- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 21 Mar 1912, p. 191-201
- Heaton, Ernest, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Colonization in its narrower sense, defined as the peopling of the land. An intensely human subject, dividing itself into a number of sub-headings such as assisted emigration, restricted emigration, ready-made farms, model colonies, juvenile immigration, education and colonization, scientific publicity, town planning, etc. A suggestion for an association to be formed with a central office and a permanent staff, the object of this association being to collect data from Government reports and other sources, to issue bulletins from time to time to the press and to the public, and to publish a series of pamphlets dealing with the different subjects that come under the head of Colonization, so that they can be easily read and understood. The national character of such an association, in close touch with the Dominion and Provincial Governments, and the railway companies, and all those who are engaged in the colonization work or are in any way interested to be eligible as members. The question of assisted immigration. Several experiments in Canada that have been successful. The need for all the facts and figures and attending circumstances of the experiments which have been tried in the past in order for this subject to be a progressive one. The issue of restricted immigration. Face to face with the subject of Asiatic immigration. The need to deal with this issue with great wisdom and above all avoiding friction. The need to place both sides of the question in pamphlet form so that it can be read and understood by every one. The question of immigration from southern and eastern Europe, coming naturally out of the question of Asiatic immigration. This subject brought home to us by the rapid development of a foreign quarter in the city of Toronto. The complicated question of discrimination versus need for labour on the railways. The history of colonization replete with experiments in the formation of colonies, with explication. The speaker's wish to see a bill brought before parliament that no town may be laid out until the plan has been approved of by a selected committee of the province which would advise with a committee of the association which he is here defining. The subject of the gentleman colonist, which requires special treatment, with example. A number of questions that should be answered for the information of people in the old country, dealing with the training of boys that are sent over here. A word about the census of 1911. The exodus from Canada to the United States. How the association the speaker is advocating would not have lost sight of the facts of immigration and emigration between Canada and the United States. Some practical considerations for the speaker's suggestions.
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- 21 Mar 1912
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- Full Text
- SCIENTIFIC COLONIZATION--A SUGGESTION
An Address by MR. ERNEST HEATON, B.A., (Oxon), Editor of Heaton's Annual, before the Empire Club of Canada, March 21, 1912.
Mr. President and Gentlemen,-
Somebody asked me a few minutes ago what I was going to speak about; I told him Colonization, and he said, "you will be able to talk a lot without saying anything that they can catch on to." I hope, if I may use perhaps a vulgarism, that you will "catch on" to what I am going to say, because I have a suggestion to make which I believe to be of national importance.
I am going to speak to you today on Colonization in its narrower sense. In its wider sense it would include everything that comes under the head of the development of civilization in a new country. In the narrow sense it may be defined as the peopling of the land.' Some people I know look no further than the immigration returns. The increase of population affects their business. Beyond that population is a dry subject. Do you call it dry? Are you not interested in the upbuilding of a great nation, the tide of emigrants, the stories of romance, the struggles and the successes of individuals, who are going to make their way in this new country? It is an intensely human subject, and as we look closer we find that it divides itself into a number of subheadings such as assisted emigration, restricted emigration, ready-made farms, model colonies, juvenile immigration, education and colonization, scientific publicity, town planning, etc.
I shall touch shortly upon some of these heads, but first of all let me ask you to allow me to begin at the end, and explain what I am driving at. It will throw light upon my remarks as I make them. I want to draw your attention to the fact that many of our opinions are half-formed; the lessons to be learned from experience are not learned, and it is only natural that it should be so, because no method has been adopted to collect this information and put it in tangible form so that it will be ready for use by those who want it. The men who are engaged in the practical work of colonization have no time to attempt research, to worry through blue books and collect information from various countries.
As a remedy for this state of things I suggest that an association should be formed with a central office and a permanent staff, the object of this association being to collect data from Government reports and other sources, to issue bulletins from time to time to the press and to the public, and to publish a series of pamphlets dealing 'with the different subjects that come under the head of Colonization, so that they can be easily read and understood. A convention should be held every year where those who are interested in these subjects could meet together and hear and discuss papers.
It goes without saying that such an association must be national in character, in close touch with the Dominion and Provincial Governments, and the railway companies, and all those who are engaged in the colonization work or are in any, way interested should be eligible as members.
With this explanation let me touch upon some of the subheads which I have mentioned. Possibly the most important is the question of assisted immigration. As you are aware, attempts have been made in England on these lines by voluntary associations, and these efforts we have been obliged to curb, because they have been sending to us the unfit. On the other hand, in Canada several experiments have been successful. Some years ago a large loan was made to the Mennonites in this country in order to enable them to bring emigrants of their own persuasion to Canada; every cent of that money was returned, but it is, I think, plain to be seen from our dealings with these people, that they are exceptional, and that the same money, if lent to English people, might not have been returned.
