Nothing will make correct the opening of a letter addressed to somebody else. We cannot have a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, involving the opening of a letter addressed to somebody else. Surely this house has not fallen that low.
Somebody has fallen low when he deliberately used my frank and forged my initials on these two envelopes, and under my frank and under my initials sent out Tory literature in my name. I say that I am perfectly justified in bringing this matter to the attention of the house.
contents, Mr. Speaker, but I thought somebody asked me to. All I wish to say, Mr. Speaker, is that this letter is signed by my good friend the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. McRae), the chief whip of the Conservative party. I do not believe that he either had anything to do with sending out this literature under my frank, but I do say, in view of the fact that the people of Nova Scotia have received letters of this kind evidently, because if two have come back certainly more than two were sent out, that it is not fair to me as a Liberal member of the House of Commons from the province of Nova Scotia to have these letters sent out under my frank, and I want to protest against it
It is now a question of the privileges of this house, not the privilege of any particular member. I trust that the hon. gentleman will lay the envelopes on the table. Having laid the envelopes upon the table, they should be kept in the custody of the clerk. It may well be that initials which purport to be the hon. gentleman's are somebody else's. That is for the clerk of the house. In the second place, the opening of a letter not addressed to him by any member and a statement of the contents is an offence against the law.
He said that there was a direction on the envelope where it should be sent if not delivered. His statement was predicated upon the assumption that he had not sent out those letters, and then to open them certainly puts this house in a very, very difficult position. I desire to dissociate myself and those with whom I am associated on this side from becoming parties to the opening of a letter that may be placed in my box or that of any other hon. member simply because the post office clerk assures me that it was my letter originally.
Apropos of what has just taken place, and to show exactly what is being done, let me mention that a few weeks ago a letter was addressed to the house of Olaf Hanson, the Liberal candidate in Skeena. He was not at home at the time, being either in Montreal or in the United States, and that letter was delivered to me by the post office. I retained it and made sure that Mr. Hanson got it even though I knew, Mr. Speaker, that the substance of that letter would not be a bit helpful to me.
This matter should not be lightly passed over by the House of Commons. I have here in my hand the envelope to which my hon. friend from Antigonish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff) referred, and I am prepared to go on my oath and testify that this frank is the frank of Mr. Finlay MacDonald who represents Cape Breton South.