April 14, 1947 (20th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Mr. STEWART (Winnipeg North):

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

1. Is there an interdepartmental government committee studying methods for the testing of national loyalty of prospective candidates for dominion public service?
2. If not, is there a committee which has as its objective or part of an objective a purpose similar to the above?
3. Who are the members of this committee?
4. What are the criteria for testing loyalty?
5. Has this committee made any report or reports?
Mr. ST. LAURENT: As was indicated to the House of Commons by the Prime Minister on February 10 last, in reply to a question by the hon. member for Wellington North (Hansard, page 247), interdepartmental committees are established by the government from time to time as a means of facilitating the despatch of public business. The reports which they make to the government from time to time are confidential and the government itself accepts full responsibility for whatever action may be taken as a result of advice received from such committees.
Among these, at the present time, is a standing interdepartmental panel on security, composed of officials from the departments and agencies of government from time to time concerned. The function of this panel is to advise on the coordination of the planning, organization and execution of security meas-


ures generally which affect government departments. These measures necessarily include the devising of the best methods of carrying out investigations of applicants for government employment to determine their suitability from a security point of view; but the committee does not deal with individual cases.
Under the terms of the Civil Service Act (sections 4 (a) and 26 (3)) and regulations (Sec. 7) the civil service commission is required to satisfy itself as to the character and habits of persons appointed by it to government employment. These provisions do not however apply to all employees of government departments or agencies nor do they relieve departments of their responsibility for satisfying themselves as to the suitability of individual employees from the security standpoint. "National loyalty" is an aspect of security and it is not considered possible or desirable to establish any rigid criteria for testing loyalty in this sense. As indicated above, ultimate responsibility in this respect rests with the department concerned in each case.

Full View