June 6, 1914

HOUSE OF COMMONS. APPOINTMENT OP OFFICIALS.


Mr. SPEAKER informed the House that he had directed the Clerk of the House to lay upon the table his recommendation and other papers respecting the appointment of Mr. J. A. D'Astous, as a reviser of translation, and Mr. Henri Trudel, as translator on the debates staff of the House.


LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

May I ask if Mr. Trudel has passed the necessary examination?

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Yes.

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THE EMPRESS OF IRELAND DISASTER.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

I would like to read to the House further telegrams of sympathy which have been received in connection with the disaster to the Empress of Ireland:

Brisbane, June 6, 1914.

Hon. Premier,

Ottawa, Ont.

Heartfelt sympathy citizens South Brisbane in recent awful disaster.

Mayor Allen. Brisbane, June 1.

Hon. Premier,

Ottawa, Canada.

On behalf Queensland Government and people, please accept our sympathy with you at appalling loss of life in connection with sinking of

Empress of Ireland, and also deepest sympathy with the injured and bereaved ones.

W. H. Barnes,

Acting Premier.

Regina, Sask., June 4.

Hon. R. L. Borden,

Ottawa, Ont.

All the officers and members of the Regina Board of Trade in regular meeting assembled desire to express our heartfelt sympathy with those who have been bereaved on the occasion of the unfortunate and unparalleled catastrophe in the sinking of the Empress of Ireland on May twenty-ninth. Regina in common with other communities mourns the untimely loss of useful lives.

S. C. Burton,

President, Regina Board of Trade.

From Governor of Jamaica to His Royal Highness the Governor General:

Kingston, June 4, 1914.

On behalf of Jamaica desire to express sincere sympathy in the loss of so many lives by the disaster to the Empress of Ireland.

(Sgd) Manning.

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IMMIGRATION OF HINDUS.


On the Orders of the Day being called:


LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I wish to remind the right hon. the Premier of the inquiry I made yesterday in respect to the Hindus in Vancouver harbour, and of his promise that the Minister of the Interior would make a statement in regard to that matter to-day. I hope the minister's statement will be more full and frank than that with which we have been favoured so far.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

I do not think I made

any distinct promise. I said:

It is my belief that the reports are very largely exaggerations. The Minister of the Interior has not reported to me in regard to the matter, as I think he would have done if anything unusual occurred. I will direct his attention to the inquiry of the hon. member.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

Yes.

Mr. Oliver: Would the minister, instead of restricting himself to saying that the newspapers are not correct, say exactly what the position is ?

Mr. Borden: Yes.

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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. ROOHE:

I have just had placed in my hands the following memorandum from the Superintendent of Immigration:

The ship arrived at Victoria, B.C., on the 21st ultimo with 376 Hindus aboard, but without any bill of health. Arrangements were made with the public health authorities to pass quarantine and the ship proceeded to Vancouver, where in accordance with instructions issued

by the Dominion immigration agent, she anchored in the harbour about half a mile off shore. The medical and civil examinations have been in progress since that date. Counsel for the department called attention to the necessity of holding a board of inquiry, sitting on each individual case. This necessitates considerable delay. The examinations are being conducted on board ship, rather than on shore: first, because of our lack of facilities on shore, and further, to prevent unnecessary communication between the Hindus resident in Canada and those who are now applying for admission, and further to prevent escapes.

In the medical examination 90 of the Hindus have been rejected, while at least 4 have been landed as returning to Canada after having acquired domicile in this country. The examination is proceeding and all those who can comply with the regulations will be admitted.

The allegation that Hindus are starving from lack of food is a gross exaggeration, according to reports received from the Dominion Immigration agent at Vancouver. Yesterday I wired our agent to see that passengers do not suffer from hunger. Reports to hand this morning indicate that an offer was made yesterday to the charterer of the vessel, Gurdit Singh, to place provisions aboard and it was proposed to supply 2 tons of flour, 300 lbs. of rice, fruit and other articles, but the representatives of the Hindus refused, unless in addition to the flour, rice, fruit, etc., they were given ginger, cabbage, purified butter, milk, 50 live sheep or goats, 100 live fowl, 200 boxes of cigarettes, red pepper, spices, crates of eggs, etc. The department has offered an arrangement by which the charterer of the ship (who claims to have 1,500 tons of coal for sale) can unload his cargo, but this has been refused. The hunger strike, which has been so widely advertised, is said to be only apparent, as information secured from the ship's officers shows that Hindus are eating food at night and that food is available to meet the present requirements.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am not particularlyinterested, nor do I think the country is, as to whether these Hindus live on fish or fowl.

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LIB
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

What I am interested in knowing is whether or not the Government is enforcing the Order in Council passed some time ago which absolutely excludes white people from the coast ports. If it [DOT]is being enforced I do not see why there should be this extraordinary delay in passing upon the applications of these Hindus for entry. If it had been a shipload of white artisans a decision would have been reached long ago. I would also like to know whether legal proceedings have been taken, and if that is the cause of what seems to be the unwarrantable delay of the department in dealing with this matter?

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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. ROCHE:

I can only say that the Order in Council is being enforced

against the Hindus just as it would be against any other class of people. As the hon. gentleman knows, these men have a right, in common with every other person seeking access to Canada, to demand a board of inquiry. The examination is proceeding, but necessarily involves considerable delay, because many of the Hindus are not conversant with the English language, and interpreters and counsel have had to be engaged. A separate inquiry is held in the case of each individual, and that involves considerable delay. Those Hindus are endeavouring to prove that they are not labourers in some instances, and if one provision of our Immigration Act is not sufficient to exclude them, possibly another provision may be sufficient. Of course, we cannot take charge of the vessel and send these people back without holding an inquiry. All we can do is to prevent them landing until each individual case has been inquired into, and that will take some time.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I saw it mentioned in the papers that while this vessel was lying at anchor a shipload of Chinese were admitted into British Columbia. If this Order in Council is effective only against white men and Hindus, and not effective against Chinamen, and if it is in accordance with the law as it stands, I wish to repeat the suggestion I made before that while the House is in session means should be taken to alter the law so that that anomaly shall not be continued.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. gentleman is

going too far in making an argument, instead of asking a question.

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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. ROCHE:

The Order in Council is

effective against the Chinese and will 'be enforced against the Chinese.

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June 6, 1914