- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 10 Mar 1910, p. 179-187
- Manning, Rev. C.E., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The importance of the subject of Canadian immigration. The systematic and comprehensive policy inaugurated by the Dominion Government of Canada a number of years ago with the view to promoting immigration to this land. The result, with some figures. The speaker's belief that the time is coming when we will have as large a population to the square acre, in the habitable parts of Canada, as any country in the world. Reasons for this conviction. A consideration of the great natural resources of Canada. Ways to stimulate immigration to Canada. The asset of our geographical position. The assets in the matter of our soil, our minerals, our fisheries, and our timber. What inducements might be given to the people in the Old World to come here. Bringing people in from over-crowded nations, including the Oriental countries. People to come in the Providence of God. Indications of China's future military strength. Reasons to treat the Oriental nations properly. The speaker's belief that the interests of this country demand that we assume a right attitude toward the people of every race, and that we do our very best when they come to Canada to make them the type of citizens that we want Canadians to be. Regarding with apprehension the coming of such vast multitudes to our country as are now reaching Canada. Some statistics. The need to pay attention to the needs of the foreigners. The real secret of Canada's greatness to be her moral qualities. Two things to insist on: education for every child, and the gospel of our Lord and Saviour for every citizen.
- Date of Original
- 10 Mar 1910
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
- CANADIAN IMMIGRATION AND CONSEQUENT PROBLEMS.
An Address by the Rev. C. E. MANNING, of Toronto, before the Empire Club of Canada, on March 10, 1910.
Mr. President and Gentlemen,
This is a subject of great significance to our Dominion, and one of the most important subjects amongst those that axe now engaging the attention of the men who have most at heart the welfare of our country. A number of years ago our Dominion Government inaugurated a very systematic and comprehensive policy with the view to promoting immigration to this land. The result has been that, whereas in the year 1899 we had an immigration of 44,543, in 1907 there were 277,376 immigrants who came here. That was the banner year for immigration to Canada. The following year 148,700 came, and for the year 1909 there were 184,281 who came to make their home in this Dominion of ours. If we had as many people in Canada today as they have in Germany to the square acre we would have 1,000,000,000 people here now; and if we had as many as in Prance we would have 702,000,000; and if there were as many as in Italy to the square acre we would have 960,000,000.
I do not know how many of you believe that we will some time have as dense a population as they have in the older countries of the world, but I feel quite satisfied that so far as the habitable parts of our Dominion are concerned, we will have as dense a population as they have in the thickly populated countries. That will probably not be in your day nor in mine, but I believe that assure as the sun shines the time is coming when we will have as large a population to the square acre, in the habitable parts of Canada, as any country in the world. I am quite sure that this immigration which has begun to our country in such large volume will continue until economic conditions on this side of the water are on a par with those of other countries, and I base this conclusion on two or three facts which, to me, are very convincing. In the first place let me say it is evident to me that we will have a great population if for no other reason than that it has always been a tendency of the race to follow the sources of wealth.
When Columbus discovered this continent and the fact became known in Europe, the people, in large numbers, began to prepare to come across to this new world. Some of them may have attempted this for the love of adventure, but you will agree with me that none of those early settlers ever thought of coming here because they believed they would have greater social advantages than in the home-land, and they certainly did not come here because they saw the opportunity of intellectual growth. They came that they might get wealth. When gold was discovered in the Klondike you know the rush there was to the north country. Young men and older men as well from all over the world started to seek their fortunes in the new land. They knew that they would have to face great hardships; but what did it matter if they had to sleep out at night with no cover but their blankets, with the thermometer fifty or sixty below zero? What 'did it matter when there was gold there? They were true to the instincts of their nature and the tendency of humanity to brave great hardships to get possession of gold.
When we consider the great natural resources of Canada I think we must conclude that all that is necessary in order to stimulate immigration to this land from many over-crowded countries whose people have not thought of coming here, is to give them information concerning this matter. Look at the great country we have here. This Dominion is larger than the United States, including Alaska. From the Atlantic to the Pacific is a distance of 3,500 miles, and from the border-line that separates the United States and Canada to the North Pole is 1,400 miles. We are not only great in extent; we have a great many natural facilities which will contribute to increasing wealth in this Dominion. Take for instance our inland waterways. If you start at the entrance of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and go to the utmost limits of Lake Superior you will have covered 2,384 miles, and the prospect is that there will be water communication from Liverpool, indeed, from the Rocky Mountains almost round the world.
I was in Prince Albert a few weeks ago and was glad to hear the people up there talking about making some improvements to the Saskatchewan River which, when completed would render it possible to bring the products of the West to the Atlantic Ocean without transshipment, if a canal were made from Winnipeg to Lake Superior. We have in our geographical position a great asset. There are nations in Europe which have to sustain large standing armies lest the stronger powers should go to war with them and destroy them. We have nothing of that to fear here. We are protected on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and the British fleet; on the west by the Pacific Ocean and the British fleet; and I believe we shall all hail with joy the day when Canada shall have a fleet of her own. We are fortunate in lying close to a nation to the south with whom we have the most friendly relations, and palsied be the tongue that would stir up strife between us. These are only some of the things that will contribute to the making of a great nation in this land.
