May 8, 1964

PRIVILEGE

MR. HERRIDGE-USE IN COMMITTEE OF DOCUMENT NOT TABLED IN HOUSE

NDP

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. H. W. Herridge (Kootenay West):

I rise on a question of privilege. My question of privilege is that certain documents were improperly made available to the hon. member for Kootenay East by a senior official of the Department of External Affairs before those documents had been tabled in the house. This action was taken during a meeting of the external affairs committee held yesterday afternoon, and in my opinion it constituted an offence against the rules of the house and a grave discourtesy to its members.

On Wednesday, May 6 I moved the following motion:

That an order of the house do issue for a copy of all petitions sponsored by the Nelson chamber of commerce signed by residents of Kootenay East and West urging immediate ratification of the Columbia river treaty, received by the government since January 1, 1964.

This motion was unanimously agreed to. During the meeting of the external affairs committee yesterday afternoon a senior official of the Department of External Affairs, at two minutes after 5 p.m., handed the hon. member for Kootenay East the original petition referred to in my motion. I wish to bring Your Honour's attention to the fact that the hon. member for Kootenay East is not at present a member of the government. Shortly afterward the hon. member for Kootenay East commenced to use this document as evidence before the committee.

At that point I immediately rose on a question of privilege to draw the attention of the committee to the fact that the document was improperly before the committee. The hon. member for Leeds, the esteemed chairman of the committee, then suggested I be permitted to see the petition. However, out of respect for the rules of this house and the rights of members of parliament I refused to look at the document until it came into my hands legally in accordance with the rules of the house.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I respectfully suggest that the members of this house are entitled to an explanation of the reasons for this unusual breach of the rules of this house, and are entitled to an apology from the member for Kootenay East and the senior official of the Department of External Affairs involved in this breach of the rules and grave discourtesy to the members of this house.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HERRIDGE-USE IN COMMITTEE OF DOCUMENT NOT TABLED IN HOUSE
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

I might have risen and suggested that raising this particular question of privilege seems to me out of order at this time. The question has to do with a matter which is before a committee that is sitting, and the place to raise such a question of privilege is, I believe, in that committee. However, I am not rising to make a technical objection, except to remind my esteemed and sensitive friend of what I believe to be the correct procedure.

I am sure we would all regret it, if the hon. gentleman has been unfairly dealt with. The fact is that his question concerns a petition containing some 4,000 or 5,000 names of people from the hon. gentleman's constituency who are urging the government to get on with the Columbia river treaty. I referred to this petition when I was speaking in the house on the question of the Columbia river treaty.

Yesterday, or the day before yesterday, the hon. gentleman had on the order paper a motion which was accepted by the house asking for the production of this document. It takes time to provide several copies of it, and the hon. member for Kootenay East asked one of the officials of the Department of External Affairs if he might see the petition. The official, who is one of the responsible officials of the department, as the hon. gentleman knows, thought there was no reason why this should not be permitted. If the hon. member for Kootenay West had asked for it he would have obtained it. However, with these facts in mind I am looking into the matter further to try to deal with the situation in a manner which, I know, will end in the full satisfaction of the sensitive nature of my esteemed and dear friend the hon. member for Kootenay West.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HERRIDGE-USE IN COMMITTEE OF DOCUMENT NOT TABLED IN HOUSE
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?

Maurice Bourget (Speaker of the Senate)

Mr. Speaker:

I am sure that the hon. member for Kootenay West, having raised this

Question of Privilege

matter and heard a partial explanation, and having heard also that the minister is looking into the matter further, will be satisfied.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HERRIDGE-USE IN COMMITTEE OF DOCUMENT NOT TABLED IN HOUSE
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MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM

PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Eldon M. Woolliams (Bow River):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege which not only affects me personally but I think affects many hon. members of the house. I realize and appreciate that the rules say I should raise a question of privilege as soon as possible. My question of privilege arises out of a comment made yesterday in reference to the report brought in by the rules committee. The comment was made by the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam (Mr. Douglas). I was unable to hear it at the time because of the noise from that particular party following the remarks I made. The words I refer to are these:

As long as we have a democracy in this country I think the hon. member for Bow River will have to abide by the decision of the electorate.

Either the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam deliberately misinterpreted what I said or he unintentionally misinterpreted it, because I was not speaking against splinter parties as such or against the situation with regard to those constituencies which may elect members of splinter parties; I was saying there has grown up in this house a procedure, now endorsed by the rules committee, of giving a spokesman for each of those parties an opportunity to make comments in reply to statements on government policies made from the treasury benches from time to time. Here we are in the process of amending our rules because we wish to save time in the house, and we now have five parties in the opposition. I only said that in the future we may have 10 or 20.

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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?

An hon. Member:

Four.

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Woolliams:

Well, four parties in the opposition; you are absolutely correct. I say, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam deliberately misinterpreted my statement because he was frightened that the Canadian people would find out the truth and import of my remarks.

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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?

Maurice Bourget (Speaker of the Senate)

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please.

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, on the question of privilege may I just point out to the hon. member for Bow River that his complaint is incorrectly lodged when he lodges it against

[Mr. Speaker.!

the committee on procedure. It was the house itself, by unanimous decision, that adopted yesterday provisional standing order 15(2-a).

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Woolliams:

Mr. Speaker, may I reply to those remarks?

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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?

Maurice Bourget (Speaker of the Senate)

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. First of all, the hon. member has had the opportunity of restating his argument to a shorter and lesser degree. Second, I do not see any basic question of privilege. If it is anything it is a grievance, and it is hardly that. It is really a statement of personal opinion. In view of the discussion of yesterday and today may I suggest that we now get on with the business before the house.

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Woolliams:

I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My point of order is briefly this. The hon. member says it was unanimously approved by the house. If he had listened very carefully to my remarks he would know that I did not agree to it.

Topic:   MR. WOOLLIAMS REFERENCE TO STATEMENT IN DEBATE BY MEMBER FOR BURNABY-COQUITLAM
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PUBLIC SERVICE

SENIORITY RIGHTS OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES OF CANADIAN COMMERCIAL CORPORATION


On the orders of the day:


PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Secretary of State I would direct my question to the Prime Minister. It has to do with the promise given to 117 employees of the Canadian Commercial Corporation that their seniority and other rights would not be impaired in the termination of their services with the corporation and their absorption into the Department of Industry. Would the Prime Minister have this question looked into so the obvious injustice that would result from denying these civil servants their guaranteed rights, or indeed any possibility thereof, will be avoided?

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   SENIORITY RIGHTS OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES OF CANADIAN COMMERCIAL CORPORATION
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I saw this report and I am looking into it. I am quite sure that if there is an injustice it must be corrected.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   SENIORITY RIGHTS OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES OF CANADIAN COMMERCIAL CORPORATION
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May 8, 1964