August 27, 1946

LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. GLEN:

I said, to my knowledge.

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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

At the moment I am not seeking to criticize the minister. I just want the responsible-

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LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. GLEN:

What I said was, so far as I was concerned that is the first intimation I have had that a request was made.

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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

I should like, then, to take this opportunity of emphasizing to the minister and to the department that there is a serious problem in that drainage area below Riding mountain in Manitoba. How much of it is the responsibility of the dominion government and how much the responsibility of the province and of the people on the land itself is a question; but whatever the responsibilities of the federal authorities are, the dominion government should assume them and assume them quickly, because every year tremendous losses occur-losses in the prevention or delay in the seeding of fertile land and in the spoiling of crops which have already been sown, when these spring torrents come down these little streams and spill out over the cropped land. Since the government has no plans for doing anything now, I urge that they get out some plans at the earliest possible time; otherwise large crop losses will continue. The opportunity faces the government to help prevent these losses. There will be no criticism, but every credit will be given to the department if it will undertake and carry out whatever the federal government responsibilities are in lessening that yearly damage.

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Item agreed to. Immigration branch- 186. Administration of the Immigration Act and the Chinese Immigration Act, $218,866.


LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. CROLL:

May I say to the minister it is heartening to see that the vote has been considerably increased this year. I do not know whether he has made provision for sufficient money to carry him through. I had hoped that he would increase the vote even more than he did, and I am sure the committee would agree to it in order to ensure that he had sufficient money to carry out fairly bold plans.

However, I rose to remind him and the government that immigration in this country is still a front-page topic and will remain so until such time as we do something definite about it. There are no groups, or no organization or representative bodies, in fact very few individuals in this country, who do not think we need more people. We need them now. I do not suggest that the government is unmindful of the situation, but it is the government's responsibility to arrange the how and how many. The committee is well aware that

Supply-Immigration

the number of emigrants in Europe is not unlimited. In the main, those who survived were young people. These young people are needed by their own countries not only to rebuild but to repopulate them. At the present time we are merely nibbling at the problem, while other countries are stealing a march on us. Australia is up to her neck in emigrants from the British isles and Scandinavian countries. They have already made provision for some 70,000 this year, and 50,000 war orphans over a period of three years. Brazil is in the field for 250,000 from continental Europe, and so is the Argentine. I merely bring these facts to the attention of the committee to indicate that there is some hurry about this matter, because the best will likely be picked over.

Here we have a country with unlimited reserves and great potentialities, with an abundance of international good will, and yet for all purposes we are a land without people. It is well to realize that the first wave of immigrants who came to this country was for the expansive development of the country and entirely in the field of agricultural economy. It was an introduction of the people to the land and the land to the people. We are now ready for another wave, a second wave of immigrants for the intensive development of our resources, for the use of the country by the people and in order to be able to consolidate the industrial position which we now occupy as a result of the tremendous and agreeable job which we did during the war. Pessimists notwithstanding, I point out that there is a shortage and there will continue to be a shortage of construction workers, miners, people for the forests, agriculturists, domestics, and in almost any other walk of life in the country.

There is one aspect of this whole problem that we sometimes ignore, namely, the problem of emigration. As the committee well knows, we are suffering some cruel losses to the United States at the rate of 30,000 this year. This 30,000 is draining away our young and our trained. It is well for the committee to recall that from 1900 to 1945 some 5,000,000 immigrants came to this country. At the same time 3,500.000 left. An infinitesimal number went back to their own country; in the main the rest went to the United States. We seem to be a nation that is truly looking south for greater opportunities for recognition of our capabilities and for a larger material compensation. Too long we have been a feeder and1 a half-way house to the United States. We have, our country here to build up. Our destiny is to be the front door to the world rather than the back door to another nation. We have to make Canada more attractive. We 63260-346

have to replace those whom we have lost. It is necessary that we consolidate our industrial market; we should increase our home markets and we should populate our unpopulated areas. We have established ourselves as the first of the middle powers, and we should try to hold that position.

