February 26, 1965

DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE ON JURISDICTION RESPECTING OFFSHORE MINERAL RIGHTS

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the correspondence with the provinces, and the replies from those provinces that have replied, on the government's proposal to make a reference to the supreme court on offshore minerals.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE ON JURISDICTION RESPECTING OFFSHORE MINERAL RIGHTS
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NDP

Harold Edward Winch

New Democratic Party

Mr. Harold E. Winch (Vancouver East):

should like to direct a question to the Prime Minister. If perchance I have missed any statement on this matter, I apologize. However, in view of the importance of the subject and the necessity for clarifying the situation I should like to ask this question of the Prime Minister. In view of the reported stand of Premier Lesage of Quebec that the matter of jurisdiction over offshore natural resource rights should not be submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada, what action is contemplated by the federal government, since this matter is of major and immediate concern to many provinces other than Quebec?

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE ON JURISDICTION RESPECTING OFFSHORE MINERAL RIGHTS
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

We are proceeding with a reference to the supreme court on this matter. We hoped it would be an agreed reference with all the provinces. If that is not possible, we will proceed with a reference from the federal government.

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE ON JURISDICTION RESPECTING OFFSHORE MINERAL RIGHTS
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IMMIGRATION

INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE


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, I would like to direct a couple of questions to the Prime Minister in connection with the Stonehill case.

The first is this. The Prime Minister said yesterday that he had not been able to get permission from the premier of British Columbia to table the correspondence. He will no doubt have read in the press the reported statement by the premier in the legislature yesterday that this was a falsehood. I am sure the Prime Minister will be able to clarify the situation concerning the statement made by the premier of the province in this regard, because it is one with regard to which the House of Commons will want a full explanation. There must be some reason for the discrepancy between the statement made by the Prime Minister and the observation thereon of the premier of British Columbia.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to deal with that question and other questions that have been asked in the house on the same matter. As I indicated yesterday in reply to a question asked by the hon. member for Vancouver East, I was prepared to table correspondence between the government of British Columbia and the government of Canada arising out of a letter received by a member of my staff concerning the Stonehill case and signed "W. A. C. Bennett".

I had not until yesterday received any reaction from the government of British Columbia regarding our request for agreement that this correspondence could be tabled. My first telegram requesting this agreement was sent on February 18, to which I have yet had no reply. My colleague the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration at my request sent a further telegram to Mr. Budd in Premier Bennett's office on February 24, saying that if he did not hear to the contrary he would assume that the provincial government had no objection to the tabling of the correspondence. There has been no reply to that telegram.

Not having heard from the premier, I did not wish to take a negative response if I could get a positive response. We put in another telephone call to ascertain whether the telegram had been received and, Mr. Speaker, we were assured, or the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration was assured that there would be a reply to his earlier call. No reply was received either in writing or by telephone.

Inquiries of the Ministry

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Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

When was the telephone call?

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Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

There were various telephone calls. There was one on Tuesday of this week from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to Mr. Budd, who said he would speak to the premier and phone the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration by three o'clock. The minister waited in his office until seven o'clock, I believe, but no reply came. Then again on Wednesday the minister put in a call for Mr. Budd. The operator reached his home and was advised that he had left for the office. At the office the reply was that Mr. Budd had not arrived, so the minister left word. Again there was a further effort to get a positive agreement from the government of British Columbia that there was no objection to the tabling of this correspondence.

In the circumstances, Mr. Speaker, and in view of the remarks reported to have been made yesterday by Premier Bennett to the effect he had no objection to the documents being tabled, I can now, with the consent of the house, do that. Incidentally, Mr. Bennett is reported also to have said that my statement-and this is the one referred to by the right hon. gentleman-that he had denied permission, was a falsity. If you will consult Hansard of yesterday you will find I made no such statement. I said I had been unable to secure from him permission, which was accurate.

Under date of May, 1964, Mr. Speaker, a member of my staff, Mr. Dornan, received a letter on the stationery of the premier of British Columbia signed "W. A. C. Bennett". This letter read as follows:

Thanks for your interest in the settlement of our friend in Canada.

Investment in secondary industries such as he proposes can be of inestimable value to the economy of British Columbia and we are most anxious to see this type of development. I understand his plans have been somewhat delayed due to uncertainty about his future, and hope this can be settled favourably as quickly as possible.

I hope you are well and enjoying life in Ottawa.

