Hon. J. R. Nicholson (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Leader of the Opposition inquired as to whether one Georges Lemay, a most wanted man, had entered Canada on April 23 and, after a short stay, had returned to the United States. I undertook to make a statement on the matter today.
In the course of his remarks the right hon. gentleman referred to certain articles in the press. I said that I had read one of the articles, and I have since had the opportunity of reading another one. I have made an investigation, and I am informed that on January 23, 1962 the Montreal police put out a "Wanted" circular for Lemay in connection with the robbery of the Bank of Nova Scotia, which had occurred on July 1, 1961. On January 31,1962, the R.C.M.P. were brought into the picture and I am informed that they distributed information on a routine basis to police forces in Canada, in different parts of the United States and elsewhere. Such an alert by the police does not, so far as I have been able to ascertain, include the Canadian immigration service. Our service, the immigration service, is concerned with aliens coming into Canada, not with people leaving Canada.
In this connection I might say that the first newspaper article referred to by the right hon. gentleman in his statement yesterday was a press item which alleged that the said Lemay had been in Vancouver in 1963. Now, Mr. Speaker, he may or may not have been in Vancouver, but even if he were this is not a matter which would involve my Department. Lemay is a Canadian. So far as I know-and I do not think I would be here if the circumstances were otherwise-going to Vancouver does not involve going through immigration.
With regard to the other suggestion, Mr. Speaker, that the said Lemay had entered Canada on April 23 of this year, and after a short stay, had returned to the United States, may I say that after careful consideration I do not consider it proper to comment at this time on this aspect. One of the said newspaper articles alleges that the U.S. immigration service has charged Lemay with illegal entry into the United States at Rouses Point, some 70 miles from Montreal. The article alleges that Lemay represented himself to be a United
May 14, 1965
Inquiries of the Ministry States citizen, and that he produced a United States driving licence in the name of Rene Roy. Rouses Point is a U.S. border point. There is no Canadian port by that name. I might say there are several ports on the Canadian side that are served by a series of roads that come out from Rouses Point, but the immigration duties with regard to cars at these points are conducted by customs officers, not by immigration officers.
In any event, in the same article referred to by the right hon. gentleman a woman who claimed to be Mrs. Lemay is said to have denied that her husband did return to the United States on that occasion. She claims, according to the article, that he never left the United States and so could not have returned to the United States. Therefore this matter, being the subject of a charge in the United States courts, is sub judice, and I do not think I should comment on the truth or otherwise of the newspaper statements. However, Mr. Speaker, I think it is fitting for me to say to Members who are interested that in this particular incident, that, as a result of the effective co-operation of the authorities, including the police of Montreal, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and police officials in the United States, a much wanted man has been arrested and presumably he will be returned to Canada in due course under extradition proceedings.