May 12, 1944

PRIVILEGE

MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER

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Leslie Gordon Bell

Mr. M. J. COLD WELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, before the business of the house proceeds I wish to raise a question which affects not only my own privileges but the privileges of the members of this house. Appearing in the Ottawa Journal of last evening was a statement of alleged non-payment of account by me to the king's printer. It was not only published in the local press but went all across the country over the C.B.C. last night. I think other members are in the same position as myself. I was alleged to be in arrears to the amount of $6.25 as of March 31, 1943. May I say that that account was incurred, $3.25 on March 6, 1943 and $3 on March 19, 1943; therefore I was in arrears to the amount of $6.25 as of March 31, 1943. That was unpaid on May 15, but, together with some other small accounts, was paid by cheque in full on July 12, during the session of last year. The impression that has been given to the country is that a large number of members of this house are in debt to the king's printer. I know that some others are in the same position as myself. We owe nothing to the king's printer. We keep our accounts paid regularly as the bills are rendered, and I think, Mr. Speaker, in fairness to the members of the house, the Ottawa Journal, which published the story, and the broadcasting corporation, should make a correction of the wrong impression which was left on the public mind.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to be permitted to clear before the house and the country the name of a very prominent Canadian, who is not in the house at the moment, from any unjustifiable impression that may have been created in the public mind as a result of the reports to which the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar has referred. I have this telegram from the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen, former Prime Minister of Canada:

Am informed government officials have published statement representing me as owing printing bureau some $171 since 1925. Have never known or heard of this alleged debt until to-day. My secretaries then and since say they similarly had no knowledge of any such claim. All printing ordered by me or on my authority or with my knowledge was paid for. Numerous accounts have been rendered me since by bureau and paid with no claim made for past balance. Under these circumstances consider it an outrage that my name should be blazoned through Canada as a defaulting debtor. Please read this telegram to the House of Commons.

Arthur Meighen

Mr. JEAN-FRANQOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): Mr. Speaker, politics makes strange bedfellows. I have not read the Journal of last night; I very seldom read the papers, but when I came up to the house I met charitable friends who were ready to organize a subscription for an amount of $85 that I have allegedly owed to the king's printer since 1925, 1926 or 1927- a long time ago. Well, I am ready to pay all the debts that I owe, but the taxes are so high that we must proceed gradually. Besides that, Mr. Speaker, it takes a \ irgin soul to be scandalized at such trifling matters. Of course when a man owes some money he has to pay it, as much as he can, but when there is nothing, the king loses all rights. I will tell you one thing, sir, so long as speeches made in the house are broadcast throughout the country through the printing bureau, what is the harm in that?-because the press does not mention them. If the press fulfilled its duty of report* ing speeches of members of parliament there would be no accounts standing at the king's printing bureau. It scandalizes me the more because speeches made by cabinet ministers, even by the former leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), and, I think, by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) especially those made on the plebiscite, have been published at the country's expense. I do not see why speeches made by cabinet ministers should be paid for by the country while hon. members are bled white to pay for a small number of copies of their speeches to inform their constituents of the work they have been doing here.

Radio Broadcasting Committee

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I have just a word to say, Mr. Speaker, if you will permit me to conclude. It is that we should not view this matter from the point of view of the Pharisee; we must consider it from the point of view of the Publican, the man who sits behind in church and is doing the best he can to worship. What I regret about the publication is that it is aimed to discredit members of parliament, to show they are not fulfilling their duty to the state, and I join the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar in protesting very strongly. If there is something which can be aimed against members of parliament, these people are all ready to take advantage of it.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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LIB-PRO

William Gilbert Weir

Liberal Progressive

Mr. W. G. WEIR (Macdonald):

I have not been asked to do this, but in the same connection may I say on behalf of the hon. member for Middlesex West (Mr. McCubbin), who is in the same predicament regarding this publication, that he has advised us and showed us that he had already a receipt for the amount of money alleged to be owing by him to the king's printer.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Better revise this list.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. E. G. HANSELL (Macleod):

Perhaps I should state in the interests of fairness that there is one small difference between the report as published in the press and over the radio. The report which appeared in the press gave the names of some who owed accounts; in the report which came over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation at ten o'clock last night the fact was stated but no names were mentioned.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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An hon. MEMBER:

"Party leaders".

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

It said "party leaders", but it did not give their names. The reason I owe a little account to the king's printer is that I am a poor man. I have been trying to keep the wolf from the door, and now I have to try to keep the collector from the door.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. COLD WELL-PRESS REPORT AS TO MEMBERS' ACCOUNTS WITH KING'S PRINTER
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MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE

SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. E. G. HANSELL (Macleod):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege with regard to a news dispatch which appeared in to-day's papers. The matter is related to a discussion which took place the other day in the parliamentary committee on radio broadcasting, and I claim that the dispatch constitutes a charge against my sincerity and integrity as a member of this house. I will not take time to read the whole article. It is entitled, "Protests Remarks by Mr. Hansell."

Topic:   MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I gather from what the hon. member has said that he is taking exception to something which was said about him while in a parliamentary committee. If that is so, I rather think his protest should be made in the parliamentary committee, because it is not before the house.

Topic:   MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of privilege affecting not only myself but every member of parliament. It seems to me I am not divulging anything or criticizing anything which went on in the parliamentary committee. I am only rising to a point of privilege because of attacks upon my-

Topic:   MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The hon. member should first bring the matter before the parliamentary committee. If it appears that some reference should be made to it in the house, they can so direct, but in the meantime the hon. member's first step should be to bring it before the parliamentary committee.

Topic:   MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order, upon which I would ask your ruling. A moment or two ago I rose on a matter of privilege, I should like to refer Your Honour to standing order 16. at page 45 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, from which I quote one sentence:

Whenever any matter of privilege arises it shall be taken into consideration immediately.

In note 156 at page 48 I read:

The house will proceed with the utmost severity against persons who tamper with witnesses, in respect of evidence to be given to the house, or any committee thereof; who endeavour to deter or hinder persons from appearing or giving evidence, and who give false evidence before the house or any committee thereof.

I call your attention, sir, to that notation because the matter of privilege which I wished to discuss was a reflection by the press this morning upon myself with regard to my attempt to bring before the parliamentary committee a matter which I considered important. I cannot rise to a question of privilege immediately, Mr. Speaker, if I have to wait until Wednesday next. I do not wish to discuss the matter of the broadcasting committee. I simply wish to rise to a question of privilege with regard to something directed to me personally.

Topic:   MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member has quoted a standing order to the effect that a question of privilege must be taken into consideration immediately. The question to which he is speaking is something which was stated in connection with the proceedings of

a committee. The first opportunity which the hon. gentleman has to bring the matter before the committee should be taken advantage of, and if the committee, decide that something should be done, and report accordingly to the house, then the house can deal with it. But my ruling already given must stand.

Topic:   MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE
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SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. HANSELL:

I rise to a point of order, and ask for your interpretation, Mr. Speaker

Topic:   MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Do I understand the hon.

*member is referring to the ruling I made?

Topic:   MB. HANSELL-PROCEEDINGS OF RADIO RROADCASTING COMMITTEE
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May 12, 1944