For a copy of any letters, notices or circulars from the superintendent of Indian agencies at Regina to the Indians on the reserves located in Saskatchewan, asking them to forgo temporarily, in whole or in part, the distribution of interest earnings and other moneys held in trust for them.
Topic: SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN RESERVES-INTEREST ON TRUST FUNDS
For a copy of any letters, notices or circulars from the superintendent of Indian agencies at Regina to the Indians on the reserves located in Saskatchewan, regarding the eligibility of the above-named Indians to call for military service.
Topic: SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN RESERVES-MILITARY SERVICE
For a copy of the report made by the advisory committee under the chairmanship of Mr. J. Coon, set up by order in council P.C. 2-584, and of all correspondence, recommendations and other documents in the possession of the government in relation thereto.
Mr. Speaker, the report in question is really an intradepartmental communication. It was asked for the other day by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwel'l), and I stated then, as I now state, that I regard it as confidential and not properly producible. If the hon. member wishes to redraft the motion so as to request the production of letters to and from the department respecting the matters dealt with in the report, I will have no objection. But the report itself I regard as confidential.
point as to the confidential nature of the report, my understanding is that this report is the result of a public order in council which either was or could be tabled, and that there is nothing in the order in council to indicate that the report when made would be confidential. I regard this as a public document, and the house is entitled to have i:t. I am sure it would be a matter of keen interest to the public, especially to people in Ottawa. The Minister, knowing what is in it, declares it to be confidential; but that was not the basis of the order in council.
I do not know how many times I am entitled to speak on the motion. I have made my position clear. There are many orders in council setting up departmental committees and interdepartmental committees which prepare reports containing advice for ministers. Certainly these have never been regarded as producible in the House Of Commons. The government must take the responsibility for what they do after they get such advice as they are able to secure, but in my judgment the advice they get is not a public document.
of a departmental committee. I would point out to the house that the chairman of this committee was not connected with any department, nor was he a government employee; he was a person entirely outside the public service. Therefore I do not understand in what respect the committee can be regarded as a departmental committee.
officer of the department when he was sitting with the other members of that committee as are many hundreds of persons who are brought in temporarily to assist the government from time to time and who are now and have been during the war years connected with the government service.
a question about this matter the other day, and I am glad it has been brought up again particularly in this form. The Coon report deals with conditions within the civil service of Canada. If a report has been made to any department-particularly, as has been pointed out by the hon. member for Ottawa West, when it has been made by a man not a member of one of our departments, a man who comes from outside the service and outside the city of Ottawa-this house should know what conditions have been revealed and what suggestions have been made with regard to the remedying of any conditions that may be bad. To my mind this is not a report which concerns the treasury board only or the government only; it is a report which concerns the House of Commons. The house should insist that the report be tabled in order that we may be apprised of conditions within the civil service, which, is the civil service, not of the government, not of the ministers, not of the treasury board, but of the parliament of Canada of which this chamber is a part. I hope that the house will insist on the tabling of this document.
same observations would apply to the report of every advisory committee, without exception. Every year the advisory committee to the wheat board presents a report, but we do not produce it, and there are scores of other advisory committees.
am stating my position. If the government sets up advisory committees to advise ministers or to advise the government, where the government is of the opinion that such advice is confidential, then the reports must be regarded as confidential. I do not regard this as being in any other category.
I for one am unconvinced by the minister's argument against the tabling of this report. The press of Canada and the public generally have looked upon this committee as a committee which would make a report of much consequence, of much value and of much importance to the government. Its deliberations were not confidential so far as the press were concerned, because time after time they were referred to. The position ought to be made clear so far as the House of Commons is concerned. The minister has mentioned the advisory committee of
the wheat board. This is also a matter of policy, and I think that question should be deliberated upon by this house.