William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:
I would ask the hon. member to deal specifically with clause 7.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:
I would ask the hon. member to deal specifically with clause 7.
Clause 7 deals with the railway concerned.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:
Order. Clause 7 does not deal with what has been done in the past.
No, but without what has been done in the past clause 7 has no meaning. If the Chairman rules me out of order I cannot do more, but I think I am in order in saying that there is a connection between this railway and the vast resources, exclusive rights to which have been given to certain private corporations. I want to show what those rights are.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:
I would ask the hon. member kindly to discuss this clause and not deal with the past at all.
Clause 7 reads:
The company may lay out, construct and operate a railway starting at a point on the St. Lawrence river, somewhere between the Riviere Marguerite and Riviere Moisie, in the province of Quebec; thence in a northerly direction following the valley of the Riviere Moisie or the valleys of the Riviere Moisie-
Hon members will excuse my French.
You will soon get your second wind.
If my hon. friend suggests that I am talking out the bill I will sit down at once.
I shall be glad to make that suggestion if you will sit down.
I know my hon. friend is very anxious to assist free enterprise, but this is private monopoly and that is why I do not like it.
The house resumed consideration of the motion of the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Glen) for the second reading of Bill No. 10. to amend the Immigration Act and to repeal the Chinese Immigration Act.
Mr. D. G. ROSS (St. Paul's):
Mr. Speaker, when the house rose at six o'clock I had just finished putting on the record some figures relating to our Chinese population. It will take me only a few moments to conclude what I have to say on this bill.
The Chinese people feel hurt at the treatment they have received. They are glad that the Chinese exclusion bill is to be repealed, but as our allies in the war they are hurt at the lack of recognition of China on equal terms with ourselves as a nation. It is not the numbers of their nationality admitted about which they are concerned but about their lack of recognition as an equal. I am sure that any mutual arrangement between China and Canada in this regard will be quite satisfactory to them, and I hope that negotiations will be entered into between the two nations which will lead to a complete understanding. The principle, which is what they are concerned with, will then be recognized, of their treatment as an equal.
Mr. PIERRE GAUTHIER (Portneuf):
The bill under discussion embodies in itself a problem which has interested me for a certain number of years, and I should not like to see it receive second reading before taking my stand once more on this very dangerous question of immigration.
Of course I do not want to discriminate against any race. In his statement the Prime Minister said, as reported at page 2644 of Hansard:
The policy of the government is to foster the growth of the population of Canada by the encouragement of immigration.
It is a fact, Mr. Speaker, that orientals are not easily assimilable. Even if I do not discriminate against them I have to admit the fact. I hold in my hand a clipping from a Quebec newspaper which I shall read in French because my ability does not go so far as to translate it. It is from L'Action Catholique, January 27, 1947, and deals with Chinese immigration.
The Chinese living in Canada demand the amendment of the present immigration act. They want their fellow countrymen in China to be allowed to come to Canada with their wives.
Our newspaper has often protested against the immoral aspect of an immigration act prohibiting wives from accompanying their husbands. For many years, Chinamen could enter Canada but Chinese women were excluded. Such a regulation is immoral in itself and conduces to countless immoralities. We need not labour the point.
We therefore hope that the Canadian government will adopt a reasonable and fair immigration policy. There is no reason why British subjects alone should be allowed to come to our country.
I agree with this last statement.
There is no reason why women should be excluded where other races are concerned. It is contrary to moral law and the principles of the Atlantic charter and the united nations organization.
This article is signed by Louis-Philippe Roy.
Surely I am permitted Mr. Speaker, to speak generally on. immigration as a whole and discuss the principle of immigration on second reading of the bill. We should first make a very careful survey of the amount of farm acreage we have to see how many acres are left untilled at the present time in order to see how many farmers we can establish on land ready for them and, second, of districts where there is a possibility for newcomers to make a decent living and not be on the shoulders of the various governments of the country.
In some parts of Canada the natural growth of the population is sufficient to take care of the unoccupied areas. Take my own province. I think the natural growth of population is sufficient there for that purpose. In the statement of the Prime Minister, I read these words as reported at page 2644 of Hansard:
The government will seek by legislation, regulation, and vigorous administration, to ensure the careful selection and permanent settlement of such numbers of immigrants as can advantageously be absorbed in our national economy.
