The tables are as follows: Post-War Immigration to Canada by Calendar Year
1949 ___ 95,217
Comparative Figures-Immigration-Naturalization Immigration (Calendar year)
Naturalization (Calendar year) Five years later
That is probably not a true picture. It cannot be said it is an accurate picture, because we do not know how many of the immigrants who came to Canada went to the United States or some other country, and did not remain here long enough to take out naturalization papers. However, there is a trend there revealing a situation that in my opinion should not exist. I wondered if it was the fault of Canadian citizens, or should we revise our immigration regulations to make them more elastic, more strict, or at least to make the immigrants who come here more citizenship conscious.
The process of taking out citizenship papers is not in itself very difficult. Again, in case someone asks me, I got these regulations from the citizenship department. The Canadian citizenship certificate grants specific rights and privileges such as freedom of
speech, religion, thought and action, the right to vote as you choose and the right to be secure in your possessions. The obligations of citizenship are set forth clearly in the oath administered to each potential citizen. Each newcomer repeats the oath of citizenship, repeating the words in groups of 7 or 8, phrase by phrase as pronounced by the judge of the court. The oath sworn is:
I swear to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen, so help me God.
There is nothing automatic about the privilege of uttering this oath and receiving the prized certificate of citizenship. The process of induction really starts in the country of origin, where immigration and visa officers of Canada make a careful selection from among those desiring to enter this country. Before the prospective citizen appears in court for the swearing-in ceremony and the granting of a certificate of citizenship there are procedures designed to check on the suitability of the candidate. I might say here that the department told me that less than 2 per cent of the immigrants who apply for citizenship papers are rejected.
An officer of the court is assigned to assist the applicant in making out a detailed form in two copies, one of which is posted so that any member of the public may make objection if he wishes, and the other sent to Ottawa for scrutiny. Name, place of birth, occupation, arrival in Canada, places of residence since landing, periods outside the country, ability in languages, intention of domicile, - are all covered in detail in the application.
The applicant must disclose "if you have been confined in, or an inmate of any penitentiary, gaol, reformatory, prison or asylum for the insane in Canada." The marital status of the applicant is checked, together with children and their ages. A careful description is given and "your applicant humbly prays for a decision that he is a fit and proper person to be granted a certificate of citizenship".
After a lapse of three months, as required by law, the applicant is called back to be examined by the judge of the court, who must be satisfied about the fitness of the petitioner for citizenship. The judge goes into such matters as residence within the past year, legal domicile, service in the armed forces, if any, lawful admittance into Canada, character of applicant, his knowledge of the English or the French language, and whether the petitioner has "an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship."
The judge of the court then affixes his signature, approving or rejecting the candidate, with any remarks and observations he may care to make. This copy of the application-the second-is then sent to Ottawa. The citizenship branch at Ottawa completes its investigations and, if the petition for citizenship is granted, a numbered certificate is made out and sent to the court.
The prospective citizen is then notified to appear for the swearing-in ceremony, this being the final goal of his efforts. The complete ceremony requires about an hour. The newcomers first have the procedure explained to them by the clerk of the court, who then calls up the judge who presides at the oathtaking. Both the clerk and the judge usually speak in English and then in French. The potential citizens in the oath-taking procedure place their right hands on the Bible.
At each sitting of the court it is the practice to have a representative of one of a large number of voluntary associations, interested in promoting the welfare of immigrants, speak briefly. It is important that immigrants be integrated into community life. Community organizations thus have an important role to play in fostering good citizenship among newcomers as well as among the native-born. The concluding event at each sitting of the citizenship court is an address of welcome to the newly inducted citizens by the judge of the court, who points to the significance of the occasion and expresses the hope that prosperity and all the other accompliments of a full life will be theirs.
I sometimes wonder why the new Canadians who are domiciled here for five years in many cases at least are a little reluctant to make out their applications for citizenship. I have here a letter which I received recently from one of the county court judges, from which I should like to read just one paragraph. He says:
I have for years felt that we as a whole do not take sufficient interest in the welfare of our new Canadians, nor do we outwardly indicate our desire to be of assistance to them. Our naturalization courts on the whole are too cold and lack the personal interest and concern in the well-being of our new citizens.
