May 6, 1947

REDISTRIBUTION

PETITION AGAINST ENLARGEMENT OF YUKON CONSTITUENCY TO INCLUDE MACKENZIE

PC

George Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GEORGE BLACK (Yukon):

With the leave of the house I present to the honourable the House of Commons of Canada in parliament assembled the petition of a number of Canadian and British subjects residing in Yukon, petitioning parliament not to add the Mackenzie district of the Northwest

83106-178$

Privilege-Mr. Tucker

Territories to Yukon electoral district, and giving their reasons for such petition. I think the petition will be found in order according to the form.

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
Subtopic:   PETITION AGAINST ENLARGEMENT OF YUKON CONSTITUENCY TO INCLUDE MACKENZIE
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PRIVILEGE

MB. TUCKER-VETERANS AFFAIRS-ALLEGATIONS AS TO CONDUCT OF COMMITTEE


On the order of motions:


LIB

Walter Adam Tucker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. W. A. TUCKER (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs):

I should like to speak on a question of privilege affecting this parliament and a committee of parliament. It has to do with a letter which is being sent through the mails bearing. the signature of Tom L. Poulsom, Rochfort Bridge, Alberta. From time to time since the session started members of parliament have drawn to my attention copies of this letter which they have received by mail from constituents. They have suggested that as the conduct of the special select committee on veterans affairs for 1946 is called in question, as chairman of that committee I should make a statement. I had hoped that the sending out of these letters would cease and perhaps a statement would not need to be made. However these letters seem to be still going out so I decided I should give the facts to the house.

This letter makes general accusations of forgery and theft against the soldier settlement board. It suggests that the veterans affairs committee should have called him, Poulsom, as a witness, and that in not doing so, criminal civil servants, in his words, were being "shielded" and "wet-nursed" and that swindling of the veteran, dominion treasury and taxpayer was being permitted to go unchecked by members of parliament.

At the start of its work the veterans affairs committee, in accordance with the usual practice, set up a steering committee. This committee, consisting of Messrs. Green, Brooks, Wright, Quelch, Croll, Tremblay and myself, was to decide, among other things, on what witnesses should be called. When Poulsom made his first accusation, pursuant to instructions by the steering committee I asked him to send details of his charges giving specific facts, names, dates, places and details; otherwise the committee would not consider them. Mr. Poulsom's response was to repeat his general charges.

The steering committee thereupon on May 23, 1946, further considered the matter. It had formerly decided that so much work lay before it that it was doubtful if it could be completed no matter how assiduously the committee worked. The steering committee had there-

fore recommended to the committee as a whole that no individual case would be heard unless same was sponsored by some representative organization. This recommendation had been communicated to the committee as a whole and was accepted and approved by the committee. The committee, as the house knows, consisted of sixty members of parliament, all ex-servicemen. In view of this policy of the committee and the further fact that Poulsom had not been willing to bring forward a single fact to substantiate his general charges or even to make a. specific charge of wrong-doing, the steering committee on May 23, 1946, decided to recommend that Mr. Poulsom be informed of the committee's policy not to hear representations from individuals unless sponsored by representative veteran organizations or other responsible bodies. This recommendation of the steering committee was concurred in on May 23, 1946, by the committee itself on a motion duly made and carried. References to the matter may be found in the records of our proceedings of May 21 and 23.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that my actions in the matter were taken on the instructions of the committee itself.

To the extent that Mr. Poulsom's charges relate to his own dealings with, the soldier settlement board the director reports as follows: T. L. Poulsom was established under the Soldier Settlement Act by an agreement for sale dated October 16, 1919. Due to his failure to live up to his agreement he was served with notice of rescission of contract on December 8, 1942. Poulsom's appeal was heard by Judge Matheson at Edmonton on March 29, 1943. Matters in dispute were fully heard. Poulsom's solicitor was J. Boyd McBride, K.C. A final settlement was reached between Poulsom and the board.

Confirmation of the settlement is contained in an official letter dated March 29, 1943, from Poulsom's solicitor to the district superintendent at Edmonton in part as follows:

This is a final and absolute settlement of all points which heretofore have been in dispute extending over a period of many years . . . this letter has been dictated in Mr. Poulsom's presence.

The director reports that he has carried out his part of these proposals.

He also reports that Mr. Poulsom has from time to time circulated charges against the soldier settlement administration alleging perjury, forgery, theft and other crimes. The director reports that there is no evidence in departmental records indicating that any of the alleged offences have been committed by members of the departmental staff, but if Mr. MAY 6, 1947

Privilege-Mr. Stuart

Poulsom thinks any offence has been committed, he may lay a charge before a magistrate. He was invited to do so a year previously, but no such action has been taken by him.

So far as I am concerned I repudiate any suggestion that our veterans affairs committee shielded any wrongdoer. Such a suggestion is most unfair and unjust to the members of this house who were members of our veterans affairs committee. Poulsom was given a chance to make a specific charge. He refused to do so but continues to circulate his general charges. These charges are of such a general nature that it would be difficult for anyone to take action on them to disprove them, and so they are unfair to the civil servants involved. They are also unfair to a committee of ex-servicemen who did a great deal of work in two sessions considering and recommending legislation to improve the programme for the rehabilitation and reestablishment of our exservicemen and women. I need hardly say that in the course of its work our committee protected or shielded nobody.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MB. TUCKER-VETERANS AFFAIRS-ALLEGATIONS AS TO CONDUCT OF COMMITTEE
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PRIVILEGE

MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO

LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. A. W. STUART (Charlotte):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of privilege in reference to statements in the Halifax Herald of April 26 and 30, which I feel should be brought to the attention of the hon. members of this house, particularly the maritime members.

The first article appeared on the front page of the Halifax Herald of April 26, and featured, "Canso project laughed down in house session," by Evelyn S. Tufts, staff correspondent of the Halifax Herald. The second item appears on the editorial page of the Halifax Herald of April 30:

And with Mr. Gillis laughed down, one may wonder what the other maritimers were doing? Was no voice raised to champion the questioner?

Surely important public works projects which afford new facilities for maritime industry and transportation are worthy of the consideration of all maritime members, regardless of party. Surely any move towards relieving unemployment in maritime areas is their concern, as well. Let us believe that, if they did not support the member for Cape Breton South, at least they refrained from the ill-timed laughter.

I was in my seat, Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) rose to ask the Minister of Transport the question I have mentioned, which was ruled out of order by the Speaker. If a scene such as described in the Halifax Herald did take place at that time, I failed to see it. "The general uproar-the cruel, vulgar, illtimed laughter"-this statement is unwarranted and greatly exaggerated and would appear to be steeped in political prejudice.

As I have stated in this house on previous occasions, constructive criticism is very helpful and should be appreciated.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I would ask the hon. member to state his question of privilege as briefly as possible.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

Without reading it,

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

Stop making a political

speech.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. STUART (Charlotte):

This is of great importance to the maritime provinces. As I have said in the house on previous occasions, constructive criticism is very helpful and should be appreciated.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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LIB

Andrew Wesley Stuart

Liberal

Mr. STUART (Charlotte):

Criticism of this nature, however, contributes little and has a very damaging effect.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I really believe I have given the hon. member enough latitude.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. KNOWLES:

Too much.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. STUART (CHARLOTTE)-STRAIT OF CANSO
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May 6, 1947