March 22, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Thomas George McBride


Mr. T. G. McBRIDE (Cariboo) :

Mr. Speaker; as a new member, I will not take up the time of the House with any preliminary remarks, further than to say that I feel honoured to belong to a party which has within its ranks the first lady member who has had the honour of a seat in parliament. Since the opening of Parliament I have taken a keen interest in the different speeches that have been delivered, and one thing I remarked in particular was that the first eight members who spoke in the House had not one word to say in connection with that portion of this country which is to Canada what California is to the United States-British Columbia, the land of sunshine-nor did they have one word to say about the unemployed. They did not have one word to say about the oriental question which is to British Columbia the most vital question that will come before this House at the present session, and last, but not least, they did not have one word to say about the men who stood between us and tyranny, the men who ennobled Canada on many a bloody field, the men who withstood the German onrush and accomplished that which was never surpassed in British history.
I say that they did not have one word to say in connection with the oriental question, which 'is one of the most important questions to the people of the West. It would seem to me that we in the West know more about this question than do the people of any other section of Canada, because, we have to live amongst, and to associate with, these orientals. The people of British Columbia, with their destiny on the Pacific coast, are more exposed to oriental competition than the people of any other portion of Canada, and the effect of oriental immigration is, at the present

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time, costing this country millions of dollars. We cannot get away from that fact, and the effect it will have on civilization in the future is something we cannot afford to ignore. Experience has proved that they refuse to adopt our standard of living; the white race will never assimilate with them; nor will it want to do so. Therefore, I say that the two races should not be brought together. Why should our boys and girls have to compete with oriental labour that is contracted for in Yokohama and such places? They should not have to do it. It is true that the Federal Government receives a revenue from the Chinese entering this country; but why should the people of Canada and the country itself not come before revenue? Why should these orientals be brought in to compete with the white people of this country? Mr. Kabura, a very prominent Japanese in Vancouver, made this statement a short time ago:
It is nothing hut the ignorant class that is opposed to the Orientals coming into Canada.
He added:
Wise men wish to suppress such manifestations of ignorance. .
That statement is not correct. Some of our eminent statesmen know that the two races will never assimilate; it was never intended by nature that they should assimilate, and they should never be brought t>
The people on the Pacific coast know what the orientals are, because the orientals who come to Canada, as a general rule, remain on that coast owing to climatic conditions there. People in the East do not have the experience that we have in British Columbia, but you may have it if this condition of affairs continues. Let me point out how the oriental population increases. In 1910, there were 20 Japanese children born in British Columbia -not a very great number-but how many were born in 1920?-657. Last year, the birth increase in the white race was seventeen per thousand; but what was it in the Japanese race?-69 per thousand. Is that increase not sufficient, without allowing any more of those orientals to come to our shores? If this state of
5 p.m. affairs continues at the present rate, where shall we find ourselves in another twenty-five years? Every one who has a vision of a greater Canada should be interested in this problem.
Why should the people on the Pacific coast have to build schools to educate the
oriental? They cannot afford to build schools to educate their own children as they would like to do, but they have to build schools to accommodate those orientals who come in. Let us see what a school inspector, a man who is not affected by racial prejudice in any way, says along those lines. This school inspector was asked to give a report, and he said:
Mingling of Chinese with white hoys and girls in the public schools constitutes a growing menace, and it has to he stopped.
He does not say "it should be stopped;" he says: " It has to be stopped," and he knows what he is talking about. He continues :
There is a danger in these Chinese boys, many of whom cannot even speak English, the coming from their unsanitary quarters and mixing with other children. We know that it is not only a tendency with the Chinese to live in unclean quarters, but a practice. In four public schools in Victoria there are 216 Chinese students.
That is what the taxpayer is up against on the Pacific coast. Why should this state of affairs continue? Why should we, as I have already said, have to provide facilities for teaching orientals, when we cannot educate our children as we would like to do? We must realize what we may expect in the future if this state of affairs is to continue. I am told that last year it cost the taxpayers in Vancouver $60,000 to teach orientals. Oriental immigration should be stopped and stopped at once; it has a tendency to lower not only our standard of moral life, but of labour and of civilization. We cannot get away from these facts. Why should the oriental be allowed to supply cheap labour for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many? Is there any man in this assembly to-day who would like to see his little girl, eight or nine years old, having to sit in a school beside an oriental boy, fifteen or sixteen years of age, and that oriental boy having an opportunity of associating with that child of his? If there be such a person, I would not have very much respect for him, and I do not think there is any one here who would entertain such views. Then, why are the laws of this country such that we have to put up with such conditions on the Pacific coast? This state of affairs should be stopped and stopped at once. Why should we not rather try to have this country a country of homes, homes that would be a source of happiness and contentment, homes which will help to build up this country of ours, for there is no teaching to
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equal that which the child gets in the home? But we can never have home life as it ought to be, as long as the oriental competes with the labouring men of this country. Why should the laws not be such that they will help to make home life what it ought to be? The Government ought to stop, and stop at once, this oriental immigration.
The question of the returned soldier is one that I prefer not to have very much to say about, because so much has been said and so litle done, that it must become pretty tiring to those men who did so much for Canada and for civilization. I need not tell hon. members what the man who went on the land and purchased a farm with borrowed money is up against; I need not cover the ground which has already been covered. We know that at least 95 per cent of our farmers and stockmen did not make a dollar last year, and personally I do not know a farmer or stockman in the district that I represent who has made a dollar from farming. Under such conditions, how do we expect these men, having to pay interest on borrowed capital and taxes, to make the success in life which they ought to? It is up to the Government to appoint a commission to investigate this matter and then to bring in an act whereby those men will get a fair and square deal. That is all the boys want; they are not asking for charity; they do not want it. They made good overseas, and I have no doubt that they will make good on the land if they are. given a square deal. In my opinion, those men who are on the land should get a revaluation of their land, stock and implements, and the inflated values at the time of purchase should be squeezed out, and that done at once. Give the men a chance. As for the men who are receiving pensions, a man who was injured overseas and who came back to Canada, should not be obliged to come before a board every month or two in order that the board may see whether it can do something to lower his pension. He should receive a pension, and it should not be lowered simply because he tried to improve his condition through a little work. There is no doubt in my mind that as these men advance in years their war wounds will cause them still more trouble. Therefore I say a minimum pension should be set and those men should be encouraged to improve their condition. Why should a

