November 25, 1952

DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE

PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES

PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Nanaimo):

On a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) a question regarding the fire at Tofino and censorship-monitoring over government telephone lines-of information coming out of that village. In reply he said there was no censorship of any kind.

I have received information today by wire from Vancouver island which states: "Censorship by R.C.A.F. on west coast became worse today instead of better." Contrary to denials and apologies "a tight veil of secrecy is still maintained". Airmen are confined to barracks, I am informed, and civilians are forbidden to approach the area of the fire. Civilians of Tofino have been instructed by the R.C.A.F. to give out no information and to maintain a strict silence.

The government telephone operator is reported as claiming that she had been instructed that she was to allow no information about the fire to pass through her office at Tofino. However, the divisional superintendent at Vancouver did apologize, I am informed, for the monitoring and said that "he was sorry it had happened". In view of the above it would seem that the minister was not fully informed of all circumstances when he made his answer yesterday that there was no censorship of any kind. I would request that the matter be further investigated so that this house may be fully informed.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Acting Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I doubt if a question of personal privilege was involved in the statement made by the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes), but in any event if he will table his message I will ask the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) to inquire into the matter-of course with the signature of the sender.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

That was an unnecessary

comment.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Before the orders of the day are called, may I have permission to table the telegram I have received from Mr. Seth Halton of Victoria, and requested by the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Howe). I ask the leave of the house for it to be reprinted in Hansard.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Do I understand the telegram was read by the hon. member for Nanaimo?

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I cannot allow the telegram to be tabled. I do not think it is a public document. It is not customary to table telegrams.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that the Acting Prime Minister has asked that it be tabled. In conformity with that request it is now submitted, and it is therefore appropriate that the telegram be placed on record in the way suggested.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes) was reading from a document. I think it is customary when reading from a document in the house that the document be tabled. I hope that will be permitted, but 1 know of no reason whatever why the telegram should be reprinted in Hansard.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

Is

that contention of the minister's correct? My understanding is that only when a document has been read by a minister must it be tabled. For example, I do not necessarily have to table a document if 1 read it.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Might I make a suggestion? That problem could be solved by the Acting Prime Minister reading the telegram.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Probably the member for Nanaimo, if he would like the Acting Prime Minister to read the telegram, could send the telegram to him. Would that be satisfactory?

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

I only read some short

extracts from the telegram which I thought

Tofino air base

were pertinent to the case. There is a lot of information in it which the Acting Prime Minister is welcome to read, and which would probably cause some amusement in the house.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Nanaimo is sending the telegram to the Acting Prime Minister. There is no provision for having the telegram appear in Hansard at this stage.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence):

Yesterday the hon. member for Nanaimo asked me a question, and I could not be in the house when some reference was made to it today. I now have an interim report, but in view of the fact the hon. member seems to have other information I would be glad to get it from the Acting Prime Minister and will make an appropriate reply.

I should, however, supplement what I said yesterday by saying that at present Tofino is little more than a construction camp. Work there has been carried out by a nucleus of R.C.A.F. personnel from No. 2 construction and maintenance unit, Calgary. The rest of the personnel is civilian casual labour raised on the west coast. The R.C.A.F. detachment at Tofino is headed by a junior officer, a flying officer, who is directly responsible to the CMU organization in Calgary.

'It is common practice for information in connection with any of the CMU projects to be given out by the parent unit in Calgary. Accordingly, when the fire occurred at Tofino, personnel there were told that information concerning the fire would be released by the responsible persons at the CMU in Calgary. I understand that the Calgary Herald and a press agency were given all available information.

There is one telephone into the construction camp at Tofino, and as far as the responsible R.C.A.F. personnel are concerned there has been no effort to monitor this telephone, nor has there been any monitoring of the telephone set up at the Calgary unit. Owing to the conditions in the Tofino area the telephone service has been very poor. This is the hon. member's constituency-

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink
IND
LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxton:

No doubt he knows more about the telephone service in this area than I do.

Topic:   DAMAGE TO TOFINO AIR BASE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES
Permalink

November 25, 1952