July 18, 1940

BANKING AND COMMERCE-PRINTING OF PARLIAMENT


Third report of standing committee on banking and commerce.-Mr. Moore. First report of the joint committee of both houses of parliament on printing.-Mr. Dupuis.


L. W. BROCKINGTON DUTIES AS RECORDER OF CANADA'S WAR EFFORT AND COUNSELLOR TO WAR COMMITTEE OF CABINET


On the order for motions:


NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition):

Yesterday the Prime Minister 95826-1081

(Mr. Mackenzie King) tabled a reply to a question asked by the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy). The first part of the question was:

Has the government appointed any person to write the history of our participation in the present war, and, if so, who was appointed

The answer was, "No," and the rest of the question was answered in the same sense. The answer is literally correct, I think, but in a practical sense I do not think it is correct; and I believe it is due to the house and the country that the Prime Minister should make some explanation as to just what the true position is.

I hold in my hand a copy of a press release issued when the Prime Minister made the announcement some months ago. It describes as follows the duties of the gentleman to whom it refers:

To act in an advisory capacity to the war committee of the cabinet in the recording and interpretation of Canada's war effort; to advise and assist the government in providing accurate and essential information in these respects to the people of Canada and to the government of the United Kingdom, and to assist the Prime Minister by keeping a chronicle and other essential records of the progress of Canada's war effort.

The press report concludes:

In this capacity, Mr. Brockington will be designated, recorder of Canada's war effort and counsellor (in the above respects) to the war committee of the cabinet. He will be attached to the Prime Minister's office.

The essentials of the press release are incorporated in the order in council P.C. 4284 passed on the 21st December last, with respect to this appointment.

Now, the question related to the appointment of a person "to write the history of our participation in the present war". The exact duties as defined in the order in council are, "as a recorder and interpreter of Canada's war effort". They mean very much the same thing, and it does seem to me that the answer is somewhat misleading; I do not wish to put a worse interpretation upon it than that. Perhaps the Prime Minister did not give the question any personal consideration. I am not going to attribute any ulterior motives, but I think it ought to be made clear, on a fair interpretation of the order in council, the press release, and the duties to which I understand the gentleman referred to is engaged in, that he is in fact if not in name the historian of Canada's war effort.

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING

(Prime Minister): I had no intention whatever of misleading the house in any way.

Topic:   L. W. BROCKINGTON DUTIES AS RECORDER OF CANADA'S WAR EFFORT AND COUNSELLOR TO WAR COMMITTEE OF CABINET
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I have not

suggested that.

Duties of L. W. Brockington

Topic:   L. W. BROCKINGTON DUTIES AS RECORDER OF CANADA'S WAR EFFORT AND COUNSELLOR TO WAR COMMITTEE OF CABINET
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

As a matter of fact, no one has been appointed as historian of the war. After the last war Colonel Duguid was appointed to write a history of the war and I believe as historian he has thus far published two volumes. Mr. Brockington was certainly never appointed as historian of the war. He was appointed, among other duties, to keep a record of, and to help to chronicle, matters pertaining to the war, which is one of the functions he is performing at the present time.

As my hon. friend must know, events bearing upon the war are taking place in all parts of the world which have an important relation one to the other. There is a part of the general war effort of the United Kingdom and the dominions which concerns Europe, a part that concerns Asia, Africa and other continents. The Prime Minister cannot possibly be expected to keep himself posted day by day upon significant features of the war unless there is in his office someone specially charged with the duty of assembling material bearing upon the war and perusing as well as keeping records that are issued from time to time by different governments and from other sources. Since the war started recorded proceedings have been published by different countries setting forth their interpretation of various positions, state documents and the like, all of which material is being collected and in different ways utilized under the responsibility of Mr. Brockington. From time to time, as I have occasion to speak upon these matters, or to consult with my colleagues individually respecting them, or to discuss them in the cabinet, Mr. Brockington brings to my attention essential features which in his opinion the Prime Minister should have a knowledge of. That is the nature of the work which it was intended that he should perform in relation to the chronicling of the war effort.

