February 15, 1955

DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE REQUEST FOR ANNOUNCEMENT OF DATE


On the orders of the day:


PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. Wilfrid Dufresne (Quebec West):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the Prime Minister, based on a question he himself had raised in the house on a previous occasion. Has he been in touch with the premiers of the different provinces of Canada and is he considering a tentative date for the forthcoming federal-provincial conference to which he has already referred?

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE REQUEST FOR ANNOUNCEMENT OF DATE
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

No, Mr. Speaker, no date has been set up to now.

(Text):

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE REQUEST FOR ANNOUNCEMENT OF DATE
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NATIONAL DEFENCE

RADAR DEFENCE LINES-AVAILABILITY OF CANADIAN FREIGHT AIRCRAFT


On the orders of the day:


LIB

George Carlyle Marler (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. George C. Marler (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member for York West asked the following question:

Can the minister of national defence inform the house whether Canadian air carriers have sufficient freight aircraft of Canadian registry available to handle the airlift required in the construction of the D.E.W. line and the McGill fence?

As I think the question ought to have been addressed to me, with the consent of the house I should like to answer the hon. member. Airlift requirements in connection with construction of the northern and mid-Canada warning lines are being adjusted continuously from week to week and month to month. I cannot, therefore, give a categorical answer to the question. However, it is fully expected that all Canadian carriers, with suitable equipment for the purpose, will have an opportunity to participate in the airlift; but it is possible that assistance by military aircraft may also be needed.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   RADAR DEFENCE LINES-AVAILABILITY OF CANADIAN FREIGHT AIRCRAFT
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PC

John Borden Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John B. Hamilton (York West):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a supplementary question of the Minister of Transport. In connection with the use of military aircraft, will such aircraft be supplied by the R.C.A.F. or by the United States air force?

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   RADAR DEFENCE LINES-AVAILABILITY OF CANADIAN FREIGHT AIRCRAFT
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LIB

George Carlyle Marler (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Marler:

I believe that will depend on the circumstances. I am not able to answer as to which of the two air forces would carry out the airlift in question, but I imagine the R.C.A.F. would participate as well as the United States air force.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   RADAR DEFENCE LINES-AVAILABILITY OF CANADIAN FREIGHT AIRCRAFT
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Finance) moved

that the house go into committee of supply.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   RADAR DEFENCE LINES-AVAILABILITY OF CANADIAN FREIGHT AIRCRAFT
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IMMIGRATION

PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. E. D. Fulton (Kamloops):

Mr. Speaker, this is the first motion for committee of supply which has come before the house at this session, and thus it is the first opportunity the opposition has had to raise any specific grievance which we feel requires attention and action by the government before the motion is acceded to. We intend to take advantage of this opportunity to bring before the house and the government the situation which exists with respect to immigration policy.

This subject is one which we feel is, next to high taxation and unemployment, causing more dissatisfaction and concern in Canada today than any other subject. There is concern and dissatisfaction not only with respect to the over-all policy of the government relative to immigration, which indeed is difficult to determine, but also because of the practices of the government in administering that department, the result of which is to create injustices, hardship, and inequities.

The dissatisfaction is threefold. It arises first from the fact that the government does not speak with a clear and consistent voice with regard to immigration matters. Secondly, from the fact that the practices and policies of the government, as carried out by the immigration branch, are not in accordance with the best interests and needs of Canada. Thirdly, because these practices inflict injustice and bitter hardship on both Canadians and non-Canadians.

In presenting this case on behalf of the official opposition I have tried to summarize these complaints into a motion-perhaps it might be called a motion of censure-which we propose to move, and which for the sake of clarity and continuity of discussion I shall now read although I am not moving it at the present moment. We shall be moving:

That the motion be amended by deleting therefrom all the words after the word "That" and substituting therefor the following:

in the opinion of this house, the immigration policy of the government is not clear, consistent or co-ordinated: is not in conformity with the needs or the responsibilities of Canada; and in its administration denies simple justice to Canadians and non-Canadians alike.

