On the orders of the day:
Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs): Mr. Speaker,
on May 20 several questions were directed by hon. members to the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) and to me concerning the emigration to Yugoslavia of certain residents of Canada. As all the questions are related, the Prime Minister informed the house on May 21 that I would make a comprehensive statement on the subject.
The first suggestion that a group of Yugoslav nationals might leave Canada for Yugoslavia was made by the charge d'affaires of the Yugoslav legation in Ottawa in a letter, dated March 5, 1946. In this letter he stated that there were a number of Yugoslav nationals who wished to return to Yugoslavia when transportation facilities became available. He also raised the question of export permits for various Canadian products on behalf of the nationals concerned. The charge d'affaires was subsequently advised of the export regulations then in force.
In June, 1946, passports were granted to four Canadians of Yugoslav origin for the purpose of proceeding to Yugoslavia. The passports were granted subsequent to a written request from the charge d'affaires of the Yugoslav
legation in which he stated that the applicants wished to proceed to Yugoslavia to make arrangements for certain Yugoslav nationals or Canadian citizens of Yugoslav descent who "were planning to return to Yugoslavia for the purpose of lending their skill and assistance in the reconstruction of the country."
Subsequent to the return of these persons to Canada a good deal appeared in the Yugo-slav-Canadian press about the return of Yugoslavs and Canadians of Yugoslav descent to Yugoslavia and it appears that funds were collected in connection with the proposed emigration.
In regard to the export of capital the regulations of the foreign exchange control board provide as hon. members know, that persons leaving Canada for permanent residence elsewhere are provided with sufficient foreign exchange to pay their passages and reasonable expenses en route. They are allowed to export personal and household effects, and their remaining cash assets up to a maximum of $25,000 each are transferable in Canadian funds.
A proposal was made by the Yugoslav charge d'affaires under which the resources of the emigrants, within the policy stated above, would be pooled through a central organization known as the Council of Canadian South Slavs. This body, instead of withdrawing the funds from Canada, would use them to make bulk purchases in Canada of goods suitable to trades in which the emigrants would engage upon their return to Yugoslavia.
This proposal was approved and bank accounts were established by the Council of Canadian South Slavs under the supervision of the foreign exchange control board. Although up-to-date figures are not available at present, deposits to the accounts have amounted to approximately $1,000,000.
In this connection export permits have been granted by the Department of Trade and Commerce for the export of material from Canada to Yugoslavia to the amount of $345,918. Some permits were granted to individuals direct; other permits were granted to Canadian manufacturers who apparently received orders for direct shipment.
Settlers' effects are not under export permit control. A farmer leaving Canada, therefore, would be free to take his farming equipment without the necessity of an export permit and, in a similar way, a mechanic would be free to take the tools of his trade. Undoubtedly the total value of settlers' effects would be considerable, but it is difficult to estimate the exact value involved.
It is also difficult to estimate the total number of persons leaving Canada under the auspices of the Council of Canadian South Slavs since passports would be applied for by the individuals concerned, if they are Canadians, and Yugoslavs would travel on Yugoslav passports. There is, of course, no regulation or law which prevents a Canadian or an alien leaving Canada of his own free will. The legal position of an alien leaving Canada is governed by the Immigration Act which provides that an alien acquires Canadian domicile "only by having his domicile for at least five years in Canada after having been landed therein". He loses his domicile by "voluntarily residing out of Canada with the present intention of making his permanent home out of Canada and not for a mere special or temporary purpose."
Thus a Yugoslav citizen, regardless of the length of time he has lived in Canada, will lose his right to reenter Canada if he goes to Yugoslavia with the intention of making his permanent home in Yugoslavia. Should he change his mind and wish to reenter Canada, he would have no right to reenter Canada and would have to apply for admission as any other prospective immigrant.
Moreover, if he should be readmitted to Canada, he could not count his previous stay in Canada for the acquisition of Canadian domicile. In order to become a citizen of Canada, he would, after his return, have to remain in Canada for five years.
The legal position of a Canadian citizen by naturalization leaving Canada is governed by sections 20 and 21 of the Canadian Citizenship Act. Section 20 reads in part as follows: "A Canadian citizen, other than a natural-born Canadian citizen . . . ceases to be a Canadian citizen if he resides outside Canada for a period of at least six consecutive years," subject to various provisos. Section 21 provides inter alia for cancellation of citizenship by order-in-council if a naturalized citizen "out of Canada has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected or disloyal to His Majesty."
It is important to note that a warning appears at the back of the current Canadian passport, which reads as follows:
Canadian citizens by naturalization certificate or citizenship certificate should bear in mind that unless under the laws of the state to which they originally belonged or by the provision of a treaty, they have ceased to be subjects of that state, their certificates have no effect within its boundaries nor can the good offices of His Majesty's representatives be extended to them there.
If. therefore, any Canadian citizen by naturalization who goes to Yugoslavia is,