-with respect to a national air policy. The Minister of Transport was obviously prepared to answer on orders of the day; he had a written statement in his hand.
Question of Privilege
He was prevented, however, by Your Honour from doing so; in other words Your Honour ruled the question out of order and it was transferred for debate on the adjournment at ten o'clock last night. The question was again raised last night and a question of privilege was attempted to be raised by the hon. member for Northwest Territories (Mr. Rheaume), when we got into this situation.
The situation would never have arisen if the minister had followed the usual custom and practice of making government policy announcements on motions, even if he had to resort to the practice followed by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Martin) the other night when he asked at six o'clock to revert to motions in order to make an important announcement concerning government policy. We have had the occurrence time and again throughout this session of ministers leaking or releasing information on government policy to the press before the members of this house are informed.
The vehicles that are used, too, come in for some criticism. Here we have a publicly owned broadcasting system for which the minister is responsible, or which at least reports through the minister to parliament; and he uses his position of responsibility in order to make public announcements over the C.B.C. This practice of the minister is quite reprehensible to me, and I am quite sure to a good many other members in this house.
Subtopic: MR. NIELSEN STATEMENT BY TRANSPORT MINISTER ON TELEVISION RATHER THAN IN HOUSE