June 11, 1925

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Do not be too sure.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

And if he did take it perhaps it would not solve the immigration problem to his satisfaction. I notice that the government, through the minister, is very anxious to blame every one else but themselves for a result for which they are more responsible than any other person or group of persons in the dominion. I wish to follow the example of the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) in repudiating the charge, that I have said anything in this House, or anywhere else against the good name of Canada. I do not think it would make much difference if I did, providing that there were no real grounds for adverse criticism1. On the other hand, we are asked by the minister to speak a good word for our country. I think the good things in Canada do not need advertising. That is true of all countries. I think the country about the goodness of which people have to be howling all the time is not a very good country. If we have to stand here and protest our goodness it is unlikely that w,e shall produce a very great effect on anybody else. Surely the government can distinguish-I am sure the people outside can-between the criticism which we offer against the policy of the government as it affects the economic life of the nation, and criticism of Canada as a nation having regard to the resources of the country and the desirability of this Dominion as a home for immigrants under ordinary cir-

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cumstances. There is surely a very wide distinction between those two questions, >and I do not think the Minister of Immigration can find one single instance on Hansard or anywhere else where I have even suggested that Canada was not indeed a very great country, a very rich country, and a very excellent country in which to live. We all are aware of the extent of our territory. The actual natural wealth of the country is a subject for poetical eloquence, and I notice often hon gentlemen opposite indulge in it. Certainly we have immeasurable wealth; there is no doubt about that; and there is lots of room We are all aware that if we had a family of five on every half section in western Canada we would, by that very fact, very materially improve all public services and reduce their cost. We know perfectly well that if we could increase the population of Canada by another nine millions next year we would cut in half the per capita debt of the country and by increase in traffic be able to reduce freight rates. These would all be desirable things and would probably result were our population so increased. We are all aware of these things, and we know that Canada can accommodate very many more *millions of people than we have in the country at present. These are all common facts and everybody knows them. There is no need to state them, but when we have said all that, it is surely a very serious commentary on the administration that we cannot hold nine million of people and keep them well fed in a country so vast, so rich in resources and so good. That is the commentary and I lay it at the door of the Minister of Immigration and his government. That is the criticism I make.

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LIB
LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

The remedy, and one which my hon. friend would not like to follow, is partly to secure a new government. I told my hon. friend ait the ov.lset that if I offered some advice it would not be accepted. But that is part of the advice I would give now -either a new government or else a good deal more wisdom and initiative in the government we have. So far as that is concerned, I am not particular about throwing out this government or any other government. What I want to see is intelligent action, I do not care which government takes such action. I want to point out that we are not getting the best for the money we are expending on immigration, and in making that comment I want it to be clearly understood again that I am not speaking against immigration under

all conditions. I am only speaking against immigration under the specific conditions in which we are placed at the present time. I consider that we are not getting the best for the money we are expending on immigration. The first reason for that is that we no sooner bring these people into the country than they go out. Surely that is not a good investment. Will the minister say that these people went out because the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland) made a speech in this House? Will he say they went out because some other hon. member made a speech in this House? He will not say that. He will say they went out-if he states what he actually knows in his heart-because this administration failed to find work and sustenance for them after bringing them in. That is why they went out. If the problem of finding work for Canadian citizens is beyond the government, let them say so and we will stop criticizing. If it is outside the sphere of politics, make it known to the people of Canada, but if it can reasonably be done by any government why does this government not do it? These people are going out. Why is the government finding it difficult to keep them in Canada? Let us suppose that 10,000 people who went from Canada to the United States last year, wrote 10,000 letters to their friends in Great Britain and said to them, "We came to Canada; we were there for so many weeks, we got nothing to do, funds became short and we moved into the United States. We have now work to perform, and we would advise you, if you are going to cross the Atlantic, to come this way." That is something like the letters which would be written. Does the minister blame the hon. member for Bow River for that? Is that blame not more befitting the government?

