April 1, 1946

OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT

REVOCATION OF P.C. 6444-REFERENCE TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE CASE OF MRS. EMMA WOIKIN

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

I desire to table a copy of order in council P.C. 1262 of April 1, 1946, which is to-day, approved by the Administrator, revoking order in council P.C. 6444 of October 6, 1945, for the interrogation and, for that purpose, detention of certain persons; also a copy of a letter to the Minister of Justice from counsel to the commissioners, advising the Minister of Justice that it will not be necessary to request further orders under P.C. 6444. As this order is a matter of special interest to the house I might read it so that it will appear in Hansard:

At the Government House at Ottawa, Canada,

the 1st day of April, 1946.

Present, His Excellency the Administrator in

Council.

Whereas the Prime Minister reports that the interrogation of the several persons detained pursuant to orders under the order in council made on October 6, 1945, P.C. 6444, under the authority conferred by parliament by the War Measures Act, as being persons suspected of communicating information to agents of a foreign power, has now been completed and that counsel for the commissioners inquiring into the matter pursuant to the Inquires Act have now advised the Minister of Justice that it will not be necessary to request further orders for detention and interrogation under the said order in council;

Therefore His Excellency the Administrator in Council on the recommendation of the Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister, is pleased to revoke the said order in council P.C. 6444, and it is hereby revoked accordingly.

(Signed) A. D. P. Heeney,

Clerk of the Privy Council.

The letter to the Minister of Justice is dated Justice Building, Ottawa, March 29, 1946, and is as follows:

Dear Sir,

Following our discussions of to-day with regard to the probability of requests for further orders under the provisions of P.C. 6444, as indicated in our letter to you of February 23, 1946, we confirm that, particularly in view or the various prosecutions now pending, and that in such proceedings much evidence, documentary as well as oral, is necessarily being made public, we have advised you that it will not be necessary to request further orders under P.C. 6444.

Yours very truly,

(Signed) E. K. Williams,

G. Fauteux,

D. W. Mundell,

The letter is addressed to the Minister of Justice at Ottawa.

I should like to make one statement to the house on this matter which I am sure hon. members will be pleased to have. It is in reference to an impression respecting the civil service of Canada to which the espionage inquiry may have given rise, but which is quite erroneous and which I feel, in justice to the honour, integrity and good name of the public service of Canada, should be speedily eliminated.

Of the persons whose detention under P.C. 6444 the commission felt it necessary to recommend, and on whom the royal commission has to date reported adversely, not one has been a regular permanent member of the Canadian civil service. All twelve were persons either appointed during the war to temporary positions in the civil service, or temporarily commissioned in the armed forces. I need not remind the house that during the years of war the Canadian people provided hundreds of thousands of men and women for our armed forces, also provided manpower for greatly expanded production in industry and in agriculture, and at the same time personnel for the expanded war-time needs' of government administration and public service. During these years the filling of war-time needs was stretched to the limit. In these circumstances, temporary appointments may occasionally have been made to

Official Secrets Act

some branches of the public servcie on a basis of qualifications less rigid than is customary in selecting personnel for permanent positions in peace time. This would not be surprising. So far, however, as I have been able to ascertain, there is no evidence to date of any carlessness in this matter, among those who were charged with making appointments. In administration and in research, as in production and on the battlefields, Canada's wartime record stands second to none.

I should like to add a word about one of the persons named in a report by the royal commission of inquiry, in reply to a particular question raised in this house.

On Thursday, March 21, the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), enquired as to how Mrs. Emma Woikin, who is at present under arrest in connection with the current investigation, came to be in the cypher section of the Department of External Affairs.

Mrs. Woikin was employed by the civil service commission, after examination, in precisely the same way as are other stenographic and clerical personnel who join the government service. I want this to be clearly understood, since the hon. member referred to the fact that Mrs. Woikin is from the constituency of Prince Albert, and it is possible that some persons who do not understand the procedure in these matters might be led by the question to believe that patronage or favour of some sort was involved.

