June 7, 1928

CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

It is a British dominion.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

They regard themselves as a nation just as the Canadian people regard themselves as a nation, except a small fraction of the Tory party who are still inclined to call themselves a dominion or a colony. That is one phase of the report of the committee on immigration. I agree with the hon. member for Southeast Grey that we should at once stop any assistance to persons outside of the Dominion of Canada. It is bad legislation for the parliament of Canada to vote money to assist the citizens of any other country in preference to our own people. We are granting to people outside of our borders preferences that we do not grant to the Canadian people and legislation which favours outsiders as against Canadians is bad legislation. The system of assisted immigration should be stopped at once. As a matter of fact, I opposed the assisted immigration scheme some years ago, and I am glad to find from the report that I was absolutely right, and that the scheme has proved detrimental to immigration to Canada rather than beneficial. It was poor policy then, and it is poor policy now.

We have the problem of emigration, as well as that of immigration, and I think it is the duty of the government of Canada to ascertain the causes of our emigration. It is far more important that we should solve the emigration problem than that we should solve the immigration problem, because if we solve the emigration problem, the immigration

Immigration-Mr. Cahill

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. J. W. EDWARDS (Frontenac-Adding-ton):

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) rose I was about to open my remarks with a view to cooling the blood of the hon. member for Pontiac (Mr. Cahill) by informing him that there was a very good reason why the Irish Free State is not mentioned in the report; that is, the Irish Free State does not want to be. The hon. gentleman seemed to be worrying lest the Irish Free State was in some way overlooked; but we have had proof right here in the last three or four minutes that it is impossible to overlook any part of the world where there is more than one Irishman.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Or where there is even one.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

I wish to assure you, Mr. Speaker, that there was not the slightest thought in the mind of any member of the committee to overlook the Irish Free State.

Now, the hon. member for Southeast Gray (Miss Macphail) said we were too much inclined to impose our own thoughts and ideas upon the alien. I suppose that is a form of class consciousness which we all possess more or less. When the hon. member was speaking I could not help reflecting on her agony of mind if any restriction should be placed on the imposition of her ideas upon the members of this house or the people outside. She said we were too much disposed to stress the fine qualities of the English.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss MACPHAIL:

I do not think I said that.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

Well, I do

not wish to misquote my hon. friend, That is what I took down, and I thought I had it right. At all events, I think I am correct in this: she was rather afraid there was a disposition in Canada to favour British immigration, to dwell somewhat too much on the qualities of

3890 COMMONS

Immigration-Mr. Edwards (Fro-ntenac)

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

And you can say it.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

Something can be said for them. It is characteristic of the English not to let the world disregard then-fine qualities. That is something which the hon. member for Southeast Gray should particularly appreciate. I know that in the past England has made many mistakes, but her record is written throughout the world, and she has done more than any other nation on the face of the globe to raise the standard of civilization to a higher level. Yes, there is something to be said for the English after all.

Now, the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Dunning) stressed two points. First of all he asked: shall we try to get more British immigrants by offering material inducements? He rather deprecated this method. Well, the policy of the government has been along that line all the time that he has been a member of it, but this is the first occasion on which he has expressed himself as opposed to the policy. However, I am inclined to say to the hon. gentleman that the' government might offer inducements to get British or other people into this country, not so much by way of land, and so on, but by presenting for their consideration such a sane governmental policy as will assure them work in Canada. He referred to our having adopted what amounts to the quota system with respect to immigrants from the continent of Europe, and he rather opposed the idea. But it seems to me we have to ask ourselves this question: after all, is it worth while in our day and generation seriously to contemplate the maintenance of British ideals and institutions in this Dominion? If we answer that question in the affirmative, then it does seem to me that we must give consideration to the number of immigrants from those foreign countries that we can reasonably be expected to assimilate. I think everyone will agree that it will be easier for Canada to assimilate those classes of immigrants which we have been favouring rather than those from the non-preferred countries of Europe which we have been trying to a certain extent to exclude. After all, we must regard this as a fact, the movement of peoples from one country to another- migration is the word which will cover it-has in all ages had a tremendous influence in shaping the destinies of nations and their standards of civilization. That has been true of past movements, and it will be true for all time to come.

