history but rightly concerns himself mostly with their present condition. Quebec has long ceased to be a sleepy farming province. Her industries, mainly dependent on water-power, and her mines have been rapidly developed. Montreal, the largest city in Canada, is one of the chief financial and commercial centres in America. Moreover, the political situation has been transformed in recent years by M. Duplessis and his Union Nationale, who overthrew the forty-year-old Liberal domination in Quebec by an alliance of Conservatives and dissatisfied Liberals. Mr. Bovey repudiates the foolish suggestion that M. Duplessis' somewhat vague creed is National Socialism of the German type. French Canada would not tolerate such anti-Christian doctrine. But the Union Nationale bears a certain likeness to Fascism in its zeal for economic and social reform and its readiness to use the powers of the State to this end beyond the limits hitherto observed. The recent elections, however, have thrown it back into the shade.

The Duplessis Ministry, in its efforts to develop agriculture and train unemployed youth, to control the power companies and to encourage the making of long agreements between employers and trade unions, evidently profited by our example. Mr. Bovey deals cautiously with the mixed problem of French Canada's attitude to wars in which Great Britain is involved, but since his book was written Canada, British and French alike, has made her choice. M. Duplessis on October 25th was decisively beaten in the Quebec elections, largely though not wholly because his criticism of the Dominion Government's war policy seemed to imply an un- willingness to support Great Britain against Germany.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to whose history since 1874 Mr. Douthwaite has devoted a readable volume, are familiar in fiction and on the film. But this romantic corps did a fine piece of work in its early years in saving the Canadian North-West, when first opened for settlement, from the lawlessness that long disgraced the United States " frontier." Three hundred policemen by firmness and tact kept the Indian tribes in control and chased away the " bad men " who came over the border from Montana to sell liquor and to prey on the settlers. It was the " Mounties," too, who, when gold was found in the Yukon, maintained perfect order in that remote region. More recently this remarkable police force, now much enlarged, has extended its operations to the Arctic and tracked down a few Eskimo criminals in the Polar lands. Canada has reason to be proud of a body of highly trained men who have made the law prevail in the wilderness.