May 23, 1932


On the orders of the day:


LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

I have received a telegram

from a Mrs. Stahlberg, of Montreal, stating that her husband, John Stahlberg, a resident of Canada for twelve years, was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, on orders from the Immigration department, at their home, 1342 St. Antoine street, Montreal, on May 19, and immediately placed on a train for Halifax. May I ask the Minister of Immigration why it is that this policy of snatching people away from their homes, without giving them the opportunity of a trial in the place of their residence, is being continued. It seems to me to be very unjust and heartless, especially in the case of those men with families, and perhaps the minister could give some information with reference to this case.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. W. A. GORDON (Acting Minister of Immigration and Colonization):

I have not before me the particulars of the case to which reference has been made, but I think the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre is scarcely stating the position correctly when he suggests that people are being whisked away- if that is what he said-[DOT]

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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?

An hon. MEMBERS:

Snatched away.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

-snatched away from their homes and placed under arrest and tried. That is not the position at all. These sections of the Immigration Act under which officials of the department are functioning have been the subject of very considerable debate in this house on a number of occasions. Hon. members who were here in 1910 will remember the debate that then arose when the section of the act as it presently appears in the statutes was brought into being. And in. 1919, as some hon. members will recollect, the act was twice amended, in the one session I believe. These amendments were the subject of a good deal of debate in this chamber on a number of occasions, and I believe amendments to the sections in question were passed twice by this chamber. I do not think the amendments received the approval of the other house. Then in 1928, the section as it presently stands, which is a re-enactment of the legislation of 1910, was passed by this house, and it sets out the method to be followed in connection with investigations in the cases of those who may be or may have been guilty of an infraction of this law.

These men are not snatched away from their homes; they are not under arrest, although they are in detention, it is quite true. Many suggestions have been made as to some other method that might be pursued-Some say that they should be incarcerated in the gaol in their home city. They have not been convicted of an offence; they are not on trial; but their conduct as aliens in Canada is under review to determine whether or not they have a right to stay in Canada.

I am not going to go into this question at any great length. I could discuss it at very great length, but I feel that certain members of this chamber are sufficiently acquainted with this law and are quite familiar with the method which, of necessity, has to be pursued if law is to be enforced and those responsible for the invocation of the law are to do their duty. The board of inquiry may consist of one or of three members; the law makes provision for that. Those men whose conduct in Canada is under review are entitled, I think, to have their conduct reviewed by a competent board of inquiry composed of three members. True it is that the act contemplates that they may be brought before a board of inquiry at an immigrant station anywhere in Canada. Now, had they been brought before the nearest immigrant station, let us say, for example, at some port on the boundary, where there are no detention quarters, to start with, and reviewed by one officer, who works part time for customs and part time for immigration and is not acquainted with the practice and procedure contemplated by this section, that would not, in my opinion, be a fair review of the alien's case and a fair determination of it. There are very few places in Canada-the necessity has not arisen- where boards of inquiry composed of three members are set up, and there are very few places where proper detention quarters are available- for the detention of aliens until such time as their cases can be reviewed and their appeals heard.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

If I may interrupt

the minister, is it not quite true, in the Winnipeg cases, that we have proper quarters right in the city of Winnipeg?

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

I will come to that in

a moment. With respect to those cases that have been the subject of some comment -in some sections of the press recently- the evidence of the alien's right to stay in Canada was within the knowledge, in almost all of the cases, of the same witnesses. That made it rather difficult for the officers enforc-

Deportation. Cases

ing the law to be here and there all over Canada, as occasion might arise, when the men were detained for investigation. The department-1 believe they adopted the proper course-considered that these men, in having their conduct reviewed, should be brought before a board of inquiry composed of three persons, men who were well acquainted with the law and with what the law contemplates, rather than being taken before an officer not qualified to make a decision of this kind. I do not say that disrespectfully of these officers, because of necessity they are located at places in Canada where a close investigation of the effect of this law is not necessary in order that their duties may be properly discharged. Had they been brought before the nearest board of inquiry of one, then it would likely have been very incompetently considered from the standpoint of the alien whose case was under review. I agree with the stand taken by the officers of the department that there is necessity for uniformity in connection with these cases.

