June 4, 1908

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Ail right.

At six o'clock, the House took recess.

After Eecess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance).

Lest it should seem discourteous if nothing were said on our part, I desire to say a few words with reference to the observations of the hon. member fcr St. John (Mr. Daniel) on the very important subject to which he invited the attention of the House to-day. I think it was worthy- if it had to be dealt with at all-of receiving fairer treatment than the hon gentleman himself gave it, or than he permitted the House to give it. At an early stage of the session the hon. gentleman placed a notice on the paper intimating his intention to bring this matter before the House and he had abundant opportunity to do so but for his own reasons he did not avail himself of it, and months passed, and now in the seventh month of the session he has brought up the question at a time and in a manner which certainly is not calculated to advance the cause he claimed to have at heart. He brought it up in an empty House with little more than a quorum present, with half a dozen of his own friends in the House, with the two front benches of the opposition vacant nearly all day, and with indeed a similar condition on both sides of the House. It -was quite evident that the object of my hon. friend was not so much to invite the attention of the House to the matter as to join his friends in that policy of delaying the business of the House which in their judgment they have seen fit to pursue. Now, I desire to say that While the representation of the maritime provinces is an important question, there are at this moment more important questions which concern the maritime provinces as they concern all other provinces of the Dominion. In our judgment the most important busi-

Mr. FIELDING

ness this parliament can do now is to devote its attention (after fair inquiry and criticism) to the appropriation of the sums of money needed for the carrying on of thd public service, for the payment of our officials, for providing the money for Public Works, and for all these services which the Dominion has to carry out. Believing that any extended discussion would simply play the part that my hon. friend desired to play, and assist in the policy of delay in the voting of supplies, I do not think it necessary to enter into any extended discussion of the question, important though it is. I would therefore say to my hon. friend (Mr. Daniel) were he in his place, that if we do not allow his observations to pass without notice -because that would seem discourteous- we are obliged to consider that important as the question is that he brought before the House it is less important than voting supplies for the public service.

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Motion agreed to, and the House went into Committee of Supply. Immigration-Salaries, agents, employees, Canada, Great Britain, and foreign countries, &c., $200,000.


CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Are the moneys paid on account of the immigration service in England paid through the London office and at what intervals are statements rendered here ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior).

The salaries are paid monthly and the other accounts are paid as presented on cheques signed by the High Commissioner conjointly with the assistant commissioner of immigration. The accounts are sent here every month to be entered in the books of the department.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

What proportion of this $200,000 is expended in the British Isles, what proportion in France, and what proportion in continental European countries?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Great Britain and Ireland, $32,484; United States, $43,320; Canada, $119,140; continental Europe, $4,700.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Mr. Wiallard and Mr. Geof-frion are I think the only two immigration agents we have in France and there is considerable complaint about the service in that country. I do not think Mr. Wiallard has made any special study of immigration. He is a Frenchman by birth was occupied in other things while in France and when iii Canada I do not think he devoted any of his attention to that subject. Mr. Geof-frion is a young lawyer who I think has in no way studied the subject of immigration except perhaps since the government re-"cently sent him to France. Does the government intend appointing other agents in France ? What reports have been received from Mr. Wiallard and Mr. Geoffrion ? There is very good immigration to be had 1 from France but proper means must be taken

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190S


to get it. I have never seen any of Mr. Wiallard's reports in any of our official publications. Mr. Geoffrion is a very nice young man no doubt, and apart from letters he has written to the papers and which indicate that he is having a very pleasant time in Paris, nothing has been brought to our notice to show that he has taken up seriously the question of immigration. I would like to know if the minister has received any report from either of these gentlemen, and what is the general direction of their efforts ? Is it in Paris that they are looking for immigrants, or have they made any efforts in the provinces of France ?


LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

My hon. friend, before he occupied the responsible position which he occupies to-day, and when I think he entertained somewhat different opinions on immigration from those which he seems to hold to-day, expressed an idea which I have found confirmed by all those of long experience in immigration; that was, that the immigrant must be followed from the time he has been selected in a foreign country until he gets absolutely settled and acclimatized in Canada. In the province of Quebec. the provincial immigration agents succeed very well, because they correspond with the immigrant before he comes out here, or with societies that take an interest in sending immigrants here, and when the immigrant arrives, he is met by these men and is guided by them to the place where it is intended he shall settle. The testimony of those agents is to the effect that for two years at least they have to follow the immigrant. They go at stated periods to see where he is settled, in order to make sure that he is settled there, that he has all the assistance necessary, and that he becomes a good and valuable addition to the nation. I mention that because I have noticed for the last year or two that from most of our numerous agents we get no reports or they are not published in that part of my hon. friends yearly report which relates to'immigration. We have several immigration agents in the United States, but what they do is not apparent, so far as I know, from the reports laid before this House; and we have no reports from these agents in France. I think my hon. friend would render very much more effective the work of these men if he required them to make a monthly report, as to the work they are doing, what immigrants they have sent out, what parts of the country they come from, and what is their destination. You would then be able to trace some of those people after their arrival, and a very useful purpose would be served. In regard to Mr. Geoffrion, we have read some very interesting letters of his, from a literary standpoint, as to his impression of France, but they have nothing to do with immigration. I think that young man would be much better employed if he gave us a report every month of what progress he is making in the work he has been sent there to prosecute. The same remark applies to Mr Wiallard. I think our agents, not only in France, but in all foreign countries, should send us frequent reports, so that we would know how the tide of immigration is flowing in all those countries. I would like also to ask the minister if he has contemplated the possibility of imposing a head tax on immigrants-not such a one as is exigible in the United States, but one that would enable the country to lighten somewhat the burden of its immense immigration budget. I think that this year we shall be spending considerably over a million in the way-of payments to agents and others and their expenses of advertising. My own belief is, of course, that we should abolish bonuses, and that we should content ourselves with doing a certain amount of advertising to make our country known. If last year we had imposed a head tax of $2, or half the American head tax, we would have derivpd from it $500,000 on the immigrants that arrived here. I do not think we would have one immigrant less and we would have had a considerable amount for the purposes of this vote. That is a subject which might well engage the attention of my hon. friend, especially now that our immigration is increasing so much.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

To take the last criticism first, let me point out that our immigration is not increasing.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Well, it has increased every year until this.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It is in the process of very rapid decrease as far as numbers are concerned. That is the tally this year, so far as it has gone, as compared with last year. There is about thirty-seven per cent decrease in ocean port immigration 'as compared withj the first four months of lasit year. As regards the suggestion concerning the bringing of reports by our agents, I would beg to inform my hon. friend that (these gentlemen do report from week to week. It would not be practicable to publish all these reports in the blue-book, but they are available, and my hon. friend or any other hon. member can have access to them whenever he pleases. He is mistaken when he says we have no printed reports from these gentlemen, because I find in the report of the Department of the Interior for the nine months ending March 31, 1907, a report from Mr. Paul Wiallard of Paris, dated April 1, in which he gives a statement of the class of work he is doing and generally such a report as we receive from our different agents in the same service in different parts of the world. My hon. friend would do well to read the report of the Department of the Interior pages 80 and (81.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

It is a very summary report and there is none from the United States.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

When we have to deal with so many reports, we cannot give much space to each one, but he will find that the report in question is a very complete statement of the case for the space it occupies. Mr. Wiallard mentions that:

This year we have a delegate, Mr. Vauriot, a Frenchman, settled in Manitoba, for many years, and who has succeeded there. He has taken part in some of our gatherings and been able to judge of the work that we do. In company with Mr. Pierre Fourcin, my colleague, whom I sometimes send into the provinces when I am detained in Paris or called in other directions, Mr. Vauriot has himself spoken and given verbal information in regard to the Northwest at five private assemblies held in four days and at each of which there were present from forty to fifty persons, making ready to leave, and in every case enthusiastic for our country.

So that I think we are giving a reasonable measure of publicity to the work we are carrying on in France. It is to be re-jgretted that it is not more extensive, but my hon. friend will understand that there are difficulties in the way which need not bo enlarged upon, but which render it neither possible nor advisable in other circumstances and conditions such as prevail in the United States. There are several good colonies of old country French people in different parts of the Northwest, who are Mr. OLIVER.

very satisfactory as citizens and farmers. Their numbers are being increased in a moderate degree from year to year. As regards my own views on the subject of immigration, while I do not know that they are of interest ito the House and the country, my hon. friend and those beside him seem to have some trouble in their minds over them. Well, my views are exactly now what they have always been. I did object some years ago to the system of indiscriminating bonusing, and I say so still. I am not asking the House to sanction such a system but on the contrary a system of most careful and discriminating bonusing. At present instead of bonuses being used simply as a means to secure numbers of immigrants, they are used as a means to secure specially well selected settlers, such as are best suited to our conditions and circumstances. I have, therefore not a word to retract of anything I said regarding immigration in past years, because the policy I am urging at present is distinctly the one I then enunciated.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

My hon. friend is very modest when he says that because we echo the opinions he expressed in this House several years ago in opposition to the then declared policy of the government, we are giving indication that we have (trouble on our minds. The policy of the government has not changed since then.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

As far as my poor understanding goes, it has radically changed.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I do not want to prolong the discussion, but my recollection is that my hon. friend was then (thundering against the importation of Galicians and others from eastern Europe and stated very vigorously that we were grouping in the Northwest elements which would one day cause great trouble. Yet (to-day we are paying bonuses in the same part of Europe.

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June 4, 1908