June 10, 1952

POTATOES

REASON FOR HIGH PRICES


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture):

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) asked a question about potato prices, and why they were so high. I shall endeavour to give an answer. On May 31 of this year the storage holdings of potatoes totalled only 723,000 bushels, whereas a year ago they totalled 3,489,000 bushels. The surplus this year is very small as compared to last year. A short time ago the United States removed the price ceiling from potatoes, so the small surplus we had went to the United States and paid the 37-J cents per hundred pounds tariff.

It will not be long before new potatoes are available; in fact they are available now in the United States.

Topic:   POTATOES
Subtopic:   REASON FOR HIGH PRICES
Permalink

LIVESTOCK

SUPPORT PRICE-APPLICATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture):

Yesterday a question was asked by the member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green) as to why no support price was being applied to cattle originating and sold in British Columbia. The Prime Minister said that an answer would be available today.

I wish to assure the hon. member that there is a support price for British Columbia, but as British Columbia is a deficiency province and only produces a small percentage of what they consume it has not been necessary for the board to step in and buy meat in that province to send overseas. If the hon. member can tell me that a surplus of cattle is being offered in the market, and the producers are not receiving the support price, I will immediately investigate any case he brings to my attention and see that the producers receive the support price.

Topic:   LIVESTOCK
Subtopic:   SUPPORT PRICE-APPLICATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
Permalink

IMMIGRATION ACT

AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY

LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) moved

the second reading of Bill No. 305, an act respecting immigration.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY
Sub-subtopic:   PROVIDE FOR LOANS TO IMMIGRANTS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Is the minister going to make a statement?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY
Sub-subtopic:   PROVIDE FOR LOANS TO IMMIGRANTS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris (Grey-Bruce):

Mr. Speaker, this bill is the first revision since 1910 of the Immigration Act. It retains the principles of the present act and modernizes those principles. If passed, it would enable this department to function more efficiently and effectively in the light of present-day conditions. I shall speak only of the new proposals, although there are additions and extensions to many of the present sections.

The bill provides for the definition of those persons who are by law entitled to enter Canada, that is those who are Canadian citizens and in most cases those who have Canadian domicile. It deals with those who are not entitled to enter but are in what is known as prohibited classes. This follows the pattern of the present act which defines those admissible as of right and those prohibited, and vests in the governor in council authority to make regulations for the admission of others.

In the section dealing with prohibited classes there is a comprehensive definition of

those engaged in subversive activities. These persons are not admissible, nor is a person, unless the minister authorizes it, who has Canadian domicile and who engages in activities prejudicial to any action taken by Canada under the United Nations charter, North Atlantic Treaty Organization or other similar instruments for collective defence. Dealing still with prohibited classes, there is a modification of the rules now having to do with persons who have committed a crime involving moral turpitude. I indicated during previous discussions that we were considering a relaxation of this rule so that the minister might have authority to admit someone who had made a mistake, had paid the penalty and had rehabilitated himself and who had an otherwise good record. The house knows of instances where the application of the present rule has resulted in the separation of families with results not entirely desirable. We believe that absolute prohibition against admissibility under those circumstances should be modified.

Our suggestion is that we might admit a person who has had a clear record for five years if the conviction occurs after 21, or two years if before 21, if he has rehabilitated himself. We have also provided for the kind of case mentioned by the hon. member for York West (Mr. Adamson) in the preliminary stage of this bill, namely the person who, arriving in apparent good health, becomes ill of a disease which would bar him if he were seeking admission. Deportation will not now be mandatory in these cases.

There is a provision repealing a section of the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act. That section provides for the deportation of addicts or other persons engaged in the unlawful use or sale of drugs. In a somewhat different form it will now appear in the Immigration Act.

During the discussion last year on the loss of citizenship the question arose about the loss of domicile. I think hon. members know that domicile confers some rights for admission into Canada. We have provided that a Canadian citizen by naturalization shall lose his Canadian domicile if he ceases to be a Canadian citizen by reason of voluntarily acquiring the nationality or citizenship of another country or if he, having dual citizenship, serves with the armed forces of another country against Canada, or if he in war has committed certain other acts in communication with the enemy or by reason of having shown himself disaffected or disloyal to Her Majesty, or by having resided for more than two years in the country of

Immigration Act

which he was a citizen or a national prior to his becoming a Canadian citizen.