But it does seem to me we have made a mistake, perhaps not intentionally, in our past policy of immigration and colonization in

bringing in agricultural workers-those going on the land-assuming that there was no limit to our ability to absorb those who said they were willing to settle on the land. I submit this as a principle which we in this house should keep in mind in regard to immigration-we should aim to bring in immigrants of such a class and type that Canada's population would be fairly well balanced in terms of occupation and production. That should be our general aim. It has not been in the past. We have offered special inducements to those who signalized their willingness to settle on the land. What have been our principal sources of supply? The British Isles; continental Europe, divided into two classes, preferred and non-preferred countries; and the United States of America. The policy of the government has been to limit those coming from the non-preferred countries exclusively to people going on the land, agricultural workers. That has been our policy. The agreement with the railways, which we recommend should not be renewed in its present terms when the existing contract has expired, has been that they should bring out from the nonpreferred countries only those who were going on the land. How has that worked? We have brought to Canada in that way thousands and tens of thousands, every one of whom has signified his willingness or intention to go on the land. Have these people done so? I quote from page 735 of the evidence a short conversation between the minister and one or two members of the committee:

Hon. Mr. Forke: The complaint we have is

that the newcomers are going onto the farms, but as soon as they have been here a year they do not go back to the farms, but into other employment.

Mr. Edwards: They get into the country

under the plea of going on the farms, and then leave the land the next year?

Hon. Mr. Forke: We may as well face it;

that is the idea.

Mr. Arthurs: Does that apply generally to

these non-preferred countries?

Hon. Mr. Forke: Oh, yes.

There is the situation. We have been bringing in thousands and tens of thousands of people from the non-preferred countries of Europe every one of whom got into the country on the understanding that he was to go on the land and remain there. But after being on the land a few months or a year these men leave and drift into the cities and towns; and they are the main factor in the unemployment situation in our cities and centres of population. That is what we are confronted with; it is one condition which in my judgment we ought to make every possible effort to put an end to. No one in this house will

Immigration-Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)

cast any reflections upon the ability of people coming from the non-preferred countries or from any country of Europe to become good citizens of Canada. No one wishes to suggest anything of that sort. We have too many evidences to the contrary in this country. But I repeat, notwithstanding that fact, that everyone will agree that there is more difficulty in assimilating these people than there is in assimilating people of British stock; and it seems to me we must have regard to that circumstance in certain parts of the country if we wish to maintain in their integrity British ideals and institutions.

There are in the report a great many points to which I should like to refer, but I will not take up my full time discussing them. With the report in general I am glad to agree. There is one clause of it with which I cannot agree and I so expressed myself in the committee. I think this was the only clause in the report to which I objected. I refer to the clause on page 8 under the head of Railway Rates for Canadian Landseekers. It reads:

The committee also recommends that measures be taken to ascertain whether the railways will restore the home seekers' rates in effect prior to the -war, making such rates effective east bound as well as west bound.

I object to that paragraph and I object also to a somewhat similar clause, though more extended, in the amendment proposed by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan), namely, that we should provide facilities for settlement in the more recently organized provinces of Canada of settlers from other provinces who are intent upon leaving the east and going west in search of improved conditions and better opportunities. I object to this clause being incorporated in the report. Our committee was appointed as a committee on immigration and this is not an immigration matter; it is a matter which does not touch immigrants at all. It is a matter referring entirely to business within the country. It is an internal matter which has nothing to do with immigration. I object therefore to our considering it or expressing an opinion upon it. We might just as well have incorporated in our report a recommendation in regard to pensions or something of that kind, as to incorporate this. Moreover I object to the principle involved; I object to the government undertaking to make arrangements to move settlers from one province to another. The idea started in moving from east to west; but logically, if you assist in moving people from the eastern provinces to the west, how

56103-246*

can you refuse assistance to those in the west who desire to come east if they have changed their minds, believing that there are better opportunities for them in eastern Canada: Where will this sort of thing end? Transferring people from one province to another is not a function of the Immigration department, and I object strongly to the principle not only as indicated in the report but as stated in the amendment proposed by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George. There are a good many things in the amendment with which I agree. I believe it is absolutely and fundamentally sound in pointing to this fact, that the key of the whole situation, so far as successful immigration is concerned, is in providing profitable employment for people whom we bring to the country. I believe 'that if this government will adopt a policy which will not drive farmers off the farms, which will not drive dairymen out of their business, which will not discourage-

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, ohl

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

Yes, this is politics; you cannot get away from the political side of it. I repeat what I have said: The key of the whole situation so far as successful immigration is concerned is to impress upon people in other lands that if they come here to farm they have a reasonable chance of success; that if they come to Canada to go into any other business they have a reasonable chance of succeeding in that business. And I have a right to ask consideration of this question: What encouragement is there to a man in another country to come to the Dominion of Canada and to go into the dairy business under present conditions, under the policy of the present government? What encouragement is there to a man in some other country to come here and go into the fruit and vegetable industry? What encouragement is there to people abroad to come to Canada and go into the sheep raising industry under the policy followed by this government? I say the policy of this government has not only closed factories in this country and deprived the people here of an opportunity of earning their living in Canada, but it has had the effect of reducing the reasonable profits of farmers and driving people out of business generally. How in the name of Heaven will you induce intelligent men in the old country to come to Canada under such conditions? Do you think you can stop their ears, their eyes and their understanding? If you invite them to come to the country to settle on the land the first question they will ask you is this, "Why don't your own boys stay on the land?" If you

