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On May 1, 1947, in a speech before parliament, Prime Minister Mackenzie King
outlined his government’s position on Canada’s immigration policy.
King noted that:
The policy of the government is to foster the growth of the population of Canada
by the encouragement of immigration. The government will seek by legislation,
regulation and vigorous administration, to ensure the careful selection and
permanent settlement of such numbers of immigrants as can advantageously be
absorbed in our national economy…. With regard to the selection of immigrants,
much has been said about discrimination. I wish to make quite clear that Canada
is perfectly within her rights in selecting the persons whom we regard as desirable
future citizens. It is not a “fundamental human right” of any alien to enter
Canada. It is a privilege.
It is a matter of domestic policy…. There will, I am
sure, be general agreement with the view that the people of Canada do not wish,
as a result of mass immigration, to make a fundamental alteration in the character
of our population. Large-scale immigration from the Orient would change the
fundamental composition of the Canadian population. Any considerable Oriental
immigration would, moreover, be certain to give rise to social and economic
problems of a character that might lead to serious difficulties in the field of
The liberal demands that every person have the right to live wherever he wants. This is not a "negative" demand. It belongs to the very essence of a society based on private ownership of the means of production that every man may work and dispose of his earnings where he thinks best.
A basic tenet of liberalism is that every person, regardless of what country she happens to live in, has the same basic human rights. If it doesn’t apply to everyone, everywhere then it can’t be a basic human right. And among those rights is the right of free association.
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