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Across the Canadian Prairies
Changes for Immigrants

It is only natural that an inquiry should be made as to the chances and opportunities Canada offers to the various classes which form the bulk of the emigration movement both from the United Kingdom and the Continent. In a new country there must necessarily be more opportunities for advancement than in an older one, and usually there is not that observance of cast-iron rules which generally prevails in more ancient communities,, It must be stated, however, that success in the Colonies demands just the same qualities as those which are required elsewhere, and perhaps in an even greater degree. Many people in the Colonies—and this applies especially to Canada—have risen from very small beginnings; and practically the same chances are open to the youth of the present day, with the qualification, of course, that competition is greater now than it used to be.

After all, however, the classes of people wanted in Canada are comparatively limited, although there is room enough for an unlimited number of the right sort. Capitalists, large and small, are what are chiefly desired, and, if they can be induced to go in any considerable number, there will be no difficulty in getting those who live by their labour to follow. In agriculture, in lumber, in the fisheries, in mining, and in manufactures, there is, no doubt, money to be made, but it is the agriculturist that the country stands in special need of at the present time, to bring into cultivation the millions of acres of land that is now unoccupied. The farmer with a little capital may go to almost any part of the country with the certainty of doing well, but, of course, some parts will be likely to suit him better than others, and upon this point ho must m&ko full inquiry. In the older Provinces of Canada, while Government land may still be obtained very cheaply, it must not be forgotten that the land is generally covered with wood, and requires to be cleared before it can be tilled, and that the average “old countryman” is not specially qualified for work of that character. Improved farms may be obtained at reasonable prices and on easy terms of payment, but much will depend, of course, on the contiguity of the farm to settlements, railways, and waterways. In Manitoba and the North-West free grants of land may be obtained, unencumbered with trees and ready for the plough, but even there it must be remembered that land near the railways and the rivers is taken up rapidly, and that free homesteads can only now be had a few miles distant from railway stations and settlements. It is therefore a question whether a settler, if he has a little capital, would not be well advised in buying an improved farm even on the prairie, leaving the younger and hardier spirits to undertake the pioneer work. Canada, of course, has its drawbacks, as well as its advantages, but the latter are generally considered to outweigh the former, which explains the expansion that is continually taking place. It would be idle to ignore the fact that the Canadian farmer has felt the depression that has been passing over tho world, but at the same time the low prices have hit him less hard than farmers in many other countries. This arises from the fact that his land is cheap, taxation is low, labour-saving appliances are in constant use, that ho is his own landlord, and last, but not least, that ho and the members of his family do their own work and only employ such additional hands as are absolutely necessary. Of course there is no royal road to fortune by way of agriculture in Canada any more than elsewhere, but it will provide a comfortable living and a healthy life, two things in themselves sufficiently important to attract tho attention of people who may be thinking of emigration.

Farm labourers are in considerable demand in all parts of the country, but single men are preferred to married men with families, as it is not the custom to put up cottages on Canadian farms for the use of the labourers, all the hands employed living under the one roof. Of course there are exceptions in the older Provinces, but, as a general rule, single men are preferred. Canada affords excellent opportunities for farm labourers. They live well and get good wages, so that if they are hard-working and thrifty there is nothing to prevent them starting on their own account in a few years if they have any ambition to do so. Hundreds and thousands of instances could be found where this has been the case, and one cannot help thinking how much bettor it would be for the thousands of farm labourers who in the last few years have migrated from the English rural districts to the towns, if they had gone to Canada instead of passing a more or less miserable existence among the congested populations which they have helped to swell. In Canada they could have turned their skill to some advantage, while in the English towns they have simply become unskilled labourers, uncertain of employment, living from day to day and from hand to mouth.

Another class for which there is a great demand is female servants, both in the country districts and in the towns. In every place that one goes to, the cry is, “Send us more servants,” and the wonder is that the demand does not attract a greater supply. Wages are generally good, although, excepting in Manitoba, the North-West Territories, and British Columbia, not higher than in London; but the homes are comfortable, and the girls seem to have more freedom and more liberty than at home. One of the difficulties of colonial ladies is that their servants get married so rapidly, which perhaps, however, the servants do not regard as a disadvantage. There is no doubt that servant girls have a disinclination to travel far away from home, especially if they have to go alone, and have no friends in the places to which they may be going. This difficulty, however, is overcome to a certain extent by the supervision that is afforded by Emigration societies in the United Kingdom, by the Government agents, and by the Ladies’ Committees which are to be found in most of the Canadian cities and towns. In many cases, accommodation is provided by the committees until satisfactory employment is found, which is generally only a question of a few hours.

The emigration of mechanics, general labourers, and navvies is not encouraged, unless they are proceeding to join friends already settled in the country. The reason for this is obvious. The demand for labour is generally met by the available supply on the spot and by the immigration that voluntarily takes place, and it stands to reason that if, in a country with a limited population like Canada, a large indiscriminate immigration was invited of people to whom immediate employment was a necessity, it would be simply creating a congestion of population, and an unemployed question, and throw back the current of desirable immigration for many years. Therefore, it is much bettor that emigration of this class should only be encouraged in such numbers as can be readily absorbed. The emigration to Canada could easily be increased to treble its present numbers, but, unless it consisted of people for whom there is a demand, it would only promote difficulty and trouble, and the Canadian Government deserve congratulation on tho careful and circumspect manner in which this part of its work is conducted.

With regard to the professions and to the lighter callings, including clerks of all kinds, it may be stated that there is little opening for emigration of that kind. The demand is met by the local supply, and naturally anyone living in Canada has an advantage over the stranger, although ho may be a British subject. Of course, there is always room at the top of the ladder, but competition is keen, and anyone who knows the country would hesitate to recommend persons of the classes named to go out, especially if obliged to rely upon immediate occupation for a livelihood.

The object of tins series of letters has been to give some description, slight and imperfect though it may be, of the parts of Canada which are traversed in journeying from the Atlantic to the Pacific; also to give an idea of the industries of the people, and of the classes which can be recommended to go to Canada, with the certainty of doing well. If they are successful in creating some little interest in the country, and in stimulating further inquiries about its many attractions, its great resources and capabilities, the writer will be abundantly satisfied.

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