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


Walter Adam Tucker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)


Mr. W. A. TUCKER (Rosthem):

Mr. Speaker, may I first express commendation of the Secretary of State (Mr. Martin) for the bill which he introduced into the house and which is now before us to establish the status of Canadian citizen. The bill, I think all hon. members will agree, gives every indication of being the result of very careful work, and I am sure the commendation the minister has received from1 all parts of the: house indicates that it is a splendid piece of work. I am sure he must have been pleased to see it reported1 in

Canadian Citizenship
the press to-day that the government of Australia is so much impressed with the principle of this bill that it is inclined to consider introducing a similar measure in the commonwealth of Australia. So again I say that the Secretary of State deserves great commendation for the splendid 'bill he has laid before us.
In the debate which has taken place so far there was some suggestion on the part of some hon. members that the United States had dealt with their problems of establishing citizenship and fostering devotion to their country in a manner which Canada might well emulate. As I listened to various speakers giving expression to that view I thought to myself, can these be representatives of a people who decided at the very outset of the second great war that it was a war in which they should immediately take part in order to protect their freedom and the freedom of the world, and who did1 it unhesitatingly and with the support of all parts of the country? I happened to be in this house 'when that decision was taken, and as I recall, only two members showed the slightest inclination not to agree with that decision. In that war we, the Canadian people, took into our armed forces over 1,100,000 persons, the vast majority of whom enlisted on a voluntary basis. I venture to say there is no other country in the world, the United States included, which could put into its armed forces almost one-tenth of its people on a voluntary basis. I ask myself, can this be a parliament of the Canadian people in which its representatives find fault with the Canadian people and point to the country to the south of us as more deserving of our admiration? Much as I admire that country to the south, the fact remains that they were just as much in danger as we were on that fateful third of September, 1939, but it took over a year for their people to come to a united decision that they should take part in that war. Had it not been for the decision which was taken by the Canadian people just " before our declaration of war on September 10, 1939, and remembering that France collapsed in June, 1940, and Britain stood alone except for the other members of the commonwealth and her empire; had Canada not been at her side, with the help she was able to give in giving an uplift to her morale, with the men she sent into the air force, the troops she had in the British isles to help defend the shores of Britain, I fear we would have lost the war.
I shall not refer to-night to our achievements after entering the war. In view of these exploits of a people which has played such a crucial part at a time of crisis, a people numbering around twelve million who by their free 63260-45
will act saved, perhaps, the very liberties of mankind, it ill behooves any hon. member to compare our achievement unfavourably with that of the people of any other country, even the great republic to the south.
There has been some suggestion that Americans have so solved their problems that the people of the United States are more proud of being members of that great country than Canadians are of being Canadians. People who talk like that must have associated with different kinds of Canadians from those with whom I have associated. I happen to have served for a time in the army in the first great war, and again in the second great war. I saw something of the reactions of my fellow Canadians toward their country; also I saw and heard in my travels something of the reactions of peoples of other countries toward their respective countries; and I came to the conclusion that much of the feeling that we were somehow inferior in the way we dealt with our great problems was not justified by the facts of the situation. I am satisfied that deep down within the soul of every Canadian there is just as much love of country as there is on the part of any American. The Canadian may not be quite so open in his expression of that feeling; but from what I have seen and from what the men of Canada have achieved on the field of battle, in the air and on the sea, will anyone in this house say that the Canadian has not shown just as much devotion to his country as has any man who belongs to any other nation? After all, "by their fruits ye shall know them"; and I submit it ill behooves any member of this parliament, right at the end of a war in which our people have given such proofs of their bravery and their devotion to their country, their ability to organize themselves and strike blow after blow for freedom, to cast aspersions upon the loyalty of the Canadian people to their own country.
I have heard it said that there is a work of reconciliation to be done. A work of reconciliation has been done by the great leaders of the Canadian people ever since confederation. It seems to me there is some disposition in this house to assume that the two great races, which voluntarily went together to create this great country and have lived together in great friendship in spite of the strains which have at times developed since confederation, suddenly need to be reconciled to each other. If they had not been ready to give and take, confederation would never have been brought about. If they had not been ready to live and work with one another

