April 22, 1908 (10th Parliament, 4th Session)


Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. PAQUET (I,'Islet).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. McIntyre) for
the magnificent speech he has just delivered, and which is worthy of the attention of this House. I must also congratulate him for his unceasing efforts in mastering our language and his endeavours in getting better acquainted with the character and spirit of the French race in Canada.
Mr. Speaker, while the attention of the old impoverished nations of Europe is fastened upon the solution of the problem of emigration, the stronger and more valorous races of the new world are anxiously seeking to settle the social problem of immigration. In 1907, the United States got amended to a considerable extent its immigration legislation and appointed a commission to investigate the whole question. At that time, the first ministers of the British colonies were giving their attention to that question while in conference in Loudon. The Canadian parliament also discussed in a remarkable manner the Asiatic immigration, that from the United States, from the British Isles and from continental Europe. The legislators in the House of Commons are to-day endeavouring to perform their duty toward the community in devoting a few hours to the discussion of this most important subject. In the course of my remarks I shall ask the government to abolish the bonus system, while at the same time extending a substantial and effective aid to desirable immigration. According to an economist, Canada with its wealth of agricultural, forest and mineral resources is man's last reserve, his furthermost boundary. Thanks to the two great races that live in this country, we are building up a vast national structure wherein people from the United States and Europe come to seek liberty and plenty.
The Canadian people must have common aspirations, but in order to reach that worthy object, we must exercise a special supervision over the class of immigrants coming into Canada. These should feel like us that they are bound to work for the material and moral welfare of Canada, and this object should be their bequest to their children in this new and hospitable land. In our task of selecting immigrants, we should live up to our great traditions; we must allow ourselves to be prompted by the teachings of our history: we must recail a glorious past and call to memory the lessons taught to posterity by the founders of Canada. Eustel de Coulnnges has the following to say:
There is no such a thing as a dead past for man. He may forget it, but it still lives in him. For, such as he may be at different periods of his life, he is the product and a diminutive of all former mental evolutions. If he goes down into his soul, he may trace back and distinguish those various periods by what each of them left within him.
These principles we must apply to our history and cast a retrospective look upon

our traditions. Immigrants for New France were selected with the most minute care. Our forefathers were of the most noble and most generous blood of France. Our ancestors came from the old provinces of Normandy, of Anjon, of Pieardie, of Bri-tany, those chivalrous aud highly moral pioneers of the church, of freedom and of France. Those men who at the time of Louis the Great were governing the mother country, were actuated by the desire of creating a new France beyond the seas, something like an expanse of their native laud. And they were very strict in the selection of the settlers. French Canada is the work of great patriots and able legislators. French Canada is the offspring of the best French peasantry; of men gifted with the highest moral and physical qualities and civic virtue; enteiprising, industrious, brave and upright men. Historical documents are there to show how very scrupulously were selected the French women which were sent to New France by Richelieu, Colbert, Talon and de Laval. The most rigid moralists are forced to admire the work of the emigrated girls of the seventeenth century.
Historians as a whole are agreed upon the distinguished origin of the French Canadians. And they were able to grow, to prosper and to spread despite all their trials, and to devote the whole power of their national spirit, the whole strength of their powerful moral and physical organization to the development of Canada. Mr. Claudio Jannet wrote thus of the moral pre-eminence of the various elements which established the Canadian colony:
Fom the time of Champlain down to the last day of the French domination, the different governments which ruled the colony have always made it a point to exclude from the country individuals of a doubtful moral character.
And an orator said:
. The reason of our glory and strength to-day is not simply because we are of French stock, hut because we sprang from France at a time in her history when she was at the apex of glory and when the hand that rocked our cradle was still amenable to the word of God.
After the cession of Canada to England, the Anglo-Saxon race grew side by side with us. At the close of the war of American independence, in 1783, the United Empire Loyalists, who remained true to the British Crown during the rebellion, and who sustained the persecution of their revolted brethren, came by thousands to the Canadian province. According to an author:
' The United Empire Loyalists brought forth to Canada the richest blood that was up to then the pride of the thirteen American colonies.' These emigrants were the founders of the new British empire in America. Since then they have progressed steadily and they are worthy of admiration.

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