November 21, 1957

PRIVILEGE

MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR

LIB

Jean Lesage

Liberal

Hon. Jean Lesage (Monlmagny-L'Islel):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. Yesterday afternoon the Minister of Labour said, in answer to a starred question of mine, that the latest date for which data have been published regarding unemployment in Canada was September 19, 1957. On that very same day, yesterday, at ten o'clock in the morning, the press of the country already had in their hands for release at that time a press communique from the Department of Labour giving the figures of unemployment for October 17, 1957. It is clear, sir, that yesterday afternoon the Minister of Labour refused to give to this house information which he had already given to the press of the country.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Shame.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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LIB

Jean Lesage

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

This, sir, is certainly additional evidence of the contempt which this government holds for parliament.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I am not sure that I understand the question of privilege which the hon. member is making.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

There is no question of privilege.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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LIB

Jean Lesage

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

Mr. Speaker, it is a very clear one, I believe. Yesterday afternoon I was refused information which had already been given to the press of the country in the morning.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I understand what the hon. member has said, but in what way does he allege that the privileges of the house are infringed?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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LIB

Jean Lesage

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

With all due respect, sir, in answer to the question I asked the Minister of Labour said yesterday afternoon that the information as for September 19 was the latest information available, when he had already given information to the press in the morning as for October 17.

96698-87i

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Michael Starr (Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Michael Starr (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, in answer to the hon member for Montmagny-L'Islet may I say-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I am not sure that this is a matter to be debated in the house. It seems to me that if there is a question of privilege it is in the hands of the house to refer the matter to the appropriate committee to deal with it. I do not want to have a debate on the rights or wrongs of what a member has done. It seems to me that if there is a charge made against a member of the house it would have to be supported by a motion and referred to the appropriate committee.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Might the minister not have a reply to make immediately which perhaps, with due respect, he might be permitted to make?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

If it is the pleasure of the house to proceed to hear the minister, very well.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Michael Starr (Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siarr:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Montmagny-L'Islet asked in a starred question yesterday for the number of unemployed registered at national employment offices in Quebec, Canada and Montmagny. The figures released yesterday are released by the Department of Labour and the dominion bureau of statistics.

Yesterday the hon. member rose on a question of privilege to protest against certain figures which I supplied in answer to starred question No. 29. The hon. member's objection was that more recent figures were available than those provided, which were for September 21. I now wish to give the figures for registrations at the national employment service on November 7, which was not the date specified by the hon. member, it being November 1.

At the same time I should point out that these figures include a number of categories which extend beyond the definition of persons without jobs and seeking work, which is the basis of the dominion bureau of statistics figure. Registrations at national employment offices are derived from a count of applications on hand in every office at the close of business on a specified day. The count excludes registrations from persons known to have jobs and applying for other ones. Measures are taken to exclude persons who have secured work on their own since registration.

Privilege-Mr. Lesage

Nevertheless, I am informed that the figures inevitably include a number of persons who had found employment or who had left the labour force when the count was made. Although not all persons looking for work register at national employment service offices, all those who are seeking unemployment benefits, regardless of the length of time for which they may be out of work, must register for work.

Thus, Mr. Speaker, taken as a measure of unemployment, which was what the hon. member requested, these figures do not have the authority of the official dominion bureau of statistics figures of persons out of work and seeking jobs. For that reason they are not published as official unemployment figures.

In this connection I might add that it was the previous policy, as I imagine the hon. member is well aware, to release figures of national employment service registrations only for the dates specified in the official dominion bureau of statistics release. I have decided to change this policy, on the principle that hon. members of this house are entitled to any information which it is within the power of my department to provide. Therefore I will give the figures the hon. member requested, and better; I shall give them for November 7, 1957, as compared with November 8, 1956: for Canada, in 1957, 327,388; for November 8, 1956, 188,362; for the Quebec region, 1957, on the same date, 90,853; for November 8, 1956, 52,258; for Montmagny, November 7, 1957, 948; for November 8, 1956, 356. In the event the hon. member is interested, the figure for June of this year was 1,112.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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LIB

James Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

Are you applauding 300,000 unemployed?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Since this matter was raised on a question of privilege may I ask whether, in view of the statement which has been made by the minister, the hon. member feels that the question of privilege has been satisfied?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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LIB

Jean Lesage

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

I am satisfied that the figures given indicate that we have been right in claiming there is a great increase in unemployment.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. LESAGE ANSWER TO STARRED QUESTION NO. 29 BY MINISTER OF LABOUR
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November 21, 1957