One of the reasons why it is both necessary and desirable to bring this matter before the house in this way is because of the government's handling of the subject in this house over the past few years. The handling of the subject by the government has effectively denied the house the opportunity of discussing, sensibly and coherently, the question of immigration and the government's policies and deficiencies in that regard.

For this situation there is, of course, no one who bears more responsibility than the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris) who for the past three or four years was minister of citizenship and immigration.

As we have pointed out before, it has been the practice of the minister, who as house leader had charge of the day to day arrangements of the house and the responsibility for bringing forward the government business, to defer consideration of the estimates of his department until the last possible moment.

When we had the estimates of the department of immigration before us last session we had them for about half an hour on the next to last day, and for the final day of the session. At that time I summarized the inadequacy of the time which had been allotted to discussion of immigration policy over the past three years, and we made it perfectly clear during the discussion last year that the only reason why we did not insist upon taking more time to discuss immigration was because of the situation in which we were placed by the government bringing the estimates up on the last day, placing us in a situation in which all the arrangements had been made for the closing of the session, when it would have been nothing less than discourteous to His Excellency, who had been acquainted with these arrangements, if we had extended the debate. The government of course was well aware of that. They made arrangements for the closing of the session and they knew it would be impossible, under the circumstances in which they brought forward that department, to devote sufficient time to have the matter adequately ventilated.

We are bringing this motion forward, therefore, at this time because this affords the first opportunity of the session to have a discussion on this matter which the interests of the country demand, and also because it affords a discussion upon which the attention of all hon. members will be confined to the question of immigration and a decision of the house can then be taken. The matter can thus be laid before the house and the country in a co-ordinated and coherent manner.

The Minister of Finance, in seeking to indicate that the matter was not perhaps of

Immigration

such importance, commented that the opposition could not have considered it very important because they had not brought it up in the throne speech debate. But you will appreciate, Mr. Speaker, that the throne speech debate, while important, does not afford an opportunity for continuous discussion of one matter only-a discussion which will be carried to completion on that subject and on which a decision can be taken.

And we are bringing the matter up now rather than waiting for it to go to the estimates committee because we feel this is a subject on which a discussion of government policy is necessary, rather than a discussion of details of expenditure. We are certainly concerned with the details of expenditure in regard to this department, but we are even more concerned with administration and the policy of the government.

I think I should perhaps say by way of observation that it is our understanding that the main purpose in setting up the estimates committee is so that the details of expenditure may be examined. That is essential. But as we understand it, it is not the intention or the purpose to afford in that committee the opportunity for policy discussion such as is afforded here in the house.

I might say in addition that we are a little bit suspicious that, if we were to leave it to the estimates committee-and we have been told that there is to be no policy discussion when the estimates are referred to that committee-and our suspicion is based on the record of past performance of the government, it might just "accidentally" happen that that department was the last one to be considered in the estimates committee; that it might just "accidentally" happen that that was the last department reported back to the house; and that it might just "coincidentally" be that that report was not made until the last day of the session and we would find ourselves in the same position as that in which we have been placed over the past three or four years.

For that reason we are bringing the matter on at this the first opportunity for raising it as a grievance, because it is a grievance, Mr. Speaker; it is a matter causing the greatest of concern to the people of Canada as a result of the disclosures made last fall in Winnipeg and as a result of the failure of the government to lay before the house and the country a clear and consistent picture of its immigration policy over the past years.

The house will appreciate that the motion which I have already outlined consists of three main branches. The first one deals with the fact that the government's policy is not clear, consistent or co-ordinated. As

Immigration

evidence of this criticism, I would refer the house to the contradictory statements made from time to time by government ministers in connection with the subject of immigration. It is a repetition of the pattern to which we have objected on other occasions. In an apparent desire to please all shades of opinion, the government will have one minister go into one part of the country and make a statement the effect of which is to create an impression that they are all in favour of all-out immigration, while another minister in another part of the country makes a statement which creates the impression that the government's immigration policy is one of cautious restriction.

