Mr. THOMAS CHISHOLM (East Huron).
The question of immigration which we are
now discussing lies at the very foundation of our national prosperity and greatness, and no more important question could engage our attention. I must say that I think it is much more important than the question which we had intruded here this afternoon. Although I stand on the opposition side of the House, I desire to say right here that I have no sympathy at all with the intrusion into this debate of the question of a little bit of dredging. The character of the immigration that is coming to our country means everything to the future of our country. The subject was brought up in this House by one of the ablest men in it, a man who never speaks on any subject unless he has something of importance to say, a man who can handle a subject properly, and it is much to be regretted that the discussion was interrupted by the break that was made this afternoon. The future and greatness of the country depend on the people who inhabit it. Look at Scotland. Scotland is not a large country, but what other country in the world exercises so great an influence over the world, according to its size and its population, as Scotland? Germany is a wonderful country, and our good friend who has just spoken (Mr. Miller) has told us that the Germans are a wonderful people. They are, and they are exerting a wonderful influence all over the world. Now then what we want to do is to get people of the right kind to come to this country, and so long as they are of the right kind, the country will go on and prosper. I believe that this country will become in due time one of the great nations of the world. Cheap labour, as has been well said toy an lion, member this afternoon, is not everything. You may get in cheap labour, but that will not make the country great. The Americans got in cheap labour in their negro population, but that did not make the country great, and it has been the occasion of the great civil war and the expenditure of millions of money. In the neighbouring republic they have that labour question on their hands, and it is complicated with the race problem, which is one of the most difficult problems that any country could have to face. In the same way we look to British Columbia, and some say that the bringing in of cheap labour from Asia will be a great help to Canada. But I think we can scarcely afford to allow immigration of that sort. These people will not assimilate with our western type of civilization, they will not assimilate with Canadians, and if they did, it would only be to lower the tone of our civilization. At the same time we have nothing against the Japanese, we admire the Japanese, but we don't wish them as immigrants because we caunot assimilate with them. Now then speaking of immigration, it seems to me that too much attention has been paid to settling up the west to the neglect of eastern Canada. It seems to me that the east has been forgotten. Of course we have a great country in the west, and there is no danger but Mr. T. CHISHOLM.
that it will be filled up in time. On the one side, only four or five days journey distant, we have the teeming millions of Europe ; and on the other side, only eight or ten days journey distant, we have the hundreds of millions of Chiua and Japan ; while to the south of us we have eighty millions of people. If we have got a good country the great trouble will be to keep people out of it whom we do not want to come here. For instance, the Doukhobors are occupying land iu the west that we ought to keep for our children and our children's children. To get these people into this country our government have paid $7 a head, besides affording them assistance after they reach here. They occupy the best land in our western country; and I can say now that if they had never set foot in this country that land would now be occupied by good Canadians. On the 7th of June last year I was in the city of Prince Albert, and there were a number of Doukhobor homesteads, discarded homesteads, that the Doukhobors would not have, that were to be opened on that day. These homesteads had been held for the Doukhobors for seven years by the government. They had lived in their villages, and had made no improvements on the land for seven years, and still the homesteads were held for them. If a Canadian boy goes uj) there to get a homestead, if he is not on hand the very minute he should be, he loses his right, but the Doukhobor can hold it for seven years. One of my own Wingham boys went up there, and understanding that, according to the regulations, the first man who was on hand the next morning would get the choice of these five homesteads, he went into the office the night before and made some inquiries, and when the time came to close the office, he was requested to leave. He walked out, but he kept his hand on the door knob all night. I went up the next morning, it was raining, but still the poor fellow had his hand on the door knob. There were four or five hundred people surging around him, his hat was trampled into the mud, the rain was running off his hair, but still he stood there with his hand on the door knob. I was proud of him as a Wingham boy. The result was that he got the first homestead. Now here were 500 good Canadians ready to take these homesteads, and if the Doukhobors had never gone there those 500 Canadians would have taken up those homesteads. These homesteads were held for these Doukhobors for seven years, but a poor boy went up there last year from my riding. You know that we had a very late spring. He went up into Saskatchewan, he got into a half built hut and he took cold, inflammation of the lungs and pleurisy. His father had to go and bring him home, and he was brought to my riding. I went to the land office a little while ago to make some inquiry to see if they would hold his homestead open. He had his side opened three times and a tube put in. I was pre-
sent at one of the operations and the Liberal doctor who is attending him in Brussels sent a letter down to the department and said that the boy had still a tube in his side, and that matter was running out of his side and we asked the time to be extended until after the first of May. What was the reply that we got from the land office?- 'they are not holding homesteads open after the first of May.' This poor fellow is expected to go back and he must go or he will lose his homestead and, of course, if he goes, he may lose his life. How does it come that these Doukhobors could have homesteads held for seven years and a poor boy in my riding cannot have a homestead held for a few months although he'has a tube in his side.
