June 16, 1954

PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Well, Mr. Chairman, the

Secretary of State almost disarms me. But since he made the remark with reservations, I notice he has not withdrawn it without reservations. So I think I am at liberty to comment upon it. It so happens that I am now on my feet discussing the estimates of the Department of the Secretary of State.

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An hon. Member:

Since when?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I would not have used those words myself; they were used by the Secretary of State. It so happens that amongst the responsibilities with which I have been entrusted by my colleagues is that of the supervision, so far as our party is concerned, of the Department of the Minister of Justice. He is not here; but I am quite sure the Secretary of State would not characterize that responsibility as picayune.

Another of the responsibilities with which I am entrusted is that of supervision on behalf of my colleagues, and in co-operation with them, of the estimates and the legislation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

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Some hon. Members:

Order.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

And I am sure the Secretary of State would not characterize that responsibility as picayune.

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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

I interject at this point only to express the hope that when my hon. friend comes to deal with my estimates he will deal with them in order, as he is not now doing with those of the Secretary of State.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fullon:

I really think the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is a little sensitive. I was not trying to deal with his estimates at the moment. I was trying to deal with the Secretary of State. I was paying him the compliment of suggesting that the Secretary of State would not have characterized his department as a picayune one. And I was going on to point out that, among other things, for which I have had some responsibility at this session, is-

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LIB
PC
LIB
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Among the other matters with which I have been entrusted is the Department of the Secretary of State. Therefore inasmuch as I am quite sure the Secretary of State would not have characterized as picayune those other matters of responsibility with

which I have been charged, I can only assume that he applies that description to his own department.

Well, I looked up in the Oxford English dictionary-and the Secretary of State who is an Oxford graduate will therefore appreciate the source of my authority for the definition-

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

He did not write the dictionary, did he?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I looked up in the Oxford dictionary the definition of the word "picayune". He can find it in the library of parliament, page 1495, column 3, as follows: Picayune (as a noun) the U.S. 5-cent piece or other coin of small value; hence, colloquially, an insignificant person or thing.

I would not have used those words myself to describe the responsibilities of the department with which the Secretary of State is entrusted by this government. But apparently that is the word with which he himself chooses to define that responsibility. Then it goes on to say that, as an adjective, the word "picayune" means mean or contemptible. So that, apparently, the Secretary of State has taken it upon himself to come to my own city and to state there that I have been charged with the responsibilities of dealing with a department, with the activities of a cabinet minister, which, according to his own definition as it is set out in the Oxford dictionary, is mean or contemptible. I would not have used those words, myself; and I doubt if the Secretary of State had them in mind when he used the words.

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LIB

James Sinclair (Minister of Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

For his department, or as a member of the cabinet?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Perhaps the Minister of Fisheries has not been attending very closely.

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LIB
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

The Secretary of State said that I was concerned with picayune matters. One of the matters with which I am concerned is the department of the hon. gentleman himself, and I do not care to follow it very much further. But I do feel that the hon. gentleman, perhaps having described himself by a dictionary definition as picayune Pickersgill-

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Some hon. Members:

Order.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

-should deal with the criticisms which have been made of the department up to this moment.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I should like to say a word about the one point that the hon. gentleman took an hour to make, namely, that the war claims commission, presided over by the chief justice of Prince Edward Island, is not doing 83276-386J

Supply-Secretary of State this work efficiently and fairly. I do not think that is a charge that is worthy of the hon. member. I do not think it is a charge that on reflection tomorrow he will be very proud of having made. The fact of the matter is that Chief Justice Campbell is following the rules laid down by Chief Justice Ilsley in the report which laid down the principles on which those claims should be dealt with, a report which was accepted by the government, in which the chief justice of Prince Edward Island, at considerable inconvenience to himself-and which he had no obligation whatsoever to do-has undertaken to do as a patriotic duty.

It so happens that the claims that Chief Justice Ilsley said should be dealt with first were the claims of those persons who had been prisoners of war. Almost all of those, except where certain evidence is not yet available that is absolutely essential to a proper adjudication, have already been dealt with and a great many of them, as the Minister of National Revenue attempted to point out when he was not treated very politely by the hon. member for Kamloops, have been paid.

It may be that there are some claims of a complicated character, where the facts are hard to establish and not very well known- these cases do exist; they are inherent in the nature of the situation. Documents were lost in those tragic events in Asia nearly a decade ago. In some of these cases it is very difficult to form a proper adjudication, but I can assure the committee-and I suggest to any member of the committee who has any doubts on this point that he go and see Chief Justice Campbell and ask him about it-that he is pursuing this task with zeal, with vigour and with a sense of justice that is worthy of the best traditions of our bench.

It is true that no property claims have yet been adjudicated, and for the very good reason that Chief Justice Ilsley said we should deal with claims for personal maltreatment before we dealt with property claims. If there is any hon. member who thinks that is a wrong principle, let him rise in his place and say so.

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June 16, 1954