Page last updated 02 November 2005
[To George Marlow Leeson]
From The ‘War Cry’, Canada East, March 8th 1924, page 9
After-Care for Boys in Canada
Far-Reaching Plans for enlargement of Facilities to deal with Young Emigrants
Commissioner Lamb Interviewed
By Arthur E. Copping in the British ‘War Cry’
Following upon Commissioner Lamb’s recent return from Canada, the General announces a new departure in his emigration policy, and a new departure of far-reaching importance.
For many years past The Army has possessed unique machinery, not only for safely conveying individuals and families from this country to our trans-Atlantic Dominion, but also establishing them there and standing by as advisor and friend in their early years of settlement.
The new departure belongs to the vital matter of after-care and mainly concerns the British lads who on concluding a special course of practical agricultural training under Army auspices, go to seek the smiling fortunes that Canada offers to its industrious.
The new departure does not supplant any feature in the existing machinery of helpfulness and of the localized helping hand – a machinery whereby special migration Officers work through the network of corps spread across Canada. On the contrary, the new departure is supplementary and consists in the setting up of a new machinery, of which the purpose, character, and scope are revealed in the following statement by Commissioner Lamb.
To Select, Train and settle 1,000 Boys This Year
“During an absence of on calendar month, “ he said, “I have travelled 11,000 miles and concluded agreements with the Federal Government, besides making arrangements with five of the Provincial Governments, under which they will co-operate in our schemes for settling lads in various parts of the Dominion. But first let me mention that of the 300 we sent out last summer, we have brought back only five. The others are at work on farms, none having drifted into towns. There is a great demand for our young migrants, even in districts which last year were a little shy of asking help from us. Now that the people have seen some of our lads, they are calling eagerly for more. Before the General left, he agreed to certain proposals whereby we shall, during the coming season, select, train, and settle in Canada at least 1,000 boys of from fifteen to seventeen. This will involve The Army in an expenditure of $50,000 over and above grants made by the British and Canadian Governments: and let me at once indicate an important innovation that will absorb part of that $50,000.”
“We propose to establish centres within which we shall concentrate our young settlers, so that each one will live within easy access of experienced and responsible Army Officers, who will be there to befriend and assist him, spiritually as well as temporally and morally. Already the cables are at work, certain properties having been provisionally secured for this purpose in various parts of the Dominion. The centres under consideration are at Woodstock for Western Ontario, Smith’s Falls for Eastern Ontario, Moncton for the Maritime Provinces and Brandon for the Prairie Provinces: the large cities being purposely avoided. Each centre will be in charge of a married Officer, the wife being, of course, a motherly soul. This Officer, with his helpers, will inspect the farms whither it is proposed to send boys. The centre will be, not an institution, but a home, with spare beds for emergencies. Having received a good grounding at Row Road, London and Hadleigh, the boys will be ready to go direct to their farms. But there will be some misfits, and the centres will accommodate boys for whom new employers are being found. It will also be available for boys too ill for farm treatment, yet not ill enough for removal to a hospital.”
“Sometimes, as is natural, a discouraged or homesick boy will want nursing round the corner. All of this is the outcome of experience: for at Montreal I met The Army Migration Officers who are at work from Halifax to Vancouver, and we talked these matters over. Practical points were brought forward – for instance, the case of the boy who, because of the healthy climate and life, abruptly grows out of his outfit before his earnings are quite equal to purchasing clothes of a greater chest or arm measurements. Our centre will be there to refit him. The Officers of the nearest Corps and the Government agents will continue to be available to help the young settler, but ours is the responsibility, and the General has laid it down as a principle that, notwithstanding any co-operation or supervision by these others, we have to make the arrangements and we have to stand by the boy.”
“You mentioned $50,000 as the department’s cost this end of transplanting a thousand lads, and $50 per head is certainly a low enough payment to ensure a prosperous Imperial career. But is the $50 wholly irrecoverable?”
During the First Two Years of Settlement
“By no means.” Replied the Commissioner. “Just how much will come back I cannot quite say, but it will be substantially more than $25. During the first two years of his settlement the boy makes small repayments out of his wages. These repayments are calculated on scales (for wages vary as between the Maritime Provinces, Ontario, the Prairie Provinces and British Columbia) that leave the lad ample for clothes and pocket money. And as these repayments are strictly limited to the first two years, I think it will be admitted that, by these Army arrasngements, the British lad receives his preliminary training, his outfit, his transport, and his after-care on very favourable terms.”
“To sum up then, friend of The Army who subscribe $50,000 will do more than benefit one thousand lads and put them in a position to assist in building up, and strengthening the British empire?”
“Yes: over $25,000 will return to enable another batch of more than 500 lads to be transplanted. Later a third contingent of over 250 will be benefited by the same money; and so on.”
And thus our interview with Commissioner Lamb justifies an expectation that after-care problems having been satisfactorily solved, the great humanitarian work of Imperial Migration will now go forward with new momentum and increased success.