February 15, 1955

SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. F. D. Shaw (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, there are many good reasons why Canadian immigration is a subject deserving of most serious consideration by parliament at this time. The mover of the amendment indicated that we have been offered few opportunities to engage in a co-ordinated, organized debate. It is true that when the estimates of the department come before the house each year we are provided with an opportunity, sometimes a very abbreviated one. It is possible that we can be blamed for that. Then from time to time, as amendments to the act are brought in, further opportunities are provided.

It is particularly appropriate that we should discuss this matter at this time, because all one has to do is read the press of Canada, read the newspaper editorials, read magazines, read magazine editorials, talk to people, meditate upon individual cases that one has come in contact with, to come to the conclusion that Canadians are

particularly disturbed about the situation which they feel must prevail at this time.

The hon. member for Kamloops should be commended for moving his amendment at this time. I am also grateful to the minister for resisting what must have been a very strong temptation to plunge into the debate after the first speaker had concluded his remarks. Probably it is the better part of wisdom for a minister to hold back a bit and hear the whole story from every quarter of the house before answering. Then, of course, there is another advantage in that some of those who speak before he does will not have the opportunity of talking about what he may say.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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LIB
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

I am sure the minister did. If there are grounds for criticism at all with respect to our method of dealing with this subject at that time, it is in connection with the suddenness and unexpectedness with which the amendment confronts hon. members when it is moved to the motion for the Speaker to leave the chair. However, as the debate progresses it will be demonstrated that hon. members do not require much time to prepare their remarks and deal with this particular subject.

I indicated a moment ago that all one has to do is to read newspapers, newspaper editorials and so forth to realize that Canadians are greatly disturbed at the present time. Take, for example, the matter of refusing entry to immigrants on what the department says are civil grounds. I realize that some are barred on medical grounds and others for other reasons. I have been told, to use a broad general expression, that some are barred on civil grounds. There may be a good reason for this, but it is rather surprising to me. If a person is barred from admission to Canada on medical grounds the department does not hesitate a moment to say so, to indicate, "it has been found that you have tuberculosis and you are not admissible at this time." But in many instances the reason is not given as medical grounds or any other grounds. I think particularly of a case I had before the department last year of a citizen who had emigrated to Canada and been here for a number of years. He has proven himself to be a good citizen.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Perhaps the hon. gentleman would not mind my making this correction. It is not the custom of the department to state the refusal is on medical grounds unless the disease is curable or remediable.

In that case it is given for the obvious purpose of enabling the person to try to make himself eligible.

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SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

Of course in any specific case the department would not know whether or not it was curable, though a disease taken as such may generally be regarded as curable.

I was referring to a case that came to my attention. This chap emigrated to Canada a number of years ago. He has proved to be an excellent citizen in every respect. He has a brother back home, and as far as he has been able to determine there is no reason whatsoever for barring that brother. However, the department have a reason which of course they refuse to make known. This chap has no right of appeal, apparently, because he does not know on what ground he is barred.

His brother said to me that he feels like leaving Canada because apparently there is something wrong with his family. He told me that he simply cannot find any reason whatsoever for the rejection. Documents have been sent from highly responsible governmental and international agencies in the country, which is not an iron curtain country, supporting his application. This man tells me that the way he feels he might just pick up and go back, or go somewhere else.

I do not know how widespread that situation may be or to what extent it can be cured, but it does put a person in a very unfortunate position if he is not told the reason. If a person is a communist, tell him so; that is my view. Tell him we do not want him. If it is something else, tell him in straightforward language. This may have legal implications, but on the other hand it would be the decent way of dealing with him.

I would like the minister to make a note of what I am going to say now. Frequently immigrants arrive in Canada and make the charge that the situation here has been misrepresented to them, that there were supposed to be jobs available in the line of work in which they are qualified, etc. Some rather severe things have been said. I would ask the minister how far the representatives of the Canadian department of immigration go in informing prospective immigrants as to the true picture which prevails in Canada with respect to employment, etc. I think they should be given a clear-cut and definite picture. If after getting these facts they come here and say some of the things they do, we would at least have the defence that they were fully conscious of the situation before they came. I wonder also to what extent 50433-75

Immigration

certain other organizations might be taking advantage of these people by giving them information that might not be correct.

