John Oliver PROBE

PROBE, John Oliver, B.A.

Personal Data

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Regina City (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
December 24, 1900
Deceased Date
September 29, 1964

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Regina City (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 212)

April 30, 1949

Mr. Probe:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to have a final word with respect to a matter of some importance which should be considered by the government in office when we reassemble at the next session. There is one problem which, to its disgrace I would say, the parliament of Canada has never attempted to tackle.

When parliament reassembles a certain number of hon. members who today sit in the House of Commons will have been defeated in the election-and perhaps after they have

given decades of good and faithful service to the country they have tried to serve in a public capacity. At the present time there are men standing for nomination who perhaps have no source of income other than the indemnity which, under our system of government, we authorize for those members. It is all very well for members who have been able to maintain practices or businesses of some sort, making it possible for them to leave parliament and to carry on with some assurance of security.

During this session I have watched the voting of large sums for the payment of pensions to people in the public service, and small sums to others who perhaps have played no part in the public service but who have been considered proper recipients of pensions from public funds. But no consideration is given to those who have sat in the House of Commons year after year and who, regardless of party, have served the best interests of Canada as they knew them. Their only hope for security in their old age, or when they are no longer able to work actively in the house, is that they may be sitting on the government side at a time when they might get someone to plug for them for inclusion among the pensioners over in the other place. Only ninety-six people can get into that category at any given time. I see in his place today the right hon. gentleman who until recently was prime minister of Canada. I am sure that during his long years of parliamentary experience he must have seen many pitiful instances of men in public service, who, having given their all for their country, have come near the end of the road and found themselves without any visible means of support.

It seems to me the House of Commons should provide for those of its members who, shall we say, have served throughout at least three or four parliaments. There should be some recognition by way of gratuitious pension, or some other means by which we could give recognition to these people-and I make this suggestion regardless of party.

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April 29, 1949

Mr. Probe:

I am not, by any stretch of imagination, supporting the government-

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April 29, 1949

Mr. Probe:

-but from my experience and the statistical record of T.C.A. and the North Star aircraft, I feel that we have an air service in Canada that is second to none in the world. As a Canadian I want to be fair to Canadian institutions and to Canadian craftsmanship and, where there is any evidence of it, to Canadian good management.

For the reasons I have stated, an opportunity has been denied us to bring forward serious public problems during the session which is likely to conclude in a few hours. I would like to have supported the hon. member for Battle River (Mr. Fair) in what he had to say a short time ago about the granting of clear titles to our soldier settlers. No one has fought more keenly in their interests than that hon. member, the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright), the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. McKay) and others, but the government is still sticking to the form of contract made thirty or more years ago.

I am sorry the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) has failed to return for these last few days. Last autumn when speaking on behalf of the hon. member for Rosthem (Mr. Boucher) during the by-election he assured the people of Saskatchewan that at an early date important irrigation developments would be carried on in that province. The minister is not here to deny the accusation I make that he is continuously making promises of that kind for narrow partisan or

TMr. Abbott.1

political advantage. His business is here rather than out in the country in advance of the closing of this twentieth parliament.

On the prairies we need water more than any other single physical thing on this earth and some clue should be given by the government as to when it is going to relieve the dust bowls of Canada with water that is now being wasted by flowing to Hudson bay.

There is another item of considerable importance which I should like to toss at the government this afternoon-the need for a more enlightened immigration policy. For some four hundred years-it is slightly longer than that since Jacques Cartier first claimed Canada for France-the natural increase in population, plus immigration, has averaged only slightly more than 30,000 new Canadians annually. That is not good enough for a land which occupies such an important position and which has such vast resources as the country we call our own. It is not good enough that north of the forty-ninth parallel of latitude we populate at the rate of 30,000 souls a year when below the line the increase of population is at least eleven to twelve times as great.

I can testify that the policy of the Canadian government with respect to immigration is one of almost absolute exclusion. Two weeks ago I heard a delegation from the Canadian-German league and the German-Canadian association, the one a dominion group and the other a Saskatchewan provincial group. They made representations that German nationals are now being excluded by only one country in the world, Canada. Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, France, New Zealand and the United States admit settlers from Germany under certain conditions.

Since the war the policy of the government with respect to the entry of new settlers into Canada has followed the lead of influential employer groups who want a reserve pool of labour. I imagine that if the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Dionne) were to comment upon his Polish immigration scheme of a few years ago he would say that it could be described as a complete flop.

Many hon. members have taken up the cases of citizens of Canada or naturalized Canadians who desire to bring relatives to this country and who are ready to give assurance that they will guarantee to provide all things necessary until these desirable immigrants are themselves Canadian citizens. Every form of delay and obstruction has been placed in their path by the officials and employees of the immigration department. The employees of that department seem to have the complex that new Canadians are

not desired in this country. The Canadian government has so few processing teams on the continent to examine would-be Canadians that it is utterly impossible to bring in any great number.

It is high time that the government reviewed its policy of exclusion. I submit that we should have an immigration board made up not merely of government employees or of influential employers of labour but of representatives of the congresses of labour. Such a board could advise the government on immigration matters and assist in selecting the type of person that should be admitted and not have the selection made only by large-scale employers. This board could help to plan development of our resources in such a way that' they could be used for the benefit of all Canadians, not just for the benefit of those who have capital or who have acquired capital and want to exploit these resources on their own terms.

In the meantime the federal government should consider the requests made by Canadian citizens who desire the admission of their own relatives. A more sympathetic ear should be given to these requests and less obstruction should be placed in the way of those who desire to come to Canada.

The Canadian Pacific Railway Company has its own employees in charge of colonization schemes and they are represented on the Canadian Christian council for the resettlement of refugees. The result is that these refugees are brought to Canada on terms suitable to the Canadian Pacific Railway. A few months ago I asked a question as to how many officials of the C.P.R. were members of the council for the resettlement of refugees. The answer given at that time was, one. Upon inquiry of the officials of the Canadian-German league I have found that that answer was false. Actually, there are three highly placed officials of the Canadian Christian council for the resettlement of refugees who are also employees of the Canadian Pacific Railway's land settlement group. That is not satisfactory to those people who may want to use other vehicles than those provided by the Canadian Pacific Railway for entry into this country.

I should like to ask, too, that the government make the staff of the department of immigration a little more sympathetic to the desire of those people to enter Canada. I cannot make that too emphatic. I believe, Mr. Chairman, that some people in the department have an abhorrence to granting the request of any of our Canadians for the entry of their relatives. A few weeks ago a charge was made in the House of Commons by the member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart) to the effect that certain highly


placed officials of the French nazi party were admitted to Canada against the wishes of the French government. This party objects to that sort of thing and we fight against it with all the power we have. The people who desire the benefits of what democracy we have in Canada should find it as easy as possible to come to this country.

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April 29, 1949

Mr. Probe:

Ask Chester Bloom; he will tell you.

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April 29, 1949

Mr. Probe:

Mr. Chairman, I can assure you that there are a large number of backbenchers in the House of Commons who will welcome the early dissolution of parliament if for no other reason than that we will have some relief for a short time at least from the sort of one-man show that we have had to listen to for a couple of months now.

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