There is a group of people who have been in Canada without status for some time. As the house knows, under the present act the minister has authority to admit anyone by permit for a period of a year and these permits are renewable yearly. This authority has been used sparingly by successive ministers and the non-immigrant never does attain the status of a landed immigrant. It is proposed that the minister may have the authority to grant permanent landing to any person in this group who has been here for ten years or more, if the landing would not be dangerous to the public health, or contrary to the public interest. These are persons, as a rule, who have been admitted despite mental or physical infirmities as members of a family and are being looked after by the family concerned.

Recently a question was asked in the bouse with respect to a gentleman who had been in jail for some time pending deportation. At the time I was asked if there had been any incompetence on the part of this department, and I answered no, which was the proper answer because all the steps which were taken in that case to effect deportation were taken in accordance with the act. Nevertheless I am free to confess that the situation was not very satisfactory and in the bill, which was under preparation prior to that particular incident, we have made provision for one method of eliminating the delays which sometimes occur in effecting deportation. These delays occur in a number of ways, both at the ports of entry and within Canada, and it is our desire to make it possible to effect deportation at the earliest possible moment, especially at the request of the person concerned.

The present procedure is that the person concerned must be examined by a board of inquiry consisting of three officers, and there is an appeal to the minister. We recognize that this is an opportunity for the minister to exercise his judgment in the light of what he thought parliament would expect him to do; and I am satisfied that all my predecessors have exercised that authority in that manner. But there is no doubt that this procedure has caused delays, and delays which have in some cases been costly to the person concerned. We are, therefore, proposing that the board of inquiry shall now consist of one person, because in this way we can in some cases convene a board of inquiry sooner, and that the appeal be taken to an immigration appeal board which will

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY
Sub-subtopic:   PROVIDE FOR LOANS TO IMMIGRANTS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinlon):

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that two factors have an important bearing upon the nature of the debate which might be held at this particular time. The one relates to the procedure proposed, namely that following second reading this bill be referred to a select committee of the house for further study. The other relates to the scope to be allowed with reference to discussion of questions of policy in regard to immigration.

When the resolution preceding this measure was before the house last week the minister urged that the house defer discussion on immigration policy until his estimates were before the house in committee of supply, and that the house should confine itself, both at the resolution stage and on the present bill to discussion in general as to the desirability of consolidating the Immigration Act and other matters pertaining to the structure of our machinery in the department and in connection with immigration generally.

The house did comply with the request of the minister at the resolution stage, Mr. Speaker, and I gather that the minister is making the same request today, and he has so indicated. I, for my part, am prepared to comply with that request and to defer observations in regard to immigration policy until the minister's estimates are before the house. In saying that I think I might fairly reiterate what I tried to say on the resolution stage, namely, that this subject of immigration is of such great importance that before the house prorogues at the conclusion of this session there should be opportunity for a thorough discussion in the house with regard to immigration policy. With the assurance that that opportunity will be provided when the minister's estimates are before the house, I propose to confine myself to the bill without trespassing on the field of policy, and in doing so, Mr. Speaker, I shall be brief.

The reason one can be brief on a matter of this kind is that there can be little question that it is desirable that the Immigration Act should be consolidated and reviewed.; and since a committee is to be appointed, for that purpose I am sure there will be ample opportunity for the committee to conduct a searching review of the bill.

I think it should be clearly understood, Mr. Speaker, just what the house is doing in giving second reading to the bill. Having regard to the fact that the bill is to go to a special committee, and that the principal work of the house in reference to this bill will be done in that committee, there should be a clear understanding in the house now as to the effect of giving second reading to the

Immigration Act

bill, if the house does give that second1 reading and thereby approves the principle of the bill. I ask, Mr. Speaker, that it be clearly understood1 that in so doing we are giving approval to the principle that there should be a consolidation of the Immigration Act, and that in the committee there will' be the most complete freedom of expression of view on any section of this bill, without being trammelled by the adoption of the bill by the house and its approval on second reading. I think the minister can give us that assurance; it will help to curtail discussion now.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY
Sub-subtopic:   PROVIDE FOR LOANS TO IMMIGRANTS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris (Grey-Bruce):

I do that.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY
Sub-subtopic:   PROVIDE FOR LOANS TO IMMIGRANTS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Thank you. On that basis I submit that the principle of this bill should be endorsed by the house.

