January 31, 1966

ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES READJUSTMENT ACT

OBJECTION RESPECTING PROPOSED BOUNDARIES IN PROVINCE OF ALBERTA

LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

It is my duty to inform the house that an objection signed by the hon. members for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin); Calgary South (Mr. Ballard); Athabasca (Mr. Bigg); Vegreville (Mr. Fane); Lethbridge (Mr. Gundlock); Calgary North (Mr. Hark-ness); Jasper-Edson (Mr. Horner); Macleod (Mr. Kindt); Edmonton West (Mr. Lambert); Wetaskiwin (Mr. Moore); Edmonton-Strath-cona (Mr. Nugent); Battle River-Camrose (Mr. Smallwood); Red Deer (Mr. Thompson); Bow River (Mr. Woolliams); Acadia (Mr. Horner) and Edmonton East (Mr. Skoreyko), has been filed with me pursuant to section 20 of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, chapter 31, Statutes of Canada, 1964-65, to the report of the electoral boundaries commission for the province of Alberta.

If the house will agree, I suggest that the house follow the procedure followed last Tuesday and that the text of the objection be printed as an appendix to Votes and Proceedings for this day.

Topic:   ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES READJUSTMENT ACT
Subtopic:   OBJECTION RESPECTING PROPOSED BOUNDARIES IN PROVINCE OF ALBERTA
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES READJUSTMENT ACT
Subtopic:   OBJECTION RESPECTING PROPOSED BOUNDARIES IN PROVINCE OF ALBERTA
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ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL

LIB

Louis-Joseph-Lucien Cardin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Lucien Cardin (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, at this time I wish to make a statement with respect to the case of George Victor Spencer.

When this case was disclosed to the public in May, 1965, there was clear evidence in the hands of the government which established that the Soviet officials in question had engaged in activities incompatible with their official status and that their continued presence here was contrary to our national interest. As explained by the Prime Minister at that time, the matter was publicized in order to impress upon Canadians the need for constant vigilance when faced with approaches by foreign officials or agents. The issue of

declaring the Soviet officials persona non grata is quite separate from any question as to what could or should be done in respect to any person who assisted them in Canada.

At the time of the original disclosure the Prime Minister stated that consideration was being given to determine whether charges against Spencer should be laid. The evidence was referred to the law officers of the Department of Justice, who were of the opinion that much of the evidence could not meet the requirements of the rules of evidence in criminal cases. Consequently they recommended against instituting criminal proceedings.

I agreed with this advice and, as Attorney General, saw no purpose to be served in commencing proceedings which not only had no reasonable prospect of success, but would also have resulted in the disclosure, even in in camera proceedings, of counterespionage methods, the secrecy of which is so important to national security. Nevertheless the evidence was of such a nature that it could not be ignored by the government, and some action had to be taken in the case.

It should be borne in mind that in security investigations the primary objectives are always the immediate removal of the security threat, and to ascertain the nature and extent of the information which the suspect has already supplied. Although the possibility of prosecution is not lost sight of throughout these investigations, the achievement of the primary objective may produce evidence which is not admissible under the rules of evidence applicable in our courts. The present case falls into this category.

[DOT] (11:10 a.m.)

As to surveillance, I said, in the course of a television program, that there would be surveillance on this man as long as he remains in Canada. It would be irresponsible not to keep such a man under surveillance fitted to the needs of the case. As already mentioned, security operations are primarily preventive in nature and success must often depend on surveillance. It is for preventive reasons that surveillance, to the extent necessary, will continue in this case.

On this matter of surveillance I wish to add these general remarks. There is nothing

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Administration of Justice in the law to prevent the reasonable surveillance of persons for the purpose of detecting and preventing the commission of criminal offences. This does not relate only to criminal activity respecting security, but is true of criminal activity generally. To suggest there is anything unlawful or improper in members of police forces undertaking surveillance is to ignore the indisputable fact that reasonable surveillance is essential to law enforcement and is carried out by police forces everywhere in and out of Canada.

The government was not responsible for the public identification of this man. On the contrary, every reasonable precaution was taken to protect his identity. His public identification was brought about by his own behaviour in relation to the press. As for naming the man on a television program, I would point out that the program in question took place on November 28, 1965, which was more than three weeks after he had already been identified publicly by his full name as reported in the press.

