I said, at the time it was asked for,
I did not know whether it was proper for legal opinions from law officers of the crown to be produced in parliament. X discovered later that it was not; but my hon. friend said he would like to look at it himself. Knowing what a good lawyer he was, I had no objection to showing it to him, and I did give him a copy of the memorandum the other day .. .
Perhaps that was improper; I do not know. In any event, I did it.
So there was a written opinion. Perhaps it would be interesting to hear Mr. Abbott's rejection of the motion by the hon. member for Eglinton on this matter. I am reading from volume 1 of Hansard for 1948, at page 331 where Mr. Abbott is reported as follows:
The policy which the government announces is the government's policy and it must stand or fall by that policy. It takes its advice from the permanent civil servants and in some cases accepts that advice and in other cases rejects it, for reasons. The government itself must take the decision. But to suggest that permanent civil servants should be subject to questioning as to what advice they have given the government would, if followed, be completely destructive of our parliamentary system of responsible government. I know of no case in which any suggestion has been made before this one to which I am referring. It has never been made in the British House of Commons. To my knowledge it has never been made before here and I hope this is the last time it will be made.
I am still quoting from Mr. Abbott.
One of the strengths of any British parliamentary government is the permanent civil service which goes on from government to government. The government may change but the permanent civil service is always there, ready to advise and carry on the functions of government. If we are going to expose the permanent civil service to personal attack and innuendoes and call them to account for
advice they have given to their political superiors, I say that we shall not be able to get any sort of first-class men in our civil service.
Subtopic: CORRESPONDENCE RESPECTING SURCHARGE ORDER IN COUNCIL