Hon. J. A. GLEN (Minister of Mines and Resources):
I desire to make a statement to the house. For some time the government has been giving serious study to the matter of immigration, and it has been considered advisable to permit a somewhat increased movement of immigrants to Canada than would be possible under existing regulations. In addition to British subjects and United States citizens the present regulations provide for the admission of,
(a) the wife or unmarried child under eighteen years of age of any person legally admitted to Canada who has sufficient means to maintain himself until employment is secured;
(b) an agriculturist having sufficient means to farm in Canada;
(c) the fiancee of an adult male legally admitted to and resident in Canada who is in a position to receive, marry and care for his intended wife;
(d) a person who, having entered Canada as a non-immigrant, enlisted in the Canadian armed forces and, having served in such forces, has been honourably discharged therefrom.
Alien immigrants, other than United States citizens, require to be in possession of a properly vised passport.
By order in council 2071 dated 28th May, 1946, the following have been added to the admissible classes:
The father or mother, the unmarried son or daughter eighteen years of age or over, the unmarried brother or sister, the ophan nephew or niece under sixteen years of age, of any person legally admitted to and resident in Canada who is in a position to receive and care for such relative. The term "orphan" means a child bereaved of both parents.
As there will be a number of persons coming within the degrees of relationship that I have just described who cannot obtain a valid passport required by the present passport regulations, these have also been amended by P.C. 2070 dated 28th May, 1946, to permit of the acceptance of a travel document establishing the identity of the holder in the case of an immigrant who has been displaced from his country of origin as the result of the war and is not in possession of a valid passport.
The action taken is intended as a short term measure to provide for the admission to Canada of approved persons who can be both maintained until established and provided with housing by relatives, and to meet in some measure the pressing demands being made on behalf of refugees or displaced persons having relatives in Canada anxious to provide them with homes.
It is necessary to state that for reasons beyond the control of the government the amending of the regulations does not mean immediate action can be taken to admit immigrants from overseas. At the present time there is an acute shortage of westbound transatlantic passenger accommodation, due primarily to the scarcity of passenger vessels, the return of service personnel and the bringing to Canada of their dependents. There are still approximately 32,000 of the latter in the British isles and on the continent. There are also many Canadians overseas awaiting opportunity to return home. While every effort ^is being made to complete these movements and hasten the return of normal conditions, it undoubtedly will be the end of the present year before much accommodation will be available for the ordinary traveller.
Prior to the war the immigration branch maintained inspectional staffs at European ports of embarkation for the examination of immigrants. These staffs had to be withdrawn following the outbreak of hostilities. It is
proposed to reestablish inspectional facilities on the continent as quickly as circumstances permit, so that as transportation becomes available immigrants of the admissible classes may come forward.
I may say further that I expect there will be a flood of applications made by persons resident in Canada who desire their relatives to come to this country. In view of what I have already said in regard to the transfer and transportation of our personnel in the armed forces, as well as their dependents, and in view also of the acute shortage of shipping, it will not be possible to give any priority to those who may make applications.
I wish to emphasize that the mere submission of applications now will not give any priority to those making such applications. They will be dealt with when the time arrives at which we can deal with them. May I add that the immigration branch to-day suffers not only from a shortage of staff and an insufficiency of space, but from the added fact that it is receiving mail in such great quantities that it is physically impossible to deal with it in the expeditious manner we would wish to follow.
However I give this warning to the house and to the country that applications will not receive any priority until, as I have already said, the personnel of the armed forces, as well as their dependents, and those wishing to be repatriated from European countries, are brought to Canada.
Subtopic: ADDITIONS TO ADMISSIBLE CLASSES-TRAVEL DOCUMENT FOR DISPLACED PERSONS