March 12, 1914

?

Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE:

You might as well leave the inspection until you get to this side, as to have the inspection half way across the ocean, because no vessel will turn back if they discover smallpox or trachoma when they are at sea. There is only one way, and my hon. friend will agree that the best way is to do the inspecting on the other side.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I will agree with my hon. friend who has just spoken to the extent of wishing that it were possible to mitigate the horrors of deportation or even of rejection. I would be willing to support the Administration in going to very great lengths to mitigate the conditions that exist at the present time, that, under the system that now prevails, must exist. They are just as deplorable as my hon. friend has suggested, and in the interests of humanity they should be avoided so far as possible. I am afraid with all my hon. friend's goodness of heart-and nobody will say he has not a large measure of that-I think he lacks, if I may criticise, to some extent, the principle of charity in considering the views and limitations of other people; and he has perhaps not considered in all its bearings the difficulties that surround his proposition. At the same time there is a deplorable condition. I am sure the minister himself must have felt that when cases have been brought to his attention, and I am sure that he would wish, as I would wisa, to see that condition mitigated as far as possible. I would be glad if the Government would take such measures as on full consideration may seem possible to secure a mitigation of the miseries resulting from the necessary strict enforcement of the law in regard to rejection and deportation. I would be willing as a member of the Opposition to give him a free hand in such an endeavour and I would certainly commend it strongly to the minister that he take consideration of the representations made by my hon. friend to go so far as he can.

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?

Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE:

Does my hon. friend not think it would be possible to have the inspection done on the other side? I know it would not be easy for any person to do, and because it is hard we are asking the minister himself to find a way of doing it.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I do not need to take time to-night to argue that point. I do not say that the difficulties in the way cannot be overcome. I am putting myself in the position, as a member of the Opposition, of giving the minister a free h'and ip undertaking to overcome these difficulties, which I recognize to a degree which probably my hon. friend (Mr. Bickerdike) does not recognize. Those difficulties may possibly be overcome and I would he glad to see the minister take the opportunity of overcoming them so far as he can. Nothing caused me more difficulty of mind during the time I had charge of the Immigration Department than this matter of deportation and rejection, but I felt that the interests of the country demanded that there should be a policy of restriction and selection. Parliament vested that authority in me and, unpleasant though it was, I felt that I was compelled to do my duty as it was laid down. In the light of subsequent events it may- be possible to do better now than was done then, and I will be glad to see the minister do better if it is possible to be done. I will join with my hon. friend on this occasion.

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?

Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE:

It is the first time.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Never too late to mend.

I will join with my hon. friend on this occasion, and urge on the favourable consideration of the Government some effort to mitigate those conditions.

In regard to the more general question that was up for consideration in the early part of the discussion,

I wish to say that I am very much pleased at the announcement made by the minister that the lid is on definitely at any rate for the season 1914. I think he has taken a very proper course in deciding that there shall be no relaxation of the regulations during this season and he is entitled to every credit for having taken due measures at the proper time. In regard to his explanation as to the number of people going from Canada to the United States, it is to he regretted that the information is not more definite, hut still it is measurably satisfactory to know that the conditions are not as represented in the returns of the United States Government. I will say, however, that the information that was given indicates a situation that is still somewhat serious. If my memory is correct, my hon. friend mentioned that some 800 cases were investigated, 400 of which were found to be people who had returned or were returning to Canada. If that meant that of the 800 eases investigated, 400 were

really emigrants to the United States, it means that there is a drift of people to the United States much larger than we had any idea of. I would suggest that the matter be gone into more fully so that we can see justwhatour position is in this matter of the coming and going of population.

In regard to the better financial condition of the people coming from the United States, my hon. friend

said that although fewer homesteads were taken up he had reason to believe that there were more land purchases. I will he glad if that is the case, but again the reports do not indicate it.

I find that the land sales by the different land-owning companies in the West, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1913, are only $9,867,000 as against $18,000,000 for the year before, and that again is nearly a million dollars less than the sales of the year before that-the year ended March 31, 1911. The records are against the supposition of my hon. friend. I would be very glad if it turns out not to be the case, but I am speaking from the record of the department as I find it.

