March 27, 1903

LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Hon. Mr. ROSS (Victoria, N.S.).

I have a case in point in which the inspector hap-

pened to see a collector of customs who did not appear to be attending to his duty at the time, and the inspector reported unfavourably, and the man was consequently . dismissed. This dismissed official has since reformed and is now as steady and temperate a man as there is in the Dominion, which is saying a good deal. I have been trying to have justice done to this man by having the money returned to him which he paid into the superannuation fund but have not succeeded. I think that something should be added to this Bill which would enable the government to deal justly with a case of this kind.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Of course it sometimes happens that a man is dismissed for what is alleged to be cause but really is not cause. Take a case in my own city, that of Capt. Stewart, who was dismissed ostensibly for cause but really for something else. No investigation was ever granted although Capt. Stewart was anxious to have one. In a case of that kind, an officer who has been long in the service receives back no portion of the money which he has paid to the superannuation fund. I am not so familiar perhaps with the practice of commercial institutions in this regard as some of the other lion, members, but I know that some institutions of this country which have created pension funds, repay to their employees, even when dismissed for cause, the amount contributed by them to the fund, and they do this because they think it is only fair and equitable. They do not think it fair to keep the money of these men even if they are dismissed for cause. I would like to know whether the lion. Minister of Finance lias considered the question in this aspect ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The Superannuation Act as respects these matters is precisely in the same condition as it has been for many years. There is no provision which would enable repayment to be made in; a case such as my hon. friend has mentioned. The difficulty is if we once open the door, it will be impossible to draw any line. I have had cases brought to my attention, in which the wives represented that their husbands had been dismissed because of intemperance and other offences, and the dismissal of whom brought great hardship on their families. Such cases appeal forcibly to our sympathy, but once you begin to entertain claims of that kind it will be impossible to draw any line. We have been simply following the practice continued ever since the Act was passed some thirty years ago.

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

As regards banks, no clerk is dismissed, no matter from what cause, without having the money returned to him which he paid into the pension fund, and I think that is only fair.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Under what is called the Civil Service Retirement Mr, ROSS (Victoria, N.S.),

Act, which ha^ been passed in recent years, we return the money paid in. Under that Act the money contributed constituted a savings fund, and when an officer retires from the service he gets back his money with interest. This Act now takes the place of the old Superannuation Act as respects new officials.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Why should there be any difficulty in dealing with cases such as those brought to the attention of the hon. minister. Of course there may be cases of malfeasance in which it would not be desirable to return the money, but I think that the practice followed in commercial institutions should be followed by the government. I think that the practice [DOT] should be followed even in cases of malfeasance, but where there is no actual taking of money. It seems to me that there would be no difficulty in making a general rule.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

There is a broad distinction between the Superannuation Act and the Civil Service Retirement Act. In the latter there is no charge on the public treasury at all. We simply return the money paid in with interest. But in the case of the Superannuation Act, there is a large drain on the public treasury. For every dollar paid into the superannuation fund, we pay out three or four dollars. If we were to accede to my hon. friend's request, we would have to pay out considerably more. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister reminds me that under the Superannuation Act, no matter how long and meritorious a man's services may have been, if his death occurs before superannuation, his family receive nothing. In the case of life insurance, a man must die to benefit by it, but in the ease of the Superannuation Act, a man must live to get any benefit from it. I may say that while the contributions to the superannuation fund under the Superannuation Act amount' to $60,000 a year, we pay out annually $330,000, and if we were to take the course suggested by my hon. friend, we would add considerably to the burden.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The same argument would apply in the case of corporations because the pension fund of a private corporation is not only built up by the contributions of the employees but is also supplemented to a large extent by the institution itself. Then so far as the cases of death are concerned, I think there is always a gratuity-

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Only two months salary.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

That might not be very much. But the fact that that seems, perhaps, a not altogether desirable state of affairs is no particular reason why the government should depart from what is the ordinary usage among commercial institutions

throughout the country. However, I brought the matter to the attention of the Minister of Finance, and have no desire to say more at present. I am not going to move an amendment, because I have not considered the matter sufficiently myself. But I think it a matter that the government might well take into consideration.

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LIB

John Costigan

Liberal

Hon. Mr. COSTIGAN.

How would this affect the case of clerks who entered the service as temporary clerks but were afterwards appointed to the permanent service ? On their retirement, would they be entitled to have the retiring allowance based upon their whole time, including the time of temporary service ? The Act of 1871, I think, provided for temporary service, but it did not provide that a temporary clerk should contribute to the superannuation fund. In 1881, I think, an Order in Council-not an Act-was passed providing that a temporary clerk would have to contribute the same amount that he would have had to contribute had he been from the iirst a permanent clerk to entitle him to superannuation on his whole time. I would simply like to know how such cases would be affected by this measure.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I would say to my hon. friend from Victoria, N.B. (Hon. Mr. Costigan) that this measure does not touch that point at all.

Resolutions reported and agreed to.