Another experiment has lately been made a success in Winnipeg; some of you have heard of the Imperial Home Association which was suggested by Mr. Griffiths, a member of the English House of Commons. The object of this association is to lend money to workmen, especially in the city, to enable them to bring out their families to join them. I lately wrote to the secretary of the association in Winnipeg to get some information and found from their last report that 8o citizens guaranteed a total fund of $20,000 up to the amount of $250 each, and according to the last report of the Transportation Committee in October, 7911, transportation had been issued for 180 families, and of the total families assisted 18 had repaid their fares in full, 12 owed less than $2o, and 53 had reduced their loans to less than $5o. The secretary of the association told me that on the first of March about 1,200 people had been brought out, and 'that there was less than half a dozen doubtful repayments. I am informed that the whole expense of the association is met by the commissions that are paid by the transportation companies on the tickets sent out. The money that is advanced is not given direct to the applicant; the address of his family in England is obtained from him; the association buys the tickets and sends them direct to the family. Branches of this association have been formed in Toronto, Fort William, and other cities.
I take this subject first because it is a very important one, possibly the most important that we hate to deal with. It is only natural there should be other schemes adopted in other countries; a very successful scheme is now being carried out in Australia. The point I want to make is that this subject is a progressive one, and we cannot make progress until we have before us all the facts and all -the figures and all the attending circumstances of the experiments which have been tried in the past, and which now we have to unearth from government reports and by correspondence all over the world.
Take another subject, restricted immigration,-we are, apt to congratulate ourselves on the increasing immigration returns; it means prosperity to the country, and it means more business to every one of us either directly or indirectly: But there are some people who think that there is such a thing as national indigestion, that it is possible to get immigrants into this country more rapidly than we can properly absorb them. The shortage of cars, the shortage of clergy, and the shortage of school teachers, all point in this direction. What is the good of growing grain if we have not the cars to ship it out in to the market? Are we not in some danger, if in the development of this country we overrun the facilities we have for looking after our people? Is it not a rather dangerous thing to bring people into this country if we have no means of looking after their morals, for experience tells us that men are apt to deteriorate when they are brought face to face with nature isolated from civilizing influences. The annual influx into this country is over 350,000, and that is over five percent of the total population of Canada, whereas the proportion of immigration to population in the United States is less than one per cent.
We are face to face with the subject of Asiatic immigration, a very live subject at the present time. It has to be dealt with great wisdom and above all things we must avoid friction. This is a subject upon which a long address could be given to you; it is very important that at this time our opinions should not remain half-formed, and one thing that this association could do is to collect all the facts and figures in connection with Asiatic immigration, and place both sides of the question in pamphlet form so that it could be read and understood by every one.
Another question which naturally comes out of the question of Asiatic immigration, is that of immigration from southern and eastern Europe. This is brought home to us by the rapid development of a foreign quarter in the city of Toronto, and the number of Italians that we see in this country. Having in view that it is possible we may be getting too many people into this country, can we not discriminate? Do we want this kind of immigration? The question is somewhat complicated, for the railway companies are crying out for men; and we need these people to do the work that Canadians will not do in the building of the railways across this continent. Every year these questions become more difficult to deal with. We cannot sit still too long, or they will get beyond us, yet it would be unwise to take any action without a careful study of every point that has to be considered. Here again our association would serve a useful purpose in collecting all this information and in placing it in tangible form.
The history of colonization is replete with experiments in the formation of colonies. Some have been formed on a social basis, others on a religious basis, and others on a national basis. If the history of these experiments was preserved we should see fewer repetitions of failures. It is an interesting study. No person can cross this continent and look upon our boundless prairies without being impressed by the civilization that they imply and the responsibility that rests upon this present generation to impress upon these prairies as civilization that is based upon a sane and wise foundation; and yet at the present day all our young towns and cities are being sacrificed to a short-sighted real estate speculation. No attempt is being made to build up these cities on any pre-conceived plan. There is only one object in view, and that is to make the most money out of the sale of as much land as possible in a given area. Just the other day I was delighted to see that a bill has been introduced by the Alberta government imposing certain conditions on the subdivision of land for town lots. These conditions are designed to protect the public from unscrupulous real estate dealers. I would like to see them go a little farther. I would like to see a bill brought before Parliament that no town may be laid out until the plan has been approved of by a selected committee of the province which would advise with a committee of the association which I am defining.
