May 11, 1944

NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I rise to a point of order. I think the rules of this house provide very clearly, and it has been many times decided, that when a minister of the crown reads a part of a letter or the whole letter

Topic:   POST-WAR CIVIL AVIATION REFERENCE TO STATEMENT BY LORD BEAVERBROOK IN RESPECT TO CANADLAN DRAFT CONVENTION
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An hon. MEMBER:

He did not.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

-or an official document, he must table that letter or document. That is not only the custom and the practice; it is in accordance with the rules of this house. If the minister had said that he was reading only the document that was produced to the House of Lords, it would be an entirely different matter. I listened carefully to what the minister said. As I understood him, he said that he had either received the letter on or the date of the letter was April 26, and he then attempted to quote from the letter. There was nothing in what he said to indicate that he was quoting only part. From where I sit I could see that all the letter was not being quoted by the minister. I rise now to indicate that the rules of the house, which I think must be clear enough, provide for the tabling of the letter itself.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I am going to surprise my hon. friend. I will read this personal letter in full.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Table it.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

It is dated Gwydyr House, Whitehall, S.W.l, April 26, 1944, and reads: My dear Clarence,

Many thanks for your cable of 10th April and your letter of 11th April. By this time you will have had the detailed summary of our discussions with Berle which was sent by cable.

So far the Russians do not seem to have arrived in Washington. I shall look forward to an account of your meeting with them. Three points emerge from our discussions with the Americans:

(i) The Americans have accepted, as a basis for negotiation, the subcommittee report on international control, which resulted from our commonwealth conversations.

(ii) The subject of air bases and their post-war use has yet to be discussed.

(iii) We are agreed on the principle of colonial cabotage. That is, a nation has rights of cabotage on all airlines to and within its colonies and dependencies.

Post-War Civil Aviation

We had hoped to carry the Americans with us on the structure of your draft convention. We went through it with them line by line, but they felt that they had so many reservations to make that it could not be taken as a basis. Instead we adopted the commonwealth report which, as you know, contains the same general provisions in a flexible form.

Berle has agreed with me a more detailed statement which I will give in the House of Lords in answer to a question on the conference. The agreed statement runs as follows:

You will not ask me to re-read the quotation which was the official statement?

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

All I asked the minister to do was to table the letter.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I had better read it now.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

All right.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

It can go on the record and you can table it.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The letter continues:

Your version of the Douglas DC-4 with Merlin engines should make a fine transport. I imagine it will show its heels to its American-built cousins across the border. A Canadian-built product of this sort should create an excellent impression. Adequate numbers of commercial aircraft will be the crux of the immediate post-war period in civil aviation.

I am delighted to see that you are going ahead with plans for construction. I hope that we shall be able to make further progress with building civil aircraft here before long.

I look forward to seeing the Prime Minister in London shortly, although I do not know to what extent civil aviation will be discussed at the prime ministers' conference. I will not raise it.

Yours ever,

Max.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Mr. Speaker, may we now get down to earth and have the document tabled, as it should have been at the very beginning? I have no objection to the minister's reading the letter. In fact, I welcome it, because it contains information that is very valuable to the house and the country. I am surprised at the minister refusing to follow the ordinary rules of the house and not tabling it in the first instance.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY :

'Mr. Speaker, may I speak on a point of order? I am no expert on the rules, but it seems to me that this would be stretching the rules beyond all reason. The Minister of Munitions and Supply read to the house an announcement that was made in the House of Lords.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

That is not what he said.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

He did not say that.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Oh, yes; he did.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The record will show.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a little order when I am speaking decently and civilly in this house, but very often I do not meet with it, and I could name certain hon. gentlemen, too, from whom I do not meet with it.

The case before us is exactly as if the Minister of Munitions and Supply had said: I have an announcement which was made in the House of Lords and is enclosed in a private or a personal letter. That is exactly the case. One must look at the pith and substance and sense of the rules. The rule about tabling a letter is to prevent part of a letter from being read to the house when there is something in the context that alters the meaning of the part that is read. That is the principle underlying the rule. But when an hon. member of this house reads an official announcement it does not make any difference whether he takes it out of a letter or whether it was an enclosure with a letter. It does not carry with it the obligation of reading a personal letter in this house, and the hon. leader of the opposition is attempting to stretch the rule beyond any bounds of common sense when he says that that should be done. We are on an academic point, because the letter has been read to the house and made public at the instance of the leader of the opposition. It would be an irresponsible attitude for the leader of any party to take to press for the reading of a personal letter in the house when all that the member who was speaking was doing was giving to the house the terms of an official announcement.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

On the

point of order, Mr. Speaker, I think the error that has been disclosed-

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An hon. MEMBER:

There is no point of order in that.

Topic:   POST-WAR CIVIL AVIATION REFERENCE TO STATEMENT BY LORD BEAVERBROOK IN RESPECT TO CANADLAN DRAFT CONVENTION
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May 11, 1944