HC Deb 28 April 1910 vol 17 cc635-7

asked the Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the recent amendment in the regulations governing the emigration of assisted persons to Canada; whether he is aware that the effect of the amendment will practically nullify the emigration operations of the Central (Unemployed) Body for London, so far as Canada is concerned, entail hardship on intending emigrants to the Dominion who have accepted assistance from public funds, prevent any assisted emigrant from landing in Canada not certified as suited for, willing to accept, and for whom positions at farm work have been guaranteed from Canada, and, in cases where the emigrant is assisted, make it extremely difficult for a wife to join her husband, a brother or sister a brother, a father or a mother a son or daughter, unless the persons emigrating come within the special category, and are going to join relatives already on a Canadian farm; and whether, in the circumstances, he will consider the advisability of approaching the Dominion authorities with a view to obtain some modification in the new regulations, and advise His Majesty's Government to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the subject of emigration from the United Kingdom to the oversea dominions and the restrictions placed thereon?

Colonel SEELY

My attention has been called to the regulation in question. I am sure that its effect on the operations of emigration societies and similar bodies will be considerable. The question of what classes of immigrants are to be permitted to enter Canada is primarily one for the Canadian Government, and the Secretary of State will forward to that Government for their friendly consideration any representations which may be made to him as to the effect of the new regulations, but as at present advised he is not prepared to recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission on emigration.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the new Regulations will be applied to emigrants now upon the high seas, and whether, seeing that intending emigrants have made their preparations to the extent in some cases of selling up their homes for the purpose of settling in Canada, he does not consider some notice ought to have been given by the Dominion Government, and whether he does not think the time has arrived for taking advantage of the words of the Resolution passed at the last Imperial Conference for holding a subsidiary Conference on Emigration and Immigration among the representatives of the Governments concerned?

Colonel SEELY

I do not think I could be asked to reply to a matter of such very great importance and delicacy as between this country and the Dominion of Canada without notice. I have no doubt the Dominion Government will endeavour to act with humanity, and in the meantime we will make such representation as seems proper to the Canadian Government on the subject.


Is there any guarantee from the Canadian Government that continuous employment will be given to the emigrants?

Colonel SEELY

That raises quite a different question.


Do the new regulations affect those that are on the seas now?

Colonel SEELY

I presume they would apply from inquiries I have been able to make, but I would not commit myself. It was in connection with that that I said I was sure the Canadian Government would act with every humanity.