I think, when we discussed this matter last, the minister told us that we had to look after the soldiers and their wives. Since then, we have had an announcement from the Department of National Defence that they will all be back by December 1. The minister also said that we were short of transports. That may be true, but at the present time I think it is we who are missing the boat, not the immigrants. I recall a statement made by the hon. member about transportation. I know I did not come over on a Queen or a Lady boat and it did not do me any harm. A great deal of transportation is now available in the Scandinavian countries, and I am reliably informed that ships from Denmark and Sweden are making trips across the ocean not fully loaded.'

As far as administrative details are concerned, I think the department did an excellent job in arranging for inspectional services in connection with the 4,000 Polish soldiers in Italy. That was a quick and able job. These obstacles are gradually being removed, and I only repeat what I said before to the minister; What are we waiting for?

At the end of the war we had two opportunities.- We had the opportunity to export our goods to the world and we had. the opportunity to import people from other parts of the world. In some respects we have not taken advantage of these opportunities, and we shall have only ourselves to blame if we are failures in that respect, I am not going to burden the committee by repeating myself. So far, we have had an order in council providing for the entry of blood relatives. This was a humanitarian move on the part of the government and it was highly commendable, but the number of people who will be eligible to enter under, that, plus the

4,000 Poles who will be coming here in October, constitutes merely a fleabite in the number of people we need in this country.

I do not think we differ as far as policy is concerned. There are three requisites for an immigration policy. First it should be planned, second it should have selective immigration and it should be digestible immigration. There is no question about that. I say to the minister that at the present time the country demands that we wrestle with this problem and we cannot deal with it by shooing

Supply-Immigration

it off. I ask the minister to plan boldly as quickly as possible in order that we may take advantage of the people who are available before other nations step into the field.

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PC

Thomas Ashmore Kidd

Progressive Conservative

Mr. KIDD:

Before the hon. member for Spadina took the floor I was going to ask the minister a question on this item, but first I think we should have something from the minister. Does the minister intend to make a statement on the immigration policy?

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LIB
PC

Thomas Ashmore Kidd

Progressive Conservative

Mr. KIDD:

Since we came here in March, immigration has come up on two occasions. The first was the citizenship bill when the minister made a statement about British subjects coming into Canada. The second occasion was on the orders of the day when the Minister of Justice, as leader of the government, tabled an order in council regarding the 4,000 Poles. I think we should have a sta+ement.

In what I have to say I think I can more or less answer the hon. member for Spadina, particularly with regard to British immigrants. There is hardly an hon. member who, since coming to Ottawa, has not received letters from boys and their families overseas who want to come to Canada. Before the minister gets into any scheme of European immigration, I would advise him to think carefully. I am going to deal with this question from a purely local point of view.

At Collins Bay near Kingston there was a fleet air arm school. During the period of the 'war, nearly five thousand British boys studied there, in about one hundred classes of fifty each. The first ten or twelve of those classes were composed of boys from the best families in England, boys who had studied at the best. universities and schools. During their stay in Canada, many of them married Canadian girls whom they took back home with them. Many of these boys now want to return to Canada with their wives. Within the last week I brought one case to the attention of the minister.

These boys are not Canadians; they are British subjects who have married Canadian girls. Many of the boys who were members of ground crews are the best of mechanics. I want to urge as strongly as I can that these boys be given immediate consideration. I will not enlarge upon the immigration policy, but hon. members know there is an old saying that it is better to have an empty house than a poor tenant. At the present time we should have selective immigration, and we should expect something from the minister.

[Mr. Croll.)

