I am surprised that the
hon. the Minister of Immigration and Colonization-a very successful farmer himself- has not seen fit to make use of the outstanding successful farmers throughout < the west as colonization agents, instead of the impractical brigade he now has on the pay roll. I say "impractical" for if my information is correct, many of his men have never lived on a farm, and others have never seen the district they are trying to settle. Compare their efforts with that of a successful practical farmer, sent back to his old home to solicit immigrants among his former neighbours, asking them to come and locate in his district. Many men in the towns and villages throughout the west are qualified to make equally competent colonization agents.
Picture these men as colonizers, with definite information of the available land in their community, the people, climate and conveniences, and what is even more important, a thorough understanding of the psychology of their old neighbours. Their word would be accepted, and well it might be. There would be no misrepresentation as frequently happens in colonization work. Hon. members will appreciate there is no comparison between the effectiveness of these practical men and the immigration agent from the city who either writes from his office or at most makes only an occasional trip into the country.
This is not a new idea. We employed it in the land business in western Canada years ago. It worked then. It will work now. The present chief land commissioner of the Canadian National Railways was this kind of a farmer colonizer when he was taken off the ranch twenty-five years ago.
It should be possible to send several hundred of these colonizers to Europe and the United States every fall. Most western men
have little to do in the winter. They would welcome an opportunity to visit their old homes. The cost would be small compared with the results-probably $1,500 each. Returning in the spring with their new settlers they would not only actually locate them on the land they had arranged for in advance but would continue a fatherly interest in them.
Here we have the real selection of immigrants. What chance has a ne'r-do-well to get over with this practically colonizer who knows his "no-good" friend would be sitting on his door step as soon as he got to Canada? This method of selecting immigrants is particularly applicable to those countries in Europe which do not welcome or permit our government to maintain an immigration office -countries we are now leaving largely to transportation companies. I have discussed this matter with Canadians, formerly Scandinavians, who assure me that they can go back to their old homes and bring out on an average twenty-five men, many of them with families, to settle on farms in the west.
It should not be difficult to get at least 300 of these colonizers at work every winter. Costing $1,500 apiece, it would require to finance them, less than half a million annually. These men should get at least 10,000 farmers a year including families, a total of probably 25,000 added to our population.
Hon. members should bear in mind that we now maintain all the staff that is necessary to instruct, supervise and direct these new colonization agents and to look after transportation for this increased immigration. Our principal trouble to-day is that we lack real practical men possessing the knowledge which is so necessary to get satisfactory results. Successful colonization is now an individual matter and must be conducted on that basis.
Referring to the question of provincial and federal co-operation in immigration matters, I suggest, Mr. Speaker, it is high time that our efforts in London were co-ordinated. Federal and provincial colonization officers acting on their own, competing with each other, do not make for the best results. Neither does it always place the new settler in that part of Canada Where he is most likely to succeed. Not a few of our immigrants fail because they have been misplaced in this far-flung Dominion.
It has always appeared to me that our High Commissioner in London should take a much more active part, and in fact should be the overseas head of our immigration and all other overseas work. Provincial immigration agencies, if necessary or advisable, should be
The Budget-Mr. McRae
housed in the same building as our federal immigration office. The High Commissioner should see that all our immigration work is harmonized and that Canadians are not unduly competing with each other.
One of the great problems in our immigration is practically disregarded. I refer to our unbalanced population-the excess of men over women-a situation which is rapidly growing worse. Immigration since the war has brought to us 170,000 more males than females. In the three prairie provinces in 1921 there was 185,000 more men than women. To-day it exceeds 200,000.
Anyone who travels through our prairie provinces; sees the desolate looking bachelor shacks by the hundreds from Winnipeg to the mountains, if he notes the adjacent more prosperous-looking homes of the farmer with a family, will realize what this unbalanced population is costing the country. On the farm one married settler is worth to the community as much as three or four bachelors- and I disclaim any intention to depreciate the honourable bachelors in this House. It is much more important to-day to bring a hundred thousand women to the prairie provinces than it is to bring in 100,000 men. Of course, it is more difficult. Nevertheless, a real effort must be made to get more women immigration.
So far no satisfactory scheme has been devised to meet this situation. A few domestic servants are brought in but not in numbers worth talking about. I suggest to the minister that he work out a real comprehensive plan and so far as humanly possible balance our immigration. He need have no fear of overdoing it.
The local colonizers I have suggested can bring back as many women as men and easily place them in their community. This, however, will only balance their effort and not help out on the 200,000 discrepancy which now exists.
I suggest to the Minister of Immigration and Colonization that he might with adequate1 financial assistance induce the Daughters of the Empire to take up this great work. They have chapters in almost every hamlet throughout Canada. What nobler effort could they be engaged in than transplanting throughout the Dominion, ten per cent of the two million surplus of their sex, now languishing in the British Isles. The necessity of this migration should particularly appeal to those who fear for the maintenance of British supremacy in the W'est. Give us British mothers and we need have no worry about the loyalty of our future generations.
Ever since the war we have discussed the problem of Imperial migration. So far little indeed has been accomplished. The London Morning Pest, a very conservative English paper states the case well. They say "Very little is done, and that the situation is a standing reproach and perpetual danger to the Dominion of Canada."
They express the willingness of Great Britain to take her share in schemes for Imperial migration but that the main responsibility for doing the greatest possible service to Canada, and to the empire, is upon us, and that matters cannot rest where they are without serious consequences. Quoting from the editorial, they say:-
An adequate scheme of settlement would involve considerable sums of money. But it is perfectly possible to solve these and other formidable difficulties when once the Dominions resolve to make it a part of their national policy to develop their resources with men of the British race.
