May 18, 1909

CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

How much of this is intended to pay bonuses on immigrants coming to this country?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

$45,000 is estimated for British Bonuses, $8,000 for Continental bonuses, $4,000 on children and $5,000 on settlers from the United States.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I feel that I voice the sentiments of my own constituents and of many people in the country when I say that the minister is appropriating just $62,000 too much for this purpose. This country is big enough and rich enough to attract a good class of settlers without paying booking agents to induce them to come here or steamship companies to bring them. If we do not get Immigration as rapidly without bonuses as by giving bonuses I shall not lament over it. I think we are getting immigration quite fast enough, in fact, we are getting it just a little faster than we can take care of it. Immigrants have to be taken care of when they come to this country. Look at the burden you are imposing on the people of Canada apart from government agencies. Look at the burdens imposed on the churches, in connection with the care of those people. Go to Winnipeg and see the large expense involved in the care of delicate, sickly children. It is really lamentable that we should bring to this country that class of people in such large numbers. When Sir Richard Cartwright was in opposition he moved to reduce by $50,000 an item of $120,000 which the Conservative government asked in a very modest way to promote immigration, showing the difficulties the government of that day encountered in getting a little money for that purpose. I repeat that there is plenty of time in which to settle this country. If we are more careful in the selection of our immigrants now I am sure that those who follow us will be thankful. I am so strongly opposed to the bonus system that I am compelled at this stage to submit a motion to the committee and test the feeling of the House on this question. It was a live question during my contest and I know that 1 was strongly supported in any declaration I made against the bounsing system. Without waiting further, and in OTder to give expression to my opinion, I beg to move;

That all sums in item 62 for bonuses to booking agents be struck out and the item reduced accordingly.

If the minister accepts that motion, he will receive the approval ot the people. We are spending money very rapidly, and this is a direction in which we can well afford to economize. This country offers sufficient inducements to settlers without spending the hard earned money of the taxpayers to bring in people to compete with Canadian labour.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

My hon. friend the Minister of the Interior must not forget that the Labour Congress of Canada has asked for this since many years, and the labouring classes in Montreal are entirely opposed to bonuses. Under the order in council granting bonuses to agents on navvies, there is practically no restriction, and our agents can get bonuses on any one they bring out. Let us save this money and do something to satisfy the working classes. I do not believe that bonuses ever got us an immigrant.

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CON

David Marshall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MARSHALL.

I think that if the minister would encourage young women, to come to this country that would be a move in the right direction. The business I am connected with is very much handicapped for lack of that class of labour. We cannot go to the other side for help of that kind, because that is against the law. There is a good deal said about immigration, but the trouble is we are bringing in people that are no use to the country, but here is a special class which it is very desirable to bring in, and if the minister would do something to encourage that immigration, he would help the canning industry. Any good girl in a factory can earn $1 to $1.60 per day. And we could increase our business if we were sure of getting women help. There is no trouble in getting men to help, but it is women help we want.

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CON

John Barr

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARR.

I hope the Minister of the Interior will be more careful than he has been in the past with regard to the class of immigration we are getting. We are getting a large number of undesirables. Our immigration agent, Mr. Scott, had to admit in the Agricultural Committee that the medical examination was not sufficiently effective and consequently there are people coming to this country who are an injury to its morals and health. If we look through the records of our jails, we will find that during the last three years a large amount of the criminals are immigrants. The Toronto 'Star', an organ supporting the government, said in an editorial the other day, that a large number of immigrants were thrown upon the city of Toronto and had to be maintained by the charitable institutions. It is in the interest

of the country that the Northwest should not be filled up with foreigners who do not make good citizens, and we would be pursuing a much better course if we would keep our prairie fields for the sons t>f Canada or the United States and Britain. We all know that, as far as the Americans are concerned, a large number who come in are good citizens. Canadians can settle along side of them and they become good neighbours. But I think that these undesirables who are brought into the country are most injurious. I believe a. more thorough system of inspection should be adopted, and that none should be allowed to settle in this country who are not desirable. It has been said that the bonus will induce the booking agents to send us immigrants. But these men have only one object and that is to get the money, and if they can load more people on Canadian soil they accomplish their object. But we know that, so far as the United States are concerned, they are very careful, for it is almost impossible for an undesirable immigrant to land in that country. The result is that the undesirables are sent to Canada, very much to the injury of this country. i

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LIB

Michael Clark

Liberal

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK.

