April 15, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)


Sir ROBERT BORDEN (Prime Minister) :

Having regard to the gravity of
the conditions which are confronting the Allied nations at the present time, and with the view of informing hon. members of this House in a confidential way as to certain matters upon which it is advisable that they should be informed, and as to which confidential information in regard to military exigencies could not properly be given in an ordinary session of the House, I have conferred with the right hon. gentleman who leads the Opposition as to the holding of ia secret session of this House. The conclusion I have reached in conjunc-

tion with my colleagues is that such a session should he held in the immediate future. It will he possible when that session is held, to explain much more in detail the reasons on account of which I think it is desirable. I therefore, move:
Resolved that the sitting of Wednesday next, the seventeenth day of April, instant, shall he a secret session until the House shall then otherwise order, and that all strangers be ordered to withdraw during such secret session ;
Provided however, that this Order shall not affect the privilege enjoyed by members of the Senate of being present at Debates in this House.
Resolved further that a message be sent to the Senate acquainting their Honours with the terms of this Resolution.
Under ordinary conditions, it is most unusual that a secret session of either House of Parliament should be held. However, during the past two years secret sessions of the British Parliament have been held on several occasions. There were two in the spring of 1916. There were two, I think, in the spring of 1917, one of which was held about the time my colleagues and I were leaving England. There was a secret session held by the British House of Commons in the month of December last and another in January. It seems desirable that under existing conditions the same course should be followed here on this occasion.

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