August 4, 1958

PRIVILEGE

MR. CHURCHILL DENIAL OF CERTAIN NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS

PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gordon Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker-

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Subtopic:   MR. CHURCHILL DENIAL OF CERTAIN NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege.

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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Mr. Speaker, I was on my feet first.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

A question of privilege.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I recognized the Minister of Trade and Commerce.

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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

I am rising on a question of privilege in connection with various newspaper reports containing alleged statements attributed to me. These statements are without foundation. The Ottawa Journal of August 2 published an article by Richard Jackson with a subheading in quotation marks reading as follows: "Breach Civil Service Propriety". This statement I did not make. It is without foundation. Then there follows this paragraph in quotation marks:

"There is no doubt but that unauthorized access was allowed to the department's confidential files", said Mr. Churchill, "for the quotations from the report are both very copious and quite accurate."

That statement, Mr. Speaker, is without foundation. Further down in the article I am alleged to have said that I intend to run this thing down. The words "run this thing down" are in quotation marks. That statement is without foundation. Toward the end of the article occurs the following paragraph:

Mr. Churchill made it plain that while his investigation would be "thorough"-

The word "thorough" is in quotation marks.

-it would not be actually "tough".

The word "tough" is in quotation marks. That statement, Mr. Speaker, is without foundation. The Toronto Telegram of August 2 carries an article written by Peter Demp-son. The third paragraph of that article reads as follows:

Trade minister Churchill summed up his reaction to the leak in one word "violent"-

57071-3-192J

The word "violent" is in quotation marks. That statement is without foundation. Further on I am alleged to have said:

"Well I guess they are authentic all right"-

That statement is without foundation. The Globe and Mail of Monday, August 4, carries an article by Clark Davey in which he attributes to me the following statement which he puts in quotation marks:

"There is no doubt about it", he said, "the newspaper report is based on the actual report".

That statement, Mr. Speaker, is without foundation.

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON MONDAYS

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister) moved:

That notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 15(3), the business and procedure on Monday, August 11, 1958, and on every Monday thereafter until the end of this session, shall be as for Monday (government day), and

That on Monday, August 11, 1958, and on every sitting day thereafter, until the end of this session, this house shall meet at 11 o'clock a.m., and in relation thereto that the provisions of standing order 2(1) shall be suspended.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of Ihe Opposition):

So far as the first part of this motion is concerned, Mr. Speaker, the official opposition will not object to it. So far as the second part of the motion is concerned, the extending of the time of sitting as from Monday, August 11, so that we will meet every morning, including Saturday morning, we do take objection.

It will be recalled that a short time ago the leader of the house introduced a resolution extending the hours of sitting, and we did not object. In fact we supported it on the ground that we were, so we thought, approaching the end of the session and perhaps some provision should be made for extending the hours of sitting. The provision that was made on that occasion did not interfere with the work of the committees, at least to any alarming extent, so we supported it.

We now have a motion before us which would make committee work very difficult, if not impossible, in the sense that the committees could hardly meet except during the hours when the house is in session. Some committees have just begun their work and others are in the middle of their work. The

Business of the House

committee on external affairs has just begun its work. It was meeting this morning, and it is now suggested that it should meet this afternoon also.

We object, therefore, to this second extension of the hours of sitting because of the effect it will have on our committee work. Perhaps by next Monday we would be in a better position to make an estimate of how the committee work is getting on and when it is likely to finish. Perhaps we would be in a better position then to relate the extension of hours to the work of the committees than we are at the moment.

We object also to this motion because it provides for parliament meeting morning, afternoon and evening, except on Wednesday and Saturday, for an indeterminate period. I suggest it certainly is indeterminate because we have no idea what legislation the government is going to introduce. So far as we know there has been no planning of the work for the remainder of the session. There is some important legislation forecast in the speech from the throne which is not yet on the order paper. We do not know in what form it will be on the order paper, and we do not know what length of time will be required to complete it. We may be here for weeks, and that is not a prospect that anyone contemplates with great pleasure, I am sure.

Until we get some indication as to the planning of the work ahead, the legislation which has to be passed this session, surely it is not right to ask the house to meet morning, afternoon and evening, with the exception of Wednesday and Saturday, especially when the committee work is continuing. This is the way we approach this particular resolution.

We have done our best on this side, by inquiries we have addressed to the leader of the house and the Prime Minister from time to time, to get some specific information on the planning of the work ahead. There have been occasions this session when at 10 o'clock at night we have asked about the work ahead and it has not been possible to tell us definitely and with assurance what would be done even the next day, let alone two or three days or a week or two ahead.