It is another case of the government trying to be all things to all men. It is a pattern, however, which is or should be subject to the strongest criticism because it is a complete denial of the principles of cabinet solidarity and of responsible government, the principles which demand that the government should speak with one voice on the issues and policies of the day in order that the people themselves through their parliament may hold the government accountable for a definite policy and may conduct its examination of government activities in the knowledge of what is government policy.

But here just in the last short while we have seen another example of the almost complete contradiction between different government statements. I have in my hand a clipping from the Winnipeg Free Press and another one from the Ottawa Citizen, both dated January 28, 1955; both papers are of the same day. The article in the Winnipeg Free Press reports a speech made by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) in Winnipeg, in which speech the minister referred to the question of immigration and asked certain questions, the only implication of which is that he is in favour of an all-out immigration policy. Discussing policy, he asked this:

Is it to refuse to admit population to develop our resources for fear they may soon be depleted and we ourselves become unemployed?

Or is it to go full steam ahead as we did at the beginning of the century, which policy was interrupted by two world wars?

Of course the impression created in the minds of his listeners and in the mind of anyone reading the statement is that the Minister of Agriculture is saying that the policy is full steam ahead but that it has unfortunately been interrupted by two world wars. In the article in the other paper appearing on the same date the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Mr. Pickersgill) is reported as having made a speech to the Ottawa West Liberal Association in which,

discussing matters of immigration, he laid stress upon the necessity for caution and restriction. The headline is:

Limit to Number of Immigrants Canada can Safely Absorb, Pickersgill tells Liberal Meeting

Mr. Rowes Are they both the same day?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I am asked whether they were both made on the same day. The Winnipeg Free Press article is not datelined but it appears in the Winnipeg Free Press of January 28. The other article appeared in the Ottawa Citizen of January 28. They are both reporting speeches made on that immediate occasion by the two different ministers.

As I say, that is the latest example. These examples could, of course, be multiplied. There are differences between statements made in the past by the minister of citizenship and immigration of that day and now Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris) and the statements being made then by the Minister of Agriculture. I could multiply the examples. We have the former minister of citizenship and immigration, speaking oni one occasion, talking of Canada's necessity to have a population of 26 million by 1975-a target, incidentally, Mr. Speaker, which is going to be much in excess of the actual number if the present policy is continued-while on the other hand the present minister says that we must be cautious and go slow.

There is therefore ample justification for the criticism of the government that its policy is not clear or consistent. That policy is not co-ordinated either. We have evidence of the fact that there does not exist a sufficient degree of co-ordination between the government's policies with respect to industrial expansion and the promotion of the development of Canada's resources in Canada and for the benefit of Canada first,, and their policy of bringing in new citizens, new settlers, new Canadians to take part in and to be given opportunities of employment by that process of growth and expansion. Nor is there sufficient co-ordination, on the evidence that we have, between the activities of the immigration officials and the activities of the officials of the Department of Labour. Some of my colleagues, speaking in the course of this debate, will be giving some examples of the lack of co-ordination in that respect.

In the second place, we say that the government's policy is not in conformity with the needs and responsibilities of Canada. The-needs of this country for more people are undisputed, Mr. Speaker, as can be seen by reference to statements made by spokesmen for government, business and labour. Some-

of them I have referred to already. There is the statement of the Minister of Finance when he was minister of citizenship and immigration, in a speech he made at St. Catharines on January 30, 1953 in which he is quoted as follows:

Why is immigration necessary? Mr. Harris explained that natural increase is not sufficient to provide manpower for Canada's expanding industries.

That was a report appearing in the St. Catharines Standard of January 30, 1953. The need for more people is supported also by the statements made by chambers of commerce. In a recent comprehensive survey made by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce this subject received exhaustive treatment. The need for more people is also supported by the statements of labour leaders and by the recent policy declarations of the Canadian Congress of Labour. I have here a clipping from the Ottawa Citizen of June 12, 1953 which is headed:

Millard-

That is referring to Mr. C. H. Millard.

-urges Canada take more immigrants.

