This amendment provides that there shall be dead letter offices at St. John, Kingston, Hamilton, London, Vancouver and Dawson. I may say that the department have found this desirable and necessary. The results of the establishment of offices for newspapers at these points have been so satisfactory that it is desired to have power given by the Act to deal with letters as well as papers at these points.
No ; in looking into the Act I find that the power is given in respect to special points, and this Bill is to increase the number of places where these offices may be established. The last clause provides for the establishment of a class of employees known as 'train porters.' I do not suppose the name would indicate particularly what they are, but it is found now that two or three times a week, especially in the large cities during the time that newspapers are being sent out in large quantities, an extra mail clerk has to be sent, and he has to receive mileage in addition to his salary for doing what is ordinary work in assisting the mail clerks with an overcrowded mail. It is thought that a saving would be effected, and that the work would be more efficiently done by establishing a class of employees' known as train porters who would be at headquarters, who could go out with these overcrowded mail trains, and who could, also, from time to time, take the places of transfer officers who are ill. There is a difficulty found in the department when a transfer officer is ill in
finding ail experienced man to take his place. It has been thought that after a short period of training these train porters would be able to do this work very much better than it can now be provided for. In the first instance that I have given where, on overcrowded trains, extra help is required, instead of sending out a mail clerk, the work would be done at a considerable saving to the country.
Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called, I desire to draw attention to the character of the return made to the order passed by the House on the 21st February relating to the coal and wood tenders which have been received by the government, and upon which contracts have been awarded. The return which has been brought down refers only to tenders for wood. No attention has been paid to the order asking for a return of the tenders for coal. I would like to ask the government if it is the intention to comply with that part of the order and bring down these tenders.
Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair, I would like to call the attention of the House to a question that I think is well worthy of its attention, I mean the immigration question. It is a matter of expending nearly half a million dollars a year. In looking over the report of Lord Strathcona, the High Commissioner, I was very much pleased to observe one thing the government have done; that is, that they have placed Canadian readers and Canadian atlases in the public schools of the United Kingdom, and that in this way they have done good service to the country, because these readers and atlases have reached 930 schools. The pupils in these schools have been passing examinations upon them, and bronze medals are being given to the pupil in each school who passes the best examination. I am very much pleased with this, and I think this departure has been of service to the country, because, by this means, we are educat-Mr. SUTHERLAND (Oxford).
ing the people of Great Britain and Ireland as to the resources and geography of Canada, and we have been giving them, so far as I have been able to learn, some information of which they are very much in need. We are not only educating the young people by this means, but I have no doubt they will discuss the subject with older people, and in that way they will get a good knowledge of this country. I would be very glad if the department would go farther and introduce readers and geographies into the schools of other civilized countries, if that were possible. In that way the department might be able to distribute information that would be very valuable to this country, and I think it would be particularly advantageous in Germany, where we are not allowed to send our immigration agents to distribute literature of that character which would give them a knowledge of the country that would be valuable to us and which would induce a large immigration from that country. Now, I would like to refer for a short time to what took place in this House at the last session. The hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) was very sanguine that we would have a very large immigration from the older countries during the year 1900. I pointed out to him that he differed entirely from the views held by the most of his officers in high places. They pointed out that unless the mode of looking for immigrants was greatly changed there would be no increase, while the minister himself was very sanguine that there would be a great increase. The Deputy Minister of the Interior during the year 1899 visited the old country, and from his report I would gather that he personally visited all the agencies in the old country. He reported very strongly in favour of assisted passages, and not only the giving of assisted passages to immigrants of a certain class, but that when they landed in this country the government should make an allowance to them to enable them to get through the first year, for which advance they would take security on the lands ; the lands that we had already given them. This, I was very strongly opposed to then, and I have since seen no reason why I should change my view. Mr. Smart the Deputy Minister of the Interior visited the agency in Dublin, and he spoke in high terms of Mr. Devlin, who is our immigrant agent in that city. Mr. Smart said that while there_ had not been much done in the way of getting immigrants from Ireland in the past, he thought the time was ripe now, and that we would surely get a very much larger number during the coming year. Well, Sir, what has been the result ? In 1899 we got 743 immigrants from Ireland, and in 1900 we got 765, an increase of 18, all told.
I have not got the increased cost specially as regards Ireland, but I will give the increased cost and the increased number of immigrants later on. Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that Mr. John Redmond, a very prominent Irish member of parliament made a speech on the 17th March last and he stated that 45,000 persons had left Ireland during the year 1900. Well,, we succeeded in getting 765 our of these 45,000. I am of the opinion that if we had no immigrant agents in Ireland at all that we would have got just as many people from that country as we did.