May 24, 1938

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That was the intention of it.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I think what my right hon. friend said was hardly consistent with just that view, but I will accept at once his statement that that was what he intended to say.

Now, sir, there are some lessons we might learn from the last war. How many members realize that mines were laid by the Germans within a few miles of the coast of Nova Scotia? How many realize that some of our ships were destroyed by mines laid by the Germans off the coast of Nova Scotia? The Minister of National Defence will know it because of his access to his archives. But I suggest there are very few hon. members in the house who realize that off the coast of Nova Scotia the Germans were able to sow mines, after crossing the Atlantic ocean. I wonder how many realize that batteries planted, for instance, on Anticosti Island would completely command the St. Lawrence river? I wonder how many have realized that a dozen shells fired from ten miles at sea would make the habitation of great cities impossible, through the destruction of sanitary amenities? I wonder if it is realized that, in the language of the late Lord Asquith just before he died, science has been but lisping the alphabet of destruction?

To-day we know about the great progress that has been made in instruments of destruction. We know the effectiveness of bombs. The other day a high military officer said that the effects of one bomb would be felt for a distance of fifteen miles or more. When I read that statement I regarded it as almost incredible; I think yet there must be some error in connection with it. But, be that as it may, we know from the Ethiopian campaign

the power of gas. We know for instance what bombs may do, from the recent campaigns in China and Spain. We know what submarines almost did to Great Britain. All you have to do is to read the life of Jellicoe and you will learn how nearly-how very nearly-that submarine campaign succeeded.

All these are matters we must think about very carefully. For while we may not participate in a war, let it always be remembered that the nation or nations opposed will participate against us. It is their participation I am concerned about. This parliament is not going to be able to prevent an enemy from throwing shot and shell, bombs and gas, if that enemy is at war with the British Empire. It was that point which the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Miss Macphail) brought out the other day in this chamber in the clearest fashion I have ever heard it put. It was, sir, in essence, that because we are part of the British Empire we are subject to that risk and danger, and it is a question of balance. We must not delude ourselves. Beautiful phrases and platitudes will not save us. I wonder if anyone has forgotten the language of Chatham? No, that will not save us. We are confronted with a possibility as real as any possibility can be, and it is this, that if any part of the British empire is engaged in war, we are subject to the operations of the modern scientific devices and the forms man has created for destruction through harnessing those great inventions of the human mind for destructive purposes.

I am not thinking about our participation; that is for parliament to decide. But what I am thinking about is the participation of our enemy, and that is what we should be thinking about. Who planted the mines off the coast of Nova Scotia? Was it the parliament of Canada? Did the parliament of Canada have anything to say about it? Did the parliament of Canada raise its voice and say, "You cannot put your mines here?" No; the German high command placed their mines off the coast of Nova Scotia, and our shipping was destroyed. True, only a small quantity was destroyed, but the fact remains that the mines did have their effect. There is the record. Therefore I say when we speak of participation we can only ask ourselves this question: What shall we do in

self-defence ?

That is all it is, stripped of everything. It is not for this parliament to say whether or not we shall permit our shores to be invaded, our commerce to be destroyed, our ships to be blown to pieces, our population to be gassed or bombed. That is for the enemy.

Foreign Policy

But it is for us to say: Shall we defend ourselves? That is what we have to say,-and how shall we do it?

I wonder if my fellow members from Quebec realize how great an achievement was that of Sir George Etienne Cartier in the framing of the Militia Act? It is true he was defeated; but he left behind him a Militia Act which is practically the act of today. What does it provide? It does not provide for a foreign policy being made by parliament, for parliament never makes a foreign policy. His majesty's advisers make the foreign policy of the country and parliament approves or disapproves. Parliament says yea or nay. That is the old constitutional practice, a practice as old as the hills themselves. Ever since our institutions have developed to what they now are we have provided that his majesty's government, always with a majority in the commons, shall initiate and formulate policies-foreign policies. It is not given to me nor to any private member of this house to indicate the foreign policy of Canada. You can express your views, as I am expressing mine; you can offer your criticisms, as I am, but the declaration of external policy in this country must come from his majesty's advisers, the government, the crown in reality. You will find the matter much discussed in the speeches that took place in the time of Palmerston. It is the crown's policy. The crown no longer speaks as the sovereign; the crown speaks on the advice of the ministers of the crown, and the policy is the policy of the government of the day.

