February 25, 1966

PC

Erik Nielsen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nielsen:

Would the hon. member permit a question? Again I would refer him to subsection 5 of section 3. The expense of paying accountants and other persons to engage in these investigations is payable from the appropriation of the office of the superintendent of bankruptcy. If the minister had been exercising the authority granted to him the cost would have been paid in this way and there would have been no need for it to fall on the shoulders of the creditors. That is, if the minister is doing his job.

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NDP

John Gilbert

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gilbert:

I think the hon. member is again underlining the need for immediate action by the minister to advise the superintendent to look into these matters regardless of the expense, because he has the authority to do so under the act. I agree most heartily with that.

A final area in which this problem has arisen is that of personal bankruptcies. There has to be a new approach to the question of personal bankruptcy-a new attitude toward persons whose income is derived from salaries or wages, who have incurred large debts by overspending and who then find the present procedures an easy way in which to avoid the repayment of their debts. We must discover a method of ensuring an orderly payment of a bankrupt's debts, under budgetary control and supervision, in order that the debtor may repay his creditors 100 per cent. What I am saying is this: We need to take stronger action with regard to company bankruptcies, but we must also take a hard look at the activities of individuals who are taking advantage of the present provisions of

February 25. 1966

Supply-Justice

the act in order to avoid the repayment of their debts. I believe the Canadian public and Canadian businessmen in particular demand immediate action for the protection of all Canadians to restore confidence in the business world and to give strength to the enforcement of the law.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

In the ten minutes or so remaining, it will be quite impossible to deal with the variety of subjects which warrant consideration. I have sat here throughout the debate waiting for the Minister of Justice, or one of the other ministers who now share the throne of justice, to rise and explain themselves with regard to the matters which have been referred to with such clarity again this afternoon, not only by members of the official opposition but by the hon. member for York-Humber who spoke as a Liberal supporting the government. His speech, I should have thought, would have been answered.

I wish to refer to the Spencer case. I was not here when this subject was discussed in the house the day before yesterday. But I say at once that the decision not to hold a judicial investigation into this matter is a gross perversion of the elementary principles of freedom. The excuse which is given, namely that the security of this nation would be interfered with, is simply a smokescreen, and nothing else.

This man has been pilloried before the Canadian people. He has been given no opportunity to answer. His name was spread across the nation by the minister, in a totally unjustified way, and it is now stated after all this cloak and dagger drama that he is not complaining. Well, that adds to questions that arise. Why? Across this nation people are beginning to wonder whether there is something behind this case that has not been revealed.

[DOT] (4:50 p.m.)

I do not have the time now to refer in detail to the press release of May 8, issued by the Department of External Affairs, but I shall do so on an appropriate occasion. It should be read and reread. It either meant something, or this particular case happened to arise at a time when something had to be brought up in order to cover up the revelations that were being made in the Rivard case.

From time to time it happens that security is undermined, but never before has a man been identified with a government failing to act. Why? Is there any reason to believe that

if Spencer speaks his threat will be implemented to the effect that heads will roll, or heads will swim? If there is not, then why not an investigation by judges, in secret if you will, allowing them to make their report? Otherwise I can only say that the Bill of Rights has been entirely denied-every principle of it.

What is the government covering up? Nothing, the minister says. If it has nothing to cover up why not have a judicial inquiry into this matter? That is the same kind of answer as the hon. gentleman's predecessor gave on November 23, 1964 when the hon. member for Yukon was speaking, and the former minister of justice said, "It is lies," and then within an hour admitted that he knew previously, and it was true.

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LIB

Guy Favreau (President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Favreau:

Mr. Chairman, on a question of privilege-[DOT]

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

The hon. gentleman can make his question of privilege afterwards, if he wants.

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LIB

Guy Favreau (President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Favreau:

I am not going to let the right hon. gentleman continue in the way which he has started now.

On November 23, 1964, when the hon. member for Yukon (Mr. Nielsen) rose to deal with a certain file that had been brought to his attention-

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Chairman, this is not privilege. He is going to make the speech-he ought to have made, and made over and over again.

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LIB

Jean-Thomas Richard

Liberal

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Richard):

Order. I would ask the President of the Privy Council to make his point of privilege.

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LIB

Guy Favreau (President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Favreau:

Mr. Chairman, my question of privilege is that I did not have to retract and what the hon. member for Yukon said then was inaccurate. I said he had lied when he said that one of the persons who had committed an offence against the Criminal Code was in my office. He was wrong.

