Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of ihe Opposition):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to state a question of privilege affecting every hon. member of this house. It is in connection with a C.B.C. broadcast yesterday from Ottawa called "Capital Report". I have in my hand a copy of the text submitted to the station by Mr. Michael Barkway and I shall read the portion which I am making the subject of privilege. I think what I have to put forward constitutes one of the most astonishing breaches of the privileges, rights and responsibilities of the members of this house which can have come to the attention of any hon. member. I propose to read part of page 1 and page 2 of the text used yesterday by Mr. Barkway in the broadcast on a national network from Ottawa. After referring to what he described as the domestic drama of the Currie report, he went on to say:
As a drama critic, I think one's bound to say that act II wasn't up to the standard of excitement of act I. For one thing the sub-plot took up a disproportionate amount of attention. This is the mystery-now being cleared up-of how the C.C.F. party got its hands on an earlier draft of the report which Mr. Currie had neither approved nor signed. The first half of the answer is that the copy was stolen from a print shop in Montreal; and the man accused of stealing it is now in custody awaiting trial. How it got from the thief to Mr. Coldwell-who is certainly honest-we still don't know. But I suppose part of the scene of act III will be laid in a courtroom in Montreal, where some more of the story will come out.
The other part of act II which has now concluded was laid in parliament. I remember remarking on this program six weeks ago that Mr. Currie's description of the Petawawa horses on the pay roll was "more picturesque than precise". It turns out, in fact, to have been so imprecise as to have been false. It was taken, apparently, from the police records and the records of the Petawawa trials and in the process of condensation into one sentence it was wholly distorted. A cub reporter who had done the same thing would have lost his job.
You may think this was just by the way. But these inaccuracies in the Currie report-the horses and the false accusation that the C.N.R. let its tracks be stolen-I think they had a good deal to do with the major theme of the recent parliamentary debates. And that was whether the Currie report should be referred to the defence expenditures committee, or whether instead Mr. Currie
should be invited to extend his inquiries into the rest of the Department of National Defence. The government wanted to send the report to the commons committee for a fuller examination. The government majority-inevitably-voted to do that, and the committee has been set up. This wasn't what the opposition wanted. They say-and they're right-that the committee has a majority of Liberal members; and it's a foregone conclusion that its report will be as favourable to the government as the loyal Liberal majority can make it.
No doubt this is perfectly true. But the committee's report won't matter so much as the evidence which the committee hears-particularly from Mr. Currie himself. The inaccuracies of the original report-which are after all purely incidental-won't matter much if Mr. Currie has a mass of further detail to back up his charges of the "general breakdown in administration". But if he hasn't more detail than he gives in his report, then the government will be in a better position to claim that this is a bit of a storm in a teacup.
The most serious breach of the privileges, rights and responsibilities of members, Mr. Speaker, is the bald statement by this man who purports to be an accurate reporter-
Subtopic: MR. DREW REFERENCE TO C.B.C. BROADCAST "CAPITAL REPORT"