April 22, 1908

LIB

Wilbert McIntyre

Liberal

Mr. W. McINTYRE.

Let us see how [DOT]other colonies, situated as we are have endeavoured to get population. I find that Australia very materially assists immigration.

Topic:   SUPPLY-IMMIGRATION.
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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Any North Atlantic Trading Company there?

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LIB

Wilbert McIntyre

Liberal

Mr. W. McINTYRE.

If the hon. gentleman will permit me we will see. I quote from the London Times of January 31st, 1907:

Sydney, New South Wales.-In consequence of the general prosperity of the country and the scarcity of labour the premier has recently oxtondeTl the immigration regulations. Ihe government is using every endeavour to secure a good flow of the right type of rural *settlers and now invites artisans, general labourers and domestic servants of a desirable class to come to the country. Agricultural labourers and general servants may travel from London to Sydney at a nominal cost. Liberal railway concessions will be made to agricultural immigrants and capital qualifications are abolished.

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LIB
LIB
IND

Lorenzo Robitaille

Independent Liberal

Mr. L. ROBITAILLE (Quebec County).

I have listened with intense interest to the able remarks of the hon. member for Strath-cona (Mr. W. McIntyre). He seems, however. to be under a false impression in trying to make this House believe that we are against the development of the west. Such an idea would be far from our minds. We are delighted at the magnificent figures which have been given to show the development of the west, not only from a financial standpoint, but from the standpoint of national development as well. What we are against is the bringing to Canada by a system of bonus premiums of people who are undesirable not only for the west but for the east or any portion of Canada where they may establish themselves. The figures of development which he has just given to the House are not the basic argument upon which he should rely to prove the advisability of the bonus system, because from my observation during certain trips I have made to the west, we have there a large number of American citizens who have sold their lands in their own country and have come to Canada from the two Dakotas and Minnesota, bringing their children and their money and have planted themselves in the west, making in my estimation as high class citizens as any immigrants we could get by a bonus system. No bonus has been paid by the goverment on these immigrants and still we are glad to include in the statistics of our western development the magnificent result of their enterprise and skill.

The hon. member was very paternal in some remarks he made concerning my friend (Mr. Armand Lavergne), trying to teach him what broadmindedness was. It is very well to offer suggestions, but I think the best thing for the hon. member for Stratheona (Mr. W. McIntyre) and others to remember is that they should be broadminded first and that the west is not the only portion of the Dominion to be considered. Personally, I think if that broadmindedness in theory of which lie spoke had been put into practice last year we would not have had the position we have had of the promulgation of the English statute before the promulgation of the French statute. There are many other instances which I could cite in political history where that same broadmindedness has not been shown.

We demand the abolition of the bonus system because it is one of the most potent causes of the introduction into Canada of the undesirable element which it is generally admitted we have In Canada. Perhaps my words may not have much weight with the House, so I shall quote a statement given in 1902 by the present Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) who said:

We have made an error in the past in paying 'large sums of money as premiums to navigation companies for the transportation of immigrants, because we transform there and thep the navigation companies into immigration agents, and the character of the immigrant, as well as his origin, is of no account so long as they obtain the premium. This system seems to me very undesirable and I would demand its abolition. Levying to navigation companies the task of inciting immigrants, means that a premium is given on the bad quality of immigrants rather than on the good.

That is exactly what we are asking. We claim that the system of premiums to-day, far from inducing the good and desirable class, forces on us the undesirable immigrant. Further on in 1903, the same gentleman stated :

Reference has been made, I believe, to the premium as a means of inducing immigration In my opinion, if ever that system has been necessary it is no longer necessary. The payment of premiums or commission tends to bring to us a class of people not the most desirable.

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CON
?

Théodore Robitaille

Mr. ROBITAIELE.

No, he had no ministerial function. That probably is the reason why he could speak his own opinion.

The chief argument which has been advanced in favour of the bonus system is that we need farm labourers and that the bonus was paid practically on farm labourers. The hon. member for Stratheona even stated that he had inside information from the Superintendent of Immigration that this system was, as far as possible followed, but I think I have as much information from

the Superintendent of Immigration in his testimony made in 1907, before the committee. He was examined by Dr. Sproule as follows :

O. If I understand correctly you simply ask the immigrants if they propose to be farm labourers in coming here?-A. That is what we do when they disembark.

Q. Is that all the information that you have as to the class to which they belong?-A. Yes, we ask their a^e and their occupation.

Q. What occupation they have followed before coming to Canada ?-A. What occupation thev were in in the old country. The manifest, I believe, is prepared by the purser of the steamer, who is in no way an official of the government, and is certified by the captain.

Q. I would have thought that an officer of the government would have occupied himself with this work and would have seen that onlv certain classes of immigrants were sent to us? -A. Whoever has the money can buy a ticket.

Q. But if he has the money will he get the premium?-A. No. but I sav that anybody may buy a ticket in the old country.

Q. If I ask you that it is because I know several immigrants like that. It was said that they were farm labourers and had come here to take up farming. I took the trouble to inquire and I discovered that out of six or seven there was not one who had worked one hour on a firm.-A. That may be very true.

Q. And nevertheless they are sent to us as farm labourers?-A. No, they are not so called. They are sent to us as intending to take up agriculture. In England the day labourer receives on the farm as high a wage as in Canada.

The point that the hon. member for Stratheona was trying to make a few minutes ago was that it was only on farm hands that the premium was paid and that a statement is simply exacted from the newcomer to the effect that he intends to come as a farm labourer. In the present debate the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Ver-ville) read a letter from the Salvation Army which points out that the premium should be paid only on farm labourers and suggests that a certain party, not a farm labourer, but a skilled mechanic, should accept a position on a farm for the first six months, at the expiration of which time an opportunity might be offered for work in his own trade. That is where the difficulty lies. What opportunity has the government of discriminating between the farm labourer and the skilled mechanic or other person when he arrives at the port of landing especially in view of the suggestion which is contained in this letter that a man should at the outset represent himself to be a farm labourer? It is on people of this class that $5 per capita is paid. If the theory, as advanced by several hon. members of this House were correct, that this bonus is going to be paid to secure desirable immigrants, I would be the first one to support it, but I say that there is not a man in this Dominion that can put this 1 system into practical operation and apply

it to the right people. The fact is that many people who come to this country as farm labourers are not in reality farm labourers, and we have to pay out our good money without getting the results which we have in view. The object attained may be good in some respects, but it is not the desired one. It seems to me that there are other directions in which the money of this country can be more profitably expended than by devoting it to this purpose. Another answer which was given by Mr. Scott was this :

The agricultural population of Great Britain is but a very small percentage and you must naturally address yourself to working men and day labourers. Besides whoever has the wherewithal to pay his passage may come to this country.

There is a long deposition that I shall not continue to read because it might weary the House. I think that I have quoted sufficiently upon this subject to establish my point. It being six o'clock, Mr. Speaker, I desire to move the adjournment of the debate.

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Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned. At six o'clock the House adjourned.


HOUSE OE COMMONS.


Thursday, April 23, 1908.


April 22, 1908