William Antrobus GRIESBACH

GRIESBACH, The Hon. William Antrobus, K.C.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Edmonton West (Alberta)
Birth Date
January 3, 1878
Deceased Date
January 21, 1945
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Antrobus_Griesbach
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=f157f275-1255-46c8-82b0-b0a17fb78c35&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

December 17, 1917 - September 14, 1921
UNION
  Edmonton West (Alberta)
September 15, 1921 - October 4, 1921
CON
  Edmonton West (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 26)


June 1, 1921

Mr. GRIESBACH:

He did not say that.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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June 1, 1921

Mr. GRIESBACH:

That is what they do as a matter of fact.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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June 1, 1921

Mr. GRIESBACH:

The words "in whole or in part" cover that.

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May 7, 1921

Mr. GRIESBACH:

I should like to take advantage on this item, Mr. Chairman, of

the invitation extended by the minister to discuss generally the question of immigration and to put forward certain views which I hold and which I believe are held by a great many people in this country. Immigration is a very large question, for the reason that some nine million of us occupy a country which is over three million seven hundred thousand square miles in area, and we are distributed in a most extraordinary fashion, for we occupy a ribbon of territory not more than 300 miles wide at any point stretching from coast to coast. And this great country is capable of maintaining without difficulty a population of two or three hundred million people. If we are to become a great nation we must have population. On the other hand, many people regard unrestricted immigration, particularly of foreigners, with grave apprehension. The question is viewed from four standpoints-the sentimental, the patriotic, the humanitarian, and the material. While some hold that it is dangerous to allow too many foreigners to come in, there are others who take the humanitarian view that we have no right to restrict immigration into a country of such vast area and such boundless natural resources, especially while other countries are overcrowded and congested. And there are those who take the material point of view, that for the purpose of exploiting our resources and developing the country the more immigrants we bring in the better. A variety of causes superinduce immigration, being chiefly the following: industrial depression, political oppression, religious persecution, poverty at home, and prosperity here, the solicitation of friends and relations here, employment agencies, facility of transport, solicitation of steamship companies, assisted emigration, and epidemics.

In considering the people who come to this country of foreign blood, we have to consider them in the light of possible amalgamation in the future or immediate assimilation. Amalgamation is defined as that process which occurs when, by reason of proximity, nations grow together by intermarriage, a process which takes hundreds of years. The best example of this is perhaps the British race itself, the last immigrants having arrived in the British Isles somewhere about 1066. The process of amalgamation has gone forward steadily and as a result a type has been produced. We are not particularly concerned for the next two or three hundred years at least with the process of amalgamation, but we are concerned with the process of assimilation, which is defined as that process whereby immigrants may learn to speak our language, understand our customs, and the working of our political machinery, whereby they may take their places with us upon terms of equality. But it may be laid down that the process of assimilation is rendered slow and difficult or quick and easy precisely in the proportion which the foreign element bears to the British element. That, I think, is fairly obvious. If we have one foreigner living among four men of British blood,-surrounded, so to speak, by men of the British race-the process of assimilation will be quick and easy; but if we have, say, two foreigners, to three men of British blood the process is slower, and the number that can be assimilated is necessarily smaller, until the time might come when by the increase of the percentage of persons of foreign birth the process of Canadianization might come to a standstill, and that of "foreignization" might begin.

I recognize the virtues of the foreigners who have come to us in the past, particularly those who settled upon the western prairies and who came to us with practically nothing but their ability to work. They have made a great success, they have increased agricultural production, and they are slowly but surely climbing up the social and cultural ladder. But there are certain statistics which cannot be denied, and I desire to place them upon Hansard because I believe they are worthy of study by our people. I will take first the immigration between the years 1900 and 1910, arranged to show the immigration of the British born and the foreign born, with the total and the percentages thereof. These are the figures:

British Foreign

Year born born Total1900.. .. . . . 5,141 18,754 23,8951901.. .. . . 18,810 37,339 66,1491902.. .. . . 17,259 50,120 67,3791903.. .. . . 41,792 86,572 128,3641904.. .. . . 50,374 79,957 130,3311905.. .. . . 65,359 80,907 146,2661906.. .. . . 86,796 102,268 189,0641907.. .. . . 55,791 68,876 124,6671908.. .. , . . 120,182 142,287 262,4691909.. .. . . . 52,901 94.007 146,9081910.. .. , . . 59,790 149,004 208,794574,195 910,091 1,484,286

Now, that immigration had a certain effect upon the population of this country. I have obtained from the Dominion Statistician the figures as to the number of persons in Canada of British descent, French descent and foreign descent, in 1901 and 1911 respectively. They are as follows:

1901 1911

Per cent Per cent

British descent

57.03 54,08French descent

30.71 28.51Foreign descent

14.46 17.40

In other words, during that decade the number of persons in Canada of British descent fell three points; the number of persons in Canada of French descent fell two points, and the number of persons of foreign descent increased by something like 4 per cent.

