February 10, 1909

CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

(Translation.) I was about to remark that such a moderate expenditure redounds to the credit of the Conservative leaders, who had not lost their heads on that immigration question as the Liberal party have done. To-day we are reaching up in the millions. Did my friend the hon. Postmaster General, or did any of these hon. gentlemen from the province of Quebec, in 1896, dream of appointing agents for the purpose of inducing our fellow-citizens in the eastern states to return to Canada? Did any one dream in

1896, of carrying on work'of that kind in the direction pointed to by the hon. member for L'Islet? By no means; there was not a single agent appointed, neither in

1897. The hon. Postmaster General was at the time Solicitor General. Did he accomplish anything in that direction? I am waiting for an answer. Here is what occurred-and there is nobody better aware of it than the Postmaster General himself

the then minister of the Interior had

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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU.

taken it into his head to inflict on the western country and heterogenous people, to fill up that country without care or discrimination. His sole ambition was to fill up the west, a queer notion, which had to be discarded pretty soon, owing to strong complaints made to our government by the United States authorities, regarding the class of people we subsidized. These European immigrants to whom or on whose account we paid bonuses would oftentimes find their way to the United States and flood that country with diseased and undesirable persons, who, on being shut out from the neighbouring republic, returned to Canada and remained a burden to us. How much did we spend in 1897-98 to bring here the first 7,000 Doukhobors? $48,000 to begin with. Will hon. gentlemen in this House who have taken an interest in this question and have studied it claim that the government has acted wisely in spending such an amount for the purpose of bringing here people of whom their fellow-citizens in Europe were glad to get rid; inflicting on the Northwest Territories the presence of 15,000 or 20,000 persons who go about naked on the prairie in quest of the Messiah.

We continued bringing here numbers of people who have been sent west; but after a while, owing to protests forthcoming from the United States, and from this side of the House, it was deemed necessary to adopt stricter regulations. At one time, a few members became indignant at the fact that we were spending over one million dollars a year advertising, after the Preston method, in the west, in Europe, in Germany, in Norway and in the British Isles, while abstaining from all active work in the eastern states. A move has been made with which probably the Postmaster General has had something to do-for I willingly acknowledge his patriotism and good intentions-a move has been made against that policy. _ In the_ eastern states, it wras urged, there is a desirable quota of settlers to" be obtained and nothing is done to enlist them. You have no agents on the spot, your endeavours in that direction are nil; complaints are beginning to be voiced in that regard, try and do something. Was there, yes or no, pressure exerted on the then Minister of the Interior? I have not in mind the present minister, but his predecessor in office the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton). At all events, after many and long continued exertions, met with stubborn resistance, the appointment of a few agents was granted. The Postmaster General states that be has to-day two such agents. _

I remember the time-and my friend from L'Islet must remember it also-when there were on the spot only a couple of poor, though zealous priests working not in their own interest, but in the country's

interest, receiving a modicum of about $600 per year, and whose accounts for expenses were audited and scrutinized in a gingerly way.

It may be that in the meantime the number of agents has been increased; but do we find entrusted with that important work of repatriating our own people any of those fine gentlemen, who, closely seated in their offices, draw on us at the rate of $6,000 or $7,000 a year, as are to be found in western Canada, in Michigan, or any other of the western states. Insignificant amounts have been voted for the purpose of repatriating our people, as compared with the hundreds of thousand dollars spent for the purpose of enlisting by improper methods-and I shall ever brand them as such-immigrants from various European countries, with the object of settling our lands and helping to build up a young nation; the whole work being carried on recklessly, without anything like the care required under the circumstances.

