March 14, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Apart from that, Mr. Speaker, I am sure my hon. friend will agree that I am the last person in this house who would wish to curtail in any way his freedom of discussion; but I do feel that, as leader of the House of Commons, it is part of my duty to see that members of the public service, who are not in a position to speak for themselves during the course of debates which take place in this house, should be protected against any remarks in the nature of a reflection upon themselves, or references to their personal history such as the hon. member I gather was about to make. It must be obvious that members of the public service have to look to the administration for protection in the discharge of their duties; and if deputy ministers or leading public officials or any members of the public service are to be attacked here, in justice to them they should have the right to make reply on their own behalf from wherever they may happen to be. If that method were to be adopted with regard to the conduct of our public affairs I am afraid the public service of the country could not be carried on in the manner in which the country has a right to expect it will be carried on.
I hope my hon. friend will see that in dis-. cussing the matters he is dealing with at the present time, it is not necessary for him to bring in personal matters which really have no bearing on the question before the house.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   CREATION OP DEFENCE PURCHASING BOARD TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR MUNITIONS, EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
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