Mr. G. A. CRUICKSHANK (Fraser Valley):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) what action is being taken in connection with enemy aliens who are now resident in the lower mainland of British Columbia, particularly in the locality where the entire power production of British Columbia is developed and in the area where the oil refineries are located. In those particular areas there are now located approximately 25,000 Japanese. I should like to ask also if Japanese in these areas are still allowed to have powder.
, Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice): Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman handed me a telegram, I believe on Friday, which he had received from the secretary of the Fraser Valley Mayor and Reeves Association of British Columbia. I communicated
the telegram to the committee officials who are cooperating and helping me in this matter, and perhaps I cannot do better than read the memorandum they have given me about it. The secretary of the Fraser Valley Mayor and Reeves Association for British Columbia telegraphed me as follows:
Mayors and reeves representing sixteen municipalities Fraser Valley passed following resolution: That the dominion of Canada do
forthwith intern all enemy aliens and investigate all persons alien origin whether naturalized or not; further that all arms, ammunition and explosives be confiscated forthwith. This matter urgent owing to large percentage of enemy aliens resident in British Columbia who are openly showing their anti-British sympathies. Immediate action is necessary and the seriousness of fifth column activities brought to the attention of authorities.
With regard to the first part of the resolution, many such resolutions were forwarded to me from all parts of the dominion and as a result I instructed the committee on enemy aliens to review the defence of Canada regulations dealing with enemy aliens in the light of the experience obtained of nearly nine months of war and having regard to these representations. The committee's report is as follows:
The most important question which was considered by the committee was a suggestion that all enemy aliens in Canada of military age should be interned. After a careful discussion, the committee unanimously reached the conclusion that it could not at present recommend the internment of all enemy aliens in Canada of military age. The reasons which led the members of the committee to this conclusion may be summarized as follows:
1. The necessity, in the public interest, of this step was not at present apparent. The police authorities intimated that alien enemies had been registered under regulation 25 and that they were satisfied that they had reasonably sufficient information concerning those alien enemies not presently interned whose conduct seemed to require quiet investigation and observation.
2. Very large expense would be involved in guarding and maintaining internment camps and providing for the dependent families of the 16,000 enemy aliens now registered and reporting to the police.
May I add in passing that many have suggested that all persons of German origin or German descent, whether naturalized or not, should be interned. That would mean the internment of 495,000 persons.
3. It was realized that of the 16,000 enemy aliens presently registered and reporting, there were many who, while technically enemy aliens, by reason of birth or citizenship in Czechoslovakia, or other districts now occupied by the enemy, did not adhere in sympathy to the cause of the enemy.
4. It was further recognized that many of the alien enemies lived on remote farms, in isolated districts, where possibilities of sabotage or civil disorder were practically negligible.
Defence of Canada Regulations
On the other hand, the committee recognized that the situation might change and is of the opinion that it is very desirable that the police authorities should not in any way relax their vigilance.
With regard to the suggestion that the police investigate all persons of alien origin whether naturalized or not, the answer to this is that the police have been investigating such persons and watching their activities for some time. Quite a number of such persons were arrested at the outbreak of war. As additional information is received, or where the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that activities prejudicial to the interests or safety of the state are being carried on, further arrests will be made.
With regard to the suggestion that all arms, ammunition and explosives be confiscated forthwith, it should be pointed out that on the 11th day of October, 1939, P.C. 3042 was passed prohibiting the possession of firearms or any ammunition therefor or of any dynamite, gunpowder or other dangerous explosive by any enemy alien.
The said order further provided that every such person within Canada having in his possession or upon his premises any firearm or any ammunition therefor or any dynamite, gunpowder or other dangerous explosive, should, within ten days from the publication of the order in the Canada Gazette, that is ten days from the 21st day of October, 1939, cause such firearm, ammunition, dynamite, gunpowder or other dangerous explosive to be delivered to a justice of the peace residing, or to an officer or constable of a police force of a province or city in or near the locality where such firearm, ammunition, dynamite, gunpowder or other dangerous explosive is had in possession or to an officer or constable of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
This order further provides that if any enemy alien within Canada is reasonably suspected of having in his possession or upon his premises any firearm or ammunition therefor, dynamite, gunpowder or other dangerous explosive, he may be searched or his premises or any place occupied or believed to be occupied by him may be searched by any peace officer or by any officer or constable of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police without warrant, and if any such articles be found upon the person or premises of any such enemy alien or in any premises occupied or believed to be occupied by him, the same shall be seized and the property forfeited to the crown; and further, the person upon whom or upon whose premises any such article is found shall further be liable to a penalty not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three months.
