February 9, 1942

SINGAPORE

INQUIRY AS TO FURTHER NEWS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FAR EAST


On the orders of the day: Hon. R. B. HANSON ' (Leader of the Opposition): I should like to ask the Prime Minister if he is in a position or would care to give the house and the country any late information with respect to Singapore.


LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

I have no information that I believe will add anything to what has appeared thus far in the press.

Topic:   SINGAPORE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO FURTHER NEWS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FAR EAST
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

STATEMENT AS TO LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME FOR THE SESSION


On the orders of the day:


LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

A day or so ago my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) asked if I would give to the house a statement with respect to some of the measures that will be introduced at the present session. The legislative programme for the present session, like that of other sessions of parliament since the commencement of the war, will be confined in the main, and as largely as possible, to matters pertaining to Canada's war effort or arising immediately out of the war. As in previous sessions the most important measure will be the war appropriation bill. Legislation respecting the much discussed plebiscite will be introduced immediately upon the termination of the debate on the address. Legislation also will be introduced respecting the production and marketing of wheat; respecting land settlement for ex-service men, and related amendments to the Soldier Settlement Act; and respecting the ratification of certain trade treaties with Latin-American countries.

Among financial measures, bills will be introduced regarding new borrowing authority and the refunding of maturing issues: bills to amend the War Exchange Conservation Act. the Canadian National Railway financing and

Japanese Nationals - Government Policy

guarantee bill; a bill to ratify an agreement between the C.N.R. and the Temiscouata railway.

There will be amendments to the Civil Service Superannuation Act, the Companies Act and the Patent Act, and possible amendments to the naval service, militia and Royal Canadian Air Force acts. It is proposed, to have the question of redistribution studied by a committee of parliament. There was a committee that took up the matter a session or two ago, and it is the. intention of the government to have a committee look into the matter anew this session.

I have not cited the bills that already appear on the order paper, but in addition to those it is anticipated that there may be other bills of a more or less routine character. It must be understood that circumstances at the moment unforseen may, in the eourse of the session, occasion the introduction of other measures. I do not wish to bind the government exclusively to any programme; there may be other bills if the necessity should arise.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT AS TO LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME FOR THE SESSION
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REQUEST FOR OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS

NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition):

May I ask the Prime Minister if the government will give consideration to permitting the ordinary course of procedure to be followed with respect to the motions of private members. It will be recalled that in previous sessions of this parliament the government took the initiative in taking away from private members their undoubted right to discuss matters which they desire to place on the order paper. I had no great objection to that in the first session or two, but I think that right ought to be restored at the earliest possible moment, and I would ask that the government give consideration to that point of view.

Topic:   REQUEST FOR OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
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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:

The reasons which governed in this matter in the beginning, if they were valid at all at that time, seem to me to be even stronger at the present time, Those reasons, as my hon. friend the leader of the opposition will recall, were that in a war as serious as the present, the attention of parliament could not be given too exclusively to matters pertaining to the war and, what might be regarded as the other side of the same shield, that there should be as little as possible to distract or to prevent the attention of parliament being concentrated upon the war effort. If the motions of private members are to be considered it means that ministers and others must prepare themselves in regard to

a number of questions that at the present time are more or less academic, and in these days the burden on the ministry is heavy enough in connection with the matters relating exclusively to the war to which it must give attention.

I do not wish to say that the government will not be prepared to consider what my hon. friend has suggested, but I am giving to him at once the view that has prevailed up to the present. I think the arguments are quite as strong to-day as they were at the time the decision of the government was taken. And if I recollect aright, the decision was taken by agreement with at least most of the members of the house.

Topic:   REQUEST FOR OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
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NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Will what the Prime Minister has said about private members' motions apply also to private bills, public orders and divorce bills? Private members are the connecting link between the government of the day and the electorate, and when they cease to function, all parliamentary government is at an end.

Topic:   REQUEST FOR OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
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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:

What I said had reference to the procedure which we followed in previous sessions. I may say in a word that the government intends to follow a similar procedure this session unless there are very strong requests to the contrary.

Topic:   REQUEST FOR OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
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JAPANESE NATIONALS

STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNMENT POLICY


On the orders of the day:


LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Some days ago I promised the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) that I would make a statement to the house on the policy of the government in relation to the Japanese problem in British Columbia.

The situation created by the presence in British Columbia of a population of nearly

24,000 men, women and children of Japanese race has for a number of reasons received the closest attention of the government over the past four years. The situation increased in complexity when Japan, on September 27, 1940, associated herself with Germany and Italy in the tri-partite pact. Recognizing the more critical situation created when Japan joined the axis, the government immediately thereafter appointed, on October 1, 1940, a special committee to investigate and report upon the problem of Japanese in British Columbia from the standpoint of national security. The report and recommendations of the committee were tabled and published in

398 COMMONS

Japanese Nationals - Government Policy

December, 1940. The most important recommendation was that there should be a re-registration of the Japanese population of British Columbia and that a small standing committee should be set up to keep the government constantly informed as to the oriental situation in that province. These recommendations were acted on at once and in determining its policy the government has had the benefit of the advice of this standing committee on which various viewpoints were represented.

