February 10, 1909

CON

Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PAQUET.

(Translation.) The answer only covers that period ending January 1, 1908. I now ask for the statement relating to the time which has - elapsed since January 1, 1908.

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LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Liberal

Mr. ETHIER.

(Translation.) The hon. member from Jacques Cartier has referred to vacant houses. I am the representative of one of the princiual farming constituencies in the province of Quebec. There are no manufactures in our county ; every one is a farmer. The same thing may be said of Terrebonne, save for St. Jerome, where there are a few industrial establishments. The hon. member from Terrebonne no doubt recalls that a great number of young farmers from the north used to leave their families to go to the United States. They went awav m order to earn their daily bread which they could not get in their own country, and these things happened under the administration of those gentlemen. Now, what do we see to-day? Rich and prosperous Winning communities. No more farms are sold by the sheriff, as it has been pointed out a moment ago by the hon. member from Bellechasse when he was referring to the Quebec district.

If you enter the registration office at St. Jerome for the county of Terrebonne or at Ste. Scholastique for the county of Two Mountains, you will notice that the mortgages are paid off and the discharges numerous ; the farmers pay their

debts. . , ,,

Besides the agents already appointed, the government have established special intelligence officers and we gather from the report of the Minister of the Interior that the United States government are getting alarmed on account of the results :

Here is what the report says:

It is impossible, the Deputy Minister of the Interior observes, in an essay on repatriation, to leave out statistics referring to the American immisrration, one-tenth of which is represented by former Canadians.

Everything shows that the government of the United States is becoming alarmed at the return of our former citizens and the emigration of the Yankees from the west towards the rich plains of Canada.

Statistics as well as facts prove that the government did not forget nor sacrifice the French Canadian as it was hinted in the province of Quebec during the last elections, and that the man who to-day would say that their interests are disregarded for the sake of the Doukhobors and the Galicians would not be believed by the readers of Canadian newspapers any more than he was believed by the electorate on October 16 last. And when the public shall hear Mr. EITHER.

about this discussion it will be once more proven that under the protection of Canada's greatest son the interests of our fellow-countrymen are as safe as any other.

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LIB

Marie Joseph Demers

Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH DEMERS (St. John and iberville).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, if [ intend to say a few words upon this question, it is not because the hon. member from Jacques Cartier has apparently reproached the Liberal member for not having spoken before about repatriation. It may have been that we have not discussed that matter but the government have taken measures and deeds are worth more than

WThe hon. member from Jacques Cartier, it seems, has made a poor reply to the statement of the Postmaster General who said that since 1896 the government had put a stop to our fellow countrymen towards the United States. The minister, the hon. member says, should not make that statement because he had himself noticed that the houses vacated before 1896 m the ties of Jacques Cartier and Rouville were still unoccupied. That reply is not con-

ClWe have never contended that he had

caused every Canadian to return from the United States. In order to make a satis factory reply the member from Jacques Cartier should have been able to assert that a great number of houses have been dosed since 1896 on account of the departure of the inmates for the United States, a statement which would not have been founded on facts.

So far as the member from L Islet is concerned I do not think that he was actuated by the unworthy desire of iattacking the administration, but we have heard so many accusations against the policy of the government, so many reproaches about the lick of k policy that I think te Postaa, ter General was in duty bound to put the facts in their true_ hght so as toJ^ispe\ erroneous impression which it was sought to create among the people.

Bv his motion the member from L Islet

asks for: ,

A copy of all correspondence, returns and documents between the Department of the Ulterior and the immigration agents in the United States, and between the Department of the Interior and the colonization societies

. . , - , o t_______ 1 flAQ

I am at a loss to understand how we could deny such a request. On the contrary, we should grant it for I believe that the hon. gentleman, if he carefully peruse those documents, will be enlightened and have a better opinion of the government policy on that matter. He will be able to notice what the government have done and to amend his ideas as to their desire as far as our fellow countrymen are concerned.

For several years past our government has made with foreign countries arrangements with a view to restricting immigration, and by restriction of immigration the return home of our fellow-citizens is not at all meant. If we are bound to congratulate the government for having thus restricted foreign immigration, we are also bound to congratulate them for the inducements extended to our fellow-citizens in order to bring about their return to Canada. We are in need of more men with strong bodies and large brains to help in the development of our great national heritage, and I am aware that no better settlers will ever be found than the sons of Canada, though unfortunate circumstances may have compelled them to emigrate to the United States.

Let us hope that the government will not depart from the policy they have been following heretofore in the country's greater interest.

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CON

Joseph Girard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. GIRARD (Chicoutimi).

