May 7, 1921

L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Has the hon. member any statistics with regard to people of Canadian descent?

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UNION

William Antrobus Griesbach

Unionist

Mr. GRIESBACH:

The Dominion statistics give only, as a matter of policy I believe, the racial descent of the individual. I give the figures as furnished to me by the Chief Statistician. I will now read the figures of immigration for each of the years in the following decade, from 1911 to 1920. In this case the number of immigrants from the United States each year is shown:

British United Other Tear Isles States Countries Totals1911.. . . 123,013 121,451 66,620 311,0841912.. .. 128,121 133,710 82,406 354,2371913.. . . 150,542 139,009 112,881 402,4321914. . . . 142,622 107,530 134,726 384,8781915.. . . 43,276 59,779 41,734 144,7891916.. . . 8,664 36,937 2,936 48,5371917.. .. 8,282 61,389 5,703 75,3741918. . . . 3,178 71,314 4,582 79,0741919. . . . 9,914 40,715 7,073 57,7021920.. . . 59,603 49,656 8,077 117,336687,215 821,490 466,738 1,975,443The totals show: British immigration

687,215; foreign immigration 1,288,228; total, 1,975,443 or 32 per cent British and 68 per cent foreign. Contrasting these figures with those of the previous decade, which showed a falling off in the numbers of persons of British and French descent and a substantial increase in the number of persons of foreign descent, it is reasonable to assume that the census of 1921 will disolose that there has been a still further falling off of the British element in this country with a very substantial increase of the foreign element.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK (Red Deer) :

Of course

my hon. friend recognizes that the war was a potent influence in producing the results shown by his figures.

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UNION

William Antrobus Griesbach

Unionist

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.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

The minister mentioned a few moments ago that he had been looking after colonization on the Transcontinental, and had expended a certain amount of money in the movement of French Canadians from the Eastern States and from the eastern part of the province of Quebec to the Transcontinental. I should like to ask the minister what part he has had in settling that section of the Transcontinental known as the Abitibi country. What assistance has he given to the colonization departments of the Quebec and Ontario Governments in locating settlers along the Transcontinental system in Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec?

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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:

We have not given any direct assistance. In the eastern part of the United States we have our agencies at two centres, Manchester and Biddeford, where there is a fairly large French Canadian population that has been there for some years. Our officers at those two points have been in touch with the people, and, while I do not know the exact details, I have no doubt that hundreds if not thousands of people have been induced to return to Canada, some of whom doubtless must have been directed to those regions in Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

Has the minister ever

been to the Northern Quebec district?

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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:

No.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

I asked the minister last

year if he would be good enough to make a visit to Northern Quebec and I think he promised me at that time that he would make an effort to do so. The Department of Immigration seems to be at a standstill; so far as colonization is concerned it certainly is absolutely stagnant. There is an opportunity in Northern Quebec, and in Northern Ontario as well, for the execution of a vigorous colonization policy as well as for active work in regard to immigration, for the figures which the member for Mackenzie (Mr. Reid) has given are adverse to Canadian immigration. As the hon. member pointed out, we are losing more people than we are getting. We have been bringing in people for the last fifty years at a great cost to Canada, and we have not only lost every last man, woman and child of them, but we have also lost a portion of the Canadian people as well. We have lost more Canadians, either native born or those who came and settled in Canada, than we have brought to the country in that time, and the vital statistics will substantiate that statement. Within the last forty or fifty years, I venture to say, we have not retained our natural increase in Canadian population. There must be something wrong. In the period from 1901 to 1911 we made quite an advance in immigration and, as the minister is well aware, in colonization as well; but I do not believe we have made any progress in colonization since the close of that period, and we certainly made none previous to that time. During that period a policy was in vogue which aimed at bringing in to Canada, and putting on the land, all the people that we could get. But the Government since that time have adopted a different system. If the minister will go to the Abitibi country, as it is his duty to do, or, at least, if he will send his officials there to make a study of the conditions and the opportunities for settlement, he will be doing as good work for Canada as he canr possibly do in any other direction. There is abundant opportunity in that district for the French Canadian settler to take up land, because the country appeals to him and he likes it. But he is not given a fair chance; he is not given the encouragement which he should have. The French Canadian is the - only man that will settle in Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec,

and until we settle these districts our Transcontinental railway will be a failure.

Until you settle the great districts which are in need of population in Ontario, Quebec and the western provinces, you will continue to have railway difficulties. We have the land, the resources and the opportunities; all we need is a Minister of Immigration and Colonization with courage and foresight, a man who is anxious to bring people into the country and settle them on the land. The minister with such enterprise would render a great service to the country. But instead of that, the minister tells us, in so many words, that his time is taken up in keeping people out of the country; his remarks the other day were tantamount to that. There are thousands of people who want to come into Canada, but apparently the minister thinks it advisable to keep them out. He did not mention anything about a colonization policy, and in answer to an hon. member on the other side this afternoon, he made a statement to the effect that he had made no attempt at colonization in our northern country. The result of his policy and the general policy of the Government has been to drive people out of Canada. Every few days you may pick up the papers and find something about the Mennonites, or some other class of people in Western Canada, trying to locate elsewhere because they are not treated properly in Canada. They are living up to the understanding they had with the Government when they came in, but the Government of the day are not even attempting to fiulfil their end of the agreement. While it might not be desirable to bring in Mennonites, or Hutterites, or Doukhobors, or Galicians in numbers out of proportion to the balance of the population, yet I claim that they are good settlers and producers and would become good Canadians if given a chance. If my hon. friend had a policy to bring in people from Great Britain and the United States, and desirable people from Europe, and had some policy for their assimilation in Western and Northern Canada, he would at once be increasing the population of the country and adding to its productive capacity. Every man who has given any study to the railway problem to-day realizes that our greatest need, if we are to solve our difficulties, is a progressive immigration and colonization policy. It goes without saying that if the land tributary to the railways is not producing anything the railways cannot pay, and my hon. friend a few days ago held out no hope of any '

