March 22, 1923

LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER :

What I admit is that this country is a good country, but what my hon. friends have been telling us in this House for the last week is such that it will be impossible to put any policy of immigration in force. That will be the result if

4 p.m. the kind of advertising we are getting from our hon. friends across the way is continued.

Mr. Gould.]

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

Notwithstanding the remarks of the hem. member, I consider I am doing my duty to the people just as well as he is. Moreover, I think I know the subject better than he does, for I have actually lived in that country. Will the hon. member produce any figures which will substantially contradict those I have presented? Of course, the figures I give may in some respects be only approximate, but I do not think my hon. friend can challenge them in any material respect. No one on this side has ever stated that he objected to Canada as a country. I have positively asserted on a dozen occasions that the potential wealth of Canada is great, but something stands between. For instance, the hon. member stood up two or three times and interrogated hon. gentlemen on this side, asking them whether they would take dividends from the Canadian Pacific Railway. That is what is the matter; the attitude is taken that organizations of this character should have the right to extract their dividends first and let those who produce the wealth of the country take what is left. That is my interpretation of the attitude of the hon. member; that is possibly his concern at the present time. We have heard many statements that there is to be a trade revival in Canada; that better times are coming. But I want hon. members at the first opportunity, to look at the individual who makes this prophecy and see whether he himself sits on the mourners' bench. It is safe to say that those who prophesy better times are not among those who sit on the mourners' bench.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

No; the hon. member himself is sitting on the mourners' bench.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

Mr. Chairman, I have expressed what are my firm convictions in this matter, and I think I have said enough to make my position clear.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

Mr. Chairman, the question of immigration has since confederation been an important and pressing problem. We have through the years framed various policies with a view of increasing the numbers of our people, and whether our efforts have achieved a measure consistent with the amount of public money expended is perhaps open to some question.

In announcing his proposals the minister indicated that he was not bringing before the House any, as he described it, brand new policy; he informed us that he was taking the middle course. His position could perhaps have been more adequately described had he suggested that he was sitting on the fence, and I am sure he has earned the at-

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tacks which are usually made upon those who assume that attitude, because, if I mistake not, his emotions must have run through the whole gamut of human sentiments when one considers the reluctant expessions of appreciation which came to him from some members of his own party and, in addition, the sledge hammer blows which have been directed at his policy by other members supporting the government. I think, perhaps, the minister must have had in his mind the injunction which many years ago was given to one of the leaders of the Jewish people when he was enjoined not to make "any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." It seems to me, that the position of the minister can only be compared to that of the heroine who was "There twixt heaven and earth suspended while the bell tolled to. and fro."

I think it is desirable, Mr. Chairman, that we should pay some attention to the census statistics in so far as they may be of value in determining the policy of parliament in connection with this problem. The House, I think is indebted to the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland) in indicating the exact history of our emigration problem. I would like to suggest that the statistics of Canadian emigration, so far as they are disclosed to us by the United States, show that in the decade between 1901 and 1910 some 179,226 people left this country; whereas in the following decade, between 1911 and 1920 some 742,000 odd emigrated from Canada. We find also, if we take the decade-and I do not intend to weary the House unduly with figures- from 1911 to 1921 that, allowing for the natural increase, according to the figures there must be a loss to this country of something like, 1,200,000 people. Now let me quote one or two other figures with regard to immigration during the past two years. In the fiscal year ending March, 1922, approximately 90,000 people came to Canada; the year previous the arrivals numbered 148,000 odd; and in the year 1920 some 117,000 odd. So that last year, if we except the war years from 1916 to 1919 the low water mark in inmmigration was reached taking our history as far back as 1902.

