Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of personal privilege affecting me as a member of parliament. On February 25 last, when the estimates of the Department of External Affairs were under discussion, in a speech expressing views concerning the Japanese in Canada differing from those expressed by the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis), I made certain remarks which can be found at page 1020 of Hansard. In my remarks I pointed out that in my opinion the Japanese in Canada were an unassimilable race. Here are my exact words:
In answer to a question of mine it was admitted by Japanese that they owed allegiance first to Japan, and so long as every Japanese born here is registered in Japan -and is looked upon as a Japanese national he cannot be truly a Canadian. Hence my objection to -them as a class. They are not an assimilable race, and are different in their outlook from any other nationals in Canada.
This morning I received a copy of a newspaper called the New Canadian, published in Vancouver by the Japanese, in their own interests; and I am now going to read to the house an article which appeared in the issue of February 28, which contains a scurrilous personal attack upon both the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) and myself, which I do not intend to let go unchallenged. This is the statement:
Some rather caustic comments concerning Canadians of Japanese origin were bandied about in the House of Commons this week, in
War Expenditures Committee
a manner to suggest that several British Columbia members of the house are still unprincipled politicians, first, last and all the time.
Mr. A. W. Neill, the honourable member from Comox-Alberni, was once again the leading spirit in an attack upon the quality of our loyalty and our Canadianism. With due assistance from his companion in prejudice, Mr. Tom Reid from New Westminster, he sawed violently away at his favourite plank-one, by the way, that he has exploited to considerable advantage for many a year-"once a Jap, always a Jap."
With due deference to his prestige, his position and his fossilization, the editor of this weekly presumes to disagree. And with all respect to the honourable members, he publicly challenges Mr. Neill and Mr. Reid to an open debate to determine which proposition is the more valid: "Once a Japanese, always a
Japanese," or "Once an oriental-baiting politician, always an oriental-baiting politician."
An agreement as to time, place or conditions may be deferred until the honourable members of the house have considered, with what means they have at their disposal, somewhat more pressing problems of Canadian unity and the Canadian war effort.
These statements are not only false; they are malicious, and I want to repudiate in the strongest possible terms this personal attack upon myself. At no time have I endeavoured to arouse hostile or racial feelings against the Japanese in British Columbia. It is true that I have endeavoured in this house to point out certain dangers which I believe exist in British Columbia or might exist if the franchise were granted the Japanese. I have also urged that control of our fisheries by the Japanese in British Columbia should not be permitted to continue. My statements, first that the Japanese are an unassimilable race and second that most if not all Japanese in this country, whether born in Canada or elsewhere, are registered in Japan as Japanese nationals, have never been refuted by anyone, not even the Japanese themselves.
Such a vilifying personal attack, Mr. Speaker, comes with poor grace from a race of people who have enjoyed, with the exception of the franchise, every phase of our Canadian social and economic life.