The order further provides that it is an offence for any person to give, sell, hire, lease or transfer possession of any firearm, ammunition, dynamite, gunpowder or other dangerous explosive to an enemy alien, and any person so doing shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding $100 or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding one month.
The order further provides that if any question arises under the order with reference to anything done or proposed to be done thereunder as to whether any person is an enemy alien, the onus of proof that any person so suspected or charged is not an enemy alien shall lie upon the accused in such proceeding.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police report that the provisions of this order have been carried out. Any persons having information to the effect that enemy aliens are in possession of any of the articles mentioned in the said order should report the facts to a peace officer or officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
With regard to the statement that a large percentage of enemy aliens resident in British Columbia are openly showing their anti-British sympathies, it should be pointed out that cases of this nature should be reported to the police.
It is a great disservice to Canada and the allied cause to spread stories that Canada is filled with enemy agents and enemy sympathizers. We have never believed that Canada, before the outbreak of war, was free from nazi sympathizers. There were some here as there were in every country. The government knew about them, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police knew about them too. Where it was thought necessary, they were placed in internment camps after the police rounded them up at the outbreak of war. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who have a uniformed strength of 2,450-by the way, this strength will be increased by 500 additional men-and their secret service are in control of the situation, and have built up an organization which keeps constant watch over the activities of subversive elements throughout the country. It is obviously not in the public interest, and would, in fact, be giving useful information to the enemy, to give details of the preventive and counterespionage measures which have been and are being taken by the police.
All enemy aliens in Canada have been registered, examined and fingerprinted. People have been writing to urge: Why don't you do as they do in the United States, have them fingerprinted? We fingerprinted them long before .he United States did.
' Beauharnois Power-Mr. Coldwell
Those who are believed to be a source of danger to this country in war-time are being interned. Those who are not interned are all known to the authorities and their activities are closely watched by the police. Naturalized Canadians of enemy origin whose activities cast doubt on the loyalty they have sworn to this country are being investigated. When the results of the investigation warrant it their naturalization certificates will be revoked with a view to their eventual deportation. Pending such action, naturalized Canadians in this category are liable to internment in the same way as enemy aliens.
The public must rely on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police authorities who are collaborating closely with them to do what is necessary to safeguard the country against the activities of the "enemy within". It will be nothing but a clear sign of unjustified alarm and weakness if arbitrary and indiscriminate action is taken to harass a small minority of persons in this country, most of whom are loyal to Canada and the allied cause.
As an added precaution against sabotage, from which, thanks to splendid police work, we have so far been free-after many months of war there have been no complaints that the precautions have not been effective; there has been no actual case of sabotage- the government has announced that a home guard to be composed of veterans will be formed. This action has been taken to meet the needs of war as they arise. I should, however, like to emphasize the fact that every unnecessary man and dollar engaged in work of this kind is a man and a dollar taken away from the winning of the war.
No punishment is too severe for those who, living within our shores, seek to give comfort to the enemy. But let us be careful not to mistake for pro-Germans, persons who have German names and German descent. Most of them came to Canada to escape the Prussian yoke. The overwhelming majority are passionately anti-nazi. Any persecution of racial minorities in this country, as I said the other day, is unworthy of our people, and a betrayal of our traditions, our national spirit and the very freedom we are fighting to preserve. Nothing the ordinary Canadian can do will help the nazis more than the spreading of rumours and creation of suspicions which set race against race and class against class. The nazis, of course, want to spread division and dissension in Canada, to destroy our unity and cripple our war effort. This is a well known nazi tactic which already has worked to divide and weaken by mutual distrust the small countries of Europe.
The so-called "fifth column" is being dealt with by the police and the authorized military guards. They are on the job; they know their business. If any citizen has evidence of what he thinks are enemy activities he should report it at once to the police, but he should not mention it to his neighbour. Remember that secrecy is essential to police work of this kind.
May I say in conclusion that it is necessary, indeed it is imperative, that we in Canada maintain our calmness, do not become unduly nervous and restless, and more particularly do not spread wild rumours which can only hamper the work of the police. I wish I felt at liberty to repeat what the police officers tell me about those who are hampering their work the most at the present time. We must, all of us, try to help, but not spread suspicions which are unwarranted and which can only handicap the progress of our war work.
Topic: BRITISH COLUMBIA-REVIEW OF DEFENCE OF CANADA REGULATIONS SINCE SEPTEMBER, 1939-STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF JUSTICE