ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED | DECEMBER 1933 | THE FARMER
We hear another “sound of a going in the mulberry trees” in a movement that stirs young farmers to go on a crusade to awaken the youth of the land to the need of building a new Canada. Other groups have attempted something of the same sort, in the past, but not in just the same way young leaders are working. Agriculture is in a dangerous situation, they say. It is “divided in its loyalties, confused in its politics, a victim of vast new forces which it has failed to understand or control.” If agriculture is to be saved, farmers must have an intelligent understanding of these new forces and their ways. And they make it clear that they mean “farmers as farmers, not as grits or tories or ceeceeffers.” They realize that other farm movements have been wrecked by party politics, and that farmers must work not as a political party or as individuals but “with their neighbors close at home and all across Canada” if they are to insure their own futures, the future of their industry and the future of the nation. The objective is to enlist 100,000 farm young people- and we imagine older people will not be excluded- to study the economic problems of agriculture and to work, through their own communities, for a new order. The plan sounds logical.
And we believe that one of the most promising features of the New Canada Movement is that it is a movement of youth. Too many of us don’t take any active part in public affairs until we have become too set in our ways to meet changing conditions with any degree of suppleness. And with half a life-time gone we haven’t so much at stake in the future, not so much worth battling for. As James M. Barrie said to the students of St. Andrews, in his famous address on Courage, “The youth of the world have for too long left exclusively in the hands of their elders, the decisions in national questions that are more vital to them than to us.”
It is easy for those of us who are older, to think of our “junior farmers” as being younger than they are. Many of them are managing their own farms; some are members of municipal councils, with possible seats in the legislature not far in the offing; all of them have some voice in the affairs of the community; and most of them are old enough to vote. It is highly fitting that they concern themselves with the issues set forth by the leaders of the New Canada Movement. May they have the support from their communities that their efforts deserve.