The MINISTER OF FINANCE moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 19) to amend the Civil Service Superannuation Act.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


CHINESE IMMIGRATION.


House went into Committee on the following resolution : That it is expedient to amend the 32nd chapter 63-64 Vic., ' An Act respecting and restricting Chinese immigration,' by providing : 1st. That a tax of $500 shall be imposed on every person of Chinese origin entering Canada. 2nd. That the person in command of, or in charge of, any vessel or vehicle, bringing Chinese immigrants into Canada shall be personally liable to His Majesty, for the payment of the said tax, with respect to any such immigrant carried by such vessel or vehicle.-The Prime Minister.


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The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

Mr. Chairman, the House is aware that in the province of British Columbia there exists a very strong feeling against Asiatic immigration. This feeling is confined exclusively, in Canada to the province of British Columbia, and, as we are told, does not extend to other provinces of the Dominion, for the reason that there is no Asiatic immigration which is settled outside the province of British Columbia. As far back as twenty-five or thirty years

ago this feeling which exists in British Columbia commenced to manifest itself. In this regard, the province of British Columbia is not at all isolated from other portions of the world in which Asiatic or Mongolian immigration has settled. In California, in Australia, in -fact wherever the two races, Caucasian and Mongolian have come into contact, the same feeling has manifested itself. After giving it full consideration, every one who has looked into the matter must come to the conclusion that this antagonism is based upon ethnical considerations, the difference between the two races. It seems impossible to reconcile them, and the conclusion of all who have considered the matter seems to be that the amalgamation of the two is neither possible nor desirable, There are so many differences of character that it is supposed to be impossible to overcome them. At all events, in the province of British Columbia this feeling is very strong. In 1885, the government of Sir John Macdonald introduced a measure to impose a capitation tax of $50 on Chinese immigration coming into the Dominion. It was supposed that this tax would be sufficient to prevent, for the time being, the increase of this immigration; and for some years, it had that effect. But. of late years, the immigration has increased very rapidly, and a new agitation arose in the province, and representations were made to the government that there should be an increase in the capitation tax. In 1900. we doubled the capitation tax, making it $100. It was represented to us at that time by the members of British Columbia, whether they sat on this side of the House or the other, that the resolution then introduced would be inadequate to effect the purpose in view which was to check the immigration of Asiatic labourers into the country. We were aware that there was a good deal to be said in favour of the contention which was urged upon us. At all events we proceeded with our legislation and we then organized a commission to investigate the subject and report. The commission made its report. That report has been in the hands of hon. members of this House for eighteen months, and I presume that by this time it has become familar to all of us. The commissioners who, seem to have done their work very thoroughly, came to the conclusion that this kind of immigration ought to be prohibited. and that, if it was not absolutely prohibited the tax should be increased to such' a figure as to restrict the immigration to very narrow limits. I would call the attention of the House to the conclusion of the. commissioners which is found at page 279 of the report, as follows ;

4. In reference to the representations made by the people and legislature of British Columbia. wherein it is alleged : .

That the province is flooded with an undesirable class of people, non-assimilative and most detrimental to the wage-earning classes of the people of the province, and that this ex-

tensive immigration of orientals is also a menace to the health of the community ;

That there is probability of a great disturbance to the economic conditions in the province and of grave injury being caused to the working classes by the large influx of labourers from China, as the standard of living of the masses of the people in that country differs so widely from the standard prevailing in the province, thus enabling them to work for a much less wage ;

That it is in the interests of the empire that the Pacific province of the Dominion should be occupied by a large and thoroughly British population rather than by one in which the number of aliens would form a large proportion :

We find that these representations are substantially true and urgently call for a remedy.

We also find that the increase of the capitation tax from $50 to $100 is ineffective and inadequate.

Your commissioners are of opinion that the further immigration of Chinese labourers into Canada ought to be prohibited ;

That the most desirable and effective means of attaining this end is by treaty supported by suitable legislation ;

That in the meantime and until this can be obtained the capitation tax should be raised to $500.

The only point upon which your commissioners could not agree is the date when the capitation tax of $500 ought to come into effect. The chairman and commissioner Foley are of opinion that the capitation tax should be raised to $500 at once, while commissioner Munn is of opinion that $300 should be imposed for two years, and if a prohibitive treaty be not obtained within that period, that it be then raised to $500. _