Canadian Citizenship

Something has been. said about the provision that a person may become a Canadian citizen if he has satisfied the other requirements which are set out in section 10 of the bill, such as being of good character, lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence therein, has an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship, with adequate knowledge of the English or French language not an absolute requisite. I hope that the house will not in any way require that provision to be curtailed.
From time to time since I have been privileged to be a member of this house I have drawn to its attention a situation which con-

Canadian Citizenship
fronts many of our western pioneers who came and settled in western Canada, thirty, forty and fifty years ago, and who for one reason or another, some of them because they happened to come from a country which was under the domination of Austria-Hungary, which at the time in question was an enemy country, could not become British citizens when they were getting their homesteads. Therefore they were given a certificate in what is called "form K", which many of them thought did make them British subjects. Later on in life, when some of them wished to apply for old age pension, after going out, breaking up the land, clearing it of bush and stone and hewing out homes for themselves on the western plains and in the wooded areas, they found that they were not British subjects. Then they would come in and apply to be qualified as British subjects, and certain questions were asked of them. One question was: "Do you intend to apply for old age pension?" If one of these men who helped to pioneer this country admitted that he would like to get what the people of this country have provided for people in their old age, in many cases the judge would decline the citizenship even if the man could speak English or French. I hope the minister will see to it that that sort of thing does not continue in the future. Surely no judge should be permitted to deny to a man who has pioneered in this country, who has lived in it for twenty years and who is otherwise qualified to be a British subject, that which this parliament intended every worthy citizen of this country to have, by refusing for no legal reason to grant that man British citizenship. From time to time I have brought cases like that forward, and to-night I wish to thank the minister most sincerely for making it possible for some of my constituents who helped build western Canada and who sent their boys to fight and in some cases to die for Canada, now to become British subjects even though they cannot speak English as well as some hon. members.
A suggestion has been made that there would be no harm in permitting that section to apply to those already settled in Canada, but that it should not apply to future settlers. To-day people who are among the most freedom-loving in the world are looking for homes in Canada, or at any rate somewhere other than Europe. Because they let it be known that they favoured freedom in their own country, many are afraid to return to their homelands, and they wish to come to Canada. I think, for example, of some of the Ukrainian people, some of the Polish people, who when Poland was overrun went into the Polish army in exile or are now refugees in 63260-45i
Germany. I get letters from them and from their relatives saying they do not wish to be returned to the Soviet Union but would like to be permitted to enter Canada. Could we wish to have better citizens. than men who were so devoted to freedom and liberty that they were prepared to remain in exile for five years, fighting against tyranny, and who are now ready to throw in their lot with .the building up of a great peace-time Canada as they were ready to risk their lives in order to establish freedom during the war? I hope the time will soon come when we may be able to admit to our country some of those worthy citizens who can make a great contribution to the building up of this country, even as their relatives have made a great contribution here in Canada in the past fifty years. I well remember when many of these people from central Europe were brought out and settled on our prairies. There were those who said they would never become good citizens. They feared what would be the result; but now that the country has seen what good citizens these people are and how ready they have been to support Canada in peace and defend her in war, those misgivings with regard to allowing some of them into this country should no longer p'revail. Some of these worthy people may be fifty years old or more when they come in the future. If they come here and make good citizens, as their relatives did fifty years ago, then they in turn should be able to look forward to becoming Briitsh subjects and Canadian citizens, even if they have difficulty in mastering the English or the French language. Therefore I urge the minister and the house not to take that section out of this act.
It has been suggested that if a man is a Canadian citizen it should not be provided in the bill that he is also a British subject. On that point I submit that whether or not it is put in the bill, if a" man is given the status of a Canadian citizen and takes the oath of [DOT] allegiance to the king of the British empire and commonwealth set out in the schedule, by that very fact he has a status as a subject of His Majesty, a status common to the citizen of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and certainly Northern Ireland. He has a common status with the people of all those countries. Whether or not it is put in the bill I think the courts would rule that he was a subject of the king. Consequently I believe that section is just a recognition of the legal position. But through you, Mr. Speaker, I wish to say to hon. members that while I want to be a Canadian citizen I am also happy to belong to the British family.
Canadian Citizenship