The charge has been made across this country, and it has been blazoned in rather large type of late, that we have no immigration policy as such in Canada. Some have qualified that statement by saying that if we do have a policy it certainly falls far short of meeting Canada's requirements. I noticed a recent editorial which I shall refer to later. I hope the minister will not ask me to identify it right now, as I promise to come back to it. One very prominent Canadian daily newspaper has gone so far as to say editorially that the government are profoundly suspicious of any immigration policy, that they feel politically happier to have a situation of calculated confusion based on general or vague generalities.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

They have said it three times in three editorials.

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PC
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

The minister does not have to ask me whether it was the Winnipeg Free Press. This is the newspaper to which the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) referred the other day as being liberal with a small "1", but to which I can refer as being Liberal with a large "L".

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

An excellent newspaper, too.

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SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

I am not denying that. On the other hand, if the Winnipeg Free Press is actually a Liberal paper I should think an editorial such as that would rock the minister and the whole government right back on their heels. Either that or they should grasp the first opportunity to indicate to the country what their policy is, if they have one, indicating clearly to the country that it is not one of calculated confusion or vague generalities.

When this motion was moved today by the hon. member for Kamloops my mind went back to 1947 when legislation was brought into this house to amend the Immigration Act, designed to do two things; to repeal the Chinese immigration act and to make special provision for the admission to Canada of dependents of members of the armed forces.

I remember on that occasion the then prime minister, the late Mr. Mackenzie King, outlining what he called Canada's immigration policy. I recall speaking in that debate the next day and suggesting that as a broad general statement of policy, a long-range type of policy, we could not find too much fault with it. In looking back over it again just

Immigration

a few moments ago I find that I still cannot find too much fault with that statement of policy.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
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LIB
SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

I do not suppose there will be too much criticism advanced today of that broad general statement of policy. It is when you get inside it that you start finding differences of opinion or criticisms. The prime minister of that day said the policy of the government was to foster the growth of population in Canada by the encouragement of immigration. He said the government would seek by legislation and regulation and vigorous administration to ensure a careful selection of permanent settlers of such numbers as could advantageously be absorbed into our national economy. That was on May 1, 1947.

Then he went on to deal with what he called the long-range program for immigration, and he emphasized again the first purpose, namely that of enlarging the population of the country. He pointed out in connection therewith that there was always danger in having a wealthy country like this so sparsely populated, especially when that picture was placed alongside the situation which prevailed in so many countries of the world where you have large populations jammed into small areas with a low level of existence among the people, with at times actual starvation. I stated at that time that that was a statement with which we could agree.

The prime minister then went on to point out that a larger population would help to develop our resources, that there would be more consumers for our domestic products and less necessity for exporting our primary products. That holds as true today.

He next referred to the fact that in his opinion immigration must relate to the country's absorptive capacity. That is an intriguing term. The hon. member for York South (Mr. Noseworthy) registered some criticism. I am wondering in my own mind if any effort has actually ever been made to determine the absorptive capacity of Canada at any specific time. As the prime minister of that day indicated, it will change from time to time and that is understandable. I wonder if in the past eight years the government has advanced at all in the determination of a formula which might guide us in this particular field.

The prime minister did say-I could quote his exact words-that a figure representing

the absorptive capacity would vary from year to year in response to economic conditions. We agree with that, but at the same time we wonder what has been done. We are going to look to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to elucidate when it comes to that particular field. I just wonder what the department has done.

Then of course he referred to this question of selection of immigrants. I am one who has always felt and who still feels-if this is government policy, I agree-that Canada has a perfect right to select those persons whom we regard as desirable future citizens. I have always opposed the open door policy, and I still oppose it. While we do not differentiate between Canadians who are born here and those who have been admitted as immigrants and have become citizens, we have the right to choose those who will be permitted to enter the country. We do not discriminate between those two groups, for they are all Canadians interested in the development of this great Canada of ours. But after all this is our Canada, and we have some right to adopt certain policies in this regard. I am not personally familiar with any country that has not some policy restricting certain -"types" is not the right word-persons from entering their country, and I cannot agree for one second with any person who implies we should throw our doors open and allow all and sundry into Canada.

It is true that there are vast open spaces here. This is a big country, and there is room for many people. But in my opinion we must be selective in our policy. I agree with what the late prime minister said-and I think these are his words-that it is not a fundamental human right of any alien to enter Canada. It is a privilege. Certainly we wholeheartedly agree with that. As far as I am aware, though I may be wrong, we have not been committed to any other policy by virtue of our membership in the United Nations or by anything else. I would be one of the severest critics of the government if they were to enter into any kind of agreement which would have the effect of taking from us the right to determine who shall enter this country as a future Canadian citizen.