I recall-and I mentioned this point the other day when 1 was talking about this matter-how the former leader of the opposition, Mr. George Drew, used to rise in his place day after day and attack the government in vigorous terms because the government of that day, so he said, did not give the opposition sufficient advance notice of the work to come before parliament and did not plan ahead.

May I say, Mr. Speaker, that on the order paper today there is no evidence of planning

ahead. Until we get some notice of what we are going to have to do and how long it may be necessary to stay here to do it, and until we get further information as to the work of the committees and when that work is likely to be completed, it is not possible for us to support that part of this resolution.

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Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON MONDAYS
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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Harold E. Winch (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, we now have before us a motion moved by the government. It can be broken down into two principles. In the first section the principle means that starting next Monday, that day until the end of the session shall be government days. In the second section the principle is one which is going to quite radically change the hours of sitting of this house.

I desire to open my remarks in this way. Within your view, Mr. Speaker, I am going to hold in my hand, as I now do, a copy of the standing orders of the House of Commons, an edition which as revised came into effect in the year 1955. That revision of the standing orders was not introduced into the house until there had been a lengthy study by a committee representative of all parties of this house; and if my memory serves me correctly, it was brought in as an almost unanimous recommendation on the changes in standing orders. I am certain that Your Honour will remember the necessary resolution which was brought into this house and the speeches that were made at that time as to the meaning of the revision. It had a recognition of the responsibilities of government and a recognition of the responsibilities and the rights of minorities.

In particular I draw to Your Honour's attention the fact that when this revision of standing orders was introduced, the protection of minorities not only referred to minority groups in this house but also referred to minority rights in this house and minority rights in a number of particulars affecting the majority of the members of this house, namely the rights of private members irrespective of whether they sit on the government side, in the official opposition or in any other group in this house. Mr. Speaker, I should just like to refresh your memory, although I do not think it is necessary, and the memories of those who were here in 1955 and who now sit on the government side as to the fundamental meaning of standing orders. Keeping that in mind, and not forgetting what was said in 1955, we now have before us a motion introduced by the government to once again during this session-I repeat once again- ask this parliament to take action notwithstanding something which is contained in the revised standing orders of 1955, which we were told was put there basically for the

protection of minority parties, and most certainly for the protection of private members.

The first part of the motion is to remove any possibility after next Monday of a private member having any right whatsoever in this house, for the balance of this session, so far as bills or resolutions are concerned. Without reference to any record whatsoever I think I could make quite a speech on that subject, but I do not intend to do so. I am going to take a leaf out of the Conservative book while that party was the official opposition in this house, and will also refer to some things which have been said since that party has formed the government.

In referring to the record, Your Honour, I am going to ask the government and, since he seems to be so interested, the leader of the house, to answer a question when I have completed my remarks. Is there a difference so far as the government is concerned in the responsibility of the government and the responsibility of the official opposition, once that opposition takes office? If the government party is the party of principle and believe in what they said for over 20 years while they were on this side of the house, why do they this afternoon completely deny every expression of principle on an issue of this nature, about which they were so vociferous for over 20 years-

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?

An hon. Member:

Twenty-two years.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

-and in particular during the

past five years?

I do not often indulge in a great deal of quoting, but in respect to this motion I intend to do so; and every word I am going to quote will be taken from the official record of Hansard. You will see, Mr. Speaker, that I have the volumes in front of me and my references will be to the remarks of the former leader of the Conservative party, Hon. George Drew, the Prime Minister (Mr. Dief-enbaker), the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming), the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton) and the Postmaster General (Mr. Hamilton).

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

Mr. Speaker, hon. members should be very careful, because I have books under the desk in case any hon. member over there thinks he is being overlooked.

I desire to introduce this question of principle by means of what I believe is a most important statement, because it was made by an hon. gentleman who previously had the honour to sit in your place, Mr. Speaker, namely Mr. Speaker Fauteux. Both he and Dr. Beauchesne spoke on this subject. I wish to read a very short excerpt from the remarks of Mr. Speaker Fauteux, made with the assistance of Dr. Beauchesne, who at the time in

Business of the House

question was clerk of the house, when they presented a report to the House of Commons in 1947. This can be found in the Journals of the House of Commons for 1948. It is found on page 10, and this is what it says:

The mere object of shortening sessions must not be the aim of any revision of our rules.

In view of what the Leader of the Opposition said a few moments ago I ask that he take note of that. I continue:

The duties of a representative parliament are too important to be performed in a hurry. No question should be decided until it has been fully discussed. Yet no member of the house wants delays based on rulings or practice which may have been necessary when they were established centuries ago but which have no reason to exist at the present time. Conditions have changed. Although every effort ought to be made to economize time, every shade of opinion has the right to find expression and members who desire to give their views should not be prevented from doing so.