In 1943 the commission was encountering some difficulty in supplying the need for stenographers and typists to meet the war needs of various departments, and travelling examiners were sent throughout the country to recruit suitable persons wherever they could be found available. At one of the examinations held by the civil service examiner in the prairie provinces, Mrs. Emma Woikin of Blaine Lake was a candidate, and was found suitable for work as a typist grade 1.

The usual references were required of Mrs. Woikin and the normal investigation of her background was conducted. The information was that she was born in Canada, came of a good family and the report on her was favourable. As a result, Mrs. Woikin was appointed a typist grade 1 in the passport office of the Department of External Affairs on September 10, 1943.

At the time of Mrs. Woikin's appointment the pressure upon the passport office was severe. However, later in the year it grew less, and five stenographers and typists were released for use elsewhere in the department

Mrs. Woikin's work and record were good, and she was assigned to the cypher section as a typist.

So far as present information discloses, the associations and influences that led Mrs. Woikin to become involved in the network occurred after, and not before, her employment. The possibility of this has to be recognized as one of the limitations upon the protection afforded by any investigation that may be conducted as a prerequisite to employment.

Topic:   OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT
Subtopic:   REVOCATION OF P.C. 6444-REFERENCE TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE CASE OF MRS. EMMA WOIKIN
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

If the Prime Minister will allow a question arising out of the order in council that he has placed before the house revoking P.C. 6444, may I say first that I think the people of Canada will appreciate the revocation of that order and the restoration to this country of the due processes of law. Does this new order in council mean that the commission will not continue to sit, or will it continue with open sittings, and will the ordinary processes of law now be followed? Is the Prime Minister in position to say whether or not, upon the evidence that has been taken before the commission to date, further prosecutions will be instituted, and whether any that are instituted will follow the ordinary course of law in the courts of the country?

Topic:   OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT
Subtopic:   REVOCATION OF P.C. 6444-REFERENCE TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE CASE OF MRS. EMMA WOIKIN
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I hope I may be able to recall all the questions my hon. friend has asked. First, the commission will continue tq sit. The commissioners have not concluded their work, and I understand they will be issuing another report, possibly in a week or a fortnight. Other persons will be heard before the commission, but I am unable to say whether the commission will sit in camera or in public. The inquiries act under which the commission is carrying on the inquiry allows the commission discretion in the matter of sitting in camera or in public; it is for the commissioners themselves to decide on that point. As to what further prosecutions may take place, I am unable to say. That will depend upon what further investigations there may be, and also, I assume,' upon the opinion of the legal authorities as to what further information, if any, should be laid.

Topic:   OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT
Subtopic:   REVOCATION OF P.C. 6444-REFERENCE TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE CASE OF MRS. EMMA WOIKIN
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PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

Are any other persons now held on orders issued under that order in council, or have they all been disposed of?

Topic:   OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT
Subtopic:   REVOCATION OF P.C. 6444-REFERENCE TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE CASE OF MRS. EMMA WOIKIN
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There are no other persons held under that order. Those who were so held have all been examined.

H ousing

Topic:   OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT
Subtopic:   REVOCATION OF P.C. 6444-REFERENCE TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE CASE OF MRS. EMMA WOIKIN
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INQUIRY AS TO THIRD INTERIM REPORT OF ROYAL COMMISSION

PC

Grote Stirling

Progressive Conservative

Hon. GROTE STIRLING (Yale):

Mr. Speaker, may I ask whether it is the intention of the government to distribute copies of the third interim report of the royal commission on the espionage affair? We have received copies of the first two interim reports, but not the third.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO THIRD INTERIM REPORT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Yes. I gave instructions at the time the report was handed to me to have copies printed. I shall make inquiries as to why they have not been distributed, if they have already been printed.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO THIRD INTERIM REPORT OF ROYAL COMMISSION
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HOUSING

RESTRICTION OF USE OF BUILDING MATERIALS

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Reconstruction) :

Mr. Speaker, I desire to table copy of order in council P.C. 1184, of March 27, 1946, passed under the powers of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, the Department of Reconstruction Act, 1944, and the Department of Reconstruction and Supply Act, 1945.

