Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege to bring to the attention of the house a breach of the privileges of parliament by reason of the incompleteness and incorrectness of a return brought down yesterday, sessional paper No. 258, which was passed pursuant to an order of the house dated August 7, 1946.
The order in question reads as follows:
A copy of all correspondence passing between the Department of National Defence, and/or the Department of Labour, and/or the Department of Justice, and between any one or more of said departments since January, 1944, to date, in connection with the improper use of army rejection or medical discharges at Camp Borden, wherein one Arnold (also known as William Horrigan), allegedly along with one Bagley utilized army rejection or medical discharges which had been signed in, in blank, by former Major J. A. Elliott, A. 19, R.C.A.S.C.
A perusal of the documents produced yesterday shows that in spite of the fact that parliament passed the order without any qualifications that any documents should be refused, a number of the letters have been deliberately omitted and the file is in the position of having been stripped and denuded of four known letters, as well as others. The four letters which do not appear in the file are the following:
(1) A letter from Mr. Robinette, K.C., of Toronto, dated March 22, referred to in letter of March 26.
(2) Letter from Mr. Miall to Mr. Anderson, dated the 26th of March.
(3) Copy of letter, October 12, from Mr. Robinette, K.C., sent to Mr. MacNamara, the deputy minister.
(4) Letter of the deputy minister of justice to Mr. MacNamara, dated the 19th of October, 1945.
These four letters are referred to in the correspondence produced, but have not been produced.
In addition to that there is correspondence I know of which shows that the R.C.M.P. found a definite case against Arnold, Elliott and Bagley, and that there was also evidence that the fake medical rejection certificates signed by Elliott at Camp Borden with the name of the recipient left in blank were sold to various persons, one of the recipients claiming that he had paid approximately SI,300 to Bagley.
I say, sir, that when letters in the possession of the department or departments of government are deleted from the record when a return or reply is brought down to this house, it is an affront to parliament and to the privileges of parliament. Parliament is entitled to full information, not to information as selected by government officials, or as to what information government officials consider sufficient for the needs or good of parliament.
This case has odoriferous characteristics. The deletion of a major portion of the record will not down the suspicion that there were reasons why the Royal Canadian Mounted Police report recommending prosecution was departed from on the recommendations of the Deputy Minister of Labour.
What I want to know is this: Where are the rest of the documents, and when will they be produced?
Hon. IAN A. MACKENZIE (Minister of Veterans Affairs): May I say that the
Minister of National Defence, who has been engaged for two or three hours with treasury board, will be here later to-day, and will reply, effectively, as usual, to the allegations of my hon. friend.
Subtopic: MR. DIEFENBAKER-REFERENCE TO RETURN RESPECTING CAMP BORDEN ARMY REJECTION OR MEDICAL DISCHARGES