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Description found in Archives

Commission to Investigate Alleged Chinese Frauds and Opium Smuggling on the Pacific Coast fonds [textual record]. 

Date(s)

1910-1911

Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

0.4 m of textual records

Scope and content

Fonds consists of transcripts of hearings of the commission; and transcripts of hearings about allegations concerning Chinese merchants attempting to enter Canada on the Empress of China.

Textual records
90: Open
Volume
from 1 to 2
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown.

Finding aid 33-149 is a handwritten file list. 33-149 (Paper)

Biography / Administrative history

The Commission to Investigate Alleged Chinese Frauds and Opium Smuggling on the Pacific Coast was established under Order in Council P.C. 2281, dated 12 November 1910, under the Inquiries Act (R.S.C., 1906, c. 104) and on the recommendation of the Minister of Trade and Commerce. The Part of the Act under which the Commission was established is not stated in the Order in Council. The Commission was mandated to inquire into and report upon the frauds recently shown to have existed in connection with the unlawful landing of Chinese immigrants in Canada at British Columbia ports, and any other evasions in violation of An Act respecting and restricting Chinese Immigration (R.S.C., 1906, c. 95) and An Act to amend the Chinese Immigration Act (7-8 Edw. VII, c. 14, 1908) and Orders in Council based thereon; that the said Commissioner do also investigate and report upon the results of the operation of the Chinese Opium Act (7-8 Edw. VII, c. 50, 1908), with special reference to any opium seizures that have taken place under the said Act and disposition thereof; and further that the Commissioner make such recommendations as he may deem expedient as to any further action or criminal prosecutions necessary in connection with his investigations. The commissioner was Dennis Murphy.

On 10 November 1909, Mr. T.R.E. McInnes, who was employed by the Government of Canada to draft a new immigration act, made allegations about the illegal entry of Chinese into Canada. In June 1910, Mr. David Lew, a Chinese interpreter at Vancouver, made similar allegations to Mr. F.C.T. O'Hara, Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce, and Chief Comptroller of Chinese Immigration in Ottawa. As a result, Mr. O'Hara sent Mr. Edward Foster, Inspector of the Dominion Police, to Vancouver in July to investigate. On 12 October, Foster recommended that the Government of Canada appoint a royal commission to inquire into unlawful Chinese immigration to Canada.

On 14 November, just two days after the commission was established, charges were made to the Minister of Customs, "that prominent members of the Liberal party had done all in their power to prevent any probing into alleged frauds because they were participants therein."

Although the commission found no evidence to support these charges, evidence was found that members of the executive of the Liberal party in Vancouver, and the Hon. William Templeman, Minister of Inland Revenue, had requested the reinstatement of Yip On, Chinese interpreter at Vancouver, and Mr. J.M. Bowell, Collector of Customs and Comptroller of Chinese Immigration at Vancouver, after they had been suspended by the department.

Apart from allegations of fraud, the inquiry also dealt with the subject of opium seizures. The opium investigation resulted from charges that it was either being sold by customs officials in Vancouver or that they had profited from the sale of it. The smuggling and sale of opium became especially profitable in 1908 when the Act to Prohibit the Importation, Manufacture and Sale of Opium for other than Medicinal Purposes came into effect (see Report of Mr. Justice Murphy, Royal Commissioner appointed to investigate alleged Chinese frauds and opium smuggling in the Pacific Coast, 1910-1911, Ottawa, Government Printing Bureau, 1913; and 7-8 Ed. VII, c.50, 1908).

Hearings of the commission were held in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo from 19 December 1910 to 18 March 1911. Hearings concerning Chinese merchants attempting to enter Canada on the Empress of China were held in Vancouver on 30 September 1910. RG33-146 General Inventory

Additional information

The commission's report, dated 1 May 1911, was tabled in the House of Commons on 21 July 1911 as Sessional Paper No. 207, 1911. The report was not printed in the Sessional Papers. It was printed as: Report of Mr. Justice Murphy, Royal Commissioner appointed to investigate alleged Chinese frauds and opium smuggling on the Pacific Coast, 1910-1911, Ottawa, Government Printing Bureau, 1913, 54 p.

For more information about royal commissions, researchers should consult: Records of Federal Royal Commissions (RG 33) / James Murray Whalen. -- (General inventory series / Government Archives Division). -- Ottawa : National Archives of Canada, 1990).

Source of title
Order in Council PC 2281, 12 November 1910.

Accruals
No further accruals are expected.

Government

Other system control no.

Related control no.

1. 1985-86/029 GAD
2. 1987-88/151 GAD
3. RG33
4. RG33-146