June 23, 1924

PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

They decried conditions in this country, and they will continue to do so until those conditions

Supply

Immigration

Cali-

Supply-Immigration

are remedied. We have artificial barriers and restrictions against the farmer and the worker in Canada, and we will continue to decry such conditions until they are changed.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I am wondering if

the minister is going to reduce the amount which his department usually spends in the United States, in view of the fact that it is not immigration from, but emigration to, the United States that has been taking place? Surely a great deal of this money has been wasted. With regard to the grain growers, I recall reading in a New York newspaper a short time ago an article which pointed out the advantage accruing to the United States by the exchange of certain of their citizens for Canadians. It stated that that country had got a good deal the best of the bargain in that the great problem of the United States was to reduce tiheir wheat production,, and they got rid of many of what were known as "Wheat miners," people who would not adapt themselves to diversified farming and had obtained in' exchange a class of citizens from Canada who adapted themselves to conditions in the United States much better than those who had left. The United States have signified their intention of discouraging commerce with this country by raising a tariff barrier which is almost insurmountable. In view of this fact and the further fact that our people are going there in large numbers, and have been for a long time, I think this expenditure should be cut down to the very smallest possible proportions.

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PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

I should just like to

correct a statement in connection with our people going to the United States. On the Pacific coast over nine thousand people have come back from the United States into British Columbia this season. Indeed, there is a steady flow into British Columbia at present and those people seem glad to come back to Canada.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I think the minister

should answer the question asked by the member for Bow River (Mr. Garland). Surely in all fairness he should give the name of the premier wiho, he said, came to Ottawa and apologized for those federal representatives of his province Who had decried it in this House.

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Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

Mr. Chairman, I may

say that I had to apologize with respect to remarks made in this House, by some Progressive member last session.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

Has the minister had any

manufacturers ask him to use his immigration officers in an endeavour to get more manufacturers to locate in Canada to produce more manufactured products and so compete with them?

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

They would go to the Department of Trade and Commerce.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

Mr. Chairman), if we are going to spend taxes to bring in more farmers, I do not see why in all fairness we Should not spend a little money to bring in more manufacturers. Possibly we could bring some from England who are used to manufacturing without the protection of a tariff as high as 30 or 35 per cent. I think it is only fair to the people I represent that I should ask the minister whether he is limiting his exertions to bringing in farmers or whether he is trying to bring in people of every class. .

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Shall the vote carry?

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

I hope it will not carry until the minister replies.

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I intend to rule that that question is not relevant to the item under consideration.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I do not want to be discourteous to my hon. friend. He comes from Alberta. We had a conference last fall attended by representatives of all the different provinces. Alberta was represented by Mr. Hoadley, the Minister of Agriculture in the Alberta government, and Mr. Hoadley was most insistent upon it that we should get more immigrants, particularly for his province. I would like to satisfy my hon. friend, but I am bound to say I do not think he represents the views of the people of Alberta. I believe the people of Alberta desire more immigrants, more people to go on the land. The people of Saskatchewan desire more; the people of Ontario and Quebec desire a prosperous Canada. We are not among those who are afraid that our country will be filled up with thrifty and industrious people.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

I hope the minister does not insinuate that I am afraid of filling up this country with industrious people. But we have been endeavouring by this policy to fill it up for a number of years and we have not filled it up yet. The United States is often referred to as an example, but I am told that the United States has never spent one dollar for the purpose of bringing immigrants into that country. What the United States did was to make the condiitions in that country such that people were anxious to go there.

Supply-Immigration

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

By a high tariff?

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

This immigration policy as at present carried out in Canada is class legislation. If we are to have immigration why should we have it limited to one class? Surely the farmers of Canada are producing enough now. I have been told by a gentleman from British Columbia that they are producing more fruit in that province than they can sell. I have seen potatoes left in the ground because of a lack of market for them.

I have seen cattle sold for one half what it cost to raise them, because there was not a market in Canada for them. There is no question that a great deal of agricultural produce is turned out in Canada which cannot be sold at the cost of production because there is not a sufficient market. Why should we go on trying to get more farmers into Canada? If all other classes of people in Canada had done their share as well as the farmers, there would be no lack of prosperity in this country. To answer what the minister has said about my representing the people of Alberta, I do not pretend to represent the people of Alberta. But I do pretend to represent the people of my constituency, and I say without hesitation that the majority of them would tell the minister just as frankly as I have done that his immigration policy is a class policy; that it is directed against one class. I have resolutions here from farmers' organizations in my constituency protesting against the government spending any more money on immigration until the financial condition of the farmer is made easier and until conditions generally are such that the farmer can make a decent living as well as the other people in this country.

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PRO

Henry Elvins Spencer

Progressive

Mr. SPENCER:

None of us on this side want to stop voluntary immigration. What we are against, though-and we think a good deal more attention should be given to it-is any condition which results in a great number of people leaving this country. We consider that people who have been in Canada anywhere from ten to twenty-five or thirty years are far more valuable to the country than any people brought in with no experience. I wonder if the minister is aware that in spending $3,500,000 last year to bring people into this country Canada lost the entire number she brought in and 45,000 besides? That is why we are anxious to see a change made in the government's policy. It is not because we do not want people in this country: what we want to stop is the exodus of people from this country.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

It is true that people were leaving the countiy, and they will do it again next year or any other year if similar conditions prevail: a man who can get $15 a day or $1.50 an hour in New York is not going to work in Canada for $5 a day. My hon. friend would not do it. But the tide is turning the other way: the records show that in the last two months, 9,815 Canadians returned. These are the reports from ten ports.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I object to the implication of the minister's remarks that hon. gentlemen in this section of the House are opposing immigration. If I understand the situation rightly, no hon. gentleman in this section of the House is opposed to immigration. What we are trying to point out is the absurdity of taking people in who have no money and no means of being placed on the land. If the government are determined to carry out a policy of immigration and to bring in some good, hardy, vigorous types of settlers they must at the same time provide some financial means for settling those people upon the land. I came originally from Prince Edward Island. There was a time in the history of that province when they were faced with an almost complete breakdown of agriculture. The difficulty was solved by the provincial government of that day financing the farmers of the whole province-and in this I believe they were assisted in some of the borrowing arrangements by the Imperial authorities-through a system of rural credit which enabled the farmers to buy their own land under long term loans at a low rate of interest. That resulted in resurrecting agriculture throughout the whole of Prince Edward Island, and I understand that the provincial government lost not one dollar. That is one of the things the government must face to-day; if they are prepared to carry out an immigration policy it must be coincident with some means of putting the people on the land and enabling them to remain there. The assumption seems to be that when a remark is made from this part of the House with regard to immigration we are saj'ing something derogatory to the country, something defamatory of the country. But I think a search of the pages of Hansard during the last three years will show that not one single remark in any way reflecting upon western Canada came from this part of the House. The very fact that we are in the country shows that we have confidence in it; the very fact that we are here in this House shows that we have confidence in it and that the people have confidence in us. We have a country second

Supply-Immigration

to none in the world. In the district in which I live we are growing fruit which cannot be equalled in most parts of Ontario. On the farm on which I live wild grapes are growing, all kinds of wild fruit-we can produce almost anything. Gentlemen to our right and hon. gentlemen on the other side refer to us as wheat miners, and all that kind of thing, but the day will come when some of those hon. gentlemen will be down on their knees praying to heaven that we be wheat miners again. What is happening your farmer to-day? Trainloads of our western butter are coming to the East and swamping your markets. Last year seven or eight carloads of dressed poultry came to this part of the country from the West and were marketed in Montreal. What did that do to the eastern farmer? It cut his price just in half.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

They are not grumbling.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Thirty or forty years

ago the eastern farmer was almost put out of business when the prairies were opened up and they commenced to grow wheat and oats out there. I have heard the old people talk about it; I have heard them talk about it in the Maritime provinces, and those who lived through that period will remember it as long as they live. They finally got into mixed fanning, and they have now weathered the gale and re-established themselves. We are going through that period in western Canada to-day. We have a hardy, vigorous, virile type of people, and they still have a low standard of living, no matter what nationality they are. They work long hours, and deny themselves a good many of the things that you think are necessary in eastern Canada, and they are producing beyond the limit of this country to absorb. Now, what is the government doing? Last year our exports of butter to England dropped from about 17,000,000 pounds the previous year to 4,000,000 pounds. We have a host of trade agents on the other side trying to get us business, but. they are failing because we are losing that business to New Zealand, Denmark, Holland, Argentina, and other countries. I am quite convinced that if the government would put a little bit of energy behind an effort to go after that trade, they would secure it. I made a suggestion to the Minister of Agriculture when his estimates were before the House, and I give him credit for admitting it, but he stated that the people of eastern Canada were not prepared to submit to the regulations that were necessary to bring our butter up to the same grade as New Zealand butter in the Old Country market. The consequence is that we are losing the English butter market to-day.

fMr. Campbell.]

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June 23, 1924