June 26, 1954 (22nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

Mr. Chairman, it had not been my intention to lead off for our group in the discussion of this extremely important matter of immigration, but because of the illness of the gentleman who was to lead off for us I find it necessary to pinch-hit for him. I do so because I feel that this whole matter of immigration is of such great importance to Canada that there should be an expression from all groups in the House of Commons, either by way of criticism or commendation or caution to the minister and the officials of his department.
Immigration is of tremendous importance to a country like Canada. We find ourselves with vast expanses of a country which is sparsely populated. In a world of unrest and confusion, it is hardly likely that the people of overpopulated countries-people who could be classed as underprivileged people -would remain satisfied for long to look across the ocean and to see Canada carrying on in these vast domains with a population of 15 million people. That they would be satisfied is something that one just could not expect. There are many people in various countries who would be anxious to come to a country like Canada and to have an opportunity to carve out for themselves a home and to build up for themselves a decent standard of living. It is therefore true that one of our great problems today is to increase our population, and to do so in a way that will benefit the country as a whole and will make out of Canada the country that we want it to be. It is because I realize the importance of the matter that I decided I should say something about immigration.
In general I find myself in support of the minister's policy. It is a policy which could be described as one of selective immigration. Before I launch into a discussion of some of the matters that are related to selective immigration, may I just say a word about the minister himself. I feel that the minister is doing a good job. I have a high regard for him and for the attitude that he takes towards his work. He takes his work seriously and I know that he takes a pride in what he thinks is a good job. He has always given most careful attention to anything that I have brought before him, and I think I can say the same for every employee in his
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Supply-Citizenship and Immigration department. He not only takes a deep pride in what he thinks is a good job, but I believe that he goes out of his way to find out wherein his own feelings and policies may be at fault and that he tries to correct them. I wanted to say those things because I believe them to be true. They express my genuine feeling. I wanted to pass on that word of commendation to the minister because I know that in his efforts he will have to take a good many boots in the place that is built into men to be booted.
In our efforts to increase our population, I think we must continue to use care and good judgment. In our screening of prospective immigrants I think we should ever bear in mind that we want our Canadian population to be a choice people. That does not mean to say, by any means, that we are prejudiced against any people, no matter where they may live on the face of the earth. However, I believe that in Canada we have had a choice people. My judgment is that there is not on the face of the earth a people who can be said to be more choice than the Canadian population. I am taking it by and large from one end of the country to the other. Let us keep it so. We have had a high name. We have had a fine reputation through the whole world. Let us keep that reputation. We can keep it if we conduct our immigration policy with a single eye to continuing to build a choice Canadian population.
The people who love British ideals of freedom, justice and enterprise should, it seems to me, be the first considered for permanent entry into Canada. It is altogether too difficult in days like these to inculcate these principles into people who have not known them and who have not been educated in these ideas. There are too many areas on the face of the earth where people have not learned to appreciate British ideals of justice, freedom and enterprise. I think that in our screening we have got to be careful, at least until such time as our population has grown sufficiently by bringing in the choicest people. Then we may be able to relax a bit and allow some others to come when the great weight of opinion in the country will be such that newcomers can be easily taught who are unaware of our background and our ideals. I think, as I said, that we have got to be exceedingly careful at least for the time being. People who will come to love Canada and to make this country their home, with all that that implies, should receive the nod first.
I do not see any good sense in bringing prospective citizens into our country about whom there would be some doubt as to their ability to come to love the country. While
Supply-Citizenship and Immigration I am saying that, may I add that it is becoming increasingly difficult, under the barrage of propaganda that covers the entire earth, for people to concentrate their love upon country. Some call that nationalism, and they criticize this inculcation of love of country because they say it becomes narrow nationalism. Well, Mr. Chairman, I will take my chances with them before I will with these psychoneurotics who have no capacity to love anything and who call themselves citizens of the world.
We want the kind of people in the country who will come to love Canada. It is the only way we can build up that real patriotism, that real feeling of affection that will make them struggle for the country instead of against it. There are altogether too many who are capable of loving and living a lie. I have often thought of an expression which is not very wholesome in its sound, but it certainly carries the right connotation. Even a louse will cling to the flesh on which it feeds. I think we ought to think of that in connection with our immigration policy. We need in our country people who are ready to pioneer, who are ready to work and to put up with some hardships in order to win for themselves a measure of material security, people who at the same time will be prepared to take their responsibilities of citizenship.
In bringing that kind of people to our country I think it is important for us to give them every help and every encouragement that we can so that they can be prepared to take their responsibilities of citizenship. They have got to understand, and if they are to understand then we have got to be prepared to make the wisest use of their own languages.
Something has been said here today about the ethnic press. I support what the Leader of the Opposition said in that regard. I believe the ethnic press offers one of the finest ways by which we can get over to these newcomers to Canada in their own language, the language they understand and appreciate, what our ideals consist of, what we expect of them and how they can best integrate themselves into the Canadian way of life and protect themselves against the propaganda that all too often besets them immediately they enter the country.
I have been keenly interested in the possibilities of the use of the ethnic press to help our immigrants to this country. After talking with the editors of such papers, I have often wondered why it is that the foreign language press is neglected. I do not mean by not giving them moral support. That is not what I am trying to get over. I think that we should be going out of our

