August 11, 1956

REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL AND OBJECTIVES OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION


On the orders of the day:


PC

William Earl Rowe (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. W. Earl Rowe (Acting Leader of the Opposition):

I should like to ask the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration if he has any further comment on the question I asked the other day with regard to the commission in Europe seeking immigrants.

Topic:   CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL AND OBJECTIVES OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):

I was hoping the hon. gentleman was not going to embarrass me by asking that question because it appears that someone or other, in reporting what happened in the house the other day, got mixed up. I referred to a mission that was sent last winter or last autumn from my department to Europe to visit the refugee camps, and apparently it was reported in the press or over the radio as a mission that was going to be sent. It is all over and, I should not say done with, because we have a very good report from it and expect to get some very good people from these camps.

Topic:   CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL AND OBJECTIVES OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION
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PC

William Earl Rowe (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

I understood it to be a commission seeking immigrants to assist the farm labour shortage.

Topic:   CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL AND OBJECTIVES OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I think whoever was responsible for the report got rather mixed up.

The house in committee of supply, Mr. Robinson (Simcoe East) in the chair.

Topic:   CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL AND OBJECTIVES OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION
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DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION


59. Citizenship registration branch, $398,265.


LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I understood, sir, I was to get answers to a couple of questions and that was the only reason this item was stood. I was asked by the hon. member for Prince Albert to give the number of applications for citizenship which had been rejected. I asked him to be a little more specific about that and it was finally understood, I think, that I would give definitely the number that had been rejected by the minister in the year 1955 after being recommended by a judge. I had a count made and the number was 162. I found also that it was possible without very great difficulty to go through the

files and make a count of those applications which were rejected by the courts, that is to say where the applications came in and the judge had not seen fit to recommend them. There were 85 of those, so that the total number of rejections was 247. I gave the figure the other night of the number granted and that was 58,715.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

The

information which the minister has given to the house this morning establishes one thing quite definitely, and that is that he accepts, and has accepted in given instances, the responsibility for examining citizenship applications which have been recommended by a judge and, with the authority given to him by the statute, of disagreeing with the judge, reversing the judge's findings by refusing to grant citizenship. I suggest, Mr. Chairman, that that is, in itself, largely in disagreement with the attitude taken by the minister when this point was first debated in this house, at which time he indicated he felt he was practically bound by the findings-

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I do not think we should proceed along this line any further. I indicated very clearly on three separate occasions the other evening that these applications came to the minister with a recommendation from a judge. It was the duty of the minister to exercise his discretion, but in the exercise of his discretion it had never been the practice to look into what was done in the courts and try to review the work in the courts. I have looked back to see what my hon. friend the Minister of Finance said when the amendment was made two or three years ago, and I find that his view then was the same as the position I am taking now. What we do is to see if we have detrimental information, and I said this quite clearly the other night, in the citizenship branch or elsewhere in the department that is not available to the courts. We do not attempt to review what takes place in the courts, or to sit as a superior court over the courts. I think it would be quite improper if that were done.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

Be

that as it may, we have the situation in which the minister says, "I do not attempt to review what has gone through our citizenship courts". And then we find that subsequently he sees fit to reverse 162 of those recommendations. To me, that is a clear-cut indication that in certain cases, for whatever reason, he chooses to reverse the findings of the citizenship court.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

It is not a question of reversing at all. I wish the hon. gentleman

would use the proper terms as they are used in the act. There is a recommendation and the recommendation is accepted or it is not. There is no reversing of anything.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

agree with the minister that he refused to go along with the recommendation of the citizenship court. I am prepared to accept that.

Now, Mr. Chairman, we will all remember from the evidence introduced when this item was last debated it was apparent that this citizenship application went through with the minimum of delay

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

That, sir, is not true, either. This application was considered on April 16 and the certificate was not signed until April 28. I could give many instances where it had been done much more quickly than that, several times at the request of certain hon. gentlemen opposite.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

One

asks oneself-at least I certainly do-why this citizenship application should have been processed with such speed because the minister will, I think, agree with me that while other applications may have been processed speedily, this application was processed much more speedily than the average in the department.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I do not think, sir, the average is much more than 12 days.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

In

that case, Mr. Chairman, it indicates that the average application in the citizenship department is being processed and citizenship papers put out on a Saturday morning. Since an average represents 50 per cent of the work, we have the peculiar situation in which the minister's department is doing most of its work on a Saturday morning, and he himself knows how foolish that is.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I do more work on Saturdays than on most other days every week in the year.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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PC

William McLean Hamilton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Notre Dame de Grace):

question why this application was handled so expediently and so successfully in the light of certain questions regarding it. One wonders how this could be done. I think one of the ways perhaps to do it is to have a good attorney, someone representing the applicant who is familiar with the procedures. That caused me to look back and find out who handled this particular application. I thought it might be of some value to people who wanted this sort of treatment in the future. I discovered that the person who appeared for this applicant before the citizenship court

Supply-Citizenship and Immigration in Montreal was none other than Mr. Paul F. Renault, of the firm of McMichael, Common, Howard, Cate, Ogilvy and Bishop, of Montreal. It is interesting, Mr. Chairman, because if this is the same Paul F. Renault who is so engaged and working with that firm, he is a nephew of the Prime Minister, and that establishes-

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
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August 11, 1956