March 30, 1944

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I am not touchy, but part of my duty is to defend my colleagues during their absence, and when my hon. friend puts on Hansard the statement that a particular minister is not here, and my hon. friend knows the significance of that, I am giving him the explanation.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I merely innocently rose to ask the Minister of Mines and Resources a question. I cannot ask the question if he is not here, but if the Prime Minister wants to answer it I will tell him- what it is. He may clear it up and the matter will then be concluded.

When the hon. member for York-Sunbury rose in his place to bring to the attention of the Minister of Mines and Resources the incident of an American girl travelling from New York to Ann Arbour, Michigan, I thought the minister did not make a clear explanation of the situation, because there is a serious aspect of this particular complaint. I wish to put on the record one sentence in connection with the report which was published in the New Republic, and which was

Supply-External Affairs

mentioned by the hon. member for York-Sunbury during the debate. That publication refers to-

. . . this piece of startling governmental stupidity and brutality (which) occurs over and over; No American citizen who looks like a Chinese, we are told, is allowed to pass through Canadian territory on an American train even though the points of departure and arrival are in the United States. Canada has a good record in this war; and it is a little startling to find her deliberately going out of the way to insult and humiliate citizens of an allied country, the United States.

The reason why I rose at this time was to give the Minister of Mines and Resources, or the Prime Minister if he chooses-perhaps the Prime Minister is the one to do it-an opportunity of making a categorical denial of the entire statement and a proper explanation of what happened, because I do not think what has been said goes far enough, in view of the serious charge which is made in a United States magazine with a wide circulation. I believe the Prime Minister and every member of the house wants to repudiate any suggestion that this country would treat nationals of another country in the manner alleged, and in my opinion the Minister of Mines and Resources should have gone farther than simply to say that no Canadian immigration official was involved; he should have told the whole story. What I intended to suggest at the beginning of my remarks was that the item might be allowed to stand until the Minister of Mines and Resources returned to the chamber. If the Prime Minister desires to make an explanation, that is satisfactory to me; but the article should not go unchallenged, because it contains a reflection on our relationship to other countries, and I should like to see the matter satisfactorily cleared up.

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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 minister, I thought, made it quite clear that such action as was taken was not by any Canadian government official, and that any such action on the part of any of its officials would not be countenanced for one moment by our government. Possibly the minister, for reasons which he had better explain himself, deemed it inadvisable to place the responsibility where, perhaps, it exclusively belongs. I will allow him to answer that part himself. So far as the government is concerned I can assure my hon. friend that every member of the government would take the strongest exception to any action of the kind on the part of an official, and in this particular instance the government officials were wholly innocent of any such act.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Our position is one of friendship toward nations which are friendly with us.

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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:

Certainly. The incident was most regrettable.

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LIB

Joseph-Hermas Leclerc

Liberal

Mr. LECLERC (Translation):

Mr. Chairman, I have just a few words'to say on the question of refugees. That matter is closely connected with the immigration question. During the war we have had to admit into Canada a large nmber of so-called refugees, who have been expelled from their own country by the invader but who may wish to become permanent residents of Canada. Despite the kindheartedness of the Canadian citizens, that question is, in mj- opinion, one of very great importance and we. should not. exclude reason from our feelings. We must not forget that the post-war period will probably be marked by widespread unemployment and that we shall then have to take care of hundreds of thousands of demobilized soldiers and laid off workmen apart from those refugees and of the immigrants whom some may wish to send here.

I ask the government to take my remarks into serious consideration. I agree with what the hon. member for Temiseouata (Mr. Pouliot) has said a few moments ago, and I must say that the government has received numerous petitions and that I have also received some which indicate the general feeling in Shefford county. I ask the government, once again, to consider the question of postwar immigration and to make sure that the number of immigrants admitted is commensurate with the employment available at that time. Without any doubt, we shall then have very serious problems to solve in connection with the Canadians who will have to be provided for. I ask the government that before they take care of European refugees, they provide for Canadian-born citizens.

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LIB

Arthur Wentworth Roebuck

Liberal

Mr. ROEBUCK:

In view of some of the remarks that have been made with regard to this small item, I should like to be heard. The hon. member for Temiseouata (Mr. Pouliot) commented that the matter should be considered on its merits, and of course with that statement I entirely agree.

Let us see what the problem is that we are considering on its merits. I understand that an intergovernmental committee has been set up to consider at some length continuously a problem which is on the hands of all the nations of the world, those of good will at all events, those on the united nations side, with respect to people fleeing the wrath of the nazi murderers in Germany and other occupied territories in Europe.

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My good friend t(he hon. member for Temisoouata says that charity should begin at home. Of course that is right, but unfortunately he has not finished the quotation: It should not stay at home. The remarks madie by that hon. member reminded me of the little couplet:

Me and my wife, John and his wife.

Us four and no more.

It is a matter of judgment. It is true that, as he says, our first concern in this country is the returned men from the front, that they have priority on all occasions, and that of course they be given reasonable treatment in the matter of pensions. But it can hardly be contended that the question of giving a sufficiency in pensions to our returned men in any way depends upon or is influenced or affected by the S5,000 appropriation in order that Canada may take her place and her proper place among other nations in doing the right thing by poor people.

