Hon. J. A. GLEN (Minister of Mines and Resources):
The hon. gentleman sent me a copy of the question. The requirement of the order in council was that there should be evidence of a document establishing the identity of the holder. I am informed that it would be impossible to lay down a firm procedure with regard to that. Each case will be considered in the light of the circumstances obtaining. The present state of Europe and
the destruction of official documents and records may make it hard for individual applicants to establsih their identity. The officers will be instructed to take whatever steps are necessary, either by way of affidavit or by the word of some relative, friend or someone in authority who knows the party, to establish the identity. Each case, of course, will depend very much on the circumstances.
Last week the hon. member for Trinity (Mr. Skey) asked me a question in regard to inspectional facilities which may be set up on the continent to deal with intending immigrants. One of the officers in London has been over in Paris dealing especially with the matter and he has now given me a report.
In my statement to the house on May 29 regarding changes made in the immigration regulations which extend the admissible classes to certain relatives of legal residents of Canada, I referred to the fact that owing to the shipping situation it would undoubtedly be the end of the present year before much accommodation would be available, and that inspectional facilities would be resumed in Europe as quickly as circumstances permit. As the immigration branch is being literally flooded with requests from residents of Canada for the immediate admission of their relatives overseas, I have concluded it would be proper to inform the house of the present situation and by this means assure those interested in the matter that the apparent delay in the movement of immigrants to Canada is unavoidable. There are two factors, both beyond the control of government, that determine when the immigrant movement will commence; they are: (1) shipping facilities and (2) travel conditions in Europe. Owing to the destruction of ocean tonnage during the war, there is an acute shortage of passenger vessels. Those operating to Canada from the United Kingdom are still bringing service personnel and their dependents, which means little accommodation will be available to the ordinary traveller for several months. There are, as yet, no passenger sailings from continental ports to Canada. In continental Europe travel from one country to another is still extremely difficult owing to lack of railway facilities and frontier controls; therefore a resumption of an immigrant movement under pre-war conditions from central European countries to ports of embarkation is not possible at this time.
The immigration branch has been conducting a survey of the situation with a view to reopening some inspectional points in northern Europe as quickly as possible. This involves consultation with the governments concerned, and appropriate action is being taken. Unless
unforeseen difficulties develop, I hope that two or three months from the present, immigration inspectional facilities for the civil and medical examination of immigrants will be available.
The situation with regard to central and southeastern Europe is still obscure. I regret it is not yet possible to furnish a definite statement with regard to immigrants from central and southeastern Europe. Regular steamship services are not yet in operation and I have already mentioned the difficulties of inland travel. If it becomes possible for immigrants to move to northern embarkation ports as before the war, the immigration staffs in these areas will conduct the examinations and grant the visas. That is, of course, when inspectional facilities are set up. If this is not possible, some other solution to the problem must be found, this being dependent upon steamship routes and schedules as yet not in operation.
I fully appreciate the desire of residents of Canada for an early reunion with relatives in Europe and elsewhere who are eligible to come to this country, and I can assure the house that everything possible is being done to accomplish this without any unnecessary delay.
Subtopic: EXTENSION OF ADMISSIBLE CLASSES TO CERTAIN RELATIVES OF CANADIANS