May 29, 1922

IMMIGRATION BILL


Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 122 respecting Immigration.


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Explain.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

This is a mild and modest bill. It is non-contentious and I think it should receive the support of every hon. member. It provides that immigrants coming to Canada shall first apply for permission to do so; they shall write from the country of their origin asking for that permission and stating their qualifications, and they can be accepted or rejected at the discretion of the Government. There is a provision in this exempting people of British birth. Primarily it is intended to do away with the injustice, of which we have had evidence even so recently as during the present session, where immigrants coming to Canada from a distance are rejected at the point of arrival. Sometimes families are broken up by reason of one of their members being found undesirable and being deported. This causes great hardship and expense to immigrants, and such an undesirable condition would be obviated by the bill which I now introduce, because intending immigrants would have to state their nationality, their ages, their resources, and the facts regarding their health. The bill requires that these facts shall be stated in a letter of application, and the immigrants can be accepted or rejected as the government sees fit. That is the primary object; but incidentally- quite incidentally-I think it would solve the problem in connection with oriental immigration in the West. There is no mention of Orientals, or Japanese, or exclusion, but the exclusion of these people is secured by the simple method I have stated. I shall not detain the House on the subject at this stage; it can be discussed on the second reading. I would, however, strongly commend the matter to the serious attention of the House and of the Government. I believe that the proposed bill provides a simple and unassailable form of dealing with the Asiatic and oriental problem in the West.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

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ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAY


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON (West York) :

The press has recently referred to overtures that have been made by the government of the United States to the Canadian government looking to the completion of the St. Lawrence canal. Have such representations been made to this Government? If so, will the Prime Minister state what they are and what attitude the Government is taking in the matter?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

A communication has been received, through the British Ambassador, from the Secretary of State of the United States intimating that the United States government is prepared to consider, with the Canadian government, the matter of entering into a treaty with regard to the St. Lawrence waterways project. The Government has replied to the effect that the present is not an opportune moment to take the matter up, that there has not been

Immigration

sufficient time to consider the report that has been presented, and that for the time being considering the magnitude of the project and of the expenditure involved the matter should be allowed to remain in abeyance.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Does the Government intend to table the request which the Government of the United States has made regarding the treaty, and the reply thereto of this Government?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I shall be pleased to bring down the correspondence.

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WRANGEL ISLAND


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Fort William and Rainy River):

The Washington Times

states that the United States government has decided that Wrangel island is properly the property of Russia and that it should be held in trust until conditions in Russia have become settled. Has this question been drawn to the attention of the Government, and, if so, is any action contemplated?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The matter is now for the first time drawn to the attention of the Government by the remarks of my hon. friend.

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IMMIGRATION OF ARTISANS


On the Orders of the Day:


LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg Centre):

I beg to call the attention of the Government to the following despatch, dated from London, May 26:

Many British Artisans preparing to make their Homes in Canada.

Relaxation of Dominion's Immigration Regulations Results in Increase of Men Coming Who are Out of Johs in Britain

London, May 26,-(Montreal Gazette Cable) -A considerable increase in the movement of British artisans to Canada is expected as a result of the relaxation of the Dominion's Immigration regulations. The orders-in-council having arrived from Canada, the Dominion Immigration Offices here issued copies of the modified regulations to the steamship agencies to-day. They show that cabled reports to the British press were incorrect and that the ihanges are infinitely more far-reaching than reported. The removal of all occupational restrictions for British subjects is regarded here as the most important change of all. In the past, the immigration of the artisan class was allowed only where such labour was unobtainable in Canada. Now any workman may enter if he has enough funds to sustain himself until he secures employment. With industrial conditions what they are in Great Britain, it is thought

that many will avail themselves of the opportunity of seeking to better their condition by going to Canada.

In view of the fact that we have such a large volume of unemployment in Canada, may I ask if there is any protection for the artisans in this country?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior) :

It is true that the money qualification of $250 formerly exacted has been removed, but notwithstanding that fact care is being exercised by the officials of the Immigration Department to impress upon intending immigrants to Canada who are looking for immediate employment that no work in the artisan classes is available, but that there is abundant room for agricultural labourers, household' workers, and others who are able to purchase land or have sufficient means to support themselves in Canada.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The fact is, then, that the protection hitherto afforded the artisans of this country is removed; am I right in that?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil) :

I do not

understand what particular protection my hon. friend refers to. The regulation requiring an immigrant to possess $250 no longer obtains, but full information is given intending immigrants who expect to secure immediate employment on arrival that they are in a sense in the restricted classes. If, however, they have sufficient means to maintain themselves, there is no bar to their coming in.

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May 29, 1922