Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice):
I wish to thank the hon. member for having given me notice of his question. May I say
first of all that one of the alleged facts upon which the hon. member's question is based is incorrect. The announcement to which he refers was not a joint statement, but one issued solely by the attorney general of British Columbia, as is clear from its opening sentence.
My hon. friend asks whether the federal government considers this Doukhobor situation a state of civil insurrection. There has been no occasion for the federal government to form an opinion on this point. The point has never been discussed between the attorney general of British Columbia and myself, and it will be noticed that in his press statement there is no allegation that the problem in question amounts to civil insurrection. Such recognition is not necessary to the planning or working out of this joint program. It has been possible for us to co-operate in an effective way without any consideration of this point.
As the statement by the Hon. Mr. Wismer indicates, we supplied Mr. F. G. Mead, a former high officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as a member of a two-man committee "to advise the British Columbia government as to the action necessary to stop these crimes"-and when I use these words I am quoting from Hon. Mr. Wismer's statement. That is to say, Mr. Mead was to advise on the law enforcement aspect of the Doukhobor problem in British Columbia, which is a provincial responsibility.
At the same time Mr. Mead was to act as an adviser to our government on the custodial care of the Doukhobors in the federal penitentiaries, which is our federal responsibility. So acting he will be a liaison between the two governments to assist in harmonizing and co-ordinating provincial actions on law enforcement and federal actions with regard to the custodial care of Doukhobor prisoners in federal penitentiaries.
In this way we are managing, on a friendly and co-operative basis, to achieve a very considerable measure of co-ordination in our respective efforts. This I think will be further assisted by the fact that the British Columbia government has taken power to enter into a contract with this government to have the Royal Canadian Mounted Police look after the policing work of the province of British Columbia, as that force has been doing successfully in several other provinces for some years past.
Subtopic: UNLAWFUL ACTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA