April 23, 1947

PC

Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MERRITT:

If the minister had not interrupted me I think I would have joined up the two to his satisfaction and would have been sitting down by this time. If the deprivation of the rights of all landlords can be justified for a period of one or two years I think we can, without hurting our consciences very much, allow these orders in council to run along so long as rent control remains. It might be that as the housing situation clears uip and permits of rent control being released, so wull this situation clear up and these problems of principle may not then seem so important in the minds of members who are not faced with the practical consequences of the situation.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MAYHEW:

Mr. Chairman, I notice it is ten minutes to six o'clock but I think I can say what I want to say in that time. In fact I would not be speaking at all, except that I have refrained for a number of years from taking part in the debates in this house on the Japanese question and because of that some of my hon. friends have probably misunderstood my position.

In 1942, after Pearl Harbor, I was one of those who wired Ottawa in connection with the picking up of the Jap fishing boats on the coast. However, that was not necessary because the navy was ahead of everybody and did an excellent job in picking up some twelve hundred fishing boats and bringing them into harbour.

I later tried to persuade the government that the Pacific coast area should be cleared of Japanese for defence purposes and I spoke on that in both 1942 and 1943. I asked that the Japanese be removed from the Pacific coast area in units of families, because I believed that was the most humane way of treating them and the best plan also so far as the government was concerned. By the removal of them in units of families into the 83166-151

interior of the province and to the prairies, and to the central provinces they could help to feed our armies and our allies, but if we put them in concentration camps we had to feed them. One way they would have been helping us and the other way they would have been helping Japan.

Later on, when the Japanese were moved) to camps along the Canadian National right of way I objected to their staying in that position because it was not a safe position. Since that time I have refrained, as I said, from taking part in the debates on this question. I refrained for two reasons. One was that Canada has treated the Japanese better than any other of the oriental races. We have permitted practical slavery among the Chinese people due to our laws, which I think should be cancelled just as soon as possible. We have not allowed them to come in with their wives, nor have we allowed the Hindus to come in with their wives. But the Japanese were allowed to bring their wives in and to set up homes and live like the rest of us, although they have failed to do that in a number of places.

When our security commission wanted to move the Japanese people to other provinces in Canada, what did we find? The other provinces immediately started bargaining with the security commission for these Japanese. They said, yes, you can move in men who are capable of working and earning a living, provided that, when the war is over, you move them out again. Furthermore, that was practically the attitude of all the provincial authorities and we have seen the same attitude in other places. The hon. member for St. Paul's said in this house that; no Japanese would come to the city of Toronto if he could avoid it. The mayor of this city is reported to have said that no Japanese are going to come to Ottawa, and other people in responsible places have said the same thing. What has that meant? It has meant that the rest of Canada is trying to put British Columbia in the position where she should shoulder the whole blame, and I refuse to do that. They are trying to make out, because we in British Columbia say we do not want the Japanese back, that the people of British Columbia are un-Christian and a heathen people, implying that people in this part of Canada are all saints. I say, let the people in the other parts of Canada come forward and say: We will not force anything on you, but we will welcome these Japanese people and treat them as Christians, theieby proving our Christianity. I am quite sure that British Columbia will then say the same and will go as far as they will in our Christian treat-

St. Lawrence Waterway

ment of the Japanese. One Christian act never made a Christian, and one act of felony never made a felon, but if people in other parts of Canada will adopt that principle of Christianity and invite the Japanese and treat them as they say they want British Columbia to treat them we shall not have any difficulty in handling the Japanese.

I had a good deal I wanted to say, but I will be content with what I have said.

Progress reported.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, April 24, 1947


April 23, 1947