It does seem to me, however, looking at the matter entirely from the point of view of -the boys who are returning, that were we in this chamber to take a miserable, mean attitude, that charity stays at home, exclusively in Canada, and that we cannot afford $5,000 in order that Canada should take her place on an intergovernmental committee, these boys returning here would blush with shame that they come from Canada rather than from some of the other nations -that are playing a proper part.

The hon. member for Temiscouata said that Canadians are a kind-hearted people, and that is true. We are a self-respecting nation, and it. would not, it seems to me, be in keeping with our self-respect if we even questioned this amount, much less if we rejected it.

I compliment the government upon taking its proper place on this international committee for the handling of this modt important world problem. If the item is to be criticized at all, it is only because it is so small.

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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I just wish to add a word along the line taken by the hon. member who has just sat down (Mr. Roebuck). In bis part of Toronto and in my part as well there are people of all races, and I have found sons and daughters of all races, no matter what their language was, no matter where they came from, rendering good service to the country. I, too, congratulate the government upon carrying out its agreement, in fact on entering into an agreement even in a small way, and it is only in a small way, to relieve the unparalleled and almost unmentionable distress that refugees

TMr. Roebuck.]

of all races in Europe -have gone through. It is a small item which does not mean very much in money, but I am happy to support it.

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Item agreed to.


LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The next item is one which relates to the Department of Finance, the estimates of which have not thus far been called. If hon. gentlemen wish to obstruct or to delay the proceedings of the house-

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Do not

use that word "obstruct."

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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 am not saying that they will, -but if anyone wishes to delay the proceedings of the house, the business of the country, he may take exception at this moment to our discussing on a Thursday, when Mr. Speaker leaves the chair without question put an item in a department that has not already been called. I am obliged to leave the chamber shortly and I wish to make a statement on this before withdrawing. Hon. members * will have noticed that since the beginning of the session the government has sought on a Monday, or Tuesday or Wednesday to have the different departments called in as expeditious an order as possible, but we have been prevented time and again, particularly in the last two weeks, from getting any additional departments into supply. It has not been the fault of the government that all departments have not been called up to this moment. It has been owing to the fact I have mentioned, that motions have been put which have made that impossible. I do not take exception to that; that is the right of the opposition.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I hope you are not referring to the opposition, because we did not raise any questions.

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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 regard everyone who is not for the government as being opposed to it.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

If that is the situation

the Prime Minister had better withdraw his remarks about the opposition having brought in amendments to the motion for supply, because we have not.

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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 regard those who are not for the government as opposed to it, and when I speak of the opposition I do not mean my hon. friend only. I mean particularly some of those hon. gentlemen who belong to other groups and who have been-

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Do not

class us with them, please.

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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:

My own belief is that there should be simply one government and one opposition. I think it is a mistake having the house divided into the government and its supporters and three or four oppositions, so that each time one of that number speaks the other three feel that they must also put in their oars or say something.

In the years I have been in parliament there have always been, just before the beginning of the new fiscal year, some estimates brought down in the nature of further supplementary estimates to cover small amounts that may be outstanding to meet accounts for the current year. I have never once seen the house refuse to give unanimous consent to the consideration of these estimates on the score of any rule that may appear in the rules of procedure of the house, and I hope that we may take it as assumed that hon. members opposite of all parties are prepared to allow the government to proceed with a discussion of any items that may appear on this supplementary list.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Speaking

on behalf of the official opposition, I wish to assure the Prime Minister at once that no objection will be taken to any item of any department which has not yet been called, but I would point out to him that he has a good many departments in already. As far as my recollection goes, he has more departments in than is the case in the ordinary session of parliament. It is the right and the duty of the opposition to see that too many departments are not brought in too soon. My hon. friend knows that, and nobody was more dexterous in preventing that sort of thing than the right hon. gentleman when he sat on this side, and especially some of his henchmen who sit around him, in days gone by. I have reason to remember that.

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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:

Speaking of the rights of the opposition and of the government, I would say to my hon. friend that the government has a perfect right, once in supply, to call an item in every department if it so desires. There is no rule of the house which says the opposition has the right to prevent the government from obtaining supply in any way it can, consistent with the rules. It has been to help meet the wishes of hon. gentlemen opposite that the government has not called every department once it has been in supply. I should like to have that clearly understood. Once the house is in supply the government has a perfect right to call any item in any department it pleases; and if we had wished to stand strictly on our rights, the first day the house met we could have called an 100-127

item in each department and been free to go into supply any Thursday or Friday on the estimates of any department. But that is not the way in which business can be carried on as between a government and an opposition.

May I take advantage of this opportunity to point out what I think is in the interests of all hon. members, namely, that we cannot make progress unless each member assumes a real responsibility and restricts on his own part the amount of time to be taken in discussion. If this afternoon the Chairman had ruled strictly, as I think he should have done-if he will not mind my saying so -this discussion might have been held down to the simple question of whether a small amount still owing by Canada to an international organization should be paid. The broad discussion in regard to immigration, refugees and the like, has not been strictly relevant to the item before us. The time to take up those matters would have been when the main estimates are being discussed.

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March 30, 1944