immigration or colonization. It seems to me that the minister simply throws up his hands and bewails the fact that he is helpless. Well, in that regard he is pretty much in the same position as the rest of the Governemnt; he is in good company. I wonder if his attention has been drawn to an article in MacLean's Magazine, by Fred V. Seibert, B.A.Sc., who deals with the colonization problem in Canada? This gentleman, apparently, has been in the Survey Department for some years and has given considerable study to the land settlement question in Canada. On page 8 of MacLean's Magazine for April, 1921, he says:

Settlement needs directing force. There is weakness in our present system and urgent need of control to correct that weakness.

The article is well worth the attention of the minister, who should give more serious study to the question of immigration, and particularly of colonization. His time would be very much better occupied in a close study Of these questions than in playing politics, because his political career, so far as the Government at least is concerned, is very nearly at an end. He could, however, make for himself a reputation as Minister of Immigration and Colonization if he set himself to the task. If the minister has no policy in regard to immigration, then we are to assume that the present muddled condition of our railways will continue, and it will be impossible for us to overcome our railway difficulties, and, in a few years, utterly impossible to pay our taxation and meet our other heavy obligations. There are thousands of people who would come to Canada and make good citizens, and when the minister says that there is no more homestead land I am afraid he is giving Canada rather bad advertising, because there are millions of acres of land that would be suitable for settlement in Western Canada and in Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec. And if it is necessary to build a few branch line railways to develop that country, I think the investment might be considered a good one. But the indiscriminate settlement of homesteaders is a policy I do not believe in. I am not now advocating the continuance of the policy of homesteading at all; a better policy might be worked out. I am satisfied that we could get hundreds of thousands of good people from the United States and across the seas who would make splendid settlers in this country and who would help discharge our burden and pay our interest charges and taxation for the next few years. I ex-

hort the minister to turn his attention more seriously to these important questions than he has done in the past.

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UNION

George Boyce

Unionist

Mr. BOYCE:

I am surprised to hear

the statements of the last speaker in regard to Northern Ontario. I think he has not been up in that part of the country or he would not have such a doleful tale to tell. He has found fault with the minister because there are no immigrants or other persons going into that country. Let me tell the hon. gentleman that I visited that part of Ontario twice during the last ten years and I noticed that a very great improvement had taken place. At New Liskeard a very fine town has sprung up. Within a radius of fifty or a hundred miles of Matheson and Cochrane, the country is very well settled. The hon. member (Mr. Cahill) has always a doleful tale to tell about something, and he may as well talk, about this subject as anything else. He talks about Doukhobors and the like. There is no need to get Doukhobors to settle that country; any amount of good people are going in there-going about as quickly as they possibly can, and that is fairly quick too. I want to tell my hon. friend that there is a fine section of country up there, and ultimately it will be equal to some of the best districts in the older parts of Ontario. I would advise the hon. gentleman to try and assist the minister and the authorities to get people to settle in that northern country and not run it down.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

I cannot allow that

statement to pass unchallenged. I did not run the -country down, I praised it very highly.

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UNION
L LIB
UNION

George Boyce

Unionist

Mr. BOYCE:

I have sat and listened

to you time and time again and you were never happy unless you were abusing somebody.

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L LIB
UNION

George Boyce

Unionist

Mr. BOYCE:

Yes, and I am going to

abuse you and you will have to take it like a man. You are like myself; you are good natured enough and you are not going to get vexed about it. I say: Be a man and

help Canada all you possibly can; let us all work together shoulder to shoulder and then we will make a success of the development of this country. If we all do what we ought to do, we will make New Ontario a fine part of this Dominion. I do

not like to hear any man run down his country; I do not like a bird that befouls its own nest.

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Item agreed to.


UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

There are only one or two items left but I am very sorry that I have to leave now. However, the items are minor ones and we can deal with them later on. Earlier in the afternoon the leader of the Opposition asked if it was the intention of the Finance Minister to lay on the Table the report of the Tariff Committee and the Minister of Railways stated he would give a reply before the House rose this afternoon. I am to advise the House that no such report will be laid on the Table before Monday next. I now beg to move that further consideration of the Estimates of the Department of Immigration and Colonization be postponed.

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Motion agreed to. Department of Customs and Inland Revenue, $532,947.50 ; Contingencies, $48,000.


L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

When was the Minister of Customs officially installed in the department? When did he assume the duties of the office after his election?

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May 7, 1921