Let us see how that was exemplified in the Militia Act of long ago. Let us see how it still finds its place in the statutes of our country. The Militia Act is chapter 132 of the revised statutes of Canada, of which section 63 reads:

The militia or any part thereof, or any officer or man thereof, may be called out for any military purpose other than drill or training, at such times and in such manner as is prescribed.

Then follow the sections which recognize that the foreign policy of the country is the policy of the crown as advised by the government of the day. Section 64 reads:

The governor in council may place the militia, or any part thereof, on active service anywhere in Canada, and also beyond Canada, for the defence thereof, at any time when it appears advisable so to do by reason of emergency.

The true significance of this section is to be found in the words, "and also beyond Canada, for the defence thereof." I have endeavoured to make clear the point that participation in war was determined by our enemy and not by our

parliament, and that the question to be considered was the question of the defence of our country. The government of the day is clothed with authority to defend this country. It may be that defence will be made, as it was, in the fields of France, or Flanders; it may be on the high seas; it may be somewhere in Africa; it matters not where it may be as long as the government of the day risks its life and stakes its fortune upon the policy of defence of Canada beyond her shores.

But it is not left to chance that parliament shall control. I accept the statement of the Prime Minister, although I do not think he made it quite clear, that at all times since the passing of the Militia Act this parliament has been in control. Section 66 of the Militia Act reads:

Whenever the governor in council places the militia, or any part thereof, on active service, if parliament is then separated by such adjournment or prorogation as will not expire within ten days, a proclamation shall be issued for the meeting of parliament within fifteen days, and parliament shall accordingly meet and sit upon the day appointed by such proclamation, and shall continue to sit and act in like manner as if it had stood adjourned or prorogued to the same day.

It must be within the memory, Mr. Speaker, of some hon. gentlemen present this afternoon that that is just what took place in 1914. There is a provision in the Militia Act for a levee en masse, for the calling up of every ablebodied man under the age of forty-five years and over the age of eighteen, I think, for the defence of the country.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Eighteen years and upward, and under sixty years.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I thought it was under forty-five years?

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Sixty

years.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Thank you. That being so, let us recall what happened in 1914. At that time the government of the day took appropriate steps to offer to defend this country abroad and to raise a contingent for that purpose. Parliament had not assembled when Sir Robert Borden sent that cable. He . thereupon called parliament to meet at once. Notwithstanding the fact that parliament may formally stand adjourned to a day far beyond the fifteen days, this section provides that it shall be called together within fifteen days. So parliament met and many of those who were present will never forget the unanimity with 'which parliament approved of the action taken iby the government. For my own part

Foreign Policy

I can recall, as can many of the hon. members whom I see about me, Sir Wilfrid Laurier standing in his place and making his declaration of support of the action of the government of that time.

When you leave the field of military endeavour and go to that of naval operations you find the same provision. As I have endeavoured to explain, that statute was not the outcome of bitter partisanship, it was a real effort to provide that we should arrive at a common understanding, supported by all the peoples of the country. Of course, there is one step further. You get back to the root principle that you cannot escape the responsibilities of government whether you would or not. For the crown must take the action and the crown is advised by the government. The government places its life at stake in the House of Commons of the day. Just as on that occasion Sir Wilfrid Laurier supported the government, I doubt not that if the time should ever come again when it should be thought essential to take steps for the defence of Canada abroad, there would be such unanimity of opinion as to make it quite apparent that we had a common purpose and a common need to serve, namely, the maintenance of the integrity of our people and our country.