I happened to attend the monetary conference at Bretton Woods, where there were distinguished representatives from India, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and from other parts of the British empire and commonwealth. While each of these groups recognized that they were as free to speak their minds as any other groups (the most spirited attack upon British policy came from the Indian delegation), there was a common feeling that we belonged to one family. I thought to myself what a splendid thing the British commonwealth and empire was, that within it you could have people of all religions and all races, from all parts of the globe, with the feeling that they belonged to one family, people who would work together as brothers in one family. As far as I am concerned I think of such men as Field Marshal Smuts, General Botha, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Right Hon. Ernest Lapointe and others who were happy to belong to the family of British subjects, realizing that within that family they were just as free as the people of any other nation on the face of the globe, while at the same time they were part of a family that would help to promote the peace of the world, and I am happy and proud to join the company of such men as those I have mentioned, and other outstanding leaders of various commonwealth countries.
I think the tendency of the world at the present time must not be toward an ever-narrowing devotion to one nation. There must be loyalty to your own nation, yes; but there must be an ever-widening loyalty. If one looks to the past, first there was loyalty to the tribe, and the tribes fought each other. Then there was loyalty to larger and larger groups. So that to-day, as I see it, while being loyal to Canada, it seems to me we should do what we can to strengthen the good will and accord which prevail in the family of British nations.
But there is another aspect of the question which points to a part which Canada can play. We have brought into our midst the oppressed of other lands. One-fifth of our people have come to us from countries whose people are of other than British or French origin. As those people from other lands have lived in our midst we have come to realize that there is very little difference between one human being and another. We have overcore some of the racial prejudices we may have had before we came to know the people of other racial origins. While in the past Canada has served as a sort of connecting link between the United Kingdom and the

United States, and to a certain extent by virtue of the fact that one of the great races which people this country is the French race we had a special appeal to the great French people, so now that we have taken into our midst the peoples of almost all countries in Europe, at least we in western Canada feel that if we can get along with them in perfect harmony and accord, we through them have learned that men are brothers and can live as brothers. Perhaps Canada, through that very fact can learn to play a part in the councils of the world in bringing all the nations of the world into greater harmony and accord.
Surely the nation of Canada playing a part in drawing together the various members of the British family, and the various members which make up the human family, to a point where war shall be no more and fraternity and brotherhood shall prevail-surely this is a greater vision than one which says, I will centre all my life and all my consideration in my own country, and have no care whatsoever in the working together of the different members of the human race.
Members find no difficulty' in being loyal at the same time to their families, to their cities, to their provinces and to their country. Many people find no inconsistency at the same time in feeling a loyalty to Canada and to the British family of nations. Others to-day are ready to go farther and say that we must set up a world government where we shall have loyalty to the human family, where we shall recognize the fatherhood of God and the essential brotherhood of man.
There has been some suggestion that in some way British subjects should not have to comply in the same way as others with the requirements in regard to obtaining Canadian citizenship, the idea being that when they wish to become Canadian citizens they should not have, among other things, to take the oath of allegiance. I will admit that at first I thought that when a British subject came to this country we should give to him some extra consideration over a person who is not a British subject, when both applied to be Canadian citizens. But the more I thought about the question the more I realized that the disadvantages far outweighed the advantages.
Speaker after speaker has mentioned that if we are to have real unity we must treat every Canadian on exactly the same basis, no matter where his ancestors came from. If we are to say to an Englishman, a Scotsman or an Irishman who comes to Canada, we will treat you as a preferred person; we are not

Canadian Citizenship
going to require you to go through the same steps as the Americans, the Russians, or any other-

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