March 30, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Joseph-Hermas Leclerc


Mr. LECLERC (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, I have just a few words'to say on the question of refugees. That matter is closely connected with the immigration question. During the war we have had to admit into Canada a large nmber of so-called refugees, who have been expelled from their own country by the invader but who may wish to become permanent residents of Canada. Despite the kindheartedness of the Canadian citizens, that question is, in mj- opinion, one of very great importance and we. should not. exclude reason from our feelings. We must not forget that the post-war period will probably be marked by widespread unemployment and that we shall then have to take care of hundreds of thousands of demobilized soldiers and laid off workmen apart from those refugees and of the immigrants whom some may wish to send here.
I ask the government to take my remarks into serious consideration. I agree with what the hon. member for Temiseouata (Mr. Pouliot) has said a few moments ago, and I must say that the government has received numerous petitions and that I have also received some which indicate the general feeling in Shefford county. I ask the government, once again, to consider the question of postwar immigration and to make sure that the number of immigrants admitted is commensurate with the employment available at that time. Without any doubt, we shall then have very serious problems to solve in connection with the Canadians who will have to be provided for. I ask the government that before they take care of European refugees, they provide for Canadian-born citizens.

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