Very sincerely yours,-

Mr. Dornan, to whom this letter was addressed, had earlier been advised by Mr. A. H. Williamson of Vancouver that he had received from Premier Bennett a letter regarding Harry S. Stonehill, an applicant for landed immigrant status. Therefore this letter, when it arrived, was assumed to refer to Mr. Stonehill and was sent on by Mr.

Dornan to the office of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

On February 3 of this year, following certain publicity, I received a phone call at approximately 6 p.m. from Premier Bennett in which he said the letter purporting to bear his signature was, to use his words, a phony and had no authenticity. Naturally I accepted the premier's statement. This was, however, the first indication that I, or anyone on my staff had, that the letter was not in fact from the premier of British Columbia.

The remainder of the correspondence which I would ask permission to table consists of letters and telegrams beginning with one dated February 4, 1965 from the attorney general of British Columbia, Mr. Bonner. The letter of February 4 includes a report to the attorney general from the superintendent in charge of the criminal investigation branch of the R.C.M.P. in Victoria, which was marked secret and had a report of an admission by a person who said he had written the letter and sent it without Mr. Bennett's knowledge.

The report is a communication from a police officer to the attorney general of the province in relation to the enforcement of law in that province. The R.C.M.P. act, under contract, as the provincial police in British Columbia and in that role they are responsible to the attorney general of that province.

This is a report from an officer to his superior in the course of duty. Moreover, Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge as to whether the attorney general intends to prosecute in respect of what would appear to be a possible offence under the Criminal Code, the prosecution for which would be the constitutional responsibility of the attorney general of the province of British Columbia.

In all these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I feel it would be improper for me to table this particular police report before this parliament. I shall, however, table the covering letter along with the other correspondence, with the exception I have indicated, namely the R.C.M.P. secret report to the attorney general of British Columbia of February 4, 1965.

I now ask, Mr. Speaker, for permission to table the exchange of correspondence by letter and telegram with the premier's office and from the attorney general of British Columbia, between February 4 and February 24 of this year, 1965.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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?

Maurice Bourget (Speaker of the Senate)

Mr. Speaker:

Does the house give consent.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, the observations by the Prime Minister make it rather difficult for another statement to be made, because the particular statement he made to the house should have been made on motions. I am not objecting to that fact at the moment, but I hope the same freedom will be accorded hon. members in other parts of the house.

I want to follow up, not the personal dispute between the Prime Minister and the premier of British Columbia as to veracity, but a statement made yesterday in answer to a question directed to the Prime Minister regarding Senator Gelinas. I asked the Prime Minister the following question as it appears on page 11713 of Hansard:

In view of the reports in the press that in this case-

That was the Stonehill case in question.

-Senator Gelinas was consulted by the department of immigration, may I ask if the senator was connected in any way with that department?

The Prime Minister replied in this way:

These reports, of course, as they appear in the press do not bear out in any way what my hon. friend has said. Senator Gelinas was not concerned with this matter.

Now, sir, I point out that evidence was given before the Dorion commission by Mr. Denis-

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

This is not dealing with the commission and its report.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

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Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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?

Maurice Bourget (Speaker of the Senate)

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. This is a question period, and the right hon. gentleman has asked for certain leeway which normally I suppose the Chair, as a matter of courtesy to the right hon. leader of a great party, would grant. However, when we begin to discuss evidence given before a commission, even though that commission is not of the same nature as a court nevertheless the evidence is before the commissioner, I do not think it is proper to adduce that evidence or quote it in the house at this time. Perhaps the right hon. gentleman would confine himself to posing a question.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, I agree; but this is rather irregular, and the irregularity commenced when the Prime Minister made his statement at a time when it should not have been made. His statement should have been made on motions.

May I ask the Prime Minister this question. Is he aware of the fact that Mr. Denis, who occupied the position of executive as-

Inquiries of the Ministry sistant to the minister of immigration, communicated information to those who had a right to that information, including Senator Gelinas; and was he aware of the fact, when he made his statement yesterday, that Senator Gelinas had let it be known that he wanted information about the Stonehill case and the Stonehill file? Was he aware when he made that statement yesterday that Denis called Senator Gelinas regarding this matter? Was he aware of those facts?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. gentleman presumably is basing his question on the proceedings before a judical inquiry. All I can say is that I will look into the particular point he has raised and answer in due course.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY RESPECTING TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE IN STONEHILL CASE
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February 26, 1965