I would hasten to add that we must prevent any objectionable type of discrimination. If someone were to ask me to define that I might have some trouble, but I can easily think of a situation where hundreds, or hundreds of thousands if you like, of communists were desirous of coming in here, or whose government was desirous of sending them here from Russia, to become citizens

of this country. If we barred them I would not call that objectionable discrimination. But if the discrimination were based only on a man's religion or even on his colour, then that would certainly be objectionable, and it would also be objectionable if it covered only racial origin.

I shall put it very bluntly as far as I am concerned by stating that an objectionable person would be one who would be desirous of coming to Canada not to become a Canadian citizen and work for a greater Canada but for the purpose of acting detrimentally to the welfare of our nation. I also agree that any mass immigration of persons which would change the fundamental complexion of Canada and its people should not be allowed. If that in a broad sense still represents government policy I cannot find too much fault with it. I do feel, however, there is room for criticism, though I believe this is more in connection with the method of handling human beings.

I do not want it to be said that I am singling out any individual as an object of criticism. I do not like that sort of thing. As a matter of fact, when the present minister and his predecessor were being criticized a short time ago I felt in my own mind that they were desirous of doing a good job, and I felt they would welcome and probably needed help in their difficult task. I believe that would be a fairer approach to the whole question. In connection with the question of handling human beings I am sometimes afraid, on the basis of my own experience and for reasons I will mention, that we are a bit too inclined in this department to deal with human beings in terms of charts, graphs, figures, statistics and logistics. I am inclined to believe that our approach is altogether too cold and impersonal.

It is a mighty serious thing to break up a family, yet under this administration that is exactly what happens. I have had a number of cases in which the child of an immigrant, living at home for very good reasons, reaches a certain age beyond which the department say he may come here on his own. He is simply cut off from his family and that puts the family in the position that they either do not come to Canada or if they do come they have to leave the child there alone. The minister might say that if I have cases like that I should bring them to his attention at once, and I would have to confess that I have not brought them with me. But I certainly would not need to go up more than four floors to find plenty of examples in my files.

50433-75i

Industrial Status of Women

As regards those individual cases, though, I must say that when I have brought them to the attention of the department and the difficulties are based on nothing more than a confusion of regulations, they have been dealt with very rapidly. I have no desire to criticize any individual in the department, though in a moment it might appear that is what I am doing, but I would again emphasize the cold and impersonal manner in which many of these cases are dealt with.

I mentioned earlier that we repealed the Chinese immigration act in 1947. I remember the occasion very well. Members of the house praised the government for their action. I supported the idea myself because I was all too familiar with the situation existing in this country under which we allowed male Chinese entry and prohibited the entry of the wife and family. However, a recent action on the part of the government, taken during the recess, was the bringing down of a regulation stating that a child would be recognized as a lawful child only under existing Canadian law. What the government has done is in effect to reimpose a set of conditions almost as severe as those which were removed in 1947.

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LIB

Edward Turney Applewhaite (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Applewhaite):

I

am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but it is five o'clock and the house must now proceed to a consideration of private and public bills.

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INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN

MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK


The house resumed, from Friday, February 11, consideration of the motion of Mrs. Fair-clough for the second reading of Bill No. 2, to provide equal pay for equal work for women.


LIB

Hector Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. Hector Dupuis (St. Mary):

Mr. Speaker, before I proceed with my remarks in French I wish to congratulate the hon. member for Hamilton West (Mrs. Fairclough) for introducing this bill which involves a principle in more than one respect. This bill indicates that all good proposals are not the monopoly of this side of the house, and that good ideas can originate with the opposition.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

This is a red letter day.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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LIB

Hector Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. Dupuis:

I shall vote in support of this bill unless the hon. member decides to withdraw it, realizing, as the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gregg) has said, that after discussion of this matter she may feel that she has accomplished her purpose.

Industrial Status of Women (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, as I have just said in English, I wish to congratulate the hon. member for Hamilton West for having moved this motion which embodies a principle I have always upheld during my 30 years in public life.

In my opinion there should be no difference between the salary paid to women and that paid to men. We have already discussed human rights in the house. The matter will be studied again and I believe we should grant the women of our country the right to receive equal pay for equal work.

