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THE ALIEN ENEMY IN CANADA 149

 

for the opening months of the war, the labour market, relieved though it had been by the enrolment of the First Contingent, passed from stage to stage of increasing stagnation. Naturally the labourer of enemy nationality was the chief sufferer. He was the first to be dismissed when business slackened, and as the numbers of unemployed increased there emerged a new and pressing danger in the bands into which he congregated—though want rather than sedition was always the prevailing note. An Order-in-Council was accordingly passed (October 28th, 1914), requiring alien enemies within twenty miles of certain designated localities to present themselves for registration and examination as to their antecedents and movements. Sir Percy Sherwood as Chief Commissioner of Dominion Police was placed in general control of this process, special registrars being appointed in the more important centres, whilst the police system looked after the rest. Aliens found on examination to be unlikely to add to the strength of the enemy were to be permitted to leave the country in search of employment. Of those detained in Canada, some were allowed to remain at large, if such was deemed consistent with the public safety, on condition that they report monthly (this was subsequently strengthened to allow of more frequent reports) to the Chief of Police in the neighbourhood where registered. Those adjudged to be dangerous were to be interned as prisoners of war. Internment was likewise prescribed for all who failed to register or to answer examination. Where an alien of enemy nationality had wife or children dependent on him, the latter were to be permitted to accompany him into internment.

With this Order and the enlarged scale of the problem which it prefigured, internment operations proper may be said to begin. As already stated, the Dominion Police had, as early as August, 1914, arrested a number of dangerous aliens, and several were already lodged in Fort Henry (Kingston), in the Halifax Citadel, at Vernon, B.C., and at Lethbridge and other points in the Prairie


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