The report in detail of a speech made by Mr. Millard at Smiths Falls contains these summaries:

Europe has a surplus population of 5 million people and it would be "callous" for Canada to refuse to accept its share of them as immigrants, C. H. Millard. Canadian director of the United Steelworkers of America, told the third annual banquet of stewards and executives of steelworkers local 3140 . . .

Then Mr. Millard is quoted as saying:

"Our forefathers came to Canada as a land of opportunity", Mr. Millard said. "Why should we deny the same right to others?" This country has too much "waste space" and its present population does not correspond to its potential.

A summary of the C.C.L. 12-point program to boost employment, which appeared in the Windsor Daily Star of September 29, 1954, contains the following as point 8:

A planned immigration policy based on the country's capacity to absorb immigrants in an expanding economy without lowering the standard of living.

So, as I say, the proposition that Canada needs more people is undisputed and is supported by statements made by government spokesmen, chamber of commerce spokesmen and by labour leaders themselves. At this time I think it might be appropriate to say something which I am sure will meet the approval of members of all parties in the house, namely, that we should pay a real tribute to the contributions made to both the cultural and economic development of this country by those who have been admitted to Canada as immigrants. Not only is the need

Immigration

of Canada for more people undisputed but the fact that the people who have come here have made a tremendous contribution to our growth, culturally and economically, is equally undisputed, and that in itself establishes in return our need for more people of this type.

It is also a fact that many other countries have too many people. Mr. Millard referred to the surplus population of Europe. Of course no one is advocating a limitless policy of absorbing limitless numbers of people without being in any degree selective, but one has only to look at the population of Europe and of the United Kingdom itself to find support, and reference to statements made in the United Kingdom, for instance, establishes that there is a surplus of population which has been estimated to be as high as 7 million people.

The fact that we need people, and that other countries have a surplus, raises a serious question. Can Canada morally or physically pursue an unduly restrictive policy with respect to immigration? Yet notwithstanding the background of these facts and the implications of that question, we find that the record shows that the government is steadily reducing the number of immigrants coming to Canada in each year. I have here a table provided me recently by the director of immigration and taken from the departmental records. It shows that from a high of 194,000 immigrants in the year 1951 there has been a steady reduction. There were 164,000 in 1952, a slight increase to 168,000 in 1953, and 146,000 for the first eleven months of 1954. I understand it is anticipated that the total for 1954 will reach just over 150,000 and that the figure for this year will certainly not be more than 150,000 on the basis of present indications. Therefore the trend of the government's policy is toward a steady reduction in the number of people coming to Canada.

It must be recognized, Mr. Speaker, that the argument is frequently raised that immigration tends to increase unemployment and to aggravate the employment problem in Canada. Now in making our criticism of government policy we do accept the necessity for planning of immigration. We accept the necessity for seasonal planning in order that immigration activities will be so co-ordinated with the employment picture in Canada that when there are times of rising unemployment immigration will taper off.

With respect to this criticism of government policy that I am making, I think I should say in fairness that this is one aspect of government policy over the last few years where they are entitled to some measure of praise because the figures show that in the last

Immigration

three years, when there has been a tendency to increased unemployment in the winter months, the stream of immigration has very definitely declined. That necessity we do accept. We accept seasonal co-ordination and planning of immigration but what we do not accept is the general argument that immigration in the over-all picture lessens opportunities for employment. Our belief is that a planned, vigorous policy of selective immigration to bring in more people is in keeping with the best interests of all sections of our country and of our people. We believe that the government's present pessimistic policy of reduction, this planning for a little Canada, is to be strongly condemned.