I wish to say that the reason given by my hon. friend for the lessening in the number of homestead entries, if it be correct, and I am not going to controvert his view at the moment, that we have reached highwater mark in our record of homestead entries and that our available homesteads in the West are practically exhausted, means that our position as a field for immigration has undergone a radical change, and it will .be necessary for us to adjust our efforts in regard to immigration in accordance with that new condition. Until the present time, the basic idea of our immigration effort has been to secure the occupation of available vacant land in the Northwest. All other features of our immigration policy merely followed upon that one. If that feature has been either eliminated or minimized, it means that our whole theory of immigration has been changed and it will be necessary to change our system accordingly. If we have not that field for immigrants, then there is no reason for pursuing the policy of inducing such immigrants to come. It is a matter to be considered whether, if the condition is as my hon. friend suggested, we should revise our whole attitude and view. If wo have no more free land available, but if the field now lies in the development of land already occupied, this new condition looks to the securing of a different class

of immigrants. The class of immigrants that occupies the free land is one class, but the class of immigrants that furnishes labour upon land already occupied is another class, and we would have to adjust our immigration efforts and policy accordingly.

The other serious feature I spoke of, and which the minister dealt with, was the large increase in immigration from southern Europe. It is a fact that the immigration of certain classes of people from northern Europe would be a means of strengthening and improving our nationality. It is just as true that a serious influx of .people from southern Europe would he to the detriment of our nationality. Not that these people are not just as good as we are, ibut their social ideals, their ideas of Government, their ideas of living generally, are different from ours, and their presence in large or dominant numbers would mean that our national life would undergo a substantial revision or change. As far as present lines are concerned it would be weakened and not strengthened. My hon. friend says: Yes we are receiving an increased number of these southern European people; but we are not responsible for it; there are certain regulations provided, and if these people comply with those regulations they are, of course, entitled to come in; we make no endeavour to bring them here; they come of their own accord; if they comply with the regulations we must let them in, and there is nothing more for us to do. I do not know what -view my 'hon. friend and the Government may take, but if it is admitted that a large influx of people having different racial characteristics different social ideals, different views in regard to matters of government, is undesirable and if our present regulations are not sufficient for preserving the conditions as we would wish them to be, it is necessary that the Government should make provision to protect those racial characteristics, those ideals of social life and of government that we have at the present time, and Which it is our ambition to perpetuate. The Government is responsible in this matter, and the -country looks to the Government to safeguard it in this as in other particulars.

It is very flattering to the late Government to find that their policy has been adopted and their administration followed up in matters of immigration, and if conditions. remained the same I would have

fMr. Oliver.]

thought, certainly, that the -Government would he well advised in undertaking that course, but if conditions have radically changed, as my hon. friend intimates, they have, in regard to the measurahle exhaustion of the free land on the prairies of the West on the one hand, and an influx of uninduced southern European people on the other hand, steps should be taken to meet those conditions whatever they may be.

I was struck by what my hon. friend from East Middlesex (Mr. Glass) said, in drawing a comparison between the rapid increase of deportations in 1908 as compared with 1907, and 1913 as compared with 1912. He said that the large deportations in 1908 and 1913 were no doubt due to the recurrence of a financial stringency. That is no doubt a fact, and is exactly why I criticised the Government for the condition existing. In 1907, we had a somewhat parallel condition to that prevailing to-day. We had had a period of rapid expansion and prosperity succeeded by a financial depression which threw a great many people out of work. The difference is, that in 1907 we had not adopted the policy of selection, restriction and direction that was embodied in the Act of 1910, and that was in full force and effect when the present Administration took office. It was because of the experience of 1907 and 1908 that we were led to the conclusion that it was necessary to adopt a restrictive, selective and directive policy. We provided by legislation and regulations to that end. We left that law and those regulations in operation when we went out of office. My judgment, based on the experience of 1907, is that our friends did not carry out those regulations; did not live up to the spirit of that Act-were impressed rather with the desire of having a large number than with maintaining the high quality that the Act contemplated; and that it was only when circumstances changed; when it was seen, as it must have been seen, that a mistake had been made, they undertook to repair the mistake by enforcing the provisions of the law very stringently. In the light that they had, with the law and the regulations in their hands, matters should not have reached that point, when it would have been necessary to make such heavy deportations and such large exclusions. That is the criticism I make.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

