October 18, 1966

PRIVILEGE

MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER

LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. Perhaps before the min ster proceeds with the statement which yesterday I invited him to make, I may say that the hon. member for Edmon-ton-Strathcona communicated with me earlier today and mentioned that he wanted, as he should have, to indicate the motion that he proposed to move if, yesterday, a question of privilege had been declared to exist by the Chair. This does complicate things a bit for the Chair procedurally, to have no question before the house and I submit that the hon. member should be allowed to read the motion which he should have read yesterday.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Terence Nugent (Edmonton-Strath-cona):

May I apologize to the house, Mr. Speaker, for overlooking this motion previously. I thought Your Honour would make a ruling on the prima facie case and I awaited the call of the Chair but I should not have. I should have indicated the motion; and since the minister can comment not only on the charge but on the motion he should have heard it.

If I may read it now in order to get it before the Chair, my motion is:

That the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona this day-

That refers to October 17, yesterday, and is the question of privilege found on page 8715 of Hansard.

-together with the charge, formally made on Wednesday, October 12, 1966, Hansard page 8577, against the Minister of National Defence, Hon. Paul Hellyer, be referred to the standing committee on privileges and elections to deal with and to inquire into the evidence and the witnesses before the standing committee on national defence during this session of parliament, and the practices and procedures involving witnesses, and evidence in appearances before the said committee, and in particular with regard to Admiral Landy-more's appearance and evidence, and should further report on the conduct and statements of the hon. member and the minister made in connection with this matter before the house and to the press.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I would invite the Minister of National Defence to limit his remarks to the point of the question of privilege raised by the hon. member yesterday.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. Paul Hellyer (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, since the hon. gentleman did not make his motion yesterday, or read the intent of his motion, I am not in a position to do anything except to comment in accordance with the invitation so graciously given yesterday in respect of the narrow point which had been raised by the hon. member when he rose on a question of privilege yesterday afternoon. The matter complained of appears on page 8715 of Hansard. First of all I should like to quote from the Ottawa Journal, Saturday, October 15:

It is apparent that he has had second thoughts and is now engaged in the complete "back-off" which substantiates my contention that the charge was "spurious" designed to damage my reputation rather than to get at the facts.

The hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona then continued:

Those are Mr. Hellyer's words. The minister was speaking about me and his statement clearly imputes an improper motive. His words are so strong as to impugn my very honour and integrity. [DOT] (2:40 p.m.)

The operative word in the quotation attributed to me in the Ottawa Journal is the word "designed". The Concise Oxford Dictionary, fourth edition, gives several meanings for the word "design", including "mental" plan; scheme of attack upon; purpose (whether by accident or)".

In order to be a genuine question of privilege based upon imputing motives, the allegation would have to be that the charge was designed deliberately or knowingly by the hon. member for the purpose of damaging my reputation. The use of the word "designed" by itself indicates quite clearly that the charge could have the consequences I described accidentally, rather than deliberately or knowingly.

I stated in the house on Thursday that I imputed no motive to the hon. gentleman; neither did I in the newspaper article referred to, nor do I now. I did not intend to impugn the honour and integrity of the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona.

October 18. 1966

Question of Privilege

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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?

An hon. Member:

Who is backing off now?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nugent:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I suggest to the hon. member that he has already made his statement. A statement has been made by the minister, and I am sure it is not the wish of the house to engage upon further prolonged debate at this time on this question.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nugent:

Mr. Speaker, it is open to me to suggest whether I accept this statement, or to bring certain matters to your attention. I think the rules do permit that.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member is rising on a point of order now, suggesting that the rules permit him to answer the statement that has been made by the Minister of National Defence. I have some serious doubt about that, but perhaps he would speak to the point of order.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nugeni:

With regard to the citation which was quoted yesterday by Your Honour as to the method of dealing with this problem, which perhaps has been alluded to only fleetingly before, where complaint is made against a member, and before being required to withdraw while the house considers the matter, he is given a chance to make a statement. I do not have the citation in May in front of me, but if some explanation or clarification is required in answer thereto, he may be heard further. I would ask Your Honour to consider-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Would the hon. member kindly give me the citation? I can assure him that this is something entirely new to the Chair. The citation he will find in May is to the effect that the member who is accused and whose statement or conduct is being impugned-in this instance the Minister of National Defence-should be given the opportunity to make a statement, which is what has now been done. I am sure there is no suggestion in May or any precedent to the effect that after that statement has been made the hon. member who raised the matter originally should be allowed to make a second statement. Perhaps the hon. member could find for me the citation or a precedent which would justify the position he is now taking.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nugent:

The citation is in May, Mr. Speaker. Your Honour quoted last night the citation at page 143, and it follows immediately thereafter and concerns the method of

[Mr. Hellyer.l

dealing with these points. It says that where a member makes a statement it may be accepted by the house or he may be asked for clarification. I think it follows within one page thereafter.

I do not want to mislead Your Honour, and I do not have May in front of me, but it does seem to me that a statement is not always completely explanatory and that the house may ask for clarification of it; and I am asking for clarification of it from the minister.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member rose on a point of order claiming that there is a precedent or a citation which he can bring forward in support of his claim that he should be allowed to make some clarification of the statement made by the minister. I have May in front of me; the hon. member can obtain the book from the table. The hon. member said that within one page of the citation that was quoted yesterday there is such a statement. I have the book before me, but I certainly cannot find anything here to justify the claim made by the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona.

Far from trying to limit the hon. member in his contention that he should be allowed to speak a second time on the question he has raised, I think he will admit and all hon. members of the house will agree that I have been as lenient as possible.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nugent:

On a point of order, I have not asked to speak a second time on the point I raised. I asked to speak once on the explanation raised by the minister.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The advice I have received is that there is no precedent to justify the position the hon. member seeks to take now. I have looked at the citations. I am advised from the table that there is nothing to support the contention advanced by the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona, and I must take my responsibilities and face the situation as it is.

The hon. member yesterday raised a very limited question of privilege. It had nothing to do with that general motion which he seeks to move at this time and which I suggest to him far exceeds the very limited signification of the point he raised yesterday. The hon. member suggested that the Minister of National Defence had used words outside the house which impugned the very honour and integrity of the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona. I have studied those words. I have looked into the matter. I can

October 18, 1966

assure the hon. member that since yesterday I have given a great deal of thought to it. I have looked at precedents. I have looked at the rules. I have considered every possible aspect of this matter. I find the difficulty is that the words, as spoken by the minister, were uttered outside the house.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nugent:

He has not backed off them. He must be taken to adopt them.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-OBJECTION TO STATEMENTS BY DEFENCE MINISTER
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October 18, 1966