January 14, 1970

PRIVILEGE

MR. HEES-TIME OF RELEASE OF PRICE INDEX FIGURES BY BUREAU OF STATISTICS

PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Hon. George Hees (Prince Edward-Hasl-ings):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege to set the record straight on a matter of importance affecting the integrity of the government.

Yesterday I implied, by my question about who ordered the change in time for making public the monthly cost of living figures from 8 a.m. to half an hour after the House meets, that the government was employing some nefarious means of hiding the facts in an effort to blunt a possible attack on itself.

I have examined this situation carefully in the intervening 24 hours and I find that this variation in the time of release was made at the request of the Press Gallery to give the morning papers an even break on this important news each month. I also find to my great surprise that the minister who authorized this variation is none other than the present member for Prince Edward-Hastings.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HEES-TIME OF RELEASE OF PRICE INDEX FIGURES BY BUREAU OF STATISTICS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HEES-TIME OF RELEASE OF PRICE INDEX FIGURES BY BUREAU OF STATISTICS
Permalink

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS


Third report of Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs-Mr. Tolmie.


EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

LIB

Mitchell William Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. Mitchell Sharp (Secretary of Slate for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the House would like to have the latest information we have received from Lagos. First, may I report to the House that the resolution passed last evening was forwarded within an hour to our High Commissioner in Lagos and delivered by him to the Nigerian authorities.

While we have not yet received the official report of the observer team, we have had a preliminary message from Brigadier General Drewry, who returned last night from the Third Division area. Major Bristoe, who went to the First Division area, is still in the field. Brigadier General Drewry visited Aba, Ikot-Ekpene, Umuahia and Owerri. He reports that the Biafran forces are surrendering en masse and discarding their uniforms and equipment. He found no evidence of any atrocities. The physical condition of the refugees is much better than was feared, and they are being fed by the army wherever possible.

Brigadier General Drewry reports that the military authorities in the area are confident that they can cope with the refugees and prisoners of war problems in their areas of responsibility, and that the Nigerians are determined to sort out their relief problems on their own. Brigadier General Drewry's message refers, however, to the shortage of trucks which is also underlined by the report we have today received from our High Commissioner in Lagos.

The problem of delivery of food and drugs has been greatly simplified by the Biafran collapse. Road and river routes are now open and delivery distances are much shorter.

Although there is reassurance in the reports I have received, no one would wish to underestimate the gravity of the problems in the battle area and Eastern Nigeria generally.

One of these problems appears to be the shortage of trucks. We have already made money available which can be used by the Nigerians to purchase trucks locally. The government has instructed CIDA to check urgently the availability of suitable trucks in Canada and is investigating means of delivery. As the House knows, our Hercules aircraft remain on the alert, and are available for delivery purposes to Nigeria or a neighbouring country if this proves to be feasible.

The House will also be interested to learn that we are contributing $200,000 to UNICEF to support its increased program in Nigeria.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the statement made by the Secretary

January 14, 1970

Canadian Action on Nigeria-Biafra of State for External Affairs was intended to give comfort, but it certainly does not do so.

[DOT] (2:10 p.m.)

It is clear that the government has received no word from the government of Nigeria with respect to the approval of any plan to provide relief through Canairelief or any other agency. Indeed, to judge from the rebuff received by the British in their attempt to make arrangements to fly in a modest amount of medical and other supplies there is every reason to believe that the government of Nigeria does not intend to accept assistance from outside. This would not be a cause for concern if there were not widespread fear of genocide and if there were confidence that the government of Nigeria was sufficiently well organized and had the capacity to bring the massive relief to these areas which is necessary immediately. Some, at least, who are familiar with the area-and I understand this view was expressed to the committee last night-doubt very much that the Nigerian authorities, including the armed forces, are in a position to make this kind of relief available.

We are confronted here with a very serious situation. This government all along has pursued a policy the only justification for which was that it would enable the government to remain on friendly terms with the government of Nigeria and thus be in a position to be helpful after hostilities ceased. This attitude prevented the government from furnishing relief to starving Nigerians on a scale which would have been possible while the fighting was going on. It looks, now, as though it will produce nothing at all by way of results. Meanwhile, as far as one can judge the Secretary of State for External Affairs and the government are sitting quietly by, sending messages to Nigeria and getting a certain amount of information from our observer team but taking no steps at all to bring home to the government of Nigeria the concern of the civilized world, not about the intentions of the government of Nigeria, which we are not entitled to assume are ill, but about its capacity and ability to prevent massive starvation, as well as our concern that the civilized world should not be prevented at this time from affording the relief which it is in a position to supply.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

This situation, in which there are masses of people in danger of starvation

while outside countries are in a position to assure that this danger can be relieved if they are permitted to take action in co-operation with the constituted authorities, is surely absurd. I do not think the government is doing anything like enough to bring home to the government of Nigeria the concern felt about this situation by the people of Canada and, indeed, of the world. .

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

The government has evidently indicated that it is prepared to make more observers available but we have not even yet received an assurance from the minister that he or any minister of the government has urged or, indeed, insisted that the international observer team be enlarged so that it can do a proper job.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
LIB

Mitchell William Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Sharp:

How do you insist?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

You do so by making

representations directly-

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
LIB

Mitchell William Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Sharp:

That is what I did.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

-which the hon. gentleman did not do.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
LIB

Mitchell William Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Sharp:

Oh yes, I have.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink
PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

Furthermore, you participate in organizing civilized opinion. Other countries are interested in this situation, and the United Nations is still in existence.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   NIGERIA-CANADIAN ACTION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE
Permalink

January 14, 1970