July 10, 1931

LIB
CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I am wholeheartedly with him.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LIB

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Mr. HEENAN:

Well you and I are going to shake hands yet. I made a speech, Mr. Chairman, with respect to people being brought into this country, and the whole Tory party including the present Prime Minister took exception to my remarks. The Tory papers also objected. On November 22nd, 1928, the Moose Jaw Times contained this editorial:

The Montreal Gazette has been devoting considerable criticism to Hon. Peter Heenan, Minister of Labour, in connection with immigration matters. Mr. Heenan has been returning the compliment and seems to be no better pleased with The Gazette than The Gazette is with him.

To the Toronto Star there is nothing surprising about this. In coming into conflict The Gazette and the Minister of Labour are both attending to their jobs and upholding the beliefs that are within them. The Star says:

Mr. Heenan is censured by The Gazette for having said that any miner-harvester excursion next year would be contingent upon the demand for extra labour that might then exist. This does not please The Gazette and is taken as indicating a hostility to immigration, a subject which, it says, Mr. Heenan should not discuss, but should leave to Mr. Forke, Minister of Immigration. But the fact is that Mr. Heenan, as Minister of Labour, was talking of labour, not immigration, when he made the statement complained of. "Any bringing over of harvesters," said Mr. Heenan, "would be contingent upon the demand for extra labour that might then exist." No Minister of Labour could very well be attending more strictly to his own business than was Mr. Heenan when he made that statement.

1 am reading these extracts to give the minister an idea of the character of the propaganda inspired by certain interests during the last two or three years in an attempt to bring in immigrants, and, conversely, to criticize anyone who would dare take the stand the present minister has taken. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I cannot see why the minister should still desire to pass this vote to grant financial assistance to immigration agents. Consequently I move that the vote be reduced to $1.

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CON

Martin James Maloney

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MALONEY:

Mr. Chairman. I would

not intervene in this discussion were it not for the fact that certain statements have been made reflecting on the capability of our high commissioner in London. We have as our representative in London the Hon. G. Howard Ferguson, one of the ablest men that Canada ever produced. Undoubtedly since he has been in London he has placed Canada on the map. Never in the history of this country have we had a more capable administrator than the Hon. G. Howard Ferguson, ex-

Premier of Ontario, who to-day with such distinction fills the office of High Commissioner to London.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I have a case to which I

should like to direct the attention of the Minister of Immigration; and I ask the indulgence of the committee while I explain the details. This is the case of one Joseph Gordon Smith, who was dismissed from his position as temporary immigration inspector at Pacific Highway, British Columbia. In regard to his civil service examination I might say he obtained a mark of 85 per cent on the written examination and a very fair mark on the oral examination as well, and was placed sixth on the permanent list. I asked lor the papers in connection with the case, and it is from these official records I am now giving the facts.

'Complaints started to come in from the inspector in charge there with regard to this man, but at one time it was decided that he would make a fairly good officer. I read from a report dated October 16, 1930, from division inspector F. W. Taylor to the division commissioner at Vancouver. This is with reference to Inspector J. G. Smith:

The vacancy created by the transfer of inspector McNamara back to White Rock could, I am sure, be filled temporarily at least by officer Smith; and while I realize that the department would like to deal definitely with these appointments after the person concerned has been in the service a reasonable length of time, in the ease of Mr. Smith if it is possible to have him continue at the Highway office for another few months to make up the quota of inspectors required at this port, I would recommend this action, as Mr. Smith is steadily improving in his inspectional and all-round work, and I feel reasonably sure that he will continue to do so.

