There is one point in connection with handling these claims that I should like to draw to the attention of the Secretary of State. Apparently when Chief Justice Ilsley made his report he suggested that to qualify an applicant must be first of all a Canadian citizen; he must have been a Canadian citizen at the time that the loss or injury occurred and also at the time of the presentation of his claim for adjudication. These two recommendations are fair enough; but he went on to define what the time of application should be in the case of those who had already
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Supply-Secretary of State applied, and as I understand it his finding was that the time of application would be taken as the date on which a commissioner was appointed.
The commissioner was not appointed for some months after Chief Justice Ilsley had made his report. The setting of the time in that way has had a very unfair result in some cases. One case has been drawn to my attention where the person concerned was a Canadian. He was treated very badly by the Japanese; returned to Canada in 1942, and was called here to Ottawa in order to give his version of what had been done to the prisoners by the Japanese. He filed a claim, and then later filed an official claim in 1945. His health had been so undermined by the treatment he received that he was advised by medical men to go to the United States. Incidentally, this man is also a doctor. He went to the United States, and in order to practise there he had to take out United States citizenship. He took out that citizenship in 1951, a short time before Chief Justice Ilsley had made his report. The result is that now he cannot qualify for any compensation. He was a Canadian citizen at the time he suffered the injury, but by the time the commissioner had been appointed in 1952 this Canadian had become a United States citizen, and he cannot qualify for a claim against the United States government because he was not a United States citizen at the time he suffered the injury.
This is a case where the man is entirely innocent. He has done nothing wrong, and I think the arbitrary setting of the date of application as the date on which the commissioner was appointed was not right. The order in council should at least have contained some exception so that where a Canadian had filed his claim earlier, believing that he was meeting all the requirements, he should not be ruled out simply by this arbitrary provision that the date of filing his claim shall be taken as the date the commissioner is appointed. Is there not some way by which a proviso can be written into the order in council which would meet a case of that kind?
I need only cite the facts for hon. members to see that this is an unfair result, and the last people any of us want to see injured are those who actually suffered at the hands of the Japanese. As we all know, they suffered perhaps more than any other Canadian citizens during the war years. I hope that something can be done to meet a situation of this kind.