We also believe that immigration policies and activities, in addition to taking account of seasonal trends as I have already said, must be co-ordinated and go hand in hand with sensible fiscal and economic policies which will create a climate for expansion and thus create continued and increasing opportunities for Canadians now here and for those who come in the future. There again the government of course is open to the strongest of criticism because its fiscal and economic policies seem designed not so much to promote increasing opportunities for Canadians in Canada as to promote increasing opportunities for those in other countries to manufacture and process our raw materials. But given the factors I have mentioned in a sensible, vigorous and co-ordinated immigration policy-and we say the government is to be condemned for failing to bring about these factors-given these things, the best statistical evidence available convinces us that Canada can absorb more and not less people without any adverse effect on employment, and that in fact such a policy will increase opportunities for employment in the long run. But we emphasize again that plans must be laid now with respect to co-ordinated policies of economic development, processing of natural resources and housing so that we will be prepared for the situation and will be able to absorb these people without hardship when they are brought to our country.

In support of the statements I have just made I should like to place on the record a summary of some research that has been done recently into the question of the relationship between immigration and employment and into the question of the extent to which immigration may in fact have the effect of increasing opportunities for employment rather than the opposite.

In a radio broadcast made in August, 1954, the chief of information services of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration said that the approximately 500,000 working

immigrants who had arrived in Canada since the end of the war had a total annual buying power somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1 billion. This is a permanent annual increase in consumer purchasing power of about $2,000 per immigrant worker. If we assume that half of the 211,220 immigrants who entered Canada between April 1, 1951, and March 31, 1952, were workers, the assumption that half of them were workers being based on the proportion of workers brought in in 1954, and that each of them added $2,000 in purchasing power annually through the income that he earned and spent to meet the needs of his family, then the question arises, what contribution did this represent to the total national increase in consumer spending and saving during that year?

The answer to that question will give some idea of the relative importance of immigrant consumption to the growth of consumption in the country as a whole. These 105,610 workers at $2,000 each would add a total of $211,220,000 of purchasing power in that year. The total of personal purchases of goods and services, plus personal savings, for the calendar year 1952 was $14 billion, and $1-5 billion of savings, or a total of $15,753 million. The increase in 1952 over the previous year was $15,753 million less $14,633 million for the previous year, or an increase in consumer purchasing plus savings of $1,070 million. Expressed as a percentage of this total increase, the total income spent and saved by immigrants for that year amounted to about 20 per cent. This is a sizeable contribution in one year to the growth of Canadian consumer spending.

We find further interesting figures, based in part on the statement made by the director of information of the department, to the effect that on arriving in this country many of the immigrants in recent years have brought sizeable amounts of cash with them. We should not think of immigrants only as people who come here without a cent in their pockets. Between January 1946 and December 1953, immigrants brought in an estimated total in cash of $415 million, or an average of approximately $425 per immigrant. In 1953 alone, the total is reported to have been $75 million or, in round figures, about $450 per immigrant.

While much of this cash may have been used for consumption immediately on arrival, immigrants have in one way or another contributed very largely to the investment in Canadian industry, frequently establishing entirely new enterprises. Between 1949 and 1954, in Ontario alone, 350 new firms were established by immigrants. The chief of the

information service, Department of Citizenship and Immigration, referred in his address to one immigrant-owned firm in Canada that is employing more than 4,000 people, and noted that those employing 100 or more are far from unusual. Small businesses established by immigrants employing from one to 30 or 40 workers can be found in almost all parts of the country.

In these facts we find support for our submission that, given the factors I mentioned earlier-and we say it is the responsibility of the government to produce the climate in which these factors will prevail-statistical evidence convinces us that in the long run Canada can absorb more and not less people without any adverse effect on employment. In the long run, such a policy will increase opportunities for employment in Canada.

The second branch of our criticism of the government under this heading, that immigration policies are not in conformity with the needs and responsibilities of Canada, is the concern we feel because the government has neglected British immigration. We have referred to this subject before, and have made it clear then, as we do now, that we do not say the immigration policy should lay undue or unfair emphasis on any one country at the expense of immigration from others. I repeat that we feel the country as a whole should pay a very real tribute to the contribution made to Canada by the people who have come to us from whatever country of origin. But we do criticize the government for failure to put sufficient emphasis on or pay due attention to this potential source of most desirable immigrants. Our criticism of the government in this sphere is that they have under-emphasized British immigration rather than that they have over-emphasized any other at the expense of British immigration.