I intervene in this debate with great reluctance, particularly at this advanced period of the session. And that reluctance may not be wholly irrespective of the consideration that, as a recent immigrant, I may be looked upon as an undesirable and possible contaminator of the morals of the hon. member (Mr. Barr) who has just resumed his seat. I intervene in the debate, however, for one definite purpose, that of expressing the hope that the minister will turn a very deaf ear indeed to the expressions of opinion to which I have listened for the last three-quarters of an hour. If he does not, whatever may be the opinion held of him in eastern Canada, I am perfectly sure that western Canada will readily form the opinion that a remarkably sane brain has, for the moment, been turned by opinion as opposed to argument, fact and experience. It is said that an ounce of fact is worth a pound of theory. Yes, and an ounce of experience is worth ia ton of opinion. I may say that I went, two years ago, a3 an immigrant agent to the old country under appointment from my hon. friend the Minister of Interior (Mr. Oliver). I suppose my expenses for the three months' trip amounted to $800 or $900. It is an invidious and distasteful thing to me to mention any results of my own work, but when one hears statements made in this House composed only of opinion, unbacked by one single actual fact, I feel bound, in the defence of the minister and his policy, to say that, as the result of my own efforts people have come and Mr. MARSHALL.

settled in my own neighbourhood who were worth thousands not of dollars but of pounds. Will any hon. member say, when a delegate goes from western Canada to Great Britain, and as a result of his efforts he has the felicity of bringing in such families, as clean morally and physically, and every one as clear intellectually and perhaps a shade clearer than some of those whom we have listened to in this House, will any one say that the $800 or $900 spent in the expense of that delegate is something to be begrudged?

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Would the hon. member (Mr. Clark) have any objection to giving the name of the family to which he refers? Because, in spite of all our attempts, we have never been able to get any names.

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LIB

Michael Clark

Liberal

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK.

I am Tather surprised to have a question like that addressed to me by the hon. member for Jacques-Cartier (Mr. Monk). I said that to give names and facts would be invidious and distasteful. I meant that it would be invidious and distasteful, not* to myself but to the people to whom I felt it necessary to refer. But I will meet my hon. friend, whom, in private and in public, I have found always a most courteous gentleman, by saying that I shall be glad to give him privately immediately after this debate, or before the evening closes, the name and address of the particular immigrant whom I had in mind when I spoke of thousands of pounds. I will give him facts to the hilt to justify my statement; I have never made a statement in this House which I am not prepared to back up so far as my knowledge carries me. I hope I have said sufficient to indicate that, whatever may be the view, backed by opinion and opinion only, in eastern Canada, we hold very different views in western Canada, backed by facts as opposed to opinion, backed by experience, backed by knowledge of the conditions of that western country. I do not want to go any further. But it would be extremely easy to compare the results of immigration twelve years ago with the results of immigration to-day. I do not wonder that Sir Richard Cartwright, in those days wanted to withdraw any sums spent on immigration, because when the immigrants, so far from increasing, are decreasing, when the policy adopted does not settle the land, and does not bring people, but is reducing the country to stagnation, the sooner the expending of money in that way is cut off the better for the country. But no one can contend that that is the condition to-day. Stop immigration! Yes. And stop your railway building. Stop the cultivation of the soil; stop your factories. It is the west that takes the product of these factories. I wonder gentlemen in the east do not see how mistaken is the thinking that divides this

country into east and West. The interests of the east and west are one. I say for this government that, so far as their immigration policy is concerned, so far as their land policy is concerned, the east and west are one and that this policy, so far as my experience goes, has been a great success.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I would like to put one question to the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark) to find out whether his address has any bearing on the amendment I have moved. I have wondered if the gentleman he has referred to as coming to this country and bringing so much money was brought out by means of a bonus. If not, then the hon. member's speech has nothing to do with the question.

I would like to ask him whether this gentleman was a bonus immigrant or not.

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LIB

Michael Clark

Liberal

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK.

I could not say that the immigrant was the direct result of a bonus, though I did say, I hope with becoming modestv. that he had come here as the result of my own efforts. I hope the hon. member (Mr. Henderson) will not think he can catch me in such a hole, even at this advanced hour of the night and of the session. I wish I had time to discuss this question. This, I suppose, is the night before prorogation. But I wish I had time to take members on the Conservative side and tell them the simple facts of what I did. I know, as a matter of fact, that the bonus system has led to many good immigrants coming to Canada, if that will satisfy my hon. friend. In the remarks I have just addressed to the House I was dealing with a number of speeches which had been made and not alone with the motion technically before the committee. I say that I know as a matter of fact that bonuses have brought numbers of people to this country. The shipping agents work for this bonus. They talk these immigration matters over with the farm delegates who are sent to the old country. A wise farm delegate tells many more people not to come out to Canada than he tells to come. He addresses, it may be, fifty or sixty people at one time, and at others he interviews single individuals, and I can assure the committee that again -and again I advised them by no means to come near Canada. They were better fitted for where they were. A wise choice is made by the shipping agent in co-operation with the farm delegate. With regard to the bonus system, I feel perfectly certain that it is part of the machinery which has worked well as compared with the immigration results as they were before this government came into power.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY.