man be divorced from his wife and family simply because he went overseas to fight for his country? Yet that is exactly what is happening to-day, and I see -a report in the press that the Government expects to put more of these men into hospitals. V/hy not try to provide them with homes of some kind, humble though they be, where they can live together with their wives and families? I see no reason why it should not be done. A scheme has been under consideration for some time to take a portion of an Indian reserve near Kamloops and build cottages on half acre plots, where these men could enjoy the comforts of home life and work on their land when they felt fit to do so. This project has been discussed for the last four or five years, but nothing has been done. Why cannot we carry it out? Let me read to the House a report from Dr. Irving of Kamloops in connection with the proposal. I may say that he is one of the most prominent doctors in the West and is recognized as an authority on the treatment of tuberculosis. He reports:
For many years we have all found that our apparent cures of T.B. on leaving the sanatorium almost always break down when the men take up the struggle for existence in keen competition with able-bodied fellows.
When these men leave the sanatoriums they have to make a living. They are not supposed to be discharged until they are cured, but it is practically impossible to entirely restore them to health and strength. Dr. Irving proceeds:
Thus the money spent and work done in their case becomes a loss to the country and to themselves.
In order to overcome this economic loss, the plan of Mr. Denison-
I might say that Mr. Denison has no axe to grind, he is above reproach. He has taken a keen interest in the welfare of our returned men back from Prance:
Dr. Irving said the plan of Mr. Denison would work out admirably is the opinion of those who have done T.B. work or have lived under climatic conditions where tubercular work is carried on. I am quite sure there is a wonderful opportunity to develop a scheme that will fill a long felt want in our system of treatment and at the same time do much to eliminate much sorrow and suffering that now exists among these returned men.
Cannot the Government do something to carry out this scheme? The late Government, I understand, did take some action, and here is what one of their ministers stated:

