HC Deb 24 March 1927 vol 204 cc569-71
89. Mr. HURD

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs the character and scope of the new arrangement between the Canadian Government and the Canadian railway companies for the better selection and distribution of British and other immigrants?


I understand that the Canadian Government have renewed last year's arrangements whereby the Canadian railways were authorised to recruit farmers and farm workers in certain Continental countries. These immigrants are subject to the Canadian Immigration Regulations (some of which are not applicable to British migrants) and must be guaranteed farm employment by the railways on arrival in Canada. The railway companies are also under a separate arrangement authorised to nominate for reduced passages quotas of single men and families from this country, with and without experience in farm work,, for whom they can guarantee farm employment in Canada.


Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me whether there is any new arrangement at all between the Canadian Government and the railways?


No, it is a renewal, substantially, of last year's arrangement.

90. Mr. HURD

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he is aware that, according to the reports of the Canadian Department of Immigration, the number of child immigrants entering Canada in the year ending with March, 1926, was 1,862,, while the applications received from would-be foster-parents in Canada numbered 13,988; and whether he will consider, in consultation with the Canadian authorities, a resumption of the admission of children under 14 years of age under adequate regulation and supervision?


Generally speaking, the applications to which my hon. Friend refers are from farmers who are anxious to employ British boys and girls as workers. It is not thought desirable that boys and girls should be so employed until they have at least attained school-leaving age. Even before the restriction on the age of entry of British boys and girls into Canada, there was a similar excess of demand over supply. The restriction does not apply to children who are proceeding to legal adoption. It is understood that the restriction was imposed for the three years ending January, 1928,, when the position is to be reviewed.


Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that farmers have expressly requested that children should be at least 16 years of age before they are put on farm work?


Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the experiment made by the Glasgow Parish Council in the Highlands, under which children of very tender years are being adopted by the crofters and fishermen and which has resulted in a most extraordinary success? The children are brought up as their own children.


Will the right hon. Gentleman insist upon children being at least of school age before they are permitted to go to Canada?


The whole question is being considered by the Canadian Government in the light of the experience that will have been gained by the beginning of next year.