May 30, 1939

CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Do the penalties in other countries include death?

Official Secrets

Topic:   OFFICIAL SECRETS
Subtopic:   CONSOLIDATION OF IMPERIAL STATUTES TO FORM PART OF LAW OF CANADA
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Not for this kind of offence. In the English act the maximum penalty is fourteen years' imprisonment; the maximum in this bill has been set at seven years' hard labour. The reason is that some offences may not be so grave and should be dealt with summarily, whereas offences that imperil the safety of the state should be severely punished. The committee who have been in charge of the preparation of this legislation have discussed the question whether the penalty should be made still more severe, a longer term than seven years, but that was decided against because those who drafted the bill were of the opinion that a more severe prison term would not deter foreigners or spies engaged by foreign governments from carrying on their business but would serve to restrain only such persons as are spoken of as small fry, and that for them seven years would be adequate. All things considered, we have come to the conclusion that a term of seven years is sufficient.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

No mention is made of

deportation. Is there any other act which would require deportation of anyone who has been imprisoned for an offence under this act?

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Under the criminal code he may be deported, and I can promise my hon. friend he will be.

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

He will be an official guest of the state for seven years before we deport him.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

He will not be a privileged guest.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

Naturalized persons committing offences are not subject to deportation. I could mention a type of person, naturalized, who might commit offences under this act.

Topic:   OFFICIAL SECRETS
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I am glad the hon. member has raised that question because it reminds me of something I omitted from the statement I made earlier. With regard to naturalized Canadians who actively spread objectionable propaganda, we have the right to cancel the naturalization certificate, and on behalf of the government I assure the committee that we are going to cancel the certificates of such persons. Moreover, they may take this statement of mine to-day as a warning. Of course, any naturalized British subject bringing himself within the provisions of this bill will certainly lose his certificate and be subject to deportation.

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

I am glad to have had that definite pronouncement from the Minister of Justice. Had I continued my remarks along a line not strictly relevant to the subject

matter of this bill I would have discussed the activities of naturalized citizens in our midst who carry on propaganda that is not in the best interests of Canada. Let me mention one instance openly and publicly- the editor of the Winnipeg Deutsche Zeitung. He came to this country about eight years ago and in his paper he publishes articles most derogatory to Britain and the British and Canada and Canadians. Naturalized 'a little over two years ago, he is able to speak only fair English, but in his paper there is; nothing but incitement to racial hatred and: the setting of creed against creed and race against race. He publishes nothing but propaganda in the interests of German nazism. His name is Botte, and perhaps the warning the minister has given this morning may have a salutary effect upon this class of people who have been openly carrying on such subversive propaganda during the last few years. They are the sort of people who would commit acts of violence against the state, and they take advantage of the fact that so far the government has not taken action against them. They take that as a sort of permission for them to continue in these activities. They seem to believe that the government acquiesces in what they have done. The statement made by' the minister may have a very wholesome effect on these people.

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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

In cases where naturalization has been revoked, does it follow of necessity that deportation is possible? In other words is it possible for Canada to deport to all countries of the world?

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

If the certificate is revoked and the individual concerned is convicted of an offence under this act or under the criminal code, surely the power of deportation exists. We can always send him back to the country whence he came. It may work harm to the man iB certain cases, but he would be the agent of his own trouble by offending against the laws of Canada.

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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I have no objection to that, but my thoughts go back to the trouble with certain Doukhobors eight years ago. Then deportation was not possible. That is why I asked the question, what are Canada's relations with all other countries in this regard? Is Russia in a unique position?

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I think the Doukhobors came under a special agree ment and had special guarantees that do not apply to citizens of any other country.

Official Secrets

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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

Generally I agree with 'what the Minister of Justice has just said, but I am sure all members of the committee realize the seriousness of the statement he has just made. He said people could take as a warning what he was saying a moment ago, that those guilty of objectionable propaganda might be liable to deportation and cancellation of their citizenship. "Objectionable propaganda" is a very wide term and embraces much contentious matter. There is a possibility of serious difficulty, in following out the policy the minister has just laid down, between ourselves and some foreign power which might claim that we are not putting the proper interpretation upon acts of individuals in this country. Therefore in all fairness to those whom he might have in mind I think he should define "objectionable propaganda" and thus give some protection to those who might see the light soon enough, if I may put it in that way, and change their attitude. The minister knows very well that propaganda can be along many lines-political, religious or racial. Some sort of definition or direction should be given in view of the seriousness of the statement the minister has just made. I say that not because I object in any way to the measures he intends to take; in fact I approve of them, but, realizing the consequences which might follow an act of that kind on the part of Canada against a national of another'country, I think it serious enough to merit consideration. We should have an explanation from the minister, however brief, to give those people an opportunity to change their minds.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

This bill of course does not deal with propaganda of any kind. Any man who would come under the provisions of this bill need expect no mercy as regards deportation or anything of the kind. I referred to propaganda only with regard to certificates of naturalization. That is in the discretion of the Secretary of State. My hon. friend may be sure that the utmost care will be taken, but when the circumstances justify it I believe that the Secretary of State would be well advised in cancelling the certificate of naturalization of men who have come to this country claiming the advantage of British and Canadian citizenship and using their position to create ill feeling against either our institutions or our fellow subjects in Canada. That is what I had in mind when I used the term to which my hon. friend referred.

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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

I mentioned "objectionable propaganda" because that was the term used by the minister himself.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

That is what I had in mind.

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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

Sometimes it is not possible to deport people who came from foreign countries, because as things are in Europe now a country may exist as an entity to-day and to-morrow may be part of another country. I have ih mind a limited number of people who came to Canada from Czechoslovakia. If it ever became necessary to deport one of them the Secretary of State would have a difficult job, because Czechoslovakia is no longer an independent country, it is part of Germany. All these circumstances require care. I feel secure in the hands of the Minister of Justice, knowing that he will use discretion along those lines. In view of present conditions in Europe it might be better to have democracies on wheels so that we could move them from place to place quickly. But until that time comes we shall have to exercise a good deal of care in the choice of the people we permit to come into Canada.

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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

The group I referred to are not the only ones whose forebears came to Canada under a definite agreement. I can think of two other groups. If one of any of those groups commits an offence under this measure, perhaps he is naturalized, perhaps he is not, or perhaps his naturalization certificate has been revoked. Can the minister amplify his statement a little with regard to the possibility of deporting such a person?

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I do not think I can add to what I have already stated. Any person deprived of his certificate of naturalization, who is convicted of an offence under the criminal code or under the statute would certainly be liable to deportation. But whether he will be deported is a question which will have to be considered.

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May 30, 1939