Editorial

Dear Mr. Pickersgill: Thanks for the Hungarian refugees

January 19 1957
Editorial

Dear Mr. Pickersgill: Thanks for the Hungarian refugees

January 19 1957

Dear Mr. Pickersgill: Thanks for the Hungarian refugees

Editorial

After having rapped the Canadian immigration department on the knuckles on several past occasions, it is pleasant to be able to slap it on the back on this one. The offer to bring in as many Hungarian refugees as wish to come to Canada is generous, wise and proper.

In common with most Canadians, Maclean’s is utterly confident that over the long haul the Hungarians will be an asset and a credit to this country. Mr. Jack Pickersgill, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, has already remarked on this, apparently with some astonishment. He was reported to be thunderstruck to find that the new Canadians were “just the kind of people Canada wants and needs . . . young, healthy and anxious to work.”

Well and good. But even had they been aged, ill and infirm we still would feel that it is Canada's moral duty to take them in. For we can no longer afford the luxury of a selfish immigration policy, designed solely for our own advantage.

We have been speaking to the world too long with two voices—with the voice of Mr. Pearson at the UN, trying to show Canada as a responsible nation dedicated to a policy of internationalism; with the voice of Mr. Pickersgill at Ottawa, intimating that Canada is a closed corporation, eligible only for the elite of Europe.

It would be foolish to pretend that the present influx of twenty thousand refugees from a foreign state will lead only to sweetness and light, no matter how suitable these new Canadians are as immigrants. There

are going to be problems—problems of rehabilitation, problems of employment, problems of housing, education and medical care. Most of all there will be the problem of fitting an alien people into a new society. It's quite in the cards that some Canadians may find their jobs taken by newcomers, houses harder to get because of the influx, classrooms a little more overcrowded. Each one of us can probably expect to be made temporarily a little more uncomfortable because of what has happened.

But this has become an uncomfortable world, and we have thus far been fortunate to live in the least uncomfortable corner of it. Canada, at the moment, represents a vacuum on this overcrowded planet. If we insist on an immigration policy that considers only our own comfort then we are bequeathing our kin a legacy of hatred, distrust, envy and, eventually, violence. If we do not fill the vacuum on our own, pressures from without will fill it sooner or later under circumstances far more uncomfortable than the most liberal immigration policy.

In the case of Hungary, of course, there is a further political consideration, as the government wisely realizes. Our brave phrases in the UN would sound awfully hollow in Eastern Europe if we didn’t show that Canada is, and always will be, a haven for those who must flee from tyranny.

Thus, as is so often the case, the moral decision turns out to be the practical decision. The idealists turn out to be the ultimate realists. If we are to survive, then we must learn to be our brother’s keeper.

Maclean-Hunter Publishing Company Limited. Horace T. Hunter, Chairman of the Board. Floyd S. Chalmers, President. Donald F. Hunter, Vice-President and Managing Director. Thomas H. Howse, Vice-President and Comptroller. Editorial, Circulation and Advertising Offices: 481 University Avenue, Toronto 2, Canada. Publishing Office: 1242 Peel Street. Montreal 2. Canada. U. S. A.: Maclean-Hunter Publishing Corporation. 522 Fifth Ave., New York 36. Great Britain: Maclean-Hunter Limited. 125 Strand. London, W.C.2. Single copies 15c. Subscription prices: In Canada, 1 year $3.00, 2 years $5.00. 3 years $7.00, 5 years $10.00. All other countries $6.00 per year. Authorized as Second Class Mail, Post Office Department, Ottawa. Contents copyright, 1957 by MacleanHunter Publishing Company Limited. Characters and names in fiction stories appearing in Maclean’s are imaginary. Contents may not be reprinted without permission. Manuscripts submitted to Maclean s must be accompanied by self-addressed envelopes and sufficient postage for their return. The publishers will exercise every care in handling but will not be responsible for the loss of any manuscript, drawing or photograph.