April 22, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)

UNION

Frank Bainard Stacey

Unionist

Mr. STACEY:

I will tell you how they voted. It may be a little out of order, but the question has been asked, and if you will allow I shall answer it. They told me, before going to see them, that it was not much use for me to go there. They said: " Stacey, they are going to beat you by a hundred." " All right," I said, " I will go and see them anyway, I won't hurt them; I will go and see them and talk to them." I did so to the best of my humble ability. And, behold, Sir, when the Teturns came in the majority against me was not 100, but only 38. So, if we get more of them in the West, perhaps we shall have a somewhat similar result. Leaving all jokes aside- and I may be pardoned for speaking earnestly on this question, for I have a reason for doing so-I sincerely hope that no man on either side of the House will in the future utter what in his after moments he may be led to regret, and compelled to say before he goes to sleep at night: "I wish I had not said that."
Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice); Mr. Speaker, I am sure we all realize that we have had an afternoon and evening which has added a great deal to our stock of information, at all events as regards the interest which is taken in this question of alien labour, more particularly of alien enemy labour, and the treatment of the alien enemy, by those who are represented by the hon. members who have spoken; and perhaps, most of all we have learned what a variety of opinion may be entertained with regard to this highly important subject. We have had suggestions that are valuable. We have had some that, perhaps, at first glance, look more catchy and attractive than they may prove to be practicable and feasible. But, upon the whole, I am satisfied that the Government will certainly be glad to give in all earnestness its serious consideration to the different views that have been put before us and to look at them, and into them, sympathetically, having before it the same purpose that, 1 am sure, has inspired the hon. members who brought these different resolutions before the House and those who, from one point of view or another, have spoken upon them.
I do not desire to detain the House at any length, but I do think that it :s worth while, in view of the apparent lack of knowledge on the part of quite a few hon. members who have spoken, of what has been done with Tegard to the control of the alien enemy in this country, that I should, for a few moments, point out some of the outstanding, leading and principal things that have been done in that connection. I venture to say that it is a mistake to assume that the Government since the outbreak of this war has been oblivious of the existence of the alien enemy in this country, and has been blind to the necessity of taking such steps and such measures in the way of precaution as circumstances might indicate to be necessary.
Let me recall to hon. members that at the outset of the war the Government took a position with regard to the presence of the alien enemy nationality within the country. We had an option at that time. It was open to us if we had thought, and those responsible for the Government of the United Kingdom and the general direction of the policy as towards foreign nations had thought, that it was in the interests of this country to seek to expel the persons of enemy alien nationality, I think it would have been quite within our right to take that course.

I think, too, that it would have been, and is to-day, within our right to intern the persons of enemy alien nationality within this country, more particularly, perhaps, those of them who being of military age and under obligation to do service according to the laws of their respective countries, might very properly he treated as persons that this State has an interest to see did not get away from this country and return possibly to perform those obligations towards their respective countries and take part in this war against us. Now, at the outset of this war, we took the position, not only that we would allow these people to remain within the country, but I might say at .the suggestion-and I might even say upon the insistence-of the authorities of the Mother Country we took the position that these people, those of them at all events who were of military age, should not be allowed to leave this country. And, taking that position, not only consenting that they should remain but actually preventing their departure, we felt bound, under these circumstances, so long as they violated no law' of this country, so long as they behaved themselves as good citizens within this country, to extend to them the protection of the law'. We announced that to them. We announced to them at the same time that those of them who by act or word show'ed a spirit of hostility to this country, or who did not conform to the laws of this country, would be interned. And large numbers were interned.

Topic:   TREATMENT OF RESIDENT ENEMY SUBJECTS.
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