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LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. GLEN:

I did intend to make a statement, but the hon. member for Spadina got ahead of me. I may be a little longer than eleven o'clock and I hope I shall be able to finish my statement. As the committee knows, the present regulations and law concerning immigration are quite clear and they have been referred to already this session. In addition to British subjects and United States citizens, the present regulations provide for the admission of, first, the wife or unmarried child under eighteen years of age of any person legally admitted to Canada who has sufficient means to maintain himself until employment is secured; second, an agriculturist having sufficient means to farm in Canada; third, the fiancee of an adult male legally admitted to and resident in Canada, who is in a position to receive, marry and care for his intended wife; fourth, a person, who, having entered Canada as a non-immigrant, enlisted in the Canadian armed forces and, having served in such forces, has been honourably discharged therefrom.

Alien immigrants other than United States citizens require to be in possession of a properly vised passport, but by the order in council which I tabled on May 28 last, the door was opened and the following were admitted:

The father or mother, the unmarried son or daughter eighteen years of age or over, the unmarried brother or sister, the orphan nephew or niece under sixteen years of age, of any person legally admitted to and resident in Canada who is in a position to receive and care for such relative. The term "orphan" means a child bereaved of both parents.

Then there was a provision made with regard to passports. These people could not obtain passports because they were stateless persons, and it was provided that it would be sufficient to have a travel document establishing the identity of the holder in the case of an immigrant who had been displaced from his country of origin as a result of the war and who was not in possession of a valid passport. That is the way we have it to-day. It was thought at the time that that extension was warranted, and I thought so too. But the first thing dealt with after the war was the transportation of our forces and their dependents from overseas, and it was felt that they should have a priority over others. That was done.

I recall to the committee, too, that during the war we had, I believe, about 4,000 refugees who came from Great Britain and other countries, and ultimately we gave them permanent landing. These persons, while here, proved to be very good citizens, and many of them had given a fine contribution to our

Supply-Immigration

war effort. These persons-the exact number , was about 3,900-have been given landings, ' after being investigated, and are now legally resident in Canada.

In addition to that, there are 4,000 Polish soldiers, the investigating officers for which are now on their way. I believe they are now in Italy making investigations with regard to these Polish soldiers to bring them to this country. They will be apportioned throughout the Dominion of Canada, according to the regulations laid down by the Department of Labour.

As to these 7,000 or 8,000 people-well, no one will say, in answer to the remarks by the hon. member for Spadina, that that is a very large contribution which Canada has made. But at all events it is, I believe, a positive indication of the regard Canada has in this question.

Then, when we come to the question of the rehabilitation of our own soldiers and their dependents, it will be remembered that the Minister of National Defence (Army) has said that there were about 12,000 to 13,000 soldiers yet to be returned. Their dependents are still over there.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Will the minister say why these Polish soldiers were admitted?

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LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. GLEN:

The reason was that we were making an effort to take in soldiers who would go on the land, and into agricultural pursuits. We had many requests, and there was quite an agitation with regard to the Polish soldiers. They had expressed their intention most freely, that they were not going back to Poland, and that they intended to look elsewhere. Canada was one of the places to which they would go.

Our soldiers and their dependents were the first obligation we had.

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?

Mr. COLD WELL@

How many still remain?

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LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. GLEN:

Twelve thousand dependents, but my officials cannot tell me how many soldiers. But our first duty, of course, was to see that our soldiers were returned, as well as their dependents.

Now, with the passage of time, the numbers are decreasing. The soldiers are being brought here and rehabilitating themselves in the country. The numbers are lessening as the days go by.

There was another vexed question, namely the question of fiancees. Many of our young men are to-day anxious to have their fiancees come here. But priority was given first to the wives and children, rather than to the fiancees.

The whole question resolved itself into one of transportation. One hon. member 63260-346J

spoke about the numbers in England who wanted to come. There is nothing to prevent their going to our office in London, being examined there and settlement conditions investigated in connection with coming to Canada, with the exception of that one thing, namely that they could not get transportation. This problem will always come up when we are dealing with this matter. The hon. member for Spadina mentioned shipping from the continent. There has been an indication given that the Scandinavian line are going to send some vessels, and also the Hol-land-American line. But these may convey only a very few of those who are on the continent now. We have there about 2,000 dependents and about 2,000 fiancees, and, in addition, there are 1,000 dependents of residents of Canada to be repatriated. They were there all during the war, are still there, and have no transportation.

