Mr. Gerard Laprise (Chapleau):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege affecting all hon. members in view of the fact that on April 28 last the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Hays) gave a false reply to a question I had directed to him. That question can be found on page 689 of Hansard and it read as follows:
Would the Minister inform the house whether he has replied to the letter sent to him by the Quebec minister of agriculture. Mr. Courcy, requesting assistance for farmers in Abitibi-Temis-camingue? If not, does he intend to do so in the near future?
The minister answered:
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Later on the hon. member for Pontiac-Temiscamingue (Mr. Martineau) asked the minister the following supplementary question:
The minister replied that he had assured farmers in northwestern Quebec that they would receive help. Could he tell us what is the nature of the assistance he intends to give them?
The Minister of Agriculture answered:
I said I was going to answer the letter.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I have here a letter from the deputy minister of the federal Department of Agriculture which prompts me to ask some questions. That letter is addressed to Dr. Ernest Mercier, deputy minister of agriculture in the province of Quebec, and is dated from Ottawa, April 22, 1965, that is six days before the answer given to me by the minister on April 28. I quote the letter sent to Dr. Ernest Mercier: [Text]
Before my minister left Ottawa last week, he asked me to tell you that it had been decided that the Government considered it should not participate in payments to farmers for crop losses in Quebec 1964.
Your very truly,
S. C. Barry,
The content of this letter shows clearly that a decision had been taken long before April 28, and that in spite of that fact the minister misled the house in deliberately giving a wrong answer.
Here is my question of privilege. Why is the government refusing to help farmers in the province of Quebec although a request has been made to that effect? Is the minister aware that Quebec is still part of Canada and that the government is not so penny pinching when it comes to granting similar assistance to other provinces or other countries?
Subtopic: MR. LAPRISE-REPORTED INCORRECT STATEMENT BY AGRICULTURE MINISTER