HC Deb 23 November 1950 vol 481 cc494-5
33. Mr. Russell

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations why there has been a fall in emigration to Canada in recent years.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

The motives which influence emigration are largely a matter for conjecture; but I think there can be no doubt that the fall in the figures of emigration to Canada is mainly accounted for by the bringing to an end in 1948 of assisted passages to war brides. These formed a high proportion of the total migration to Canada in the three years after the war.

Mr. Russell

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that currency restrictions are playing their part? Is he aware that four out of every five immigrants into Canada at the present moment are from foreign countries? Does he not think that a serious situation?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I am aware of the last fact. Of course, it is a matter for the Canadian Government and not the British Government. The question of currency restrictions certainly must have had some effect, but it is very difficult to know how great an effect. I do not think it has had a very considerable effect in reducing emigration.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that a very important factor in the decrease of emigrants from this country to Canada is the fact that we now have full employment?

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the devaluation of the £ has seriously reduced the value of war pensions paid in this country? Will he urge upon his colleagues in the Government the desirability of making some compensation for the loss of value of pensions due to that fact?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I do not see how that question arises from the one on the Paper.