So you see, Mr. Chairman, this man was progressing very well, and it looked as though he would make a fairly good officer. As I say, however, complaints started to come in with regard to his work, and the two chief complaints lodged against him were later proved to be entirely unfounded. I am going to read the first complaint made against him, and also give the real facts of the case. This is a report to Mr. A. E. Skinner under date of February 21, 1931:

Referring to Mr. Whiteley's recent report in connection with the employment of Inspector J. A. Smith wherein Mr. Whiteley makes reference to a couple of complaints in Mr. Smith's inspectional work; these complaints were inquired into at the time, the first one being made by a Mr. Louis F. Bachman, who claimed at the time he was being interviewed by Mr. Smith at the Highway that he was a Y.M.C.A. worker from Milwaukee, although he did not have any credentials to identify himself and

Supply-Immigration

very little cash for his maintenance during his contemplated somewhat lengthy stay in this province, and although the man was allowed to come forward he called at the United States consular office to ascertain why he should have been questioned so closely and on following the matter up we found that Bachman was arrested a few days later by the R.C.M.P. officials in Alberta, where on being liberated he lost no time in returning to his home in Minot, North Dakota.

That was the first complaint, which was later proved to be entirely untrue. I quote from the same report, with regard to the second complaint:

The second complaint was made by Mr. H. A. Goodhugh, who was sailing from Vancouver on the ss. Aorangi on November 12th last, and this entleman called here on the morning after eing admitted at our Highway office to complain of the indifferent manner our inspector answered his many questions with reference to certain information he was endeavouring to secure concerning Vancouver and vicinity, as this was his first trip through British Columbia and it later developed that Mr. Smith unfortunately was not familiar with the particular things "Mr. Goodhugh was asking about and when he secured the information from myself he was quite willing to overlook Mr. Smith's apparent indifferent attitude in the matter.

Those were two main complaints against Mr. Smith during the time he was temporary officer, and as I have stated they were not only proved to be unfounded and unwarranted, but I think were entirely uncalled for.

Now I should like to take uip the further reasons given for his dismissal. The first is is because of his advanced age. He is an overseas active service man, and passed with a high mark, and there is a different age limit for those men than for others. His age when he passed the examination was 51, and when he was dismissed he was 53. The second complaint is that he would never make an efficient inspector, that he had always worked as a labourer or farm hand. This is entirely untrue. He had been a chef and always had followed that line of work; he had also been a chef in the British army during the last war. The only time he worked as a labourer, or anything of the sort, was when he took up a ranch at a place called Newtonbury, but this is what the inspector says:

He has always worked as a labourer or as a farm hand, and it is very hard for a man of his calibre to step into a position of this kind at his age and be successful.

I think that complaint also is entirely unfounded. Then the inspector goes on to state that this man never had any clerical experience. As a matter of fact the temporary inspectors are never given any chance to do clerical work; all the reports were filled in

by someone else, so how can they say he has no clerical experience when he had no chance to do clerical work? Then there is another statement which I find in these official records. The inspectors says:

I am very sorry that for the past two years I have had to turn down all the temporary men but one, but I take it that the department wants efficient men appointed to the service, and I am doing my best to this end.

I ask the minister to take serious note of this statement. These men are appointed as temporary inspectors, and my information is that if they do not fit in with the other men there, it is openly stated that they have the skids put under them and out they go. One man by the name of Griffin was a temporary officer in New Westminster, and just before he was made permanent he was sent out to this port and the skids were put under him. This is not a case where one can blame any political organization; this is the fault of the officials in charge of this work. It is practically a closed corporation, and it is a common saying in that district that they can put the skids under any of the temporary inspectors and prevent them from becoming permanent officials.

Those were the most important complaints, but there is a further point which aroused the ire of myself and very many others. The officials looked around to see if they really could find a reason for dismissing this man. He was efficient in every way; he had been recommended a few months back, but ju3t before he was to be made permanent they decided it was about time to get rid of him, so what do you suppose they found against him? I should like the minister to listen to this, because the middle name of this man is the same as the minister's name, and I am sure the minister will be interested in this complaint. I now read from the report:

There are two complaints against Inspector Smith, that I may say is not that he is discourteous, but his Scotch dialect is so broad that the majority of the travelling public cannot understand him when he is trying to examine them.