In connection with these facts I want to make a few observations. It seems to me that we have two problems to solve-the problem of emigration and the problem of immigration. I have already indicated the extent of the emigration to the United States as indicated by the figures I have given. I

would like to point out that that emigration is a voluntary emigration; it is not induced by any advertisements on the part of the United States government. That is a distressing feature of 'the situation because experience shows that that sort of emigration, that is voluntary emigration, is made up of the young, the industrious and the ambitious. That is an unfortunate fact. What is the reason that the best of our manhood and womanhood are leaving the country? Occasionally in former days people in emigrating were influenced by religious considerations; at other times they were influenced by political considera-' tions. To-day there can be no question at all but that the reason for the emigration to the United States is due to the fact that our economic conditions are not all they should be. It is quite apparent that the emigration to the United States is due to the desire either to escape the existing economic conditions, or else to obtain better economic conditions. I mention these facts not because I am discouraged; on the contrary I am not; I mention them because they constitute an appalling and a tragic fact that our own people- our own Canadian and Canadianized people -are unable to obtain that measure of satisfaction which they look for in this country and are therefore seeking a refuge in a foreign land. That is not an easy thing for a Canadian to do, it is not an easy thing for a Canadianized individual to do, because it necessarily means the severance of the ties of kinship, the severance of the ties of devotion which binds everyone to this land. Therefore, I say, Mr. Chairman, that the primary duty of this government is to investigate this condition with regard to emigration. "

In this connection I am reminded of the statement of Sir Andrew Macphail. Speaking some time ago at McGill university he said; referring to the government:

You put a little less stress on this policy of immigration until you are quite sure you can keep the immigrants you pay for.

After some further references to the number of people leaving the country he said:

The people of Canada cannot save themselves by this process of immigration any more than could the Romans by their system of slavery.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

I would

like to point out to my hon. friend that the United States have an embargo against all other nations except Canada.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

I quite appreciate the fact

but my point is that the United States, as a government, is making no effort to induce

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Immigration

immigration from this country. It seems to me that the government should take this matter of emigration into consideration,' not in any panicky mood because there is no necessity for panic. I think they should ascertain, as far as it can be humanly ascertained, the existing cause and then fearlessly apply the remedy whatever it may be. I am not going into the causes for emigration; it is not necessary to do so at this particular time. I do suggest, however, that if you want to keep people in this country there must be a determined effort to reduce the cost of living, there must be a determined effort to reduce the burden of taxation under which this country is reeling at the present time. Now what is the government's attitude toward this question of emigration? What is their policy in regard to this important matter? I suppose that if I were to ask the Minister of Finance he would tell me in Asquithian language "Wait and see." It appears to me that the government are assuming the fatalistic position that little can be done to stem the tide of emigration. I do not agree with that view at all. Personally I would vote for a very definite, a very clear cut, and a very courageous programme for the purpose of stopping the emigration from our land.

There is another interesting fact to which I would draw the attention of the House in connection with the census figures. At the census of 1901 the figures indicated that 62.3 per cent of our population was rural. The census of 1911 indicated that 54 per cent was rural, a decrease of some 8 per cent in that decade. The census figures of 1921 indicate that 50.3 per cent was rural, a further decrease of something like 4 per cent. There must b some reason for the rural depopulation that is evidently going on. I mention that because I am impressed with this fact: That every person who migrates from the land into an urban centre becomes a potential emigrant from the country. The person who leaves the land and endeavours to compete in the city necessarily finds difficulty in carrying on there owing to the specialized conditions prevailing, and therefore I think it is important, if we can check the rural depopulation, that we should do so. At least we should make some determined effort to ascertain and remedy the cause, and thus to my mind shut off one of the potential taps leading to emigration from Canada.

May I be permitted to mention what occurs to me as one or two important reasons for rural depopulation? There is, of course, the lure of the city so-called, but more important than that are the hardships incident

to a pioneering land, the difficulties and hardships which must be overcome. I for one regret that during our entire history we have never seen fit, or at least on very few occasions, to pay any honour to those who pioneered in Canada. We have multitudes of honours, titles and otherwise, for those who have achieved political success, and we have the same conditions prevailing for those who have achieved some measure of commercial success, but for the man who lives on the frontier we have never been able to award or accord to him what seems to me his fitting recognition. *

The second cause for rural depopulation is necessarily the high production costs, and I use the word " high " as compared with the amount received by the producer in return for his efforts. It seems to me that these causes can be ascertained with a fair degree of accuracy. What are the causes which create high production costs in relation to the returns received. First of all I want to suggest, and I know my friends to the right will entirely disagree with me, that chief among these deterrents, chief among the difficulties is the tariff. We have built for forty years on a policy designed to put tall chimneys in eastern Canada. It seems to me that our policy for a time at least should have that degree of orientation which will enable farmers to reap the just reward for their efforts. Some hon. gentlemen may think that the farmers do receive a just reward for their efforts. But I presume that no one will dispute the view taken by the president of the Dominion Bank in his annual statement for the year 1922. He says:

Of the unfavourable features, immigration returns are most disappointing and, so far, it appears that no sound measures have been devised by governments, or others, that will bring any improvement. The many attractive features that Canada has to offer to settlers have been more than offset by the poor results that farming operations have shown in the past two or three years.

