January 20, 1953

CURRIE REPORT

REFERENCE TO RADIO BROADCAST BY MR. KNOWLES

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of personal privilege. Last evening the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) participated in a broadcast outside the house about a matter being discussed in the house, namely the Currie report. I, of couxse, take no exception to that action. However, in the broadcast the hon. member used these words:

But at any rate may I also point out that the Prime Minister himself, back in 1945, received certain documents which he knew were stolen.

Topic:   CURRIE REPORT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RADIO BROADCAST BY MR. KNOWLES
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

What do you mean by that?

Topic:   CURRIE REPORT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RADIO BROADCAST BY MR. KNOWLES
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

The documents that Igor Gouzenko brought to him when he was minister of justice and he felt it in the interest of the state that use should be made of those documents even though he knew quite clearly whence they had come.

I do not doubt that the hon. gentleman's recollection of what took place in 1945 may have become a bit hazy, but that statement is quite untrue. I never at any time saw Igor Gouzenko nor his documents nor did I at any time have them in my possession. The whole story is related in quite some detail by the then prime minister in Hansard of March 18, 1946, starting at page 47. I will not take the time of the house to read it but any hon. member who wishes to refresh his memory about the complete details will find them enumerated there. In the report of the royal commission which was set up to inquire into that matter, in another long narrative of the facts he will also find the following paragraph at page 644:

Gouzenko, his wife and child, remained in apartment 6 for the rest of the night, under the care of the city police. There was a later caller at apartment 4 in the night but he retired in a short time without incident. On the morning of the 7th of September, Gouzenko was taken to the office of the B.C.M.P. where he turned over his documents, told his story and asked to be kept in protective custody as he feared for his safety and that of his wife and child.

My own. personal recollection of the facts is that on the morning of the 6th of September-parliament was opening on that day- I did not go to the Justice building but came directly to the centre block here, and that when I arrived here my secretary reported to

me that a man with his wife had gone to him and asked to see me and had explained that he wanted to see me because he was from the Russian embassy and had some papers that he felt were of importance to the security of Canada. I answered that I could not see him, that we were maintaining friendly diplomatic relations with the Russian embassy and that I could not take any part in any quarrel between an employee in the embassy and his employers. I felt that that might become a rather serious international incident.

I communicated with the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs and told him what my attitude had been and that, unless I received directions from the government to act otherwise, that is the way I felt I should act; that my secretary had a story that he would tell the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs if he wished to hear it. I heard nothing more about it that day or until an incident that afterwards I found rather amusing. The high commissioner for the United Kingdom was having a reception out at Earnscliffe. It was a fine day and he was receiving his guests on the lawn. I was standing chatting with him when the Russian ambassador came up to greet his host. I still stood there and we had a few minutes' conversation, in the course of which the high commissioner asked the ambassador-who, I gathered afterwards, used to do some fishing in the Ottawa river opposite Earnscliffe-if he had done any fishing recently. The ambassador had not done any in the last few days, and he turned to me with a smile and said: "And what about Your Excellency? Did you find the fishing good today?" Well, I did not know that he was chaffing me about the possibility of information having been conveyed to me by someone from the embassy. But afterwards I came to the conclusion that perhaps my sense of humour was not as keen as was that of the ambassador.

It will be recalled that this man had tried on the 5th to tell his story, and had told his story to someone in a newspaper office, and had not been taken very seriously. He had tried that day, or on the 6th of September, to get someone to take his story seriously and had failed to do so. He had then asked-being apparently in real fear for his security-the occupant of apartment six in the apartment house where he had apartment four if he

Currie Report

could not stay there, or if they would not take care of his child because he was afraid there might be some attempt to reach him in. his own apartment, and there was an attempt which is related in this report by the Prime Minister and related in the report of the royal commission that there had been a fracas there. Four people had burst into apartment four and had ransacked it. The municipal police had been alerted and they did appear on the scene, and they watched over Gouzenko and his family's safety during the whole of that night, and the next morning they took him to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I was informed that that was taking place; I was told that he was brought there by the city police. I said: "Well, that seems to be regular procedure. I am not giving any instructions to the R.C.M.P. to behave in any other way than they behave when incidents are brought to their attention by municipal police." After that, the thing developed, but to the best of my recollection I never at any time saw Gouzenko. I did not see him to know that he was Gouzenko even if I did happen to see someone going by with the R.C.M.P. who actually was Gouzenko, and I never saw the documents.

Topic:   CURRIE REPORT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RADIO BROADCAST BY MR. KNOWLES
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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, if I made a statement with respect to the part played by the Prime Minister in this incident which is not completely correct I readily accept the correction that he has made this afternoon. But may I be permitted at the same time to ask the Prime Minister one question? Is it not true that the documents referred to were accepted and used by the government of which he was a member, despite their known source?

Topic:   CURRIE REPORT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RADIO BROADCAST BY MR. KNOWLES
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?