As the minister has indicated, there has been no effective revision of the Immigration Act for forty-two years, and any department of government and any statute of parliament which have been in effect that length of time and have been submitted to the stresses that the Immigration Act and the department have been- under in recent years are due for review by the house. I am sure that the house will welcome the opportunity of reviewing the Immigration Act.

The minister did indicate at an earlier stage of the session that he hoped it might be possible to bring this bill before the house at the present session. He was not sure at that time whether it would be possible to bring it before the house in time to be fully disposed of at this session. I should like to say to the minister that I am very glad he has brought the bill along. It is true that we are at a late stage of the session, if one can judge by the condition of the order paper, but there will be, I have no doubt, every indication of co-operation throughout the house in giving this measure immediate and searching study.

I do not propose to make extended comment on any of the features of the bill to which the minister has made reference in his brief statement this afternoon. The importance of adequate definition of domicile I am sure requires no elaboration, and whatever is done by way of amendment to the present act must subtract nothing, sir, from the importance of Canadian citizenship. We must see that the possession of Canadian citizenship is recognized as a very great privilege, and we must seek to attach to the acquisition of Canadian citizenship all that sense of privilege that goes with, and ought to go with, the possession of citizenship in the great country of which we are ourselves proud to be citizens.

Immigration Act

The proposal lor expediting the handling of appeals through boards of inquiry and immigration appeal boards will naturally be considered sympathetically. Anything that will contribute to expeditious handling of these appeals is naturally desirable, provided that nothing is done to subtract anything from the rights of those concerned. We shall have inquiry to make concerning the relationship of those boards of inquiry and appeal boards to the right of access to the courts in proper cases where that access exists today.

The minister opened his comments on the bill by reference to the changes that are being made in the case of persons who, having been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, have nevertheless established themselves in society or, as the bill puts it, are rehabilitated. Sir, I think that will be a useful change in the act. The terms of the present Immigration Act in that respect are harsh in their rigidity. I do not doubt that many hon. members have had cases brought to their attention where persons, who have been guilty in earlier years of crimes involving moral turpitude, but have fully re-established themselves in society, have nevertheless found themselves under the rigid ban of the present act. This bill does give such a person, after paying his debt to society, and after having rehabilitated himself into society for a period of years, an opportunity of proving that he is a fit person to be admitted. And with all proper safeguards, Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that that is a change in the law which is worthy of support and is desirable.

There are provisions in this bill, sir, which have reference to persons engaged in subversive enterprises, persons who show by their activities that they do not value the opportunities that they have in a country like ours of enjoying freedom, ordered freedom, under parliamentary institutions. And looking at what is happening in the world today, I do not think that there need be very much sympathy wasted by this house on persons who come within the scope of definitions of the type of persons I have just now referred to in the new bill.

I do not intend now to make any further or more extended comments on the terms of the bill. I am sure the house will welcome the opportunity of reviewing this legislation, and of giving it in committee the careful scrutiny it demands.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY
Sub-subtopic:   PROVIDE FOR LOANS TO IMMIGRANTS, ETC.
Permalink
CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Alistair Stewart (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to think that the introduction of this bill might be a precursor to an immigration policy in Canada. Whether or not that is so, of course we shall find out in committee. It appears to me that we have

never had a coherent plan of immigration in Canada. Our approach has been essentially pragmatic. In times of depression we keep people out, and when things are booming in a time of prosperity we bring them in. During the thirties we almost insisted that the only ones who could come here would be farm workers, and there was a tendency to exclude skilled artisans and those belonging to professional groups. I think that is unfortunate for people of all classes in this country.

In the days after the war there seems to have been a hangover of that policy. There may have been a change in the department by this time, but I can remember when doctors of medicine were working in lumber camps and doctors of philosophy were working on farms. As a matter of policy we should go after a more diversified group of immigrants for this country.

Of course there have been reasons for this. Immigration today is not altogether a spontaneous matter, as it was in the early part of this century, when people just pulled up their roots and came over to this country. Today there are political and, at times, economic bars to their coming. The political reason, of course, is that those nations who have immigrants wishing to come to this country do not like to see their young people leaving them and going to another country. They do not want to see those who are the most adventurous and aggressive coming over here. They do not want to lose those of military age who would be able to defend their own country. That, of course, is a problem.

