April 12, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)


Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. URIAH WILSON (Lennox).

Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair, I would like to call the attention of the House to a question that I think is well worthy of its attention, I mean the immigration question. It is a matter of expending nearly half a million dollars a year. In looking over the report of Lord Strathcona, the High Commissioner, I was very much pleased to observe one thing the government have done; that is, that they have placed Canadian readers and Canadian atlases in the public schools of the United Kingdom, and that in this way they have done good service to the country, because these readers and atlases have reached 930 schools. The pupils in these schools have been passing examinations upon them, and bronze medals are being given to the pupil in each school who passes the best examination. I am very much pleased with this, and I think this departure has been of service to the country, because, by this means, we are educat-Mr. SUTHERLAND (Oxford).
ing the people of Great Britain and Ireland as to the resources and geography of Canada, and we have been giving them, so far as I have been able to learn, some information of which they are very much in need. We are not only educating the young people by this means, but I have no doubt they will discuss the subject with older people, and in that way they will get a good knowledge of this country. I would be very glad if the department would go farther and introduce readers and geographies into the schools of other civilized countries, if that were possible. In that way the department might be able to distribute information that would be very valuable to this country, and I think it would be particularly advantageous in Germany, where we are not allowed to send our immigration agents to distribute literature of that character which would give them a knowledge of the country that would be valuable to us and which would induce a large immigration from that country. Now, I would like to refer for a short time to what took place in this House at the last session. The hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) was very sanguine that we would have a very large immigration from the older countries during the year 1900. I pointed out to him that he differed entirely from the views held by the most of his officers in high places. They pointed out that unless the mode of looking for immigrants was greatly changed there would be no increase, while the minister himself was very sanguine that there would be a great increase. The Deputy Minister of the Interior during the year 1899 visited the old country, and from his report I would gather that he personally visited all the agencies in the old country. He reported very strongly in favour of assisted passages, and not only the giving of assisted passages to immigrants of a certain class, but that when they landed in this country the government should make an allowance to them to enable them to get through the first year, for which advance they would take security on the lands ; the lands that we had already given them. This, I was very strongly opposed to then, and I have since seen no reason why I should change my view. Mr. Smart the Deputy Minister of the Interior visited the agency in Dublin, and he spoke in high terms of Mr. Devlin, who is our immigrant agent in that city. Mr. Smart said that while there_ had not been much done in the way of getting immigrants from Ireland in the past, he thought the time was ripe now, and that we would surely get a very much larger number during the coming year. Well, Sir, what has been the result ? In 1899 we got 743 immigrants from Ireland, and in 1900 we got 765, an increase of 18, all told.

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