I hope this selection will be very carefully carried out. This is a point that has to be most carefully observed. Being a free country, we have the privilege of selecting our own citizens. I believe that every Canadian should be most concerned about the selection of immigrants. What I fear most is the bringing in of people who would be a danger to our institutions. We have suffered too much in the past and recently by the coming here of people who are a burden and a danger and who are proving to be ready, on account of their allegiance to other countries, to put our country in the hands of nations advocating an ideology which, to say the least, is harmful
and destructive of our democracy. We cannot afford, the present world situation being what it is, to renew that experience too often.
The Prime Minister's statement continues:
Like other major problems of today, the problem of immigration must be viewed in the light of the world situation as a whole. A wise and productive policy for Canada cannot be devised by studying only the situation within our own country.
The Prime Minister was right when he made that statement, and I believe he had this in mind. We have to examine carefully the background of every immigrant, however well recommended they are, and however strongly supported they may be by anyone or any organization dealing with immigrants. I do not know if such an organization still exists, but we have had them in the past. We shall probably see the old ones coming out again or new ones being formed. I know they are not sponsored, supported or encouraged by the government; but the government must not be too lenient; it must keep a close and careful watch on people who would feel like commercializing immigration. This has happened in the past. Anyone who has read the Hornby report knows that Colonel Hornby advocates subsidies to railway companies or navigation companies and subsidies to organizations dealing with immigration. I do not want to have any part in that.
If the government wishes to increase the population in order that the economic burden may be placed on more shoulders, it has to think of the social, political, and ideological future of this country. Since the coming of Cartier, we have been constructing and we do not want any pathological agent of any kind to dismantle the structure so patiently erected.
There are refugees; there are homeless people. Everyone knows that Canada has already done her share. She is ready to help some more, but let us do so intelligently and constructively. This is what I am trying to do in my remarks. In the statement of the Prime Minister we read this, as reported at page 2644 of Hansard:
Up until the end of the war-under order in council P.C. 695 of March 21, 1931-four broad categories of persons were admissible to Canada. These were:
1. British subjects from the United Kingdom, Ireland. Newfoundland, New Zealand, Australia, or the Union of South Africa-
And so forth:
2. United States citizens, similarly possessed of means of maintenance.
3. Wives, unmarried children under 18, or fiancees of men resident in Canada.
4. Agriculturists with sufficient means to farm in Canada.
I think point No. 4 should be the first to be considered. If, after a careful survey of all our farm acreage, we find that we can absorb farmers to add to the natural growth of the population, which is fair enough in some districts, I do not need to name them; it is well, but not before being sure of it. Why take the risk of increasing the population of the cities? There may come a period when the breadlines will be created again and the country will have too many to take care of. One has to foresee that eventuality, and I am glad to see in the declaration this:
During the 1930's due to the adverse economic conditions of the period, these provisions were necessarily interpreted in a restrictive manner.
It is the duty of a good government to foresee the possible return of bad conditions, not necessarily coming out of the internal situation, but due to the intimate connection of the different countries of the world on the economic ground. I read again:
The government has also extended admissibility to persons who are suitable for employment in the primary industries. As hon. members are aware, Canada's primary industries are experiencing an acute shortage of man-power.
Much has been said lately about the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Dionne) and about the Department of Immigration granting him permission to bring from Europe Ukrainian girls to work in his industry. Special conditions prevailing there, I do not see any scandal in that fact. The hon. member for Beauce and all the former members for Beauce whom I knew, are too good Canadians to discriminate against their own constituents and their own population. I read in the statement these following lines:
Canada is not obliged, as a result of membership in the united nations or under the constitution of the international refugee organization, to accept any specific number of refugees or displaced persons. We have, nevertheless, a moral obligation to assist in meeting the problem and this obligation we are prepared to recognize.
I have here an article from L' Action Calholique of Quebec, setting out a declaration of the Archbishop of Montreal,
Monseigneur Charbonneau, speaking on
immigration, tolerance and education:
His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Charbonneau, guest of honour of the Montreal Chamber of Commerce yesterday, at the Windsor hotel, spoke in favour of a policy of selected immigration which would enable thousands of wretched and homeless Europeans living under woeful conditions to associate themselves with us and thus "cause our ancestral heritage to fructify, without threatening our traditions and institutions." The Archbishop of Montreal, continues the article, in expressing those views, was recalling an opinion stated by His Holiness Pope Pius XII in a
recent address in which he pointed to America as a country of boundless space and inexhaustible resources, and thus in a position to shelter many of those unfortunate people of Europe.
I continue quoting from the statement of the Prime Minister:
With regard to the selection of immigrants, much has been said about discrimination.
This last quotation is extremely important.
