In view of the widespread public interest regarding the statement which was made by the hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Lacombe) as contained in
Hansard of Friday, June 25 last, at page 4042:
Nous avons dans le Gouvernement trois nouveaux millionnaires depuis la declaration de la guerre. Nous les denoncerons en temps et lieu. Les fortunes s'edifient.
Or, in English:
We have in the government three new millionaires since the declaration of war. We will denounce them at the proper time and place. Fortunes are being built up.
Privileges oj The House
And also the statement made by the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) as set forth in Hansard of June 28, at page 4072:
A moment ago my colleague the Minister of Justice drew my attention to a statement made by the hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains which is of a very serious character. I had not up to that time observed the remarks to which my colleague referred as well as others and I was not in the house at the time they were made, but X find them in Hansard in the official report of the English translation of speeches delivered in French on the date indicated.
I wish to say that the hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains has made a grave accusation against three members of the government, so grave that the implied and, it seems to me, the only meaning which can be drawn from the statement is that these three unnamed members are using their position to accumulate fortunes. Although unnamed, as the statement now stands, all and every member of the government stand accused.
No more serious accusation could be made reflecting as it does on the integrity of members of the government, especially those charged with the executive positions of government. The hon. member must have realized the import of his remarks and duly considered the disastrous effect such a charge, if unchallenged, would have on public opinion, not only in Canada but throughout the world, especially at this serious period of our national life.
The Prime Minister has challenged the statement and has asked that the hon. member should be obliged either to withdraw the statement completely or else to convert it into a specific charge to be investigated in the usual manner.
If the hon. member so challenged refuses either to withdraw the charge or make a specific charge to prove the truth of his statement, he must accept that responsibility and govern himself in accordance with the practice usually followed in such cases.
I would be loath myself to apply rigorous measures against the hon. member. I am inclined to the view that this is a matter upon which the house should decide. At this moment we are dealing with what is a question of privilege and no formal proceeding is before the Chair. I must point out, however, that I view this incident with grave misgivings not only because ministers are affected, but also because the privileges of each and every hon. member are affected.
Standing order 41 provides:
No member . . . shall use offensive words against either house or against any member thereof.
If the house so decides, a motion can be made that this question be referred to the committee on privileges and elections for investigation and report, after which the house will decide wThat action should be taken.
I take it that the house will now expect the hon. member to make a statement, and I will ask him to do so now.