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PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

The minister has not blamed the hon. member for Bow River this year; he might do so.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

I had an idea that he had it in his mind that that was the man who ought to be blamed.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

That is the most unkindest cut of all.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

I do not know of any hon.

member who is more fearlessly honest in his portrayal of western life than the hon. member for Bow River.

I would not blame any hon. member in this connection. Hon. members have simply stated the facts in regard to the situation.

The next reason why we are not getting the best for the money is that apparently the

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minister is having a difficult task in inducing people from Great Britain to come here, after what they have heard from the people who have gone to the United States. You cannot blame any member of this House or anybody else for that. Does the minister think that hon. members of this House are talking just to hear their voices?-although many of them no doubt like that very much. After about six months we get tired of even that. Those of us who oppose the immigration policy of the government are not so anxious to hear our voices. We really think there is something in what we are saying. I have in my hand, for instance, a poster published by the Unemployed Association of Canada, and this Unemployed Association has sent this all over the British Empire and perhaps, over the entire world for all I know. They state here that they are undertaking to collect certain statistics, and if they secure these statistics and send them out I would not be surprised if nobody came to Canada at all next year. This may be a very unpatriotic thing to do, but they are doing it, and why?

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PRO
LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

The noble Daniel from the western mountains tells us they are no good.

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PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

He is the gentleman with the big income tax.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

He has settled the matter. That is very much like what the government does. The government says the people from Great Britain who will not come here at our call are the people we do not want. The people who come here and get tired are neople who are no good and do not want to work. Seemingly no people are any good, because we cannot get any of them to come here or to stay. *

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LIB
LAB
LIB
LAB
LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

I want to tell the hon.

member that under the laws that exist in the United States no one who comes from Great Britain can go there except under their quota or two per cent law. The only people who are admitted are Canadian bom citizens; so that those people who go there are Canadian born and their places are taken by those who come from Europe.

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CON

Richard Burpee Hanson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HANSON:

There is an underground

railway running strongly all through the country. If my hon. friend doubts me I will have him come down to New Brunswick and I will show him the route.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

I do not think the illuminating argument of the hon. gentleman illuminates anything but the kind of reasoning by which the immigration policy of this country has been fostered. It matters not to me whether it is a Canadian born who goes out or not. Does it improve matters if a Canadian bom citizen leaves his bed and home to the incoming immigrant? Taking stock at the finish we find that after spending millions of money, we have just the same or approximately the same population as at the beginning. As many have gone out as have come in. That is not a very profitable policy for us to follow.

But let me just quote this poster to indicate to the Minister of Immigration-I have no doubt he knows it already-that there are some people in this country who are not satisfied, and we may presume at least that they are not altogether lunatics or lazy like my hon. friend from Cariboo insists that they are. They have intelligence and they know what they want. This is what they say:

Manifesto of the Unemployed Workers of Canada re the * Press and Immigration

Whereas, in view of the campaign of slander and misrepresentation by the press of the number and position of the workers unable to get employment; which campaign is echoed and supported by many of our public and official men;

And whereas, there are one million unemployed workers in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this organization of 900 unemployed workers of the city of Edmonton will, by marking said passages as they appear in the press, and forwarding them to our class-conscious brethren in the old countries from which we came, and by other means do all in our power to prevent immigration to this country, so long a3 such conditions shall continue to exist;

And further, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the National Council of Unemployed in Toronto, and as many other organizations as possible, requesting action;

And still further, that a correspondence bureau be established between organizations in different parts of Canada, for the purpose of collecting statistics relating to unemployment, assignments, business failures, banking conditions, mortgage foreclosures, tax sales, number of farms abandoned, population statistics, and other vital facts for the benefit of the prospective immigrants and investors;

And further still, that copies of this resolution be forwarded to the press, and public bodies; and that this campaign be not launched unless sympathetic consideration of the problems of the unemployed workers be wi thheld;

And lastly, that this manifesto be translated into foreign languages and printed.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

What is the date of that resolution?

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June 11, 1925