THE FUTURE OF A MEDIUM POWER
IN 1939 the Canadian population was less than 12,000,000 and nearly 30 per cent of these were French-speaking people, most of whom lived in the lower St. Lawrence Valley. Their numbers had risen rapidly since Lord Durham's day; and a continued high birth-rate unbalanced by large-scale immigration from the United Kingdom might well give them predominance over Anglo-Saxon stock before the end of the century. Only half of the total population now stemmed from British parentage; about 20 per cent were of recent European origin--Ukranians, Ruthenians, Germans, Scandinavians, Poles. Census figures for 1941 showed that approximately 40 per cent of the population in Manitoba, 47 per cent in Saskatchewan and 41 per cent in Alberta were of other than British or French racial origin. Assimilation or 'Canadianization' on the model of the American melting-pot proceeded slowly, and, as immigration from the United Kingdom diminished to a trickle, the character of the new Canada became less and less British and more and more North American.
The close-knit pattern of French-Canadianism was not unaffected by national growth and the change in national character. Quebec still insisted on her provincial sovereignty, and continued to oppose any efforts on the part of the Ottawa government to extend its control in the fields of social legislation, education and civil law. At the same time the rapid expansion of manufacturing and mining--the development of such basic industries as pulp and paper, asbestos and gold, chemicals and non-ferrous metals, steel and lumber--has had an impressive effect on the social and economic life of the province. The educational system once dominated by classical studies has been gradually modified to include technical and commercial schools; trade unionism has begun to assume modern American forms; the co-operative movement has attracted increasing support in rural communities, and there