March 30, 1921

L LIB

Lucien Cannon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

They have such laws in both Germany and Austria, and I say that these people evade the laws of their own country and come here.

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L LIB
L LIB

Lucien Cannon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

That is exactly the

question I am discussing. Should we allow

them to land in as great numbers as they now do land in Canada? German immigrants who have come to Canada and have settled here have become very good citizens. The German immigrants who came to Ontario, for instance, many years ago have become very good citizens. We have a striking example of how good a Canadian citizen a man of German descent may be in the person of my hon. friend who represents the constituency of North Waterloo (Mr. Euler). Therefore, I do not say that an immigrant should be debarred from Canada just because he is an Austrian or a German or a Russian, hut I say that the more care the Government takes to examine into each particular and special case, the better it will be for the welfare of our country.

I have heard it said this afternoon that it is in the interests of Canada that our' population should be increased. Some hon. members have referred to the railway situation, saying that in order to meet the deficits we are facing at the present time we ought to have an increased population, which would mean an increased traffic. There is no doubt about that, but there is a higher consideration than the pecuniary one. There is the very much higher consideration of moulding a national spirit in Canada. Every immigrant who comes to Canada should be of such a type and character that the Government can hope that within a reasonable period, if not the immigrant himself, his next descendants will cease to be foreigners, and become good Canadian citizens. Have we succeeded so far in Canada in assimilating our immigration? I do not think we have. We still have in the western provinces, and even in the province of Ontario; settlements which we might call foreign. Our policy so far as that is concerned has not been as perfect as it might have been, especially when we compare the results obtained in the United States along this line. Immigration has flowed into the United States in very great numbers. Thousands and hundreds of thousands of immigrants _ have gone in there every year for the past century, and in most cases they have become good American citizens and are proud to declare to-day that they are American citizens. Let the Minister* of Immigration and Colonisation see to it that whatever immigration we have into Canada is of such a kind that very soon the new settlers will become Canadian citizens, not

Germans, or Austrians, or Russians, or foreigners of any kind, but real Canadian citizens, enjoying the privileges and the rights of Canadian citizens, and realizing to the full the liberty and freedom that is given them under our Canadian institutions.

If we have not obtained as good results as we might have done from our foreign immigration, I lay the blame at the door of the present Government to a very great extent, and I am sorry to say that one of those who is responsible to a very large extent for the framing and moulding of that policy is the Minister of Immigration himself. How can we expect the foreigners who come to Canada to become Canadian citizens and assimilate themselves to our customs and our ways and our institutions if me debar them, as they have been debarred by the present Government, from their rights and privileges of citizenship when election time comes. I do not wish to discuss the law which governed the Iasi general election of 1917, but I wish to say to the Minister of Immigration, who knew fully the defects of that law and who is aware of its eveil consequences, that I hope so long as he remains in the. Government he will see that justice is done to every element in Canada, and if justice is done to every element in Canada, no matter how it may be composed, very soon we shall be able to promote in this country a truly national spirit.

I said that I thought the resolution went too far, but that, on the other hand, I believed the Government was right in restricting to a very great extent immigration under present conditions. But the Government ought to do more. If we are to open up new territory, if we are to develop our industries, if we are to make a success of our railways, we must have population in Canada. Now population is to be obtained not only from outside countries. Why should not the Government of Canada adopt a policy of promoting increased population from our native sources? The citizens of the province of Quebec understand fully their duties towards the State and have very large families. We do not need immigration from outside sources to develop our province. The French Canadians see to that themselves; they encourage the raising of large families. Now, why should not the Government adopt this principle as part of their policy and encourage throughout the provinces of Canada the same condition of things as exists in Quebec? Let the people in the English provinces have families num-

bering fifteen, twenty, twenty-five and thirty children, and very soon the problem which confronts the Minister of Immigration will disappear. The hon. gentleman receives this suggestion with a smile, but let me tell him that I offer it in all seriousness, and am only endorsing sentiments uttered by a very eminent statesman of the United States a few years ago-I refer to Theodore Roosevelt-when he spoke on the dangers of race suicide. Let us see to it in Canada that our race does not extinguish itself through the want of children and families. Let every citizen not only perform his political duties towards the state, but let him thoroughly appreciate the full responsibilities of fatherhood, and we shall have a natural increase in population which will, to a great extent, solve the problem we are discussing this afternoon.

