Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day are called I should like to draw your attention to an error in yesterday's Hansard. When the orders of the day were called yesterday the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) rose in his place and read a carefully prepared statement to the house, at the conclusion of which he stated that one page had been omitted from his notes. He then retired from the chamber and the house proceeded with ordinary routine business. Returning to the chamber in about three-quarters of an hour the Prime Minister read his entire statement, including the page which had been omitted. I find on looking up Hansard this morning that the Prime Minister's original statement, together with certain remarks that were made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Manion) have been omitted from Hansard. My question is: On what authority is this being
Mr. Speaker, may I say first to my hon. friend that I had nothing whatever to do with the matter myself. The arrangement of Hansard is in the hands of the Hansard staff. Where on previous occasions there have been obvious omissions or transpositions of some kind, in the arrangement of Hansard those omissions or transpositions are usually dealt with as the editor of a paper would deal with any matter of the kind in presenting it in its final form. I inquired last night as to what Hansard proposed to do, whether it was proposed to insert verbatim et literatim the little interjections with regard to a page being missed out of my statement and the whole repeated as reread. I was informed that Hansard proposed to have the matter printed as if the page had not been omitted, and simply give the full account as was originally intended and as subsequently read. I understood that Hansard-I may be wrong-before taking that step had intended to speak to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) to see if he would have any objection, but the leader of the opposition not being here in the evening, I am informed the matter was then referred to the chief whip of the Conservative party. That is what I am informed. The chief whip, I was told, said he thought it would be quite right to have Hansard printed without indicating the brief exchange concerning the omission of a page that had taken place. I believe that was the courtesy which was extended by hon. gentlemen opposite-I may be wrong. But certainly
I should think in any circumstances it was quite a proper thing for Hansard to have done. If I had altered any sentence or remark in the second reading of the statement as read on the first occasion or had in any way sought to deceive the house about what was purely an omission occasioned by a failure on the part of a stenographer to copy one of the concluding pages, I think there would have been something to the point which my hon. friend has raised. But for the purpose of the intelligent reading of Hansard as a matter of record I think it was much better to have repetition avoided and the complete statement put in the form in which it was.
I may say to my hon. friend that when I came back into the house with the complete statement the hon. leader of the opposition indicated to me across the floor of the house that it might be best to read it from the beginning in its entirety so that all members would have the complete context, and I did that. I thought at the time my hon. friend was seeking to assure me that that would be the best way of proceeding, if I was to have the statement in its entirety' as it appeared'. I am giving my hon. friend the situation as I understand it. If there has been any fault in the matter, I hope it will be put on my shoulders as leader of the house. If Hansard were to come to me and ask me what I thought was correct in the matter of reporting the proceedings of the house in a case of that kind, I would say it was much better to have Hansard state the situation as hon. members would wish to see it stated, rather than in any way unnecessarily to burden Hansard with something that did not affect the proceedings.
I had no idea that the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) and the Conservative whip (Mr. Casselman) had agreed to this. I simply saw in Hansard that it had been omitted. During this session there have been several omissions from Hansard, and I wish to protest against omissions being made from Hansard by any person, or Hansard having authority to make these changes.
Mr. Speaker, in view of the statement of the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) I think it is incumbent upon me to say something. I understand the right hon. gentleman to say that I did concur in
the deletion from Hansard. It is quite true that Mr. Young, the editor of debates, communicated with me last night and asked me if I would acquiesce in such a change. I told him that at that time I would not acquiesce, that I had no authority to assume to myself any responsibilities that are covered by the rules of the house. In order that there should be no misunderstanding, I took the matter up with the editor of debates before the opening of the house to-day, believing that he might have misunderstood me. In conversation with me he stated positively that I did not acquiesce in any change.
I apologize then to my hon. friend and to the entire house. I can only say that I made inquiry last night of my secretary who reported the circumstances to me exactly as I have given them to the house. I have not had a word with him since, and I let the matter drop at that stage. As a matter of fact what I suggested to my secretary was that he should see the Speaker and ask him about it. His reply to me was that the whip of the Conservative party. had already indicated he thought that that would be a perfectly correct procedure. If the house thinks that Hansard ought to be reprinted with the correction to which my hon. friend has drawn attention, I :am perfectly agreeable. I must confess that I cannot see where there has been any attempt to invade any privilege either of the house or of its individual members.
