May 3, 1923

LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Would the hon. gentleman answer this? If the man in question who has already been naturalized in Canada asks from the country of his former allegiance a release from his former obligation and is refused, and if he is willing to disavow himself of allegiance to his former country, would the hon. member deprive him of Canadian citizenship?

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PRO
LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

No, I would object to that. I wish to speak for a few moments on a matter that has been the subject of more serious debate, the matter of the mode of procedure for the obtaining of naturalization in this, country. We have the two views. We have the present method whereby the application for naturalization goes to the judge and if approved by him, to the Secretary of State, who again may reject or approve as he sees fit. We have on the other hand, the suggestion made in the present bill that the application instead of going to the judge should go direct to the Secretary of State and be decided there without any intervention by the judge. I am free to say that when the suggestion was first made that the method of procedure should be changed I felt that it was not a step in the right direction. I thought that the judge should perhaps be the best judge as to the qualifications of the applicant for naturalization, he being on the spot, perhaps being personally acquainted with the applicant and having a more intimate knowledge than would be possible to the officials at Ottawa or even to anyone they might send out to make the investigation. But I have discussed the matter fairly well with some of the officials, with those who know, and I am led to believe that it is pretty much a matter of theory which

Naturalization Acts

does not work out in practice, just as some of us believe very strongly in certain theories, say free trade, which we know in actual practice cannot exactly work out in any country.

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PRO
LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I do not wish to be misunderstood by my Progressive friends. Perhaps I gave a very unfortunate example, and I do not want them to read into it anything that I did not intend. But the principle is still true. You can carry a theory to the extreme and find that it does not work out ic practice.

I for one am not one of those who would like to place an autocratic power in the hands of any official or of any member of the government and a power which he might abuse at certain times especially during an election. The only fair way and the only reasonable way, it seems to me, for the committee to arrive at a conclusion on the matter is to carefully compare in a practical way the exact results of the application of the two methods. I have outlined the first practice, the practice now in vogue, and the statement is made by those who know that the judges in their investigations of the applications of those who desire to become Canadian citizens are in so many words inefficient in the carrying out of .their duties.

(Now I do not care to make the charge that The judges in general throughout Canada do not properly investigate the qualifications of '*the various applicants for naturalization. I would not like to think they were all derelict in their duty, but I do know this, that there are cases where the judges who ought to know the law do not know the law with regard to naturalization, and when an applicant is rejected because of a lack of knowledge of the law I say that an injustice is done to him which ought not to be continued if we have any way of avoiding it. I know, for example, that a judge granted applications for naturalization although the law distinctly stated that the applicant did not have cer-tan qualifications. He approved of the applications. They were forwarded to Ottawa to the Secretary of State and there they were rejected. All that expense and delay could not have occurred if the application had gone in the first place to the Secretary of State. He at least knows the law and the various amendments that are made from time to time. I have known other judges who have accepted illiterates and who have rejected men on account of their racial origin, which under the law they were not entitled to do.

I take pretty well the opinion of the men who have been in charge of this work; I do not think there is any member here who is well qualified to judge as to the merits of the question. I am not so very much concerned as to the probability that the Secretary of State-as the member of a partisan government if you like-is going to abuse his power. I would not even like to say that I would be very suspicious of the Secretary of State of any other government which might have come into power -if it were a government led by the present leader of the Opposition, or a government led by the leader of the Progressive party. I am free to say that I have a little more confidence in the integrity and good faith of the public men of Canada. And even if they were inclined to be derelict in their duty it would mean that they would have to have the collusion of the men who are, if I may say so, the paid servants of the people of Canada-the deputy minister, the under secretary of state, and all the other officials; and any secretary of state who would dare, just prior to an election, to issue wholesale certificates of naturalization to aliens who he thought would vote for the party which he represented would find, I think, it would not be a very paying thing to do. He would find that his government and his party were responsible and I believe it would do him a great deal more harm than good.

We should not shrink very much from placing the power which is proposed to be given in the hands of the Secretary of State, because after all he is the responsible minister of a government, and if the people of this country have placed upon him responsibility and power it is right that he should exercise it, and if he does not live up to his duty punish him when next he appears before the electors. There are certain safeguards provided even now. In the first place when the application goes in it must be supported by the opinions of two reputable men in the community from which the applicant comes. In the second place if it is found that naturalization is granted to a man who is not worthy of it the Secretary of State and the government have the power to revoke that naturalization.

Now, we will say that a general election is upon us because it seems to be the fear of those who are in opposition that when a general election is impending the government in power, will naturalize those whom they believe are favourable to themselves, and perhaps withhold naturalization from those who are opposed ot them. As I say I do not believe there is very much likelihood of their

Naturalization Acts

doing that but they can do it at the present time. We will say there are two candidates. One is Conservative and the other is Liberal, and they come along with perhaps one or two hundred names of men whom they desire to see naturalized. We will say that a Liberal government is in power as is the case just now. The Liberal gets his men naturalized. The Conservative cannot get his men naturalized at all if the Secretary of State-

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

Can they be naturalized

without the three months elapsing? Must not the notices be posted up for three months?

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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Yes, but surely it is pretty

well known longer than three months in advance that a general election is pending, although not always. But this is true: Even throughout the whole term of parliament with a certain government in power the Secretary of State, if he were so inclined, could reject every application for naturalization from persons he thought were politically opposed to him I think it is entirely unlikely that such would be the case.

I am not very strong in my opinion with regard to this matter. I believe that the officials of the department of the Secretary of State are. entirely honest in the attitude they have taken, that their desire is to serve the public interest. I believe that the safeguards which would surround the whole situation in case the bill is adopted are ample and are quite sufficient in the interest of the country. It is for that reason that I feel, while supporting the bill as it stands at present, that if some other suggestion could be made that would satisfy the objections of those who are opposed, I would be very glad. I would like to see useful suggestions advanced rather than mere criticisms. To say that we must adhere to the old method is really not intelligent argument. If there are suggestions calculated to effect improvement I think hon. gentlemen opposite should make them, because the Secretary of State has intimated that he is willing to consider suggestions. As to the amendment of the hon. member for Comox-Alberni I feel that the committee ought to reject it.

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Is it the pleasure of

hon. members that the committee should rise?

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CON

George Black

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLACK (Yukon):

One moment. Before the committee rises I wish to make a statement to correct a possible misunderstanding. I gathered from the remarks of the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Stork) that he, at least, understood me to impute some lack of bona fides to the Secretary of State in this matter and that I inferred, or attempted

to infer, that the Secretary of State desired to assume autocratic power,-unnecessary autocratic power,-and to obtain the opportunity to naturalize orientals. Nothing was further from my thoughts, and I regret it if any member has understood me to draw such an inference. What I did intend to make clear was, that in my opinion the necessity for the judge's favourable report on an application, and that it was a wise provision to retain in the law, not that the Secretary of State-in this instance at any rate-would not give fair consideration to any application that came before him. What I say is, that the Secretary of State should have the advantage of the judge's report as well. As regards the refusal by the British Columbia judge to naturalize Japanese. I merely cited that as a case to show that the judicial investigation is a real one, that the judge exercises discretion and has power, and that unless he gives a favourable report, the Secretary of State cannot grant a certificate of naturalization. This I say is a wise and proper precaution but I do not, and did not, intend in the slightest degree to impute lack of bona fides to the Secretary of State in this instance.

Progress reported.

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RADIOTELEGRAPH ACT AMENDMENT


Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Marine and Fisheries) moved the second reading of Bill No. 144, to amend the Radiotelegraph Act.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think the minister should explain "what the law is and how this bill changes it.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Explanations were given when the resolution which preceded this bill was considered in committee, but I have no objection to repeat what was then said. Section 10 of the Radiotelegraph Act gives the Governor in Council the right to prescribe a tariff of fees to be paid for licenses and for examination for certificates of proficiency held and issued under the provision of this act. The aim of the bill is to add a certain paragraph for the purpose of authorizing the payment of a portion of that license fee to a provincial government or a private company for services given in connection with the operation of broadcasting stations and for services performed for the minister in connection with the licensing and inspection of stations.

