March 21, 1946



Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Minister of Justice): I should like to communicate to the house a report I have received from the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with respect to the treatment afforded the persons who were detained at Rockcliffe for interrogation by the .royal commission appointed to inquire into the so-called spy activities. It is dated March 20, 1946: Dear Mir. St. Laurent: . With reference to Mr. 'Caldwell's statement in the House of Commons on March 18, in respect to the persons detained in the present espionage inquiry iat Rockcliffe being accommodated in rooms which were brilliantly lighted and in which the lights never were out, the following particulars are submitted for your information. On the occasion of the detention of the individuals referred to, in view of the fact that they had to be kept incommunicado, it was necessary that each .have his own 'personal guard so as to prevent them from conversing with other persons detained and also as a safety measure to prevent escape.

Official Secrets Act

Certain of the persons detained were given accommodation, individually in large rooms measuring approximately 60 feet by 22 feet, *while others were placed an small! .rooms, approximately 10 feet by 9 feet am measurement, due to no other large rooms .being .available. The small rooms .are those allotted to sergeants of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and are comfortable. As there is no proper cell accommodation at Rockcliffe .barracks, it was necessary that police guards remain in the room with the prisoner throughout the hours of daylight and darkness; consequently, it was necessary that a section of the room 'be lighted >at night, as the guard was not permitted to sleep. These were the normal lights installed for the rooms in question, but after the first few nights were replaced by a shaded reading lamp. Any charge that brilliant lights were installed in any of the rooms is not only untrue, but ridiculous. AH those detained were treated exactly alike in all respects, and were given exercise daily in the company of an escort. The complaints mentioned by Mr. Coldwell, M.P., and Mr. Solon Low, M.P., .are denied by two or more of those who were detained, as indicated by the attached^ press reports. No undue pressure or what is known as "third degree" methods were employed by the police, and there was no occasion, or reason for .any unauthorized treatment. The meals served were those prepared for members of the force, under the supervision of <a dietitian. # Yours faithfully, * (.Signed) S. T. Wood, .Commissioner. The first clipping annexed- to the report, and referred to in the report, is from the Montreal Standard of March 16, 1946: "Third-Degree" Grilling Denied by Spy Suspect Special -to The Standard Ottawa, March 16-One of eight espionage suspects who had been held incommunicado for nearly a month at the R.C.M.P. barracks at nearby Rockdliffe told the Standard to-day that no third degree methods were used in questioning him. This suspect, now at liberty on bail, refused to -allow himself -to be quoted by name on the advice of his lawyer. Otherwise he talked freely. "If any coercion was used, it was of a most subtle nature," he said. "There was no physical discomfort-just adroit questioning by the mounties." He spoke of his own experience only, but believed .that his treatment was not substantially different from that -accorded twelve other persons held in the police -barracks. Eight of these, including the Standard's informant, were -arraigned in court this week and freed on bail. (Last week an unnamed -lawyer representing one of the detainees said the Mounties were using coercion- -and third degree methods to extort confessions, and -that his client was confined to a "stuffy little room- in which a bright -light was left burning continuously." R.C.M.P. Assistant Commissioner H. A. Royal Gagnon immediately -denied the third degree and coercion -allegations.) "I was treated quite decently," the Standard's informant sa-id. "Even the guards were respectful-they called -me 'Sir.' We were confin-ed one to a barrack room, and I had practically everything I wanlted-^my sun -lamp, my pas-teils, all my own clothes, good food -and use of the barracks recreational library. "Wh-at I disliked most was that I wasn't allowed newspapers, was -refused permission to see any visitors, even -my wife, ajnd that I was held d.ay after day with no charge being placed against me. "My room was a large one, usually used as a dormitory for a number of policemen -attending courses at Rockcliffe. I had it all to myself, but I was never alone in i-t. There was always a guard with -me, -and at nig-h-t only the lights in the half of the -room in whi-ch I w-as sleeping were extinguished." The constant guard -and lights were -believed to -be precautions -against any of the detainees attempting suicide. The Standard's informant said he was allowed possession of -a safety razor only while shaving in the morning, -and then only with -a guard near. He was allowed to keep his belt -and shoe laces. "I was taken ou-tside the building for a walk each day, but my only companion was a policeman. Occasionally, I could see other civilians .through my window -taking similar walks under guard. I recognized two of -them, but was unable -to speak to them." "The adroit questioning" by police was conducted by Inspector Harvison of Montreal, he *said. All questioning by the Royal Commission w-as oon-iucted in the Justice building, to which the Standard informant was taken by police. He protested strongly against what he described as -the -injustice of holding -a person for weeks without allowing -him to see a lawyer. He said that when he was -arrested he -asked his wife to engage legal counsel but that -the lawyer was -not allowed to see -him. It was only after the commission had finished questioning him that he was given the opportunity of call-ling in his lawyer, he asserted. The other clipping is from the Ottawa Evening Citizen of March 6, 1946, but it does not purport to be a report from anyone who had been detained. It is merely a statement made by someone who had been retained as counsel for a person who had been detained. I do not think I should read it to the house as being pertinent to this question. If I may be permitted to do so, I will table the report with the clippings annexed thereto. Mr. SOLON E. LOW (Peace River): Mr. Speaker, on a question of privilege, and in connection with the statement just made by the Minister of Justice, may I point out that the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police made an error in bringing my name in as having been associated with the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell). At no time have I made, comment upon the detention of these suspects at Rockcliffe, nor have I said anything in connection with it. Mr. ST. LAURENT: In fairness to the hon. member, may I say I do bel eve the commissioner made a mistake. So far as my recol- Canadian Citizenship lection goes, the only references made were those of the hon. members for Rosetown-Biggar and Calgary West. In both instances they were merely asking for information, which I tried to secure as quickly as I could get it.



