October 22, 1945

NATIONALITY, NATURALIZATION, AND STATUS OF ALIENS


Hon. PAUL MARTIN (Secretary of State) moved for leave to introduce bill No. 20, respecting citizenship, nationality, naturalization and status of aliens. He said: In view of the importance of the bill it is felt desirable to make a preliminary statement which will be helpful in explaining its general provisions and which will also assist hon. members in their deliberations of it. On May 24 of this year, speaking in Winnipeg, the Prime Minister remarked on the fact that one of the symbols of nationhood that is lacking in Canada at present is a clearly defined nationality or citizenship status. He indicated that it would be his intention, if the government were returned, to have that defect remedied. The present bill is designed to achieve that purpose. It should not be concluded from this that the bill in reality makes any sweeping change or that there has not previously been any such thing as Canadian nationality. Despite what one often hears to the contrary, there has been a Canadian nationality, but the difficulty has been that the existing definitions were so specialized and so unrelated that they led to a condition of great confusion and misunderstanding. "Canadian nationals" have hitherto been defined under the Canadian Nationals Act, but in reality the definition had virtually no significance. The term "Canadian citizen" is now, in strict accuracy, only an immigration status. As a third type of status, there is that of "British subject". Undoubtedly each of us in this house is all three of these, but I venture with great respect to suggest that few of us know what it means when the words "Canadian citizen" are used at the present time, or how that status differs from "Canadian national". If we do not know, what chance has the ordinary citizen of this country to know what he is? Sometimes he is told that he is a Canadian and should be proud of it. And then he comes to fill in some form asking his national status and is told that there is no such thing as "Canadian". It is extremely undesirable that there should be confusion about so fundamental a matter. I have referred to the need for clearer definition of national status in this country. An equally great need, in clarifying the definition, 47696-85 is to remove a large number of legal complications that arise under existing legislation. As I have said, we have at present a naturalization act that defines British subjects and governs naturalization of aliens in Canada. We have also "Canadian Nationals" Act which defines "Canadian nationals". [DOT] Thirdly, we have The Immigration Act, which defines Canadian citizens for purposes of immigration entry. At present a person may be a British subject by naturalization in Canada, but he may have no right of entry because he is not a Canadian citizen. This arises if he has been out of Canada long enough to have lost his "domicile" under the Immigration Act, and the resulting situation is an unending source of difficulty, confusion and embarrassment for Canadians who have gone abroad. Similarly, a person who is the son of Canadian parents, and who is a British subject and a Canadian national may, in certain circumstances, find that he, too, is not a Canadian citizen and cannot enter Canada. For example, if Canadians go abroad and have a child abroad, that child is a "Canadian national", but he is not a "Canadian citizen" for purposes of the Immigration Act, and so he has no right to come into the country. A Canadian national who cannot enter the very country of which he is a national! It is even possible for a Canadian national not to be a British subject. Whether any case of this type has actually occurred I do not know, but due to requirements of registration under the Naturalization Act which do not exist under the Canadian Nationals Act, such a thing can occur. Mr. Speaker, as a result, to remove all this confusion it is the intention of the government to undertake an extensive revision of the present Naturalization Act in terms of Canadian citizenship. By this I mean that the bill I am introducing is in reality a comprehensive amendment of .the Naturalization Act in which, to avoid the old sources of confusion, all definitions, conditions and qualifications are in terms of a general status of "Canadian citizen". Further to remove difficulty, the Canadian Nationals Act will be repealed and its whole purpose will be encompassed in this new bill. Along with this it is intended to amend the Immigration Act so as to alter its present definitions and provide that anyone who is a Canadian citizen under this new bill will automatically and at all times have a right of entry into Canada. If this is carried through, the result will be that in future there will be only one act governing all aspects and all practical consequences of national status in Canada.



