HC Deb 04 May 1903 vol 121 cc1190-1
MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the fact that a number of men who left England for Canada on the promise of work by the Dominion Iron and Steel Company found, on arriving at St. John that the company had sufficient hands; and whether, seeing that the men upon arrival found themselves without employment, and without the means of paying their passage home again, he can make some arrangement whereby the men might be able to return home.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Chamberlain.) I am informed by the Canadian Emigration Commissioner that early in the year an application was made to him for labour of various kinds, and the assurance was given that a stated number of additional men arriving at that point would find employment awaiting them. This intimation was conveyed to a gentleman who was taking a very active interest in finding employment for artisans residing in the vicinity of Woolwich. Acting on this information, about 100 mechanics and artisans left Liverpool for St. John, New Brunswick, on their way to Sydney on or about 13th March. On arriving at St. John the men learned that the company declined to advance the transportation charges from St. John to their works at Sydney. Quite a number of them were not possessed of sufficient means to incur this additional expenditure. An intimation of the situation was cabled to the Canadian offices in London, and the Commissioner of Emigration immediately cabled to the Ottawa Government asking special co-operation with a view of making immediate provision for this party. The result was that within a few hours of this action being taken, arrangements were effected to bring all the men to the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, where immediate employment was found for every one of them. The accounts which have come from the men, following immediately after their disappointment, indicate that they are abundantly satisfied with their present situations. No intimation has been received, either by the Government at Ottawa or the Commissioner of Emigration for Canada, that the men have any desire whatever to return home.