Mr. L. A. MUTCH (Winnipeg South):
Speaking, sir, on the question of privilege as one of those to whom the remarks made in the house yesterday refer, may I say that I have no interest in the views of the hon. member who made those remarks, neither have I any confidence in his judgment as to my capacity either as a member of this house or as a member of the armed forces in which I have the honour to serve this country. He is entitled to his views and I and my constituents are entitled to put any interpretation upon them that fits the circumstances.
The question whether one is capable of doing the two jobs at the same time is hardly relevant because I think none of those present in the House of Commons in uniform was ever attempting at the same time to carry on his military duties but was here on regular leave. I have come here on two occasions while on my annual leave, and on every other occasion and for every day or part thereof on which I have been absent from my duties as an officer of his majesty's forces I have been absent without pay. That is nothing unusual; it is the same with everybody else, but I think it is time somebody brought this point out into the open.
So far as I am concerned, with all due deference to hon. members of the house and the people who sent me here, I should have no difficulty in determining where my duty lay. I had no difficulty before, and if misfortune overtakes us I shall have no difficulty again, because I have to live with myself. But I am concerned for hon. members of this house who have gone overseas and have given distinguished service there in the organization of the Canadian army-distinguished service which has been recognized by those with whom they deal. If they do make an appearance in this house once in two years and give an informative, not to say discursive description of what is going on within the armed forces they should not be subjected, nor should the people who sent them here, to the kind of suggestion which was made in this
Members Serving in Armed Forces
house yesterday. It is not indicative of a helpful spirit or calculated to induce people who put public service before personal aggrandizement to enter the service. It is no encouragement to them; therefore, so far as one may reasonably and calmly resent that type of suggestion I raise my voice in protest against it.
Subtopic: MR. LAPOINTE (LOTBINIERE)-REFERENCE IN DEBATE ON FEBRUARY 4 TO MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT SERVING IN ARMED FORCES