Mr. BENNETT (Calgary).
Mr. Speaker, I do not propose to trespass upon the time of the House to any considerable extent, but merely to make a few observations in respect to this matter. I remember that when Mr. Geoffrey Drage and Sir Frederick Pollock visited western Canada some few years ago to interest public opinion on this subject, their efforts were crowned with very considerable success. It seems to me that my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Monk), as well as the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat, (Mr. Cockshutt), have indicated exactly the difficulties that have been experienced in connection with this matter. The hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) also dealt with exactly the same sort of difficulty that had to be considered by the Imperial authorities. I think we all agree that it is essential that the autonomous rights of the dependencies of the Empire should be preserved. That is of the utmost importance. Every one of the King's dominions claims the right to pass a statute providing for the naturalization of aliens on such terms as to the legislature of each dependency seems best. That is a sine qua non. They insist upon that right. As the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) has just said, the Dominion of New Zealand claims the right to confer citizenship upon a person the next day after he lands and takes the oath of allegiance. Some of the old provinces in Australia exacted live years' residence while we exact only three years, residence.. It is therefore perfectly clear that if there are to be different terms of residence exacted before the domestic tribunals confer rights of citizenship that citizenship should be limited in its application to the boundaries of the country that grants it. Then comes a further question and the difficulty which was experienced is the very difficulty that the hon. member for Edmonton has just referred to, namely, whether or not there might be a uniform arrangement throughout the British Empire as to the terms of citizenship, whether or not a man should have to reside in New Zealand, Australia, Canada or any other British colony or dependency a given number of years absolutely regardless of other considerations and then have conferred upon him, by some domestic tribunal, a citizenship that would be accepted in every portion of the Empire, or whether we should attempt-to deal with it in the way that the draft Bill does, namely, by preserving the right of each colony and of each Dominion to legislate as they please in regard to the requirements which may be exacted from
those who came within her boundaries and who seek the rights of citizenship, and then to adopt one general provision, that in addition to the residence or other qualifications necessary to attain the status of a citizen within the boundaries of the country that conferred the citizenship, the individual should have to live a longer period still in that Dominion before he could obtain Empire citizenship. The Minister of Public Works has pointed out that in the Imperial Conference of 1911 the matter was discussed at length and two schools of thought there found expression. On. the one hand it was strongly urged that there should be a uniform term of residence in the empire and that then the domestic tribunal might confer empire -citizenship. On the other hand there was a suggestion made which is now given force and effect , in the draft Bill before us. It is proposed that while preserving the right that every self-governing colony or dependency may have to make such laws and regulations as to it seems best for granting citizenship to those who come within its boundaries, nevertheless, a residence of five years within that colony or dependency by any person shall entitle him to apply for a certificate of naturalization that- will give him empire citizenship. That is the -purpose of this draft Bill, and I may point out to the hon. m-ember for Edmonton that it preserves to us all our autonomous rights, all our rights to make Such rules and regulations as we may desire in so far as regards the domestic citizenship, while the larger or empire citizenship is to be conferred only when there has been a residence for five years, when the oath of allegiance has been taken to the sovereign and when there has been a certificate given as to the good character of the person in question. With Tegard to the pamphlet that was referred to by the hon. member for Pictou, I happen to know of a case that came under my own observation in which a passport had been issued that did not, make the reservation or provision that is now inserted in a passport issued to naturalized citizens, and it was found in Russia that the person to whom the passport had been issued was wanted for a criminal offence under the laws of that country. He produced hi-s passport, and the passport having been issued upon a form that it should not have been issued upon, international complications arose -by reason of it and it gave a great deal of trouble. They came to the conclusion that a man has no right to have a full passport based only on domestic citizenship and that if he desires to have a pas-sport which will give him the protection of his Britannic Majesty throughout the empire he must have empire citizenship. I entirely approve
of this Bill and I trust that the government, in the words of the despatch to Earl Grey, will give it its earliest possible attention. _
With regard to early action being taken, South Africa has acted and I am informed that Australia has also acted. Am I correct in that?
Topic: SUPPLY-IMPERIAL NATURALIZATION.