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May 7, 1921

Mr. GRIESBACH:

There has been some discussion of a policy of immigration, and as to the cost of immigration, and so on. I believe it will be admitted by all concerned that our problem is not a problem of getting people to come here, for the whole world is willing to come to Canada if it can get here; our problem is cautiously to admit those who are fit to come here. In an article by Kenneth L. Roberts in the Saturday Evening Post of a few days ago, there is a long discussion of the situation in Europe, and its effect on immigration to the United States: I am told that the United States

has just recently passed a law, or is about to pass a law, restricting the number of immigrants admitted to that country to 365,000 per year. There can be only two forms of restriction; restriction by numbers, and restriction by classification or qualification. It may happen, and it probably will, that restriction by classification or qualification will in the end produce numbers that we did not expect, and that we shall be unable to deal with. I shall just read the concluding paragraphs of this article I have referred to.

"All of the lines", he told me early in 1921, "are preparing- for greatly increased emigrant business. In the spring they are going to tap new districts for passengers. They are preparing additional emigrant hotel, barrack and quar-anntin e-station facilities. These preparations are based on urgent messages from their agents in all the countries.

"As soon as Germany and Austria are opened for emigration the present flood will be'greatly increased. When Russia is opened, then will come the deluge. The people who are coming are the lowest type of humanity that Europe can send. America has got to keep them out or suffer bitterly in the future."

Americans in Europe are warning their country against the classe of people that are pouring into it, just as they warned it that typhus would break out if a strict quarantine was not imposed. They know the situation, and every word of their warnings is true.

The warnings can never be made strong enough, because of the gravity of the situation and the limitations of the English language.

If no emergency exists for America in respect of immigration, the America that exists to-day is vastly different from the America of ten years ago.

In other parts of the article the writer goes on to describe the mental, moral and physical condition of these millions of people who are clamouring to get to this country if that be possible.

As a result of a study of these figures, I have reached certain conclusions. As I said at the outset, the process of amalgamation does not interest us at the moment. What we are interested in is the process of assimilation. I have adverted to the danger of bringing to this

[Mr. Griesbaoh.'l

country people unacquainted with our system of government, with our institutions and our ideas, and placing our resources and the control of government in their hands. That is a project that is fraught with danger, and my view is this: I think we ought to fix a definite ratio, based on statistics, and we ought no to exceed that ratio. We can restrict either by numbers or by classification and qualification, but no matter by which method we seek to accomplish our end, the Government should have power arbitrarily to decide the moment when that limit is reached, and thereafter we should stand fast and deal with the situation as we have it, until it is dealt with completely. In the determination of this ratio, and in the process of assimilation, we shall have to consider as factors whether we are going to continue the policy of the past, which is the policy of standing still and doing nothing to educate or assimilate the foreigner, or whether, on the other hand, we shall adopt some comprehensive scheme of education which will aid the process of assimilation. If we decide that we shall do no more than we have done in the past, then the ratio we shall decide upon will be a certain figure. On the other hand, if we decide that we will undertake the forced assimilation of the foreigner by a process of education, then, of course, we can raise the ratio or the standard of qualification which may be decided upon.

In my judgment, we cannot look forward to an increased foreign immigration, based upon the figures which I have given, without grave apprehension and misgiving. We cannot look forward to an increased foreign immigration with any degree of satisfaction unless, in the first place, it is controlled and restricted, and unless, in the second place, we adopt a great nation-wide, all-embracing system of education, backed by all the power of the State. Last year I discussed this question very briefly in passing, and now I would say that I know of no plan or scheme of education that has been put forward which will assist or aid in assimilation save one. The churches are practically powerless; our educational system gets us nowhere; there is no plan before this country except the one I have mentioned which begins to measure up to the magnitude or importance of the task. The system which I would lay before the committee-a conclusion which I have arrived at quite independently of the solution itself, and based merely on these figures- is the plan of universal military service

which I laid before the House last year. There you have a scheme which is nationwide, all-embracing, and backed by the supreme power of the State. From the operation of this system no person can escape. You would take your young foreigner at the age of 19, and at the ages of 19, 20, 21 and 22, four years, you would give him three months of military training each year, during which time he would learn to speak our language, keep himself clean, be obedient, and become disciplined. The duties of citizenship and its responsibilities would be impressed upon him, also the fact that he might some day be called upon to defend this country. There you have a system, and the only system that has been proposed, which I believe can adequately or effectively deal with this great problem of keeping the people of this country true to the ideals and traditions which have brought us thus far.

This is a great question. Our actions in this decade are more or less irrevocable. We cannot in this matter of the movement of people and population undo tomorrow what we may do to-day. Therefore, for the future happiness and greatness of this nation, let us hope that in this great matter we come to-day to a right conclusion.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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