Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. Last night, in answer to a question by the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis-Kings, I said there was neither a written nor an oral opinion given on the surcharge order. In so far as the written opinion is concerned, there can be no doubt; I searched and found none.
Regarding the oral opinion, in reviewing the matter when I returned to my office last evening I recollected having been advised that the matter had been discussed orally at the time.
I am sorry if I unwittingly misled the house. At all events, I suggest that for the purpose of the present bill the question of whether or not there was an oral opinion, not to mention a written opinion, given to the former government is irrelevant. In my capacity as Minister of Justice and legal adviser to the crown under the Department of Justice Act, it is my opinion that the surcharge order was not validly made, and I have so advised the government. In any case, should there be only a doubt regarding this important matter it is in the public interest that such doubt be removed, and that is what the bill intends to do.
Subtopic: MR. CHEVRIER-STATEMENT RESPECTING OPINION GIVEN ON SURCHARGE ORDER