April 29, 1959

PRIVILEGE

MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST

CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Hazen Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege which I believe affects all members of this house. It has to do with the report of the speech made the night before last, appearing in yesterday's Ottawa Citizen, by the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Browne) from Newfoundland. My question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I think really involves two questions, but I would like to deal with both of them while I am on my feet. This article reads in part as follows:

Tall, soft-spoken Hon. William Browne said last night Premier Smallwood's action in decertifying the international woodworkers of America in Newfoundland. and establishing a government union seems to be working out well for the loggers.

Representative of the island province, and one of two cabinet ministers without portfolio, he says the union formed by Mr. Smallwood to replace the

I.W.A. isn't the first government-formed union in the province.

The fishermen's union, set up similarly, has been successful-

"Other government-formed unions have performed well, and it's possible this will work satisfactorily' '-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Would the hon. member indicate what sort of privilege he is referring to before he goes too far in reading this report?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Mr. Speaker, my privilege has to do with the statement of the minister that the union in Newfoundland is working well, as compared with the answer given in this house by the Prime Minister when he was asked whether the government is considering the disallowance of the controversial legislation in Newfoundland. I think you will agree if you will allow me to proceed, Mr. Speaker, that I am presenting a very definite question of privilege. The Prime Minister told this house when we asked him if this matter of disallowance was under consideration that the cabinet was giving consideration to the whole question. On March 10, in reply to a further question which I asked him, the Prime Minister replied:

Of course, the hon. gentleman knows that that Is a matter of government decision, and I am not going to anticipate the date of that decision.

My question of privilege is this. The Prime Minister has said the cabinet is considering the disallowance of this act, whereas the Minister without Portfolio says the act is working well. Cabinet solidarity requires that that be the position of the government-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member is apparently making the point that if he detects any lack of solidarity in the cabinet, that is a matter of privilege affecting the house. I do not think that is so.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

My question of privilege is this. The Minister without Portfolio from Newfoundland has in fact made the statement, if this report is correct, that the government felt this legislation as passed in Newfoundland is good legislation, and therefore-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I am sorry. Since the hon. gentleman has said as much as he has I will give the floor to the Prime Minister in order that he may comment, if he wishes, on the alleged matter of privilege. I see nothing which affects the privileges of the house.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

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

My comment is this. The hon. gentleman appears to believe that the soundness of a question of privilege is measured by the loudness of the voice. There is, I submit, no question of privilege here. The answer that was given on the occasion to which he referred was the answer of the government with respect to the legislation. Any observation which may have been made-and I do not know anything about such an observation-has nothing to do with the question of allowance or disallowance.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I am sorry, but the question of privilege which the hon. member has raised does not seem to me to reflect in any way on the privileges of the house or of any member of the house, and I would therefore ask him not to pursue it.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I rise, now, on my second question of privilege. It has to do with a statement of the same hon. gentleman and a quotation in the newspaper saying that a letter was written by him to the Newfoundland minister of municipal affairs, B. J. Abbott, asking whether the Conservative government could nominate two candidates to the seven-member St. John's housing authority.

My question of privilege is based on the discussion we had in this chamber on April

Starred Questions

22 and Your Honour's ruling that a cabinet minister in this hon. member's position was not able, or would not be able, to take responsibility for official communications. I submit that within the terms of the newspaper report it would appear that the hon. gentleman in question was writing a letter which came into the hands, if not directly, then indirectly-I take it would be directly-of the minister of municipal affairs in Newfoundland, Mr. B. J. Abbott, asking whether the federal government could nominate two Conservative members of the seven-member St. John's housing authority. I believe this type of letter is not the kind of private correspondence to which Your Honour alluded the other day in making your ruling.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member can, of course, take what view he likes about that, but what he is asserting is that the conduct of the Minister without Portfolio from Newfoundland is in some way an infringement of the privileges of the house or of the members of the house. In my view what the minister has done does not reflect in any way on any person in this house or on anything this house has done. He is free as other hon. members are to conduct himself as he sees fit outside the house, subject to being called to account as a member of the government in accordance with our usual practice.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Mr. Speaker, on the point of order you have raised I would refer Your Honour to the words you used as recorded at page 2927 of Hansard of April 22, on which occasion you said:

I take the view that the word "official" as it is used in the citation quoted by the hon. member for Laurier means official in the sense of being responsible for a department.

My point of privilege is this. I feel that if a cabinet minister with the full authority of the government can write to a province on behalf of the government, as I take it he was doing, it should be the prerogative of this house to have produced this correspondence which was written in an official capacity.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

That is something I am not called upon to decide now. If the hon. member moves to have the correspondence produced the house will deal with the motion in the ordinary way. It is not a matter of privilege.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. ARGUE REPORTED REMARKS BY MEMBER FOR ST. JOHN'S WEST
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STARRED QUESTIONS

COST OP OLD AGE SECURITY REPORT

LIB

Mr. McMillan

Liberal

What was the total cost of the preparation of Professor Clark's report on old age security, including Professor Clark's fees, printing, etc.?

Topic:   STARRED QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   COST OP OLD AGE SECURITY REPORT
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PC

Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. J. W. Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, in

response to this question may I advise that as of April 29, 1959-and we know of no additional accounts to come in-the payments to Dr. R. M. Clark were as follows. There was a payment of $20,025 as fees, and $5,962.91 for disbursements. The cost of the printing of the report was $1,259.60, making a total of $27,247.51. In addition to the above there were certain travelling expenses incurred by members of the research and statistics division of my department in assisting Dr. Clark in certain aspects of his work.

Topic:   STARRED QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   COST OP OLD AGE SECURITY REPORT
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CANADA-U.S. JOINT DEFENCE COMMITTEE MEETINGS

LIB

Mr. Hellyer

Liberal

1. How many meetings of the Canada-United States committee on joint defence have been held since September 1, 1957?

2. Where have any such meetings been held, and on what dates?

Topic:   STARRED QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADA-U.S. JOINT DEFENCE COMMITTEE MEETINGS
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April 29, 1959