On the orders of the day:


Ernest Bertrand (Postmaster General)


Hon. ERNEST BERTRAND (Postmaster General):

Mr. Speaker, the-question as to a reduction in postage rates on gift parcels to the United Kingdom has been raised by the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Bruce), the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Bryce), and by members of the general public. Because this subject is one of general interest, I am making a brief statement at this time.

The present parcel post rates to the United Kingdom are fixed in agreement with that country, and are therefore not entirely under the control of the Canadian Post Office department. They consist of the, actual dost of handling in Canada, conveyance by ship, and the charges which are handed over to the country of destination for delivery costs. For instance, in the case of a gift parcel for the United Kingdom weighing the permissible limit of 11 pounds, and one cubic foot in over-all size, we pay 75 cents for sea conveyance and 90 cents to the United Kingdom, leaving Canada only 40 cents to cover all handling costs here, including rail haul.

Any reduction of these rates Vrould mean in effect a subsidy to the senders. There may well be an objection to this which I present for the consideration of the house. It is that the sending of gift parcels is a matter between individuals on the chance happening of a person overseas having a friend or relative in Canada. Government assistance should, I believe, not be granted on this narrow basis. Rather we should continue as at present to provide relief to those in need through official agencies operating for that purpose.

If the United Kingdom authorities wish to confer the benefit of reduced charges to their own people, we should be happy indeed to pass on to the Canadian mailers the reduced postage rates thus made possible. There has been no such disposition, however, on the part of the United Kingdom postal authorities. Recently when they were approached as to the possibility of accepting less than they now require for the handling of parcel post parcels, they pointed out that their charges are at an absolute minimum, and with rising costs at the present time they might even have to increase the charges which they now require.


A comparison has been made with the rate charged for soldiers' parcels. May I point out that these parcels were handled, from the time of mailing to the time of delivery by the Canadian postal service and the Canadian postal corps. The conditions were, therefore, quite dissimilar to those prevailing in the case of civilian parcels.




Hon. PAUL MARTIN (Secretary of State) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 7, re-specing citizenship, nationality, naturalization and status of aliens. He said: The house will recall that on October 22 last I introduced a similar bill, and asked for first reading. My remarks, in which I set out the purpose and intention behind the bill, are found at page 1335 of Hansard. The measure to which first reading is now sought, with some slight editorial revisions, including a definition of " domicile," is the same as that introduced last year. On that occasion the definition of "domicile" was left as interpreted in the Immigration Act. A further provision in the bill now presented to the house is that it affords to members in the armed services the prerequisite of having spent only one year in the country, as a condition to their becoming citizens under this new legislation. So that for all practical purposes under the bill now before the house a member of the armed forces will almost automatically on application, subject to other qualifications, be eligible without going through the residence requirement for admission into Canadian citizenship. As I stated on a previous occasion, an attempt is now made to give a new definition to Canadian citizenship and to clarify the ambiguity which follows from the Canadian Nationals Act, the Immigration Act and the Naturalization Act. The underlying purposes of the bill are really two: first, to achieve a clear and simple definition of Canadian citizenship which will remove the complexities which exist in the present legislation and, second, to provide an underlying community of status for all our people in this country that will help to bind them together as [DOT] Canadians.


Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative


That is a nice bill for an Ontario minister to introduce at a time like this when coal and houses are needed. It will lead to wide disunity.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


The Address-Mr. Bertrand (Prescott)




On the orders of the day: Mr. J. 0. PROBE (Regina City): Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day are called I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Reconstruction, of which I gave notice a couple of hours ago. Will he please inform the house if it is the intention of Wartime Housing Limited1 to extend its present programme of temporary housing for veterans in Regina beyond the number of 300 units announced 'last year? If it is intended to go beyond this number, what is the projected allotment for Regina for 1946?


Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)


Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Reconstruction) :

I received notice of this question and I communicated with Wartime Housing Limited and found that Wartime Housing Limited had bad no communication from the city of Regina since last August. If an application comes through the official channels from the city to the department, Wartime Housing and the department will be glad to give consideration to its contents.

Topic:   HOUSING


United kingdom shortage On the orders of the day:


Herbert Alexander Bruce

Progressive Conservative

Hon. H. A. BRUCE (Parkdale):

I should like 'to direct a question 'to the Minister of Finance. Will the government initiate a save-the-fat campaign as the United States has done, to help relieve the serious shortage of fats in the United Kingdom.


March 21, 1946