I should be sorry indeed to contribute anything in addition to what has been said by the hon. member for Hal-ton (Mr. Henderson) and those of the hon.

member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk), which the hon. member for Red Deer might apprehend as producing the sad effect of deafening the ears of the Minister of the Interior or the far more disastrous result of turning his powerful brain.

I should be very sorry indeed to take any part in those terrible operations. But I would like to add my word in support of this motion, which constitutes an objection and a condemnation of a particular form of encouragement to immigration, and not by any means an attack upon any system of encouragement. It seems to me that this bonusing system, this paying of something to the man who sends an immigrant, is a system which exposes us to have sent to this country undesirable people. What means does the minister indicate that he has at his disposal to control the class of immigrants that come here? He says they have to pass our examination; and we had some figures given this evening to show us what it costs to get rid of people who pass our examination. But more than that. I understand these bonuses are paid to persons who are supposed to follow particular avocations, and to devote themselves to particular occupations. Now, I am curious to know what means the minister has to control the truth of the statements that persons coming here do engage in those occupations. Can he show to us that the persons who come here as being immigrants of those different classes for which bonuses are paid, turn out, when they get into this country, to be persons who are actually engaged in those occupations? I think if the minister would go into the centres of population, among the working men of Montreal, he would find there a considerable number of recently arrived immigrants in full competition with the men who are engaged in other occupations than those which the minister says he has in view in paying these bonuses. He will find there is a very prevalent belief among those working men who associate with these immigrants, that the bonus has a considerable effect in bringing into this country people who are not of the classes who are mentioned in the law, but people who compete with the working men in our cities, when work is none too plentiful, and who compete with them often in such a manner as to reduce the value of their wage and earning power. It does seem to me that the Trade and Labour Council organizations who have objected to this bonusing system make out a strong case against it, and that they are well within their rights in complaining that the public moneys of this country, to which they contribute as well as others, are used in a way which makes it possible to bring into the cities among our workingmen persons who compete with them in a field that is already more than

full. I desire to say that I give my hearty support to the motion of my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk). I would be glad to flatter myself that any word of mine might induce the minister to reconsider his policy in this regard. I fancy that even in the western country there could be no objections to doing away with a system which to a great extent creates for the working men of this country a strong reason for believing that the system works prejudicially to their interests.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I have no doubt that the working men do believe what my hon. friend has said, because he and his friends take every means to make them believe it. But it is not true.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY.

I have learned it from them, I never tried to teach it to them.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I want to say that we give bonuses and we employ agents for the purposes set out in the documents which are before the House, and the evidence that we are successful is found in the records of the takings of land in the west. We are endeavouring to get settlers on the land, and we are getting settlers, on the land as they were never got before. During the past year 40,000 homesteads were taken in the three prairie provinces.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY.

Were those homesteaders bonused?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Some of them no doubt were. I have not got the record, but it is the class of people who take homesteads who are entitled to the bonus, or the shipping agents who send them here are entitled to the bonus, and they are not entitled to a bnous on people who come into competition with the hon. gentleman's constituents.

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LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. URIAH WILSON.

How many of these were from the older provinces?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I cannot tell. It matters not how many were from the older provinces. The point is that a great many of them were people who were attracted to Canada by the efforts of the Immigration Department, and that it is because of those efforts that we find so many homesteads being taken up. The result to the constituents of my hon. friend is not to bring men into competition with them, but it gives them employment for their labour, and if there are to-day 100,000 people more in Montreal than there were 10 years ago, and if these people are getting better wages than they did 10 or 12 years ago, and my hon. friend from St. Anne knows they do, it is because the Immigration Department has brought in and settled such great numbers of people on the land.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY.

Is the hon. gentleman justified in connecting as cause and effect his bonuses and people taking up these Mr. DOHERTY.

lands, any more than the working man is justified in connecting as cause and effect the bonuses and people who come and settle in cities?

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May 18, 1909