Mr. Speaker, I did nod across to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) yesterday and I concurred with him in the suggestion that he read the whole statement from the beginning in view of the fact that he had read part of it and then stated he had forgotten a page which he brought in later. I wanted to hear the whole statement read continuously. I had no intention of bringing up this matter, but since it has been brought up I do not think that this is a question of the details concerned. I admit perhaps that there has been no change made in the ideas or substance of the statement in any shape or form; there is no suggestion of that. The Prime Minister says that he did not have it done, and he mentions that the editor of Hansard or someone on his behalf endeavoured to get in touch with me. My secretary told me this morning that that is correct. I went home from this house yesterday afternoon with quite a cold, and I decided that the telephone should not bother me all evening; I gave instructions that it should not be answered I think it rang at
least a dozen times, which is probably eleven times too many. I would not answer it and I refused to let anybody else in the house answer it. I wanted to go to bed to rest.
The point I should like to make is Ibis. There is no question of a change in the context because I understand there was none except that the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Thompson) does mention that I said a few words. If I recall, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) said a few words. We both did, and they were both cut out. Not that my remarks were probably of any importance anyway, but I do deny to the editor of Hansard or to anybody else the right to remove anything said by me without my consent. I was twitted across the floor of the house the other night for having changed a word in Hansard. Incidentally I have searched that since, and my secretary, who is really to blame if anybody was, as he checks over Hansard, as to my remarks, and we find there was no change. However, to-day two or three pages have been cut out of Hansard by the editor of Hansard apparently without the consent of the Speaker and of both sides of the house. That seems to me to be a most extraordinary proceeding. Therefore, I wish to say this: I do not think the editor of
Hansard has any right at any time to cut out two or three pages of Hansard without any excuse whatsoever unless he gets the consent probably of the leaders of all parties and the Speaker as well. I think it is too serious a matter to have the editor of Hansard have the power in his hands to do any such thing.
members concerned, I may say I was in the Hansard room just after the discussion had closed down here. The editor then was rather in a quandary as to how he was going to manage the report. A very important statement with regard to foreign policy was being split up and sandwiched in between apples and oranges, and all that kind of thing. What the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) had said he said again; what I had said, I said again a little later in the debate. I stated to the editor of Hansard that it seemed to me it would be an excellent thing not to repeat all that kind of thing and simply put it down as it stood. It seemed to me that in an important matter of this kind the various little interjections which were made under these peculiar circumstances did not warrant the marring of Hansard, which would
go out not only all over Canada but perhaps over the entire world. I think it should be left as it is.
I do not wish to add to the discussion, but I -think probably the purpose which my hon. friend had in mind in raising the question will have been amply served by having the pages of Hansard covered with the' fact that I did not have a complete statement when I came into the house, because one page had not been copied at the time; and that I was not aware of that when I started to read the statement which I had left to others to have transcribed.
I rise to a point of order. The right hon. Prime Minister has no right to impute the motives which he did to my hon. friend, the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Thompson). He said the object which the hon. member had in mind was served by having this spread on Hansard. I think that is imputing a motive which he has absolutely no right to do.
I must say to my hon. friend the leader of the opposition that I cannot see any motive at all in raising the question, unless it was to make clear that the Prime Minister had read a statement and had in so doing omitted a page which he thought had been included, and that Hansard had not recorded the fact, that he went back to get the page and then was permitted by the house to read the whole statement over again. That is all I wished to imply. My hon. friend may have had another purpose in view in raising the question. May I say that Hansard is not here to answer for itself, but I 'will take full responsibility, as I must, for the action of Hansard in this matter. I do think that Hansard exercised a reasonable editorial right in presenting yesterday's discussion in the form in which it appeared to-day.
I want to say that I had no idea of doing what the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has rather imputed I was doing. My idea in bringing this matter *before the house was this: Several times in this house the same thing has occurred-