March 4, 1953

DEFENCE PRODUCTION

PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS

LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. J. H. Dickey (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Defence Production):

Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege, I wish to refer to a statement made in the house on Monday, March 2, by the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton) as reported on pages 2511 and 2512 of Hansard. He is reported as saying:

This question has been on the order paper for over two months and I am saying that I hope it is not part of a pattern of suppressing information.

Yesterday the hon. member corrected his language by substituting the word "one" for "two" to conform with the actual facts. As the bringing forward of answers to questions, particularly the one referred to by the hon. member, is one of my responsibilities I feel bound to reject categorically any attempt to imply that information is being suppressed.

The records of the Department of Defence Production show that since the opening of this session of parliament-

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulfon:

On a point of order-

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Sit down.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The parliamentary assistant is speaking to a question of privilege and I think he should be allowed to complete it.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

I repeat, the records of the Department of Defence Production show that since the opening of this session up to Monday, March 2, a total of 120 questions directly referring to the department had been placed on the order paper. Of these, all but 53 have been answered. Of these 53, 34 have been passed as orders for return and the information is in the course of preparation.

Some of these questions have been very complicated, involving as many as ten separate answers. It should not be presumed that these answers can be prepared by clerks. In every case, senior officers of one or more divisions of the department must give the matter their close attention and see that correct and full information is given in reply to the question.

The result of a very rapid survey in the department indicates that so far this session approximately 3,000 man hours, largely of senior personnel, have been required to deal with the questions that have been answered and to do the work already done on questions not completed. With respect to all the questions on the order paper as of Monday, March 2, it is estimated that an additional 500 man hours will be required to complete the answers. It will be appreciated that this is a heavy burden to impose on officials of a department who are all performing important work and have exacting day to day duties and responsibilities. Any seeming delay in answering questions is unavoidable because of limitations of staff and time. Any control we have over these matters is directed towards expediting the work rather than delaying it.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fraser:

That is a good election speech.

.Mr. Fulton: Mr. Speaker, on the same ground of privilege as that just raised by the hon. member may I ask him when I will get an answer to that question of mine which was placed on the order paper on January 30 last and has now been on the order paper for over a month.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

When we get around to it.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

May I point out to him that

the question deals with the affairs of only one company which two years ago was the subject of what we must assume was quite an exhaustive study, in that at that time answers to questions to that date were given. My question merely seeks to bring the information up to the present date as a matter of public interest. I can only suggest, Mr. Speaker, that if the hon. member feels himself not able to produce the answers because of the tremendous volume of work, then any time he cares to do so he and the whole government opposite might make way for a government who can bring them down in a shorter space of time.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

John Sylvester Aloysius Sinnott

Liberal

Mr. Sinnoil:

Go hang yourself.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Put on some more horsepower over there.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

How silly can you get?

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

In answer to the question just asked by the hon. member, if he will read Hansard for Monday he will see my answer.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Mr. Speaker-

Grain

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

Too many competitors for the leadership.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I do not think I should

allow a debate on a question of privilege.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

I am raising a different one.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I allowed the hon. member

for Kamloops to state his question of privilege quite fully without interrupting him. I do not think I should allow any further debate at this time. If the hon. member for Eglinton has a question to submit to the ministry he can do so on the orders of the day.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

It is not a question to the

ministry. It is a question of privilege arising out of something that has been said on the floor of the house.

Topic:   DEFENCE PRODUCTION
Subtopic:   PROCEDURE OF DEPARTMENT IN ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Permalink

March 4, 1953