And what do we see to-day? While we have spent a million and a half in bonuses and salaries to agents spread through Europe for the purpose of bringing here 260,000 immigrants, what have we accomplished towards solving the problem brought to our attention by the member for L'Islet? We have in the United States a million and a half of our fellow-citizens, a number of whom are still British subjects; they still retain that fine feeling which prevents them from giving up their character of British citizens. They are well fitted for farm work, speak both languages, are inured to our climatic conditions. Why should we not carry on in their midst a systematic campaign for their repatriation, instead of continuing to send in their midst incompetent agents, simply because they happen to be the friends of some member, connections of some minister, and are in need of a job. I say that it would be possible for us without difficulty, to enlist *25,000, to say the least, of these admirable settlers who are desirous of returning here. .It has been objected, if they are desirous of coming back, should send for them and extend to them those facilities at least which we offer to the Doukhobors, when enlisting them in the back yards of Europe.

The plan proposed by the hon. member for L'Islet is a good one. We should have recourse to those associations having for their object the repatriation of such of our fellow-citizens as are desirous of returning to Canada and settling on farms. I have no information as to what has taken place in the case of the Lake Saint John Colonization Society; but as a rule, our colonization societies are made up of disinterested men, in whose eyes money is no object, their whole aim being the country's good.

If by means of some organization managed on business lines, we succeed in repatriating 25,000 or 30,000 of these good people, and have them take up lands either on the Western praries, or in British Columbia, or in Northern Ontario, or in the province of Quebec, wherein there are still large areas of vacant lands, I say that will be money well spent.

The question of immigration has never been taken up in this House as a truly national issue. We have gone into a system of bonusing the great transportation companies, which were offering inducements to their booking agents in the older countries of Europe for the purpose of recruiting immigrants and sending them to the Northwest. Then that system was extended for patronage ends, by the appointments of immigration agents, former members, or cousins or nephews of influential people, thus enabling them to live at the expense of the Government. I contend that it is time we should take up as a national issue the work of bringing back to Canada our fellow-citizens settled in foreign lands.

There is not only the Northwest to fill up. We have fertile lands still unoccupied in all the provinces. It should no longer be our object to frame our immigration policy with a view to directing westward an heterogenous population which can only he a source of embarrassment and difficulties. Such a problem should be viewed in all its bearings and solved as a whole.

To my mind, that question of the repatriation of our fellow-citizens has been very well set forth by my friend from L'Islet; and I hope the House will give due consideration to his remarks on the subject.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. L. P. BRODEUR.

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for L'lslet should be congratulated for having called the attenton of the House to that important question of the repatriation of the French Canadians settled in the United States. I certainly would have no criticism to offer of his speech, had it not recalled some utterances of his on the same subject, delivered during the last electoral campaign. That question is worthy of consideration, and it is my excuse for taking part in this debate.

My hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) has made a speech wherein party feeling is more in evidence than in the remarks made by the hon. member for L'Islet. It seems as if he had taken occasion of this debate to cast reflections on the policy followed by the government. For instance, I notice he has resorted to the Doukhobor cry. Some of our opponents in the province of Quebec have this as their stock argument at public meetings, that a certain number of Doukhobors hailing from Russia have settled in the western country. That is the crime for which our government is taken to task. However the member for Jacques Cartier has forgetten apparently the

statement made by his chief, the member for Halifax (Mr. R. L. Borden), leader of the Opposition, who, in the course of his recent journeyings through the West, highly eulogized the Doukhobors and Galicians.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

(Translation.) What is my hon. friend's authority for such a statement?

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUE.

(Translation.) The statement was made in this House last year, the leader of the opposition was present, and it is not to my knowledge that he contradicted the statement. If the hon. member for Jacques Cartier denies that the leader of the opposition has eulogized these people, of course I am bound to accept his statement; but, what I have heard of the debate last year is evidence to me that the leader of hon. gentlemen opposite has used such language, since he has not contradicted the statement. That statement, as I am informed, by the member for Belle-chasse (Mr. Talbot) is recorded in Hansard for 1907-1908, pages 1396 and 1397, wherein will be found the proofs in support of my contention, and I presume that in the course of this debate these utterances will be quoted anew word for word.

