Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice):
I wish to thank my hon. friend for sending me notice of his question, which I got just a few moments before the house opened. I have made a hasty inquiry, through the deputy minister of the department, without having so far established the identity of the departmental official who is alleged to have made this statement. However, the statement as it reads in the paper is a little different from what my hon. friend stated in his question. It reads as follows:
In Ottawa, a justice department official said he believed municipal councils could do what they liked about renting public buildings. He said there are scores of municipalities in Quebec where reds cannot rent halls.
My comment upon that is asked for. I have had no opportunity in the short interval of time between the asking of the question and the present time to make any check but having regard to the fact that municipalities do not come under federal jurisdiction, it is unlikely that there are any federal statutes which would interfere with discretion of municipal officials in this regard. As to whether there are provincial statutes which do interfere with that discretion, not having examined the relevant provincial statutes, I can offer no comment.
Subtopic: RIGHT TO RENT PUBLIC HALLS