The order in council provides a method of restricting the use of building materials for purposes that may be inconsistent with Canada's paramount requirement for an adequate supply of materials for housing. I have previously stated that the number of houses that are to be built during the year 1946 will in all probability be limited by available supplies of building materials. While sources of building materials have been enlarged, the demands for housing, together with the enormous expansion in other types of building, are likely to absorb materials faster than they can be produced.

Steps have already been taken to make the best possible use of available supplies. I have previously called the attention of the house to priority officer order No. P.O. 11, which requires the supplier to fill orders for government housing projects and for houses of individual veterans whose houses are 75 per cent completed. This order will later be enlarged to give priority to all housing for veterans, whether built by the government or by the individual veteran. Nevertheless, priority orders cannot be filled unless the supplies are in the hands of local dealers.

The special committee of the Canadian. Construction Association that has been studying the building supply situation has recommended that steps be taken to restrict certain types of building during the period in which acute shortages will prevail. Certain municipalities and a large number of organ-.

izations, including veterans' organizations, have recommended that all types of construction other than housing be prohibited or controlled.

During the war years, the Department of Munitions and Supply maintained a rigid control of construction for the purpose of providing material for the war. During that period our citizens accepted this control as necessary for the successful prosecution of the war and its regulations were observed. However, after the end of the war, construction control regulations were no longer observed to the same degree. It was recognized by the department that it was impossible to judge from Ottawa the essentiality of different projects and the local conditions which necessarily must govern each decision. For these reasons, construction control was abolished on December 5, 1945.

In considering ways and means of giving effect to the recommendations for reestablishing the building control, we must again face the problem of a method by which due weight can be given to local conditions in deciding what buildings are to be authorized and what buildings are to be prohibited in different localities. The housing problem is not one that normally lies within the jurisdiction of the federal government. The intervention of the federal government in this field was brought about by war conditions. In this transitional period it seems desirable, wherever possible to arrange that the authority which normally exercises jurisdiction in the field of housing shall exercise the additional powers necessary by reason of the housing emergency.

In the matter of prohibiting the construction of buildings where deferment of the project will cause no serious hardships to the public, there is the added advantage that the decision can be made most effectively by the municipality. As hon. members know, a building permit must be obtained from the municipality before any building can be erected within its borders. The most appropriate time and place effectively to curtail unnecessary building is prior to the issuance of the building permit. The authority that issues the building permit is in the best position to determine whether the permit should be issued or deferred, having regard to the possibility of shortages of housing in the area, and having regard to employment conditions in the area.

The order in council therefore provides that-

. . . every municipal body and every officer, employee or agent thereof having authority in relation to building permits shall, in the exercise thereof during the current calendar year, have power

Exit Permits

(a) to refuse to issue a permit for the erection, alteration or repair of any building or structure; and

(b) to revoke, cancel or suspend any 'permit which may have been issued for the erection, alteration or repair of any building or structure.

The order in council further provides that-

Where, in any place, a permit from a municipal body or any officer, employee or agent thereof is required by law for the erection, alteration or repair of any building or structure, no person shall erect, alter or repair any building or structure in such place unless such permit shall have been issued therefor and is in full force and effect.

Effective means have been instituted to bring about a fair distribution of building material in all parts of Canada. Steps will be taken to maintain the same equitable distribution. It will then be the duty of each municipality to determine whether its quota of material should properly be used for housing, for industrial projects or otherwise. Should the municipality decide to use its building materials to build motion picture theatres or other places of amusement, that municipality can hardly complain if a shortage develops in materials for construction of houses. I feel certain that every municipality will be impressed with the necessity to provide adequate housing for its population, even if this involves deferring projects that would otherwise be desirable. Therefore I am confident that the right to control issuance of building permits will provide an effective means of building control.

