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


Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)


(Translation.) English economists have made some very true remarks with respect to emigrants coming here from the British Isles. According to Gerald Adams, our emigration agents do not make any very serious effort in tbs rural districts of England. It is there that we should reach the English farmer. The exhibition of our products in rural districts produces very good results. The Franco-Canadian treaty will favour French emigration to a certain extent, if we take proper advantage of the conditions of that agreement. ' It is the duty of France to help her far off sons.'
The small birth rate of France may prevent her from sending* many emigrants here, and the economic conditions obtaining in that country may render unnecessary the departure of her sons, but France should send us capital in order_ to develop transactions with France, especially in the province of Quebec.
We should have a consul or a commissioner in Belgium where agricultural emigrants of the best class may be recruited. This suggestion may perhaps appeal to the government.
Most classes in Belgium have as yet no knowledge of our resources. In that country which may be called a French land, we might secure good agricultural emigrants, excellent farm hands and intelligent and skilled workmen. This system might be expensive, but the solution of a national problem is here involved. The social question is more important than the financial. Remaining faithful to our traditions, I am ready to vote the necessary funds to advertise our wealth abroad.
Mr. Leroy Beaulieu finds that of all countries Canada is to-day the one offering the best inducements to emigrants and being the most rapidly developed, especially as regards agriculture.
After the exhibition of Liege. I read in ' La revue economique Internationale ' :
The Canadian exhibit reveals to us.or reminds us that there lies to the north of the vast American continent, territories of abundant natural wealth, inhabited bv a population small in numbers, but energetic, enterprising and resolved to develop, with foreign help, the treasures of the soil. Overpopulated countries will find there an extensive field

for emigration, the more worthy of attention that the climate is healthy and temperate. Strangers are astonished at the actual condition and future prospects of Canada.
We can point out to them our progress in matters of transportation, construction of railways, telegraph and telephone lines, in the improvement of waterways, in thrift, in agricultural, forest and mining industries.
Our vast and fertile agricultural lands, our wealth in forest and minerals, in iron and coal especially, ' the muscle and blood of modern industry,' our developed industries. the religious and political liberty we enjoy, the advantages of Christian teaching, our satisfactory economic and social conditions ; the harmony existing between Church and State, Capital and Labour, employer and employee, are all of a character to attract emigration to our shores.
The Canadian Emigration Act is sometimes biterly criticised. If it be properly applied, the Act would appear to answer to the economic and social requirements of the nation. It contains provisions for getting rid of bad emigrants. The medical examination has become more serious, at least at Quebec. According to Mr. Bryce's report (page 120) ' 1,422 emigrants were detained at the Quebec hospital in 1904-5; in 1906-7, 523 only were detained at that hospital. The examination in European ports is also more serious and this is to our advantage. The United States government flues Steamship Companies $100 for every person shipped without sufficient inspection or suffering from tuberculosis, epilepsy or any eontageous disease. It is sometimes difficult to discover the true physical and mental condition of an emigrant at the time of his examination. But we can deport those who prove undesirable.
You will allow me to make a few remarks concerning the medical inspection of emigrants at Quebec. Dr. J. D. Page t00lU'!iar^ of tho emigrant hospital there in 1904. Before that there was no system ot scientific medical inspection. Two inspecting physicians were appointed, but there was no place for sick emigrants or emigrants under observation. The government understood the necessity of efficient medical organization. Dr. Page was in consequence appointed, in addition to his hospital duties, medical officer of the port of Quebec. He has thoroughly organized the system of medical inspection at that place.
I am in a position to state that the medicai inspection of emigrants at Quebec, is in no wise inferior to that of any American port. Our emigration Act says': 'No weak minded, epileptic or insane emigrant shall be allowed to land in Canada.' Those having any experience in the practice of medicine know how difficult it sometimes is. to discover the symptoms of epilepsy. Certain patients are quite intelligent and the attacks infrequent. It is also known to be
very difficult to locate tuberculosis in the first period. The physician is obliged to make long and repeated examinations and sometimes resort to a bacteriological test. As to madness and crime, all jurists know how difficult it is, in a criminal case, to clearly establish the mental state of the accused.
It would doubtless be more prudent to * forbid access to this country of all emigrants whose antecedents cannot be discovered. Any person wishing to come here should be compelled to produce a certificate stating that he is guilty of no moral crime. Such a certificate might be delivered by a reputable magistrate, the clerk of a court of justice or a clergyman. But cases of personation might here be possible.
American laws restrictive of emigration are very often highly praised. It appears to me that the economic conditions of the two countries cannot be compared. Our emigration, as to character and morality, does not seem inferior to that of America. Formerly the strong and robust northern peoples emigrated in great numbers to the United States. Since 3890, things have changed and the northern emigrant, the most easily assimilated, no longer occupies the first place in American emigration statistics. People from southern and eastern Europe are flooding the States since 1890. As Leroy-Beaulieu says :
' The enormous increase of immigrants tends to introduce in this country elements far more heterogenous; more difficult to assimilate, poorer, less educated and at all points of view less progressive.' In 1907 the United States received:
From Italy 238,000
From Russia 258,443
From Austria-Hungary 338,452
We must notice that in 1907 the United States received only 56,637 immigrants from England. This is a very serious question, says Leroy Beaulieu. However, these new elements coming in since a few years have not yet had time to exert any sensible influence on the American people, and its population is now so numerous that the new comers will not have a very great effect upon its character in the future.
Our immigrants are coming in great numbers from the United States, Germany, France, Belgium and British Islands.
I do not wish to criticise too severely the immigrants from Russia, Italy, Hungary, Austria and Roumania, but in my humble opinion our immigration is more mono-geneous than the one of our neighbours.
The problem of assimilating the races in our immense territory is of the greatest national importance. The Slavs, oriental and meridional, are slow to understand our institutions and aspirations, but the immigrants from the United States, British Islands, France and Belgium, having in then-own country the representative institutions,

