Mr. J. M. DOUGLAS (Strathcona) :
Mr. Speaker, the question of immigration, to my mind, is one of the greatest questions confronting the people of Canada at the present time. At the outset let me say that I have not the slightest sympathy with the resolution propounded by the hon. member for St. Mary's division of Montreal (Mr. Deslauriers). Some facts with regard to the difficulties of admittance of settlers into this country under the present immigration regulations were set forth very clearly by the hon. member for George Etienne Cartier (Mr. Jacobs) and I agree entirely with every statement he made in that regard. In the province from which I come we can accommodate millions of immigrants. The previous speaker (Mr. McQuarrie) stated that, under the regime of Sir Clifford Sifton there came into this country a certain kind of immigration which, in his judgment, was not in the best interest of Canada. He mentioned the class of Doukhobors. Personally, I have no knowledge of the Doukhobors; but I presume, in his classification of Doukhobors, he also included other residents of Austria and Russia who were of the same type, but Who do not hold the same religious convictions which the Doukhobors hold.
In Alberta, we have a large number of foreign-speaking settlers who are now Canadian citizens, men who came from Austria, from Russia, and some from Germany. In spite of any criticism which may have been made as to the immigration policy which was put into effect in 1897 or thereabouts, I make the statement in this House that that immigration policy was the foundation of the success of this country, and that Alberta and the other western provinces
have profited greatly by the settlement of those people on our fertile lands. The regulations in vogue to-day contain so many restrictive measures that a great injustice is being perpetrated on people, particularly 'from certain sections of Europe, coming into this country. Those people, in many instances, are relatives of people living in Western Canada at the present time, who are progressive, well-to-do people, and who are prepared to take the chances of seeing that those people do not become charges on the country. I have had, under my personal observation, many cases of former Austrian citizens, former Russian citizens, former Polish citizens, now living in this country, who are quite prepared to give a bond, if necessary, to the Government that their relatives will not be a charge on the public of this country if they are allowed admittance. But they cannot get in, and yet we see other types of people coming into Canada who are not in the same class whatever as settlers, who are not under any circumstances to be regarded as being of as great value to the country as some of those people whose entry into this country has been prohibited by regulation.
We have a tremendous transportation problem on our hands; we have tremendous resources undeveloped; we have a huge national debt, and if we are ever going to get out of the mire, we must have the people. In my judgment the $250 qualification does not represent the value of an immigrant in the slightest degree. If I might be personal, I might cite the case of my father who came to this country in 1853 with one sovereign in his pocket, and who had to make his way in a country where the advantages at that time were not nearly as great as they are to-day. His case is only one of thousands This country was built up by men of that kind. If we are going to restrict and hamper this class of people we are not going to have a country at all.
Hon. gentlemen have referred to what the United States is doing, but the United States cannot be compared with us at the present time. They have in the neighbourhood of 110,000,000 people, while we have only a paltry 8,000,000 or 9,000,000. We have as large an arable country as they have, yet we are putting up the bars against possible assets in the form of hard-working industrious people who will make this country a place that we shall all be proud to live in. I am entirely in favour of the bars being thrown down to a great extent; at all events, more than they are at the
present time. Give us a policy that will bring the most progressive and strongest type of immigrants to this country, and I have no fear as to what the results will be in the future.
Topic: UNEMPLOYMENT-SUSPENSION OF IMMIGRATION