way to give encouragement to the loyal foreign language press of this country; but, as I say, it is not merely a question of moral encouragement. There is another thing. According to Allan Boyd, who seems to be something of an authority on the foreign language press, the communist foreign language press in Canada is well organized, and the interesting thing is that it is well supported. How? Well, support means finance to keep the paper going, to make it possible to have sufficient employees of the kind required to do a job.
How is it that they can get advertising? They get it and they get plenty of it, but the loyal foreign language press cannot. It does seem to me that there are ways by which we can ensure these foreign language newspapers that are loyal the means by which they can continue to publish their efforts. Why would it not be possible for the federal and provincial governments to take advertising in these newspapers? The Post Office Department has to advertise. The Department of National Defence has to do a lot of advertising. The Department of Trade and Commerce has to do a great deal of advertising. Even the Department of Citizenship and Immigration has to do a lot of advertising.
I have heard such hon. members as the hon. member for Notre Dame de Grace criticize expenditures for advertising. Nevertheless I feel that the government, if it is to make the wisest use of this great educational factor, should go out of the way to take advertising in the loyal foreign language press of Canada. I want to quote briefly the substance of something that was published in the Financial Post on November 1, 1952, in this same connection. Speaking of the use of the ethnic press, the article has this to say:
Fighting the propaganda of the left-wing papers is Canada's democratic foreign language press. Editorially, all of the 139 free papers are for democracy and the Canadian way of life, though their effectiveness is sometimes hampered by the multitude of national factions and the opposing ideas they represent.
The article goes on to point out that the great weakness of the loyal foreign language press is lack of facilities, which is quite unlike the Kremlin-supported foreign language press in Canada. It goes on to say that the subversive effect of the Kremlin-supported papers is beyond our comprehension, and it must be remembered that these Kremlin-supported papers get into the hands of our immigrants immediately they arrive in this country. The papers are in their language and these people do not know and have no way of knowing. I say the best way to make-

