October 20, 1966

PRIVILEGE

MR. NUGENT-MOTION RESPECTING ARTICLE IN "LE DROIT"

PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of personal privilege, which incidentally affects more hon. members than myself in the house. I am sure all hon. members will agree, when I have finished, that what I am about to refer to is a situation which should not be allowed to pass without being questioned.

My question of privilege arises out of an article in Le Droit of October 14 by Marcel Pepin. The article complained of imputes an improper motive to myself and is a gross distortion of the facts of this case as it occurred in the house. As such it is a breach of the privileges of parliament. I intend to move a motion, but first I want to satisfy Your Honour that though the article is dated Friday, October 14, this is my first reasonable opportunity to bring it forward because I was not aware of it and did not get a copy of it until it was handed to me this morning. This is the first chance I have had to bring it to the attention of the house.

The motion I intend to move at the end of my presentation is that this reporter be brought before the bar of parliament to be dealt with. I have and am willing to table a copy of the article complained of, and I rely on the presentation of a translation of that article, since my French is not adequate to deal with it. The translation having been done by my secretary, Mrs. Neault, it can be relied on, as she is very reliable.

The first point I should like to make is this. The article mentions, among other scurrilous attacks, that the question of privilege I raised last Wednesday in this house and the charge I made against the Minister of National Defence were directed from the public galleries by one Admiral Brock. I am sure it will come as a surprise to most members of the house that anybody can tell me how to handle an affair of mine in this house. I need say no more except to deny that there are friends of mine who can direct me, even while I am on my feet. I can assure everyone that is not so.

There is, however, a more serious allegation against myself. The article says that Admiral Brock not only directed me from the gallery, but that witnesses have confirmed that Admiral Brock, who retired three years ago, made a negative sign when the Minister of National Defence challenged me to risk my seat by making a definite accusation of misconduct.

[DOT] (2:40 p.m.)

This is in such direct conflict with the facts so readily available that I need say no more. I am sure the house will remember that when I stood in my place I made the definite and formal charge, and also the way in which that was done. The house will remember that the defence minister did ask me whether my seat was at stake, and I answered that I took full responsibility for my conduct; and of course I am still willing to do so whatever that responsibility may be. If the reporter could possibly have mistaken that I cannot honestly understand why, because it was plain and clear. And if he was so obtuse, then certainly the chief electoral officer was not. I have here a copy of a letter from the chief electoral officer addressed to the electoral officer of my riding, Edmonton-Strathcona, dated October 13, that is last Thursday. He must have known my seat was at stake, because the last paragraph in that letter reads:

If, up to the dissolution of this parliament, the holding of a by-election becomes necessary in the present electoral district of Edmonton-Strathcona, you will, as returning officer for that electoral district, be required to conduct such by-election.

I do not bring that up simply to praise the alertness of the chief electoral officer, but I must say it was obvious to that important official what was at stake in the house in connection with the charge I made.

There are many serious allegations here, not only against myself but against other members of the house. A complete reading of the article would show that this writer has declared that the charges I made in the house in such a responsible manner are really the culmination of a plot by some Conservatives who want to see the navy remain British and Protestant, and who want to keep French Catholics out.

October 20, 1966

Question of Privilege

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-MOTION RESPECTING ARTICLE IN "LE DROIT"
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-MOTION RESPECTING ARTICLE IN "LE DROIT"
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PC

Terence James (Terry) Nugent

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nugent:

I am sure the house can derive amusement from a personal attack on myself.

I realize I have taken up much time on this matter and perhaps I should not have bothered to correct this story about myself, but the suggestions contained therein do such a disservice to the country and to parliament that we cannot allow them to go unchallenged.

Certainly while many suggestions have been made that I have accused the minister of defence of not allowing full information to come before a committee, nothing I said could be considered as suggesting for one second that the Department of National Defence had ever discriminated against anyone on religious grounds, and nothing I said could be taken to mean that the government had at any time discriminated between English and French speaking Canadians.

I would think that since the question I raised involves such serious matters, including, as I alleged, the decline of our committee system and of responsible government, it is the worst kind of disservice to this country to misinterpret facts in an attempt to stir up trouble between religious groups, and introduce questions of this sort into the serious matters which are before the country. When people are made members of the press gallery they are given the privilege of sitting there so they may honestly and truthfully report to the nation those things which go on in the House of Commons.

There is further contained in this article the suggestion that the writer is acting on the advice of an informant. Again I suggest that since the writer is a member of the press gallery he has the responsibility to get his own information and report from his own knowledge. That is why he is allowed the privilege of sitting in the press gallery. I suggest that perhaps his informant should also be brought before this house. Certainly the editor of the newspaper who was guilty of allowing such a scurrilous article to be published, should appear. It is the worst kind of journalism, and the house may wish to consider seriously, whether it will allow any representative of an editor of that kind to attend sittings of this house.

I think, sir, that I am acting quite reasonably when I suggest to the house that my motion should be supported, and my motion is simply this:

That Marcel Pepin be called before the bar of of this house to be dealt with re the breach of

privileges of this house, as charged this date, by the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona. concerning the article of October 14, 1966 in Le Droit under his name.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-MOTION RESPECTING ARTICLE IN "LE DROIT"
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Will the hon. member file the article with the Clerk of the House, and I shall ask him to read the article very slowly.