Canadian Citizenship



We will thus achieve a new status of "Canadian citizen" which will be an inclusive and definitive status. At the same time, I want to emphasize and make clear that this will not remove from anyone who now has it, nor eliminate for persons born or naturalized in future, the status of British subject. A Canadian who is now a British subject will under this act continue to be a British subject. A person who is hereafter born a Canadian citizen will thereby also be a British subject. An alien who comes to Canada and is naturalized as a Canadian citizen will similarly become a British subject. The change will be in removing the confusion of conflicting and unrelated definitions that we now have. So far as Canada is concerned the dominant fact will be that of being a Canadian citizen. With it, as a correlative, and important in the commonwealth as a whole, each will also have the status of British subject. Without going into the details of the bill, there are a few important aspects that it seems desirable to mention. I have said that in general substance, the bill is a broad revision of the Naturalization Act done in terms of Canadian citizenship. It first of all defines who are Canadian citizens by birth. It next sets forth the qualifications for naturalization as a Canadian citizen, and these again are essentially the same as those now m force. There is one additional difference, however, that should be noted. In future, non-Canadian British subjects will be required to take out papers before becoming Canadian citizens. This may appear to be a fundamental change, but it is a change more in procedure than in substance. At present a non-Canadian British subject has no right of entry into Canada, and he does not become a "Canadian citizen" under the Immigration Act until he has had domicile here for five years. In essence all that is now being required is that in future the change of status to Canadian citizenship shall be marked by the acquisition of formal papers. It is felt that this will be a decided advantage to the individuals concerned, as it will give greater certainty and security to their position for purposes of diplomatic protection abroad and of immigration entry when they come to our borders. I might say that the war has shown the importance of having basic documents for prima facie proof of national status. There have been thousands of cases where persons abroad have appealed to our representatives or to the protecting power for aid on the ground that they were Canadians. Persons born in Canada have been able to produce fMr. Martin.] birth certificates, thus supplying a basis for proof. Others naturalized in Canada have been able to produce naturalization certificates. But persons who came to Canada from other parts of the commonwealth have had nothing whatever to show that they 'had become Canadian citizens and were the responsibility of the Canadian government. In peace time there have been similar cases of confusion, difficulty and real hardship. For this reason, it is important to provide papers for non-Canadian British subjects who become Canadian citizens. On the subject of naturalization I might mention one change that is important throughout the bill. In the past, "married women" have been classed with minors, lunatics, and idiots as persons under a disability. They could not become naturalized or control their national status as independent persons except in very special circumstances. The government looks upon this as an anachronism that has no place to-day and all disabilities for married women have been eliminated in the present bill. With regard to loss of Canadian citizenship, the conditions are the same as those at present for the loss of the status of British subject- with one addition. That addition is the insertion of a provision for automatic loss of citizenship by a naturalized person who stays out of Canada for six years or more, unless he comes within one of the specified classes or takes steps to protect his citizenship. The provision does not apply to naturalized persons who have served in our armed forces. In addition there are exceptions for naturalized persons who are abroad in the service of Canada, or for a Canadian corporation or business concern, or to go to university, or for reasons of ill health, and so forth. Hitherto there has been a provision for revocation of British subject status if a naturalized person has been absent for seven years. However, it is impossible to keep track of persons who are absent so as to know how long they have been away, and many whose naturalization should have been revoked have remained British subjects. In this war we have had such persons crop up; for example, Germans naturalized in Canada who returned to Germany in 1933 or 1934, whose absence was not known, and who now claim protection and benefits as Canadians. In many cases there is every reason to suspect that a great number of these people were ardent nazis and complete Germans during the war, .however Canadian they may now profess to feel. In future, with the passage of this bill, this will not happen. If such people are absent from Canada for six years or more and do not protect their Questions citizenship and are not in the excepted classes, they will automatically cease to be Canadians. Before concluding, there are two sections of the bill which I should like to mention particularly. Both are new; neither introduces any change in substantive law; yet I think they may be of considerable significance to people who become naturalized in Canada. One section authorizes the Secretary of State, with the approval of the governor in council, to take measures- -to provide facilities to enable applicants for certificates of citizenship to receive instruction in the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship. The other provides that the courts, in conducting naturalization proceedings- -shall, by appropriate ceremonies, impress upon applicants the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship. I think that hitherto we have not paid sufficient attention to these matters. In many cases people have become naturalized without having any real consciousness of the fact that they were taking a very significant, step, and sometimes without a true understanding of the obligations incurred. Apart from the purely legal consequences of acquiring a new citizenship, we must remember that in a democracy there are obligations and responsibilities upon a citizen, and these should be carefully explained, it is thought, to those who join us, and they should be fully impressed with the nature of the undertaking. They should also foe given some understanding, in a helpful and cooperative way, of how government in Canada works, and of the great traditions of constitutional liberty and even justice that are the root and source of our individual liberty. We are too apt to take these things for granted, even after a frightful war that has shown us they must be cherished and fought for bitterly if they are to'be preserved; and we should take care that every new citizen becomes a doughty champion of the democratic way of life. Closely related to this, and yet distinct, is the desirability of making every new citizen feel that he is truly becoming part of Canada. Our "new Canadians" bring to this country much that is rich and good, and in Canada they find a new way of life and new hope for the future. They should all be made to feel that they, like the rest of us, are Canadians, citizens of a great country, guardians of proud traditions and trustees of all that is best in life for generations of Canadians yet to be. For the national unity of Canada and for the future and greatness of this country it is felt to be of the utmost importance that all of us, new Canadians or old, have a consciousness of a common purpose and common inter-47696 85J ' ests as Canadians; that all of us be able to say with pride and say with meaning: "I am a Canadian citizen."


PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

Mr. Speaker, it was not understood by those of us on this side of the house on Friday evening that this measure would be debated at this stage to-day.

Topic:   NATIONALITY, NATURALIZATION, AND STATUS OF ALIENS
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

This is not the debate; it is purely the formal introduction.

Topic:   NATIONALITY, NATURALIZATION, AND STATUS OF ALIENS
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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

Therefore any comments we have to make will be made on the second reading of the bill, when we have the details before us. In the meantime I want to thank the Secretary of State (Mr. Martin) for this more than usually extended statement with respect to the bill, and to commend the government's attempt to clear up a matter which has been very greatly confused in the public mind up to the present time.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   NATIONALITY, NATURALIZATION, AND STATUS OF ALIENS
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QUESTIONS


(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk)


CEILING PRICES OP SILVER

LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

What action is the Department of Finance taking with regard to lifting the ceiling price of Canadian silver production?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CEILING PRICES OP SILVER
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LIB

Robert Wellington Mayhew (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. MAYHEW:

Representations received

by the government regarding change in the ceiling price of silver are under consideration.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CEILING PRICES OP SILVER
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TAXES'-COST OP COLLECTION


Mr. WHITE (Hastings-Peterborough) 'What wras the percentage relationship of the cost of collection to the amount collected in each of the fiscal years ending March 31, from 1935 to 1945, inclusive, of each of the following taxes: income tax, customs duties, excise duties, excise taxes excluding sales tax, and sales tax?


LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of National Revenue; Minister of National War Services)

Liberal

Mr. McCANN:

Customs Excise Division:

The percentage cost of collection of customs excise revenue for the fiscal years 1934-35 to 1844-45 covering customs duties, excise duties and excise taxes including sales taxes is as follows: 1934-35, 2-97 per cent; 1935-36 . 3-20 per cent; 1936-37, 2-71 per cent; 1937-38, 2-48 per cent; 1938-39, 3-15 per cent; 1939-40, 2'82 per cent; 1940-41, 1-80 per cent; 1941-42, 1-31 per cent; 1942-43, 1-23 per cent; 1943-44. -98 per cent; 1944-45, -96 per cent.

The same officers collect customs duties and excise duties and taxes, including sales tax, and it is therefor not possible to break down

i838

Questions

the percentage cost of collections to indicate the cost of collecting a particular impost. Taxation Division:

In respect of income tax including personal and corporation income and excess profits tax and succession duties:

Fiscal year 1935 Percentage Cost to collection per cent 2-95

1936 2-56

1937 2-08

1938 1-87

1939 1-70

1940 1-85

1941 1-06

1942 0-59

1943 0-39

1944 0-49

1945 0-64

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TAXES'-COST OP COLLECTION
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FREEZING OF PLUMBING MATERIALS

PC

Mr. HOMUTH:

Progressive Conservative

1. On what day was the order made freezing certain plumbing supplies?

2. On what day was it rescinded?

3. Were telegrams sent notifying dealers and others of such order and of such cancellation?

4. If so, at what total cost?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   FREEZING OF PLUMBING MATERIALS
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LIB

Mr. MAYHEW: (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

1. September 10, 1945.

2. September 11, 1945.

3. Five telegrams and 112 letters of notification, 112 night lettergrams of cancellation.

4. Telegraph and airmail expense, approximately $160.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   FREEZING OF PLUMBING MATERIALS
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LICENCES FOR AIR FEEDER LINES

PC

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Progressive Conservative

1. How many applications have been made for licences to establish air feeder lines in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta since January, 1944?

2. Who were the applicants, and what decision has been made in each case?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   LICENCES FOR AIR FEEDER LINES
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October 22, 1945