July 27, 1942

NAT

George Henry Stokes

National Government

Mr. STOKES:

For a copy of all letters or other documents dated since July 1, 1942, exchanged between Lieut.-Colonel Alan Cockeram, D.S.O., E.D., and the Prime Minister of Canada.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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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. Speaker,

I should like to draw the attention of the house to something which is rather novel in procedure. Certain gentlemen outside of parliament who for reasons of their own wish to have attention drawn to certain matters write letters-at least some of them do-to the Prime Minister, and then seek to have those letters tabled so that publicity may be given to them, regardless of what they may contain, before there is any debate or discussion on the subject. For my part I propose to be very carefully advised as to whether certain documents should be tabled. We have had one experience of an effort to have communications tabled which contained statements for the reliability and accuracy of which I should not have wished to be responsible, or for even the publicity of which I should have wished to take responsibility. I do not intend therefore to permit a precedent of tabling letters which are sent to me, not so much, if I may say so, for the purpose, in some cases at least, of simply tabling material in the public interest, as of having publicity given to the statements which they contain regardless of how accurate or inaccurate the statements may be.

Long Adjournment

The letter referred to is one which was sent to me, but which also carried the intimation that the leader of the opposition had been furnished with a copy of it. To me it is quite clear that the purpose is to have the communication tabled at this stage in order to serve some ends of publicity which, for my part, I do not think are warranted in existing circumstances. Therefore I would not wish to agree to the tabling of the communication.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

It is the

inalienable right of every citizen to write a letter to the Prime Minister, as was done in this instance. It is a public document the minute it is deposited in the mail, because it is written to the Prime Minister in. his capacity as Prime Minister. Therefore if any hon. member desires to ask for its production in the house he has the right to do so, and I do not think the Prime Minister is on sound ground when he takes the position which he has taken this morning. It is a public document, and the public are entitled to see it.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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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:

May I say

to my hon. friend that the Prime Minister has a very great responsibility with respect to documents he tables. I have had some communications slandering my hon. friend in the most violent way.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I have no doubt about that.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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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:

And I do not

intend, unless the house so orders, to have those letters tabled here. Someone who has a grievance against some other person writes to the Prime Minister, and then seeks to have world-wide publicity for something which may be wholly libellous. I am going to take the responsibility of making sure-*

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Nothing

like that in this.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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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:

-that, before they are tabled, communications which come to me are communications which should properly be tabled. If my hon. friend thinks this particular communication-and this may not be the only one; there may be others- is one with which the country should be acquainted, then he may take the responsibility for the statements it contains, and use them in the course of debate at the right time.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

I do not know that it is a public document anyway.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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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 certainly

stand by the position I have taken already and will not assume responsibility for tabling any or every communication that comes to me from outside sources.

Topic:   CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LIEUT.-COLONEL ALAN COCKERAM AND THE PRIME MINISTER
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

MOTION TO ADJOURN TO JANUARY 27, 1943, ON COMPLETION OF CURRENT BUSINESS

LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

That when this house adjourns on completion of current business of the session it stand adjourned until January 27, 1943, provided always that if it appears to the satisfaction of Mr. Speaker, after consultation with His Majesty's government, that the public interest requires that the house should meet at an earlier time during the adjournment, Mr. Speaker may give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the house shall meet at the time stated in such notice, and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION TO ADJOURN TO JANUARY 27, 1943, ON COMPLETION OF CURRENT BUSINESS
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

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

Mr. Speaker, I am not dissenting from the motion, but I should like to make this observation. January 27 is exactly six months from to-day. We have had a very long session, and doubtless hon. members are of the mind that it is time we departed from this place, especially as I think a tremendous amount of time has been wasted in the needless debate of political matters. I am not objecting to the great length of the adjournment, but I should like to suggest to the right hon. gentleman that if in our opinion the condition of affairs is such that we think there should be an earlier resumption of parliament, he should give full consideration to such representations as we may make in that regard, and, if possible, accede to them. In the course of the next six months there may arise very important circumstances which would demand the immediate resumption of parliamentary discussion.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION TO ADJOURN TO JANUARY 27, 1943, ON COMPLETION OF CURRENT BUSINESS
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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:

The suggestion of my hon. friend is a reasonable one; indeed it is something I have had in mind all along. I can hardly imagine a situation in which the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) would consider the calling of parliament warranted where I myself would not be likely to entertain a similar view. However, the government has the responsibility of calling the members together either at a definite or some other date, and will have to act, of course, in the light of that responsibility.

With regard to the length of time that parliament has been sitting in the course of the year, it is much longer than the parliament of Westminster has taken, so that perhaps we are erring on the safe side in the motion as it appears.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION TO ADJOURN TO JANUARY 27, 1943, ON COMPLETION OF CURRENT BUSINESS
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Motion agreed to. Hong Kong Inquiry


"0 CANADA" REQUEST FOR STATEMENT IN ANSWER TO QUESTION AS TO STATUS


On the orders of the day:


IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

May I remind the Prime Minister that on July 8, replying to a question in connection with the status of the national hymn or anthem "0 Canada," he said that a statement would be made shortly. Certain bodies are asking about this, and I should like to know if we may have the statement before we adjourn.

Topic:   "0 CANADA" REQUEST FOR STATEMENT IN ANSWER TO QUESTION AS TO STATUS
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LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Perhaps I might answer my hon. friend at once. As the hon. member has said, there are certain bodies that wish to get an answer to the question as to whether or not the status of "O Canada" should be established at this time. May I say that there are times and seasons for the discussion of all matters, and I should think that at this time of war when there are other more important questions with which parliament has to deal that we might well continue to follow what has become the custom in Canada in recent years of regarding "God Save the King" and "0 Canada" each as national anthems and entitled to similar recognition. That is the position which the government takes and I think it is one which will be generally approved by the country.

Topic:   "0 CANADA" REQUEST FOR STATEMENT IN ANSWER TO QUESTION AS TO STATUS
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July 27, 1942