HC Deb 27 July 1910 vol 19 cc2108-9
Mr. CLYNES (for Mr. William Thorne)

asked the President of the Local Government Board if he is aware that many young children whose ages range from eight to thirteen years have been emigrated to Canada from the Chorlton Union and are now engaged in farm work and household work and in consequence are not receiving an efficient education, as would have been the case had they not been sent away; whether his attention has been drawn to the report sent by Mr. D. S. Bloomfield, the clerk to the Chorlton Union, giving particulars of the work that about seventy-eight of the children are engaged in that have been sent away from the Chorlton Union; and whether he intends in the future to prevent young children being used in the manner described in the report?


I have received from the guardians of the Chorlton Union some extracts from Reports made by the Canadian Government authorities after visits by their inspectors to children emigrated from that union. The extracts relate to twenty-nine children only, and show, with one or two exceptions, that the children have attended school with more or less regularity. I understand that the information furnished by these extracts is relied upon to support the allegation that young children are emigrated to Canada in the interests of cheap labour. The information so furnished does not, in my judgment, support that allegation.


In the information which the right hon. Gentleman has received has he any account of the very serious statements and allegations made on this subject by members of the Chorlton Union?


I have seen the statements made and I intend to communicate with the Canadian authorities to ascertain their truth or otherwise. I have recently on this particular matter seen the Governor-General and two or three of the authorities from Canada now in this country and I am satisfied completely that every step is taken both by the Canadian Government and by the Committee of Canadian Ladies to give every assistance and the utmost protection to children in Canada from this country.


Is it not the duty of a certain official in Canada to make inquiries as to what these children are doing and how they are being looked after?


Yes, that is so, and they report periodically both to the Canadian and the Home Governments.