Moreover, the question should not be considered from the point of view of the partisan, and I very much regret that the member for Jacques Cartier should have thought fit to take such a stand, he who as a rule discusses these questions solely as to their merits.

The member for Jacques Cartier has made an extraordinary statement which, I am bound to say, is wholly without foundation.

Nobody can deny that for many years, people were going from Canada to the United States. This emigration began about 1840. It became more general after the reciprocity treaty of 1854, and was at its highest point, about 1870 and the succeeding years, until 1896.

That emigration from the province of Quebec and the other provinces was very large, as the fact can be proved by the statistics of the American government. From a report that has just been handed to me, I gather that in 1850, the year of the census, the number of Canadians that had emigrated to the United States was 147,711; in 1860, 249,970; in 1870, 493,464; in 1880, 717,154; in 1890, 980,938, and in 1900, 1,179,807.

The hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) has laid great stress on the emigration of French Canadians. I see that since a certain number of years, the emigration of the French Canadians, instead of being in the ascension, has rather decreased.

I can see by the American census of 1880 that there was at that time 980,938 Canadians in the United States; out of that number, 678,442 were of English origin and 302,496 of French origin. In 1890, there was an increase and, of a total of 1,179,207 Canadians, 784,741 were of English descent; so Mr. BRODEUR.

there was an increase of over 100,000, while the number of Canadians of French descent had passed from 302,000 to 395,000. We can see, then, that the emigration of French Canadians had proportionately decreased.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK (Translation).

What is the minister quoting from?

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BRODEUR (Translation).

These statistics are to be found in a memorandum published by the Trade and Labor Bureau of Washington. They are official.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK. (Translation).

Is not the American classification oi immigrants different from ours? Would not a Franch Canadian be classified as a Frenchman?

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BRODEUR. (Translation).

My hon. friend is mistaken; formerly the Canadians were entered without any mention of origin, but since 1890, a new classification has been adopted, and a distinction is made between French and English Canadians.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK. (Translation).

Will my hon. friend let me have this paper, when he is through with it ?

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BRODEUR. (Translation).

Certainly; with pleasure. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier said that the emigration from the province of Quebec has been going on since 1896 and that it is quite as numerous as formerly.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK. (Translation).

I did not say that; what I said was quite the contrary.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BRODEUR. (Translation).

I accept my hon. friend's denial, but he said that emigration to the United States was still very large and that a great number of farms were deserted. He mentioned Rou-ville county and made a reference to the parish of Saint Hilaire. There is not another parish that I know more about and I can say to my hon. friend that when I was a candidate for the first time, in 1891, I travelled through the county, and in the parishes of L'Ange-Gardien and Saint-Paul I saw concessions after concessions where the farms were deserted and the houses closed. What do we see to-day? Conditions are changed. Go through these same parishes and you will not see a single house closed.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK. (Translation).

Have those people returned?

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BRODEUR. (Translation).

Certainly. They have returned and they are prospering, thanks to the agricultural development that has taken place since 1896, and thanks, above all, to a progressive policy in the dairy industry, which is giving handsome profits to those who are engaged in it. That is the real situation and I have no doubt that my hon. friend has made that assertion without due consideration.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK. (Translation).

I will find out the exact locality and concessions.

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BRODEUR. (Translation).

I am sure that my hon. triend is mistaken. He may have seen some houses closed, but here is the explanation: the farmers are so well off that they sometimes buy the farm of a neighbour and close the house.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK. (Translation).

It is in what is called the ' rang des Trente.'

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BRODEUR. (Translation).

Here again my hon. friend is wrong. The matter is of no importance, but I simply wished to put my hon. friend right on that point.

Now, has the government done something for the repatriation of the French Canadians? The hon. member for Jacques Cartier has candidly admitted that the government of which he has been a strong supporter before 1896, had never appointed a single agent to that end. He must give us credit for having appointed, not one, or two, or six of such agents, but twelve.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK. (Translation).

Will the hon. Minister give us the names of these agents and the places where they are operating?

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February 10, 1909