March 19, 1930

PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Was there no assistance given to the province of Quebec?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION POLICY
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL TO DISCONTINUE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE EXCEPT IN CASE OF FEMALE DOMESTICS
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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

Not that I know of.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION POLICY
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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

There was a vote in the estimates of last year for $50,000.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

As I understand it, that was for repatriation. The farmers object most of all to this method of assisting people to come to this country. We would like to see not only assisted immigration but other immigration restricted, and we would be glad to have the large majority of immigration continue to be British.

We feel that a man who has to be paid to come to this country is no good. I have assisted several people to come to western Canada and every time I have paid, or assisted, or coaxed a man to come, to the west as an immigrant, he has always said to me after having been in the west a while: "Well, you paid me; you coaxed me to come to this country, it is up to you to look after me."

I have come across some of those who have been brought out under the 3,000 family scheme and one of them, who was too lazy to work but not too proud to beg, came to me and said: "The government brought us

here and it is up to them to keep us here. Y>

a have been here long enough; they should give us the land even if we are not able to pay for it." When you coax or pay people to come to this country, you take away from them the very first essential in a good immigrant, namely, self-reliance. When you take that away from a man he simply relies on the government or his friends or somebody else to keep him alive. Moreover, in regard to the practice of going throughout the world and coaxing, paying or almost hiring people to come to Canada, if I were a man in another country the first question I would ask would be: What is the matter with your

country that you people are trying to coax us to go there? There must be something wrong; you would never be doing this if your country was any good. We are lowering our status; we are degrading ourselves in the eyes of the world when we coax and pay people to come here. The time has arrived when we should be more selective in regard to the people we bring here. We should let those people come from northern Europe and the British Isles who are able to pay their own way; if they are not able to pay their own way when they get a rate of ten pounds, they are not much good.

I am sorry my time is up. I should like to have referred to the question of female domestics, which are required chiefly, I might say, for bachelor farmers and homesteaders in western Canada.

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UFA

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. D. F. KELLNER (Athabaska):

Mr. Speaker, I want to offer a few words of commendation to the hon. member for Willow Bunch (Mr. Donnelly) for bringing this resolution before the house. I might remind him that there are in this chamber some hon. members who have criticized this expenditure every year for a good many years; and we are glad to see the good work is spreading out a little further. At the outset I should like to express a word of regret that the hon. member did not have time to tell us why he wanted female domestics to come in under the scheme of assisted passage.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

For bachelor farmers.

"58 COMMONS

Immigration Policy-Mr. Kellner

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UFA

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KELLNER:

So far as my experience goes they have not been entirely satisfactory in this country, and before I finish my remarks I am going to offer an amendment to delete that part of his resolution.

I also want to point out that his resolution is not broad enough. There are, as -he suggests, many immigrants who -come to Canada under the activities of the railroad companies. I was talking to one of them just a few days before I left Edlmonton, and he told me about his experience in the old country. He said he went down the street one morning and saw a sign reading "Immigrants wanted for Canada. Four dollars a day." A day or -two later he was passing another agency and he saw practically the same sign, but they wanted immigrants at $5 a day, and in a short time the rate was up to $7 a day. That man sold out his stuff in -the old country. He got $2,200 or so for it; he came to Canada and the first job he was offered was at 82 a dlay, but he would not take it because he thought it was not in accordance -with the promise given. After waiting for two or -three -months he bought a small farm west of Edmonton where the land is probaibly the poorest of -any we have; he built a house and spent what he had remaining from his money. Last winter the city of Edmonton had to feed both him and his family. That immigrant was not brought here iby the activities of the Dominion government. The railroad -companies are -bringing those immigrants in. Thousands of others come in, assisted not by the government but 'by various organizations. For instance, when this immigration flurry started it almost reminded one of the situation t-h-at arose in the great war. There was an agitation across Canada that the country was simply being flooded with Catholics, and practically every Protestant -church got busy and started to bring in immigrants. So you have the Catholic church trying to bring immigrants in faster than the Protestants and the Protestant churches -trying to get even with the Catholics. My hon. friend's resolution would cover that, but it is high time that parliament took notice of the matter. That sort of thing should -be stopped.

My hon. friend did not go very deeply into the question of assisted immigrants. Let me point to one feature of that phase of the question of which we should have a clear conception. We have in western Canada today several hundred, indeed', I think several thousand immigrants who have not one dollar invested in farm or equipment. The Dominion and the Im-perial governments together have paid the immigrant's passage across the ocean and out -to western Canada; they have

bought his equipment, his stock; they have built his house; they have dug his well and they have broken up his farm for him. Not one dollar has he invested in it. The experience of the soldier settler has shown us that a mam- cannot make a success on a farm where he owes the entire value of the capital invested in it. If a returned man cannot make a success of his operations under those circumstances, surely an immigrant cannot do so. In my judigment this sort of thing will produce a serious situation one of these days. The time will come when the taxpayers of Canada will become tired of paying for these immigrants' farms and undoubtedly there will be a demand that the government get rid of that white elephant. Big corporations will be formed; the land will be purchased and then you can kiss your ordinary farmer good-by, because he will n-ot be able to farm. The situation will be worse than that in regard to the Australian treaty which we have been discussing for the last few days.

