Mr. EDMOND PROULX (Prescott) :
Mr. Speaker, I am in accord with most of what has been said by my hon. friend from St. Mary (Mr. Deslauriers), but I would like to make certain reservations. At the conclusion of his remarks my hon. friend said he would not object to the admission into this country of a certain class of immigrants, especially those who would engage in farm work or settle on the land. But the present regulations of the Immigration Department permit the immigration into the country of farm labourers and domestic servants. We are not overburdened with this class of immigrants and I do not think we need anticipate any trouble through letting them come in. I am in accord with my hon. friend, however, in his desire to restrict the admission of the artisan class. There is much unemployment at present in the different cities and urban centres of this country, and that unemployment will become more serious if the present immigration restrictions are relaxed. I do not think there is a small town in this country which has not been affected during the last few months by unemployment conditions. We read in the press that thousands of persons of the artisan class are waiting in the European ports for the opportunity to come to this country. Well, I do not see why we should make our regulations less restrictive than those which the United States has applied to immigration into that country. Recently the United * States Government imposed very stringent
restrictions. I applied not long ago for permission for one of my electors to go back to the United States; he had lived there some years ago and had married an American. He could not, however, gain admission to the United States, in view of the restrictions imposed. I advise the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Calder) to follow the example of the United States in this regard and to protect our own citizens. The best way to protect our workers or artisans is to keep for them the labour that is available in Canada. We should not encourage the immigration of French or Belgian or English people into this country at present; they are needed in their own countries to go on the land and to assist in reconstruction, especially in France and Belgium. We should render the people of those countries a very bad service if we carried on a propaganda to cause many of their number to leave and come here. Most of those who want to come into Canada are of the artisan class. I would strongly encourage the admission of those who want to go on the land, or work for the farmers or accept employment as domestic servants. The hon. member for St. Mary has said that the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway company strongly advocated a policy of immigration, saying that it would be the salvation of the country and of the railway companies if we could increase our immigration. I am sure that the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway company had in his mind immigration of the settler class. That is what opened the West some years ago and created prosperity there. But unfortunately we do not get the same class of immigrants now, especially from Europe, as we got some years ago. If we admit thousands of persons of the artisan class who will not go on the land but will stay in the cities and urban centres, we shall aggravate the unemployment situation to the detriment of our own people. There is one town in my county with a population of 5,500. The main industry there is a pulp mill. Well, that industry had to close down a few days ago, and may be closed for some months, affecting the employment of some seven or eight hundred people. You can see, Mr. Speaker, what the condition is if there are many other towns in this country in the same position. I was in Toronto last week, and I believe that the unemployment situation there is very serious. If we admit into Canada any more persons of the artisan class, it will become much worse. I hope, therefore, that the Minister of Immigration will not relax his restrictions,
even if he is strongly urged to do it. I know there are some in this country-I do not know whether it is through generosity or tenderness of heart-who would like these restrictions relaxed so that a large number of artisans could gain admission into Canada. Well, we should protect our own people first; charity begins at home. Instead of being relaxed the restrictions should be made even more severe, at least for some time, until the unemployment situation becomes less acute. Having made these observations, I am pleased to second the motion of my hon. friend from St. Mary.