February 22, 1944

LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The evidence is not before the house and I have already ruled several times on that point. I have given considerable latitude to the hon. gentleman but I think he is exceeding reasonable latitude in the grounds upon which he bases his case. I must ask him to confine himself to the amendment.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

Sir, I will cut short immediately what I have to say about the conduct of the committee, although I do think it is very important that the people of Canada should "know just what their members do when they sit in committee, and they are entitled to have this evidence. This young man went on to say that while he was labour relations officer to the office of war production in the United States, the C.I.O. aluminum workers of the Pacific northwest were very much concerned at the extent of the Arvida development, where the costs, and in particular the labour costs, were lower than they were in the Pacific northwest. I said to him-

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. If we are to have the evidence tabled, and I should like to have it tabled, it will then be in order to refer to it, but this business of an hon. member of the house rising in his place and supposedly reciting directly from his memory of the evidence is not, I submit, within the rules. Last evening when I was called to order I was not even doing that. I obeyed your ruling immediately, although there were several other points I wished to make.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I think this is the fourth time I have had to rise in this connection. I must ask the hon. member to confine his remarks solely to the amendment that is before the house. I cannot permit him to quote the evidence or even to refer to what witnesses may or may not have said.

War Expenditures-Mr. Jackman

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

I was only endeavouring to show the importance of getting the evidence tabled.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have refused permission to other hon. members to make quotations from' the evidence or deal with matters coming before the committee, on the ground that there is only one issue before the house at this moment, and that is the production or nonproduction of the evidence.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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NAT

Harry Rutherford Jackman

National Government

Mr. JACKMAN:

Mr. Speaker, I shall not

only cheerfully accept your ruling, as I always do, but rest happy in the expectation that the evidence will be tabled, so that the evids ence in regard to C.I.O. workers in the United States as against our own people in the Arvida district will be known to the people of Canada.

Coming once again to the amendment, I take issue with the arguments advanced by the Prime Minister yesterday when he said not only that the hearings should be in camera but that the evidence in this particular case should not be tabled. At page 709 of Hansard he said:

I submit that there must be the best of reasons for having sittings held in camera or the parliament at Westminster would not have followed that procedure in the last war and insisted upon it in this.

I believe that in Canada we are too prone to follow' blindly the practice not only of Westminster "but of the people of Great Britain. Certainly I take second place to no one in my admiration for the people of Great Britain. But I do think that faced with the same circumstances as those we have to consider here they would not do as they do now in the circumstances which prevail over there, and I think we must always bear that in mind. I have sufficient confidence in the ability not only of this government, if you like, but of the membership of this house, to make our own rules for our own conditions without borrowing too largely from across the water or across the line. There are differences (between the situation here and the situation in Great Britain. There they have a national government; we have not a national government here. Furthermore, the division of the parties in the house is much more nearly equal there than it is here. Arising out of that fact is the constitution of this committee. Here we have six members belonging to the official opposition and the two groups to my left out of a total committee of twenty-four. That makes it impossible to carry on the work, because it is not possible to be present at the committee at all times.

My time is running short. I should like to have quoted the Prime Minister's own remarks regarding the suggested British commonwealth

[Mr. Speaker.!

council when he said that he went over there alone and had to face all the cabinet ministers of Great Britain, with their secretariats, and so forth. It is a difficult position for members to be in when they are greatly out of balance, one way or the other, in membership on a committee. While I feel that the Prime Minister has adhered strictly and even generously to the parliamentary- proportions in appointing members to the committees, nevertheless he might well feel, as I hope he will feel, that the interests of the country- and the interests of the war will be better served if the opposition groups are given greater representation on committees.

There is, moreover, in Great Britain the closeness of the enemy. We here are removed by many thousands of miles from the enemy, and protected not only by our own navy but by the Royal Navy, the R.A.F. and the R.C.A.F. But if we are to borrow our ideas from other places and not think them out for ourselves, as we are quite capable of doing, we might borrow from the Truman committee in the United States, which carries on like work in the open. Nothing is done there behind closed doors. The public may know for themselves exactly what goes on in that committee. The Prime Minister said further, yesterday- Hansard, page 710:

I come back again to what I was saying. In addition to the reasons for the in camera proceedings which I have presented, there is the further one of what ,may be given, wholly unexpectedly, in the nature of aid or comfort to the enemy.

We have had the evidence taken in this aluminum subcommittee; we know what is in it. The Minister of Munitions and Supply yesterday said he was quite agreeable to tabling it; and I sometimes feel that if there were more business men and fewer politicians in this house we would get things done more effectively. I challenge the government and any member of the committee to put his finger on one iota of the evidence the disclosure of which is contrary to the public interest or would give any aid or comfort to the enemy.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member's time has expired.