I am not going to take up -more time in discussing this question because every hon. member has a reasonable appreciation of it, but I desire to move the following amendment:

That all the words after "way" be struck out and that the -following words be added:

"and that any company, organization, association, church or other institution bringing, or assisting in bringing, any immigrants to Canada, shall deposit with the government the sum of $1,000 for each and every immigrant so brought in or assisted; and provided further that the money so collected shall constitute a fund from which payments shall be made to the governments of the provinces in which the immigrant resides, to provide for unemployment, health and other expenses."

Before I sit down I want to point out that at the present time we are receiving a number of immigrants, some assisted by the government and some not. From a return that was brought down to-day, I find that 290 were brought in for Alberta in January, and from private sources I am advised that a lot more landed there last week. It seems to me very strange that when the province of Alberta is feeding over 4,000 people we should bring in 290 more in January, and an unknown number since then. We are packing the people in there week after week and month after month, and for my part I object to that. I am going to ask the house, therefore, to accept the amendment, and before taking my seat I again wish to express my appreciation of the action of the hon. member for Willow Bunch in bringing this matter before the house.

Immigration Policy-Mr. Pouliot

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. JEAN FRANCOIS POULIOT (Tem-iscouata):

Mr. Speaker, the resolution brought forward by my hon. friend from Willow Bunch (Mr. Donnelly) has come into the house like an invigorating breeze from the west. I believe that the object of the resolution would be supported by a large portion of the population of this country. I do not wish to cast any reflections on the immigrants who have come here from other lands and have adopted Canada as their home country. Many people have come here from all parts of the world with the intention of becoming good Canadian subjects-that is the term, I believe, in the immigration law. These people have the Canadian spirit, and it is highly desirable that we should have them in our country, but I believe that they would have come here even without any assistance from the government because they knew that the future of this country was bright, and that they could make no mistake in coming here, where they could live and bring up their children 3nd enjoy all those blessings that a man who is ready to work on the soil can have in this country.

I take this opportunity of congratulating you, Mr. Speaker (Mr. Boulanger) upon your presiding over this particular debate, because as vice-president of the Native Sons of Canada you have preached eloquently, even in the west, the same doctrine that has been propounded by the hon. member for Willow Bunch this afternoon.

We live in a very large country, and that is why the Department of Immigration was created. We had not enough people, and we had to bring in more people from other countries in order to lower the taxation in this country. The consequence was that several j-ears ago, people who were interested in the transportation companies, in order to make money for themselves, were very active in bringing immigrants into this country, and for that they received a bonus, which I believe was wrong. I was sorry to see last year in all the papers of this country a joint declaration made by the heads of the two great railway corporations of Canada to the effect that assistance to immigrants should be continued. Personally, I feel that when people want to go somewhere they should not be paid to go there. If you pay them to * come, they will imagine, as my hon. friend from Willow Bunch pointedly remarked, that dhere is something wrong with the country. Assistance was granted to immigrants in order -to increase the population of this country, but was the population actually increased by that method? I do not believe that our population has increased in proportion to the huge .sums which have been expended in bringing IMr. Kellner.]

immigrants to this country. If, however, the measures that have been passed by this government had been enacted by previous governments, our population might have been increased. For instance, if we had had old age pensions years ago, many old people would have continued to live here and their children would not have been put to such a great expense in supporting them. That is only one measure I might mention.

Coaxing and paying immigrants to come to this country is an artificial method of increasing population; and these artificial methods produce no worth-while results. I cannot understand why people should be induced to come to this country from the British Isles or continental Europe, sometimes under false pretences by any agency of transportation companies. I do not know if they get a share of the bonus, but undoubtedly they herd those immigrants on the ships and send them to Canada, which is represented to these poor deluded people as another promised land where they can shovel money twenty-four hours of the day. I have for instance met some of these men, members of distinguished Russian families who lost all their property in the revolution, men with university training, men of intelligence and culture, and they were gaining a livelihood here as servants, just" as they do in Paris. You know very well, Mr. Speaker, that one out of every five taxi drivers in Paris is a Russian nobleman. Those men came here because they were told they would be able to shovel gold, that they were coming to a second Klondike, so prosperous was this country. I believe, sir, in the prosperity of Canada, provided that there is no attempt at interference with the natural course of events. We must proceed along normal lines. I think this is a good country to live in, but I am convinced that the more people we bring here through the bonus system or under false pretences the more trouble we shall have with them. For instance, we have many Italian immigrants. They are hard workers and as a rule make good citizens, but when they can find no work to do some of them become desperate and resort to violence. But I believe such criminals are not representative of the majority of their race, although it is a regrettable condition of affairs.

