Saskatchewan Gen Web Project - SASKATCHEWAN AND ITS PEOPLE by JOHN HAWKES Vol 1I 1924

SASKATCHEWAN AND ITS PEOPLE
1924



         

The Peopling of Saskatchewan.

THE EUROPEAN IMMIGRANT.

For weal or woe the foreign immigrant is with us in large numbers and in considerable variety. There are those who look upon this fact with disfavor, and who would if possible reserve Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada for the English speaking peoples. The complaint is that the Euro- pean immigrants never really become British, and have no interest in the country outside of their material interests; that they occupy land, and re- ceive wages, which should by rights belong to our own people; and that it is a piece of folly to encourage foreign immigration when there is a sur- plus population in the British Islands of our own race who could profit- ably occupy the land, and provide the labor necessary for our development. The working man fears that foreign labor will depress wages, and the farmer or prospective farmer, notes that there are large areas of land, which, but for the European would still be open to his choice. There is a certain color of plausibility in all this, but it is not in our opinion in accord with the facts.

The fully grown European undoubtedly clings to his own nationality, his own religion, and his own customs, but the man who could forget the land that bred him, the religion in which he was raised, and despise the language and the customs of his forefathers, could not be of much national value in any country. All that should be asked, and need be asked, of the foreign immigrant is that he should be industrious and law-abiding. If he tills his farm, or earns his wages in peace and quietness, and is an eco- nomic asset, and not an incubus, that is sufficient; for he is needed pri- marily not as a citizen or as a patriot, but as a tiller of the land, a builder of railroads, a digger of sewers, a hewer of wood and a drawer of water. It is too much to expect him to become a full fledged Canadian in feeling or in aspiration. A Slovak or Polak, a German, a Hungarian, a Scandi- navian, Finn or Serbian he was born; and as he was born, so will he die, as far as his racial sense is concerned. At the best his knowledge of oui language and his grasp of our political constitution will be imperfect. There are many exceptional instances of course, but in the main the wisest thing is, while giving the mature foreign immigrant every possible assist- ance if he shows any desire to attain to sympathetic citizenship in his adopted country, to recognise that it is just as impossible to turn a mature Pole into a Canadian, as it would be to turn a Canadian into a Pole. If one heard of a Canadian who had settled in Poland, and had practically forgotten the land of his birth, we should say he must have been a pretty poor Canadian in any case, and Canada was well rid of him. But we should also consider him a poor Canadian if he did not do his best for the land of his adoption, which was providing him with the necessaries of life, and possibly an abundance over and above those necessaries.

The foreign immigrant has, quite unconsciously of course, placed West- ern Canada under a considerable weight of obligation. The railroads which alone make our development possible, could not have been built except at a snail's pace without him; rough and to a Canadian, undesirable sections of the country, would have remained long unsettled, instead of being brought into production and adding to the wealth of the world; our cities could only have been supplied with sewers and water mains after a long period of waiting, because only a small portion of the English speak- ing people would do that sort of work. After their construction the rail- roads would have remained in a state of chronic dis-repair through the Bibliography follows:



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THE STORY
OF
SASKATCHEWAN
AND ITS PEOPLE



By JOHN HAWKES
Legislative Librarian



Volume II
Illustrated



CHICAGO - REGINA
THE S.J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY
1924



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