I sometimes wonder whether our own Canadian citizens are too modest in acclaiming our own land, its opportunities, its privileges and the benefits they enjoy in it. I must confess that I sometimes think we Canadians seem to be in an apologetic mood for the fact that we were born in Canada and that we are Canadians. As a matter of fact, I must confess that I myself had to go to a foreign land in order fully to appreciate the value of Canadian citizenship and what it meant to me.
I remember going one time on a trip, or a mission if you like, with the United Nations relief and rehabilitation administration which took me for two and one-half years to China. There I dealt with people of many nations. At one time under that UNRRA program there were probably 2,000 personnel on the staff in the China field. The majority of them were Americans because after all, while many nations contributed to the program, the basis of the contribution was a percentage of the national income. As the United States had a much larger national income than the others, they made over 70 per cent of the whole contribution that was made. Hence naturally 70 per cent or probably a little bit more of those on the staff were Americans.
I lived and worked with those people for two years or two and one-half years. I was rather amazed at the Americans who were always singing the praises of their country, saying it was the greatest country in the world, the country that had the brightest future, the country that had the highest standard of living and even going on to say- although they could not very well do it now -that it was the country that had a dollar that was worth more than that of any other country in the world. I will admit that at times they made me tired and annoyed me, but I must confess that in many ways I admired them for doing that.
I think we as Canadians can borrow some of that plan from our American friends. Why should we be modest about the country in which we live? Do we not live in a country that has had the greatest expansion in her history in the last 10 or 15 years? Never in our lifetime have we had such great expansion and such development as we have had in the last 15 years. It is the belief of many people who are in a much better position to judge than I that we are on the threshold of a much greater expansion and a much greater development than we have ever had before in our history. Further, I believe the Prime Minister of Britain emphasized this matter the other day.
In my opinion, and I know it is the opinion of many other people, there is no country in the world that is held in higher regard among the nations of the world than is Canada today. I therefore think that we as Canadians should impress on the minds of not only our new Canadians but our associates the great privileges we enjoy and the great future we have in this country.
The amendment I have submitted here to the Immigration Act is a simple one, and it is proposed with the thought in mind of creating among new Canadians who come to our land more incentive to take out their
citizenship papers. It is true that many who come here are British subjects. Many come here from the British commonwealth of nations. Those people also must be domiciled here for five years before they can take out their own naturalization papers. They have, however, some advantage over the people who come here from other lands owing to the fact that when their five years of residence in this country are up, they may make direct application to the registrar of the citizenship department here and they are issued their citizenship papers without going through the process in court which the other people must do, with a three-month stay before they can finally get their papers.
I find that some of the people who come from the British commonwealth-and I admit that it is a limited field I am speaking of now-feel that as British subjects they do not necessarily need to take out citizenship papers-they feel that it is not required -and some of them are rather reluctant to do so. On the other hand, many of the immigrants that live in my district-and many of them are central Europeans who come from war-torn districts-are extremely anxious to take out their citizenship papers, and they make their application as soon as their five years of residence has been completed here.
While living in China I remember running across some people who came from central Europe. They came through the rise of Hitler and settled in Shanghai, not knowing where to go. Seeing the rise of the communist regime, they wanted to come to Canada or the United States, to the North American continent. One couple over there whom I knew very well decided they would like to come to Canada. I told them to put in their application because I felt sure they would be accepted. I had known them for two or three years, and in my opinion they were a very fine type of citizen.
This summer I visited Vancouver and they met me at the depot. After exchanging greetings the first thing they said was, "Do you know you are looking at new Canadians now?" They were delighted to think they were now Canadians. Sometimes immigrants who come to this country have the mistaken idea that the filing of what is called a notice of intention is going to hasten their citizenship papers. Of course that really is not true. The notice of intention has no bearing at all on the ultimate issuance of citizenship papers. It only means you intend to apply for citizenship papers when you have completed your five years of residence in this country.
There is a somewhat similar situation in the United States. A few days ago I was talking with a consular attache at the United
States consulate and he said they have a similar regulation, that you must reside in the United States five years before you are eligible to make an application for citizenship papers. I said I understood they had something called first and second papers which led to citizenship. He said that was something the same as our own notice of intention. It is a notice that you intend to do this some time. It does help one to hold a job if you have filed a notice of intention or first papers showing that you do intend to become a citizen of the country, but it does not necessarily mean you are going to have your citizenship papers. Certainly it does not mean you are going to have them any sooner.
Topic: 195B SUPPLY
Subtopic: IMMIGRATION ACT