Therefore, owing to this extreme shortage of vessels, I have had to say to all those who are asking to come to this country, "How are we going to do it? We have no method by which we, as a department, can give priority to anyone sailing to this country." They must, of themselves, find that sailing. But when it came to the question of an individual who was not a dependent and not a soldier, that person simply could not get passage in preference to those, and none of us would have wished to encourage them in the slightest degree.

On the other question with regard to the opening of the door for these other people in Europe, they were exactly in the same position. Some of them may have relatives in this country. Transportation in Europe today is in chaos; there is no method by which they can be transferred from one country to another in the manner in which they could prior to the war. There is the difficulty in connection with the exchanges between countries; there is the difficulty of travelling in any one country.

The question came up then, of course, with regard to our medical facilities which must be on hand before we can deal with these. We are in a position now whereby, if we can get accommodation on the continent with respect to offices, we can staff those offices and deal with them. We have, of course, to have the consent of the countries through which these immigrants must pass. At the present time we are reopening the Paris office and also the office at The Hague. Perhaps in Antwerp there may be some chance later, of also establishing an office there. So far as the Scandinavian countries are concerned, the only method by which it can be done is by sending

Supply-Immigration

officers there in order to investigate those who desire to come. At the present time the * Department of External Affairs is dealing with the countries involved. They are seeking their permission and concurrence in order that we may open our offices there, and that the immigrants coming from those different countries can be funneled to those offices, inspected, and provision made for transportation to this country.

But that takes time. It is not likely that in the next two months there will be any degree of transportation of immigrants to this country from the continent. But I venture to say this, without even making a guess, that there are a great many in the British isles who are ready and willing to come, and whose settlement conditions are such that they could be accepted now, were it not for the fact that they cannot get transportation to come here.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Eleven o'clock. .

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LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. GLEN:

May I be allowed to finish?

I shall not be long. I should like to proceed, so that hon. members may have it on the record and discuss it to-morrow.

Then, repeatedly we have been asked throughout the country to formulate a policy. It has been suggested that that policy should be a large one, and one would think that it must be done overnight. The government is fully alive to the seriousness and magnitude of the immigration policy. I believe that the country generally is fully aware of that. When it is suggested in an editorial that there should be selective immigration, and in the next breath that there should be no discrimination, then I venture to say to those who are making the suggestions that I do not see how we can have selective immigration without discrimination. I should like to have the answer to that, because there have been many editorials. I have no complaints against them. I wish to have as many opinions as there are in order that a worthwhile policy may be evolved. The government is thoroughly seized of the fact that an immigration policy must necessarily be stated sooner or later, and a subcommittee of the cabinet has been formed. We have had that subcommittee established for some months, as well as an inter-departmental committee of high-ranking officers who have been engaged in studying different questions dealing with immigration, and who will of course, give us the benefit- of their advice. That concerns domestic policy.

Then we have the refugee question. That is not purely Canadian; it is international in scope. We have a representative on the united nations organization which will be meeting in September. At that meeting consideration will

be given to the question of refugees and the stateless persons of Europe, and as one of the united nations Canada will, I presume, be asked to take her share of these stateless persons and will have to assume her obligations as a member of the united nations. So that we are dealing with the matter as best we can. Anyone coming within the admissible classes who goes to our offices in England and passes the medical inspection can come here, provided that settlement conditions in this country are satisfactory and provided that they can get transportation.

I do not think there is anything I can add except that I hope in the near future we shall have some word with regard to the setting up of our offices in Europe and some idea of what we may plan in the way of government policy.

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PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

Has the minister made his whole statement?

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LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. GLEN:

Yes.

Progress reported.

It being five minutes after eleven o'clock, the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order.

Wednesday, August 28, 1946

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August 27, 1946