There is still a need for low-rental housing for veterans and, therefore, Wartime Housing Limited is prepared to consider applications for veterans' houses for rent, provided they are received from the municipalities not later than June 1st. I suggest that each municipality should arrive at an early decision as to whether or not wartime houses are desirable under the standard conditions that govern such construction. During 1945 the Wartime Housing building programme was not undertaken until July, and, in the case of certain municipalities, not until late in the autumn, with the result that practically all the building extended over the winter months. It is to avoid this that the deadline of June 1st has been established for applications during 1046.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   RESTRICTION OF USE OF BUILDING MATERIALS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

Would the Minister of

Reconstruction permit a question arising out of the statement he has read. He indicates that an attempt will be made to effect an equitable distribution of building materials among the municipalities. Will he indicate to the house the basis upon which that distribution will be

TMr. Howe.]

made? Will it be on the basis of population, or are steps being taken to ascertain the needs of the particular municipalities?

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   RESTRICTION OF USE OF BUILDING MATERIALS
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The pattern of distribution

for the past two or three years will be taken as the pattern for the following year; that is the shortage of building materials in the locality will govern the distribution in 1946.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   RESTRICTION OF USE OF BUILDING MATERIALS
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EXIT PERMITS

CONDITIONS AFFECTING TRAVEL TO GREAT BRITAIN AND RETURN TO CANADA

LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. GLEN (Minister of Mines and Resources):

On Friday last the hon. member for Peterborough West (Mr. Fraser) asked the following question of the Prime Minister, as reported on page 394 of Hansard:

Women proceeding to Great Britain have to have exit permits, on which they must state that they are going to reside in Great Britain either permanently, or for at least one or two years. However, in the event of something happening in Canada before the expiration of that time, those persons have to apply in Great Britain to the high commissioner for transportation back to Canada. On such occasions they are treated not as Canadians, but rather as immigrants, and must take their chances on the quota. What is the present situation?

The regulations provide that all women and children under the age of sixteen years proceeding to destinations outside the western hemisphere must have exit permits as a condition of departure from Canada. The issuance of permits is restricted to certain classes, as provided by P.C. 1841. Women and children proceeding overseas for permanent residence come within these classes. All applicants are required to state the purpose for which they desire to leave Canada.

Persons other than those of Canadian birth who have not become aliens, upon leaving Canada for permanent residence abroad, relinquish Canadian domicile, and any who may subsequently apply for readmission to Canada must be dealt with as immigrants as required by the provisions of the Immigration Act. As immigrants are not entitled to priority rating for steamship accommodation, there is no possibility of such persons securing passage to Canada for many months owing to the acute shortage of westbound transatlantic passenger space.

For some time steamship companies required all passengers to sign a statement to the effect that they-the passengers-understood return transportation would not be - available for two years; this was later reduced to one year. No doubt the purpose of this procedure was to impress upon travellers the fact that there was no possibility of an early return to Canada.

Standing Committees

The only difficulty in the way of a person who had secured an exit permit and had gone to England or the United Kingdom temporarily and wished to come back earlier would be simply the lack of transportation accommodation. There would be no loss of his status as a Canadian citizen.

Topic:   EXIT PERMITS
Subtopic:   CONDITIONS AFFECTING TRAVEL TO GREAT BRITAIN AND RETURN TO CANADA
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

That applies also to a person on whose exit permit it is indicated that he is staying over there for a year or two years? .

Topic:   EXIT PERMITS
Subtopic:   CONDITIONS AFFECTING TRAVEL TO GREAT BRITAIN AND RETURN TO CANADA
Permalink
LIB

James Allison Glen (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. GLEN:

The immigration regulations apply only to those who desire permanent residence' abroad, in which case if they desire to come back they come back as immigrants, such as the hon. member has in mind. But the person who wishes to go over for humanitarian reasons, say to see relatives in the United Kingdom who are seriously ill, and obtains an exit permit, is entitled to return to this country. The difficulty is that there is no steamship accommodation available for them and they may have to wait some time before they can get it.

Topic:   EXIT PERMITS
Subtopic:   CONDITIONS AFFECTING TRAVEL TO GREAT BRITAIN AND RETURN TO CANADA
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April 1, 1946