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I know nothing to prevent the officials going ahead with the work directed by the committee to establish the model city on the edge of Kamloops.
Apparently the details of this project have been worked out to a certain extent, but nothing has been done to put it into effect. Cannot we get some action? Cannot those men who did so much for Canada obtain some relief? Before I came down here I went out to the Tranquille Hospital to talk to some of them who, I know, had comfortable homes before the war; but they let country come first, they went out to fight Canada's battles. Now they are at Tranquille, unfit to go back to the Coast where their wives and families are, and in some cases I know those dependents are getting no help except from charitable institutions. Surely this state of affairs cannot exist very much longer; it is not in the interests of the country that it should; those men who did so much for us are entitled to better treatment and, I repeat, something should be done and done at once.
I am not going to take up the time of the House talking about the elections and election tricks. I do not see why our time should be wasted reading extracts from the press and manifestoes and going over the same old campaign ground again. That is not what we are here for; we are here to make laws for the betterment of the people, and that is what they are paying us to do. Then why should we not get away from that old political game? I should like to know what the Government is going to do with the National railway system. It seems to me that a board of managers should be appointed to take charge of it, but I do not think it should be a board composed of politicians; it should be composed of practical railway men who have a life study of railroading,-have worked themselves from the ground up and know railroading from A to Z. I have no doubt that if such a board is appointed there will soon be a different tale to tell in regard to the conditions of our publicly owned railways.
And what are the Government going to do with respect to the returned men? Are they going to treat those men honestly and fairly? It seems to me that in honour and justice to those men that is the only thing the Government can do. If they do not we shall have met the test of peace far less nobly than those boys met the test of war.
What is the Government going to do about the unemployed? There is scarcely anything said about that question in the
speech from the Throne. Have they no scheme of relief? I do not believe this country owes any man a living, but I do believe it owes every man who is willing to work a chance to earn an honest living. I believe the Government should start some work of a practical character that will help to relieve unemployment and at the same time be for the benefit of the country as a whole. There is no reason why such a scheme should not be started, for there is lots of work to do here and Canada has a bright future. For instance, why should we not start the building of a trans-continental highway? Some say that is work for the various provinces to undertake. I do not think so. I think it is up to the Dominion Government to start such an undertaking and carry it to completion. There is no reason why such a scheme could not be carried out, and if properly carried out it should not cost the taxpayers of this country one dollar. Last year over two hundred and fifty thousand tourists came from the United States to British Columbia. If such a highway 'were built these tourists could be required to pay toll; the cost of the road would thus be met, and the people in the vicinity would have the benefit of it. The carrying on of such a work would also go a long way toward relieving unemployment, and it would give the people of other countries confidence in Canada. I say that it is up to the Government to carry out this work.
As to oriental immigration, what are we going to do about it? I must say I was disappointed that m hon. member who took part in the debate had anything to say on this subject. It was not my intention as a new member to address this House, but I feel it my duty to bring this question to the attention of hon. members. We on the Coast feel it very keenly; we feel what you people in the East will feel within the next twenty-five years if oriental immigration is not stopped. There is no getting away from it; the orientals do not go into the outlying districts to assist in the development of the country. They flock to the cities, and they are more than anything else responsible for the unemployment at present. Why should we encourage the immigration of that class of labour? Why not close our gates against it? I say that we should close our gates against it, in the interests of humanity.
I do not wish to take up the time of the House any further. I simply wish to say
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that if we have confidence in this country and in our people-that unwavering confidence that we had in our boys at the front even during the darkest days of the war- Canada has a bright and prosperous future.

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