That statement, sir, as I pointed out is found in the Journals of the House of Commons for 1948, a submission made by Mr. Speaker Fauteux and Dr. Beauchesne. I say that this in itself negates the principle outlined in the first section of the motion now before us because this is a motion to deny from Monday next any opportunity for a private hon. member of this house, irrespective of whether he sits on the government or opposition side, to pursue any motion, resolution or bill that he now has on the order paper.

Having used that authoritative introduction, I wish now to take the minds of hon. gentlemen, who sit on the government side of the house, back just a couple of years or so and review what was said by some of them when they sat in opposition. I intend to refer them first to some remarks made by Hon. George Drew, who for many years was the leader of the Conservative party in opposition in this house. I refer hon. gentlemen to Hansard of February 3, 1954, at page 1728. Referring to the Liberal government that was then in power, Mr. Drew said on that occasion:

I hope the government will not suggest to us that private members can make no useful suggestions which they themselves have not already thought of. If they were to take that position it would surely be strangely inconsistent with the arguments which have been made in support of other measures still before this house for consideration. No; the government must, in view of the argument they have been making, support the argument that they believe that private members have an important place here and that private members have much to contribute.

I hope there are many hon. gentlemen opposite, and I think there are, who have much to contribute; because on reading the

Business of the House

order paper I find that there are many motions standing in the names of hon. gentlemen who sit on the other side of the house. I continue:

They have been urging that private members have plenty of time-

May I repeat that phrase, "plenty of time"-

-to devote to the study of problems and, presumably, to the making of suggestions here in this house which would help the government. These motions, the private bills or the public bills are not put forward merely for the personal satisfaction of any individual member. They are put forward here as part of the legitimate and proper business of this house.

On page 1729 Mr. Drew went on to say:

-this is the time to change the trend and to get back to a position where private members in this house are afforded the opportunity to assist the government by placing before parliament suggestions which are in keeping with the status of members as emphasized by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) in his remarks in this house on at least two occasions.

What I have read indicates that when Mr. Drew was leader of the Conservative party in opposition he held very definite views on this subject. He had even more than that to say. I should like to refer hon. members to Hansard of April 28, 1952, at page 1639, where Mr. Drew is reported as having said:

This motion will have the effect of further limiting the rights of private members, which already have been limited greatly. During the years of war and immediately after the habit grew of setting aside the rules; but surely now we have reached a time when we can abide by the rules.

That was Hon. George Drew, sir, speaking on April 28, 1953. Let us bring it a little more up to date. Let us not deal just with a former leader of the Conservative party in opposition; let us deal with a former leader of the Conservative party in opposition who is now the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Diefenbaker). I refer you to Hansard of July 12, 1955, at page 5989, where the present Prime Minister in discussing a motion of a similar nature said:

The hon. member who preceded me mentioned the decline in the power of private members. That is all too true.

That is how he felt when the Liberals tried to curtail private members' days and rights, but he had a bit more than that to say. At page 5990 of Hansard of July 12, 1955, we find this statement:

One thinks of the Lauriers and the Bordens, and one could name other great speakers of that time who carried on debate for weeks on end, as a debate was recently carried on, for whenever the privileges and traditions of parliament are invaded parliament should be vocal.

The house may think before I am through that I am being a little bit vocal, but I am taking the advice of the Prime Minister

who, when he was leader of the opposition, said that when there is a motion to change a standing order and remove the rights of parliament, members should be vocal.

Now, sir, can we not all remember the righteous indignation of the present Minister of Finance when he sat on this side of the house, and what he had to say when the Liberals had the unmitigated temerity to try to remove any of the rights of the opposition and of private members, or to change a standing order that would affect us? Well, sir may we at this time just remind the Minister of Finance what his opinions were not so long ago, as recently as July 12, 1955, as found at page 5999 of Hansard:

This house cannot function without rules. The rules should be broad and fair.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Minister of Finance to listen to the next sentence.

Their purpose should be to safeguard particularly the rights of minorities in the house.

I hope the minister will not be disturbed because I gave only one quotation from him, but there are so many others of import that must be noted that I should like to refer to another stalwart of the rights of opposition minorities, and "do not change standing orders", and that is the Minister of Justice.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

We are all in this, apparently.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

Mr. Speaker, all we on this side of the house are asking for now is that the Minister of Justice, as a member of the government, shall give the present opposition the justice that he demanded when he was in opposition. What did the present Minister of Justice have to say on January 27, 1955?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

What were we discussing then?

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August 4, 1958