Does the hon. member make due 'allowance for that stringency being the cause of emigration from European countries? The financial stringency

which was felt in this country and on this continent was also felt in England and other European countries, thus driving men out of employment there more than ordinarily. Would not that act as a predisposing cause to increased emigration of the poorer classes?

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I have no explanation

that would lead me to that conclusion. On the contrary although I have heard it stated in the House several times that conditions in Great Britain were depressed as they were in this country, that, on my information, is not by any means the fact. I have recently seen in one of the leading London papers an official report stating that employment was never as brisk in Great Britain as it was during the summer of 1913; therefore, so far as the British Isles are concerned, there would be no condition that would force labour to Canada. In regard to continental Europe, certainly so far as the Balkan countries were concerned, instead of men coming from these countries as they did in former yeaTS, the men who had come in former years had gone back to fight the battles of their country, mak-. mg a very serious inroad into the actual working population of our country. My information, therefore, would not bear out the suggestion made by my hon. friend.

The Government was impressed with the idea that it was well that we should have a big immigration, and they lifted the lid; the immigration came and they had to shut the lid down. It was unfortunate that they should have had to do so. It would have been still more unfortunate if they had not done so; but the unfortunate condition was in my opinion the result of an error on their part, and I hope it will not occur again.

Is the minister able to give the House any information as to what course the Government intends to pursue in regard to the matter dealt with in the Order in Council of the 8th of December, 1913?

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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

Before the -end of this

month we will take some action. The matter is under consideration, but if has not yet been definitely decided what action will be taken. [DOT]

In Tegard to the query of the hon. member for South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll) I would direct his attention to section 45 of the Immigration Act:

Every person who does in Canada, anything for the purpose of causing or procuring the publication or circulation, by advertisement or

otherwise, in a country outside of Canada, of false representations as to the opportunities tor employment in Canada, or as to the state of the labour market in Canada, intended or adapted to encourage or induce or to deter or prevent, the immigration into. Canada of persons resident in that country, or who does anything in Canada for the purpose of causing or procuring the communication to any resident of such country of any such false representations, shall, if any such false representations are thereafter so published, circulated or communicated, be guilty of an offence against the Act, and liable, on summary conviction before two justices of the peace, to a penalty for each offence of not more than five -hundred dollars or to imprisonment for not more than six months.

I do not know whether the hon. gentleman, when he asked that question, had in mind the circular read by the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Verville) this afternoon, a circular which I stated I had not previously seen. [DOT] If any such advertisement has been inserted in any newspaper in any country, it has been the practice of the department to notify that paper that it is not in accordance with our Immigration Act, and there has never been any difficulty in having the paper cut out such an advertisement. I would like to have the circular in order that we may take whatever action is necessary.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL :

I had in mind the same circular. I was referring to a copy of it, and I probably made a mistake in sending back my reply. I thought that, if the labour bureau -sent men over to Germany, Russia, Italy or any country and make no false representations, they could import labour provided the labourers when they came in had the required fifty dollars, or whatever the amount may be. As I understand the Act. they were not allowed to advertise at all.