Within the last two years radiotelegraphy has made considerable progress. Last year there were 10,000 licenses in Canada, and this year it is estimated that 50,000 licenses will be issued. Those licenses are mainly, almost ex-

Radiotelegraph Act

elusively, for receiving apparatus. Last year sixty-three licenses were issued for broadcast transmitting stations, but only forty were operated. This year only twenty-five licenses had been renewed. Those stations divide themselves into stations operated by big firms selling receiving apparatus, stations operated by newspapers for their advertisement, and then there are also broadcasting stations operated by provinical governments or private companies. The cost of establishing and maintaining a broadcasting station is rather high. The establishment may cost from $7,000 to $20,000, and the cost of upkeep is from $2,000 to several thousand dollars a year. Therefore, it is rather expensive, and many of the present broadcasting stations are going to discontinue.

This bill is to meet specially the situation in Manitoba, where there were two broadcasting stations, one operated by the Free Press and the other by the Tribune Both have been abandoned on account of the cost. The provincial government operates the telephone system in that province, and it is quite prepared to operate a broadcasting station, but it wants to have something in return. We think it is only fair that the thousands of persons who are getting enjoyment out of their receiving apparatus should pay something to the broadcasting station that supplies the enjoyment, and the idea is to give part of the license fee to the provincial government or to any company that will operate a broadcasting station. The licenses might be collected by the province itself, part of the license to be kept by the province for the cost of operating the broadcasting station and for the cost of collecting the licenses, and the other share to come to the federal government. This is the system in force in England. In England the cost of a receiving license is $2.50, $1.25 of which goes to the government and $1.25 to the broadcasting company. So far the license fee in Canada for receiving stations has been only $1. It is est'mated that about 50,000 licenses will be issued this year, so that would give an amount of $50,000. The cost of a license for a broadcasting station is $50.

When this legislation was in committee on the resolution, the former Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) wanted to know the expenditure and the revenue last year The revenue received on account of license fees last year up to the 31st March amounted to $16,200. The cost of inspection service, including administration expenses at Ottawa, amounted to $19,250.18, and the cost of issuing licenses was $5,522.80, making a total of

$24,772.98. It must be noted that part of that cost of inspection goes for the inspection of the 160 commercial and eight navigation stations, the 255 Canadian ship stations and all foreign ships visiting Canadian ports carrying Canadian passengers, and this inspection would have to be made in any event. The estimated expenditure for the present year is:

Inspection service $24,920

Issue of licenses 6,100

Total $31,020

The estimated revenue from license fees is approximately $50,000. This bill is for the purpose of giving to the Governot in Council power to make arrangements with a provincial government or any responsible government to broadcast and to keep part of the license fees for doing that service.

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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the House went into committee thereon, Mr. Gordon in the Chair. On section 1-Governor in 'Council may authorize payment of portion of license foes to provincial government, private company or other party for services rendered. , Mr. RYCKMAN: Why should the whole cost of issuing licenses run into something like $5,000 or $6,000? What is the special expense in connection with issuing licenses?


LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

In the large cities, Montreal, Toronto, even Quebec, there are officers specially employed for that purpose. In Montreal, last month, the first month of the present fiscal year, over 3,000 licenses have been issued. A special service is required for that work.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

How does the licensing of these machines come under federal jurisdiction?

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?

Mr LAPOINTE:

It has always been under federal jurisdiction.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not deny that. I see the bill was passed in 1913.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

It is similar to the telegraph. It is interprovincial; it is national; it is even international. We have conventions with other countries.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It may be based on some treaty, some convention; but really I cannot see any other ground. The bill, however, seems to be all right.

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May 3, 1923