May 7, 1921

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

That did not occur here, surely.

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L LIB

Charles Murphy

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

I hope not. I am

curious to know why nobody was appointed out of these dozen applicants and why the position is to be re-advertised. The fact that my hon. friend says he does not know anything about the matter merely increases my suspicion that some busybodies-with whom long residence in Ottawa makes us fairly familiar, no matter which Government is in power-have been at work. In another department a job-not to put too fine a point upon it-has been "framed up" for a person who is not even a resident of this country, and the qualifications have been so drawn -that they just apply to this

particular person and nobody else "would have a look in." Now, that is the point of my inquiry, and that is why I would like my hon. friend to obtain more details about this particular appointment than he seems to be in possession of to-day.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK (Red Deer) :

I should like to be permitted to make one general observation. My hon. friend the minister, in a statement which I described at the time as very interesting, mentioned a "vigorous immigration policy," and he mentioned it for the purpose of putting a question to the committee: "What is a vigorous immigration policy?" I am not sure that the minister got anybody to tell him what was a vigorous immigration policy. His speech, as I pointed out at the time, was rather non-committal and it was noncommittal on that point also. He indicated certain lines along which his policy would be vigorous, and he pointed out that his decisions along such lines would be flatly moved against by the governments of the countries in Europe where he was operating. Now, so far as the minister is opposed to what may popularly be considered a vigorous immigration policy, I am in agreement with him. I do not think that we need in Canada to-day a vigorous immigration policy. I hold very strong views upon this point. I have been nearly twenty years in Canada and I have profound faith in its possibilities for men and women who are worth having as citizens, and I hold the view that if this country is properly ruled-I am not now going into what I mean by that phrase: I will take an early opportunity of explaining my observations along that line, possibly in the Budget debate-if this country were properly ruled we should have a policy of immigration which was vigorous in the matter of effectiveness because every satisfied settler would be an immigration agent without salary. In short, that is my view on this matter. I think if we could send it out to the world, as we might very well be able to do, having regard to the gifts which Providence and nature have put in our hands, that Canada is the best country and the cheapest country and the country of greatest opportunity in the world to-day, we would get the very best classes of immigrants and get' them very cheaply. Now I have said enough to indicate that if the minister himself is really opposed to a vigorous policy, I am in agreement with him. But when you come to analyze this question of vigorous immigration policy;

when you come to analyze the word "vigorous," you might very well, as I have indicated, apply the word to an immigration policy if it was effective in getting good immigrants. But there is a vigorous side to the minister's policy-a very vigorous side, and it is a most unhealthy vigour because it is along the line of expense. I note that in these details of civil government, while the minister is actually restricting the immigration-and I think wisely; with regard to the general policy of his department I am agreed-there is an increase of $50,000 in the items of civil government over those of the previous year. I have tried to make my point of view clear: that if we have a non-vigorous policy with regard to the pushing of the advantages of Canada, then we should not have this vigour in expenditure. We preach economy and we all profess to believe in it, but I want to bring to bear upon the mind of the minister as one member of the Government- 3 p.m. not wanting him to carry any more than his own particular share of the burden-that if we are going to economize in the expenditure of public money we have to begin somewhere. I would like to hear how the minister accounts for an increase of $50,000 in civil government alone. Altogether I think the department are spending about $2,000,000, and the department is a new one, created since the war. If we are going on extending our expenditures in this way, we may talk economy theoretically as long as we like, but we are rapidly running the country into a position of virtual insolvency. I have the utmost sympathy with the ministry with regard to how they are going to raise taxation in the coming Budget. I know their unparalleled efforts in the war, along with the unparalleled efforts of our people; no one has a higher appreciation of what Canada did in the war, and for all the expenses that the minister has been run into on that account I offer no criticism. But this is a different matter, and I submit to the minister that the last form in which he should be vigorous is in the form of expenditure in connection with a department which does not think it should pursue a vigorous policy along other lines.

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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

Mr. CALDER:

I shall deal now with only one or two of the points raised by my hon. friend. In the first place, I did not say the other day when I was addressing the House that I was opposed to the adoption of a vigorous immigration policy.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK (Red Deer) :

No, my hon.

friend was non-committal. He did not know what it was, so he could not say it.

