May 7, 1928 (16th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret (Secretary of State of Canada)


Hon. FERNAND RINFRET (Secretary of State):

I have read the report sent out by
the Canadian Press having to do>
with a judgment rendered by Chief Justice Meredith at Osgoode Hall, Toronto. In the first paragraph of the report it is stated that the chief justice intimated that he had applied to the Secretary of State for assistance in arriving at a decision with respect to these aliens who were applying for naturalization, and that the minister had not responded to his request. I believe that is what my hon. friend has; in mind.
I can only say that I am afraid the Canadian Press has been misinformed on the matter; I do not believe that Chief Justice Meredith would have taken such a stand, for the simple reason that he did not write to the Secretary of State in connection with this matter, and so could not have received any reply from myself. What happened was this: On April 9 Chief Justice Meredith wrote a letter to the Under-Secretary of State, Mr. Mulvey, which I will now read:
My dear Mr. Mulvey:
The same question in regard to naturalization in Canada of aliens, about which I had some correspondence with you a while ago, has arisen again, in the same place and in regard to the same class of persons.
The still unsatisfactory state of the law and the practice under the act has impelled me to put in writing some thoughts on the subject in the hope that they may lead to something being done to put the matter on a better footing.
Will you be good enough to give to me any assistance you can; and to read that which I have -written and let we know your views of all that I have said?
The enclosed paper is merely a draft. I have done nothing yet.
On April 17 of this year the Under-Secretary of State replied as follows:
My dear Judge Meredith:
Your letter of the 9th arrived during my absence from Ottawa. I am very glad indeed to have your opinion upon the subjects therein touched upon in respect of the naturalization of aliens. This will be of great assistance to the Secretary of State in promoting a bill which is at present before parliament for the purpose of amending the Naturalization Act, eliminating the clauses winch require applicants for naturalization to be heard by a judge. I agree with your view throughout. In fact, I have for years been trying to prevail upon the Secretary of State to put forw'ard the bill which is now under consideration.

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