Jean-Paul Stephen St-Laurent

Mr. Si. Laurent:

The documents in question were used as evidence of a criminal conspiracy against the safety of the state, which they revealed, and I am convinced that the hon. gentleman will agree that there was nothing done there in any way different from what is done when stolen property gets into the hands of the police and is used as evidence in prosecutions that are later instituted.

Topic:   CURRIE REPORT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RADIO BROADCAST BY MR. KNOWLES
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INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION

TABLING OP CONVENTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

PC

Charles Delmar Coyle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paul E. Cole (Parliamenlary Assislanl lo Ihe Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, in conformity with the provisions of article 19, section 5, of the constitution of the international labour organization, I desire to lay on the table authentic texts of the following conventions and recommendations which were adopted by the international labour conference at its thirty-fifth session, held at Geneva,

in June, 1952, together with a copy of a letter from the acting deputy attorney general of Canada setting out the legislative jurisdiction for each of these conventions and recommendations: Convention No. 101, concerning holidays with pay in agriculture, 1952; Convention No. 102, concerning minimum standards of social security, 1952; Convention No. 103, concerning maternity protection, revised, 1952; Recommendation No. 93 concerning holidays with pay in agriculture, 1952; Recommendation No. 94 concerning consultation and co-operation between employers and workers at the level of the undertaking, 1952; and Recommendation No. 95 concerning protection of maternity, 1952.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION
Subtopic:   TABLING OP CONVENTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
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IRRIGATION

SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER

CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. H. R. Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to ask leave to move, seconded by the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright), the adjournment of the house, under standing order 31, for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the possibility that the government may be influenced by the report of the royal commission tabled yesterday and thereby fail to undertake the immediate construction of the beneficial South Saskatchewan river project consistently recommended by the government's own P.F.R.A. officials and repeatedly promised to the people of western Canada by spokesmen for the federal government.

Topic:   IRRIGATION
Subtopic:   SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Mr. Argue, seconded by Mr. Wright, asked leave to make a motion under standing order 31 to adjourn the house to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance. The motion is made according to the rules after the ordinary daily routine of business has been concluded and before notices of motions or orders of the day are entered upon. The motion is accordingly made at the right time. The hon. member has stated the matter and has handed to me a statement of the matter proposed to be discussed.

It is my duty is determine whether it is in order and of urgent public importance. I have read the motion. One question for me to consider is whether the matter is one of urgent public importance in accordance with the rules of the house. I should remind the house that the question of urgency is one which means that the matter is so important that the national interest would suffer if consideration of it is not proceeded with immediately. The provisions with respect to this matter are found in Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, third edition, citation

114':

172 and following citations. Let me refer hon. members to citation 176, which reads:

The "definite matter of urgent public importance", for the discussion of which the adjournment of the house may be moved under standing order 31, must be so pressing that public interest will suffer if it is not given immediate attention.

And may I also remind hon. members of the second paragraph in citation 174, which reads:

"Urgency" within this rule does not apply to the matter itself, but it means "urgency of debate", when the ordinary opportunities provided by the rules of the house do not permit the subject to be brought on early enough and public interest demands that discussion take place immediately.

This is a matter which has been under consideration by a royal commission for some considerable time. The report of the royal commission was tabled yesterday. I am sure there will be ample opportunity within the near future, under the rules of the house, to discuss the matter. I do not feel it is one which should be debated today, so as to interrupt the business which has been arranged for today. Therefore I cannot allow the matter to be proceeded with at this time.

Topic:   IRRIGATION
Subtopic:   SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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CUBAN SUGAR

IMPORTATION AND SALE IN CANADA


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Hugh Alexander MacKenzie

Liberal

Mr. H. A. MacKenzie (Lambion-Keni):

Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day are called I should like to ask a question of the Acting Minister of Trade and Commerce or, in his absence, the parliamentary assistant to the minister. In view of the fact that sugar beet growers in western Ontario are quite alarmed about the importation into Canada of fully refined sugar from Cuba, has the parliamentary assistant to the minister of trade and commerce any definite information as to what date the minister is scheduled to be in Cuba, in conference with the Cuban government officials, in an endeavour to come to an amicable agreement on the selling of fully refined Cuban sugar in this country?

Topic:   CUBAN SUGAR
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION AND SALE IN CANADA
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LIB

George James McIlraith (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Defence Production; Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. G. J. Mcllraiih (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Commerce):

As hon. members are aware, there were two or three public announcements put out about the trip of the minister to Latin America. I understand he will be in Cuba on February 2, 3 and 4, and that a meeting will take place on February 4. I think

that is public information that has been put out many times before.

Inquiries of the Ministry FREIGHT RATES

Topic:   CUBAN SUGAR
Subtopic:   IMPORTATION AND SALE IN CANADA
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REPORTED HIGHER RATE ON BRITISH AUTOMOBILES

January 20, 1953