August 6, 1904

CON
LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. WALTER SCOTT (West Assiniboia).

Mr. Speaker, I made a few remarks on this si bject last evening directed entirely against

the suggestion made by the hon. member for Bothwell (Mr. Clancy), who advocated the application of our Alien Labour law to all the world. I find that I was under a misapprehension last evening. I understood when I spoke then that the present Bill did not propose to extend the application of the Canadian law to any country except the United States, which has an alien labour law and which sometimes is enforced against Canadians. I find that I was under a misapprehension and that the main clause of this Bill, section 8, is intended to apply to persons from any part of the world. I think, in fairness, I will have to state this morning that every remark I made last evening in regard to the suggestion of my hon. friend from Bothwell, 1 will now have to make in regard to the present proposition, that is to say to the Bill before the House. I wish to state that I am entirely opposed to the trend of this legislation. My hon. friend the Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock) has just stated that the suggested amendment of my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) is practically unnecessary. I say the same .thing is true in regard to the Bill. There is no practical necessity at this date for such a proposition. There are no idle men in Canada. If we had idle men in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, in the Canadian west or in British Columbia, there might be some reason for coming down and proposing such legislation. But, there are no idle men in any part of this country. The very contrary is the fact. There is a call for men all over the province of Ontario ; farmers in ail parts of Ontario claim that they are not able to get a sufficient supply of labour. There is a call for men in the maritime provinces and there is a call for men in British Columbia to assist in developing the enormous mineral resources there, and as I said last evening, the only practical limitation there is to the material development of this country is the fact that we have not sufficient people to go on to the vacant lands which he unfilled in the Canadian west to such an enormous extent. With such conditions in Canada, why should we propose to adopt legislation which has not been adopted yi any part of the world except in the United States. If we had congested conditions such as they have in the countries of Europe in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Germany, there might be some justification for such a proposal, but in Canada the conditions are the very opposite. So far as the House is informed and so far as I am aware there is no country dn the world except the United States, which has adopted such legislation as is proposed here, or as we have had on our statute-book for the last seven years. There may be some reason for legislation of that kind being adopted in the United States, but the same conditions do not prevail in this country. There is pro-275

bably no necessity to go outside the borders of the United States for workmen of any class that may be required, but we are compelled to go outside of our own borders to get a sufficient numbex- of workmen. For several years past the excuse has been put forward by the big railway corporations in Canada which have held charters for building railways throughout the west, that they were unable to go on and build railways as the requirements of the country demanded, because of their inability to obtain a sufficient supply of labour. The Canadian Pacific Railway make that excuse and Mann and Mackenzie make that excuse. Mann and Mackenzie have told us that the main line of their road would already be in Edmonton, but for the difficulty which they had experienced in getting a sufficient supply of | labour to work on construction. We hear a good deal in this House about the intei'ests of labour, and I am somewhat concerned in that because I am a labourer and I am a union labourer. I am a member in good standing of a labour union in this country. I think I can speak in the interests of labour, and I say that it is not in the interest of any labouring man in this country to hamper or restrict or attempt to hamper or restrict any legitimate industry or enterprise in this country. I do not think that after my four years in this House, I will be suspected or accused by any person of speaking as an advocate of the manufacturers, who, I hear, are opposed to this legislation, or of the railway corporations who, I understand, are also in some measure opposed to this legislation.

I do not speak for them, but speaking as a labourer and in the intei'ests of labour in this country, I say that this kind of legislation is not in their interests nor in my interests as a labourer. It is not in the interests of labour to hamper or restrict the legitimate enterprise of any railway corporation, or of any manufacturing concern, but I speak more particularly for the great agricultural interests which the amendment proposed by my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) concerns. If there is any possibility of our Alien Labour law being used so as to cause the agriculturists in western Canada to hesitate before they invite persons from outside countries to work on their farms, then that legislation should not be adopted. There is a possibility,