The figures in this respect are interesting. They show a change in the pattern. I am just going to place some of them on the record. Taking the years from 1950 to 1954 inclusive, the figures establish that British immigration has been on some occasions as low as one-sixth of the total immigration into Canada during a year. It does not average more than 25 per cent of the total immigrants into Canada in the post-war period. Others who will be taking part in this debate will be laying before the house some details of the government's shortcomings in this respect. I want to lay before the house the general picture.

I know that the government has sometimes said that they cannot obtain desirable immigrants from the United Kingdom. They plead in defence that it is not their fault; that they are not placing any obstacles in

Immigration

the way, but just cannot obtain a sufficient number of desirable immigrants from the United Kingdom. When for instance we criticize the government for not taking advantage of the various assisted passage schemes which are available, they say sometimes that does not produce desirable immigrants. They say also, "After all, the assisted passage scheme we do have is not taken advantage of by United Kingdom immigrants to the same extent as it is by others, and that is not our fault." There are definite factors which make it more difficult for prospective immigrants from the United Kingdom to take advantage of that scheme. As we have said before the government is to be criticized for not taking action on those factors to make it easier for United Kingdom immigrants to take advantage of the schemes.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I wonder if the hon. gentleman would permit a question, purely to elicit information. I was not clear as to the assisted passage scheme to which he was referring. Was it the Canadian government loan scheme?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

There is the Canadian government loan scheme which, as I was just saying, for a number of reasons, is not as readily available or as attractive to prospective immigrants from the United Kingdom as it is to immigrants from elsewhere. Modifications in the scheme would remedy that situation. There is also the commonwealth scheme for assisted emigration from the United Kingdom, to which this government has refused to become a party although the commonwealth of Australia is taking full advantage of that scheme.

When discussing this matter with the minister and others on previous occasions, their answer has been that if we go out to attract immigrants from the United Kingdom in the same way as we try to attract immigrants from other countries we will not get desirable immigrants. This argument is entirely refuted by the experience of Australia. I have here some figures on the volume of British immigration into Australia and New Zealand over the past few years. From 1946 to 1953 inclusive, there were 390,623 immigrants into Australia from the United Kingdom. There was a peak of 73,586 in the year 1951, and that compares with the peak of 46,791 coming to Canada in the year 1953. In the period 1947 to 1953 inclusive there were 60,782 United Kingdom immigrants into New Zealand. It is interesting to note when this government says that desirable immigrants from the United Kingdom are not available, that in the period

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Will the hon. member permit a question? Will he cite the section of the Immigration Act on which he bases the argument he has just made.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I thought I might get that sort of question from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, because he apparently does not believe that Canadian citizens have rights in general. He believes that it is necessary to lay down the rights of Canadian citizens by some statute before they have any rights. We proceed on the basis that a Canadian citizen has rights, one of them being access to the courts. Unless they are taken away from him by statute those rights exist and are capable of enforcement in the courts. Therefore, when you say in the first place that immigration to Canada shall be permitted, and you then make a regulation saying that certain classes are admissible and provide that Canadian citizens can apply for the admission of relatives within that class, how can the minister argue that there is no right on the part of the Canadian citizen when he makes an application? That is the implication of the minister's argument. It is a position which we entirely refute and refuse to accept.

We submit that there are rights attaching to landed immigrants, people lawfully admitted to Canada and lawfully in Canada in the process of acquiring Canadian citizenship. For instance, they should not be deported or have their application turned down without reference to their rights and to their position as lawfully admitted persons in the process of acquiring citizenship. If then there are, as in fact there are, rights in this field, there must be, we say, a means by which those rights can be asserted, and the question whether or not a decision of one of the departmental officials to whom this enormous discretion is given denies the rights should be heard and determined by some judicial or semi-judicial process.