If I have been correct in what I have said, and I have endeavoured to put it as fairly as possible, it will be necessary to depart from the general plan followed by the Prime Minister and refer briefly to the present situation. It must be known to all that it was five years after the armistice was signed before the last treaty of peace was signed with an enemy. The treaty of peace with Turkey was signed in 1923, after five long years of uncertainty, unrest, discussion and negotiation. Then followed, during the twenties, what the Prime Minister has designated properly as an era of peace-loving activities on the part of the peoples of the world. Peace, peace-public opinion wanted peace. With peace you had the demand for disarmament, and the action taken by the League of Nations looking to that end. The covenant of the league provided for disarmament. I have always thought, and I still think, that a great mistake was made in not making it perfectly clear that while we were going to disarm Germany, we would also undertake to disarm ourselves. When I say "ourselves," I do not mean the British Empire; I mean ourselves, the rest of the world, the world in arms. It did not happen. And there gradually grew up, instead of that demand for peace, a sense on the part of

Germany's sixty million people that they had not been fairly treated, until in the end Germany began to rearm.

Then Great Britain-let us not limit it to Great Britain-the British Empire, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, each of which was thinking not of arms or armaments, but of the creation of a public opinion, for peace, good will cooperation, expansion of trade and business, of the time when the war drums would throb no longer and the battle-flags would be furled, was confronted with this new condition. We saw gradually growing up in Germany and other countries that sense of injustice whose final outcome we see to-day. This great commonwealth of nations found itself unarmed and unprepared. It had kept its word, and it had created a public opinion such as the world had never seen before. I wonder if it is generally realized what was meant by that great ballot which took place in England, a year and a half or more ago, when public opinion demonstrated its desire for peace, a desire shared by all the countries of the commonwealth.

But to-day, sir, I say deliberately that the German will or mind is the will for war, not the will for peace. My observation as well as my reading lead me to that conclusion. Instead of the old theory that prosperity and peace go hand in hand, we see feverish activity in arsenal and factory, the creation of artillery and bombs and aircraft for the purposes of destruction, and appeals to that sentiment which since the dawn of history has been one of the most powerful to which an appeal can be made, the appeal of patriotism; of achievement by force of arms; the broadening of acres; the extension of the national territory. So to-day we find a situation which I shall not discuss, any more than to say that I entirely agree with the statement concerning it which has been made by the Prime Minister.

In this very country to-day there are emissaries of Germany-I say that on my responsibility as a member, of this house- talking to minorities about their rights. A friend of mine in the legal profession was consulted on this matter by an old German; it is the younger ones, not the older men who are swaj'ed and moved by such appeals. Look at what has developed in Czechoslovakia. A minority is demanding-what? Action on the part of its national homeland, military action if necessary, for the purpose of giving that minority wrhat it desires. No language that can be used in this house would be too strong a statement of the difficulties of the situation in Europe.

Foreign Policy

I shall not deal with conditions in Spain. I have always looked upon the Spanish trouble as a civil war in which, unfortunately other nations have supported the warring factions. The committee of non-intervention have had indifferent success in their desperate efforts to achieve a certain measure of restriction of the warring operations. Ships have been sunk in the Mediterranean. Nationals of other nations have been killed. The situation has developed in such a fashion that some untoward or unseen act might be a spark which would cause an international explosion. I do not desire to say anything which might add to that difficulty.

I hold strong views, Mr. Speaker, personally, with respect to the Sino-Japanese situation. I listened with great attention to the language of the Prime Minister. I must say that I found it a little difficult to agree with him. Having read the letter written, when he was Secretary of State, by Mr. Stimson, after listening to his discussion of the nine-power agreement, remembering speeches made in this chamber expressing sincere belief in the Kellogg-Briand pact, the pact of Paris, with respect to resort to war as an instrument of national policy, and remembering that a Canadian sat at Geneva on a committee of the League of Nations which unanimously condemned the unprovoked and unwarranted attack upon China by Japan, I find it difficult to stand in this house and say that we can have anything like the state of mind which has been suggested. Is no value to be placed upon the plighted word of a nation? Are treaties to be scraps of paper? We went to war on that issue. Is the language employed in the Kellogg-Briand pact to be entirely forgotten? Are we to condone this nefarious conduct, reminding us of the barbarous days of the middle ages when nations treated agreements as merely scraps of paper? Can I forget the Washington treaty, the nine-power treaty? Have we forgotten how solemnly Japan promised she would protect the integrity of China? Can I as a Canadian forget that? Our government signed it on behalf of Canada. Can I disregard it? Can I treat with those people as I would with the power which they have struck down without notice?