I believe not alone on account of the legislation, but chiefly on account of the kind of talk we have indulged in in this parliament and throughout the country during recent months and, to some extent, throughout recent years ; there is a possibility of the agencies in the western states, which ar-interested in stopping the movement of people into Canada, being helped in their efforts. We are simply putting pretexts in the hands of these agencies which may make it possible for them to almost entirely

stop that immigration movement. The Minister of the Interior knows well that such agencies do exist. The railway corporations of the western states are becoming excited about the movement of their population to western Canada, and the Minister of the Interior knows they are taking steps to check that movement. We, by our senseless chatter about aliens and foreigners, are putting into the hands of these agencies the instruments *which they will undoubtedly use to check that movement of population. Hon. gentlemen may be surprised to hear that many people come from the western States to western Canada with extreme hesitancy. Many of them come to Canada with guns in their hip pockets, believing them necessary for their protection here. They are, however, only in the country a few days, and sometimes a few hours, when they find these are unnecessary and throw them away ; and after a few months' residence here they express themselves satisfied that the conditions in Canada are better than in the United States.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB

William Alfred Galliher

Liberal

Mr. GALLIIIER.

Do they not bring in these weapons because they are accustomed to need them in the western states ?

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

That is true, but very often they fear that these weapons are necessary for their protection in Canada. These immigrants do come to us with erroneous impressions, and what we are doing and what we are saying chiefly, is going to put into the hands of these agencies the material with which to check the movement of population from the western states into Canada.

Mr. JAiS. -OLA-NOY. It would be difficult to tell just what we should do to console the hon. gentleman (Mr. Scott). He seems to forget that this Bill does not in any sense prevent labourers and workingmen from coming into Canada. The proposal is to exclude those who come in under contract, but not one man in a thousand comes into the Northwest Territories under contract, -and the fear of the hon. gentleman is entirely visionary. He tells us that they come into the west with guns and pistols, but probably that is because they read his speech here a few weeks ago, in which he declared it was necessary to increase the number of mounted police in order to put the people of the Northwest under surveillance. There is not a man in this House, who has not taken leave of his reason, who does not know that this Bill is solely -directed against persons coming in under contract and against undesirable immigrants. For my part, I am opposed to labour being brought into -Canada under contract. I think there has -been a laudable effort made by the government to exclude undesirable persons, but I am sorry to say they have not been -successful. Every man who is fit to be a citizen of Canada has the door wide open for him to enter, and I know of no more arrant nonsense than -such talk as we hear from the hon. gentleman (Mr. -Scott).

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB
LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

Does the hon. gentleman consider that a civil engineer is an undesirable person ?

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I do not ; but I do consider there are very desirable Canadian engineer-s able to fill the positions.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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CON
CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

They have. Until we have exhausted the supply of talent in Canada- and nobody need be concerned about that- every engineer -from a foreign country should ibe excluded.

Mr. -SCOTT. Does the hon. gentleman know of any idle -Canadian civil engineers ?

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

Yes.

Mr. -CLANCY. Yes, I do.

-Sir WILLIAM MULO-CK. Scores of them.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I will give the hon. gentle man (Mr. Scott) numerous applications from young men -seeking employment -on this government work, but he has only to look at the report of Judge Winchester to convince him. I have not the honour of being able to speak for the labouring men as my hon. friend (Mr. Scott) has. I would not Venture to claim so much to myself as the hon. gentleman ; but I think the labouring men of Canada will pray to be spared from his advocacy and friendship. I have not the right to speak -for the labouring men as a labouring man myself, but I have the right to endeavour to secure to the labouring men of Canada a fair chance with other people in the battle of life.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB

Clifford Sifton (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. CLIFFORD SIFTON (Minister of the Interior).

