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