July 17, 1944

LIB

Norman Alexander McLarty (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McLARTY:

He has the right if he moved before the war.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENABLE WAR SERVICE PERSONNEL TO VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

That is the change. Most of these people have moved since the outbreak of the war.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENABLE WAR SERVICE PERSONNEL TO VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May we understand clearly what my hon. friend is asking? Is he asking that Japanese who had no right to vote in a federal election prior to the war shall now be given the right to vote if they happen to be in some part of Canada other than British Columbia? That is the point. Does he want that? If that is what he wishes, let him state it. Let him explain what he means. Is he asking for the conferring of the right to vote on a large number of Japanese who would not have that right had they not been moved for reasons connected with the war and for the security of Canada during the war?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENABLE WAR SERVICE PERSONNEL TO VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

That is exactly what I am

asking, Mr. Speaker, and I am going to state my opinions on the matter, very briefly. I believe that any person who was permitted to enter this country and become a citizen of it should have the full rights of citizenship. That is my opinion, and that is particularly so in regard to those born in Canada, who are Canadians because of that fact.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENABLE WAR SERVICE PERSONNEL TO VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
Permalink
LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

If the hon. member will permit a question, is that the hon. member's personal opinion, or is it the official opinion of the party?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENABLE WAR SERVICE PERSONNEL TO VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

That is official, from the

party.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENABLE WAR SERVICE PERSONNEL TO VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
Permalink
PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

Does that apply to

British Columbia, too?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENABLE WAR SERVICE PERSONNEL TO VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

I hope you will note these

interruptions, Mr. Speaker. I am not speaking for British Columbia; I am speaking for the members of this group.

Dominion Elections

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENABLE WAR SERVICE PERSONNEL TO VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTIONS-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
Permalink

* COMMONS

LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

, If the hon. member does not so wish, he may not be interrupted.

Topic:   * COMMONS
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Thank you. I am not concerned about the Japanese only; I am concerned about the people of every racial origin in this country. ,

Topic:   * COMMONS
Permalink
LIB
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Yes; you are practising racial discrimination so far as this particular group is concerned. There is something else I want to make clear. I remember vividly the fight that was put up thirty-five or forty years ago when the Japanese were brought into this country; certain sections of Canada did their best to keep them out. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company and other employers in this country were concerned with bringing them in so that they might obtain cheap labour to serve their purposes.

Topic:   * COMMONS
Permalink
LIB
NAT
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

It would not be very hard

to dig back into the records and prove that statement. The present attitude is a surprise to me in view of what I find in Hansard, in booklets and pamphlets issued by the Liberal party, and in official statements by the Conservative party. These statements are very liberal, and I think they indicate the policy that must be followed if we are to make progress in the future. This country has to be populated. We have no Japanese in Nova Scotia-

Topic:   * COMMONS
Permalink
LIB
CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

If we think we, eleven and a half million people on this half of the continent of North America, can set ourselves up as a super race and bring in slaves to work for us, at the same time denying them the rights of citizenship, certainly that is not in accordance with statements made in this house by both the Liberal and Conservative parties. I am much concerned, Mr. Speaker, when those who are conducting the affairs of this nation can make a statement this year and twist it around next year, particularly when it has to do with basic principles, without any regard to what was said the year before. The Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie) is a British Columbia member. I should like to quote the opinion he expressed on a former occasion. I refer to page 4487 of Hansard for June 29, 1934, when

the Dominion Franchise Act was under discussion in relation to the Doukhobors. The minister had this to say:

If these people refuse to obey our laws they should be punished, but I think disfranchisement is the wrong form of punishment. It is. an invidious distinction. I hold no brief for these people as I think they deserved the *punishment which the attorney general and the government of the day in British Columbia meted out to them, but I think it is a bad precedent for this parliament to follow'.

The minister was very anxious at that time to protect the right of the franchise with respect to a minority group. Again, at page 4530 of Hansard for June 30, 1934, I find this discussion:

Mr. Bennett: ... If they are not willing to become citizens of Canada and openly defy the lawr, then they should not be permitted to vote as citizens.

Mr. Mackenzie King: In view of what the

Prime Minister has just said, may I ask him this question: Would not a better way to

proceed have been to enact in the franchise act that any person who defies the law' to the extent of refusing to be enumerated as a Canadian citizen shall not be qualified to vote?

Mr. Bennett: That cannot be done.

The portion of the discussion with which I am. concerned follows:

Mr. Mackenzie King: Then innocent parties should not be discriminated against, or as Burke says, you cannot indict a nation; no more can you indict an entire race or all members of any religious sect.

I agree with that statement. In the last thirty years I have had some considerable experience with many minority groups in Canada, and I think I am safe in saying that most of such groups, and this includes the Japanese, came to this country as refugees from the order of society which has developed in those countries. Hon. members may say that is not so. Discuss the matter with them individually and personally. They are prepared to obey the laws of Canada. Many of them have taken out citizenship papers. Thousands were born in this country. To-day many of them: are fighting in the army of the United States. They are not in the Canadian army because they are not permitted to join it. During the last war I served with a unit which had as reinforcements part of a battalion of Japanese raised in British Columbia, and we considered them to be very competent soldiers. At least five Purple Hearts have 'been won by Japanese soldiers with the American armies fighting the legions of Mussolini in Italy.

Topic:   * COMMONS
Permalink
IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, there was never a battalion of Japanese raised in British Columbia.

Dominion Elections

Topic:   * COMMONS
Permalink
LIB

July 17, 1944