The question under discussion is one of very great interest to the country and of-peculiar interest to the district from which I come. That district has already been referred to by the hon. Minister of the Interior when he spoke of that part of the province of Ontario which had undertaken a campaign of immigration locally, and apart from the Government. This campaign was undertaken because the provincial Government realized the absolute necessity of peopling the country districts with labourers. We have the hydro-electric question, which is a live question amongst the farmers; we have the Farmers' Institute, agricultural societies and other advantages which add interest to the agricultural community, and which, it was hoped, might tend to increase the interest of the young men and hold them on the farm. But, after carefully viewing the whole situation, our farmers in that district commenced to realize that there is no subject of more importance to them than that of being able to get satisfactory labour to assist them on the farm. I listened with great interest to the debate this afternoon. I thoroughly agree with the hon. member for Eouville (Mr. Lemieux) that
it is of great importance that our immigration propaganda should be waged in those countries of Europe where agriculture is brought to the highest state of perfection and where we may hope to get men of intelligence, trained in the work of the farm and likely to follow that avocation after they come here. The question has been asked: How do we know how many of
these immigrants from the Old country go on the farm? In the campaign of publicity carried on last year by the district from which I come, although that was the first year in which we engaged in that work, we know that we
really put more people into the country districts of that community than during any other five years in our history. The campaign was so thoroughly satisfactory that the county of Middlesex itself, this year, without assistance from the Government, has engaged in the work and has sent a man to the agricultural districts of the old country to engage the farm labour that we require and send it out to us. I am very strongly of opinion that if that line of endeavour were followed out by all the the counties throughout the Dominion they would be entitled to assistance from the Dominion Government in the work. I believe that local effort in that direction with the co-operation of the Dominion Government would probably bring effective results distributed well throughout all parts of the country. Eeference has been made to the commissioners of immigration that the department sent to the old country last year. I do not know anything about the results that were attained by the efforts of the majority of these men, but I have a personal knowledge of the results from the labour of the man who left the district from which I come. His work was so effective and the class of immigrants sent through his efforts so satisfactory to the people of our community that when we came this year to send to the old country for that purpose, we selected the very man whom the Government selected last year, and he is now on the ocean on his way over to work along the same line.
I do not wish to take up time unnecessarily, but I desire to say a word with regard to the remarks of the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver). His remarks and the deductions he drew from certain figures of the blue book, led me to think there might be some other cause than that which he gave for the increase in the number of deportations. While the minister has answered well the comparison between 1911
and 1913, might it not have been as well to go back to the year 1907 and compare conditions? In my opinion, the fact that the deportations have increased during a financial stringency does not necessarily imply laxity on the part of the Government in admitting these people into the country. There is no congestion of labour in the country districts; we know that the country is able to absorb an enormous number of labourers at the present time. But at the same time, there is a congestion of labour in the industrial community. Is it not natural to suppose that at such a time the Government would use a little more than ordinary vigilance to prevent the further congestion of labour? When I heard the remarks of the hon. member for Edmonton, they led me to look back to 1907 and study the figures of that year. There were 825 deportations, as the hon. member stated. The deduction that the hon. member drew from an increase in the number of deportations was that the Government had not exercised proper vigilance in examining the immigrants coming in. I examined the reasons for deportation in the years 1907-8, and found, they were as follows:
Defective eyes 6
Epilepsy and locomotor ataxia .. 14
Old age crippled and deaf 15
Likely to become a public charge.. 279 Criminal prostitute and vagrancy.. 98
From other causes 187
If the argument of the hon. gentleman is right as to 1913, it applies equally to 1907-8. If proper-no, I will not say that, because it is not the word-if absolute care had been exercised in the examination of these immigrants, we should not have had to deport 122 insane, 15 feeble-minded and 70 affected with tuberculosis. I have no doubt that, no matter what care the department may exercise, it is impossible to prevent some undesirables from coming in. But I do say the Government has shown proper vigilance in deporting these people. I do not care whether the number be 800 or 2,000. In the year 1907-8, as I have said, the figures show a decrease in the deportations. But I went back also to the period from 1902 to 1907, to see how closely the immigrants were examined and how many were deported during those years of prosperity. 525 immigrants were deported during that period. In the succeeding year, the first year of the financial stringency of that time, the deportations increased 63 per cent.
The following year they jumped from 825 to 1,748. The immigrants we want are those in the agricultural districts of the old country which have been brought up to the highest state of cultivation. If we want mechanics, we go where we find mechanics who have made good; if we want to get good farmers, we must get them from those districts in the old land or in Europe where agriculture has been brought up to a high state of efficiency. If they are good men, it matters not whether they are f-om Belgium, Denmark, or any of those countries the citizens of which can assimilate with those of our country and become good Canadians. I am very strongly of the opinion, and I hope the minister will give this his most serious consideration-I have already discussed the matter with him personally-that the probabilities of co-operating with the communities themselves in sending able men as commissioners to the old land are very great. In my humble opinion, very effective work can be done through the co-operation of the department with the individual localities in following up the propaganda that we have undertaken in the county of Middlesex. Of course we do not want to localize the matter to any considerable extent; we should realize that we are doing what is best for the country at large. Any man sent to the old country as the representative of any community, if he were being paid or assisted by that community, and even by the Government, would feel a greater responsibility to that community to make good than he would feel as a commissioner selected to represent the country at large. Some of the men who may be attracted from the old land to our district this year are bound to find their way into the other counties, but we have no petty jealousies or ill-feeling about that; we feel that we will get a sufficient number of them to make it worth the expenditure to which we are subject in carrying the idea into effect.