April 9, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)


George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative


Whether it is new or not, I still take exception to that clause. I regard this period of apprenticeship as a university course. A young man entering university may have to take the full course, but if he has certain academic qualifications which he has obtained elsewhere the period of the course may be reduced. He has to take the same examination and he has to go through the same procedure of receiving his diploma. I would look upon a non-Canadian British subject as a student entering this university of Canada who, because of the education he has received elsewhere in Canadian principles, will have his time of study in Canada reduced.
Perhaps there has been a certain amount of heat interjected into this debate and it might be well that' there had not been so much. I feel that no group in this house or in this country has a monopoly on loyalty to Canada. I love Canada as intensely as any native-born Canadian. I may not express this in exactly the same way, I may not give vocal ' expression to my thoughts perhaps as readily as some others, but I still love this country.
I rode the range and I have drunk deep of the, beauties of the prairies, of the sunsets, of the foliage of the fields. I have climbed the Rockies and I have been impressed with the grandeur of thbse mountains. I have wandered over the foothills and I have dreamed my proud daydreams. The proud daydreams I have dreamed have been, "What may I do to further the interests of this my country?" Therefore I do ask the minister to reconsider this five-year qualification clause.
I wish to speak of one other matter, the twenty-year provision in connection with those who have come to our country and who during that period have been unable to learn one or other of our languages. If they cannot speak English or French and have lived here for twenty years and are able to meet other requirements, such as knowledge of our customs and so forth, they are to be granted the
right of citizenship. I consider that provision just in so far as elderly people who are here now are concerned. We know that with the system of colonization used in western Canada groups of immigrants have been tempted to live together in certain colonies where they have not had the same opportunities of free intercourse as the people coming to this country now do have. Therefore I would say: Allow men or women who are over fifty years of age and who have lived here for twenty years, whether they have been able to learn English or French or not, to have the privileges of citizenship provided that they meet the other requirements.
But I am not sure that I can go so far as to say that the young man or the young woman who has lived here for twenty years and who in the last twenty years has not taken advantage of the opportunities which now exist for all people to learn our languages should be granted citizenship until he or she has learned one of those languages. I suggest that an age-limit might be considered at which they might be permitted to become citizens of Canada by taking advantage of that clause.
As for the future I would make it quite definite and clear that anybody coming into this country who wants to become a citizen will be expected to learn one or other or both of our languages and I would not allow that twenty-year clause to apply in the future.
Reference has been made by the member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart) to Japanese residents of this country. I represent a constituency in which the Japanese lived in their thousands before the outbreak of this war. When war came with Japan those residents were removed as a protective measure because. there was a danger, of espionage or of hostile action being taken.- The people of my constituency have realized the difference that there is now that the Japanese have gone, and whether the Japanese are made citizens of Canada or not the people of Vancouver island and the people of the gulf islands do not want to see the Japanese moved back into those areas. I have had letters from all kinds of organizations, I have had letters from individuals, from farmers, from fishermen, from employers of labour, from churches and organizations all containing this plea: Do not let the Japanese come back to this territory after the war. They believe thkt the present government has given an undertaking that the Japanese will not come back. They do not want them to come back. They do not want the Japanese to live there for various reasons, the main reason being that they
Canadian Citizenship

are not assimilable. They have been engaged, I know, in all kinds of pusuits, particularly in fishing, and it has been suggested that if the Japanese do not come back we shall not be able to maintain the fishing industry. But that has been proved to be incorrect because the white man has taken over the fishing industry, and moreover it has provided an opportunity for employment for our own nati~e-born Canadian Indians, to step in and show their craft. They have been able to take over the industry of commercial fishing which the Japanese were exploiting before the war.
The people of Vancouver island do not want to see the Japanese come back. They expect the government to live up to the promises that that government made.
There are many high-principled people on Vancouver island and in other parts of British Columbia who wonder what shall be done with the Japanese. It goes somewhat against their grain to think that those Japanese, if they are Canadian citizens, must live in one part of Canada and not in another part or, if they are Canadian citizens, that they must be deported and sent back to Japan. But I do not believe that there is one-tenth of one per cent of the population of Vancouver island who want to see the Japanese come back. When the Japanese left they left in an arrogant manner. I should like to read an extract from a letter I received only to-day describing the manner in which the young Japanese males left just after Pearl Harbor:
They were in uproarious spirits, taking possession of the lounges-[DOT]
That' was in the Canadian Pacific boats.
-flirting heavily with some girls who were with them, gambling until stopped by the ship s officers, and behaving generally in a most unseemly manner. They embarked at every island port. The Japs here were Japs first and Japs to the last.
I do not know what the government's plans are to deal with this situation. I sometimes feel almost more sorry for the government than for the Japanese. It will not be an easy decision for the government to make. As a British Columbian I should feel quite happy if the Japanese were never coming back to the coast of British Columbia. As a Canadian-and I have been talking about Canadian citizenship-I cannot recommend to any group of Canadians that they should accept large numbers of these Japanese. As a British Columbian I must ask what steps are being taken by the government to prevent the Japanese from coming back to my country if they are moved to other places.

As I have already said, I would find it very hard as a Canadian to accept the principle that Canadian citizens must live somewhere and not be allowed to live elsewhere. It is a difficult and perplexing problem.
I could give advice to the Japanese clearly and definitely. To them I would say: Accept every opportunity to go back as quickly as you can to Japan whether you were bom there or not. Go back because in the long run you and your children will be happier back in Japan than you will be here in Canada distributed across this country or living in British Columbia, as the case may be. You will have to live in small minorities where there will be no chance of you or your children or your grandchildren assimilating with the rest of the population. What is going to happen? Small groups intermarrying, and the children and the children's children will deteriorate.
I think from the high Christian point of view now is the opportunity to repatriate the Japanese back to their homeland where perhaps they would be able to introduce to Japan, which has suffered so much, some of the western and Christian ideas that they have learned and in this way raise the standard of the other Japanese. They can do a great missionary work there. If they have not assimilated the ideals of western civilization while they have been here, they never will, and we should send them back.
So that, while I find it difficult to help the government out of its present predicament I must hold the government to its promises, and I feel like offering the suggestion to every Japanese that they should go back 'to' their land and that if they will do that the government will take care of their rehabilitation back in Japan or in some other island.
At six o'clock the house took recess.
After Recess

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