As to the circumstances under which this man's name became public knowledge, let me refer you to the transcript of a portion of the television program which preceded my appearance. A Vancouver reporter was described as the man who "broke the story". He was said to have been invited to have coffee with a "mysterious stranger whom he deduced to be the missing spy". This reporter described how he visited the man's home and went on to identify Spencer by name. He also said, and I quote, "he" this is a reference to Spencer "did make certain admissions. He said he was indeed the man accused by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He said that he certainly knew something about the world of international espionage".

I also wish to confirm to the house that which was made public by my colleague the Postmaster General on December 30. I refer to Spencer's dismissal from the public service by the Governor in Council under authority of section 50 of the Civil Service Act. It is said, and correctly, that by invoking section 50 Spencer was deprived of the right of appeal to the Civil Service Commission which he might otherwise have had. This decision was made for reasons of public policy.

I wish to state, however, that in order to ensure that a final decision whether to dismiss Mr. Spencer might be arrived at on the basis of independent and objective advice, the Civil Service Commission was asked to make a full examination of the case from the point

DEBATES January 31, 1966

of view of employment and to provide its advice. The commission advised the Postmaster General that this was a proper case for removal under the provisions of section 50 of the Civil Service Act, and this advice was accepted.

I want to emphasize that the investigation in this case was handled in the same way as other security investigations were handled prior to the time this government took office in 1963. If this case proves anything, it proves the effectiveness of Royal Canadian Mounted Police counterintelligence. I am satisfied that our security operations are in good hands, and I have seen nothing to suggest there are valid grounds for objecting to the manner in which these operations are being conducted.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, in so far as the concluding remarks of the minister are concerned, I think there will be general agreement. I have known the activities of the mounted police from the days before they had the descriptive word "royal" placed in front of their name. I know of their activities in connection with counterespionage, and I agree that what they have done generally has been in keeping with the security of the state.

I would, however, like to add one word, not by way of criticism; but I believe the commissioner of the mounted police should not be getting into print as often as he does by the observations that he makes. Recently he criticized the Globe and Mail of Toronto for an allegation that was made in that paper in which the Minister of Justice allegedly had had a conversation with the commissioner. He rushed into print, wrote a letter and stated there was no truth in it, and it turned out in the letter he wrote that the source of his information was the Minister of Justice himself. Well, the source of the information for the Globe and Mail was the Minister of Justice himself. The minister says that is not so, that he was not the source of this information, but that is what the commissioner said in his letter to the press, which bears out the advisability of the head of the mounted police not rushing into print.

Now I come to a discussion of the general purport of the statement just made. First of all, I would think that when statements of this kind are to be made the courtesy of notice should be given, whether or not this has been done in the past, so we can have our files before us. The minister apparently failed to recall that it was a press statement issued in great detail which started the discussion of

January 31, 1966

this matter, a statement giving an amount of detail which should not have been given unless there was foundation for it, and available evidence. It was stated that Spencer had received thousands of dollars, as I recall the press statement, and that he had not assisted the police in the investigation. One alleged wrongdoer had furnished information and assistance, but this man had not. This statement also said that he was compromising female civil servants in order to get the kind of information he was endeavouring to procure.

The only reason for non-prosecution which was given then was that this man was seriously ill, suffering from cancer. That was the only reason. Later on Spencer said the government was afraid to go ahead against him because he would reveal some things which were disturbing. That was the purport of the general remarks he made.

I do not think this matter can be glossed over as simply as was attempted by the Minister of Justice. I have no sympathy of any kind with this type of wrongdoing, but simply to brush the whole thing aside and say there is not sufficient evidence on which to convict is, to my mind, altogether unsatisfactory, bearing in mind the fact that the press had set forth in detail whatever evidence was available and that the Prime Minister had given as his reason for nonprosecution the dangerous illness of this man.

Now the government say "We do not want to reveal these matters because certain information of security importance would become public and we do not want that to happen; and anyway, we have no case." Naturally I do not wish to see anything revealed which would in any way weaken the counterespionage activities of our country. At the same time, there are other means. I think there should be a committee of judges-two or three judges, we will say, of the Supreme Court of Canada-to look into this without publicity being given to it. Always in history, when there has been any desire to do that which is unacceptable, the answer of those doing it has invariably been that what is being done is in the public interest.

[DOT] (11:20 a.m.)

I think this man, regardless of his identity and actions, is entitled to a hearing. Even more so, the Canadian people are entitled to this. The attitude taken by the Minister of Justice is that he has no case; "we have no case but we are going to follow this man wherever he goes". That surely is an unusual position. The excuse given is that always, when there is an endeavour to ascertain 23033-28J

Administration of Justice whether wrongdoing is about to take place, action along that line is taken. That is true. But to continue a course of surveillance of this kind, continuing surveillance, is far removed from the accepted principles of police work. Indeed, it is essentially authoritarian and essentially dangerous.