3892 COMMONS

Immigration-Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)

are honest you will have to tell them that the reason is that, due to the mistaken fiscal policy pursued by this government, there is no encouragement for the boys to stay on the land. That is the absolute answer. There you have the key to the situation. You have to provide a diversity of employment; you have to give an opportunity for people in various walks of life to earn a livelihood. How unfair it is, when you analyse it, for anyone to get up and say, "You must not bring industrial workers into the country because we have already all that we need of that class of workers, and if you bring in more you will lower the standard of living and lower wages. That would be unfair." And we are foolish enough, those who represent farming constituencies, to allow that to go unchallenged. Suppose you applied that reasoning to agriculture. There is an industry which every year produces far more than the requirements of the people of the country. We are looking throughout the world to find markets for our surplus farm products. Now, if that reasoning is good with regard to industrial workers, that you must not bring in any more, why not apply it to agriculture and say we are producing all the farm produce that we need, and we do not want more farmers? _ It seems to me that the argument would logically have to apply to the one as to the other. \ou must not bring bricklayers because we have enough bricklayers, says the bricklayers' union; you must not bring in any of this class or that class because we have a sufficient number to produce what these classes are producing. Bring in farmers, however, and every time you bring in five farmers you will provide employment for 1.73 people in industrial establishments. I think the whole thing is absolutely wrong and absolutely inconsistent. I repeat what I said a moment ago, that you must aim to bring in such classes of immigrants as we require in this country until you have a population fairly evenly balanced as between production and occupation. As far as I have been able to see there has been no attempt at all along that line.

The question of the feeling in the old country that British people were not wanted in Canada has been discussed in the house this afternoon. There may be a difference of opinion as to whether that feeling exists and as to whether there is any justification for it; many members would say it has no justification. I want to say just as emphatically that I believe there is ample justification for the belief which exists in the minds of many people in the British Isles that Canada does not want British immigrants. As a matter of fact the present government started

out wrong as soon as they took office in connection with this matter of immigration; they had! at that time as Deputy Minister of Immigration Doctor Black, president of Manitoba Agriculture college, secretary of the economic and development committee and a man of outstanding ability, recognized from one end of the country to the other as having studied this whole problem of immigration for years. His value will be realized when it is remembered that after the government dispensed with his services the Canadian National Railways placed him at the head of their immigration activities, which was a tribute to his worth. When the government took office they studiously ignored Doctor Black for a time until they forced him out- and appointed in his place the present deputy minister, Mr. W. J. Egan. Without making any reference to Mr. Egan's present abilities, because I think he has learned from experience and I am sure he would be the first to say so, I point to the fact that in my judgment the government did an unwise thing in dispensing with the services of a man who was so well grounded in this work and who had made a study of it during most of his life, and in putting in his place a man who, no matter what his natural capabilities might have been, was without previous experience. That is what the government did; that was their first mistake, and with all due deference I say they made a further mistake when they appointed the present Minister of Immigration and Colonization. He had had no vast experience in dealing with immigration matters; his previous experience had been gained on the floor of this house down in the southeast comer, where he was one of the chief critics of the other parties in the house; whether they went under the label of Grit or Tory, nothing was satisfactory to him. He was appointed to that position. I venture to say he has learned a lot since that time, but he had no special qualifications for the work, and the result was that as far as immigration was concerned it was regulated by orders in council instead of parliamentary enactments. One thing was tried for a while; then another was tried, and when they both failed something else was tried.

. Mr. JACOBS: Would the hon. gentleman pardon me a question? Has not the present Minister of Immigration and Colonization equal experience to that possessed by the hon. gentleman himself when he was appointed to that position in 1921?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

My answer is most emphatically in the affirmative, but for the consideration of my genial friend I

Immigration-Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)

would add that when I was appointed to that position I had as deputy minister and assistant deputy minister men who had grown up with the department and who were qualified to guide me as they would be qualified to guide the present minister or any other minister who assumed the office.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

The same officials are still there with the exception of Doctor Black, who was appointed when my hon. friend was appointed. Then it was a case of the blind leading the blind.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

Doctor Black had been studying the immigration question for years, and so had Mr. Blair.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

Was he not taken from the position of chief organizer for the Conservative party and pitchforked into that position?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

He might have been one of the organizers of the Conservative party, and in that way he would get a good* deal of experience. At any rate, Doctor Black made a study of immigration matters for several years; he was a man highly qualified for the position because of his former associations, and next to him we had in Mr. Blair a man who was splendidly qualified and who had been in the department for many years. In my humble judgment, and I say it candidly and without wishing to reflect upon the present deputy minister, when the services of Doctor Black were dispensed with the logical man to assume the duties of deputy minister was Mr. Blair, who had been appointed by the Liberal party.