I wish to make it quite clear that Canada is perfectly within her rights in selecting the persons whom we regard as desirable future citizens. It is not a "fundamental human right" of any alien to enter Canada. It is a privilege.
Let this privilege, Mr. Speaker, be granted to future good citizens only, and it is not discrimination against anyone but an undesirable citizen. This democracy wants to live. Let us not inoculate her with germs of death. As for mass immigration, I am absolutely opposed to it; I always was and I always will be.
In a conference speech delivered over CHRC in Quebec a month ago, I put my position very clearly. Since I have not the necessary ability to translate it as it reads, I will read excerpts from it in French. I know that for those interested in this national problem it will be easy to have the translation in H ansard.
In that lecture I made the following statement: There is one kind of immigration which is inevitable; there is one which, to a certain extent, is acceptable. There is still another which a government solicitous .about the good administration, the welfare and the peace of the country they govern cannot accept and indeed must oppose, and that is the mass immigration advocated by some people interested in the setting up of powerful associations whose purpose is to promote extensive migrations.
The immigration that is inevitable is the moving of persons from one country to another; it involves people whose financial resources are considerable enough to entail a loss for the countries they leave and ensure a gain for those where they take up residence. That inevitable immigration also includes experts in all fields of science, whose talents are recognized throughout the world and whose services are often sought by universities which are anxious to benefit from their learning as well as from their outstanding reputation. It also includes bona fide settlers whose love for agriculture impels them to look for other more fertile lands, and who, to support their families, need a larger area of tillable land.
Such immigrants leave their countries in order to improve their lot and because of their resourcefulness and industry they are a distinct asset to their new country.
Further, economic conditions are frequently the cause of greater migrations during difficult periods, thus favouring certain countries at the expense of others. Several years ago, we ourselves experienced a great migration of our compatriots from the province of Quebec to the New England states, where they now form an influential group; that was a distinct loss to Canada. Is it not true that in all countries and among all races, people very often feel the urge to travel from one place to another, in order to improve their lot, to seek larger fields of endeavour, or, as noted among certain tribes, to satisfy their thirst for adventure.
I spoke at the beginning of desirable immigrants. I mean by that people of sound mind, of excellent physical condition and possessed of sufficient means to be regarded as desirable in any country. Further, economic and political circumstances must play an important part in the selection of immigrants. I remember that, in 1937, a reporter of L'Evenement interviewed Canon Philippe Casgrain, chaplain of the Immigration Branch.
Because of prevailing conditions, therefore, Canon Casgrain had come to the conclusion that no one living in England or some other part of the British empire had anything to gain by settling in this country. After referring to the failure of the Hornby plan, submitted to the British House of Commons, the eminent cleric felt that England was too badly in need of her young people to allow their removal to Canada.
And on the basis of news brought us by various periodicals, we can readily realize that an act to promote British emigration would hardly be effective at this time, because British labour must have reinforcements for the completion of the established programme, the "planning" popularly so-called, of the new socialist government now in power.
England was then busy on its large-scale armaments programme.
Today, she is carrying out a sorely needed economic programme.
Furthermore, because of the terrible droughts which they had suffered in previous years, the western provinces were unable to absorb new immigrants, in spite of the vast areas of land which they could offer to a much greater population than they then had-
Well controlled and screened immigration may prove beneficial to the newcomers themselves and to the country in which they settle, inasmuch as they are desirable and their services
are required. But, on the contrary, if the country is not even in a position to offer work .to its own people-[DOT]
Such was the case during the unemployment period which lasted from 1930 to 1935.
-it is obvious that the increase in population resulting from immigration would in no way provide for better social and economic conditions. It would only make things worse.
Canon Casgrain, it must be remembered, spoke at a time when unemployment was rampant in Canada.
I am through for tonight, Mr. Speaker, but I am going to watch very carefully how this new policy is put into force. This problem has always interested me deeply, and I am going to watch the Minister of Mines and Resources very carefully and closely. I repeat that I am against mass immigration. I think we can accept good, selected immigrants, but only in the proportion that our land can absorb them. It is no use having immigrants come to our cities. In my own province the proportion of population in the cities and rural districts has changed until now the larger proportion is in the cities. I think we should follow the policy set out in paragraph No. 4 of the Prime Minister's statement, and first bring in farmers and settlers, rather than workers whom we do not need in our cities. I know there are special cases, but I speak of matters in general. I have confidence in the minister and the government, and I hope they will not leave the door ajar, as an hon. member said last year in speaking on this subject. Let us not have any mass immigration; let us have selected immigrants, and for God's sake let us realize that in order to be democratic it is not necessary to call to Canada all these people from Europe and Asia. To be democratic we must save our own d'emocracy first, and think as Canadians before everything.