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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

No, but they were not to make false representations.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

That is exactly the

answer I gave, and I wanted to know from the minister that it was correct. While I should be sorry to see immigrants brought in through false representations, yet there is a condition in that part of the country that requires their bureau to act and bring in labour. As I read the circular there was no false representation with regard to wages. As a matter of fact, in the mines of Cape Breton wages are much above those cited. Helpers in the mines get $1.80 and $2 f day. However, that is the answer I gave, though I did not find in tne Immigration Act exactly what the minister read. Still, misrepresentations have been made during

labour troubles. I brought a case to the attention of the House last year, and I am sorry to say that at that time the minister was away on account of illness. Hon. members will recall the case as that of the photo-engravers in Toronto. These men represented to me and to other members on this side of the House, and probably first to the Government, that labour was being imported under false representations for the purpose of breaking the strike. I brought to the attention of the Acting Minister of the Interior-the Minister of Labour (Mr. Crothers) I think it was-the provision of the Immigration Act under which the department may make regulations forbidding the coming into the country during labour troubles or strikes of the kind of labour affected. I think I am within the mark when I say that during troubles between capital and labour the department should bring that regulation into effect. I am not going into the facts of the case, but these people had a real grievance against their employers and were trying to better their condition. Yet their class of labour was imported under misrepresentation, as shown by the documents I read. I would ask the minister if it is not possible for his department under the Immigration Aet to make regulations forbidding the entrance into Canada for a specified time of the particular class of labour affected by a strike.

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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

We have, of course, put this regulation so far as British Columbia is concerned, under the clause the hon. gentleman refers to. We can pass an Order in Council prohibiting them for a certain time, and it was under that provision that we passed the Order in Council which expires at the last of this month.

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LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

I am glad the minister agrees with me. Last year the acting minister said it was impossible to do anything under the Act. I thought that that clause of the Act read very plainly.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

In regard to the order of the 8th of December, of course it is understood that this order is passed because of the difficulties in regard to Hindu immigration. Can the minister say how many Hindus there are in British Columbia now?

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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

Our figures show about 2,200.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I thought I saw that it was five thousand.

[*lr. Carroll.]

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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

I have seen that stated in the press, and I admit that figures quoted by some British Columbia people have put the number at four or five thousand; but the last census, in 1911, I believe, showed there were about 2,200.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The minister does not care to say what action the Government proposes to take, whether they will depend upon the two amended Orders in Council or not. For my part, I believe that if it is not possible to secure the exclusion of these people by the Orders in Council already in existence before this one of December 8 was promulgated, or the amendments, it would be very much more in the interests of Canada that a regulation be passed simply excluding these people. I think this Order in Council of the 8th of December is a very unfortunate one unless it is intended to cover some point other than Hindu immigration. It covers all classes of artisans and labourers, and its effect is to exclude white men while admitting Chinese and Japanese. I think the Government was anything but well advised in passing such an order, and I think it would be much better, if they think they could not depend on the orders already in existence, simply to pass an order declaring the mind of the people of Canada, that Canada can get along better without these people than with them, and take action accordingly.

I have another little matter to bring to the attention of the minister, not of general interest but of particular interest, and I will occupy only a minute or two in dealing with it. I have not troubled the House or the Government much in regard to the dismissal of officials in my constituency, and I do not intend to' take up time with it to-night. A great deal of discussion has gone on in the House with regard to dismissals and the reasons for them. I moved for papers, and the returns have been brought down. These relate to three dismissals of officers of the Immigration Department in the constituency of Edmonton. One is the dismissal of Mr. Webster, immigration agent at Edmonton. Another the dismissal of Mr. Jacob Mohr, interpreter at the Immigration agency, and the third the dismissal of Mr. Shinbine, caretaker of the Immigration hall at Edmonton. These papers do not show that there was any suggestion of accusation of any kind against any of these men, whether for political reasons or for reasons connected with their work. I take it for granted, on the authority of these papers,

brought down by the Government, that these dismissals were made simply and solely for the purpose of finding salaried positions for friends of the Government of the day. I do not intend to take time to deal with this matter further than to say that these three instances are an exhibition of atrocious disregard of the public service of this country fox the benefit of friends of the gentlemen who are now in office.

Progress reported.

On motion of Mr. Rogers, the House adjourned at 10.53 p.m.

Friday, March 13, 1914.

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March 12, 1914