It has been suggested by some newspapers, and I think by some hon. members, that these men are not being given a fair trial. They are not on trial. The hon. member for Lis-gar (Mr. Brown) does not agree with that, but the fact is that they are aliens whose conduct and whose right to be in Canada is merely under review. If, on the one hand, it is found that they have the right to be here, they are immediately returned to their homes, as I believe one or two have been. If, on the other hand, it is found that they are here wrongfully or illegally or, being here legally, have transgressed our laws or are bent on stirring up distrust or riot, are bent on breaking our laws, then, so far as the officers of the department are concerned, after that has been made clear proceedings are taken in connection with deportation. These men are not precluded from the right to resort to habeas corpus and for some unaccountable reason they seem to be better fortified with money to carry on defence than even our own citizens are when they fall foul of the iaw.

There is another aspect of this matter upon which I think I should comment. There are many tens of thousands of law-abiding well-ordered citizens of foreign countries living in Canada. These people desire to obey our law's and are appreciative of what is offered to them in this country. But they suffer from the actions of the very indifferent percentage who will persist in waging war against our institutions. British subjects in Canada and

Canadian born people are prone to class all people from foreign lands as undesirable. They do it unconsciously but it is very unjust and unfair to many of these people. My association with many thousands of them who come from parts of the world other than the British Empire, mainly Europe, has convinced me that they are being penalized by the actions of their compatriots. These people are wholesome, upstanding and decent citizens of this country and they are being penalized by the actions of a small percentage of those w-ho want to stir up difficulties and distrust of our institutions. I do not propose to administer the affairs of this department in such a way that those who are endeavouring to obey our laws and who are proud of their right to be in this country are to be penalized because of the actions of some of their countrymen who do not seem to realize or appreciate the advantages afforded them by reason of the right given to enter Canada.

As time goes on it becomes more obvious that the last place on earth to which these men want to be sent is to their country of origin, and that is the place where they should be sent if they are not appreciative of the advantages and the rights conferred when they were allowed to enter Canada and live among the British and native born people of our country. I do not like to dwell too long on this matter but I assure the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woods-worth) that these men are being denied no right to spread their case upon the record. They are given the right to appear before me on appeal; they are given ample time and opportunity and are advised that they can appeal to the courts under habeas corpus proceedings. Not one word of evidence is taken down in any one of these cases until the person whose conduct and right to remain in Canada is under review is advised that he has the right to retain competent counsel. And these men do procure counsel, at times very expensive counsel, and their cases are determined fairly and justly as contemplated by our laws. If it is found that they have no right to remain in Canada, then I assure hon. members that I propose to carry out the duty cast upon me to invoke this law just as vigorously and fairly as I know how.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Before the minister concludes, may I ask-

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

This matter is not the subject of debate.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I was merely asking a question.

Civil Service Act

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member asked a question and the minister replied to it at length.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I intended to ask merely a supplementary question before the minister concluded. I should like to know if there have been cases where aliens have had their naturalization certificates cancelled?

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The act provides for that.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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CON

Wesley Ashton Gordon (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Labour; Minister of Mines)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GORDON:

I have not before me any detailed information with respect to the question asked by the hon. member, but I can say that the act certainly provides for the cancellation of naturalization certificates in cases where those certificates should be cancelled. I believe there have been a number of cancellations; if there have not, there should have been.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

There have been naturalization certificates cancelled because of absence of at least seven years, but otherwise no certificate has been cancelled except upon the report of a judge specially appointed for the purpose of examining into the facts as to whether or not the certificate was obtained by fraud, or, on the other hand, unless there has been a conviction by a criminal court of this country.

Topic:   DEPORTATION CASES
Subtopic:   INVESTIGATION UNDER PROVISIONS OP IMMIGRATION ACT
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HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIP


On the orders of the day.


IND

Angus MacInnis

Independent Labour

Mr. ANGUS MacIXXIS (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to inquire of the Minister of Marine (Mr. Duran-leau) if a contract has been let for the taking of the hydrographic survey ship being built in Collingwood from that port to the Pacific coast, and if so, the name of the contractor.

Topic:   HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIP
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CON

Alfred Duranleau (Minister of Fisheries; Minister of Marine)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ALFRED DURANLEAU (Minister of Marine):

Mr. Speaker, I have not the exact information before me but I shall be glad to reply to-morrow to my hon. friend.

Topic:   HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIP
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CIVIL SERVICE ACT AMENDMENT

May 23, 1932