Mr. JULIAN H. FERGUSON (Simeoe North): As a member of the federal parliament I shall endeavour to speak of immigration as it affects the Dominion of Canada in its entirety, not only the province of Ontario from which I come. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) dealt briefly with the subject of immigration. The war has been over for approximately two years, and the people of Canada are wondering what is to be done in regard to this vital matter. In my opinion it is one of the most vital questions with which we should be concerned at the present time. We lack information and the people require it in order that we may reap the benefits to which this country is entitled 83166-174
because of its natural resources and fertile fields from coast to coast. During the years from 1900 to 1907, when the Liberal party really functioned as such, I give them a great deal of credit for the immigration policy they put in force, under which people were brought from Europe to the western provinces. Today the sons and grandsons of those people are a credit to this country. Some of their sons sit in this House of Commons, and that just shows what happens when you bring the right type of people to this country.
During the last few days we have heard a great deal about the Chinese and the Japanese, about our obligations to these people and to the Poles. Today I understood the minister to state that this country had made no financial contribution toward the cost of bringing these Polish soldiers to this country. That may be so, but that was not the answer given a question asked in this house on March 27. The question was:
What has been the total cost of bringing Polish immigrants into Canada since January, 1946, including transportation, food, clothing, medicines and hospitalization . . .
How much of this expenditure has been borne by Canada?
The answer by the labour department to the question of how much of this expenditure has been borne by Canada was:
Approximately $121 per man borne by British government and $90 per man by the dominion of Canada.
Possibly the minister does not know what the labour department is doing in regard to immigration, but if they are that far apaJt I think they should get their heads together. Now let me read into the record a question asked on February 17 by the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Black):
What was the total transportation cost and by whom was it paid? How many Poles were permitted to enter Canada in 1946?
The answer by the Minister of Labour was:
Transportation from Halifax to central distribution centres in each province-approximately $125,000, paid by the federal Department of Labour.
During the war we saw many newspaper accounts about the bravery of the people of the British isles, England, Ireland and Scotland. If any subsidy is to be paid in order to bring immigrants of the right type to this country, I believe Canada could well afford *to consider first those heroes from the British isles, their wives and their children. I have the utmost regard for what the Polish soldiers did foT us; I also remember what some of them did against us. I hear hon. members speak about bringing displaced persons from
Poland and parts of Russia, but as I think back I recall that many of those who took part in acts of espionage against this country were of Russian origin. So I agree with the previous speaker that we cannot be too careful in dealing with this question. But if we are badly in need of immigrants, why not go to other parts of the world from which we know came the forefathers of many people in this country today, men who laid and carried out plans of which we are all proud? I could mention France, England, Germany. In the first war I fought against the Germans for four and a half years, and I am sure they fought as willingly for their country as I did for mine; but I must say that 'the German immigrants who came to this country prior to the first war were a credit to Canada, as were their children. And their children and grandchildren died for this country in the last war. I do not think it is sufficient for the Prime Minister to say:
. . . the government has kept in active touch with shipping authorities and transportation companies in the United Kingdom to see what may be possible in the way of special shipping services. As to what may prove feasible, I am unable to make a report at this time.
I do not think it is enough to say that, after two years, the Prime Minister and the immigration branch cannot give this house a report on their findings in regard to shipping facilities. We need men badly in Canada. Some people seem to have the idea that the Englishman, the Scotsman and the Irishman cannot use an axe or cannot farm. Some years ago I had the good fortune to work back in the bush, up in the Hudson bay area. My brother and I at that time were the only two Canadians there, the rest of them being English, Irish and Scotch, who had never even seen a bush of that magnitude, and certainly had never had an axe in their hands prior to joining our party. But in the course of three weeks those men were able to cut bush with anyone. Do not think that because a man comes from London, England, he cannot learn how to use an axe, or cannot become acclimatized.
Mr. GAUTHIER (Portneuf):
Nobody said that.
I did1 not hear that.
Mr. GAUTHIER (Portneuf):
Nobody said you cannot use an axe if you came from England.
I have heard other people say it, and if my hon. friend wishes to take the nom de 'plume of a nobody, when he
speaks about some people in Canada, that is his privilege. I heard many people in Canada say it, and I repeat it.
Mr. GAUTHIER (Portneuf):
You said it before; I never said it.