China is invaded, destroyed, and I am asked to condone it, and to say, "We must be very careful, though it is true that we are co-signatories; though it is true that, according to a decision of the committee of the League of Nations on which Canada was represented, Japan has violated that treaty."

I honour the action of the Canadian who sat on that committee. I believe his finding was right. I believe that in Senator Dan-durand, for instance, we have as skilled a man with respect to these matters as any man in this country. He has been dealing with the League of Nations all these years. And when I find his condemnation of that unprovoked and unwarranted action against China, I cannot place myself in a position where I am prepared to have the minister of the other nation stand in my country and say, "We are going to defeat these Chinese." "We are going to defeat them!" There was no declaration of war; there has not been one yet; and still they talk about "defeat" and "the end of the war." Sir, we either are a nation or we are not. We either respect ourselves or we do not. We have a sense of honour or we have not. For my own part, and speaking now for myself alone, I say I cannot bring myself to a state of mind other than a feeling of deep-rooted resentment against the violation of its plighted word by that great people, the Japanese, who have invaded China, sacked its cities, murdered its civilians, and now talk in Canada about the ultimate "defeat" of their "enemy" and victory for their cause.

I have not forgotten Manchuria. I have not forgotten the Lytton report and its findings. Has any hon. member forgotten it? Sir, it is there that the right hon. the Prime Minister and I part company.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I say

to my right hon.. friend, I hope no word of mine can be construed as in any way condoning what Japan has done. The very opposite is the case. I agree entirely with him in his denunciation of the action that Japan has taken. I agree with everything that was done at Brussels, what was said by the leader of the senate; in fact, he took his instructions from the government here. No words of mine are capable of the interpretation that is being put upon them.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock. PRIVATE BILL

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SECOND READING


Bill No. 120. to incorporate The Workers Benevolent Society of Canada.-Mr. Thorson. Japanese Immigration


JAPANESE IMMIGRATION

APPLICATION OF PROVISIONS OF CHINESE IMMIGRATION ACT, REVISED STATUTES, 1927, CHAPTER 95


The house resumed from Tuesday, May 10. consideration of the motion of Mr. Neill for the second reading of Bill No. 11, respecting Japanese immigration.


IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Albemi):

I

am closing the debate on the second reading.

I understand I have twenty minutes to go, but I intend to take much less than that.

I have gone over the matter already and I am not going over it again. I only want to introduce two new points. In the debate on the second reading of this bill in its earlier s'tages the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) said he could not approve it unless it contained a provision that it would not come into effect until July, 1939. By referring to page 2740 of Hansard he will find that I then made a definite pledge to accept that amendment in committee. The other point I should like to introduce is a statement contained in a Canadian Press dispatch. Canadian Press news as regards international affairs are generally reliable, because they are checked up, and if they are not correct they are contradicted. This is from Geneva, May 13:

. . . Chinese sources declared some powers,

including Great Britain and France, had agreed to grant China credits for purchase of arms and also assurance of aid in getting the arms into the country. In a secret session the council arranged to go on public record as refusing material aid to China. . . .

Doctor Wellington Koo, Chinese delegate, who had asked the council to help organize an international boycott of Japanese goods and to forbid league members to sell war materials to Tokyo, was said, however, to have won the war credits fight in behind-the-scenes negotiations.

That has not been contradicted. I might make this point, that if the British government grant a credit to buy arms, and give assurance that they will be delivered, they surely cannot be seriously embarrassed if Canada takes a step towards taking possession of her right to control immigration into her own country.

