HC Deb 30 November 1950 vol 481 cc1294-5
15. Mr. Russell

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what discussions he has had with the Canadian Government in regard to the fall in emigration from the United Kingdom to Canada in recent years.

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Gordon-Walker)

None, Sir.

Mr. Russell

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that he should initiate some discussions on this matter? I realise that it is primarily a matter for the Canadian Government, but is it not disadvantageous to this country that no action should be taken to speed up emigration?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I agree with the hon. Member that it is really a matter for the Canadian Government to initiate. We should be happy to have talks with them on this subject if they wish to initiate them.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Is not one of the great barriers to emigration the financial policy of His Majesty's Government? Until that is altered, which can only be done by this Government, can talks possibly begin?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I take it that the hon. Member is referring to the limitation on the export of capital. That, of course, has had some effect, but I think it has not had a very great effect. I have, naturally, looked very carefully into that point. We should like to relax our controls as soon as possible, but I do not think that this limitation has had a very great effect on the numbers of emigrants to Canada.

Mr. A. R. W. Low

Has the Minister discussed that aspect of the problem with the Canadians? Surely the Canadian Government might give him a better founded view than the view which he himself has formed.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I have discussed this matter with the Canadian authorities. I do not think that they disagree with what I have said.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Is not one of the causes of the fall in emigration to Canada, the result of the general policy of the Government, which has resulted in people being so much happier at home than they used to be?