Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege, and when I have stated my question of privilege I shall move an appropriate motion based thereon.
As all hon. members are aware, the government has steadfastly refused to make public the report of R. Dixon-Speas and Associates on the operations of Trans-Canada Air Lines. The government has refused to let parliament see that report. It has refused to let the government of Manitoba see it, and of course we recall the incident in connection with which the hon. member for Winnipeg South (Mrs. Konantz) saw it in the distance but did not see the report itself. In other words, it is quite clear in the minds of hon. members that this is a document which the government feels is privileged and must not be seen by us, and I would take it, therefore, must not be used in public.
I hold in my hand a copy of the Winnipeg Free Press of Wednesday, November 27, 1963, on page 1 of which I find a story entitled "T.C.A. won't boost fares, house told", a story based on questions and answers in the house on Tuesday. The fourth paragraph in this story, which is written by the Winnipeg Free Press staff person here in Ottawa, reads as follows:
Gordon McGregor, president of T.C.A., was quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday as having announced that continuing the maintenance base in operation at Winnipeg until 1973 will cost T.C.A. an additional $19,800,000. This figure was contained in the Dixon-Speas report on the economic operations of T.C.A.
When I first saw that story I wondered how the staff person-and I won't be coy about it, the staff person here in Ottawa for the Winnipeg Free Press is my good friend Mr. Victor Mackie-had seen the report and knew that figure was in it. Then I find another story, also in the same issue of the Free Press on page 27, entitled "Anxious T.C.A. chief hits base decision". This is under the by-line of Victor Mackie and the first part of it reads:
Continuing the overhaul and maintenance base in operation at Winnipeg until 1973 will cost T.C.A.
an additional $19,800,000, according to the president of the air line, Gordon R. McGregor.
That figure was set out in the Dixon-Speas report, a spokesman for the air line said. He said that was what Mr. McGregor based his estimate on, the findings in the report.
The economic study had found that if T.C.A. did not phase out of its operation of the overhaul and maintenance base at Winnipeg by 1966, as was originally planned, and kept the base operating for another eight years, it would cost the air line $19,800,000.
It is a much longer story. There is a good deal in it that is interesting with respect to the conflict between Mr. McGregor's opinion and the opinion of the Prime Minister, but I do not wish to import into this question any extraneous material. My question of privilege as a member of parliament is that a document which we have been denied, a document- access to which has been denied the government of Manitoba-is being seen by other people, and some of its contents are being used by other people for arguments in connection with this issue that confronts the country and us in Manitoba in particular.
My view is that if we are to be denied the opportunity of seeing this report, no one should be able to make any public use of it. If Mr. Mackie is seeing this report-I do not think he is; I think he has just learned that somebody else has seen it-and if the president or spokesmen of the air lines are permitted to learn what is in it, I think the government of Manitoba, which is very much concerned with this matter, should see it and we in this house should have the right to see it. As I see it, the privileges of parliament are being violated by this incident as reported by the Winnipeg Free Press in the article I have just quoted. Therefore, on the basis of the question of privilege which I have raised, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Howard):
That in the opinion of this house the government should give immediate consideration to the question of making public the contents of the report of R. Dixon-Speas and Associates on the economic operations of Trans-Canada Air Lines.
Subtopic: MR. KNOWLES AVAILABILITY OF REPORT RESPECTING T.C.A. WINNIPEG MAINTENANCE BASE