June 26, 1954

LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Is it agreed?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

The list is as follows:

Language texts for citizenship classes to be printed for 1954-55

1. Learning the English Language Book I

30,000 $10,8002. Learning the English Language Book II

30,000 10,8003. Learning the English Language Book III

30,000 10,8004. Learning the English Language Book IV

30,000 10,8005. Workbook I for LEL

30,000 13,5006. Workbook II for LEL

30,000 13,5007. Workbook III for LEL

30,000 13,5008. Workbook IV for LEL

30,000 13,5009. English Through Pictures

20,000 5,40010. Workbook I ETP

20,000 7,50011. Workbook II ETP

20,000 7,50012. Teacher's Guides

3,000 2,25013. Je Parle Franeais Book I

10,000 7,50014. Je Parle Franeais Book II

9,000 6,75015. Je Parle Franeais Book III

7,500 5,62516. Workbooks for French Self-Taught

1,500 705Total $140,4306830 HOUSE OF

Supply-Citizenship and Immigration

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

There have been a great many interesting speeches today on the very important topics of citizenship and immigration, but I have got the impression that the accent was on the immigration side of things.

I think that the question of citizenship is extremely important too. It is not my intention to take up much time of the committee, but I should like to express certain opinions and make a suggestion to the minister.

It seems to me that if one looks back over the history of civilizations which existed before our own one finds that time proved that they did not have the permanency that their citizens imagined that they had. It is also the fact that most of these civilizations collapsed and were overrun, not because they were destroyed by conquest from without but simply because they rotted from within. These civilizations were developed by very energetic people who had a strong sense of purpose, who put up with hardships and who knew what they stood for, but after a few generations of soft living and a faltering of the ideals of their ancestors the then citizens shirked their responsibilities as far as their way of life was concerned, and it was only a matter of time until they were overrun.

I feel there is a danger of that happening to us. I have been shocked, particularly since entering public life, by the abysmal ignorance of large groups of Canadian citizens with regard to our system of civilization and government and their responsibilities in connection therewith. You will find this ignorance not only among the illiterate but among people who look upon themselves as being well educated and people who have quite a bit of formal education, high school graduates and even university graduates.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

The hon. member should come to Newfoundland. We have a higher level there.

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

I hope you are right. I am glad to hear the Secretary of State say that, and I hope that is not due to the fact that Newfoundland has only lately come into confederation.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulion:

The Secretary of State has only recently gone down to Newfoundland.

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

I find, for instance, that many people who consider themselves fairly well educated have no knowledge as to the various fields of federal, provincial and municipal governments. For instance, they have no knowledge with respect to such a simple question as to what government is responsible for the upkeep of roads or other public works.

It is rather disheartening to realize the little value the average citizen places on his right to exercise his franchise. There are thousands of people in Canada who do not ever bother to vote, and in some cases the ones who do feel that they are doing someone a favour by casting their ballot; that it is something they must be coaxed into or pushed into or even bribed into doing. There are people who believe that the vote is a marketable asset which they try to sell to the highest bidder, if there are any around. I feel that is an unfortunate situation. If our system is to survive, I believe as much as possible should be done to educate, not only the new immigrants coming into the country but our own citizens whose people have been here for generations as to their responsibility. These people should be given an elementary knowledge of our system of government and the importance of the things for which it stands.

Only the other day most of the members of this committee had an opportunity of hearing General Gruenther speak. He said at that time that one of the greatest dangers to our western civilization was the fact that we seem in danger of losing the ideological war. Our western civilization does not seem to know for what it stands. He went on to say that it is not enough to be against communism, we must be for democracy. I agree with that 100 per cent.

I have been pleased to see some excellent booklets which the department put out a year or two ago in this regard. The series covers our land, our history, our government and so forth. I believe they are very good, although I think the particular title for "our government" would be more apt if it were "our system of government".

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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

I assure the committee that was unconscious, and it will not be done again.

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean:

I must say that these booklets are very good but they do not go far enough. I should like to make a suggestion to the minister. It would be money well spent if he were to sponsor a film or a series of films on these topics.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Does the hon. member for Kamloops agree?

Mr. X^acLean: I believe he would, because if films are used for the right purpose it is money well spent. However, you can squander money in that way. There would not be perhaps any objection to a well made film or series of films on our system of government. There could be one on municipal government, provincial government and

federal government, and one on our system of justice. I feel that is another thing upon which many of our citizens are rather vague.

I have said that I do not want to take up too much time of the committee, but I would be pleased if the minister would give consideration to something along that line.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Michener:

Early in the session we amended the act and eliminated the first declaration of intention to become a citizen. Can the minister say whether that will result in some monetary saving in administration? If so, what will be that saving?

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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

The forms which would be used for the current period had already been purchased but we will not be spending money for this purpose in the future. I do not believe there will be much of a saving on this particular item until the next fiscal year.

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PC

Gage Workman Montgomery

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Montgomery:

I should like to ask the minister, in connection with item 58, about the language texts for citizenship classes, $140,000. Can the minister give me some information as to how that money was spent?

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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

I just finished answering that question for the hon. member for Greenwood. I said I would put it on the record. May I at this moment say to the hon. member for Queens that since the 1949-50 fiscal year we have spent $62,360 on film strips, chiefly to be used in citizenship classes.