Let us consider for a little our great assets in the matter of our soil, our minerals, our fisheries, and our timber limits, and you can then see what inducements are given to the people in the Old World to come here. We are told that there are about 200,000,000 acres of the most fertile soil in the world in the Prairie Provinces as yet untouched by the plough. Only one-tenth of our mineral area has been explored. We have 100,000 square miles of coal-bearing lands. More than half the nickel output of the world comes from Sudbury. We have iron mines of great wealth, and gold mines, and lead mines, and silver mines, and copper mines, rich almost beyond the dreams of avarice. We have 1,400,000 square miles of timber lands. Our pay-roll for the timber industry is $125,000,000 a year. We have fisheries that are the richest in the world, employing 100,000 men who take yearly about $30,000,000 worth of fish from the sea. All they need to know in the overcrowded countries of the world is the great resources of Canada to swell the volume of immigration to our country to at least a million of souls a year.
There is another reason why I believe we are going to have a great population. I am satisfied that in the very nature of things, when people live in lands that are too crowded and there are countries not overcrowded, that they should come to the less thickly settled communities. I do not know how many of you may be disposed to restrict immigration beyond the limits that our Government has attempted to do, but I am persuaded that our relation to the British Empire makes it impracticable for us to absolutely exclude the inhabitants of any country. I know what agitation has taken place in some parts of the Dominion in connection with this matter, and I know how strongly they have felt in British Columbia regarding Oriental immigration, but I am as satisfied as I can be that it is in the nature of things, that even the Orientals should come to Canada in ever-increasing numbers to say nothing of the immigration from Continental Europe.
I am very proud of the fact that I am an Anglo-Saxon and I am sure that we who are of Anglo-Saxon blood, when we consider the influence that the Anglo-Saxon race has among the nations of the world are disposed to believe that if the Israelites were the chosen people of God in olden times, we have as much reason to feel that we are the chosen people of God in this twentieth century. But, let me remind you that there are other people in the world besides Anglo-Saxons and other people in the world who have rights as well as we, and there are other races who are going to compel us to respect their rights. I sometimes have asked myself the question why it was that God put those great prairies out in the West which the seven millions of Anglo-Saxons who control the destinies of the Dominion are unable to cultivate. Why have we such untold wealth beneath the soil and such timber limits 'and fisheries? I am as confident as I can be that they were not created to accommodate exclusively the seven millions of people who are in Canada at the present time. Some months ago I heard a gentleman who had lived for many years in India, give an address on conditions in that country. In that address he told us that it was estimated that there were 300,000,000 of people in India and that there were 200,000,000 who never knew what it was not to be hungry. You have read of the famines in that land, and you know well that there are thousands of people walking the streets of London who never know what it is to have enough to eat. The same condition exists in Continental Europe.
Is Providence going to allow this condition to go on generation after generation just to let seven millions of Anglo-Saxons have exclusive control of a country like this? Does it not appear clear to you that the Almighty had a purpose that reaches beyond this generation in creating the great resources of Canada? And, let me ask you if you were God would you allow this starvation to go on in other countries simply to accommodate the Anglo-Saxons in Canada? It seems to me that the people are going to come in ever-increasing numbers from Europe and in larger numbers than we may like. There was a time when this country was inhabited only by the North American Indians, and at that stage the Indians took the stand, "Canada for the Indians." I suppose a good many of us are disposed to cry, "Canada for the Canadians." There is not half as much patriotism in that cry as we are inclined to believe. The Indians started out with tomahawk and scalping knife to exterminate every white man who came to these shores. They succeeded in exterminating family after family, but our fathers continued to come and drove the Indians back. They exposed themselves to the charge that they had robbed the Indian of his land. As a descendant of one of the early settlers of this country, I rise to refute that charge. This land never belonged to the Indians. It belonged to God and He has not surrendered the title. The only part of the world's surface to which any race has an inalienable right is that part which they can make use of.
The Indians could not make use of this country and we had as much right to it as they, and that part which we cannot make use of other people are going to come and settle upon and develop. In the Providence of God I believe they are going to come. I suppose that you are all aware of the fact that China is establishing public schools all over her Empire; that today she is teaching military drill to the boys in her schools. This suggests to us that twenty years from now China will be in a position to put in the field the largest army the world has ever seen. She is applying scientific methods to the development of her natural resources, and in the not distant future she will be so rich that she will have much money to spare and will be able to build the largest navy that has ever floated upon the sea. You know what Japan has done and how her ambition has been excited and how she has excited the ambition of the other Oriental nations. You are aware of the agitation going on in India to throw off British rule.