-(Translation.)-Mr. Speaker, in the course of the remarks which have just been made on that very interesting question brought up by the hon. member for L'Islet, reference was made to the cutting off of the subsidy of $5,000 paid during a certain length of time by this government to the Lake St. John Colonization and Repatriation Society, and there was evinced a disposition to blame the government on that account. I witnessed the beginnings of that society while I had the honour of being a member of the Quebec legislature. I took a hand in its organization and it was at my request that the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurieri agreed to pay the first grant of $4,000, subsequently raised to $5,000, to help it in carrying on its work, which was in good faith deemed practical and beneficial to the country. Subsequently, in view of certain well established facts, I took the responsibility, after consulting public opinion in my district, of recommending to the Prime Minister that the subsidy be no longer paid, and that a trial be made of some more practical organization, or of one at any rate as would secure more satisfactory results to the government. Papers concerning that transaction, which I shall request the government to lay on the table of the House, will set forth the facts which brought about the government's action in the matter and evince its wisdom under the circumstances.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister has approved of the appointment of a member of the clergy as lecturer to visit the principal Canadian centres in the United States, expound the advantages now offered by Canada to those willing to settle on its lands ; and at the same time he has appointed more agents to supervise the repatriation movement among Canadians there. The policy followed by the govern-28

ment heretofore has met with my approval, and I have yet to find anything which I would be inclined to blame; far from it.

To my mind, repatriation is a question of political and social economy, and to such an extent that the work which has been carried on by the government for a number of years has never given very satisfactory results. Hence an inclination to believe that the policy followed has been a wrong one. I am earnestly of the belief that who ever is dealing with this question is desirous to give every one his due, should of all necessity do away with all spirit of partisanship, considering that repatriation is an entirely patriotic move, to which all should be glad to lend a hand, if a result satisfactory to all concerned is to be arrived at promptly. I have had the honour at different times to go to the United States and address at times numerous meetings in Canadian centres. I have met there considerable numbers of Canadians who had not taken out their naturalization papers in the United States, who were anxious to return to Canada, but who deemed it a necessity to remain just where they were, being satisfied that on this side of the frontier they would not be in a position to procure for themselves and their families the same comforts, nor to effect savings to the same extent. The same reason was invariably given: ' In case we returned to Canada,

what would become of our daughters and of our boys who find here throughout the week employment suited to their strength, at reasonable salaries, which enable us to live comfortably and even to lay money aside? Were we to be deprived of those daily returns which is coming to us, we would all of us be left without means of living comfortably, and, of course, no savings could be effected.'

So then in the eyes of a great number of Canadian fellow-citizens who are now living in the United States, farming in Canada, despite all we may say to the contrary does not give sufficient returns to induce them to give up a sure thing over there and run the risk of settling down in Canada. As a result, there is a need of persistent canvassing in the midst of those people, who are not sufficiently in touch with what is going on here to appreciate as they should be appreciated our publications and lectures on the subject, and therefore cannot be persuaded that it is of immediate and undoubted interest to them to return to Canada. To fully realize the difficulties in the way of bringing about repatriation, it is necessary to have acquired experience in the matter through reading and listening to antiCanadian literature and utterances, spread in the form of correspondence and speeches by prominent men. It is all very well to wax eloquent as regards the development of our navigable waterways and of our transportation facilities, as means of facilitating

the success of such a movement. That, to my mind, is no answer at all to the question which is put to us on all sides: What means of livelihood have you to offer to our girls and boys, who contribute daily, however small the quota, to the supnort and comfort of the family. Such facts as these show what difficulties the government has tp cope with in its work. I for one am content of what has been accomplished in the past, and I know that the Prime Minister and his colleagues are anxious to take all the possible measures at their disposal to bring about in a practical wav and in a way beneficial to the country, the settlement of that repatriation difficulty. I am aware that they are always glad to receive suggestions from whatever source, provided they are of a nature to promptly bring about the results expected from the moneys spent yearly for that purpose.

In a matter of such great moment, let then each one of us consider it as his duty to contribute his quota of advice and endeavour, and very shortly the House will have the satisfaction of noting a change for the better. I do not wish to detain the House any longer, and I now resume my seat, with the hope that this question will be further discussed later on in the course of this session, and that a greater number of members will then be in a position to give us the benefit of their thoughts and researches in reference to that important matter.

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CON

Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PAQUET.

(Translation.) I am in sympathy with the remarks just made by my hon. friend from Chicoutimi. He has dealt with the question from the social point of view and not from the standpoint of politics. I hope the House will grant an order for the return asked for, which will enable us to judge what changes the government should effect.

I for one have dealt with the question from the social viewpoint, and with an earnest desire to help on the work of repatriation, and accordingly I have set aside all political considerations.

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Motion agreed to.


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

What business will be taken up to-morrow if we should reach government orders?

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

We will take penitentiary estimates, and if it is convenient to the other side we may take the Civil Service resolution.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Do I understand that the motion was passed?

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Yes.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I regret that I did not understand that because I was under the impression that my hon. friend was willing to amend it.

At six o'clock the House adjourned.

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CON

February 10, 1909