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LIB

Jean-Thomas Richard

Liberal

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Richard):

Order. I suggest to the President of the Privy Council that if he disagrees with the allegations being made at the present time by the Leader of the Opposition that he should have the opportunity to reply afterwards.

February 25, 1966

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Chairman, we have been waiting for that explanation since November 1964, and I look forward to hearing the explanation because he said, "That is a lie."

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LIB

Guy Favreau (President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Favreau:

Well, it was.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

And it was not, and the hon. gentleman at that time misled the house.

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LIB

Guy Favreau (President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Favreau:

That is a lie.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I want to be perfectly clear. Now we are again getting the same kind of answer in connection with Spencer. This afternoon the hon. member for York-Humber spoke the language of wisdom when he asked for action in this regard, but the government sits quiet. Why? Whose are the heads? Where are the heads that are going to fall or to swim? Spencer does not object. I would like to have the opportunity of examining Spencer and finding out what happened here, because it is a strange thing that he does not object. But he says if anybody dares do anything something is going to happen. I will come back to that next week. I thought this afternoon we would be able to get through, that the minister would get up and answer, but I can tell him and those associated with him that until this is answered we have a responsibility.

I now wish to deal with another matter in the few minutes remaining at my disposal. I have overwhelming respect for the R.C.M.P. I have said that before, and down through the years. I have known them since the days of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. But we have had the Rivard case, we have had the views expressed by the chief justice. If there is one thing above everything else that must be maintained it is that not even by way of suggestion may the mounted police, shall the mounted police, or dare the mounted police be used for anything that savours of the likelihood of politics, and they are being put in an impossible position by this government.

The commissioner of the mounted police ought not to be rushing into print. He ought not be the one who rises in defence of his force. That is the job of the minister. The commissioner ought not to be writing letters to the papers, and I am thinking of the letter that he wrote on November 25. No commissioner, however distinguished his record, in the past ever followed the course of writing

Supply-Justice

the letter which the present one wrote because of an article which appeared in the Globe and Mail of July 8, and which stated:

The short, easy-going lawyer from Sorel, Quebec, moved smoothly and swiftly yesterday into the political hotseat of the Pearson administration, the justice portfolio.

Without waiting for the official swearing-in ceremony, Canada's new justice minister, Lucien Cardin, set up a meeting with R.C.M.P. Commissioner George B. McClellan.

It went on to say:

Commissioner McClellan and the force have been subjected to Increasingly heavy public and private criticism in recent months, especially since the publication of the Dorion report which censured the R.C.M.P.'s handling of the investigation of charges of attempted bribery and influence-peddling in the Lucien Rivard affair.

The two men met privately in Mr. Cardin's old office shortly after the former public works minister was sworn into his new job by Governor General George Vanier at Government House.

Mr. Cardin described the meeting as informal. "I don't like formal meetings," he explained.

That was in July, and on November 25 a letter appeared from the commissioner. I am not admonishing for what was done. I am pointing out that this kind of thing will grow if a government does not scrupulously assure that the R.C.M.P. shall not be in any way held to come under the scrutiny of those who have political purposes in mind. The commissioner wrote this letter:

I have listened with interest recently to your radio advertising campaign stressing the accuracy of Globe and Mail news coverage.

In this atmosphere, you may wish to have a few words with the writer of the attached article (regarding an informal conference between Mr. McClellan and Lucien Cardin) which appeared in the Globe and Mail and which is completely false. No such meeting took place between the Minister of Justice and myself as described by your reporter.

And this is signed "George B. McClellan, Commissioner, R.C.M.P., Ottawa."

It ends up with an editorial note at the bottom saying:

The source of the information in the article referred to was Mr. Lucien Cardin, the Minister of Justice.

I am simply pointing out that the mounted police must be preserved meticulously and courageously from the kind of thing that has been creeping in during the last couple of years, and it is on that I want to speak when the opportunity comes again.

[DOT] (5:00 p.m.)

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Cardin:

Would the Leader of the Opposition permit me to make one clarification?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Yes.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Cardin:

Shortly after the article had appeared in the Globe and Mail I telephoned

February 25, 1966

Private Bills

the editor of the Globe and Mail to tell him there had been an error in the reporting of this incident.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

My point is simply this; the commissioner should not have written this letter. It should have been your responsibility as minister. That is exactly the point.

Progress reported.

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AGRICULTURAL STABILIZATION

February 25, 1966