Mr. Jack A. Irvine (London):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege arising out of proceedings in this house. Previous to the opening of parliament I sent in certain questions for the order paper, one of which became question No. 48. It was supposed to have been answered yesterday, but I suggest that what was given was hardly in the nature of a reply.
The question had to do with the cost of advertising in various daily newspapers throughout the country regarding the proposed federal electoral districts. The answer I received to my question is as follows:
As was stated in reply to question No. 148 on February 2. 1966, pages 585-6 ol Hansard, the commissions set up under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act do not report to the government so that the government does not have records giving the information sought in this question. Under section 10 of the act the commissions are not agencies of Her Majesty. Reports of the commissions are made directly to the House of Commons.
Mr. Speaker, are not the readjustment commissions directly or indirectly employed by this house? Are they not responsible to anyone, or do they just kind of sail off all by themselves and do whatever they wish? Can they squander perhaps millions of dollars of the taxpayers' money and not have to account for it? This seems to me to be very unreasonable.
[DOT] (2:40 p.m.)
I think there are many people throughout the country and in this house who want to know exactly how much this program did cost. I would not say it looks as though it was money thrown into an election campaign, because I do not think that would be fair, but some time I would like to move or cause to be moved if it is not my prerogative, that the redistribution commissions be not paid until such time as they have made a proper accounting to the members of this house of exactly how much money was spent and in what manner it was spent. The people of Canada want to know this, Mr. Speaker, and I should like to know it too.
Subtopic: MR. IRVINE-INABILITY TO OBTAIN ELECTORAL COMMISSION REPORTS