He goes on:

Excessive taxation is a great detriment, and there can be no relief while provincial governments and municipalities so freely spend money which they obtain from the public with astonishing ease.

Why he eliminated the Dominion government from his observations I do not know.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What was the date of the speech?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

It was in December, 1922. I say that the question of the tariff and its bearing upon the primary producer is a matter of vital importance, and I think our policy should be changed in so far as the tariff is concerned.

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Another important element, and I propose to give the government credit for having made some progress, lies in the fact that our whole country, our whole transportation system at least, seems to be in the hands of combines, combinations which have as their avowed purpose apparently the raising of rates to the extent that the traffic will bear. I am sure that hon. members of this House cannot but be impressed with the evidence that has been given before the Lake Shipping, Commission and the evidence also taken before the special committee on Agriculture, from which it appears that not only the railways and the ocean companies, but also our own National Railways and our own Canadian Government Merchant Marine have been to some extent at least implicated in this effort to maintain rates at what they deemed to be a proper standard instead of, as the people have a right to expect, competing with other railways and other transportation systems. The government, I think, is entitled to some credit for having undertaken these investigations. I think, too, they are entitled to credit for having inaugurated or at least given promise of inaugurating a policy which will do much to eradicate combines when and where they are found.

Another important element, it seems to me, that must be considered before an immigration policy can secure that measure of success which is desirable is to free western lands from the group of exploiters and speculators who now have them under control. I think that perhaps in consultation with provincial governments a progressive and scientific system of taxation could be undertaken with regard to the speculatively held lands in order that they will either be put to productive use or come back into the hands of the state, and thereby be of service to intending immigrants.

These, Mr. Chairman, are only a few of the difficulties which confront the farmer in western Canada, and I believe, for that matter, in all parts of Canada to-day. I think some effort should be made in order to relieve him of these burdens which, to my mind, unnecessarily make his position perilous.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

I think I agree with my hon. friend very largely so far as the unoccupied lands are concerned, but is it not a fact that in our own province these lands are coming into the hands of the government very rapidly, much more rapidly than the government would wish, and is not that also the case with the municipalities, so that taxation is almost a burden to-day on account of the large areas of land owned by

the municipalities? I am not inferring that the speculator should get one cent. I am just pointing out the actual conditions.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

There can be no question that large areas of lands are coming back into the hands of municipalities and of the government as well, but that is not true of the lands adjoining the railways to the same extent as it is of lands further removed. What I should like to see is a progressive and scientific system of taxation applied to these lands adjoining the railways, which, if they were in the possession of the government, could be used for colonization purposes. '

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am aware personally of lands adjoining the railways the taxation on which is now ten per cent of the value, or something near that. How much higher does the hon. member think the taxation ought to go?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

In my judgment it ought to go to the point where the speculator or exploiter will either turn to production or forfeit his right to the land.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

These lands have been bought from and paid for to the province, of which the whole people got the benefit at, say, $10 an acre. The taxes now have amounted to more than the land is worth and are still at the rate of ten per cent. In a word, the whole value has already been confiscated and the province has got the money. How much further would he have the province or the municipality go than that?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

If the province has the lands and they are now in a position where they can be turned to productive use-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The province got the $10 an acre, and because it does not pay to hold at a ten per cent tax the province gets the lands too. I am asking how much further he advises they go.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

I do not very well see how with regard to that particular parcel of land, the government can go much further.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. member knows that in a few years taxation takes back the whole thing. Then, of course, payment of that rate, of taxation for rhe future is impossible, for no human being will pay it, and the man turns the land back too. Thus the province gets the land and the $10 an acre. The poor fellow who bought it gets nothing at all. I ask, how far r'muld the province go beyond that?

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Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

There is no necessity of the province going further.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS-QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS
Sub-subtopic:   IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
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March 22, 1923