Then, there is the economic problem, when so many people cannot come to Canada and bring capital with them. But I am wondering if there is not a solution to that problem. Would it not be possible, as a matter of deliberate policy, to try to enter into some agreement among the northern members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization whereby we could have among those countries an agreement respecting immigration? Under such circumstances those countries conceivably would find that immigration would be beneficial to them, and there would be no net loss to the Atlantic community as a whole; rather there would probably be a strengthening of it.

This would imply a certain amount of planning; but that is not beyond our ability. It would imply a closer degree of integration among those nations which I, for one, would welcome. Were we to indulge in immigration on a planned basis it might be possible to think of an increase in the population in Canada for a number of years ahead at a. rate of two per cent increase per annum.

One per cent of these would be from natural births-and, as has been said so often, the babies born in Canada are our best immigrants. The other one per cent would come from overseas immigration. I do not believe that that one per cent would involve such a great number that it could not be integrated pretty closely into our own economy. But it is imperative that an agreement of some sort be reached, especially with those nations with which we are now on such close terms.

I should not want it to be inferred from what I say that I am suggesting our immigration policy should be totally and completely exclusive. I would resent any such policy as that, and consider it a wrong one. Yet there would seem to be words in the bill before us which suggest to me that the concept of exclusion still lingers in the minds of those in charge of the department.

One thinks, for instance, of the fact that British subjects from the British West Indies have found difficulty in gaining entrance to Canada, because it was believed that they would find it difficult to adjust themselves to the climatic conditions of this country. That, as a matter of fact, has not been the experience at all. However, it is a subject which can be considered in committee, and when we are considering the estimates of the department.

I should like also to mention that while under the bill we are prepared to ban individuals for good reasons, it would seem that we are equally prepared to ban people on racial grounds. Indeed, the word "race" is actually used in the measure. Experience has shown that it is a word which has very little scientific validity. The other day I had a meeting with some representatives of the Armenians in this country. Apparently Armenians are considered by the department as people of Asian extraction. Naturally the Armenians say that they are nothing of the sort, that in fact they are Caucasians.

But what is the meaning of "race" as it is used in the bill? Can one talk, for instance, of the Scots race or the Irish race or the English race, or of any such absurdity as that? After all, the people of the United Kingdom and of northern Europe at some far distant time came from the Middle East. Unfortunately a reference to race is used all too often in the Hitlerian sense; and as it is used in the bill I hope it is used in the sense that there is a Caucasian, a Mongol or a Negroid race. I doubt if that is so.

During the thirties it was used in an even unhappier sense, when there was a deliberate exclusion against certain groups such as Ukrainians, Jewish, and Polish immigrants.

Immigration Act

We regarded them as second-class citizens. Fortunately that is not so today, and we are glad of it.

I agree that it is right and proper for Canada to decide who should come to this country; but we have used these racial concepts viciously in the past. The immigrants who have come to this country despite such barriers have turned out to be among our best citizens.

Another matter which will come up before the committee is as to how screening is carried on. I am tempted to think that in the past it has been inadequate, for we have had persons come to Canada who have had no past at all, in the sense that they came here with purely fictitious names, and yet apparently they had been screened. However, matters of that kind can be discussed before the committee. That is one reason why I welcome Bill 305 at this time.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY
Sub-subtopic:   PROVIDE FOR LOANS TO IMMIGRANTS, ETC.
Permalink
SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. Victor Quelch (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, as I believe it would be out of order to discuss the general immigration policy at this time, and as the minister has given us the assurance that the bill is to be referred to a special committee, we in this group are prepared to support second reading, without further discussion.

Motion agreed to and bill read the second time.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO CONSOLIDATE AND CLARIFY
Sub-subtopic:   PROVIDE FOR LOANS TO IMMIGRANTS, ETC.
Permalink

MOTION FOR SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION

LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, by leave I move:

That a special committee be appointed to consider the bill with respect to immigration; with power to send for persons, papers and records, to print its proceedings and to report from time to time to the house; and that the provisions of section 1 of standing order 65 be waived with respect to this committee; and that the committee shall consist of certain members to be appointed hereafter.

Topic:   MOTION FOR SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION
Permalink

June 10, 1952