Mr. Speaker, I shall try to exercise restraint and I promise you that it will not take me very long, but I feel that this is a matter which involves the honour of all hon. members. Therefore I think that it is worth taking two or three minutes to state my argument.
I say that the seriousness of that accusation of dishonesty, swindle, by the government is due, first of all, to the high position held by the person who made it. Coming from a mere nobody, I would suggest that we forget about it, but it was made by the president of a bank who usually does not talk through his hat, who prepares his statements or has them prepared by qualified people and who reads them carefully. Therefore, he did not overlook the word. I say further that the words he chose are of a very great consequence, since in the Oxford dictionary, I read this:
The Oxford dictionary defines swindle as:
An act of swindling: a fradulent transaction or scheme; a cheat, fraud, imposition.
The Larousse dictionary gives as synonyms of "duperie":
escroquerie, fourberie, supercherie, tromperie.
It is unquestionably a serious charge. Moreover, the formal character of the occasion, since he was speaking before an outside
October 25, 1967
Question of Privilege
organisation-namely the International Institute of Finance Officers-makes the charge even more serious and casts even greater doubts upon the integrity of all members of parliament, who would be accused of collusion in such an odious action. The possible repercussions of the whole thing must be kept in mind.
Mr. Speaker, if the government is guilty of such a vile action, it no longer deserves the confidence of the house and I cannot imagine any member who would still be willing to put his trust in it. If not, then Mr. MacKinnon should agree to explain or correct his statement which may have gone beyond his thoughts. And that is why I move, seconded by Mr. Latulippe, that:
The committee on finance, trade and economic affairs, or any other committee empowered to deal with the matter, should meet as soon as possible to summon Mr. Neil J. MacKinnon, president of the Imperial Bank of Commerce, and to enjoin him to justify and specify the charges he made against the government and indirectly against parliament as a whole in a speech delivered at an international conference of the Financial Executives Institute when he said:
And here I quote him verbatim.
Mr. Speaker, I am sending you copies in French and in English of those two documents and I repeat that, in my opinion, this is a serious attack against the integrity and honesty of parliament as a whole which finds itself accused of complicity in a deliberately fraudulent action, which would not be so otherwise, since there is talk of swindle and trickery.
Subtopic: MR. MONGRAIN-CRITICISM BY BANK PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL POLICY