July 23, 1969

PRIVILEGE

MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Frank Howard (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker,

I rise on a question of privilege of which I have given Your Honour notice. The question of privilege relates to answers given to two questions, one of which was provided yesterday, and a return made pursuant to an order passed by the house in February relating to certain correspondence between the government and a public relations firm.

I should like first to refer to the order for return for correspondence between the public relations firm of Berger, Tisdall, Clark and Lesley Limited and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. There is within that return, under the heading of "Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Indian Affairs Branch", a payment voucher which says in part:

Pay to: Glendon College Forum

Cheque to be sent to:

J. Shelton, Room 790 by August 28, 1968.

The payment voucher also contains the following information:

Date: 22/3/68

Interim payment to prepare a report on student attitudes to Indian problems as per attached service contract dated 9/8/68.

Amount: $500.

One of the questions I asked was whether the report referred to had been completed. I was not sure whether the date "9/8/68" referred to September 8, 1968 or August 9, 1968, so in the earlier instance I inquired with respect to September 8, 1968. The answer I received was:

This department has no knowledge of any service contract dated September 8, 1968 or any subsequent report on student attitudes to Indian problems pursuant to that service contract.

Thinking I had the wrong date, I rephrased the question and asked again for the information relating to the report on student attitudes to Indian problems pursuant to a service contract dated August 9, 1968. This appeared to

be the correct date of the payment voucher. The answer I received was:

A search of the records has been made and no contract dated August 9, 1968 for the purpose of studying student attitudes to Indian problems was found.

In consequence of the two answers provided, each of which said there was no contract or none could be found, and the information provided in the order for return in the form of a photostatic copy of a payment voucher in the amount of $500 to prepare a report on student attitudes to Indian problems as per attached service contract dated that day, I submit that the privileges of the house have been offended and incorrect information has been provided to the house in the answers to the questions or the answer provided in the order for return. Therefore I believe there is a question of privilege. I wish to make a motion. It is perhaps not written as legibly as Your Honour would like it to be but I move, seconded by the hon. member for Timiska-ming (Mr. Peters):

That the answers to question Nos. 2,096 and 2,466. and a return provided pursuant to the motion for production of papers No. 77, and the apparent conflict between these documents be referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Skeena gave the Chair notice of the question of privilege he proposes to bring to the attention of the house at this time. I have given the matter consideration and I have listened with interest to the submissions of the hon. member.

On past occasions we have had the suggestion made to the house that this type of complaint against answers given by ministers legitimately gives rise to a question of privilege. I have very serious doubts about this. Hon. members know there are many precedents to indicate that the failure of a minister or a department to give a reply, or the fact that a member may not be satisfied with an answer given by a minister, or that a member may think that two answers are contradictory, or that the answer given is contrary to the facts, does not do so. All this in my estimation is debatable, and in any event, according to our precedents, has never been a legitimate foundation for questions of privilege and, as far as I can judge such cases have never been

.

July 23, 1969

Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, who stated there had been a loss of sales of wheat to Japan? Is the minister doing anything to assist the negotiations which are taking place and to make sure there will be no disruption of shipping in Vancouver harbour, with the consequent loss of further wheat sales?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

Mr. Speaker, I have on several occasions been in communication with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce about the possibility of the port of Vancouver closing down during the month of August. This is always a possibility, as I have said on many occasions, in the type of democratic country that we have. Under our democratic system strikes are legal. Despite our best efforts there is a possibility that management may not feel it appropriate to pay the unions the sum of money for which they are asking and, conversely, the unions may not be prepared to accept the offer of management. In a democratic country, such as Canada, there is no legislation that prevents anybody exercising their legal right to go on strike or to lock out when and if they have complied with the law as it now exists. In the meantime we are doing everything possible to afford the maximum degree of mediation between both parties to avert such a catastrophe.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Harvey Aiken

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. H. Aiken (Parry Sound-Muskoka):

supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. Will the Minister of Labour use his good offices to persuade the President of the Privy Council, to continue his negotiations with the opposition?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

Mr. Speaker, I have found in the few cases in which I have been involved that it requires good will on both sides to bring about a settlement.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Bryce Stuart Mackasey (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. Mackasey:

The only evidence of good will that I have seen has been on this side of the house and not the other. The problem of the President of the Privy Council is to find good will on the part of all parties in attempting to negotiate.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please.

Inquiries of the Ministry DRUGS

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Permalink
NDP

Winona Grace MacInnis

New Democratic Party

Mrs. Grace Maclnnis (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of National Health and Welfare. On July 10 the hon. member for Winnipeg North asked the minister whether he would make a statement on motions regarding the study released on July 9, prepared for the United States Food and Drug Directorate, which showed that large numbers of prescription drugs are ineffective. The minister replied that he would be glad to consider making a statement. Is he now prepared to make such a statement and, if not, can he indicate on which day it will be made?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   ALLEGED INEFFECTIVENESS OF PRESCRIPTION PRODUCT
Permalink
LIB

John Carr Munro (Minister of Amateur Sport; Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Hon. John C. Munro (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

I still have that matter under consideration, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HOWARD (SKEENA)-CONFLICT IN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   ALLEGED INEFFECTIVENESS OF PRESCRIPTION PRODUCT
Permalink

NATIONAL REVENUE

INGERSOLL, ONT.-STEPS TO RESTORE CUSTOMS SERVICES

PC

Wallace Bickford (Wally) Nesbitt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. B. Nesbitt (Oxford):

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of National Revenue. About two weeks ago I asked the minister a question concerning the closing of the customs port of Ingersoll, Ontario, and the matter was discussed during an adjournment debate. At that time the minister indicated he would be able to reply a little later. Is he now in a position to do so?

Topic:   NATIONAL REVENUE
Subtopic:   INGERSOLL, ONT.-STEPS TO RESTORE CUSTOMS SERVICES
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Julien Jean-Pierre Côté (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Hon. Jean-Pierre Cote (Minister of National Revenue):

Mr. Speaker, I gave a reply in the adjournment debate. I said I was waiting for more information from the hon. member, which I have received. However, I am not in a position to give a final answer now.

Topic:   NATIONAL REVENUE
Subtopic:   INGERSOLL, ONT.-STEPS TO RESTORE CUSTOMS SERVICES
Permalink
IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I regret to advise hon. members that it is six o'clock. I apologize to hon. members who have important questions to ask. We may have a longer question period tomorrow. For the moment I have to inform the house that it being six o'clock I do now leave the chair. This house stands adjourned until two o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

Topic:   NATIONAL REVENUE
Subtopic:   INGERSOLL, ONT.-STEPS TO RESTORE CUSTOMS SERVICES
Permalink

At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to Standing Order. Inquiries of the Ministry Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, the minister of that department hopes to be in the house tomorrow to answer questions. Perhaps the hon. member would ask his question then.


PRICES AND INCOMES COMMISSION

July 23, 1969