House of Commons, 25 April 1892, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

1551 [COMMONS] 1552


Mr. DAVIN moved for:
Copies of all resolutions and memorials passed by the North-West Assembly at its last session and addressed to the Government.
He said: Mr. Speaker, some of these resolutions relate to matters that I think have been already satisfactorily dealt with by the Government, but there is one resolution in regard to immigration that I wish specially to press upon the attention of the Government and upon the attention of this House. Any one who reviews the history of the proceedings of this Government and of the Government that preceded it, will, I think, come to the conclusion that they have not erred in over- zeal for the promotion of immigration. Several things have undoubtedly combined to that effect; the principal of which is, that there has been in the cities a strong and influential party influencing elections, who were opposed to assisted immigration. Well, Sir, the time came when a wise policy was adopted by the Government of Canada, and that policy was this: Only to pay for results; but, in my opinion, that policy has fallen short of what was needed by the Dominion of Canada because of unwillingness on the part of both sides of this House to supply the money necessary for the pro motion of immigration. The history of immigration in the United States has been that immigration moved on from one basis: a basis along the Pacific coast, a basis stretching down the whole length of the original states that broke away from England. Here in Canada we have had to proceed upon a different basis. First you had a short territory in what were called the Lower Provinces; then you had Quebec, then you had Ontario, and there you had the great lakes stretching between Ontario and the territories, and that has necessitated that in Manitoba and the territories we should proceed upon a perfectly new basis. That has made. migration difficult for us as compared with what it was in the States. The point, therefore, I make is this: that if you are going to people Manitoba and the North-West Territories as you ought to do, and as rapidly as you ought to do, you must make you basis there and act from there; and the little Parliament in Regina has asked that a sum of money should be devoted to their use to deal specially with immigration. Now, Sir, what is done by the other provinces? Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, has each its agent or agents who are all active in promoting immigration into these provinces, and as a fact we can state the amount of work that has been done in promoting immigration into Manitoba by the very energetic and able man who now controls immigration for that province. You have that man with a number of agents in various parts of Ontario for instance, and they are doing work that he himself can measure. He can tell exactly the amount of work they have done, and show the money value which that province has got from those agents. Now, what we in the North-West say is this: Give us the means of doing precisely the same thing for the North-West as has been done for Manitoba. What we need to do, in order to make Canada's position secure in the future, is something large in the way of promoting immigration. There is no reason why, if you bring in 20,000 immigrants, you should not bring in a million. You have a vast field in Europe to draw from—in Germany, in Scandinavia, in Scotland, in England, in Ireland: and if that field is properly exploited, there is no reason whatever why, in a year or a couple of years, you should not bring a million of innnigrants to this country.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Hear, hear.
Mr. DAVIN. I hear scornful cheers from hon. gentlemen around me.
Some hon. MEMBERS. No.
Mr. DAVIN. Are they not scornful? Then hon. gentlemen agree with me. If that million of men costs you $10,000,000, then the $10,000,000 are properly and fruitfully expended, because from that moment you secure the future of Canada, and I will tell you why. Suppose the bringing in of the million men within a year or two should cost $10,000,000, does it not strike every man of sense that that money is far more fruitfully expended than if you got a million of men in by the same expenditure spread over ten or fifteen or twenty years? The fact of getting them in within a short time not only gains the result of the expenditure of $10,000,000, but it secures for the country the best immigration a cute we can possibly have, namely, successful settlers. Now, Sir, in the past we have been trop tard. As the Minister of Agriculture knows, we have in the last two years been getting 1553 [APRIL 25, 1892.] 1554 most admirable settlers from Dakota, but with reference to Dakota we have been trop tard; if we had begun there a year earlier we should have had far better results. Now, what we want with regard to Canada generally is a large immigration movement. Without that, you cannot build up in Canada what we all want, a nation; but with our vast resources, and our magificent waterways and harbours, there cannot be the least doubt that if we make the same effort to secure immigration from the congested districts of Europe that the people of the United States have made, we can make the future position of Canada secure, and that is the only way it can be made secure. So much for the general question. Now, in regard to the particular question of the North-West, it is the great field into which we want to pour the immigrants, because even Manitoba is getting pretty well filled, as well as the other provinces; but in the North-West you have a country that can sustain a hundred million people, and that country, Sir, is the future backbone of Canada. Make the North-West a success, and the future of Canada is secured. I ask, therefore, that the Government here should give the little Government of the North- West at once the means of dealing with that problem, which is the great problem for Canada as well as for the North-West. All the other problems will settle themselves; but if we go on without increasing in population, then failure will be the doom of Canada. Suppose you gave the North-West Government $20,000 or $30,000 this year to spend on immigration; why, Sir, $100,000 would be fruitfully expended on immigration to the North-West. Think of our vast harvest of last year; how much of the returns from that has flowed into the pockets of the people of eastern Canada? Merchants who do business with the west will tell you that their best customers, those most certain in sending orders and in meeting their bills, are the people of the North-West; and I say that as a mere matter of prudent investment, you cannot do better than place a large sum in the estimates to be at the disposal of the Government of the North-West in promoting immigration. On previous occasions I have dealt with the other questions involved in these resolutions, with regard to some of which I think the Govermnent have already done their part; but this question of immigration, as I have said in this House, is the master question for Canada. It is the question to which the statesmen desiring to build up a great nation here will apply their whole energy; and instead of frittering away our time and spending a few thousand dollars a year upon it, it is something on which we might well concentrate our attention and so build up a great, a prosperous, and a united Canada.
Motion agreed to.


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Isabelle Carré-Hudson.

Personnes participantes: