April 24, 1953 (21st Parliament, 7th Session)


Daniel Aloysius Riley


Mr. Riley:

I should like to point out to the minister, however, one or two small problems which have caused some concern in my mind. I came across an incident recently with respect to one of these new probationary Canadians who had come into the country as a domestic and was in the home of a friend of mine where there were a number of children. These new Canadians, particularly the younger ones, have in many instances been indoctrinated in a way of life which is different from and at variance with our own, and although they are anxious to come to this country and fit themselves into our way of life nevertheless there remain in them certain

vestiges of thinking which are not strictly in accordance with the Canadian way of thinking.
In this particular case the young lady employed as a domestic in the home from time to time made comparisons between the head of the state from which she came and our own sovereign. That may be understandable because of the respect that had been built up in her mind for the head of the state from which she came. But what made this appear serious to me was that, having been here only a few months, she was anticipating becoming a teacher in one of our schools as soon as she had a better grasp of our language. This may not be a problem for the minister or his department, but I do think, where there is a possibility of some of these new or probationary Canadians going into the school teaching profession in our country before they have attained a firm grasp of our concept of democracy, that the need for great caution should be emphasized to the school boards, municipalities and provinces which might be acting as hiring agencies.
Another problem is indicated by the table put on the record last evening by the minister showing the destination of new Canadians coming into the country. I note that out of 164,498 immigrants to the country last year only 790 were destined to the province of New Brunswick. I suggest to the minister that through the officials of his department he should try to encourage a more even distribution of new Canadians. We in the province of New Brunswick are not so concerned with the bringing in of labourers as we are with the bringing in of people who will work our land and fit into the different sections of the population where their services can be used without disrupting the general economy of the province. I think this is something on which some effort should be concentrated because we need population of the proper type in the province of New Brunswick. I think that the officials of the minister's department could, without too much effort, encourage some of these immigrants to settle in our part of the country.
When they come to Canada they have the preconceived idea that the only place in which they can make a living for themselves is west of the southeastern boundary of the province of Quebec. That is not correct. I think it could be pointed out to immigrants that those who have settled in the maritime provinces have fitted very well into our general social and economic structure and that with very few exceptions they are making for themselves a very good life in this new land.
Supply-Citizenship and Immigration
I should also like to point out to the minister that we have in the port city of Saint John a new immigration station which has been described and accepted generally not only in this country but all over the continent-and perhaps we can extend that comparison to many of the commonwealth countries which are encouraging immigration at the present time-as second to none on the continent. It is not the largest of course but it is geared to accommodate a large number of immigrants. These immigration facilities are not being put to the best use. All summer they are left virtually unstaffed with probably no more than a dozen or so new Canadians filtering through from other countries. I think that is a shame.
I do not hold the Department of Citizenship and Immigration entirely responsible, but I would point out to the minister that perhaps he or the officials of his department could encourage the shipping companies to bring immigrants into the port of Saint John. I realize that it is generally considered as a winter port. That belief exists but Saint John, like Halifax, is an all year round port and one which should be used as much as possible in bringing new Canadians into the country because it would not only provide extra commerce for the community but would also give immigrants the best of impressions of the new land in which they were arriving.
In connection with the immigration station we have a very competent and courteous customs service. I have often heard most sincere words of praise directed to the customs service in the city of Saint John. The customs facilities that have been established in the new immigration station are such as to provide the most courteous and competent system of handling the baggage not only of immigrants but of all travellers. The same applies to the immigration authorities there. The Red Cross people in the community have become so interested in the new facilities that they have provided a very fine nursery for the little children who are brought in by their parents to become future citizens of the country.
A great deal of voluntary effort on the part of the citizens of Saint John and Lancaster is directed toward making this first impression of new Canadians a warm and a lasting one. In addition there are a number of other organizations such as the Catholic Women's League and different church organizations which are directing a great deal of voluntary effort along these lines and they want to do more. They are very intent upon providing all the comforts which can be made available as well as the warmest welcome which can possibly be conceived for these new citizens.
Supply-Citizenship and Immigration
We have such fine facilities at Saint John that I would even recommend them to stowaways-because the detention quarters are very comfortable and well though firmly supervised. I point out to the house, as I have in the past to the officials of the department, that in Saint John we have the best immigration facilities in the country but they are not being used to good advantage. The Canadian Pacific Railway directs a great number of immigrants through our port during the wintertime but I think that other shipping lines should also take an interest in bringing immigrants to that port. I do not say that we should get all of the immigrants there but as large a number as possible should be directed to that port which has the most modern and best equipped facilities.

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