Volume #14 - 810.|
IMMIGRATION FROM INDIA
Memorandum by Director of Immigration, Department of Mines and Resources,|
to Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy
IMP DOCUMENT No. 25|
June 4th, 1948|
RE EAST INDIAN IMMIGRATION|
Dr. D.P. Pandia, on behalf of the East Indians in Canada, requests the Government to amend existing Immigration Regulations to provide for the admission to Canada of their close relatives on the same basis as those of European races, and for the fiances of Canadian born East Indian women. As East Indians belong to one of the Asiatic races admission is restricted to the wife and unmarried child under 18 years of age of Canadian citizens (P.C. 2115).
With this submission Dr. Pandia requests consideration of the following facts:
(1) Under restrictive regulations the East Indian population of Canada has declined from 5,438 in 1911 to 1,465 in 1941 and as 25% of those now in Canada are over 60 years old there will be a further decrease during the next 10 years.
(2) That there are members of the East Indian Community established as successful farmers and businessmen who have no children or relatives in Canada to carry on their business now that they are approaching old age, or in case of their demise.
(3) The Canadian born males choose their women in India with the result that the Canadian born females must remain spinsters.
(4) The East Indians have contributed to the development as pioneers of the two basic industries of British Columbia, i.e., lumbering and agriculture, having supplied capable and skilled labour, and invested millions of dollars in the same; they are reliable, thrifty, hard-working and law-abiding.
(5) There are no restrictions on the admission to India of Canadians, but at present Canada discriminates against East Indian British subjects as compared with the citizens of the other dominions. To remove this discrimination at this particular time would be of importance in the friendly relationship between the two countries.
Existing regulations provide for the admission of the following classes provided they do not belong to any Asiatic race:
(a) British Subjects having such status by reason of birth or naturalization in Canada, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Australia, the Union of South Africa.
(b) United States Citizens
(c) Relatives of Residents of Canada, i.e., Husband or wife, son, daughter, brother or sister, together with husband or wife and unmarried children if any. The orphan nephew or niece under 21 years of age.
(d) Agriculturists, Farm Labourers, Persons Experienced in Mining, Lumbering or Logging
(e) Persons Entering for Marriage to a Legal Resident
The only immigrants of Asiatic races admissible are the wife and unmarried child under 18 years of age of a Canadian citizen.
To effect any change in the admissible classes of East Indians would require a modification of P.C. 2115, and would result in requests for similar treatment of other Asiatic races who are not admissible under present regulations. The majority of the 1400 East Indians in Canada are Canadian citizens and the admission of their first degree relatives would not mean any large movement. The effect in regard to other Asiatic races would be different. There are in Canada over 16,000 persons of Asiatic races (other than Chinese, Japanese and East Indians), the majority of whom are believed to be Canadian citizens. The Chinese would present the most serious problem. While the proportion of naturalized and native born Chinese to the total Chinese population is small, naturalization would within a few years result in a formidable movement of Chinese immigrants. About 2000 Chinese have applied for naturalization since January 1st, 1947. A similar situation would develop with regard to Japanese subsequent to the revocation of the regulations prohibiting the admission of enemy aliens.
Dr. Pandia believes that the East Indian should be considered as being in a preferred position in his relationship to Canadian Immigration regulations, in that he is a natural born British subject and as such should be given the same privileges as British subjects native to and naturalized ill Britain and the Dominions. This view, however, would not appeal to Canadian citizens of alien origin who would naturally claim discrimination as between Canadian citizens of different Asiatic races.
As a change in the regulations applicable alike to all Asiatic races along the lines advocated for the East Indians would within a few years materially increase Asiatic immigration, it is the opinion of the Department that such action would not be warranted. It is, however, recognized that there are cases where the regulations impose definite hardships as described in sirbmission No. 2 on page one of the memorandum, and it is suggested that these could be dealt with individually by Order in Coirncil waiving the provisions of P.C. 2115 where investigation established such action to be warranted.40
40Approuvée par le Comité sur la politique de l'immigration le 16 juin./Approved by Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy on June 16.