It was not the purpose that Mr. Brockington should be an historian. I believe it will be found at the close of the war that there will have been assembled in the Prime Minister's office a complete set of documents having an immediate bearing upon the situation as it has developed from day to day and as it is developing from month to month and may develop from year to year. Had there not been someone specially charged with that duty we might find ourselves at the close of this war without any of these official records, so necessary in the present, and so essential for reference in the future.

I have occasion almost every day to make perfectly sure of some fact upon which I am expected to express an opinion publicly, or to take up for consideration with my colleagues, and I cannot possibly go and search my own

files to discover relevant documents. I must necessarily appeal to someone who is watching the progress of events from day to day. Mr. Brockington's duties lie, in part, in that field, but that is only a part of his duties.

As my hon. friend must know, in a time of war when events are such as they are to-day, all sorts of unforeseen communications come into the Prime Minister's office which must be dealt with in a more or less exceptional and very careful maimer. It would take me too long to enumerate them, but I might point out, by way of illustration, events such as occurred when Holland was invaded, Belgium surrendered and France collapsed. Public reference had to be made almost instantly to the significance of these events. Communications had to be sent by the Prime Minister to representatives of those countries here and abroad. I must take time to outline what I believe ought to be said in these and other circumstances requiring some expression of sympathy of views, to indicate to my staff the tenor of communications that should be drafted in the circumstances. But I have not the time from day to day to sit down and personally draft these particular communications.

From day to day we receive from various sources generous gifts of money, other gifts of one kind or another, from different organizations. The country will expect that where people are voluntarily making contributions to our war effort contributions of the kind should be acknowledged with something more than a mere line from a private secretary or some member of a departmental staff. They should if possible receive a letter from the Prime Minister himself. Mr. Brockington has an exceptional gift in his facility of expression, and I had felt, at the time I asked him whether he would assist me in the other matters to which I have referred, that he might help in the drafting of communications of this kind. Again, in the preparation of statements for this house, and statements to be given to the public over the radio and elsewhere, he has given me very real assistance. Let me say, however, that so far as any speeches that I have made are concerned, any public pronouncements or radio broadcasts that I have given, they have been my own. I have been assisted in the work; but I would ask any hon. gentlemen here who have had experience in matters of this kind, whether they ever found it possible to have someone else write a broadcast for them. Especially would I ask this of one who happens to be in a position of responsibility such as I hold at the present time.

Duties of L. W. Brockington

While I am on this subject I might say a word which may help hon. members to understand the position in the Prime Minister's office as contrasted with other departments of government. When ministers of the crown take over different departments they go to departments that are fully organized, with deputy ministers, secretaries of the department, clerks, staffs, and every arrangement made which it is possible to make in order to facilitate the work of those departments. On the other hand, when the Prime Minister goes into his office he walks into an empty office except for one or two secretaries who may have come in with him; and from time to time, as the situation changes, there comes upon him a volume of additional demands for which no preparation whatever has been previously made. In other departments it is easy to add to the staff here and there as fresh demands arise. For example, large staffs have been added to the Department of National Defence and to the Department of Munitions and Supply to assist in meeting the demands war has created. In my own office, as Prime Minister I have had to assist me in meeting new situations from day to day since this session began, only Mr. Brockington in addition to one or two other younger men whom I have been able to borrow from some of the other departments. He is the only person who has been given a special retainer in connection with the Prime Minister's office, and this not merely because he is doing some highly specialized work requiring wide knowledge of men and affairs, but because of the exceptional judgment and ability which he possesses.

So far as Mr. Brockington's services are concerned they are not confined to myself. He has generously shared his abilities with my colleagues in the cabinet in connection with many matters to which they have been obliged to give their attention. There is not a day passes when there does not arise some question which calls for careful and thoughtful consideration before the Prime Minister is in a position even to discuss it with his colleagues. In matters of the kind it is absolutely necessary that I should have someone in the capacity of a counsellor attached to my office. Mr. Brockington is one of the leading counsel in Canada. He has had large retainers and he has accepted the position which he now holds in my office at great personal and financial sacrifice. Through myself and the government, in the advice and counsel which he has given to me personally and to the cabinet touching a hundred and one different matters that have come up, he has rendered this country an exceptional service.