it known to them is to use, by every means possible, the loyal foreign language press. The Financial Post article goes on to say:
Set against these inadequate tools-
Of the loyal press.
-is the editor's important responsibility to link the new world way of life with former traditions and to introduce Canada to his readers. Many of the editors-
Speaking of the loyal press.
-having experienced Soviet oppression have a dynamic yardstick with which to measure the value of Canadian freedom and are eager to combat subversive elements among their peoples. They actually make up one of the most active anti-communist groups in the country today. Often, because of their limited, personal resources, it's an unequal battle.
Now, let us see that it is made a more equal battle. I support by every vehemence at my command the appeal made in this connection by the Leader of the Opposition.
There is another thing I believe we ought to keep in mind as we contemplate the policies we shall follow with respect to screening and measuring the type of prospective immigrants. I believe that in making our selection we should be sure that the selectees have a proper background, both of tradition and of experience, so as to be better able to find and properly fill positions that will yield them a satisfactory living in this country. In this connection, I think we should be exceedingly careful to ensure that our prospective immigrants know exactly the conditions to which they are coming in Canada. Much has been said about that already, and I shall not repeat it. Let us not be guilty of continuing to allow beautiful pictures to be presented to these prospective immigrants, pictures that prove not to be in keeping with the facts when they arrive here. Let us give them the truth, and see that they get the truth. Furthermore, let us be sure that when they do come they are the type of people who can fit into the jobs that are here for them.
I am not one of those who worry too much about the matter of employment. I know a lot has been said by various groups and labour unions who think that immigration is too rapid. We have to use some caution, of course, but I believe that if we are reasonably cautious about the speed of the application of our immigration plans we can assure every single one of these people who come a decent job. I believe, with the Globe and Mail, as expressed in their editorial of December 15, 1953, that every immigrant who comes into the country, who is a capable and well selected immigrant, makes jobs for
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Supply-Citizenship and Immigration people. I believe that is a fact. I heard a delightful talk by the minister of immigration down at the Chateau Laurier not so long ago on the occasion of the annual scout dinner.
I recall a lot of the things he said, and when this Globe and Mail editorial was drawn to my attention, I discovered that one of the employees of the department of immigration, speaking at Niagara Falls last autumn, had said almost essentially the things the minister said down at that dinner. I just wanted to mention one or two of the things that were pointed out in this editorial, which is headed, "One in Five". It starts out this way:
Sometime early in the new year, Canada will receive its millionth post-war immigrant. This newspaper would sooner it were the two millionth or three millionth, because it firmly believes that Canada's biggest problem-and the root of nearly all the other problems-is its lack of population.
I want to point out to the Globe and Mail that it is just as well not to get into too big a hurry. I think we ought to take a reasonable speed and keep it. Then, the editor goes on:
This is not a desirable state of affairs. Nor, we believe, is it necessary. Given proper leadership at the top, the Canadian people would accept large-scale immigration as a basic principle of national policy.
I emphasize that. Farther down the editorial continues:
. . . Mr. John D. Sharp, the department's regional liaison officer at Niagara Falls, last week showed that city's junior chamber of commerce how immigrants make jobs for established Canadians. He pointed out that about 38 per cent of post-war immigrants have bought cars;-
I remember the minister mentioned that down at the Chateau Laurier.
-and about 40 per cent own their own homes. Something more than 40 per cent have household appliances, such as refrigerators, and 52 per cent are living in single-family houses with everything that implies in the way of domestic purchases.
I point out, Mr. Chairman, those are impressive figures, and they indicate clearly that those people who are being brought to this country are successfully integrating themselves into Canadian life. They are not putting other people out of work because every time they buy an automobile or an electrical appliance or a home, they are giving work to some Canadian people who are already established here. I do not, therefore, fear too much any large scale immigration, so long as it is brought about under careful screening arrangements and a carefully selective policy.
Something has been said about discrimination, and the Chinese have been mentioned. I have had quite a lot of experience in this matter, and I want to preface what I have
Supply-Citizenship and Immigration to say about it with this remark. Taking it by and large, the Chinese people of this country are good citizens. I have found nearly all whom I have met good Canadian citizens. They are ready to take their responsibilities. I know the problem the minister is facing, but I do believe that on some occasions too little attention has been paid to the sworn statements purporting to establish relationships between prospective Canadian immigrants and Canadian citizens who have been in the country for many years.
I know something of the problems involved, but I keep coming back to the pertinent fact that in these things we are dealing with human beings who have just as poignant feelings, deep and tender emotions, as we have even though their skins may be a different colour. There are many borderline cases, difficult to handle. I know it is difficult, under present circumstances, to establish true relationships between the applicant for entry into Canada and Canadian citizens already here, but they are not so many in number. I believe because they are not so numerous we might perhaps relax a little bit in connection with some of these cases and allow the children to come in.
I know of cases, for example, where the wives of Canadian citizens remained in the old country, and when the communist revolution took place they went through untold suffering. Actually, some of them did adopt the children of brothers and sisters who were killed in the communist coup. In all respects it would seem to me that these children belong to the mother who took them, cared for them, and adopted them. It does seem to me that in the few cases that could be clearly established, even though those children may not be under the age limit, we eould relax the act. I believe it would be wise to strain a point and let them come in with the mother and father and keep together. I believe they would make good Canadian citizens. As I say, they are so few in number, it would not complicate our problem here very much, if at all. Even though in their great care to fulfil the letter of the law I feel the departmental officials, in some cases, have been too discriminatory, nevertheless I have always found the immigration officials ready and willing to re-examine the facts. I have discovered that, and I want to pay that tribute to them. They have always been ready and willing to re-examine facts and, it seems to me, they have done a good job.
[Mr. Low.l

I do not want to take too much time because I realize we want to get to the end of this session. However, I would have liked time to refer to the Indian problem at some greater length, because I believe there is a real problem, and I would say only this to the minister, that that problem is in connection with band autonomy. I am sure he realizes that problem.
Some things have been said about granting Indian bands full autonomy, to determine who should be the members of bands and who should not. This matter is full of repercussions and dangers, and just how to handle the situation is not clear to me. I am afraid I cannot advise the minister on that point. I am sure however that it is something that will engage his attention because, now that bands are coming into some wealth-oil and other mineral wealth -it seems to me there is the inclination all too frequently that, in their exercise of autonomy, bands will try to limit their numbers unreasonably so as to make it possible for each member of a band to have more wealth.
That is a problem that will have to be faced. As I have said, 1 have not been able to determine just how it will be done. I would however ask that the minister give it his consideration, because it is a real problem.

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