Migration was doubtless the subject of much discussion at the last Imperial conference. Perhaps the Prime Minister will tell us why in this respect the conference has been so barren of results.
It should be possible to work out an adequate Imperial colonization scheme, when we have millions of acres of good land we want settled, and Great Britain has available both men and money.
I suggest to the government that no place in the British Empire affords a better opportunity for a big successful British migration than the Peace River country.
I want hon. members of this house, particularly from the east, to get an idea of the magnitude and the desirability of that great empire. In length it is about the distance from Windsor to Montreal with an average width of a hundred miles. In fertility and productiveness the soil is unequalled in any similar sized area in North America. The summer climate over a period of twenty years, is identical with Edmonton. The long summer days in the Peace River make it a safer crop country than much of the province of Saskatchewan already under cultivation. As for ;its winter, suffice to say that the hon. the Minister of Interior (Mr. Stewart) will, unless settlers interfere, soon be the largest rancher in the world. His buffalo, which roam the park-like country north, of Fort Vermilion, have increased to eight thousand and I am informed had a natural increase last year of twenty-five per cent. There need be no fear of the winters in a country where 'buffalo and their calves can thrive throughout tlhe year.
The Budget-Mr. McRae
1 fear, Mr Speaker, that many hon. members do not appreciate the proximity ol this country to the sea, which accounts for its climate. With good direct railway service, the heart of this district would be little over a calendar day's ride from the city of Vancouver. The Peace River country has been unfortunate in that two provinces undertook to provide it with transportation facilities. Neither of them completed their program and the country has been allowed to stagnate.
Railway facilities for this vast empire should be undertaken with a view to its ultimate development. Do not let us make the mistake we have made so often in the past, of building only with a view to the very near future. Peace River wants a trunk line to the sea-not a branch line outlet. We should broaden our vision. With a million people, the Peace River country will require not a single track to tide water but a double track railway to carry the product of its farms to market. Supported by proper development, the railway enterprises of both western provinces are worthy of completion.
I suggest to the government that in cooperation with the Imperial government and the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia the Peace River be developed as a great Imperial settlement.
Alberta and British Columbia together could furnish the land required for homesteads, thirty million acres The Dominion government could finance the cost of clearing the land and erecting the necessary buildings on the basis 1 already proposed. Great Britain as its part in the undertaking should finance the temporary requirements of the settlers, which it does now in part.
It would be a reasonable proposal for all partners in this British migration scheme to w'ork out. on some equitable basis, a joint guarantee of the interest for a period of twenty years of the bonds which our national railways would have to issue to enable them to take over and carry to completion the railway program of both Alberta and British Columbia including the branch lines which would be later required as settlement progressed. This would relieve the national railways from any danger of a deficit on account of this railway construction for a generation to come.
I share with my friend the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Clark) his great confidence in the British race, and his belief that they can and will make good fanners. I believe, however, that the preliminary training of these Britishers should be done at home so that the misfits would be largely eliminated there. To this end the British government
might see fit to transfer some of their dole funds as bonuses to induce farmers to train these prospective migrators.
Under an arrangement of this kind, almost a million men now on the farms in the British Isles could be made available for Canada. The lure of free homesteads, in a country British to the core, would attract them in large numbers.
It is not easy to establish a settlement of this magnitude, but this is the day of big undertakings. Many difficulties will arise, but the two great races who share this great Dominion have iD the past solved problems much more formidable. Peace River, with all its advantages, supplied with proper railway facilities, affords us our best opportunity for development. Have we the courage to undertake it? Where are our nation builders-the worthy successors of the Macdonalds, the Cartiers, and the Lauriers of yesterday?
An article appearing in the Financial Post as of March 2nd, indicates the probable immigration program of the government for the next few year3. Hon. members will see that the "Three thousand family scheme." is to be given a new dress and is to be known as the "Pioneer land settlement scheme." What hope would there be in this revamped plan with a government that has failed to complete the movement of only three thousand families in three years under the present scheme? How long is it going to take them at this rate to bring in 20.000 families as proposed? To appreciate the feebleness of this new effort it is only necessary to note that although the British wanted to send us five hundred families this year the Canadian government was unable to take care of them, and their movement is posponed until 1929. Let us be done with camouflage and makeshift. I appeal to the government to bring in an immigration program in keeping with the needs of the country.
The countries from which we will accept immigration have been dealt with very fully by hon. members during this debate. I want to say, however, that I believe it is the inherent right of every nation to decide its own racial status. I believe it is our bounden duty to posterity and to the fathers of confederation to see that, in the melting pot from which our future Canadians will be moulded, the blood of no race is allowed to enter which might undermine or weaken the blood passed down from our forefathers. Canadians must maintain the high standard they now enjoy. Ours is the right to choose; ours is the right to barr, and we should not hesitate.
The Budget-Mr. Senn
In his speech earlier in the session, the Prime Minister expressed a fear that if we prohibited Japanese immigration we might interfere with the development of our trade in the far east.
Mr. Speaker, I am supposed to be a business man. interested in trade, particularly in the orient, but I have not yet reached the stage- and I hope I never will-where I am prepared, in the interest of trade or commerce, no matter how important, to jeopardize the racial status of the Canadian people. I want to see all undesirable races absolutely barred, let the price be what it may.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE