August 31, 1946

LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

There is a chairman of the unemployment insurance commission. He does not retire until September 30, and my hon. friend can rest assured that on the first day of October there will be a new chairman in his stead.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

Is the minister in a position to indicate who the new chairman is? I understand the minister has the choice made and the situation is well in hand. He might tell parliament what the situation is.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I am afraid I cannot do that. The announcement will be made in due course. I may say, however, that there have been more applications for that chairmanship than there have been for senatorships. If the hon. gentleman were on this side of the house he would realize the trials and tribulations that beset us here.

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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

I take it the new chairman is not sitting far from the minister now.

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Item agreed to. Demobilization and reconversion- SSI. Dispersal, maintenance and removal of Japanese nationals and other persons of the Japanese race, $4,000,000.


LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I do not rise to bring up any controversial question, but I would ask the minister to give us some information about the dispersal of Japanese at the present time throughout Canada. Apart from the differing views we have, I think all are agreed that a dispersal programme is desirable in each province. I should like to know what the figures are and whether 'representations have been received from any of the provincial governments protesting against Japanese remaining within its borders, or otherwise.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

First of all, the policy has been to return to Japan those who have voluntarily agreed to go. The other basic policy is one of dispersal of all Japanese throughout Canada. The figures are these: British Columbia, Department of

Labour Settlement 3,080

Elsewhere in the province 5,572

8,652

Alberta 4,172

Saskatchewan 454

Manitoba 1,290

Ontario 5,579

Quebec 1,017

Nova Scotia 1

New Brunswick 10

Newfoundland and Northwest Territories 30

Prince Edward Island 6

There have been repatriated to Japan 3,152. There are approximately only 600 who have so far asked to be returned to Japan, and we are awaiting available shipping to take them there. We have received a letter recently from the Minister of Labour of Saskatchewan, indicating that about 1,000 are being located in camp at Moose Jaw. We have never had that number in Saskatchewan. The number in Moose Jaw is between 300 and 400. He was alarmed at the possible impact of the unemployment situation upon the province by the location in that province of a large number such as he suggested to me in his letter.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

The matter of dispersal is an important one, and everyone who wishes to see this very difficult problem solved hopes that the dispersal policy, which is the considered policy of the government, will be carried out as expeditiously and as fairly as possible. There are several difficulties, one of them arises out of the restrictions on travel

Supply-Japanese Nationals

of persons of Japanese origin in areas in Canada other than the defence coast area. It is understandable that until dispersal is completed or, nearly completed, restriction on the return to the coast area should be in effect. But to have the same restrictions practically in effect in every other part of Canada is not understandable. Let me show the committee how these restrictions operate. A Canadian Japanese living in Saskatchewan had recently to go to Nova Scotia to be admitted to the bar of that province, but before he could move from Saskatchewan, where he is in a responsible position in the civil service, he had to get a permit from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Surely such restrictions do not make sense. Remember, this man is a Canadian. He tried his best to get into the Canadian army or into to some other branch of the armed service, but because of the prejudice against him he was unsuccessful. Now he is working as a trusted employee of a government of this country, and in order to be admitted to the bar of another province and to take whatever oath lawyers take he has to get a permit from the mounted police. This applies to every person of Japanese origin moving from one province to another. These restrictions should be completely removed except as regards the return of persons to Pacific defence area.

Then there is the question of disposal of the property which belonged to these people when they were evacuated in 1942, property which it took some of them a lifetime to build up. This is a parliament that believes in private property. The property was taken from these people and sold for a song. I could give a number of instances of what they received out of a lifetime's hard work. Something should be done about it. An application was made to the exchequer court in 1943. This is 1946, and that application has not yet been heard. During this session we have heard a lot about the rights guaranteed to us under magna charta. I understand that one of the assertions in that document is, that rights delayed are rights denied. The courts may be slow, but I suggest to this committee that the courts of Canada are not so slow that they cannot find time to deal with these cases over a period of three years. In August, 1943, the solicitors representing these evacuees made application to the exchequer court, and it is still there. Only God and the exchequer court know when it wdll be heard. I suggest to the committee that that is not justice to Canadians.