I have been much longer than I intended, but before concluding my remarks I wish to say to the Government that on this side of the House we will support any policy which, will make for a proper, a sensible, and a wise development of this country of ours. The policy which was adopted by a former Minister of the Interior, the Hon. Mr. Sifton, who opened wide the doors of Canada to immigration, had very bad consequences. Now, if on the one hand we oppose that indiscriminate policy, we will, on the other hand, favour a reasonable immigration, restricted where necessary, and all the more so under present world conditions, which are of so troublous a character that it behooves us to follow the example of our neighbours to the South, to go very slowly and moderately, not looking to quantity, but having in view the quality of the new citizens to whom we may open the doors of Canada.

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IND

Angus McDonald

Independent

Mr. ANGUS McDONALD (Timiska-ming) :

I did not intend to speak on this

resolution, but it has provoked so much discussion that I think it is well for me, as the only real labour member in this House, to put myself on record on the subject. Let me say at once that I am not in favour of the resolution of my hon. friend from St. Mary (Mr. Deslauriers) as it stands. I would support a resolution of this nature to some extent if it contained what I might describe as a classification. I believe the statement has been attributed to the exMinister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) that the enormous debt with which the people of this country are saddled, and which future generations will have to discharge-a debt which, if we take history

into account, it is not impossible we may have as a burden for centuries-will have to be paid from the top six inches of Canadian soil. I want to ask hon. members, both farmers and others, if they ever saw not only the first six inches, but the first six feet, or six hundred feet, of Canadian or any other soil produce anything without the application and energy and skill on the part of the people. This resolution has elicited certain opinions which I think the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Tolmie) as well as the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Calder) might well take into consideration.

I am in favour of immigration under certain conditions. We need more population on the land in order to distribute more widely the enormous debt which at present possibly less than ten millions of people are responsible for. I would support an immigration policy if it were directed differently from the way things have gone in the past. I think we should aim at securing good citizens, people who would apply themselves to the land in order to open up the vast millions of acres which we have waiting for settlers, instead of leaving the direction of immigration in the hands of transportation companies who stand to benefit lavishly thereby.

Some hon. members say that there are many idle men in Canada. We have in this country to-day the sorry spectacle of some 500,000 people, who are idle, and together with their dependents they number probably a million and a half, out of a population of perhaps ten millions. This is a sad spectacle indeed in this glorious land of ours which we profess to be so proud of. Are these people idle by choice? Some hon. members suggest that the labour men of this country are idle because they are lazy. Well, were the people lazy who were laid off in Hamilton in the last week, as my hon. friend from New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie), said? Were they lazy when they were working right up to the time they were laid off? Not by any means; and the man who says that the entire labour force of this country is lazy, makes that statement for a purpose which has no bearing on this resolution. Now, it is the duty of the farmers to think over this matter seriously. There are 500,000 men or thereabouts idle in Canada, and we have bread lines in every centre of population in the country. Why, the condition of affairs is staggering, and the Domniion Government if my information is correct, is asked to contribute towards the sustenance of men in Toronto,

Winnipeg, Vancouver and Montreal. I do not think, in view of these things, that it is fair for any farmer to rail at the condition of the working men, who are idle, not through any fault of their own, and who are only too anxious to get employment. They have been thrown out of work after the industrial concerns have reaped great profits from their energy.

I will not take up much more time of the House, but there is one hon. member to whom I should like to reply, and that is my good Scotch friend from South Oxford (Mr. Sutherland). That hon. member says that we want men who are willing to give an extra hour, if necessary. I give my hon. friend the right hand of fellowship so far as that is concerned, and I will go further than he did and say that 1 am one of those working men who like to see a man give an honest day for an honest dollar. But I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that we want to see the farmers apply this principle to themselves, and not stick at the last farthing. I have been on the farm; I was raised there to some extent, and I know something at least about agriculture. I am yet to find a farmer who will give you 2,240 pounds of hay for a ton anywhere, and I make that statement having farmed myself. Let me tell this House, Mr. Speaker, that the labouring men, like the rest of us, are human and are somewhat like politicians. No doubt they get into a rut in the centres of population because an inducement is there offered. In the cities, they can get work the year round if they want it, but this is not the case on the farm, not on the western farms at any rate. I worked there myself. I got work for three months in the year, and for the other nine months the attitude of the farmers was this: You can shift for yourself after you are through with us.

