Hon. E. D. Fulton (Minister of Justice):
Mr. Speaker, I desire to make a statement in connection with the Doukhobor situation in British Columbia.
The government of Canada has been following closely the developments in the Kootenay area of British Columbia where, for many years, acts of violence, damage to property and disorder have been occurring. These occurrences have recently spread to other parts of the interior of British Columbia. The dominion government has shared the concern felt by all, and especially the citizens of British Columbia, over this situation.
While maintaining the view that the constitutional responsibility for the maintenance of law and order continues to be that of the province, the government of Canada has felt that the most recent series of outbreaks, especially, have demanded a readiness on its part to give sympathetic consideration to co-operating with the province in any specific request or proposal put forward by the province which offers real possibility of a solution of the problem.
In accordance with this spirit, representatives of the dominion government have recently participated in extensive negotiations with representatives of the government of British Columbia in connection with a particular suggestion advanced by the latter as a solution to the problem. This involves the suggestion that members of the Doukhobor sect associated with the sons of freedom, who have for many years insisted that they are in conscience unable to accept and
abide by the laws of this country, be assisted in their expressed desire to emigrate to Russia.
In the course of these discussions, and in keeping with the attitude outlined above, the dominion government indicated to the province its willingness to accept a generous share of the burden of implementing this proposal. As a result of these discussions, the following joint statement has been agreed to by the two governments. The text is as follows:
This statement is made by the governments of Canada and British Columbia jointly in the belief that certain members of the Doukhobor sect associated with the sons of freedom earnestly desire to leave Canada forever and is made for the purpose of establishing the intention of the two governments to co-operate so that those persons may carry out their desire.
Those desiring to take advantage of this offer will be required to declare their intention on or before the 30th day of September, 1958, and arrangements will be made to complete migration as soon as possible after this date. Those desiring to leave Canada should at once communicate with the office of the dominion director of citizenship and immigration in Vancouver or with the government agent at Grand Forks, Rossland or Nelson in the province of British Columbia.
The governments of Canada and British Columbia are agreed that upon being advised by the U.S.S.R. that the Soviet union will accept applying Douk-hobors of that sect as immigrants into that country:
(1) the governments will assist and co-operate with individuals, families and groups desiring to migrate, in the furnishing and securing of all necessary documents, visas and passports required for the purpose;
(2) the government of British Columbia will assist in restoring to their parents custody of their children for whom parents make application for the purpose of emigration from Canada;
(3) reasonable financial assistance will be provided (a) by the government of Canada to cover the cost of transportation to the U.S.S.R.; and (b) by the government of British Columbia to assist in the establishing of settlers in that country in an amount not to exceed transportation assistance and for a period subsequently to be determined;
but upon the condition that all such financial assistance will be made available only to persons renouncing Canadian citizenship;
(4) the government of British Columbia will assist, if asked, in the orderly realization of assets real or personal of migrating persons and will credit moneys thereby secured as directed by them.
The government of Canada will co-operate in arranging for and facilitating discussions between representatives of the Doukhobors and of the Soviet government in Canada regarding the arrangements to be made for admission to Russia of those desiring to migrate.
Those who do not within the time specified accept this offer to assist in migrating from Canada will be understood to desire to remain in Canada subject
3580 HOUSE OF
Doukhobor sect-Proposed Emigration to all laws, municipal, provincial or federal, governing Canadian citizens and privileged as heretofore to enjoy the rights and liberties of such citizenship.
That is the end of the joint statement. I may say that the text of this joint statement is also released this morning in Victoria at this time by the government of British Columbia.
Subtopic: BRITISH COLUMBIA-ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING EMIGRATION OF DOUKHOBORS