The Clerk:

Le Droit, Ottawa, Friday, October 14, 1966.

SOME ADMIRALS WANT TO PRESERVE THE ANGLO-PROTESTANT CHARACTER OF THE NAVY, by Maecel Pepin.

Certain retired admirals have vowed that the navy would remain what it has always been, that is, British and Protestant. The Conservative outburst of passion against Mr. Paul Hellyer, Minister of National Defence, is the work of two retired admirals who have not swallowed the appointment of General Jean-V. Allard as head of the integrated forces, with full authority over the navy.

That explanation was given to us by no other than an English speaking military man, well aware of the situation.

The two rebels are Rear Admiral William Landy-more, dismissed by Mr. Hellyer for insubordination, and his predecessor, Admiral Brock.

The latter directed from the public gallery the attack of the Conservative member Terry Nugent against hon. Mr. Hellyer, Wednesday.

Not only did he make signs to the member, but he also sent him messages during the debate. Witnesses have stated that Admiral Brock, who has been retired for three years, made a negative sign when Mr. Hellyer called on Mr. Nugent to put his seat at stake by making a specific charge of improper conduct.

Our informant maintains that half a dozen superior navy officers have been plotting at the Chester Club in Halifax since the appointment of General Allard.

The Chester Club, a classical WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) style institution, groups retired admirals or other officers of the navy whose mission it is to keep the navy British in character.

The appointment of General Allard and the replacement of Rear-Admiral Landymore by Rear-Admiral O'Brien, an Irish Catholic, has angered the defenders of the bastion.

The counter-revolution finally reached the House of Commons. Messrs. Landymore and Brock have been haunting the corridors of parliament for the last two days, and they spend their evenings with Conservative members of parliament, engaged in perfecting a strategy to make the government retreat.

Even if it is sometimes painful to change at a single stroke the spirit of a body as closed as the Royal Canadian Navy, the Department of National Defence is quite determined to win the battle.

Heretofore, no French Canadian could make his way in the navy, but nobody ever decreed that the naval defence of this country was the exclusive privilege of Anglo-Saxons, explained our informant.

''It is not by voting resolutions recognizing the equality between the two groups that Canada will come out of the current crisis uninjured, but by crushing reactionary forces in facts. We in the Defence Department are ready to do our part", concluded our informant.

October 20, 1966

I English]

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-MOTION RESPECTING ARTICLE IN "LE DROIT"
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PC

J. Michael Forrestall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Forrestall:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I just wish to make one observation; that the report of the presence of Rear Admiral William Landymore in this house is absolutely unfounded and false. I speak as his member of parliament when I say that.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-MOTION RESPECTING ARTICLE IN "LE DROIT"
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I have listened to the interpretation of the article read by the Clerk of the House, and it seems to be a reasonable translation of the article as I read it when it was brought to my attention by the hon. member. The claim made by the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona against a member of the press gallery is, of course, a very serious one and one that deserves consideration, and certainly I do not think I should make a decision immediately on such a very serious matter.

I would ask the indulgence of the hon. member and of the house to give me an opportunity to study precedents on this type of complaint and decide on the course to be taken, namely whether I should decide that there is a question of privilege and give effect to the proposal of the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona that the member of the press gallery be brought before the bar of the house.

[DOT] (2:50 p.m.)

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. NUGENT-MOTION RESPECTING ARTICLE IN "LE DROIT"
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FINANCE, TRADE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS


Third report of standing committee on finance, trade and economic affairs-Mr. Gray. [Note: Text of the foregoing report appears in today's Votes and Proceedings.]


AIR TRANSPORT

TABLING OF STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES RESPECTING REGIONAL AIR CARRIERS

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, for the information of hon. members I should like to table a statement of principles for the guidance of the Air Transport Board and the Department of Transport with regard to regional air carriers, in English and in French.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   TABLING OF STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES RESPECTING REGIONAL AIR CARRIERS
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EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

?

Hon. Paul Marlin@Secretary of Stale for External Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as agreed, I 23033-5831

Canada Labour (Safety) Code should like to table the joint communique of the fourth meeting of the Canada-Japan ministerial committee held on October 5 and 6, 1966.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF COMMUNIQUE FOLLOWING JAPANESE-CANADIAN MINISTERIAL MEETING
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IMMIGRATION

ESTABLISHMENT OF JOINT COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER WHITE PAPER, ETC.

LIB

Jean Marchand (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Marchand (Minister of Manpower and Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, Votes and Proceedings of this morning contains notice of a motion to establish the joint committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the white paper on immigration, If I may have the unanimous consent of the house I should like to move that motion in order to permit the committee to start its work as early as possible.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF JOINT COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER WHITE PAPER, ETC.
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Has the minister leave of the house to present the motion to which he referred?

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF JOINT COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER WHITE PAPER, ETC.
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   IMMIGRATION
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF JOINT COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER WHITE PAPER, ETC.
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October 20, 1966