Do you blame me for being hostile? This is part of the official record, and to think we have come to a time in the history of Canada when a man with a Scotch dialect is to be discriminated against! I have heard the deputy speaker refer with commendable pride to the French race, but I can tell him that the record of the Scotch is not very far behind that of the French in the building up of this country of ours. I can go back to Sir John A. Macdonald and go right down the

Supply-Immigration

list of men of Scotch extraction who have done very much for this country. I think this is a gross insult, and I ask the minister that this case be investigated. I would ask the minister to remember this: they have not put on a permanent man for over two years. There are skids put under all those who do not fit in, but this is the last straw, and I am asking in the name of common justice that this slur on Scotland be removed. I have been quoting from the official records, and the only thing that they could find against the man is his Scotch accent.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

The hon. member need

not fear; I will take the necessary steps to see that Scotchmen get their rights. I am told they get them anyhow. The case has not come before me, and obviously I cannot offhand go into all these various cases on the international boundary. I will look into this matter and if there has been any injustice I will see that it is attended to.

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

This is not a dismissal under

any political organization. The matter is more serious than that. I have here a letter from which I might quote the following:

You will be surprised to know that Joe Smith has been fired from the immigration service at the highway here under circumstances that merit some attention. The complaints have been fostered by another member of the staff, but of course the signing of the report was done by the man in charge. They complained of Smith's Scottish accent. I never thought the day would come when a Scottish accent would be a detriment in this world but more especially in Canada.

This letter is from a man who was a prospective Conservative candidate in the last provincial election, and therefore it shows that the matter is more serious than a mere political dismissal. It is high time that an investigation took place at the customs and immigration ports of British Columbia.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

I wish to say a word or two in regard to this question of immigration, and I do so for the benefit of the hon. member for Montmagny, who in his speech blamed the Liberal party so severely for bringing so many immigrants into the country. According to the hon. gentleman the Liberal party was entirely to blame for all the immigrants brought into the country in the last fifteen or twenty years or more. Let me direct his attention to page 2746 of Hansard of May 22, 1929, reporting a speech made by the present Minister of Railways. That hon. gentleman was then criticizing the policy of the Liberal party in regard to immigration,

and he was attempting to show that that policy had been a failure. In his speech he said:

During the first year of Liberal rule the British immigration into Canada amounted to 47 per cent of the total immigration; last year it was 33 per cent, which shows that the British immigration is decreasing, whatever the cause may be.

The following, particularly, is what I wish to call to the attention of the hon. gentleman:

During the last four fiscal years before the war, 1911 to 1914-

Our Toiy friends were in power then, and the hon. member for Montmagny was supporting them.

-we received into Canada, 1,451,000 people.

Mr. LaVERGNE: Before the war?

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

The hon. gentleman was

referring to the period before the war.

During the last four years during which this government-

That is, the Liberal government.

-has been in office-

That is, from 1922 or 1923 up to the time the hon. gentleman was speaking.

-we have received exactly 501,000, or a little more than one-third of the immigration during the four years before the war.

I wish to ask the hon. member for Montmagny to sleep on that.

Mr. LaVERGNE: My hon. friend asks me to sleep on his words. It reminds me of the old days. Let me tell him something that happened under the Laurier regime, when the Liberal party was making an attempt to bring in immigrants of every description- the Salvation Army, ex-convicts, prisoners and loafers. That was during the Liberal regime. The reason for that immigration which the Laurier government wished to bring in will be found at page 6151 of Hansard of April 9, 1907. That reason was stated by Mr. Smart, then Deputy Minister of Immigration, in Liverpool. He said on that occasion that this immigration was necessary to drown the French element in Canada. I would ask my hon. friend to sleep on that.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

There is an arrangement with the provinces for bringing in settlers, whereby we pay a certain proportion of the interest on the money loaned for improvements on the land. Can the minister give us some idea of what this is costing the government in New Brunswick and elsewhere?