There is nothing like love of one's native land, or of one's adopted land, to make one a good citizen. I cannot conceive of a Canadian by adoption who still thinks in terms of his native land; his whole spirit and outlook must be changed if he is to become a good Canadian. For instance, a man from the British Isles, or from continental Europe, or from South America, if he does not love

760 COMMONS

Immigration Policy-Mr. Pouliot

Canada as his own country but still remains at heart a national of his native land, will never develop into a good citizen of Canada. Not only that, but I do not think he will remain here long. We have an organization known as the league of Native Sons of Canada; it is formed of people born in this country. That association does good work. But 'I do not speak only of those people who trace their descent through generations and generations of Canadians, I speak also of those who come from any other country, including the United States, and who become so thoroughly imbued with the spirit of their adopted land that they are really good Canadians. Of course, Mr. Speaker, there must be exceptions, and too often we see immigrants from the British Isles who have come here because they cannot earn a living at home, and yet they adopt a very snobbish attitude towards " colonials " even though they may beg for charity.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION POLICY
Subtopic:   PROPOSAL TO DISCONTINUE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE EXCEPT IN CASE OF FEMALE DOMESTICS
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Nonsense.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Topic:   IMMIGRATION POLICY
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LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Acting Minister of Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, I thought

perhaps it might .be wise at this juncture that the house should be informed as to what the government intend to do in connection with this very vital question of immigration -what proposals they have to make to the house, and what change, if any, in policy they propose with respect to handling prospective immigration to this country.

Immigration, ever since I have been a member of this house, at all events, has been a very much disputed question. Members do not agree as to the policy that is to be pursued, in connection with people coming to Canada from other countries. I well remember, sir, sitting here in 1922, as Acting Minister of Immigration, being bombarded for several days with respect to the appropriations that were made for immigration purposes. However, I do not propose this afternoon to deal very much with the past, or to say very much about it, except briefly to refer to it 'and to such aspects of it as will apply to the future.

Two years ago we had a very exhaustive inquiry before a committee of this house, and a report was made to this house, and the government have, so far as I know-and the minister who preceded me-been endeavouring to act upon the recommendations contained in that report. Economic conditions have changed somewhat in the past eight years, and when I was acting in this capacity in 1922 I found myself occupying a very difficult position. I found that there was one class of public opinion in this country that felt that the only way in which to save the financial situation then existing in Canada was to secure as large a number of immigrants as possible to come to Canada, for the avowed purpose of helping us to pay our debts. That was the assumption. I wish to say at once, Mr. Speaker, that I never subscribed to that opinion. I never believed that new immigrants to this country would assist the people who are here very materially in paying their indebtedness. I believe that these immigrants create problems which are not compensated for by the amount they may earn. It is true that you can point to isolated cases where perhaps financial help has been forthcoming through the influx of new people to any given territory, but that condition is not general.

I do not desire to argue that point this afternoon; I will simply content myself by saying that the government used its best endeavours, through the various means at its disposal, to bring people to Canada. It may be questioned as to whether it was a wise policy to enter into agreements with organ-iaztions or corporations such as those mentioned by the hon. member for Athabaska (Mr. Kellner) in his amendment to the motion. On the other hand, hon. members should remember that while these schemes were not perhaps fully sanctioned by the provinces, they did give some assistance to them. All the provinces are concerned with immigration, although it is the duty of the federal government to secure immigrants; to see, as far as it may be possible, that advertising is responsible and dependable, that no misleading statements are made and that the information given any intending immigrant is authentic. I know that complaint has been made that this is not always the case, but when these complaints have been traced to their sources usually it has been found that the advertising in question has been issued by some agency other than the government.

Many complaints have been made about the class of immigration and the desirability of the immigrants who have come to Canada. In this country to-day we have a cosmopolitan population, and no one will pick out any particular race and say that they are not of service to this country or that they do not fit in with our people. I am not one of those who subscribe to that sort of thing. I be-

762 COMMONS

Immigration Policy-Mr. Stewart (Edmonton)

lieve there is room in Canada for the honest individual who is physically and mentally fit, so long as he is willing- to abide by our laws and assist in building up this new country. I would not put a restriction on any man except the general restrictions which every country must have with regard to the economic factors involved. Neither am I one of those who subscribe to the statement that Canada now has all the people it wants and that there is no room for any newcomers, though of course I do believe that reasonably good judgment should be exercised in supervising the entrance of these immigrants to Canada. Having said that, may I just interject that naturally, as the agency through which people come to this country, when there is a great deal of unemployment the federal government usually receives the blame for such a condition. That has been true during the past winter, but when there is no unemployment; when the country is prosperous and labour is required, of course the federal government receives a good deal of commendation for bringing people to this country to meet that need.

