I would not say that; I think most of the good farming land in the bid provinces is already occupied. Fortunately, in the case of my own family, we all remained in Canada; but this is not always the case with eastern Canadian farmer families. There remain very few colonizable areas in eastern Canada and the surplus farmers' sons go to the cities, sometimes on this side of the border but very often on the American side, where they are lost to Canada. This attraction of the sons of our farmers by the industrial cities of New England, which are closer to us than western Canada, is a subject of much anxiety to every Canadian who loves his country, and it is quite natural to think of means to prevent the desertion of their traditional calling by such valuable citizens. Case after case has come under my observation, in my own and in the neighbouring counties- and I presume the situation is about the same in the maritime provinces-of young farmers, born tillers of the soil, brought up in the best traditions of our unsurpassed rural population, becoming lost in the great American cities near us. They have heard of the vast fertile
Western Lands Settlement-Mir. Boulanger
plains of the west where hard work, of which they have no fear, and intelligent effort, are always sure of their reward; but, alas it costs a small fortune for eastern 'Canadians to go west and settle there and no benevolent government or colonization organization has been willing to offer them assistance of any kind. This emigration of our young farmers took quite an alarming turn a few years ago, but I must say that, due to the good administration which this government has given the country, and thanks also to the praiseworthy policy of a great Canadian, the Hon. L. A. Taschereau, Prime Minister of Quebec, in attracting capital to our province, in prohibiting the exportation of hydro-electric power, in encouraging the exploitation of our natural resources, and in creating industrial centres and new markets for our farmers, the situation is not so grave as it was, although still too great a number of young farmers, who cannot find land in the east, are obliged to expatriate. It is with a very great sense of satisfaction that I note, in the report of the Department of Immigration and Colonization, that during the last year 56,957 Canadians who had gone to the United States came back to the country they had abandoned. And at this juncture might I be permitted to thank the government for having place a sum of $50,000 at the disposal of the province of Quebec to repatriate its citizens.
But however satisfactory might be the repatriation and return of Canadians who found out that, after all, their own was the best country to live in, it seems to me that it would still be more satisfactory to prevent our own people from leaving us; and I am convinced that this very desirable end would be attained by giving young Canadian farmers, unable to find land in their own vicinity, the same assistance as is given others to go and settle on vacant land in western Canada. I repeat that we in the east are not against bringing in immigrants to colonize our undeveloped areas; we are not even against assisted and subsidized colonization, if we must have it. But we demand that Canadians should be given the first chance, that before we spend our money to place strangers on our land we must first try to place native Canadians there. It appears to me that such an enterprise particularly commends itself in these days, when we talk so much of the necessity of achieving Canadian unity and of creating a distinctive Canadian spirit and character. Prominent people like Colonel R. H. Webb, mayor of Winnipeg, and others, fear foreign domination in the Canadian west; they deplore the spread of communism, which certainly did not originate with our native 56103-861
population; they claim that 40 per cent of the criminals and 60 per cent of the people in asylums and sanatoria, are foreign bom; they oven pretend that immigrants, placed at great cost on land, desert and drift to the cities, where they displace our native workingmen, or to the United States, which was their secret destination from the start. But, sir, let us give our idle land to till and to cultivate, even if we have to assist them with public moneys to do so, to the descendants of those who came on the Hector, to the descendants of the British Empire Loyalists, to the descendants of those who came back to their ravaged homes after the "Grand Derangement" and to the descendants of those who from the provinces of France, three hundred years ago, came without assisted passage or hopes of after-care, to settle on the shores of the St. Lawrence, and to roam this continent from the gulf of Mexico to Hudson bay and from Labrador to the Rockies. Let us place them on the land and they will remain; they have been doing so for centuries. They have inherited traditions of courage, selfreliance, perseverance and tenacity, and they need no training to become accustomed to Canadian life. You can trust them to work for Canadian unity and to help build a strong and vigorous nation, endowed with the qualities and characteristics of the two great races which have written their fame on the pages of our history and which are destined by Providence to achieve together the destinies of Canada. And if the time should ever come when it is necessary for them to defend the soil in which they have been rooted for generations, their past will be a guarantee that the heritage entrusted to their care shall not be wrested from them.
The idea embodied in the resolution which I have the honour to propose is not a new one, but I sincerely believe it is sound and one which it would be in the interests of the country to put into execution. It seems a fundamental necessity to do everything possible to conserve our rural population, that quiet, honest, sane, hard-working and clear-thinking rural population which accord^ ing to Mr. Stanley Baldwin is the core and the source of the strength of the nation. Assisting farmers' sons, who cannot find land in the east, to take up land in the west is, in my humble opinion, one of the best ways of keeping our rural population and of maintaining the balance which must exist between city and country dwellers. It may be objected that provincial governments would look with disfavour upon the emigration of their citizens to another province, and that the
Western Lands Settlement-Mr. Arthurs
federal government would not see the advantage of assisting the transportation companies or the colonization societies in moving these people from one place to another within the country. I do not need to point out, however, that the object of this resolution is to devise a means of preventing the surplus farming population from leaving not only their native provinces but Canada as well, and that provincial authorities would rather see young farmers go to western Canada than to the United States. As to the reluctance of the federal government to spend money in assisting Canadians to settle in their own country, I think we need have no fear on that score because last year the Minister of Immigration and Colonization told us he was working on a plan to help young Canadians who desired to become settlers. If the discusison of this resolution does no more than hasten the maturity of that plan, it will not have been in vain.
I have therefore the honour, Mr. Speaker, to move the adoption of the resolution.
Topic: WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic: SETTLEMENT OF WESTERN LANDS