I ask the minister once more to do something about this. He does not want to give publicity to it. I can understand that. But let Canadians be assured that what has taken place has not been of a nature which will become the pattern for the future. Let them be reassured at the same time that this man will receive the consideration to which every Canadian is entitled.

I should like to know something about him. Apparently he is an immigrant. Whether his name was Spencer when he came to Canada, I do not know. I know nothing of his past except what I have read in the press. Who is he? Where did he come from? How long has he been here? These are things Canadians have the right to know. Set up a judicial inquiry. Let a judicial inquiry look into this matter. There is no reason why the government should not do this. What has been done to date cannot but cause concern to those who believe in the maintenance of freedom within our land.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquiilam):

The statement which has been made by the Minister of Justice is to my mind astounding in the light of the events which have transpired since May 8. I am sure it will cause many thoughtful persons to be concerned about the way we are administering justice in this country.

I have no brief, nor has any other member of this house, for any person who is guilty of espionage. But under the laws of Canada a man is innocent until proven guilty, and the statement made by the minister this morning is certainly at variance with the statement which was issued by the Department of External Affairs on May 8 last. One paragraph in that statement said that "In one instance a Canadian civil servant was paid thousands of dollars to gather information and documentation in Canada the purpose of which was to assist in the establishment of espionage activities in Canada and in other countries, and to perform economic intelligence tasks including the provision of detailed information on the Trans Mountain Pipe Line system in western Canada."

January 31, 1966

Administration of Justice

That is a clear accusation of espionage and of participation in the setting up of an espionage system in Canada and in other countries. If this is correct the man concerned should certainly be apprehended, tried and, if found guilty, punished. It is significant that this statement was issued by the Department of External Affairs. It is true the department was concerned about the propriety of actions taken by certain Soviet officials and that this was within their proper jurisdiction. But the statement with reference to this particular civil servant makes charges which so far have not been substantiated, and the statement made by the minister today was to the effect that on examination the crown did not have sufficient evidence to stand up in court.

This makes the statement issued by the Department of External Affairs a very strange document indeed. Does it mean that the Department of External Affairs issued its statement without being sure of its ground, or that it released information which had not been carefully documented?

If that is the case, some statement should certainly now be forthcoming from the government to the effect that the accusation against this man was premature and is no longer valid. Instead, what has the government done? First, they fired this man under section 50 of the Civil Service Act so that he has no right of appeal. The minister tells us this morning that this was done after consultation with the Civil Service Commission and on the recommendation of the commission. The body to which this man was to have the right of appeal condemned him before they had even heard him. Was this man permitted to appear before the Civil Service Commission before the commission recommended that he be fired? Or was not this meeting of the Civil Service Commission actually a kangaroo court which made its decision without giving an opportunity to the appellant to appear, leaving a stigma hanging over his head and the heads of his family for the rest of his life?

Is this the way in which justice is to be administered in Canada? Even in wartime we would not permit a man to be stigmatized on the basis of evidence which, as the minister himself claims, would not stand up in court. I say to the government that either they said too much in their statement of May 8, making accusations which they cannot substantiate, or else they are simply making this man a scapegoat for their own ineptitude and inefficiency.

I appeal to the Prime Minister, who has a deep sense of justice in matters of this kind, to reconsider the question. Here is a man who has been accused, first in the statement from the Department of External Affairs and then by the Minister of Justice on a national television program. He has been accused of espionage, but he has been given no chance to prove his innocence. Here is a man who has been dismissed and denied an appeal. In fact he was condemned by the commission before he was given a chance to appeal to the commission. Here is a man who has lost his pension rights; who in all probability will never get another job and who, according to the minister's statement, is to remain under police surveillance as long as he remains in Canada.

[DOT] (11:30 a.m.)

I ask the Prime Minister if he considers this is how justice ought to be administered in this land of ours. Surely the very least the government can do is to agree to the setting up of a judicial committee composed of one or more judges, who would be prepared to hear the evidence which the minister has and decide, first of all, whether this man has been guilty of espionage; second, whether the government was justified in dismissing him and, third, whether in the course of that dismissal he ought to have been deprived of his pension rights. Surely he is entitled, as any Canadian citizen is entitled, to have his day in court. Surely he is entitled to be heard. Surely he has the right under our laws to be deemed innocent until he can be proven guilty.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Real Caouette (Villeneuve):

Mr. Speaker, the statement of the Minister of Justice is surely of widespread interest, for there has been a great deal of comment since May 8, 1965, about these spying activities which took place here in Canada prior to that date, and in which Mr. Spencer was allegedly involved.

