On the order for motions:
Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Acting Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I have now had an opportunity of investigating that grave matter of a breach of the privileges of the house about which the hon. member for Lake Centre and several newspapers have been so seriously concerned.
On Friday last the hon. member, after reading the terms of order.for return No. 258, said:
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.
When the hon. member made that statement I felt, as I am sure all hon. members who heard it must have felt, that it must be serious or no hon. member would be making it. On examining the file this is what it reveals: two of the letters which were alleged to have been deliberately omitted, of which the file had been "stripped and denuded", which, according to the statement, do not appear on the file, are there and were there all the time. One of them is the letter from Mr. Miall to Mr. Anderson dated the 26th of March; it is document 4 of the file,; another is the letter of the Deputy Minister of Justice to Mr. MacNamara dated the 19th of October, 1945; it is No. 6 on the file. The other two documents, being letters from Mr. Robinette to the Department of Justice dated, one, March 22 and the other October 12, are, as I explained yesterday, not letters from one department to another-which were the only things called for in the order-but letters written to the
Department of Justice by a lawyer acting as such for the department and which, according to the invariable rule, are not produced in parliament. Now, if there has been any "affront to parliament and to the privileges of parliament", it would seem to be only in the fact that the hon. member has once again allowed his zeal about cases which he calls cases having "odoriferous characteristics" to outrun his discretion and has made, quite inadvertently I am sure but nevertheless without sufficient care, positive statements to this house about a document which on its face shows that the statements are just not true.