Mr. VICTOR QUELCI-I (Acadia): I intend to be brief in my remarks, but I wish to say a few words, because it seems to me that hon. members are in a very difficult position. It is almost impossible to vote intelligently on this question. Personally I was not a member of the committee; I have not seen all the evidence; and after listening to a number of hon. members who were on the committee I find

War Expenditures-Mr. Quelch ..

that there is wide disagreement among them as to exactly what the evidence was and what took place. The report states that none of the allegations of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) was substantiated, and yet I must admit that yesterday, on the basis of the evidence which he referred to, he made a pretty strong case. Apparently the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) was astounded at some figures quoted by the hon. member, because this is what the minister stated in the house-Hansard,

page 704:

My hon. friend is telling me of evidence given before the committee which seems to be incredible. That evidence may have been given; I have no way of knowing whether it was or was not. I can hardly credit it, but nevertheless I do think that if hon. members are to rise in their places in this house and quote evidence given to the committee, we should have an opportunity of checking that evidence.

Then the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) said:

You think it should be tabled, in other words?

The minister replied:

Yes, I think so; and I would suggest to the chairman of the committee that he move to have the evidence in this particular case tabled in the house.

Later on he changed his point of view, and I think gave as his reason that it would be a breach of faith towards some of the witnesses who were brought before the committee if that were done. Personally I doubt very much if anything could be gained by tabling the evidence. I understand it is voluminous, and if all hon. members wanted to see it, it would probably be three or four years before the last member had a chance to look at it. Therefore I doubt if very much could be gained by such a procedure. For that reason I should like to move the following subamendment, seconded. by the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Johnston):

That all the words after "founded" in the amendment be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

"be referred to the public accounts committee for examination and that consideration of the reports by the house be postponed until the public accounts committee reports back."

If that were done it would be possible for the committee to call before it the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar, and he has stated that he can give the pages upon which his statements are founded. The other speakers could also come before the committee and challenge his statements; and I think in that , way and in that way only will it be possible to separate the false from the true in this matter. By the time the committee completed its investigation it should be in a sound position to report back to the house what the actual situation is.

I know that several hon. members have time and again stated that no substantial profits are being made in this war, and that even if profits are being made they are taxed away. Personally I think most of us to-day realize that substantial profits are still being made. I do not think there is any doubt about that. If anybody has any doubt about it, just let him read the reports of the victory loans. Take the third and fourth victory loans, and what do we find? That one-third of one per cent of the subscribers purchased sixty per cent of the total loans-an average of S60,000 per subscriber. Now, where does the money for these subscriptions come from? Some, true, from insurance companies. But there is no doubt that a very large amount of these purchases represents profits which are being made in this war. and I think we are all agreed that it is not a desirable state of affairs when large profits are made in the war whilst on the other hand our troops are sacrificing their lives. If we had adopted a pay-as-you-go policy it would not be quite as obnoxious, but unfortunately we have not done so, and as a result of these profits we were greatly expanding our debt. The national debt has expanded from 3i billions to around 11 billions, and in reality that is nothing more or less than a misappropriation of funds of future generations.

I say again that I think it desirable that this evidence be placed before the public accounts committee. They may meet in camera. Let them call before them the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar and the hon. member who spoke the other night on the matter of shipbuilding. We shall be in a position to vote intelligently on this report after the public accounts committee has reported back to the house.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The subamendment asks "that all the words after 'founded' in the amendment be struck out and the following substituted therefor," so that the amendment would be amended to read:

be not now concurred in but that the house instructs that'the evidence upon which the said reports are founded be referred to the public accounts committee for examination and that consideration of the reports by the house be postponed until the public accounts committee reports back.

The subamendment proposes that the evidence be referred to the public accounts committee for examination. But the evidence is not in the possession of the house, and the house cannot refer something to a committee which it has not got. The original amend-

War Expenditures-Mr. Golding

ment was that the evidence be tabled and that consideration of the reports be postponed until the house had had an opportunity to study it. The house cannot deal with the evidence until it has disposed of the amendment, which asks that the house shall have the evidence tabled. For that reason the subamendment would be inconsistent with the facts as we have them, that the house has not the right to refer to the public accounts committee evidence which is not in the possession of the house. I therefore rule the subamendment out of order.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

Mr. W. H. GOLDING (Huron-Perth):

I want to say just a few words on the amendment, as a member of No. 1 subcommittee, which made a study of the shipbuilding and aeroplane industries in Canada. I wish to assure the members of this house that we did have witnesses before that committee who gave us evidence only after we had assured them that that evidence would be confidential. I am quite sure they would have not given it had they known or believed that it would be spread across the country.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

May I ask my hon. friend a question? Were they assured in writing or verbally in the evidence? Would that be shown in the evidence?

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

Mr. GOLDING:

I may tell my hon. friend they were given that assurance by the chairman of the committee before they gave the evidence.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Would that appear in the evidence?