We have lately heard lectures 'upon town planning in Toronto, and very interesting lectures they were, but today, so far as I am aware, nothing remains of these lectures" but the newspaper reports for which we have to hunt through the files of our newspaper offices. If there was any value in these lectures the whole lecture, or at any rate, a sufficient summary of them should be available for the men who are giving thought to this subject: If this association is formed, one of its duties should be to publish lectures of that kind, and have them available for the members of the association and for anybody else who wants them.
Another subject which requires especial treatment we may call, the gentleman colonist. In Great Britain people of the upper middle class gamble in the future of their sons; they give them a course of education designed to enable them to pass an examination for the army, the navy, the civil service, or possibly the church. If they fail in any of these directions, the British parent sends his boy over to Canada, or to some other country to farm, not because he has any taste for farming, or is able to make a living in that occupation, but because he has no idea what else to do with him. The British parent today has the notion that all he has to do is to buy for his' boy a ticket across the sea, and give him his blessing. Away he goes and the responsibility of the parent is done with.
Let me tell you of a case of this kind that lately came before me. I am constantly having young boys come to me with letters from the old country. In the last year, some fourteen or fifteen English boys have called 'upon me, all of them with one exception, came out to farm. They were dead set on farming, so, in co-operation with the Provincial Government, I secured for them as good, homes as I could find with Ontario farmers. today of all these boys only two are engaged in farming; one is reading for the church, four are in banks, and six are engaged in other occupations. One morning, a short time ago when I was very busy at my desk, I looked up and saw a little chap standing in front of me, evidently shy and nervous. He said, "Please, sir, my father sent me here to make a living." I said: "How are you going to do that?" He said, "I am going on a farm; here are these letters; would you place me on a farm, and in time buy me a farm?" I looked him over, he was a very nice gentlemanly boy but evidently delicate he had variegated socks and a scarf to match. I told him I was very busy, and before I could go into the matter I would like him to go and see Mr. James, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and tell his story to him. As soon as he left the room I telephoned Mr. James and told him that I was sending him a boy, who would hell him his story. I thought that it would be a wicked thing to allow the lad to be put on an Ontario farm. He was not fit for it; he would be miserable there, and it would be a very cruel thing to do. I said, "You look him over, and let me know what you think about it." In an hour's time the telephone rang, and Mr. James said, "I entirely agree with you." "Well," I said, "what are we to do? He has only got seven dollars, and he is staying at--the Prince George. This won't last many hours. He will be on my shoulders very soon." Mr. James replied, "I can place that boy with a kind-hearted fruit farmer who will keep him for three weeks if he will do the chores round the farm; in the meantime you can communicate with his parents." I said, "Give me twenty-four hours; in the meantime do nothing." The next day a brilliant inspiration came over me. I telephoned the inspector of one of the banks--here and asked him if he wanted a bank clerk, that I had got a first rate chap here, only he had to take him off my hands at once because he had only seven dollars and had a bill to pay at the Prince George. That day he left by the seven o'clock train for Port Colborne with a salary of $300 a year. On the day he arrived and before he got this job I wrote to the father and gave him "Hail Columbia;" I told him that he had put upon me a most serious responsibility in connection with a father's most difficult problem, and I advised him to come out here himself and look over the country. He wrote to me in reply and said that he was very sorry, but it was not his fault. He did not know anything about the country or about the conditions in Ontario. In the meantime, of course, I had written again--and reported what I had done. The boy is now doing well. This is only one sample of cases that occur over and over again. There is an unnecessary waste of time and money prospects, and possibly life. I can enumerate I do not know how many instances, some most pathetic, and some that are very funny, but we can go on till Doomsday on that subject.
There are a number of questions that should be answered for the information of people in the old country, dealing with the training of these boys there, and how they are to be dealt with here. I would send these questions out to very carefully selected correspondents throughout this country and then publish a little pamphlet dealing exclusively with this class of immigrant, giving these answers and all other information which would be useful. I would make this pamphlet a part of the series of pamphlets to be issued by this association and distribute it broadcast in the old country. This would, I think, result in some changes in the system of English education. It would emphasize the importance of young men finishing their education in the country in which they are to make their living, and it would prevent the loss of time, money, and prospects which arises from this break in the continuity of the lives of young men of this class.