understand rapidly our political system. The English and French immigrants find here the old beloved language. They hear it in the churches, in the courts and in parliament.
In the great work of immigration, I fear the desire of making money, the passion of graft. Some speculators, who would like to make a fortune rapidly, naturally want the gates of Canada to he widely opened to every nation. These men exert in our country a nefarious influence. We do.not want here those people who will not help to the progress of the country. I read the following lines in ' La Patrie,' of the 18th March, 1908:
The department of immigration at Ottawa has established a new rule by which, after the 15th of April next, the immigrants sent from England by the philanthropic societies will be immediately sent back if they have not with them a certificate from the Canadian office of immigration in London, stating that they are fit to become useful citizens.
If properly put In force these regulations might have the effect of preventing undesirable immigrants to enter in our country. The government must act wisely in this case. You have heard a few weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Quebec saying: ' The increase of criminals in certain parts of the province, principally those parts where the immigrants come in greater numbers, has been the subject of serious cousideration by my cabinet who is firmly decided to neglect "no means possible to protect the lives and property of the people.' These alarming words, pronounced by a man of wide experience, by an old magistrate, should awake our attention.
Canada has immense resources. The sons of the soil and the immigrants having good morals, good health, and being able of supporting themselves can take advantage of our national wealth.
The new generations of immigrants growing stronger and more numerous will perhaps one day be masters of Canada. If our immigrants are Christians, we might be treated with justice. We deserve respect from those who come to settle into our country. As a matter of fact, we have always shown great generosity towards the new comers. In 1831, the legislative assembly of Lower Canada granted full rights of citizenship to the Jews, putting them on the same footing as the Canadians.
In 1847. thousands and thousands of Irish emigrants, leaving their country where there was starvation came to Canada. Illness brought many deaths. Our people gave to these Irish all the necessary care. They sacrificed their own lives to save them. We should entertain the same good sentiments, the same sympathy towards immigrants of good character. I wish to repeat it, I am in favour of giving our aid. small but gen erous. to help a desirable immigration, but Mr. PAQTJET.
I believe we have come to a sufficient degree of development that we can dispense of paying premiums on immigrants.
I welcome desirable immigrants; I welcome in our country all those people whose liberties have been abolished, whose rights have been violated and prayers ignored.
But, in the interest of our civilization, in the interest of Canada, we ask from this government to make a proper choice of the immigrants who want to become part of the Canadian family.

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