Since this reminds me of something the Leader of the Opposition said, I want to say something about the ethnic press. I am quite conscious of the support that was quite evident here today for the ethnic press who are doing their best to keep the newly arrived immigrants from embracing any doctrine that would be disadvantageous to Canada. As I have said on many occasions, we make it clear to these people when they come that the test that will be applied later on to their citizenship is their conduct in the meantime and their beliefs. Something over two years ago I met the ethnic press, and I believe the committee will realize one has to be careful in these matters, but we did set aside a sum of money for use in advertising through that press. We are continuing it this year, and will continue because the editors and publishers of those newspapers and periodicals deserve our support in refuting the false arguments that one could so easily fall into believing if he were not guided correctly.

I should like to table copies of a report, in English and in French, of the first national seminar on citizenship. I may say copies will be distributed.

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Item agreed to. 26, 1954 6831 Supply-Citizenship and Immigration Immigration branch- 59. Administration of the Immigration Act, $968,610. Mr. Fulton I am not going to seek to revive the discussion we have already had, Mr. Chairman, but I could not let the matter stand without pointing out that, probably because of the pressure of time, of which the minister is now a victim as well as ourselves, the minister did not deal with the fundamental policy matters concerning immigration which were raised in the course of this discussion. The minister did not deal with the matter of the country of origin or the matter of the changing composition of present groups making up the 'total immigration, nor with the question of enlarging our effort in connection with immigration generally. I can only assume that is due to one of two things. Either the government has no policy in this regard or has not considered the matter in all its implications or else, as I have said is equally probably, the minister finds himself a victim of the shortage of time that is allotted for the discussion of these estimates. I believe it is regrettable that this department should be disposed of this year without any reply from the minister on these important points. There are some questions I want to ask the minister on this item which provides for the administration to the Immigration Act. I come back to what was referred to in the course of general discussion, and that is the adminstrative practices in dealing with these immigration applications. If what I have to say appears critical I want to make it clear my criticism is not directed against the immigration officials in their capacity of administering this act. My criticism, although it may appear to be directed towards them, is based on the fact that there appears to be no directive or if there is any directive it is designed to direct them to deal with the matter along certain lines and to give certain answers or provide certain information which is, in my view, desirable to be provided. I do not regard that as an irresponsibility of the officials concerned; that seems to me to be a matter of policy which must, of course, come from the top. So what I am concerned with is the policy with respect to the administration of immigration. I am aware that there are many complaints about which I alleged in a general way this morning, that when an application is rejected, it is most difficult, if not impossible, for the applicant himself or his representative-if he is represented by counsel-to obtain a clear-cut and concise statement of the reasons why the application was rejected.



Supply-Citizenship and Immigration There are several aspects of the matter I would like to ask about. The minister will recall an announcement in the house in 1951 with respect to the children of Chinese-Canadian citizens in which it was indicated that the provisions would be relaxed whereby in the case of those over 21 and up to 25, where there was hardship or merit, there would be provision made for their entry. I wonder therefore if the minister could define that type of hardship, or the grounds of merit, relied upon to produce in certain cases permits for entry. We would like to know the lines of policy which are being followed. So far as I am concerned it would appear that one case is dealt with favourably and that another of a similar nature is refused. As I say, the lack of reasons given for refusal makes it almost impossible to know whether to appeal or how to conduct the appeal. Would the minister say a word or two in describing the type of case where hardship or merit would apply, and give examples where these have been relied upon as justifiable admissions.


LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Mr. Chairman, it must be obvious to the committee that as soon as 1 made the announcement almost every Chinese citizen in Canada who had a son in China over the age of 21 and under 25 made application for his admission to Canada. And, of course, that is an exaggerated statement because they are still coming in. Nevertheless we were faced with all the applications which could be sent in as a result of that. We had some question in our minds as to what precisely we could do by way of definition. And we finally left the definition just precisely as I indicated, that each case would have to be dealt with on its merits, realizing of course that the decisions might not be correct in some cases but that on the average they would be acceptable.

Perhaps the committee would be interested to know the number who have come in under this grouping. There have been 23 of the age of 21; 19 aged 22; 7 aged 23; 6 aged 24 and 10 aged 25 in the month of May of this year only. That is a representative month. The total is 65 in this group.

Now, if it happened that a son was well established in China, so far as we could decide, and if the father here had other children either to look after his business or to look after him in his old age, that would be the type of case that would not meet the definition of hardship. If on the other hand the father happened to be the sole proprietor of a business, if he was getting on in years

and had a son abroad of that age who could come forward and assist him, that could be a case where hardship would intervene. We would consider it a case of hardship and grant the request.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I should like to ask a question with respect to all cases of this kind, and immigration applications generally. Can the minister give an assurance that it will be laid down as a matter of policy that in these cases, except where it is a matter of security or political loyalty, a duly appointed representative of the applicant will be allowed to have access to the files and documents on which such refusal is based so that he will be able to prepare a case on appeal either to the minister or to an immigration appeal board, if one were set up or, if necessary, to a court? There has been occasion for a ruling of this kind. Many times counsel have had great difficulty in obtaining information upon which to base applications; and the same applies to members of parliament.

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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Is my hon. friend referring to Chinese cases, or is he making a general reference?

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June 26, 1954