One word about the census of 1911. I know myself, as- a matter of fact, that the figures in Toronto are eight short, for nobody called at my house, but I do not think that accounts entirely for the shortage which we believe has occurred. I think possibly the explanation of this disappointment may be found in the last annual report of the Commissioner of Immigration of the' United States, which I have before me. There is ail ebb as well as a flow to the tide of immigration, just as' there is to the tides of the sea. In the year 1909-igio, the total immigration of Canada to the United States was 94 528, including 22,832 United States citizens, 44,340 Canadian citizens, and 27,356 other aliens. There is a note attached that these figures do not include aliens, arriving at Canadian seaports having United States destinations. In the same year there came to Canada from the United States. 116,377 people, leaving a total:;: net immigration from the United States of 22,000; we have been accustomed to see in our newspapers and government reports that the immigration from the United States in that year considerably exceeded 100,000. In the last ten years we have been living in a sort of fool's paradise-that the exodus from Canada to the United States had ceased; evidently it has done nothing of the kind. In the year 1910-1911 the total immigration to Canada from the United States was 119,753, and the total emigration from Canada to the United States was 105,502 leaving a net immigration into Canada from the United States of 14,000. Supposing this association which I am advocating had been formed and had been in operation, I think we should not have lost sight of these facts.
If time would permit we might continue this discussion almost indefinitely. We have only been able to treat with a few headings in a very scrappy way; but enough has been said, I think, to show the necessity of organization upon some such lines as I have suggested. It may be objected that this work should be left entirely to the Government. Surely this idea is now out of date. The tendency of the present day is for the Government to work through the people and to vitalize popular organizations. The best example of this is to be found in the Department of Agriculture both in the Dominion and Provincial Governments, and it is no reflection upon the Department which has charge of immigration and must decide its policy, to suggest that its usefulness could be extended in the same way.
Now, gentlemen, is this thing practical? Some one may say that we are all too busy in Canada making money for ourselves; there are not enough people who would be interested. All I can say is that my suggestion is along the lines of what has been done in other matters of public concern which are not so replete with human interest. A great advance has been made in penology by organization and annual conventions. We have an example in the Canadian Vorestry Association, which is working all the time and holds a successful convention every year. Churches and professional men in every line of business, work upon these lines. The difficulty, of course, lies in the start. In matters of this kind people are so apt to throw up theirs caps in applause and leave the next fellow to do the work. If a right start is' made, I am convinced that substantial aid will be given by both the Federal and Provincial Governments,* and all the railways will take a hand. With this nucleus, a sufficient sum could be raised by an active canvass for membership fees, which should not be confined to Canada.
The question of scientific colonization has been brought very close home to us by the appropriation of five million dollars for the development of Northern Ontario. Ordinary business instincts would impel us to see to it that there) is brought to bear upon this work all the wisdom and experience that has been gained during the last quarter of a century. In this connection the formation of an Association such as I have suggested becomes almost imperative; for the man who is appointed to administer this sum will not have the time to properly study the subject, and it will be necessary to make a radical change in the methods which are now adopted. We cannot allow a stream of immigration to scatter over the face of this northern country, dealing with the immigrant as we do now, on the principle of "root, hog or die." It will be necessary to select the kind of settler we want, and to direct the tide of immigrants into a few districts which have first been prepared with a systematic scheme of drainage and good roads. We shall have to consider carefully proposals for the preparation of homesteads in advance of settlement, adapting to local conditions the ideas embodied in the ready-made farms of the Canadian Pacific Railway which have been so successful in Alberta, and we must not lose the opportunity to build model towns
*NOTE--The Canadian Forestry Association receive annually from the Dominion Government $2,000, and $800 from the Governments of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and New Brunswick. For the Commission of Conservation in 1912 the Dominion Government voted $50,000 to cover payment of the temporary staff, scientific investigations, and the miscellaneous expenses of the Conservation. In addition, the permanent staff comes under the Civil Service Act and the expenditure for 1912 under this head will be $18,382.20.
upon well-conceived plans. Let us hope that these districts will not be overburdened with the support of half-a-dozen churches where one will suffice. With the assistance of the Layman's Missionary Movement it might be possible to distribute the field, at any rate in the early stages of settlement, among the different religious bodies and thus we might secure the active assistance of these churches in the settlement of the country. It is reasonable to expect that it will be necessary to withstand political pressure from sections of the country where colonization districts are not established. It may even be necessary to restrict the flow of immigration so that we may keep pace with it in the preparations that we make. Here this Association will prove a useful buffer to the Government.
It is not necessary for me to commend this subject to the serious attention of the Empire Club. We meet here every week to consider questions affecting the welfare of our Empire. Nothing that we have ever discussed touches us so closely as this, and the responsibility is ours. We cannot put it off upon anybody else. The last generation in Ontario cleared the land with the axe. We have to use our brains to blaze the path through a forest of problems.