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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

Mr. CALDER:

I stated that during the

last two or three years the department and the Goverment had exercised all the power and influence it could to get certain classes of people into this country and that in that respect we were acting as vigorously and as energetically as we could. I would like to- make that perfectly clear, in the first place. I stated, as well, that we were opposed to certain classes of people coming in at this time and that because of that the Government was put to a great deal of expense. I would say that fully half the work of the entire department in Ottawa has to do with all sorts of cases that arise in connection with people who are struggling to get into Canada. We have an enormous correspondence in that respect, a correspondence that must be taken care of. The hon. member for Red Deer would be the last to say that we should not have a sufficient staff here for that purpose. Again, there has been cast upon the Department of Immigration work that is entirely apart from any effort to get people into Canada. Let me give you a very simple illustration. This Parliament passed, not long ago, a new naturalization law. The Department of State, before it issues a certificate under that law, must know, in the case of every foreigner: when he came into Canada,

where he entered, and, in general, whether the statements made in his application are true. As a consequence of that we have to keep complete and accurate records and have those records always readily available. We have had to change our whole system in that regard, .and we have a staff constantly employed in furnishing that information to the Department of State. If we want to do away with that, well and good; if we want to have a repetition of the frauds that were committed in the past in connection with the issue of naturalization certificates, it would be very easy to do away with this work. I could cut down the expenditure by hundreds of thousands if this House would agree to it. Further: Some years ago Parliament

turned over to the Department of Immigration the whole work of policing the entire border between Canada and the United States, for the purpose of keeping undesirable people out of the country. As a consequence of that, we have an expenditure of at least $500,000, if not $600,000 or $700,000, on account of this work alone. Thus it will be seen that our total fMr. Calder.l

expenditure, as show-n in the Estimates for immigration, is not solely for the purpose of endeavouring to induce people to come in to Canada. Other duties and responsibilities have been thrown upon the department, which duties must be carried out as long as the law stands as it is. Prom my knowledge-and I think I have a fairly accurate knowledge-of the department, and the mass of detail work that must necessarily be carried out, I think I can say without fear of contradiction, that the Department of Immigration is not overstaffed. Many hon. members have some knowledge of the details of the work that is carried on in the department, and I am sure I am safe in stating that there are no unnecessary officials in that department. Where certain duties and responsibilities are thrown upon the department by statute, those duties must be carried out. It is most important that the mass of correspondence that reaches us from all parts of the country should be dealt with as promptly as possible. Since the beginning of this session, I have had instances with members of this House where some person was probably held up and debarred from entering Canada or another person was deported before there was an opportunity of dealing with the merits of the case, simply by reason of a short delay: It is necessary, therefore,

that in the administration of a department like the Immigration Department, where you are dealing with the rights and obligations of individuals-their right to come in or the need of rejecting them-a sufficient staff should be on hand to enable the department to carry on the work as expeditiously as possible.

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UNION

Fred Langdon Davis

Unionist

Mr. DAVIS:

What is the system by which regard is kept of American immigration to Canada, and of immigration from Canada to the United States? It has been stated by the United States authorities that there is a very considerable difference between their records and ours, much to our disadvantage, and it seems to me there is a flaw, in that connection, either in their records or in ours. Perhaps the minister can offer some explanation.

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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

Mr. CALDER:

That is another case, where, if the House desires that information, it can be very easily arranged for. All that would be necessary would be simply to duplicate our staff, and instead of spending only five or six hundred thousand dollars on border work, to spend another five

or six hundred thousand dollars to keep tab on people who are leaving Canada.

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UNION
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

They check everything

going in. As regards people who are coming in to Canada as immigrants, to study in Canada, every one of those must fill out a card giving all particulars regarding himself, his birth, etc. Those are recorded here and kept on file for reference. If we are to provide measures that would keep a check on all people going out of Canada, that would simply mean duplicating our staff. We have just a sufficient staff to look after trains coming in and other means of entrance into Canada. Very few of our staff would be able to work on trains going out. Therefore, if we are to have reliable information as to the number of people leaving Canada permanently, we would have practically to duplicate that staff. Does the committee desire that an expenditure of three, four or five hundred thousand dollars should be made for that purpose? We have not attempted up to the present time to keep any record of that class.

Mr. JACOBiS: We have given some

figures to the public as to the number of Canadians who have left the country, and those figures do not tally with the figures given by the United States authorities.

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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

Mr. CALDER:

When were they given out?

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L LIB
L LIB

Charles Murphy

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

As I understand the

minister's answer to the hon. member for Neepawa (Mr. Davis), if that gentleman or any other gentleman wanted information as to the number of people leaving Canada for the United States, that information could be got only from the American authorities.

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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

Mr. CALDER:

That is all;

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L LIB

Charles Murphy

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

We would, therefore, be dependent upon them for the accuracy of the figures.

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

Is that not sufficient? Surely the Americans will not cook their figures with regard to Canadians entering that country. Why spend half a million dollars to find out how many went out of Canada, if we can get that information from the Americans?

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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

Mr. CALDER:

That depends on the method by which their records are kept.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Then, I presume we can depend upon their records.

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UNION

Fred Langdon Davis

Unionist

Mr. DAVIS:

I understand the Americans have a system of keeping track of incoming and outgoing persons, and their figures differ by many thousands from ours. What is wrong with our method of checking? Or what is wrong with theirs?

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May 7, 1921