Why should different salaries be paid? I have always wondered. If I take part in this debate, it is not so much to say that I support the principles of the motion but rather to voice my apprehension, because if we should follow the practice of paying lower wages to women who do the same kind of work, it might be prejudicial to male workers since it could lead certain employers to hire women whom they would pay less; this would be detrimental to heads of families who have the responsibility of providing for the needs of their dependents.

I have much respect and sympathy for the young woman who must help her family financially. I also have sympathy for widows who have to work. On the other hand, I have much less sympathy for those women who could refrain from working but who hold positions that could be filled by heads of families. I believe that the employment of women who do not have to work outside their home has some effect on the unemployment situation in general. Those women contribute to unemployment which has been increasing, and more particularly so during the past 15 or 20 years.

I am not challenging the right of anyone to work. I am not questioning the right of the woman to work in order to increase her husband's income or provide for certain personal needs. However, I must say that such a situation makes it more difficult to deal with the unemployment problem, in certain cases.

I know that some employers who are not too scrupulous hire women precisely because they pay them less than male workers for equal work. I have no lesson to give to anyone, but I believe that employers themselves should give special attention to this matter and be a little more conscientious when they have to hire workers.

Even if we agreed to the bill as introduced by the hon. member for Hamilton West, such legislation could only be applied in the field coming under federal jurisdiction. It would be a good step forward. We surely cannot deprive the provinces of their right to legislate in labour matters, except, it goes without saying, in those fields specifically mentioned in the Canadian constitution, where the federal government has priority.

However, I take part in this debate once again to call the attention not only of the federal government but also of the governments of the other provinces and of employers, to the advisability of granting women the same rights as men, but above all of helping to solve the unemployment problem. They should understand that in certain cases it would be better to pay a man the salary attaching to a certain type of work rather than give employment to a woman and pay her less.

I would now like to quote the very comforting words of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gregg). I note that the federal government applies the principle of equal pay for equal work, which is all to its credit. I now quote what the Minister of Labour said at page 1088 of Hansard:

Since that time the Department ol Labour has made a study of the comparative wages of men and women in the same or similar job classifications in enterprises which come under federal jurisdiction. As members of the house are aware, in our civil service the salaries within any particular classification are exactly the same, whether for men or women. With respect to those working for the federal government at prevailing rates, it is the practice of my department to recommend that the rate for a classification be the same regardless of whether the work is performed by a man or a woman under the same job title. Taking these things together, I think I can say that this government and my department certainly do stand for the principle here enunciated.

I shall not say any more on the subject because I do not believe we will be able to solve this problem during this session or even during many other sessions. However, I once again draw the attention of the government to the matter of equal pay for equal work and I take this opportunity to assert that this principle cannot be debated too often if we want to do away with the discrimination affecting employees in certain fields of employment.

Again I congratulate the hon. member for Hamilton West and I wish to tell her that I do so without reservation because I have upheld this principle during the 30

[Mr. Dupuis.l

years of my public life. I shall support her bill. However, I think it will be a long time before it is implemented in the provincial field as well as in private enterprises.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to be very clear about this so that my remarks will not be misunderstood. I have said and I repeat that I have much respect and sympathy for women who have to work, whether they are single, widows, or married women, the latter helping in some way their husbands whose income is inadequate to provide for the family.

Once again, I hope employers will make it a point to be fair, that they will strive to employ a man rather than a woman and that they will not act niggardly to save a few cents on the salary paid a woman or a man. Everyone agrees that we should do everything possible to remedy unemployment which, in certain circumstances, has actually increased through the employment of women who could do without work.

(Text):

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak for only a few minutes, but I rise to support the bill now before the house. In doing so I am happy to indicate that that is and has long been the position of the party to which I belong. Indeed, as I pointed out to the hon. member for Hamilton West (Mrs. Fairclough) when this measure was under debate last year, we are pleased to note the similarity between the text of this legislation and legislation in this field which is on the statute books of the province of Saskatchewan.

If I have any quarrel at all with this kind of legislation, either in the form of the bill now before us or with respect to legislation of this kind as it appears on provincial statute books, it is a quarrel with the title. The bill is referred to as "an act to provide equal pay for equal work for women". Speaking as a mere man and looking to the future, I think it might be better if the last two words were omitted. It would then read "an act to provide equal pay for equal work". Looking to the future I can see the day coming when, with this legislation on the statute books, some of us may have to bring in another bill which would be entitled "An act to provide equal pay for equal work for men".

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL STATUS OF WOMEN
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO REQUIRE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK
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February 15, 1955