Settlers the Provinces Need - 1913

Working Lads Who Emigrated to Ontario During the Summer of 1912.

Working Lads Who Emigrated to Ontario During the Summer of 1912. Canada Today, 1913. GGA Image ID # 14c70f12fb

A report recently presented to the Minister of the Interior, by Mr. Arthur Hawkes, the Special Commissioner on Canadian immigration, surveyed the conditions in the nine Provinces, it being stated that in all, in order to make the most of their enormous and only partially developed resources, the necessity is for more producers from the soil. Mr. Hawkes brought out the following points: —

Nova Scotia

The demand fur agricultural labor is nut very large, and the wages offered are not so high as those paid in Ontario and the West. Some farmers fail to realize that good men should be secured while the steamers are bringing immigrants to Halifax.

Leaving out the exceptional apple districts of the Annapolis Valley, the recreation of Nova Scotia agriculture requires a policy that settles special areas with the right people and demonstrates that farming, on Truro College methods, is attractive and profitable.

The Provincial Government has introduced legislation to provide for the use of the Provincial credit in the re-settlement of unoccupied farms.

New Brunswick

Rich valleys in New Brunswick will grow first-class apples. There arc hundreds of unoccupied farms which experts avow can be made to pay handsomely.

The Department of Agriculture has proved that New Brunswick can give first-class results to intelligent cultivators. There is a growing away from the idea that capital expenditure on public works is the royal road to prosperity, and an appreciation of the truth that well-populated valleys are the only security for well-developed cities. It is recognized that scientific immigration is vital to the re-creation of New Brunswick.

Prince Edward Island

In the "Garden of the Gulf" there are no abandoned farms -- the diminished population cultivates its land less thoroughly. The land requires more intensive cultivation in smaller farms. With proper cultivation, the Premier told me, the Island should carry a population of four hundred thousand.


The Province, as a whole, does not move rapidly away from time-honored methods of fanning. No estimate is forthcoming as to the extent to which more population may be carried on existing farms.

The Lake St. John region is capable of considerable increase of population, and in the country tributary to the Timiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway and the National Transcontinental Railway there is room for many more settlers.

As the natural increase of the rural population in Quebec is in advance of that of the other Provinces, greater plentitude of population in Quebec will probably be accomplished from within, rather than from without.


The appropriation by the Provincial Government of five million dollars for a settlement scheme in New Ontario, where sixteen million acres of fertile clay lands are being bisected by two transcontinental railways, indicates that this Province has a large receptive capacity for immigration.

The Clay Belt is only part of Ontario's demand for more people on the land, which, as shown by agricultural research at Guelph and other colleges, may be made to support four times as many people and stock as it does now.

The discovery of this enlargement of capacity has coincided with a drain to the West, which has not been confined to the less favored localities. The Province has become alive to the necessity for more thickly populating certain of the older sections, as well as to the incalculable advantage of settling the Clay Belt.

An enquiry into New Ontario conditions brings into the strongest relief the futility of expecting that scores of thousands of English-speaking people with capital will immediately be attracted to the task of clearing land under former conditions, and also the economic waste of the system under which many an ambitious, hard-working, but poor settler has to earn money away from home to support him while he works on his clearing.

Cheap money is strongly demanded by the settler. As private enterprise, working on long-established lines, has failed to supply it, this may come to be regarded as an imperative ingredient in governmental efficiency.


There is an organized "Million for Manitoba" movement, and farmers are short of help. There are large quantities of land in Manitoba, at present comparatively unattractive to the settler who can choose elsewhere, but capable of carrying many people as soon as they are brought into use by a larger motive power than the average settler can command.

The extension of the Provincial boundaries gives an additional practical force to the "Million for Manitoba" movement, and a greater financial strength to Provincial work to attain that end.


The greatest wheat-producing Province in the British Empire feels the need of people almost as much as ever. Where wheat is a sure crop the holding of vacant lands for rises in value is a positive detriment to development.

In some northern areas mixed farming is the wisest farming from the beginning, as it will presently become in others now almost exclusively devoted to wheat.

Wheat raising is not likely to remain the only guarantee of prosperity in Western Canada any more than it did in the Middle Western States. With a diminution of free land, the financial side of Saskatchewan farming will approximate to Eastern conditions, and legislation will in all probability be directed towards forcing land, held speculatively, into cultivation.

The time for pouring people into the country, leaving them to pick up mastery of conditions, must speedily pass, and the Province will take steps to foster the maximum prosperity in given areas—such as the direction of cattle into regions where the lack of them is a drawback to development, and the oversight of public and semi-public services.


In general, the Saskatchewan situation is duplicated in Alberta, with important differences. The Alberta Government did more to attract people than Saskatchewan has done, partly because, no doubt, a smaller proportion of Dominion-promoted immigration, for several years, reached the more westerly Province.

With railway expansion and industrial development on account of the coal fields, the demand for more population will grow. The country beyond Edmonton, which is the real North-West of Canada, is almost a Province.

Irrigation in Southern Alberta is a unique feature in Provincial progress. Alberta is taking courses of its own regarding taxation (aimed at wild real estate speculation) and other public responsibilities. Its appeal for population will have a distinctive note.

British Columbia

The principle of Provincial responsibility for Provincial expansion is exhibited strongly in British Columbia. Its mountainous configuration; its mineral resources; its contact with trans-Pacific trade; the heavy prices of land ; the high prices of all labor; the complexity of its colored labor supply; the great cost and wide area of railway construction to serve a comparatively small producing population; and the concentration of population in coast cities -- combine to distinguish the Province from every other in the Dominion, and to make the immigration of producing white people to it of double fundamental importance.
The pouring of capital into the Province for real estate investment is inseparable from railway construction. A reasonable check on speculation will keep perpetual obligations to pay interest fairly down to the speed of increased production in tributary territory on which alone the permanent prosperity of cities depends.

British Columbia needs people for the cultivable valleys, who will, among other things, prevent the transference to foreign countries of capital on which British Columbia must pay interest, for food which should be grown in the Province. This need must be met by the limitation of the land speculative element in the placing of immigration.

This is specially true of the north-western part of the Province, shortly to be served by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Agriculturally, this territory offers a unique field for immigration on scientific lines, with such Government assurance of underlying economic conditions as will make the proposition really attractive to the discriminating settler.

"Settlers the Provinces Need," in Canada Today, 1913, p. 38.

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