The farmers of Ontario particularly are neglected under our immigration policy. They are very hard up for help. There is a famine of farm labourers in our country; everything is being done for the west and it is draining the east. We have harvest excursions at cheap rates taking away 20,000 of our young men to the west at a time when we need them most. When we get in the so-called farm help we find that the bonus system is bringing in the wrong class of settlers. They do not bring in men from the heather mills whence my own father came nor from the vine clad valley of Germany and France. They bring in men who have been brought tfp in the cities and no matter how foolish you may think a farmer to be when he goes to the city, no matter how many mistakes he may make, they are nothing to the mistakes which will be made by the city man who goes upon the farm. He is far more out of place. It is no use for a man like that to go to one of our farmers and tell him that he has been brought up on a farm in the old country. The farmer will very soon know where lie comes from. I heard a little story the other day about a man who came from Glasgow and who hired out as a farm labourer. The farmer said : Now, Sandy, there is a farmer across the road and he and I are exceedingly good friends. We have an arrangement that if he in any way spoils any of his farm implements he is to have a loan of anything that I have and if we happen to break any of our implements we can go over and get his. If that man comes over and asks for the loan of any farm implements when I am not here, you must give it to him. One day the farmer was away and the neighbour came across and said : ' Sandy, man, have you a plough ? I have broken my plough and I wish to finish my ploughing.' ' Oeh,' said Sandy, ' Ye can ha the pleu. The boss said ye cud ha onything aboot the place bit I dinna ken whaur the pleu is and I dinna ken whether I waud ken a pleu gin I saw ane, Tout there is the wagon and maybe ye can pleu wi' it till the boss comes hame.'
Then I heard another one about a man
who came out to this country who was taken out to the bush to assist a farmer to get out some logs. The farmer said to him : ' John, will you go and get a cant-hook ? John went home and soon brought back a mooly cow because he thought she could not hook because she had no horns and that therefore she must be a cant-hook. I believe that if an effort were made this difficulty would be solved if the minister would give attention to this matter and I am sure he has tried to do the best he could, but he does not understand the situation. The farmers have solved the difficulty of the cheese and bacon question, and I believe that the farm labour question might be solved by going about it in the right way. There is a great difficulty not only in regard to the scarcity of labour, but, since Automobiles have been placed upon the highways, the farmers' daughters and wives cannot go to town and to market. They cannot drive the horses because farmers' horses, being more isolated, are more easily frightened. I have seen farmers in my county with 200 acres of land who would [DOT] have to leave the farm work and drive to town on account of the automobiles. We must get into our country a class of men about whose history we know something, about whose life history we know something. A farmer must take his hired help right into the bosom of his family, to be the companion of his sons, his wife and his daug-ters. We must have the life history of such people. We cannot take every man that you pick up in Whitechapel, or Glasgow, or Dublin. These men may or may not be suitable associates for a farmer's family. We must know them and have their life histories. I propose that the province of Ontario should be divided into districts and that the farmers who wish help should be invited to assemble at some central point during the slack time in the winter. They would give in a list of the labour that they required. One man wants a man with a family because he has bought out his neighbour, he has 200 acres of land and he has acquired a nice brick house with it. There is some man away off in Europe, in Germany, or England or Ireland or Scotland living in a cottage with his family and if that man must come and occupy that house he would think that he was in a palace and the farmer, with 200 acres of land, might give him five or six acres to work for himself and his family. In this way the farmer could get the kind of help that he requires. Another man needs a boy. Each farmer would designate exactly the kind of help that lie required and all these requirements would be written down. Then the farmers assembled together wTould elect one of themselves to go to the old country, hire the help and bring it to Canada. That man would go to the old country and he would say : Here is John Jones; he has a large family and he could occupy that house and culti-
vate a piece of land in connection with it. The man who would actually engage the help in the old country would see the man who had been delegated to go over there and ascertain from him exactly the kind of help that would suit him. If the man who was delegated to do this work did not do it properly the farmers would next year elect another representative. Let the government pay the expenses of these men who would be selected to go over to the old country and engage help. It is not my place to suggest how it should be done.
There is another thing that I desire to say and that is that as a result of the way in which our tariff is regulated the manufacturers enjoy rates so much in excess of those which the farmers enjoy on their products that it is impossible to keep farm labourers on the farm. They drift into the cities because they get work and the farmers are not able to pay them high wages because their products are not protected to the same extent as the products of the manufacturers are.
I regret that many of the immigrants we are getting in this country are not such as are desirable, or as are calculated to build up and strengthen our nation. On the contrary, far too many of them are subjects of charity aud are filling our hospitals and our charitable institutions, and still worse, in some cases they are filling our jails and penitentiaries. I quote from the St. Thomas ' Evening Journal ' of the 11th of April, a good Liberal paper, the following :
Dumped in Ontario is Hon. Mr. Hanna's claim.
Toronto, April 11.-Hon. Mr. Hanna called the attention of the legislature last night to the effect of immigration in the last year or two upon the inmates of the principal institutions. He had just received a telegram from Port Arthur, as follows:
' Port William police magistrate has committed ten male Doukhobors to Central Prison ; nine females to the Mercer Reformatory. They are in jail here. We have no room for them. Fifty-three other prisoners here now. There are fifty-seven other Doukhobors at Fort William to be sent to the Central and the Mercer. They have burned their clothes and are naked.
Subtopic: THE BRITISH EMPLOYMENT AGENCY OF CANADA,