No, this has not-not as far north as that. Then there is an item of $9,000 for legal surveys and map surveys. That is mainly for surveys in the Yukon territory, and perhaps certain surveys of Indian reservations.
How does the minister connect this up with the war appropriation measure, unless it is a provision for plans and specifications to provide employment for returned Canadians who are now serving in the war?
departmental officials of the Department of Mines and Resources appeared before the committee on reconstruction and presented what to my mind was a very good argument for the expenditure of considerable sums of money in connection with post-war rehabilitation in various parts of the country, connected particularly with fur raising in northern Manitoba, northern Saskatchewan, Quebec and elsewhere. That programme called for plans and specifications. Has the department a large staff engaged in making specifications for all these matters?
The officials who appeared before the committee on reconstruction presented suggestions with respect to votes of money which I expect will appear later on, and will provide for rehabilitation. I thought it was good work, and I am in favour of it. For instance, it is for completing work in connection with the fur programme along the Sipanok channel between the Saskatchewan and Carrot rivers. It looks worth while. Is that included in this vote?
No; there is nothing whatever in this item for post-war immigration, or in any of those items. There are certain Canadian nationals and have been since the outbreak of the war who still are in enemy countries and enemy controlled countries. Our protecting power is Switzerland. Certain moneys are advanced to the Swiss government and their consuls or governmental representatives in those countries use those funds to assist Canadian nationals who may for the time being be in enemy occupied countries or enemy countries. The numbers have increased because some of the Canadians in those countries are asking for help, probably owing to their resources being pretty well exhausted. In addition to that, where items like food or clothing have to be provided the cost has tended to increase. That is the explanation of the increase from $275,000 a year ago to $475,000 this year.
Mr. Chairman, we are called upon to vote a sum of $475,000 for expenditures in connection with looking after Canadian interests abroad. I have just listened to the brief explanations given by the honourable the Minister of Mines and Resources. Reference to some sessional papers brought down since the beginning of this session shows that some amounts are paid for bringing refugees to Canada. Now, I submit that, the discussion of this item brings to our minds two questions. The first is this: what are those interests which Canada may have to look after abroad in connection with immigration? And here is the second: how will this sum of $475,000 be used.
I wish to make it clear that in the few words I may say on this matter I shall show as much broadmindedness as possible and that I do not wish to echo any narrow or unworthy feeling in connection with immigation. Neither do I wish that some newspapers should continue to construe some of our opinions as was done, for instance, by the Toronto Globe and Mail in its edition of May 24 last. Allow me to quote the following excerpt:
It has been taken for granted for a long time that the province of Quebec is not anxious for any considerable growth in the population of this country to which it does not make its own preponderating domestic contribution. A general flood of immigrants who would not be sympathetic with Quebec's own particular problems and ambitions would naturally not be welcome. It would weaken that province's position apropos the other provinces.
I believe, Mr. Chairman, that such are not at all the feelings of the province of Quebec concerning immigration. As everyone knows, there are two opposite schools of thought on this subject: some would like our country to be hermetically closed against all immigrants; others wish to open our doors wide to welcome them. I do not believe either of these policies, which I call extreme, should be adopted. In this realm, as in all others, a middle course should be followed and we should consider this matter in the light of our experience of past events and of future needs.
First, one must realise fully the possibility for Canada to absorb immigrants. In this regard, I submit that it would be wise to act as a reasonable man does who wishes to increase his stock or his staff. A thorough investigation should be conducted to ascertain whether we have room in our midst to accept a large number of newcomers. Then we would be in a position to decide whether such an immigration policy would really be wise. In
the past, we have, at a certain time, opened our doors wide. Statistics show that thousands upon thousands of immigrants have availed themselves of the opportunity they were thus offered. The results may not have been adverse, for, at that time, Canada was a younger country, with plenty of available space, and opportunities for all kinds of industrial and business ventures, but to-day, we have reached a more advanced stage in our national life and it behooves us to ask ourselves what gaps remain to be filled, if any We should also stop to think whether-
Unfortunately I do not understand the language my hon. friend is speaking. That is a matter of very great regret, and always has been with me, but I believe the hon. gentleman is discussing immigration generally with some particular reference to refugees who have been brought to Canada, and is asking whether or not any part of this vote is to be expended for that purpose. This vote does not touch immigration generally at all; this is an amount we are being asked to provide to look after Canadian citizens who for the time being are in enemy occupied countries. It has nothing whatever to do with bringing people to Canada, and on that ground I would submit that my hon. friend is out of order.
Then I think the wording of the item is quite peculiar, because I see it is for expenditures in connection with looking after Canadian interests abroad, and it comes under the immigration branch. If we take the report of the Minister of Mines and Resources we see that there is a special section for immigration, in which is also the question of refugees. If the wording is not correct, I may be out of order, but if the wording is correct as it appears in Hansard of February 11, I think I am in order in discussing this question. We are dealing with immigration, and I have the right to establish my contention before the committee.
I would have no objection whatever to a discussion of the point raised by the hon. member. It could be discussed appropriately under the ordinary estimates of the department, but the item we are now considering has nothing to do with bringing people, refugees or others, to Canada. It is wholly concerned with the care of Canadian citizens who, unhappily, find themselves in enemy or enemy occupied countries. Their welfare is looked after through the agency of the Swiss government, which is the protecting power as far as Canada is concerned.