But was he the only one involved? We do not know. Was he the mastermind behind it? Again, we do not know.

I am in complete agreement with the suggestion of the leader of the N.D.P. Mr. Spencer should at least be given an opportunity to be heard and to tell his side of the story as clearly as possible. But he is not afforded the slightest opportunity to do so.

It is a very good thing that this spy ring was uncovered and the R.C.M.P. must be commended for discovering this ring which endangered the security of the country.

January 31, 1966

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) mentioned earlier that in such circumstances, R.C.M.P. authorities should refrain from making statements of a political nature when arrests must be made and the law enforced as in the present case.

It has often happened that some members of the R.C.M.P. have made statements of a political nature regarding such arrests.

We approve the steps taken by the government to ensure the security of the state but not when they are prejudicial to anyone, as in the present case for instance when the accused is allowed to state the motives behind his actions so that we may find out whether some one else is involved. In this case, Spencer is precisely being used as an agent. I do not believe that he was the head of this spy ring. There are surely others and more important ones who should be discovered and prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. R. N. Thompson (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, to avoid repetition of what already has been said, surely the Minister of Justice realizes by this time that bungling by the government in the handling of this particular case is not doing very much to establish respect for law and order and confidence in the security of the country. Certainly it is evident that the R.C.M.P. are being made the scapegoat for things over which they have no control. It seems to me that the government owes it to those charged with the responsibility for security in Canada to give them the support that is necessary. No better evidence has been revealed of that need than this particular case which we are talking about.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I come back to this point, that an inquiry is not only essential in this particular case but is also essential in the whole area of security and the enforcement of law and order. This is not just one isolated case. There have been repeated cases to which the public has not had satisfactory answers, cases in which individuals involved have been either let go or charged unfairly.

There should be a full scale inquiry into this particular topic, or at the very minimum the government should issue a white paper on the matter. Over and over again in this house I have urged upon the government the necessity of bringing in some systematic and periodic reports relating to the maintenance of law and order, international crime and espionage activities. Either the mounted police must be given the authority to do so, or

Administration of Justice the government itself, through the Department of Justice, must release this type of information in order that the general public may have the necessary assurance that all is well so far as law and order, international crime and the security of the country are concerned. However, there is no response from the government in this regard.

We as members of the house probably know more about these matters than the general public, but even we are confused because the answers given are not clear. This situation certainly bears out that there is inconsistency and a lack of support from the government to those concerned with law enforcement and security matters.

So, Mr. Speaker, in support of what has already been said, I would urge that an inquiry be made not only into this case but into the whole field, and that some system be devised whereby reports can be given to the country concerning the state of the nation relating to law and order, the inroads being made by international crime, and espionage, and dealing with the whole area of security in the national realm.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gordon Churchill (Winnipeg South Centre):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to comment at length on the statement made by the Minister of Justice-

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

-but I am rising on a point of order.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

On a point of order?

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

If you do not intend to hear me, Mr. Speaker, then I would raise a point of order to this effect; that I claim the right to be heard on statements made by ministers if that same privilege is going to be granted to the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Thompson). I think every member of the house should be treated in the same way.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

It was not my intention to comment at length on the statement made, but I wanted to establish my right to do so if circumstances seemed to me to be appropriate. The point of order I now raise is this. Are you prepared to grant to all the members of the house, on an equal basis, the right to comment on statements made by ministers on motions?

430 COMMONS

Administration of Justice Mr. Speaker: With reference to the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Winnipeg South Centre I can only refer him to standing order 15(2)(a) which says:

On motions, as listed in section (2) of this standing order, a minister of the crown may make an announcement or a statement of government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which it is deemed necessary to make known to the house and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. A spokesman for each of the parties in opposition to the government may comment briefly, subject to the same limitation.

I would think this would prevent the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre from making a statement at this stage. It is on the basis of the standing order that the Chair has allowed the leaders of the Social Credit party and the Ralliement Creditistes, to make make a statement at this time. If hon. members feel that the matter should be gone into by the Chair at greater length I would be only too pleased to do so, but I have before me at the moment a standing order which limits comments at this stage to leaders of parties.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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?

Some hon. Members:

Spokesmen.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

What a leader of a party is might be difficult to determine.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   GEORGE VICTOR SPENCER-STATEMENT AS TO DISMISSAL
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January 31, 1966