August 12, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Arthur Wentworth Roebuck



All you have to do is to show that and you can cancel the Canadian nationality of the individual; but you must not punish'the innocent because of the guilty. There may be some who have dual nationality, who owe a loyalty to the emperor of Japan and who attempt to show the same attitude toward the king of England. It cannot be done. If you can show that, there is no difficulty at all in cancelling the British citizenship, and I rather think you could) cancel the nationality of even a person bom here, although I am not so sure about that. My point is that you must not do these things by rumour and assumptions. Even-handed justice requires that we prove such charges against the guilty individual and not in a broad way assume that all must be guilty because of some national characteristics. I have found even in my short experience that usually characteristics attributed to large sections of a community, to groups, to nationalities, to races and so on, have very little foundation in fact. They are usually fictions. For instance, there is a fiction that the French are excitable, the English phlegmatic, and so on; I could mention many more. Usually these are not based upon facts but upon assumptions. The French are often phlegmatic and the English excitable. So that perhaps it may be with those of Japanese origin who have had the benefit of long years of association with Canadians and of Canadian training. It may be that they are not quite so bad as, say, the military clique who guide the destinies of Japan. It is not my intention to-night to argue the question of the Japanese or to constitute myself their champion.

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