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


Edgar Douglas Richmond Bissett

Liberal Progressive

Mr. E. D. R. BISSETT (Springfield):

In my remarks I raised no objection to tracing the racial origin of the Canadian people; I said I thought that was of scientific importance, but I also said that on this form we should have a column under which those born in Canada whose family has been in this country for three or more generations could designate themselves as of the Canadian race, and certainly there should be a column for Canadian nationals. Those were the points I wished to bring out.
With regard to the division of Canadians into different races, I appreciate the legal aspect of the question as brought out by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), but while it is quite true that there are only a few main races, the reds, whites, blacks and yellows, nevertheless in taking the Canadian census and in the compilation of the population by the department at Ottawa we find on page 40 of the Manitoba census for 1926 that the British races are classed as English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh. Then the list goes on to include French, Austrians, Belgians, Chinese, Finns, Germans, Dutch, Hebrews and so on. In other words, for the purposes of statistical information the division of the races by colour is disregarded, and the object of my resolution was to bring in under these subclasses of English, Irish, Scotch and so on a Canadian classification which would apply to Canadians of the third generation resident in this country.
I see there is some difficulty in the way through legal reasons, although since this is only a resolution I do not see how it would bind parliament so far as the legal aspect of the question is concerned. However, if I could have the assurance of the government thfit an effort will be made to have included in the birth and death certificates a column for Canadian nationals, I would agree to withdraw the resolution.
Motion withdrawn.
On motion of Mr. Mackenzie King the house adjourned at 9.50 p.m.
Monday, February 18, 1929

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