There are a number of other petty restrictions which should be removed at once. Up to a certain point the United States followed

the same procedure with respect to the removal of Japanese from the coast area as we did, but they have appointed a commission to investigate the loss of property. Let me draw a parallel which is perhaps not a parallel in all respects. At the beginning of the war certain organizations were banned and classed as illegal organizations. Their property was confiscated. One of these organizations was the Farmer-Labour Temple Association. This association had property all across Canada. There was no question that at the time it was an illegal organization under the Defence of Canada Regulations. After Russia was invaded and came into the war on the side of the allies a cry went up for the restoration of this property to the former owners. A commission was appointed, and while I have not the actual facts before me at the moment, I believe that certain of these properties were bought back from the people to whom they were sold by the government at more than what was received for them and returned to these organizations. I am not objecting to the procedure followed, but I tell the committee that the sale of the property of Canadians of Japanese origin who were removed from British Columbia was far less justified than was what was done in the case of these organizations declared illegal at the beginning of the war. Therefore, I believe a commission should be appointed to see that justice is done in the matter. Advantage should not be taken of the fact that these people are of a different ethnic origin to ourselves, different colour of skin and so on. Let us deal with the matter as we would deal with any other Canadian, and I suggest it be done without the pressure which was provided in the case I have referred to.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

My hon. friend will agree that when it comes to freedom of the individual I do not take second place to any man in the house or in the country. I refer to the basic principles of freedom in its broadest sense. In the administration of a dispersal policy of this kind you must have a controlled movement under which that policy is completed. What my department has endeavoured to do in the best interest of the Japanese themselves is to disperse them across the country, and, if humanly possible, to prevent a concentration of them in any particular locality. By about Christmas or not long afterwards we hope we shall have the whole situation pretty well stabilized.

With respect to the property, that does not come under my department; it comes under the Secretary of State, the custodian of enemy alien property.

Supply-Japanese Nationals

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

These people were not enemy aliens.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

I will agree with my hon. friend, but let him take his mind back to just after Pearl Harbor. I have a vivid recollection of having to go to British Columbia and arranging for the movement of these Japanese from the coastal area. At that time the United States, ourselves and Australia, and other parts of the orient, were in grave danger. It was decided, as it was decided in many other countries, that in the interests of the safety of the nation it would be necessary to move these people from the protected areas of British Columbia. When we look back at it in a broad way I think we acted with discretion; we acted in the good British way. We were humane. We moved these people with the least inconvenience to themselves and their families. I think that can be truthfully said. I have had some experience in Europe. I have seen the movement of people in one country or in some countries which some people look upon as their spiritual home, and I should not like to think that we would ever sink to the level to which they have sunk over there. I sincerely believe we have done a fair job with the dispersal and removal of the Japanese, and we have done it in their own interests.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

I do not wish to dispute that point at all. As a matter of fact I commended the minister on several occasions on the way in which the job was done, but what I do suggest is that we cannot justify our treatment of these people, having regard to the fairness with which we dealt with the matter when we were dealing with it as military precaution, and that is what it was at that time. I assure the minister that I appreciate the efficient and satisfactory way in which that job was carried out under the circumstances, but that does not answer the point I have made.

I put some questions on the order paper in regard to persons of Japanese origin who were taken from the mental hospital in British Columbia and sent to Japan on one or other of the ships which left British Columbia. I understand that some fifteen or sixteen were sent at their own request, and one was deported by the department of immigration. This matter was drawn to my attention in the first instance by a letter which I received in regard to one Kosho Matano, who served in the Canadian forces in the war 1914-18. This man had suffered shock on account of his war services, and had been admitted to a mental hospital in British Columbia in 1933. A friend of Mr. Matano had visited him in the spring of 1942, when persons of Japanese

origin were being evacuated from the Pacific coast, and asked that this man be allowed to leave with the other evacuees at that time. He was told by the' superintendent of the hospital that they could not let him out because he was an extremely dangerous person. I find in the questions answered by the minister that this "extremely dangerous person"-I assume he was a lunatic-made a request for repatriation to Japan, that that request was granted, and that he left.

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LIB
CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

No, I understand he had been in the institution since 1933. I am just wondering how a person who is confined because of mental incapacity could make a valid application to do anything. It is the most amazing thing I have ever heard. How was the matter first brought to the attention of the authorities? It is said that fifteen made application to be sent, but that they did not make written application. The others who had made application did so on forms provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. These people, I understand, made application by word of mouth. To whom would such applications be made? What information was there on which to base such application? These are questions which should be looked into. In my opinion either the Department of Justice or some other department should investigate the matter, because it is serious. I should like to know if the captain of the ship on which these people were sent was advised that be had fiffteen or sixteen lunatics aboard. Was provision made for confining them while they were aboard so that they would not constitute a danger to other passengers?

