February 13, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Jean-François Pouliot



Then I continue:
Q. You were solicitor for the-
A. I was the solicitor.
Q. Had you no realization of what an exclusive licence in Canada to manufacture the Bren gun meant?
A. Precisely, Mr. Commissioner.
Q. Who told you to put it in?
A. It was put in earlier. If you will look at the draft that was considered at the interdepartmental committee, at the first meeting that the committee had had, I think in January, and the clause that was inserted in there at the request of this officer, whoever it was, who saw me on December 22, you will notice there that there was an exclusive clause in that.
Bren Gun-Mr. Pouliot

Then I quote from page 3996:
A Unless I was instructed to the
contrary I was not going to_ remove anything on my own volition. I never liked it.
Here is a matter not of right or wrong but a matter of liking or not liking it. Then at page 4006:
By the Commissioner:
Q. Did you have to say up until three o'clock in the morning that time while the committee was meeting?
That was in the middle of March.
A. Yes, sir. I was there until three o'clock and I left my office at a quarter to eight the following morning. I was present in my office.
Q. And there were communications passing to and fro between the interdepartmental committee and yourself?
A. That is correct, sir. Sometimes they would send a note up, other times I would get a phone message to attend and I would go down and attend. _
Q. And you were there until three o'clock in the morning?
A. I was.
Q. Great haste, was there not?
A. Very much so.
Q. Did you understand you had to stay up all night until three o'clock in the morning?
A. Well, I was instructed by my chief to attend and be on hand as the committee needed me.
There was the judge advocate general; there was the interdepartmental committee that was helping him with that contract, and the work of this gentleman and of the committee was so slow that after four months they had nothing ready in finished form. Therefore the deputy minister told the judge advocate general to stay that night in order to have it finished ready to present to council the next day. Apparently the British government was very anxious to have this contract completed.
Q. Whom do you mean by your chief?
A. The deputy minister of the Department of National Defence.
Then in discussing the work of the interdepartmental committee and also the work of the judge advocate general in drafting the contract, the commissioner said:
I am inquiring into the competency of those charged with the responsibility of drafting the contract.
Then, at page 4011, the commissioner continued :
Q. I am thinking of the hour. You worked through until 7.30 in the morning?
A. I did, sir.
Q. I sympathize with you very much. I sympathize with you very, very much. And you had no other legal help in this matter?
A. No.
Q. You just worked all night trying to put the document in the best shape you could?
A. There were two mistakes.

Q. You tried to put the document in the best shape you could? You were directed to stay to do this? I think you said, "1 was directed to do this or required to do this." By whom?
A. My instructions from the deputy minister were that this had to be ready for cabinet council at eleven o'clock the following morning.
Q. That is the system?
He had to work all night because he had done nothing useful in the previous four months. Then I quote from page 4021:
A. I attended a conference with Major Hahn and Mr. J. F. Lash, K.C., in the suite of offices of Blake, Lash, Anglin & Cassels.
By Mr. Ralston:
Q. Is that the first time you saw Mr. Lash in connection with this matter?
A. Yes.
That was March 28 or 29, in reference to the British contract. Then at page 4045 there is a letter from Colonel Orde to Major Hahn, an official letter which is extended in the evidence; and do you know how the judge advocate general, counsel for the Department of National Defence, addressed Major Hahn? Was it "Dear Major"? Was it "My dear sir"? No; it was "My dear Jim." He had known Major Hahn for only four months, but apparently they became very intimate.
Then at page 4048 there is a reference to the proposed British agreement which was made subsequent to the final draft of the Canadian agreement. Incorporated in the draft of the proposed British agreement were the changes which were consequential upon the interdepartmental committee meeting. Then Colonel Orde continued:
... I took one copy of this draft, of the proposed agreement which I called my working copy, which had in it the various changes discussed at the meeting-

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