This bill comes before us after nearly four months of stormy passage and many vicissitudes. Another private member's bill introduced the next day passed all stages in two hours. I fear the vote to-night will be an adverse one, judging by what the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) stated, unless, as I hope, he has been influenced by many representations that I know have been made to him from British Columbia and

elsewhere. I made a serious attempt to meet his objection by the introduction of Bill No. 112. But that was thrown out by a strained interpretation of the rule which, if impartially administered, would have also killed nine other bills, six of them important government measures. However, the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The treatment accorded those two bills I find has created a wave, first of interest and then of sympathy, throughout Canada- not British Columbia alone-which no effort of mine could possibly have secured, except by the exercise of an eloquence which I do not possess and a strenuous campaign which I could not have undertaken. I am myself surprised at the telegrams and letters I have received expressing approval, promising support and asking me to address meetings and so on. The Canadian temper was rather sleepy at first, but was first stirred, then it murmured and then woke up with a roar to a consciousness that the rights of the people, the privilege of a free people to express their wrongs through their elected representatives, were in danger. The people of both east and west became interested; they realized that it was no longer a British Columbian question but one of interest to all of Canada. Many editorials on the subject were printed. The Sun, a leading paper in British Columbia, in a long editorial some weeks ago, used this language: ... a grave doubt arises in our minds as to the democracy that exists at Ottawa. Do the men we elect to parliament represent us or do they not represent us? . . . Do they go down there as free men representing a free people or under the handicap of being able to say or do only what the Prime Minister permits them to say or do?

They ended by expressing the opinion that the attitude taken to the bill. savoured more of tyranny than democracy. Then an eastern paper, after going very fully into the matter and supporting the stand I took, ended with these significant words:

But the government had to throw over an old friend. Neill had to be sacrificed to appease the Japanese government.

Well, I want no loftier epitaph on my political tombstone than those words, "sacrificed to appease the Japanese government." Very often these forlorn hopes require a martyr, and perhaps I might start a movement which, when I am no longer here, will go on to success.

I do not want to detain the house. Therefore, with no sense of bitterness to the government or threats of reprisal, I only want to appeal for the bill on its merits. I have an appeal which I think should be made all across Canada. I appeal to the maritimes; we

Japanese Immigration

demand their sympathy because they are a sister province; they too go down to the sea in ships and do business in great waters, and they know what an influx of a couple of thousand fishermen voting and acting with one mind would mean to their interests. I appeal to the province of Ontario, the home of industrial workers, getting more and more powerful in their unions; they know the effect of allowing a large influx of oriental labour with its low wages and low standards of living. They are beginning already to experience the effects of the competition of Japanese-made goods, sold in Toronto at prices for which the raw material could not be purchased there. I appeal to hon. members from Quebec, that home of Canadian chivalry, and I tell them they have no more loyal friends in Canada than the people of British Columbia, who will be beside them in any movement in support of minority rights, because we too are a minority and we feel that we too should get such treatment as our special conditions require, just as the people in Quebec ask the government that they shall be given such treatment as their traditions and history warrant. We ask their sympathy in that regard. As far as the prairies are concerned, it is a matter more of self-interest because, being nearer to British Columbia they visit backward and forward, and they are beginning to realize that what is our trouble to-day will be theirs to-morrow; they will be the next victim.

As regards British Columbia, I do not need to appeal to them, because they know. I voice the sentiments of British Columbia, I speak with the united voice of British Columbia to-night. It may be asked, by what right do I, an ordinary private member, claim such a right. I have no written authority from the people as a whole, other than those of my own district, but I do voice the sentiments of a man fully qualified to speak for the people of British Columbia, that is their premier. What is his record? He was elected by a large majority at a general election held some eight months ago. He presented his brief not long ago to the Rowell commission; I have a synopsis of it here, and the very first item on it was: Oriental immigration prohibited and orientals returned to their home countries. Since then he fought a by-election about a week ago, and that program was a prominent feature of the campaign. He won an opposition seat, and this program formed perhaps a not insignificant part in that victory. Therefore I quo'te

fMr. Neill.]

him; only I am asking something much more moderate than he asks.