Supply-Immigration

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CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

That applies to what is known as the New Brunswick scheme. Five hundred families are being brought in. All but about fifty of the families have come in, and I do not think there is any possibility of further families coming forward this year. I have not the figures with regard to what is known as the tripartite agreement with New Brunswick but I should be glad to get them and give them to the hon. gentleman.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The other evening when these items were under discussion I was asking the minister a question with regard to the British Immigration and Colonization Association. I have since then received a return which gives a good deal of the information I sought. I note that this organization has brought in 5,358 boys. It has received in the past year from the government a total of 535,140.08.

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CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

That is from the commencement.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB
CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

From the time we first took an interest in it.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I have no fault to find with the present administration with regard to this organization, but I do think that in the future the policy of the government should be to refuse to allow private organizations of this kind to bring boys to Canada. As I understand it, this organization is today on the rocks. They entered into a solemn arrangement with the government that they would supply after-care to the boys who were brought over. They have no financial resources and the responsibility for carrying on the work among these boys is left to the railroads-they were originally closely associated with the organization-and to the department itself. The Dominion government has been loaded up with a large number of boys who really are not needed in Canada. Throughout the west there are at the present time thousands of school boys who do not know where to find a job. I know something of old Ontario, and the same condition exists there. I had a letter only the other day from some people who stated that they did not know what to do with their own boys on the farm. In many cases our orphan homes are unable to place the children. I will admit that in the past many farmers got cheap labour by this means, and no doubt many boys of a fine type were

brought out. However, at the present time we have sufficient boys right here in Canada to meet our needs.

Governments in the past have been willing to enter into negotiations with associations which may have had a certain financial backing but which have not been prepared to carry out their original arrangements, and the load has been passed on to the government. This brings me to the question of deportations. There have been deported 246 of these boys, and 199 have been returned under charity arrangements. A few weeks ago I gave an illustration to the house of one particular case that had been brought to my attention, a boy who had been brought to this country under some such arrangement as this and who had gone down hill and was likely to become a criminal. He was a mere tramp, drifting about, riding on freight cars, and so on. That is positive tragedy, even when confined to one individual, but it is an appalling condition when it applies to hundreds of boys who have been brought over here and allowed to drift about from place to place. A certain number of them will get into trouble; many of them have had to be deported, and it is a very serious condition. When we were discussing the question of deportations a little while ago the minister took the ground that we had to protect ourselves. Looking back over the past ten years I find that there has been no group in this house which has stood out so solidly for protecting our Canadians against immigration as has the group in this corner.

However, when these immigrants are brought in, the least that we can do is to give them a fair chance. I know the minister is faced with the task of clearing up a lot of the mess which was left for him as a result of the policies pursued for many years, but I think we must give a certain amount of humane consideration to this matter.

May I be permitted to give one or two examples which would not come under the provisions of the bill which was under consideration earlier in the evening? The following case in a western municipality came to my attention. A man from central Europe had come to Canada four years ago with his wife and three children, the eldest of which was ten years of age. He bought a home on Montreal street in Regina, and had it paid for. Last summer he was required to put in a couple more rooms, as well as water and a sewer system. This meant debt which because of unemployment he was unable to meet. He could not borrow money on the property, and he was forced to appeal to the

Criminal Code

city. He received relief to the extent of about fifty or sixty dollars, and then an attempt was made to deport him. Fortunately strong representations were made to the city council and the municipality did not urge deportation. I have no fault to find with the department in connection with this case as they had taken no definite action when I communicated with them.

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CON
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Just at the

moment, I do not recall. I do not understand what the hon. member's question has to do with this matter.

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CON
LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I have not the

telegram before me, but there is nothing in the information I have which refers to that particular point. I contend that it is not fair to the people whom we have asked to come here that we should force them out of the country when they get into a little trouble.

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July 10, 1931