In the months which followed, re-registration was carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the supervision of the standing committee. This registration included the photographing and finger-printing of all persons of Japanese origin. The committee received the utmost cooperation from Japanese nationals as well as from Canadians of Japanese racial origin. When a state of war was proclaimed as existing between Japan and Canada, the registration was all but complete. Precautionary measures, which have proved adequate, were put into effect forthwith.

The steps taken were similar to those taken in the case of German and Italian residents of Canada. Individuals, whatever their nationality, who there was reason for believing might act in a manner prejudicial to the public safety or the safety of the state, were promptly interned. Steps were also immediately taken to immobilize for the duration of the war all fishing boats operated by men of Japanese race.

Legitimate apprehensions in British Columbia were concerned with three things: the aid which might be given to enemy submarines and enemy raiders if they should be supplied with fuel or furnished with information; the possibility of acts of sabotage; and the possibility of anti-Japanese riots in which military force might have to be used to restore order.

To determine the policy to be followed a meeting was called in Ottawa on January 8, in which the members of the standing committee participated. This meeting was under the chairmanship of the Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie) and at it the Hon. George Pearson represented the government of British Columbia. ,

The recommendations of the conference of January 8 and 9 were carefully considered by the government. On January 14 I announced the government's policy. I might summarize the policy as follows:

Persons of Japanese race, who are Canadians either by birth or by naturalization, and Japanese nationals resident in Canada will be justly treated. Their persons and property will receive the full protection of the law. No action will be taken which would give any excuse for the ill-treatment of Canadians under the control of Japan.

Nor will action be permitted which might give Japan an excuse to inflame Asiatic hostility against the white race. Canadian policies will march in step with those of Britain and the United States.

As specific measures, all persons of Japanese race will be removed from fishing boats and other vessels for the duration of the war. For the same period the sale of gasoline and explosives to persons of Japanese race will be controlled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Japanese nationals have been forbidden to possess or use short-wave receiving sets, radio transmitters and cameras. Their present surveillance by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

similar to that successfully exercised over German and Italian nationals -will be continued.

For Canadians of Japanese race who are anxious to serve Canada, a civilian corps is being formed to be used on projects that will contribute to the national war effort.

Enemy aliens, whether nationals of Japan or of Germany or of Italy, will be required to leave the protected area on the coast of British Columbia. Permits to remain may be granted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. For the time being, permits will normally be granted to women and children and to men who are unfit. Those required to leave may be placed in normal employment, if it can be found for them, outside the protected area. They will, of course, be under the usual police surveillance over enemy, aliens.

A commission has been set up to arrange for the sale, lease, requisition or charter of fishing vessels with a view to ensuring the sustained productivity of the fishing industry in British Columbia, and fairness to Canadians of Japanese race who own or have an interest in such vessels.

The defence area from which enemy aliens must withdraw has been defined by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) and the Minister of Justice. The placing or employment of enemy aliens is being arranged by the Department of Labour through the unemployment insurance commission. The civilian corps is also being organized by the Department of Labour. A committee of the cabinet, consisting of the Minister of Pensions and National Health, the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Agriculture, has been entrusted with a general supervision of the programme. This committee will recommend to the government from time to time such further action as may be necessary.

In all the arrangements being made in connection with the Japanese problem, special

Welland By-Election

consideration is being given to Japanese Canadians who are veterans of the last war.

The situation on the Pacific coast has now been clarified. The government's policy has been determined and is being carried out by the responsible agencies. Under the circumstances it has been decided that we need no longer place on the members of the standing committee the burden and responsibility of advising the government in regard to this problem. I have written to the members of the committee and thanked them for the assistance they have rendered during the past year.

One of the results of the existence of a state of war between Canada and Japan has been the abrogation of the immigration agreement which was concluded in 1928. Thus as a result of Japan's own action, there are no longer any agreements or understandings, express or implied, in regard to the admission of Japanese to Canada.

It will be recognized that Canadian citizens of Japanese race have been placed in a very difficult position. They are being asked to bear with patience inevitable hardships and losses. A situation of this kind can only be effectively met by an equal measure of tolerance and understanding on the part of the people of Canada generally. In the national interest it is of the utmost importance that the problem should be approached in this spirit.

Topic:   JAPANESE NATIONALS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNMENT POLICY
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

How many Japanese nationals have been interned?

Topic:   JAPANESE NATIONALS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNMENT POLICY
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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:

I cannot give my hon. friend the figure at the moment, but I shall get it for him.

Topic:   JAPANESE NATIONALS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNMENT POLICY
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NAT

Howard Charles Green

National Government

Mr. GREEN:

Has an order actually been issued to the effect that Japanese shall not be allowed to have radio receiving sets and transmitters and cameras, or is that to be done in the future?

Topic:   JAPANESE NATIONALS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNMENT POLICY
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February 9, 1942