I accept the minister's statement when he says he believes in democratic methods, but I submit that these are not the methods of democracy. These are totalitarian, autocratic methods-methods which have no regard for human values, human decencies or human lives. I suggest we should have a great deal more information as to how these mentally incapable people who were in a mental hospital made application to be sent anywhere. Surely if they could make application to be sent to Japan, they could make application to leave the hospital and be sent to Quebec, Ontario or anywhere else.

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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MITCHELL:

The arrangements with respect to these people were made through the provincial authorities-not by my department. I might add that sometimes people in institutions are saner than those outside. Perhaps it would be wise to read this letter from the

Supply-Japanese Nationals

provincial mental hospital at Essondale, British Columbia. It is addressed to Mr. T. B. Pickersgill, commissioner for Japanese placement, in Vancouver, and states:

Referring further to our telephone conversation of this date I wish to advise you that fourteen Japanese patients of this hospital were repatriated to Japan and one Japanese patient was deported to Japan through the Canadian Immigration department.

The repatriation was entirely on a voluntary basis. The individuals were all certified mental patients of this hospital but their mental condition was such that they were able to comprehend the matter and able to express themselves. No coercion or persuasion was used. Each patient was individually interviewed by Mr. T. B. Pickersgill, Commission of Japanese Placement, together with an interpreter and in the presence of the medical superintendent of this hospital. Each patient voluntarily expressed his desire to be returned to Japan. At that time a signed statement was taken to this effect. The context of this signed statement was as follows:

"I hereby express my willingness and desire to return to Japan at the earliest possible

date- Signed Date."

The following is a list of patients of this hospital who were repatriated to Japan under the above circumstances:

Rosea Fugimato Hirona Fujiyoshi Sahara Kurishima Kosho Matano Matoru Motowaki Tomoyuki Mukai Jiro Nagayama Fomikichi Ogawa Tomiehi Ozaki Yoshikatsu Sawada Buta Sakata Kingo Tanitus Unichi Kimura Sukichi Kitagawa

Kuoje Tayi (Taiji) (Deported by Canadian immigration department)

Trusting that the above information will meet with your requirements, I am,

Yours truly,

A. M. Gee, M.D., Deputy Medical Superintendent.

Mr. MaeINNIS: I am not satisfied with that explanation. I believe that before any such decision was made another opinion should have been sought than that of Mr. Pickersgill, who is an employee of the government and who, as I see it, is very unsympathetic so far as these people are concerned.

The minister has said that sometimes there are saner people in mental hospitals than outside. After seeing what is done outside on occasions, I am in complete agreement with him on that point. But these people were in a mental condition which prevented their being allowed out, or at large; otherwise the superintendent of the mental hospital in British Columbia was not performing his duty in that he did not advise the authorities

that there were people in the hospital who had sufficient mental capacity to fend for themselves outside, and that arrangements should be made for their removal from the hospital before they went to Japan. The statements made are just not good enough.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
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Item agreed to. Unemployment insurance commission- 535. General labour transference to industries and agriculture, $650,000.


CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

I should like to refer to the out-of-work benefits applicable to service personnel who through no fault of their own find themselves engaged in an industrial dispute. I know that the Minister of Veterans Affairs comes into this picture, and I have discussed the matter with him. In Ontario particularly, and also in other sections of Canada, there are hundreds of service personnel who have been granted certain rights and privileges under rehabilitation regulations. I refer particularly to the out-of-work benefits which are applicable up to eighteen months after the discharge of a service man. Many of these boys have taken employment in industry in which conditions and antagonisms which developed during the war have culminated in industrial disputes. Many of these men were employed only a month or two, or perhaps only a week or so, and then they found themselves out on strike and not able to take advantage of the benefits which ordinarily would be applicable to them had they not been engaged in a dispute through no fault of their own. I think the Minister of Labour has some responsibility in this matter, because the rehabilitation regulations were changed to conform with the Unemployment Insurance Act, and there must have been consultation between Veterans Affairs and Labour before that was done.

I appreciate the desire for uniformity in these matters, but the unemployment insurance is not comparable to the rehabilitation regulations. Many service personnel are suffering at this time through no fault of their own. I wonder if some consideration cannot be given by the Department of Labour in cooperation with the Department of Veterans Affairs to setting a deadline. If a service man is employed six or nine months before becoming involved in an industrial dispute, the unemployment insurance could be made to apply. Hundreds of these fellows normally would be entitled to come under the rehabilitation regulations, but they are losing those benefits because they have been brought into a new war through no fault of their own. Will the minister consult with the Minister of

Supply-Labour

Veterans Affairs? I raised the question with that minister and he said it would be given serious consideration.

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LIB

August 31, 1946