March 14, 1961

PRIVILEGE

MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Bonavisia-Twillin-gate):

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a question of privilege arising out of the document which was tabled by the Minister of Labour today and which is headed "In the matter of that certain C.B.C. telecast known as "Close-Up", telecast on the evening of Tuesday, March 7, 1961".

My question of privilege is that this sworn statement of Mr. Glen H. Exelby, which has just now become the property of the house, provides evidence that in his statement on March 8, as reported at page 2783 of Hansard, the Minister of Labour misinformed and misled the house with respect to a matter coming under his jurisdiction as a minister responsible to this house.

I think I can demonstrate this by a very brief quotation from the minister's statement and from the document itself. The minister said, as reported at page 2783 of Hansard-

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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Mr. Speaker, what is the question of privilege in this instance?

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

The question of privilege, if I may reiterate it, is that a minister of the crown from his place in the house, misinformed and misled the house-

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

-about a matter coming under his jurisdiction, for which he is responsible to this house and to this house only.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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PC

Michael Starr (Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siarr:

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

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

We cannot have two questions of privilege at the same time.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. The hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate has already raised a question of privilege. If it is proceeded with I will of course hear the Minister of Labour. However, as I understand it the hon. member who has risen on this question proposes to confront the statement of the minister with an affidavit filed by the minister yesterday in response to a question asked in the house.

It seems to me that the hon. member is endeavouring to challenge what the minister said. If there is a misleading of the house by an hon. member or a minister, and it is an intentional misleading, it will undoubtedly raise a question for consideration by the house, using the proper procedure. However it seems to me that the hon. member is rising to establish his case rather than to move a motion or suggest a proceeding which might arise if the case were established.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to make a motion so that this matter may be properly brought before the house. My motion, which would be seconded by my hon. friend from Megantic (Mr. Roberge) is as follows:

That the matter of the statements of the Minister of Labour in this house with regard to the case of Mr. Glen H. Exelby together with the sworn statement by Mr. Exelby tabled today be referred to the standing committee on privileges and elections for appropriate action.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Before placing this motion before the house it is my responsibility to determine whether there is a prima facie question of privilege. As I understand the hon. member, his question of privilege is that the minister misinformed the house in the statement which he made in answer to a question some days ago.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

That is correct.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Perhaps I should hear other hon. members before determining whether a question of the privileges of the house does arise, assuming that the facts are correct.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

May I submit, with respect, on the point of order-

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Sit down.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I will hear the hon. member.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

May I submit with respect sir, that before it would be possible to demonstrate that there is a prima facie question of privilege, evidence would have to be heard. I am prepared to give that right away.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I think it would be no function of mine to hear the evidence. I have to determine whether the facts alleged, assuming they are true, raise a question of privilege. Then it would be for the house, through this motion or whatever means it chose to follow, to determine on the facts, would a

Question of Privilege

prima facie question of privilege arise on the allegation by the hon. member that the minister has misinformed the house?

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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PC

Howard Charles Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Howard C. Green (Acting Prime Minister):

Once again today an attempt is being made to upset the regular business of the house. I think this is the first time an attempt of this kind has been made in the 25 years I have been a member of the House of Commons. Just to show how ridiculous it is, let me remind hon. members that the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate had a copy of this affidavit yesterday. He told us he had received a copy or, in any event, it was common ground that he had one. The question was discussed yesterday. If he was going to raise a question of privilege, that was the time when it should have been done.

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Subtopic:   MR. PICKERSGILL MOTION TO REFER EXELBY MATTER TO COMMITTEE
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March 14, 1961