Certain of the persons detained were given accommodation, individually in large rooms measuring approximately 60 feet by 22 feet, *while others were placed an small! .rooms, approximately 10 feet by 9 feet am measurement, due to no other large rooms .being .available. The small rooms .are those allotted to sergeants of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and are comfortable. As there is no proper cell accommodation at Rockcliffe .barracks, it was necessary that police guards remain in the room with the prisoner throughout the hours of daylight and darkness; consequently, it was necessary that a section of the room 'be lighted >at night, as the guard was not permitted to sleep. These were the normal lights installed for the rooms in question, but after the first few nights were replaced by a shaded reading lamp. Any charge that brilliant lights were installed in any of the rooms is not only untrue, but ridiculous.
AH those detained were treated exactly alike in all respects, and were given exercise daily in the company of an escort.
The complaints mentioned by Mr. Coldwell, M.P., and Mr. Solon Low, M.P., .are denied by two or more of those who were detained, as indicated by the attached^ press reports. No undue pressure or what is known as "third degree" methods were employed by the police, and there was no occasion, or reason for .any unauthorized treatment.
The meals served were those prepared for members of the force, under the supervision of <a dietitian. #
Yours faithfully, *
(.Signed) S. T. Wood,
The first clipping annexed- to the report, and referred to in the report, is from the Montreal Standard of March 16, 1946:
"Third-Degree" Grilling Denied by Spy Suspect Special -to The Standard
Ottawa, March 16-One of eight espionage suspects who had been held incommunicado for nearly a month at the R.C.M.P. barracks at nearby Rockdliffe told the Standard to-day that no third degree methods were used in questioning him.
This suspect, now at liberty on bail, refused to -allow himself -to be quoted by name on the advice of his lawyer. Otherwise he talked freely.
"If any coercion was used, it was of a most subtle nature," he said. "There was no physical discomfort-just adroit questioning by the mounties."
He spoke of his own experience only, but believed .that his treatment was not substantially different from that -accorded twelve other persons held in the police -barracks. Eight of these, including the Standard's informant, were -arraigned in court this week and freed on bail.
(Last week an unnamed -lawyer representing one of the detainees said the Mounties were using coercion- -and third degree methods to extort confessions, and -that his client was confined to a "stuffy little room- in which a bright -light was left burning continuously." R.C.M.P. Assistant Commissioner H. A. Royal Gagnon immediately -denied the third degree and coercion -allegations.)
"I was treated quite decently," the Standard's informant sa-id. "Even the guards were respectful-they called -me 'Sir.' We were confin-ed one to a barrack room, and I had practically everything I wanlted-^my sun -lamp, my pas-teils, all my own clothes, good food -and use of the barracks recreational library.
"Wh-at I disliked most was that I wasn't allowed newspapers, was -refused permission to see any visitors, even -my wife, ajnd that I was held d.ay after day with no charge being placed against me.
"My room was a large one, usually used as a dormitory for a number of policemen -attending courses at Rockcliffe. I had it all to myself, but I was never alone in i-t. There was always a guard with -me, -and at nig-h-t only the lights in the half of the -room in whi-ch I w-as sleeping were extinguished."
The constant guard -and lights were -believed to -be precautions -against any of the detainees attempting suicide. The Standard's informant said he was allowed possession of -a safety razor only while shaving in the morning, -and then only with -a guard near. He was allowed to keep his belt -and shoe laces.
"I was taken ou-tside the building for a walk each day, but my only companion was a policeman. Occasionally, I could see other civilians .through my window -taking similar walks under guard. I recognized two of -them, but was unable -to speak to them."
"The adroit questioning" by police was conducted by Inspector Harvison of Montreal, he *said. All questioning by the Royal Commission w-as oon-iucted in the Justice building, to which the Standard informant was taken by police.
He protested strongly against what he described as -the -injustice of holding -a person for weeks without allowing -him to see a lawyer. He said that when he was -arrested he -asked his wife to engage legal counsel but that -the lawyer was -not allowed to see -him.
It was only after the commission had finished questioning him that he was given the opportunity of call-ling in his lawyer, he asserted.
The other clipping is from the Ottawa Evening Citizen of March 6, 1946, but it does not purport to be a report from anyone who had been detained. It is merely a statement made by someone who had been retained as counsel for a person who had been detained. I do not think I should read it to the house as being pertinent to this question.
If I may be permitted to do so, I will table the report with the clippings annexed thereto.
Mr. SOLON E. LOW (Peace River): Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege, and in connection with the statement just made by the Minister of Justice, may I point out that the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police made an error in bringing my name in as having been associated with the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell). At no time have I made, comment upon the detention of these suspects at Rockcliffe, nor have I said anything in connection with it.
Mr. ST. LAURENT: In fairness to the hon. member, may I say I do bel eve the commissioner made a mistake. So far as my recol-
lection goes, the only references made were those of the hon. members for Rosetown-Biggar and Calgary West. In both instances they were merely asking for information, which I tried to secure as quickly as I could get it.