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

Mr. GOLDING:

I think some of it would. I am hot quoting the evidence. In any event, I know there was evidence given by witnesses before that committee that would not have been given, as I said before, if they knew it would be spread across the country. One particular aspect of the matter is the disposition of the ships. It is very important that that be kept absolutely secret. I want to say further that in examining those contracts we were examining contracts for the British government, the United States government and the Canadian government. These contracts were filed. I sincerely hope that the members of this house will have enough confidence in the members of the committee to accept the report as we gave it, and will try to keep away from the evidence which I know should not be given to the public.

Further than' that, the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) made this statement when speaking last night as reported at page 712 of Hansard:

[Mr. Speaker.!

It was my desire that every aspect of the aluminum transaction should be examined; I was anxious that this should be the case, and to permit that to be done I took the responsibility of applying, through the high commissioner of the United Kingdom, for the consent of the British government to permit the details of that contract and of the negotiations leading up to it to be placed before the committee. The United Kingdom government was extremely reluctant to give that permission, but, after an exchange of several cables, permission was given with the definite understanding, so stated in the cable, that the hearings of the committee would be in camera and the evidence would not be made public. The consent of the government of Australia was given in exactly the same terms.

I ask any member of this house, if he wants to be fair to the Minister of Munitions and Supply who gave that assurance, if he thinks he is fair in asking that the evidence be now tabled. I feel as sure as I do that I am standing here that if the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) in the house were on this side of the house he would do exactly what we are doing with these war contracts that have to do with three countries.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I think I could make a little improvement here and there.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

Mr. GOLDING:

I am satisfied you might do that, but I am satisfied also that you would do exactly as we have done in holding these meetings in camera.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

I think I would follow the Minister of Munitions and Supply and ask that the evidence be tabled.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

Mr. GOLDING:

The quotation I just read was taken from the remarks of the Minister of Munitions and Supply. My hon. friend can laugh at it if he likes. If he has no more regard than that for the word of the Minister of Munitions and Supply and the word of the chairman of the war expenditures committee, I can tell him that I have. I have regard also for the feelings of the British and Australian governments. These are serious matters. I hope that the members of this house are not going to ask us to betray the confidence of witnesses who gave their evidence. I am serious about it.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. C. E. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Mr. Speaker, I had hoped that the amendment to the amendment presented by the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch) would be in order, but it has been ruled out of order; therefore we cannot consider it. To me it is amazing that this house cannot direct evidence taken in camera to be turned over to the public accounts committee. Our desire in asking that the evidence be turned over to the public accounts committee is based on the

War Expenditures-Mr. Johnston (Bow River)

request of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to keep it secret. The mere fact that the evidence is now placed in such a position that it cannot be tabled, and cannot be placed before the public accounts committee, puts the members in an exceedingly embarrassing position. We have heard statements made by members on both sides of the house with regard to that evidence. For example, we had a statement made by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell). These statements were made directly from the evidence. He so stated in his speech. We then had contradictory statements made by the parliamentary assistant. The statements were so astounding that the members are in an impossible position.

I will not support the motion for concurrence in the report. I cannot possibly do it. How can I? I have not the slightest knowledge of what the evidence is. We have had one hon. member saying one thing and a member of the government saying another. Listen to what the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) said. I am not going to read what the hon. member for Acadia said a moment ago in regard to the remarks of the Minister of Munitions and Supply on page' 704, but on page 711 the minister, referring to the statements made by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar, used these words:

His statements were so contrary to the facts as I understand them and to the facts as I have stated them in this house that I felt I would like very much to see the evidence taken before the committee. Of course I have not seen it and have no idea what that evidence was.

When the minister makes a statement such as this and says that the statements made by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar are not in accordance with the facts, and the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar says he is stating evidence given before the committee, how in the world can you, Mr. Speaker, expect members of this house to vote intelligently? I recall that a year ago I spoke on the setting up of the war expenditures committee. I said at that time that I thought the representation on that committee was wrong. I pointed out that such parties as the Social Credit party and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party had only one representative each on that committee. I remarked that when the committee met it was divided into subcommittees one, two and three, and if we as a Social Credit party had one member on that committee and that member was on subcommittee one, he could not possibly be on subcommittee two, which dealt with . the question of aluminum. The member who was on the war expenditures committee, representing his group, is not in possession of the information. He could not possibly be. I am not going to be put in the position of voting for or against something of which I have no knowledge. I think it is an unfair position in which to be put by the government. The Minister of Munitions and Supply recognizes that fact, despite the fact th&t he changed his statement a little after the Prime Minister spoke.

I think there should be fairness in this thing, and that is why I advocated that the evidence be turned over to the public accounts committee. It was my hope that all parties would be satisfied; that we as members could get authentic information and vote intelligently on it after the public accounts committee had reported back to the house. Apparently that is not to be; therefore we shall vote for the amendment, and if the amendment carries, then I think we shall have to move that the evidence be turned over to the public accounts committee for examination. I do not see what other position we can take. I certainly am not going to put myself in the position of voting for something that I do not know any-;hing about.

Mr. MoNEVIN: Will the hon. member permit a question?

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Yes.

Topic:   WAR EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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February 22, 1944