I may say that I entertain no hope in the present condition of China of having such a treaty as is here indicated ; therefore, we have taken the course of asking parliament to increase at once the capitation tax from $100 to $500 as here recommended. Now, with regard to Japanese immigration, the same prejudice, I am sorry to say, exists in British Columbia concerning the Japanese as the Chinese. I say I am sorry for it, because for my part I make a distinction between Japan and China. Japan is one of the rising nations of the present day. It has shown itself to be very progressive, it does not seem to me at all doubtful that within a short period Japan will have placed itself in the fore front among the civilized nations of the earth. But whatever may be my feelings in this matter, it is a matter of record for there can be no dispute that in British Columbia the feeling towards the Japanese is exactly the same as towards the Chinese. The Japanese is not looked upon as a desirable immigrant. But as I said a moment ago, though I am prejudiced in favour of the Japanese, I must confess that there is little probability that it will be possible to assimilate the Japanese immigrant to the standard of Canadian civilization. The ethnical differences are also of such a character as to make it very doubtful whether assimilation of the two races could ever take Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

place. But the problem has been solved so far as British Columbia is concerned by the Japanese government themselves, who have undertaken not only to restrict but absolutely to prohiibit Japanese immigration from that country to Canada. The report of the commissioners upon this point is also very pertinent. Some two or three years ago the Japanese government issued an order, I cannot say whether it was legislative or executive, but at ail events a legal order, absolutely to prohibit within certain limits, immigration from Japan into Canada. The report of the commissioners upon this point is to be found at page 399 :

Your commissioners fully appreciate the action taken by the government of Japan on August 2, 1900, whereby the governors of the prefectures of Japan were instructed to prohibit entirely for the time being the emigration of Japanese labourers for the Dominion of Canada. It is stated in a pamphlet purporting to be published by the Japanese consul at Vancouver : ' the principal reason for the measure thus taken was to avoid any friction that might occur by allowing them to come into British Columbia where their immigration was not desired by a certain element of that province,' and that ' the government of Japan wholly stopped the issuance of passports to any intending emigrants for Canada since the 1st of August last (1900), and still continues to do so, under a provision of the Immigration Protection Law. (Law No. 70, 1896).

The course adopted by the Japanese government, if we may without presumption be permitted to say so, is most opportune, eliminating all cause of friction and irritation between Canada and Japan, and so favouring a freer trade and intercourse between the countries than could otherwise obtain.

Nothing further is needed to settle this most difficult question upon a firm basis than some assurance that the action already taken by the government of Japan will not be revoked.

Your commissioners desire to express their earnest hope that in the continuance of this friendly policy, legislation on this subject by the Canadian government may he rendered unnecessary. Should, however, a change of policy be adopted in this regard by the Japanese government whereby Japanese labourers may again be permitted to emigrate to Canada, the welfare of the province of British Columbia imperatively demands that effective measures be adopted to take the place of the inhibition now imposed by the Japanese government.

Your commissioners recommend that, in that event, an Act be pased by the Dominion government on the lines of what is known as the Natal Act. made sufficiently stringent and effective to accomplish the desired result.

There is no necessity to go back to that, because the action of the imperial Japanese government is sufficient of itself to cover the ground. Under the action just taken by the Japanese government, three classes of persons only are allowed to leave the shores of Japan for Canada. First, those who hold both a passport and a certificate of the Japanese consul at Vancouver certifying that they are resident in Canada, and are only returning to this country ; second, those families of Japanese resident

in Canada coming out to join them upon approval of the Japanese consul at Vancouver ; third, merchants and students duly qualified. Within these bounds, even according to the most extreme views which may be entertained in British Columbia, no harm can come from Japanese immigration, because no Japanese immigration except what is here specified is possible ; therefore, it is not necessary at this time to pass any legislation to prohibit that class of immigrants. For these reasons we maintain that restriction only to Chinese and not to Japanese immigrants.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I would like to ask the right lion, gentleman on what the action of the government was based in disallowing the recent acts of the British Columbia legislature ? Perhaps he will be good enough to give us information as to what the acts were which were disallowed.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I cannot at this moment, speaking from memory, state the nature of the Acts. Speaking in very general terms, the Acts which were disallowed were of a nature which prevented Japanese and Chinese working in the mines. We had had communication several times with the government of British Columbia to the effect that if they would restrict the operation of their Act to Chinese labourers only and exempt the Japanese labourers, we would not object and would not disallow the Act ; but if they were to continue to apply these restrictions to Japanese labourers as well as to Chinese, we thought such legislation would come into conflict with our views upon the obligations which rested on Canada as part of the British empire. Japan being an ally of Great Britain, we thought it extremely unadvisable to pass any Act which might cause friction between the empire of Japan and the British empire. Of course if the Japanese government had refused to take any action and had allowed the subjects of that empire to flood the British Columbia labour market, we would have been probably induced to reconsider our own views. Representations were made by our officials, at all events, I may say that verbal representations were made by myself to the Japanese consul. In view of the fact that the Japanese government had prohibited their own people from coming to Canada, we thought that there was no necessity for enacting such legislation, and therefore we took the action that we did. I have had further communication with my friend. Mr. Prior, the present premier of British Columbia on this subject, and I hope that in future any legislation that may be passed in British Columbia will be confined to Chinese labourers, and in that view we have notified the government of British Columbia that we see no cause to interfere.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Did the disallowance take place upon the initiative

of this government or was it upon representations of the imperial government ?

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I have not looked at the correspondence for some time,

I am not aware that we have any correspondence upon the subject, but I think it was done upon our own initiative.

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March 27, 1903