Something must be done for the working man; he cannot starve for nine months while he is waiting for the three months' work which the West offers. Of course he may be in the province of Ontario but is he likely to get work all the year round with a man who may be only farming one hundred acres. The average workman does not have employment the year round, and what are you going to do with him during the time he is idle? We want to see some policy of a reasonable character adopted; and it will be unfortunate if the labour situation to-day is not looked into to a little further extent than it is investigated by politicians. That brings me back to the point I left a little while ago, and [Mr. McDonald.I

that is that the workingman is just like the politician in this chamber-he gets into a rut and he hates to be taken away from it; he has to be driven out just as a great many politicians have been driven out of Ottawa. I think that if the pleas which the leader of the Opposition has been making here for the last four or five weeks had been successful, the labouring people of Canada would have demonstrated beyond the faintest suspicion of doubt that a great many members who are now sitting here would never return to Parliament again. I do not want to occupy any more time; I simply wish to place on record the statement that I consider some of the things that have been said here as a direct insult to the labouring class of this country. It is a wonder to me that men-who perhaps have sons earning their living under the very hard and very disagreeable conditions which the workingman experiences-could sit here and listen to aspersions such as were hurled at labour this afternoon by the hon. member for Chateauguay-Huntingdon (Mr. Robb).

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UNION

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Unionist

Mr. H. C. HOCKEN (West Toronto) :

I was very much pleased to hear the hon. member for Dorchester (Mr. Cannon) emphasize the necessity of developing a real Canadian spirit among the people of this country. I entirely agree with him that in the past we have admitted altogether too many persons to Canada to participate in the free land and the rest of the advantages that the Dominion offers, and who have shown very little desire to be assimilated. The result is that there are many sections of Canada where foreign ideals, the ideals of Central Europe, predominate among the majority of the people. They have been allowed to colonize in such a way that it is now a matter of extraordinary difficulty to effect in their case that assimilation so necessary to make them good Canadian citizens. Located in this and that corner of the prairie these people are removed from that particular environment which would assist materially in giving them Canadian ideals. Segregated and living in their own communities, they not only have no desire to assimilate with the Canadian population, but they resist every attempt that is made to influence them to do so. We find such a situation exists to a far too great extent in Western Canada and it is a most deplorable thing because, at some time or other, this Parliament must undertake a Canadianizing movement which will make of these men Canadian citizens, understanding British

institutions and desirous of being governed by them.

We have a country here capable of maintaining, in as great comfort as any of us live to-day, a population of one hundred or perhaps one hundred and fifty millions. We have a better country than there is to the south of us, and we have a climate that is designed to produce the very best type of humanity. The conditions in Canada are altogether different from those in the neighbouring republic where, south of the Mason and Dixon line, there are probably from thirty to forty millions of people who really do not have to work, and who do not work in the sense that a man works north of the forty-ninth parallel. That is the greatest handicap under which our neighbours to the south live, and it constitutes for them a problem, due to the enervating character of the climate in that sub-tropical region, which to my mind is practically insoluble. Now we have a different country and a different climate; and after you cross the forty-ninth parallel, you have to work, or somebody has to work for you, or you will starve or freeze to death. So that I believe the climate of Canada is its greatest asset.

Our great western country is capable of producing enormously, and of sustaining life under the very best conditions, and it is a matter of very negative concern to every Canadian who wants to see this country properly developed that the West should be filled up with industrious men. I believe that if a man is half industrious and is placed in that country he will become wholly industrious-I think that the conditions under which he would have to live would make him so, because the climate is calculated to give him additional energy both mental and physical. I think the immigration policy of this country ought to be to encourage every man who understands British institutions to come to Canada, and especially those who are able and willing to go upon the land. We have in the province of Ontario fifty or sixty million acres of as good land as there is anywhere else in the Dominion, but that great district is almost untenanted. There is a field for immigration in that northern territory where men can go and settle on free land, or what is practically free land -costing, I think, only a dollar an acre- and, after a few years of steady and perhaps laborious effort, clear for himself and for his family a home that will sustain them as long as they live. It has never been the policy of the Dominion Government to attempt to settle the province of Ontario.

