Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
Well, he has moved a motion without saying anything; he has the right to wind up afterwards; and as he did not rise, I thought it was incumbent upon me to extend this invitation.
This committee which has been set up annually in this parliament has served, I think, a very useful function. I am told, by those who have had the privilege of acting upon it, that it has been freer from partisan considerations than any other committee which has been operating in this parliament. This is all to the good, because it is dealing with a problem which has, I should hope, nothing to do with party.
We have had from time to time one or two debates on the reports of this committee, and they have been instructive and illuminating. I am not unaware of the fact that public opinion has changed from time to time with respect to the deliberations of this committee and the recommendations which it has made to parliament and which have been crystallized by changes in the regulations. In the early stages of the war everybody was to be interned. Later a more liberal view prevailed. The late minister of justice had his own ideas and opinions, and I am wondering what the position of the new minister is with regard to this very important problem *-one which no doubt is constantly before him.
I should like to know in particular what his attitude is towards that body of public opinion, if I may so term it, the communist party of Canada. I understand that certain communications have passed between an official of that party, which is now barred and is probably operating under another name, and the minister himself; in fact I have seen a copy of an open statement which was made to the minister. I should like to know what the present attitude of the department is with relation to the communist party, which at the present time is declared to be an illegal body in Canada, but which to-day, if one can believe the protestations that appear
Defence of Canada Regulations
in the public press and the communications which reach us in manner I know not just how, is for an all-out war effort. Has that had any effect upon the minds of the minister and his advisers, or does something lie behind it? I am not making any allegations or statements; I am looking for information. I think we have the right to know, since this motion has been put to the house, what is the policy of the government in relation to the important question of the defence of Canada regulations. Are they to be ameliorated or are they to be stiffened? What lead will the minister give to the committee, or is the committee to be left with a free hand, as has been the case in days gone by when recommendations have been made by the committee? It would be interesting to know, so far as it is possible to express it here, the policy of the government in regard to this matter.
Subtopic: APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER AND REVIEW REGULATIONS AND AMENDMENTS THERETO