I should like to go back to what I consider to be the difficulty in connection with this situation. It is not a new difficulty; it is that I cannot conceive any other agency being responsible for the entrance of a newcomer to this country than the federal government, but unfortunately the responsibility of the federal government stops the moment an immigrant arrives within the boundaries of any given province and takes up his residence there. That immigrant then becomes the responsibility of the province, and I have been giving some attention during the past few months to this question in an endeavour to bridge the difficulty as between the responsibility of the federal government and that of the provinces. Indeed, I gave that question some attention in 1922. In that year I was so convinced of the importance of this matter that I made a trip through western Canada and interviewed the governments of all the provinces. I mention this fact because my hon. friend from Willow Bunch (Mr. Donnelly) has said that he thinks the government has stolen some of his thunder by forestalling this resolution. In 1923 also my successor in office, the late Mr. Robb, had a conference with the representatives of the provinces at which this matter was discussed.

When I took that trip through the west I told the provincial governments that I felt that as far as colonization was concerned, Canada had arrived at the place where this duty should be assumed by the provinces, and I said I felt that the provinces had a right to say how many immigrants, and what class

of immigrants they could absorb during any given year. Then it would be our business as a federal government to supervise the bringing in of those immigrants and place them inside the boundaries of the province. Later, if they proved undesirable for any reason, it would be the business of the federal government to remove them from the province and send them back to the country from which they came. Briefly that was my proposition on that occasion. The western provinces, I think with some reason, answered: "We the western provinces, are not in control of our natural resources. Wre believe it to be the business of the federal government to continue to settle these lands and to be responsible for the colonization work."

As I say, that statement was perfectly proper under the circumstances, but from that time od there has been a good deal of cooperation between the federal Department of Immigration and the provincial governments throughout Canada. The settlement of the boys brought to Canada has been largely under the auspices of the province. That is particular^ so in Ontario, and also in Alberta where the provincial Minister of Agriculture, as most hon. members know, has an immigration scheme of his own with regard to British boys. At present that condition exists in New Brunswick and in Manitoba as well. We, as a federal government, in conjunction with the British government, pay the cost of transportation of these boys from their homes to Canada; in Alberta the boys have been received by the Minister of Agriculture and in the other provinces by other agencies and settled in homes in those provinces. So it may be said that this is a three-way agreement now in existence between the provinces, the federal government and the British government, with the British government contributing one-half the cost of transportation.

That scheme is in existence at the present moment, and the same thing may be said with respect to domestics, though not to such a large degree. Domestics coming to Canada have been recruited in some instances by the province of Ontario, and by us at the request of the other provinces; they have been taken to the hostels of those provinces under the supervision of the Department of Immigration. Recruitments are made by the federal and provincial governments in some cases, and by the Salvation Army and other agencies which operate along that line.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION POLICY
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

W ould the minister

kindly state the contractual obligations of the department with reference to assistance, and give the house the extent of the obligations outstanding at the moment?

Immigration Policy-Mr. Stewart (Edmonton)

Topic:   IMMIGRATION POLICY
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

So far as domestics are concerned, at the moment we are paying a proportion of the passage by way of a grant, an equivalent amount being contributed by the British government. I have forgotten the exact date, but I think it was in 1925 or 1926 when the full amount of the passage was loaned with the intention of future recovery, but that procedure met with very indifferent success. That arrangement was abandoned and we now make a grant to domestics.

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LIB

Eugène Fiset

Liberal

Sir EUGENE FISET:

What does that

amount to?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

We did not hear the answer to the question.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION POLICY
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Is that the amount which this government contributes towards bringing domestic servants to this country?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I was speaking largely from memory, but I think that is the correct amount.

Then there is the boy and girl movement, to which rve contribute one half the cost of the passage to point of destination. This arrangement applies to the children of individuals who came out as farm labourers, and it will apply to the one hundred families per year who are being brought out to the province of New Brunswick under a tripartite agreement. That agreement is the last one to be completed so far as the bringing out of people from the old land to Canada is concerned. There are a number of individuals at present working as farm labourers who come under the three thousand family scheme. They will be settled upon the land in order to complete that agreement, but no more families will be brought from the old country for land settlement outside of the one hundred per year to New Brunswick. Under this scheme we have brought out already two hundred, one hundred will be brought out this year, and one hundred during each of the two succeeding years.

If there should be children under nineteen years of age accompanying these families they will be given free passage, the same as the children between fourteen and nineteen years of age.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Coming out with whom?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION POLICY
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March 19, 1930