HC Deb 13 April 1937 vol 322 cc773-5
28 and 29. Mr. Ammon

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (1) whether his attention has been called to the resolutions passed at the Saskatchewan Convention on family and group settlement in Canada; and whether he has received any communication from the Federal Government of Canada concerning such resolutions;

(2) whether he is aware that the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan, Canada, has expressed its willingness to receive at least 5,000 British families for settlement in that Province during the five years commencing early in the year 1937; what are the terms of such proposal; whether they have been approved by the Federal Government; and whether they are such as to gain support from His Majesty's Government?

Mr. M. MacDonald

I have seen a sessional paper of the Canadian House of Commons regarding the resolutions referred to. It appears from this that whilst the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan approved the settlement of 5,000 families in principle, they did not feel that they should at this time give their approval to any specific plan or plans. I have received no communication from the Canadian Government in the matter; the question of support from His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom has not therefore arisen.

Sir Patrick Hannon

Will this matter be one of the subjects on the agenda paper at the Imperial Conference that meets in May?

Mr. MacDonald

As my hon. Friend knows, we hope to be able to discuss the question of migration with Dominion representatives while they are over here for the Imperial Conference.

Mr. T. Smith

Is the Minister aware that in Canada nobody is prepared to encourage migration at this time, seeing that one-tenth of the population of Canada is drawing public assistance?

Mr. MacDonald

We have certainly not had any indication that the responsible authorities in Canada are ready to encourage and finance schemes of migration at the present time.

Mr. Lunn

Will the Minister go further into the matter and see what the Canadian Prime Minister knows about it before the Imperial Conference Agenda is discussed?

30. Mr. Lyons

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether, in view of the lapse of time and altered circumstances, he will now consider, in consultation with Dominion Governments, the continuance or commutation of insurance benefits for selected emigrants from this country into an Empire Dominion?

Mr. MacDonald

Since the Maclean Committee Report in 1926, arrangements have been made whereby pensions under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts of the United Kingdom are payable in any part of the Empire, and insured persons below pension age migrating to other parts of the Empire are afforded the opportunity of maintaining their pensions insurance by the continued payment of the appropriate contributions. The difficulties in the way of arranging for the continuance or commutation of other insurance benefits to United Kingdom migrants within the Empire have so far been found to be insuperable, but I am well aware of the importance of the matter in relation to migration, and am keeping the matter in mind.

Mr. Lyons

When this matter is discussed generally at the forthcoming Imperial Conference, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in view of the fact that this suggestion has commended itself to Canadian representatives, it will be discussed from this angle and these possibilities explored?

Mr. MacDonald

If we have discussions about this subject at the time of the Imperial Conference, naturally any matter which is relevant at the time wi11 come under discussion.