The question of dealing with alien labour is one upon which there are g,r(eat differences of opinion, and it is a question which presents the very greatest difficulty. We have had it before us >'n this parliament for a number of years, and have spent a good deal of time endeavouring to -solve the difficulty. I have not had the -advantage of being here during the last few days, but I believe that the present measure represents a fair and moderate conclusion arrived at fairly well in accordance with the general views of members of this House on both sides. As to the particular point which my hon. friend (Mr. Scott) has mentioned, it appears t>

me that there is no serious difficulty in the Act as it is now before us. So far as I am aware labourers have never been brought from the United States to Manitoba or the Northwest Territories under contract. They are generally brought into the territoties by what are known as labourers' excv.rsions. At certain periods of the yeaf the railway companies provide what are called labourers' excursions, with special facilities, -and at that period of the year the supply follows the

demand, and large numbers of people go to Manitoba and tlie Northwest Territories; and the supply of any substantial demand for labourers would have to be brought about in some such way. In regard to any such arrangement, this Act would have no application whatever. If there should be an isolated case in which some farmer had brought in a labourer under contract, and if some person were malicious enough to Institute a prosecution, you have the remedial provisions of the Bill, which would prevent the success of any such effort. You have the fact that the consent of a public functionary is required, and it would be quite impossible to conceive such public functionary giving permission for the institution of a prosecution of that kind. We know what this Act is intended to prevent. I think the House is pretty well agreed in regard to it, and a little consideration will show that there is no necessity for the provision which my hon. friend wishes to have inserted.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

What public functionary is it whose consent must be obtained ?

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB

Clifford Sifton (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

The judge of the court in which the suit is brought ; the attorney general of the province, a judge of a superior court or a county court, a judge of the sessions of the peace, the recorder, police magistrate, stipendiary magistrate, or any functionary having the power of two justices of the pence.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

I understood from the Minister of Labour that that clause of the old Act was amended or repealed.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

No, that law is in full force, and will not be affected by this Bill.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB

William Alfred Galliher

Liberal

Mr. GALLIHER.

I rise just to refer to a statement inad^ by my hon. friend from West Assiniboia (Mr. Walter Scott) with regard to the necessity for more labour for the development of the mines in British Columbia. Speaking for the district which I represent, I am happy to say that the mines there are now in a much more wholesome condition than they were some time ago, thanks largely, so far as the silver-lead mines are concerned, to the bonus which this House saw fit to grant to them last year. There is also, I am glad to say, a happier condition existing between the employers and the miners. There is no disturbance, and no demand for any labour in connection with the development of the mines, at all events in the district which I represent.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

I have been listening for some time to hear from the ministers some good and sufficient reason why this amendment should not be accepted, but I have not yet heard any. The Minister of Labour stated that it would be class legisla-2751

tion, which was bad legislation. But this Alien Labour Bill, and previous Acts on the same subject, contain clauses which might be termed class legislation, because they exempt certain professions from the operation of the law. With regard to the difficulty pointed out by the premier, that labourers going from the Canadian Northwest to Dakota to work in the grain fields would be deported, whereas American labourers could come into Canada, the right hon. gentleman is misinformed if he supposes that any number of labourers havb gone, during the last ten years at least, from the Canadian Northwest to work in the fields of Dakota. So far as my information goes, there has not been at any time any surplus of labour in the Northwest to go anywhere else. The acreage of land under cultivation and the output have increased to such an extent that there has never been at any time in the last ten years sufficient labour to do the work there. That is a condition which we are all glad of. I do not mean to say that it is in any way attributable to the policy pursued by this government-not in the slightest, arid hon. gentlemen need not plume themselves on that.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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LIB
CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

Not at all. It came before they came in, and was a result of the splendid policy pursued by their predecessors-a policy which the hon. gentlemen dared not change, although they had said that they would. I congratulate the hon. gentlemen upon having had sufficient common sense to follow out the policy laid down by the great builders of this country, the statesmen of the Conservative party, instead of pursuing the disastrous policy which they themselves proposed when in opposition. I have failed to see any good reason why the government should oppose this amendment. There are in the Northwest exceptional conditions which perhaps do not exist in other parts of the country, and we should trim our legislation to suit [DOT]our own circumstances. I wish to enter my -protest against legislating along certain lines because the United States do so. We ought to legislate off our own bat irrespective entirely of what the United States does. I would not increase our tariff simply for the reason that any other country has a certain tariff. I would increase our tariff because it would suit the circumstances of this country to do so.

Topic:   THE ALIEN LABOUR ACT.
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August 6, 1904