April 7, 1927 (16th Parliament, 1st Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (West Calgary):

Mr. Speaker, in my judgment this bill should not be proceeded with. It is a single clause bill, but it is one of great importance. Section I states:
Section 41 of the Immigration Act, chapter 27 of the statutes of 1910, as enacted by chapter 26 of the statutes of 1919, is repealed.
It deals with the power of deportation. It is said that the section will never be put in operation, and therefore it should be repealed. But it is always desirable to have upon the statute books legislation to which an appeal may be made in the event of necessity arising, and the non-use of legislation is sometimes the best reason why it should remain. Not long since in England they had recourse to legislation that was more than one hundred years old, and this statute providing for summary deportation without trial at a time of great stress and strain will not be used except where the conditions obtain to which it has reference. These conditions, let us hope, will very rarely arise in this country, but when they do arise no harm can be done in having here the machinery upon which we can rely and which we may use. Unless some good reason is given why this section should be repealed, it should remain; the fact that it is drastic legislation is not a good reason for its repeal. Legislation which it is said takes away the right of a man to trial by jury and matters of that kind is legislation that sometimes has to be used in all countries for the preservation of law and order, and that is far more important than the possible chance of its application to individuals perhaps once in a hundred years. What harm is being done by having the legislation there? There may arise a condition when it would be profoundly useful to this country. If when that condition arises the legislation is not there, we have no power to deal with the situation. Until it is shown to the House that the legislation will work an injustice in the ordinary course of events it should remain on the statute books. I submit that no reason has been given why it should be dropped at this time, and therefore, and in view of the fact that it is midnight, I move the adjournment of the debate.

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