March 21, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


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


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

Mr. Speaker, may I say first to my hon. friend that I had nothing whatever to do with the matter myself. The arrangement of Hansard is in the hands of the Hansard staff. Where on previous occasions there have been obvious omissions or transpositions of some kind, in the arrangement of Hansard those omissions or transpositions are usually dealt with as the editor of a paper would deal with any matter of the kind in presenting it in its final form. I inquired last night as to what Hansard proposed to do, whether it was proposed to insert verbatim et literatim the little interjections with regard to a page being missed out of my statement and the whole repeated as reread. I was informed that Hansard proposed to have the matter printed as if the page had not been omitted, and simply give the full account as was originally intended and as subsequently read. I understood that Hansard-I may be wrong-before taking that step had intended to speak to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) to see if he would have any objection, but the leader of the opposition not being here in the evening, I am informed the matter was then referred to the chief whip of the Conservative party. That is what I am informed. The chief whip, I was told, said he thought it would be quite right to have Hansard printed without indicating the brief exchange concerning the omission of a page that had taken place. I believe that was the courtesy which was extended by hon. gentlemen opposite-I may be wrong. But certainly
I should think in any circumstances it was quite a proper thing for Hansard to have done. If I had altered any sentence or remark in the second reading of the statement as read on the first occasion or had in any way sought to deceive the house about what was purely an omission occasioned by a failure on the part of a stenographer to copy one of the concluding pages, I think there would have been something to the point which my hon. friend has raised. But for the purpose of the intelligent reading of Hansard as a matter of record I think it was much better to have repetition avoided and the complete statement put in the form in which it was.
I may say to my hon. friend that when I came back into the house with the complete statement the hon. leader of the opposition indicated to me across the floor of the house that it might be best to read it from the beginning in its entirety so that all members would have the complete context, and I did that. I thought at the time my hon. friend was seeking to assure me that that would be the best way of proceeding, if I was to have the statement in its entirety' as it appeared'. I am giving my hon. friend the situation as I understand it. If there has been any fault in the matter, I hope it will be put on my shoulders as leader of the house. If Hansard were to come to me and ask me what I thought was correct in the matter of reporting the proceedings of the house in a case of that kind, I would say it was much better to have Hansard state the situation as hon. members would wish to see it stated, rather than in any way unnecessarily to burden Hansard with something that did not affect the proceedings.

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