Mr. J. A. BRADETTE (Cochrane):
Mr. Speaker, in speaking on this matter I am going to try to represent the opinions of my own section of the country and at the same time be true to the oath of office which I took before occupying my seat in this house.
There is no doubt that when the article in question appeared in Maclean's magazine last September, the article with which the whole country is now familiar, the minds of the Canadian people were troubled. A good many of them did not see that article when it was first published, but I believe later on the publishers of Maclean's magazine found it possible to spread the article into every section of the country. To anyone who took the trouble to read it, however, it was plain that it contained no concise accusations but only insinuations against people in the public life of this country, more particularly in regard to the
'Mr. Mackenzie King.]
Department of National Defence. Something had to be done; the newspapers were asking for action on the part of the government. Then, a very few days following the publication of the article, the newspapers of Canada were unanimous in praising the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for appointing a royal commission. That step was taken at once, and by that action the Prime Minister and the government showed themselves ready and willing to get to the bottom of all these insinuations or so-called accusations.
On Friday of last week the Prime Minister again showed his honesty and sincerity of purpose in connection with all matters having to do with the administration of this country and the government departments when he stated in the house that he did not wish in any way to curtail discussion on any important problem. He also made it clear, however, that the best body to deal impartially with a question such as this was a committee appointed by the House of Commons, which naturally would be the public accounts committee. No one could take objection to or umbrage at such a statement or the taking of such action. Public opinion as expressed by the press of the country was unanimous in commending the action of the Prime Minister on this occasion.
But it is easy to build up partisan capital. The Prime Minister last fall in appointing a royal commissioner was careful to select a man who-not mentioning his political affiliations-was highly respected in his own profession and had made a name for himself as a lawyer in Canada. However, I was dumbfounded when from every section of the opposition I heard the action of the Prime Minister challenged, and heard the references that were made to his statement not that the commissioner was the supporter of any particular party but simply that he had been appointed by the late administration. I could easily visualize what bitter criticism there would have been had a man been selected who before his appointment had had Liberal inclinations. I repeat that the people have been absolutely satisfied, in their own minds, that the Prime Minister of Canada and the government as a whole wanted to have justice meted out, and to go thoroughly into the accusations that were made.
Frankly in a discussion of this kind I do not like the atmosphere of the House of Commons. Allegations of scandal have been made in a good many instances. I do not believe the country wants to hear discussions of that nature carried on by the opposition for days and weeks.
Bren Gun-Mr. Bradette
Before I proceed farther I want to ask a question of the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil). Last week it was published in every section of the press of Canada that he had been threatened by a prominent man of the Liberal party. I would like the hon. member to give us the name of that prominent man.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR REFERENCE TO PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE