Who are the Nationalizers?
A few sincere Canadians.
Why do They Seem so Numerous?
For four reasons:
First: They include a number of newspaper editors whose voices are multiplied through the art of printing.
Second: The discontented and the dissatisfied who exist in every country echo their language with vague approval. The policy of "Nationalization" offers them, not a cure for the abuses they deplore—and deplore perhaps rightly—but a distraction.
Third: The prospect of despoiling the rich and overthrowing the successful has been a popular proposal among the less intelligent people since the earliest days of the race. Although the leaders of the Nationalization movement may not—do not—intend their arguments to inflame unwholesome passions, such, nevertheless, is one effect of their campaign.
Fourth: The other side is silent or speaks foolishly. The old-time railway magnate with his bluff and cajolery is gone. The modern managers are pathetically afraid to speak.
Those newspaper owners and editors who might in their hearts be convinced the Nationalization was dangerous, require great courage to say so, for they will promptly be accused for being in the hire of the "interests."
In short, there is a premium on any sort of argument in favor of Public Ownership and a penalty on its counterpart.
That is why the few seem so many.
What do They mean by Nationalization?
The Purchase of all Canadian railways. Bear the word in mind—"Purchase!"
Is That What the Americans Did?
No. They guaranteed the continuance of earnings to shareholders and created a central railroad directorate equivalent to the Canadian Railway War Board to co-ordinate the roads and to remove the wasteful competition which the United States, like Great Britain, had long insisted upon. They did not Purchase the railroad systems which they now are operating!
Did the British Government Buy out the British Roads?
No. It eliminated wasteful competitive conditions as the Americans did by guaranteeing earnings and establishing central control equivalent to the Canadian Railway War Board. It did not Purchase the railroad systems. The British, like the Americans, are still far from taking the step advocated by the "Nationalizers" in Canada.
Why not do Precisely as They Did?
Because, so far as I can see, it is totally unnecessary. Competitive conditions are not in any sense the same in Canada. The guaranteeing of earnings would merely pass a burden to Canada without any compensating gain.