This attitude on our part is not new. We indicated it in the discussion last session. We have indicated it on previous occasions. Our feeling is that some amendments should be made to the act so that the right to appeal is recognized, and the discretionary and arbitrary practices which amount to a denial of rights can be dealt with on a legal and orderly basis and so that the rights inherent

Immigration

in Canadian citizenship can be protected and asserted. I referred to the matter myself at the last session. The leader of this party, in a very forceful speech, made statements to that effect and he quoted from an article in Toronto Saturday Night which is so apt that I shall place it on the record again in this context. In Toronto Saturday Night of May 22, 1954, it was stated editorially that:

The present Immigration Act obviously confers arbitrary powers on petty officials and leaves much too much room for discriminatory, unfair treatment of visitors and settlers. It is up to Mr. Harris to present to parliament amendments to the act which will make it a clear, just vehicle for the regulation of immigration-and at the same time to ensure that his department is organized to apply the regulations with courtesy and reason.

We referred to the irregularities which had been revealed in the practices and administration of the department, to the various cases of hardship and injustice, and to findings within the courts themselves wherein judges had criticized vigorously the administrative practices of the department as being a denial of elementary justice and a denial of reason. The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Leong Ba Chai case was that there are rights attaching to this subject of immigration and immigration applications.

We referred to this at the last session and on previous occasions as reinforcing the view that when reasons for decisions do not have to be given, as the government maintains that they do not, and when ministerial discretion, which means, in the nature of things, departmental discretion, is the sole arbiter, then error, corruption, favouritism and injustice are invited and rights and liberties are denied in principle as well as in fact.

These views, which have been stated on many previous occasions, received almost a startling but a most gratifying degree of confirmation in the findings of the subcommittee of the committee on civil liberties of the Canadian Bar Association, which findings were made in Winnipeg in September of last year. At this stage I should like to summarize the recommendations of the subcommittee based upon their preliminary investigation of the situation in the department itself.

Perhaps at this point I should state for the record that the subcommittee consisted of John H. McDonald of Ottawa, chairman; John H. Dickey, M.P. of Halifax; and John R. Taylor of Vancouver as members. The committee report reads in part:

A copy of the 1953 report (P. 162 Vol. 36 C.B.A. Proceedings) was forwarded to the minister of citizenship and immigration and on June 30, 1954, the committee attended upon the minister and further recommended:

Immigration

(a) Possible codification of regulations issued by your department.

(b) Publications of intra departmental directives -particularly instructions to field officers as to the application or interpretation of the act.

(c) The implementation of proper and legal appeal procedures as contemplated in the act and as recommended in this subcommittee's preliminary report last year.

(d) The possibility of making departmental files available to applicants and their attorneys- possibly as handled by the Patent Office. (Excluding confidential material prepared and written by departmental officials but including all statements made by the appellant or any other person pertaining to the case).

(e) The recognition of the role of barristers and solicitors in immigration law.

(f) The establishment of a procedure setting forth reasons for rejection in each case, in such a way as to give the rejected party or the applicant concerned an opportunity of overcoming the department's objections.

(g) The committee's recommendations made in the 1953 report be implemented.

The subcommittee had pointed out earlier that in its 1953 report it recommended certain administrative reforms within the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and the creation of an immigration appeal board on a judicial and legal concept.

I should like to emphasize that these findings, and the criticisms inherent in these findings and recommendations, are based on cases which were studied by the subcommittee and which occurred when the present Minister of Finance was minister of citizenship and immigration. These were cases of injustice and hardship resulting from practices and policies for which he was responsible but which he refused to alter or review in spite of repeated urgings by ourselves and others. The Minister of Finance must take full responsibility for the mess in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, a mess which drew such criticism from the bar association and from newspapers of all shades of political opinion from one end of the country to the other.

I submit to you that in all reason and in accordance with proper practices the existence of such a mess and the refusal of the minister to deal with it would call for the resignation of the minister who had condoned those practices. This is a situation which is not taken care of by the simple device of transferring the minister from one department to another within the government.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I wonder if the hon. member would permit me to ask a question?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I shall be coming to the hon. gentleman in a moment. I am sure he will be much more anxious to ask questions when I have dealt with him.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Permalink

February 15, 1955