Now I would like to say just a word or two with further regard to this matter of discrimination. In my judgment the Salvation Army has been very directly discriminated against and very unjustly used. The Salvation Army started in their immigration work some twenty-three or twenty-four years ago; they have brought to this country over 100,000 immigrants, and they are able to say that less than one per cent of the immigrants they brought here have turned out failures. I would call that a good record, and I think everyone must agree with that. The Salvation Army established a big training farm in England and seven or eight other farms and centres in Canada; they have gone to great expense to carry on this work, but the government have seen fit to shut down on that work because they were obtaining from the boys they brought to this country a sum of money for the purpose of enabling the army to carry on their work and bring out other boys. The government made the mistake of

denouncing that principle; they said it was wrong, but that the government were wrong in their attitudte is shown by the fact that they have now endorsed exactly the same principle, although for a smaller amount. They have approved of that being done to the extent of $25, but they declared the principle wrong when they shut down on the work carried on by the Salvation Army.

There is just one other matter to which I wish to refer for a moment. In his evidence before the committee Dr. Amyot, Deputy Minister of Health, stated most emphatically that the Minister of Immigration had no right to override the decision of the medical officers in regard to allowing people to come into this country. Notwithstanding that fact, however, in looking over the proceedings of the committee-and this is where the discrimination comes in-at page 486 I find a girl described as follows:

Domestic work 3 months. Can cook, wash and do housework. Canadian government say: "She has been employed in mill past four years, therefore not eligible for the reduced passage fare."

I could name eight or ten cases of girls who are described as first class cooks and good housekeepers and who have had experience in that line of work for some years but who, just before they thought of coming to this country, were not engaged in domestic service. The Immigration department denied them the right to come out under this passage, and in every one of these cases the government merely said, "You can bring this girl out all right if you pay the money necessary for her regular passage." That strikes me as being rather harsh treatment and drawing the line pretty tight, if we want that class of immigrant in this country, and I think we are all agreed we do. I contrast that with the action of the minister in granting permits to remain in this country to persons who were deaf, blind or nearly blind, feebleminded; persons who were turned down by their own doctors as being unfit physically and mentally. I contrast the harsh attitude of the department in regard to this class of workers being brought out by the Salvation Army, and whose services are needed in this country, with the laxity of the Minister of Immigration in granting permits to those who were defective physically and mentally. The minister himself must bear a share of the responsibility for the claim made by the heads of some of our institutions in this country that a number of the inmates had been brought in, not only from the British Isles but from continental Europe,

3894 COMMONS

Immigration-Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)

and we have had to pay the bills for their maintenance. It is only fair to state that the greater percentage of these cases come from continental Europe, but there are some from the British Isles who are now in our mental institutions, our jails or asylums. I say that the minister himself must take a part of the blame in allowing such people to come into the country after his own medical officers had said they were physically and mentally unfit to be citizens of Canada.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
LIB-PRO

Robert Forke (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I really do not know what

the hon. member refers to when he says I gave permits to come in permanently to anyone who had been turned down by the medical officers. I suppose I have given permits for six months or a year, but as I recollect there have been no permits issued to allow them to remain permanently. I have looked over these permits and I think there is an explanation for every one of them. The hon. member for Frontenac can see the explanations if he wishes to look at them.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

I have the same explanations that the minister has- the ones he tabled-and that is what I am quoting from. I assume that if he had had any further explanations he would have put them on the report. I did not say that the minister had given permits to allow these people to stay in Canada permanently; I did not use the word "permanent" at all. If the minister's judgment was defective in giving permits to people to stay in this country who had been declared by his medical officers to be both physically and mentally unfit to be citizens of Canada; if he did that for six months, I have not enough confidence in his judgment to be assured that he would not give them for another six months or a year.

We have cases without number. There is Mr. G, twenty-five years old, who was given a permit by the minister to stay here, although there was a certificate given at the port of entry that he was feebleminded and illiterate. Here is another one; Mrs. H, who had been under treatment in the old country for a mental breakdown. If this woman has become an inmate of one of our insane asylums-and who can wonder at it-he is responsible for it. I contrast that, Mr. Speaker, with what I consider the rather harsh and arbitrary attitude of the department in regard to these persons, certified to as being first class physically and mentally, but who were not granted the privileges of reduced passage given to domestic servants coming to this country.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
LIB-PRO

Robert Forke (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I do not want to interrupt, and I think so far the hon. member has been very fair. But he has quoted the case of Mary Holt, who had been admitted into Canada after having been in an insane asylum. To be fair, would you state the facts of that case?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

I do not

know just what page of the report it is on, but I have made a brief note about it. Mrs. Mary Holt had been under treatment in Scotland for a mental breakdown. Her husband seemed to be able to receive her and guarantee that she would not become a public charge.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OP COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND COLONIZATION
Permalink

June 7, 1928