There is growing up in British Columbia a feeling that will not be allayed by promising them a commission of three members to investigate themselves. The time for that has gone by. I am going, if the right hon. gentleman will allow me, to plagiarize a sentence from the speech delivered by the leader of the opposition before six o'clock this afternoon. Speaking of post-war conditions in Germany he said: "There gradually grew up in Germany a feeling that they had been unfairly treated." That is the situation in British Columbia. There is no more fatal and bitter resentment than that caused by the gradual growth of a feeling that people have not been fairly treated. It is far more desperate and dangerous than a sudden flare up of resentment over a single overt act; there is no question about that. It may be that the Canadian historian of the future, when he comes to record the dismemberment of the nine provinces of Canada, will have to begin a paragraph or chapter with these words: "There gradually grew up in British Columbia the feeling that they had been unfairly dealt with." And that feeling is there. It is not confined to British Columbia alone; it exists for other reasons on the prairies as well, and it would be well if the government took steps to quench that flame before it reaches a point at which it cannot be quenched.

I am going to leave the issue to the house. Democracy, according to the dictionary, is a system of government under which the power rests in the hands of the people and is exercised directly or indirectly by them. In my own language it is the duty of the government to carry out the wishes of those governed. To support my views I quote the Bishop of Liverpool, who in a recent speech said:

-it was a democratic principle of this country that if a sufficient number of people wanted a thing sufficiently and pressed for it, they would get it.

If not, as one man wrote me, it ceased to be democracy and became "demockery."

I await the issue of the house on this bill with the anxious hope of an innocent man on trial for his life; but I tell the government that the people of British Columbia are determined to get some measure along the lines I have indicated. The issue is now up to the house and the government.

Topic:   JAPANESE IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   APPLICATION OF PROVISIONS OF CHINESE IMMIGRATION ACT, REVISED STATUTES, 1927, CHAPTER 95
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IMMIGRATION ACT

AMENDMENT OF PROVISION RESPECTING PROHIBITED CLASSES


Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni) moved the second reading of Bill No. 112, to amend the Immigration Act. He said: Mr. Speaker, this is Bill No. 112, and it is really a revival of Bill No. 38. As I spoke fully on Bill No. 38, I shall not detain the house by talking for another forty minutes as the silly rules would allow me to do. However, for a few moments, for the benefit of those who were not here on that occasion, I shall go over it briefly. The former discussion is to be found on Hansard at page 2735 and following. For many years in the Dominion of Canada we have had an immigration law which prohibits the entrance into Canada of people able to see but unable to read the English or French language, or any other language or dialect. That has been our established law for many years. I am amplifying that law to the further extent that the other language in addition to English or French must be one commonly spoken in some portion of Europe. Whatever may have been said against the previous bill does not arise in connection with this one. It is not aimed directly or indirectly against any one nation. It applies to 74 per cent of the world's population, and does not name any one nation. It merely applies the educational test, one which has been in effect in New Zealand and Australia for twenty years or more. This provides for about the same test, only in Australia it is somewhat more drastic. That is the only difference. This is a way out which would meet the situation, be a stepping-stone to peace in British Columbia, and yet avoid any suggestion of international complications. The British Columbia government voiced their views before the Rowell commission and asked for something much more drastic. I might say that the word "exclusion" is not used, nor indeed is exclusion effected except by virtue of an educational test. It does not say that this or that nation shall be excluded; it provides merely that an educational test shall be applied. This test would apply equally to our own vast sister dominion of India; it would apply also to Australia, to New Zealand, to China, to South America, to the Malay peninsula and to those countries neighbouring thereon. There is no suggestion of an attempt to discriminate against Japan or any other nation, either directly or indirectly. The law is of general application and is Immigration Act



similar to that which has been enforced for thirty years in New Zealand and Australia. It is ridiculous to say that we shall offend anyone by exercising the provisions which have been applicable to orientals for many years so far as Australia and New Zealand are concerned. When the bill was up the other day I moved the second reading and there was no discussion as a point of order was taken. I shall say no more at this time, reserving my right to close the debate should any debate take place.


LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. IAN MACKENZIE (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say immediately that whatever merits the previous bill which we have just discussed may have had, and I believe it has many, this bill has nothing by way of merit. In the first place, it would bring about the very opposite to what the hon. member for Comox-Albemi (Mr. Neill) seeks to attain. The implied inference of this bill is to achieve a measure of exclusion by means of a language test. Any one who compares this bill with the legislation in force in Australia will realize immediately that there is a great difference between the two. The prohibition brought about by the legislation in Australia is well known to everyone here. This bill names the two languages which must be known, and it would be the simplest thing in the world for an oriental nation to train its intending migrants in the use of either one of the two languages mentioned here. Instead of having only 130 immigrants a year from the nation not named but designed to be named, we might have thousands and thousands coming into British Columbia under the provisions of the bill now before the house for consideration.

I was prevented from speaking on the previous bill because a point of order was raised the other night, but I desire to say now that after twenty years in public life in British Columbia I yield to no one in my realization of the gravity of this oriental problem. I desire to say further that this problem cannot be solved by the present measure of exclusion. It is a deep economic problem affecting the life and welfare of the people of British Columbia. I may say that I am charged with certain responsibilities as a minister of the crown, particularly with reference to the province of British Columbia, and there are certain aspects of the work of my department which at the moment I do not care to emphasize. It was with a full consciousness of those responsibilities that I took the somewhat difficult step of opposing the measure introduced by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni. Considering the problems that face us at the [M'. Neill.!

present time in this dominion, I am convinced that I have done the best thing for British Columbia and for the Dominion of Canada.

I shall go even further than that. We heard a most glowing and eloquent appeal this afternoon by the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) in connection with the responsibilities that must be ours as Canadians for the preservation of the interests of the British Empire. He quoted with emphasis some of the words of the declaration of 1926 with reference to the evolution of responsibility in connection with that famous declaration known as the Balfour formula, the reference to free association within the British Empire. My right hon. friend might have gone further and read the preamble to the constitution of the Dominion of Canada. The preamble of the British North America Act contains these words:

And whereas such a union would conduce to the welfare of the provinces and promote the interests of the British Empire.

We have two great duties to perform to-day in Canada. First, we must preserve the welfare of the union of confederation, the British North America Act itself. Then we have another duty, and in this I agree largely with what my right hon. friend has said, to preserve and maintain the interests of the British Empire. After twenty years of public life, I feel confident that the people of British Columbia know my feelings with reference to this matter. I feel confident I have taken the right position with reference to my province, with reference to my country and with reference to the interests of the British Empire. I feel I have taken the right stand in connection with this important but delicate, difficult and complex situation.

At the same time I desire to make this further observation. No government of the Dominion of Canada can afford to ignore this problem. If this problem cannot be solved by the means offered by the hon. member at the present time, it must be solved by other methods by whatever government is charged with the responsibility of the administration of the affairs of this country. I agree with my hon. friend in what he desires to achieve, but I believe that conditions are too grave and too serious at the present time to achieve the objective he has at heart by the method he has offered. From the point of view of British Columbia in particular this bill would make our position many times worse than it is today. This is a long range economic problem, and I hope that those of us who represent British Columbia in this house, regardless of our political persuasions or associations, will

Immigration Act

be as one in a desire to arrive at a real remedy that will be in the best interests of British Columbia, of the Dominion of Canada and of the British Empire.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT OF PROVISION RESPECTING PROHIBITED CLASSES
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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

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

Mr. Speaker, a few minutes ago I voted in favour of a bill to exclude, but I shall have to vote against this bill. Perhaps it is only fair to give my viewpoint and reason for taking an action that may seem to be not quite consistent. In the first place, I do not think the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) has been quite candid in presenting his bill. He says that there has been no attempt to discriminate against any one nation. We all know that the Chinese are excluded; we all know that there is an arrangement under which the people from India do not reach Canada; we all know that in practice the only people from the orient who are coming in are the Japanese. I believe if I had the hon. member for Comox-Alberni by himself he would admit quite frankly that this is an attempt to exclude the entry of Japanese.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT OF PROVISION RESPECTING PROHIBITED CLASSES
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

That would be incidental.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT OF PROVISION RESPECTING PROHIBITED CLASSES
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May 24, 1938