Suppose India and Japan and China, remembering the injustices, real or supposed, from which they have suffered from Western nations in the days gone by, and the spirit of revenge should possess them; suppose in the meantime we should not treat these nations properly, and so add fuel to the spirit of revenge; is it not evident that they could organize the greatest armies ever known and put upon the seas the greatest fleet that ever sailed, and come across the Pacific, and some morning before breakfast, land upon our Western shore and sweep over our country by the millions and make us hewers of wood and drawers of water to them. I am inclined to think that history would only need to repeat itself in some respects at least, to bring about such a result. Let me repeat what I said a while ago, that we are going to have an ever-increasing immigration from Europe and from the Orient also. I am satisfied that the interests of this country demand that we assume a right attitude toward the people of every race, and that we do our very best when they come to Canada to make them the type of citizens that we want Canadians to be.
I cannot but regard with a good deal of apprehension the coming of such vast multitudes to our country as are now reaching Canada. We have an immigration which is far in excess of that which any other nation has had in proportion to its population. The largest immigration to the United States in any one year during the eighty years preceding the taking of the race census did not exceed 1 1/2 percent of the population of that country; the average annual immigration for any decade of that eighty years did not exceed 1 percent of their population. Will it surprise you to know that in 1907 the immigration to Canada was 5.16 percent of our population, taking the last census as a basis. That suggests to us that through immigration we have problems of greater significance and magnitude developing in our midst than they ever had in the United States. It seems to me that if we are going to meet the situation we must pay attention to the needs of these foreigners. We must especially give attention to our cities. When our last census was taken the country population was 73 percent of the whole population of this Dominion. But in the decade, preceding the taking of the last census the country population increased 1 1/2 percent, while our city and town population increased 21 1/2 per cent. I am inclined to think that the time is coming when our city population will be much larger in many of our Provinces than the country population in those Provinces. A very significant thing about this flocking to the city is this: that the elements that are going to compose the larger part of our city population in the years to come will not be of Canadian stock but European and Oriental foreigners.
A number of years ago 54 percent of the adult male population of New York city was foreign by birth. There were 18 cities in the Union, many years ago, where the male foreigners of voting age were 2 1/2 times as numerous as the native-born Americans; 23 other cities in the United States where the male foreigners of voting age were as numerous as the native-born Americans. That suggests to us simply this: that the foreigners- in the cities of the United States do more than hold the balance of power. They can, if they will, be the real governors of those cities. Today we are making laws for Europeans and other foreigners. In the not very distant future they will begin to make laws for us. This is inevitable, and it seems to me that if we are going to save our country we must save our cities, and we must inspire these foreigners with our ideals in order to make of them the type of Canadian citizens we want them to be.
As I look out upon the future of our country I am very glad I was not born one hundred years ago. Lam almost sorry that I am not a child now that I might enter into the enjoyment of the things that I see in the distant future, but that cannot be a fact during my lifetime. It occurs to me, however, that there is one thing far more desirable than to live one hundred years hence. It is to have some part in laying the foundations of national greatness in this Dominion of ours. The opportunity that comes to us today ought to inspire the heart and excite the ambition of every loyal Canadian, for never in the history of our land has there been a time when it was possible for us to do so much to make our country what, in the Providence of God, I believe it is destined to become. I am sure we would like that everybody who comes to Canada should receive an education, and that the children of all foreigners should be taught at least the elements of a good English education, but I am satisfied that what John Morley said was true: "The important thing, as we all know, is not the exact fraction of the human race that will speak English. The important thing is that those who speak English, whether in old lands, or new, shall strive in lofty, generous, and never-ceasing emulation with peoples of other tongues and stock for the political, social, and intellectual primacy among mankind." And again he says, "It is moral impulses that matter. When they are safe all is safe." Matthew Arnold said, "It is moral ideas that at bottom decide the standing or falling of states or nations."
Whatever we may have of population, or of wealth, Canada will never be a great country unless we have men that stand four-square for all that is right and turn their faces resolutely against all that is wrong. For if Canada is to be a great nation the real secret of her greatness will be her moral qualities. Two things it seems to me we must insist on in this Dominion-Education for every child, and the gospel of our Lord and Saviour for every citizen. I am sure that whatever our theological views may be we cannot fail to recognize not only the influence that the public school will play in our civilization, but the influence of the Church, the Church of Jesus Christ, by whatever name it may be known. I see that my time is up. I thank you for this opportunity of addressing you, and I trust that we will all unite to make of this country a mighty nation, though with different elements, vet with every element of our population striving together; not to make this Dominion characteristic of the different world races, but uniting all of us together to develop here a nation of Canadians possessing the best elements of all the nations; and making Canada in the future a great power in the affairs of the world.