I am not complaining about that particularly, but I think there are a large number of people in the Old Land who would find themselves much more comfortably placed in a wooded country like northern Ontario than they would on the western prairies.

I also believe that there are a very large number of men in the Old Country, possessed of sufficient means, who should be properly encouraged and directed to come to Canada and buy farms,-but developed farms, improved land. I am sure they would find the opportunities here superior to those which present themselves at home. So, Sir, I take it that the policy of the Government in the matter of immigration should be to adhere to the law which excludes-I think for about ten years except under certain very narrow restrictions- immigrants from central Europe, and to undertake an intensive campaign in Great Britain and Ireland to bring men to this country who understand our institutions, and to increase the number of men in the Dominion who will aid in assimilating the foreign element. In that way they will do a great deal to assist us to Canadianize that foreign element, some of whose members after being here ten or fifteen years do not yet understand our institutions, and do not want to understand them.

I have a great deal of sympathy, too, with the hon. member for Temiskaming (Mr. McDonald). Like him I ain a labouring man, and have been all my life. I do not think the hon. member has worked nearly as hard as I have, and I am sure he has not worked as long. Therefore I always have sympathy for the working man. But the working man can hardly expect to be employed in industries which are insolvent, nor can he expect the proprietor to run deeper into insolvency in order to give him employment. To my mind that is mainly the reason why there has been so much unemployment in this country during the last few months. We had in Toronto, for instance, a large industry, the Dominion Shipbuilding company. That company had some large contracts, taken at what they considered to be a good price, but it became insolvent, and the reason given for its insolvency was not merely high wages, but the impossibility of getting the men to do a fair day's work. I am not in the shipbuilding business, but that is the statement of the assignee of the company. I have it from other sources, sir, and quite reliable sources, that in some of the trades the men during the last year or two, particularly during the last year, refused to give their employers the efficiency

of which they were capable. That has to be corrected, and I think the only way it can be corrected is by such a period of depression as we are going through at the present time. I know the great majority of working men are desirous of giving a fair day's work, and they do give a fair day's work, but during the last year a very large proportion made no pretensions of giving an adequate return for the wages they received. No employer will complain about wages if he gets the equivalent in work, and that is exactly where labour has fallen down. I could tell my hon. friend of instances in my own city where men have been doing twice the amount of outside work in the winter season that they did last summer. There is only one deduction to be drawn, and that is that they did not do a fair day's work in the summer season. That idea of rendering a minimum return was permeating all labour unions, not only to the lessening of production, but to the detriment of the men themselves, for they were losing their personal efficiency, they were becoming less competent, and they were suffering moral and spiritual deterioration. I hope, that what we have gone through during the last few months has put an end to that mistaken idea. I have no desire to see reductions in wages and I have no fear that there will be if our working men will do their share and give a fair honest day's work to their employers.

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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Hon. J. A. CALDER (Minister of Immigration and Colonization) :

Mr. Speaker, this is a very important subject, I have followed closely the opinions expressed during the discussion this afternoon, and I had hoped to deal with many of the points which were raised. My suggestion would be, if the hon. member who has introduced the resolution agrees, that the resolution itself be dropped. We have had a long discussion and the field has been very well covered, and it is my purpose during the coming week, if it can possibly be arranged in connection with the Estimates for the department of Immigration to make a statement to the House that will not only cover the points raised this afternoon but will touch on the other phases as well. The discussion in that way will be thrown open again, and any hon. gentleman who desires to take part will have the fullest opportunity on that occasion. So, if it is agreeable to the hon. gentleman to withdraw his resolution, I can assure him there will be the fullest opportunity very shortly for discussion of the kind which I have mentioned.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Is it the

pleasure of the House that the hon. member for St. Mary have leave to withdraw his resolution?

Some hon. MEMBERS? Carried.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The resolution is withdrawn.

At six o'clock the House adjourned without question put, pursuant to rule.

Thursday, March 31, 1921

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March 30, 1921