I could say a good deal more, but perhaps I have said enough to indicate that at least there is some justification for the Prime Minister having at his side, at a time like the present, a gentleman with wide experience in affairs, an able counsellor, one who is largely informed on public matters, and who because of his special attainments is in a position to be able to render an absolutely essential service to the office of prime minister and to the country in the present state of world affairs.

Topic:   L. W. BROCKINGTON DUTIES AS RECORDER OF CANADA'S WAR EFFORT AND COUNSELLOR TO WAR COMMITTEE OF CABINET
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I made

no attack on Mr. Brockington. I made no attack on the Prime Minister, or anything in the nature of an attack, with respect to the matters to which he has alluded. All I rose to do was to call attention to what I considered was an inaccurate reply to a question on the order paper.

Topic:   L. W. BROCKINGTON DUTIES AS RECORDER OF CANADA'S WAR EFFORT AND COUNSELLOR TO WAR COMMITTEE OF CABINET
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I hope I have made it plain that the reply was not inaccurate.

Topic:   L. W. BROCKINGTON DUTIES AS RECORDER OF CANADA'S WAR EFFORT AND COUNSELLOR TO WAR COMMITTEE OF CABINET
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I do not

think the right hon. gentleman referred to the gravamen of the question at all. In my judgment he entirely disregarded it.

Topic:   L. W. BROCKINGTON DUTIES AS RECORDER OF CANADA'S WAR EFFORT AND COUNSELLOR TO WAR COMMITTEE OF CABINET
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Brockington's name was not mentioned on the question at all. I did not assume it had reference to Mr. Brockington; I assumed it had reference to some appointment similar to the appointment made by a former government in the last war, of someone to write a history of the war. It is true that my hon. friend has said nothing in the way of an attack to-day, but he has brought Mr. Brockington's name up on one or two previous occasions. He has been kind enough to say to me that he did not mean anything he said as any attack on Mr. Brockington; quite clearly then he meant what he said as a reflection on myself. At any rate I have taken it as such, and I am replying to what he said in a way which I think will justify before the country the position in which I have been placed.

In addition I would point out that while my hon. friend has been reflecting upon me in the house in this matter, some of his supporting journals on the outside have been making their attack from an opposite point of view; they have been saying it was part of my business to stand up and defend Mr. Brockington. My hon. friend said he was not attacking Mr. Brockington, so that no defence of him was needed; yet by his press on the outside I am being attacked on the score that I have attached to my office a gentleman who is being attacked and I am not defending him.

So far as Mr. Brockington is concerned, I think his abilities speak for themselves, I do not think he needs any defence. So far as I

Questions

am concerned I am prepared to abide by such attack as has been made and the explanation I have given.

Topic:   L. W. BROCKINGTON DUTIES AS RECORDER OF CANADA'S WAR EFFORT AND COUNSELLOR TO WAR COMMITTEE OF CABINET
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DEBTS DUE THE CROWN

DEDUCTION FROM SALARIES OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES RESIDENT IN PROVINCES OF PROVINCIAL TAXES COLLECTABLE BY DOMINION


Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 99, to amend an act respecting debts due to the crown. He said: The dominion government has agreements with some of the provinces under which the dominion government collects income tax and similar taxes imposed by a province. The purpose of this bill is to enable the crown in the right of Canada to deduct from the salaries of federal employees resident in these provinces the amount of the provincial taxes which it is the duty of the dominion government to collect under these agreements. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


QUESTIONS


(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk).


CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS-LINES ABANDONED

IND

Joseph Sasseville Roy

Independent Conservative

Mr. ROY:

How many miles of railway line of the National Railways system were abandoned from 1929 to date (a) in British Columbia, (b) in the prairie provinces, (c) in Ontario, (d) in Quebec, (e) in the maritime provinces?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS-LINES ABANDONED
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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Transport; Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

(a) In British Columbia, 16; (b) in the prairie provinces, 58; (c) in Ontario, 350; (d) in Quebec, 187; (e) in the maritime provinces, 40; a total of 652.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS-LINES ABANDONED
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BRITISH CHILDREN

July 18, 1940