May 7, 1921

UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. REID (Mackenzie):

As a business proposition I would draw the minister's attention to the larger flow of immigrants from Canada to the United States as compared with the flow of immigrants from the United States to Canada. The net loss for the year 1918-19 was in round numbers 52,000, and for the year 1919-20 approximately 95,000. If these immigrants only cost us $5 or $6 a head they are well worth keeping in the country, especially when we realize the high value placed by the Canadian Pacific Railway on a farmer or immigrant who settles along any of its lines of railway.

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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I am not going to question the figures given by my hon. friend -they have been discussed backwards and forwards every year for the past ten years. There would be only one way probably of finding out the truth and that is by the census. When the census is taken we will know exactly what the figures are-we will have our immigration figures for the last ten years, and we shall know as to whether or not these figures are correct. Looking at the position in Canada to-day, in so far as the urban population is concerned, does my hon. friend mean to say there has been a decrease in that population? There is no city in Canada that is not overcrowded to the extent that people cannot get houses to live in. Take the situation as regards the rural population of Canada. There

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REVISED EDITION. COMMONS


have been here and there certain decreases; but I doubt very much if, on the whole, the rural population of Canada has decreased in the last decade. I say that on the whole you will find places where there has been some decrease, I daresay there has been a change in the proportion between the rural and the urban population; but if you will take our total rural populations as shown at the last census I doubt very much, when we ascertain what the new figures are, if you will find any material discrepancy there.


L LIB
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I think it will be found that there is a very material increase.

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L LIB
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Oh, more than the

natural increase because you can estimate that. As regards our urban population, our cities, throughout Canada from coast to coast, are simply teeming with people- they simply cannot find places to live in.' So I say, there is only one way eventually whereby we will be able to check up these increases and that is through the census in both countries.

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UNION

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Unionist

Mr. ARMSTRONG (Lambton):

I wish to ask the minister whether he, as Minister of Immigration, and the Government, have considered a vigorous immigration policy whereby selected immigrants may be placed along the line of the national railways and if so has he anything to say with regard to it?

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L LIB
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Of course our whole

policy, in so far as agriculturists are concerned, is to bring as many of that class as possible to Canada. We have not, I may say, directed our attention to placing these people along the Transcontinental and the Canadian Northern railways here in Ontario-that has not been done.

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L LIB
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

That has not been done with the exception of certain people who came from the eastern part of the United States, a number of French Canadians, who are being repatriated. Many of them have gone up into those northern regions, but outside of that we have not directed our attention along those particular lines.

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UNION

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Unionist

Mr. ARMSTRONG (Lambton):

I did

not mean particularly along the lines of railway in the province of Ontario; I had reference to the western provinces also. Would not such a policy be worthy of the serious consideration of the Government?

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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

Yes, I think so.

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. REID (Mackenzie) :

I would like

to draw the minister's attention to the work done in the early eighties by the colonization companies in the western provinces, or what at that time the North West Territories. I was one of the immigrants who settled upon the land as a result of colonization work of this kind, and I know that these companies did very good work indeed. Of course some of them were not a success; but the York Farmers' Colonization Company, of which the minister has no doubt heard, occupied itself with settlement in the Yorkton district. Such a company as that was a very great benefit to the settlers, and its local agent helped them in the purchase of their supplies. Such a company as that was of very great benefit to the settlers. They were also given local land agents, and the settlers were able to make their homestead entries right in the township where they made their selection. I know of some immigrants who settled outside what was at that time known as the Yorkton land district, and they had to go all the way to Regina, or Pile o'Bones, as it was known then, to make their entries, a distance of 135 miles. If some such scheme as that was evolved, I am sure that benefits would result in our favour. Just a word about our immigration officials who work on the trains. I presume they meet the trains at the border coming in from the United States. They must travel back on the trains, say, from Winnipeg as one point, to meet the trains again. If they worked on the trains incoming, why could they not check up the people on the outgoing trains? That may be possible. .

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

Can my hon. friend give the figures of the total immigration during the last decade?

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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I gave figures to the

House for the five-year periods from 1896 down to 1911, then for the three following years and for the last three years. Those figures will all be found in Hansard.

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UNI L
UNION

William Antrobus Griesbach

Unionist

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