February 15, 1929 (16th Parliament, 3rd Session)


James Malcolm (Minister of Trade and Commerce)


Hon. JAMES MALCOLM (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

I have no desire to
detain the house at any length with regard to the resolution, but I think it might be of interest to note the methods that are now in use in the Dominion Bureau of Statistics in recording census figures. The Secretary of State (Mr. Rinfret) and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) have reviewed the definition df a "Canadian national" as given in the statutes. First, any British subject ia a Canadian citizen within the meaning of the Immigration Act but the hon. gentleman failed to quote the Immigration Act of 1910 defining Canadian citizenship. It is, first, any person born in Canada who has not become an alien; second, a British subject who has Canadian domicile; third, a person naturalized under the laws of Canada who has not subsequently become an alien or lost Canadian domicile. Under the present method of reporting statistics the country of birth of each person is recorded; in the case of Canadian-born, the province of birth is recorded. This differentiates the Canadian-born and the British-born from the foreign-born, and in the case of the Canadian-born it enables the movement of our native Canadian stock, within the limits of Canada, to be traced from time to time. The birthplaces of the father and mother of each person are also recorded for the purpose of distinguishing Canadian families resident in Canada for three or more generations thus instituting a further and special standard of Canadianism.
It is to be noted from these headings that the census describes everyone of Canadian nationality as Canadian, everyone bom in Canada as of Canadian birth and everyone whose family has been resident in Canada three generations or more as Canadians in a special sense. The last census gave figures which the leader of the opposition described as rather essential. The last census showed

St. Lawrence Waterway
that of a total population of 8,788,483 those of Canadian nationality numbered 8,412,383, of which number 514,182 were Canadians by naturalization. The number of Canadians by birt'h was 6,832,747, while the number of Canadians whose family residence in the country is of three or more generations was only 4,857,523. Therefore if the second part of this resolution were to carry it would be shown that the Canadian race numbered just about half the population of the Dominion, which would be a very unfair condition. Of the derivations of the Canadian people as recorded in the census the more important were English, 2,545,496, French 2,452.751, Scotch 1.173,637 and Irish 1,107,817. These figures are analysed and amplified in the census reports from literally hundreds of points of view, the object being to lay bare all the essential and crucial facts concerning the population.
In discussing with the Dominion statistician the last census and the methods followed the government have expressed the desire that as far as possible all Canadians should be treated as Canadian citizens within the meaning of the Immigration Act and the act with regard to Canadian nationality. Furthermore, I think there will be a slight simplification in the number of questions asked; I think perhaps the thirty-five questions asked during the last census caused a certain amount of annoyance. I can assure the house and my hon. friend who moved this resolution that if it were possible to carry out his wishes the government would have no objection, but for the very obvious reasons advanced by the leader of the opposition and the Secretary of State I feel that he would be well advised to withdraw his resolution. .

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