Mr. E. D. Fulton (Kamloops):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. I wish to refer to a matter which affects the rights and privileges of all members of this house. A telegram which just reached me this morning advises me of a news dispatch as appearing in the Vancouver Sun. It reads in part as follows:
The following dispatch appeared In the Vancouver Sun appearing Ottawa date 13 begins:
Dr. E. Christie, federal veterinarian told the parliamentary foot-and-mouth disease investigators today that most people in Saskatchewan feel the investigators are wasting a lot of time. The only dissatisfaction appears to have come from politicians in Ottawa, Dr. Christie states. Ends.
In view of the grave anxiety felt throughout all of Canada at this terrible scourge it is disgraceful that any official should make such a statement and the seriousness of the matter should be squarely put before the minister of that department and a public withdrawal instantly made.
Mr. Speaker, I am not a member of the agriculture committee but I have checked and I find that such a statement was made there. There are two respects in which the privileges of this house have been affronted in connection with this statement. The first is that it is suggested that a group of members of this house investigating one of the most serious situations ever to confront the agricultural industry of Canada and seeking to arrive at the facts surrounding the outbreak of that disease should have been accused of wasting time.
The second way in which the privileges of this house and of the members of parliament are involved is that this statement, outrageous wherever it might come from, comes from a civil servant, an official of the department under investigation in that committee.
In view of the seriousness with which this matter is viewed by the agricultural industry throughout Canada and the necessity of the fullest possible investigation by this house, I feel that that statement should be withdrawn, that the minister himself should require from the official who made it a withdrawal, and should further make it perfectly clear that the statement made does not reflect the official attitude of the government or of
the minister. Unless the minister takes that course, the only conclusion we can come to1 is that the minister himself and, through him, the government condone this affront to the position of parliament and to the urgency of the inquiry.
Subtopic: PRIVILEGE-FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT