March 23, 1950

LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

If my hon. friend will consult the answer to which I have referred, I think he will find that it is an answer to his present question as well.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

No; far from it.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

If my hon. friend wishes, I have no objection to repeating the substance of the answer, which was to this effect: Upon receipt of the question asked by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar I consulted with the deputy minister of the Department of Justice, who told me it was the first time in his experience that any such question had ever been asked, seeking the production of confidential legal opinions given to officers under the Combines Investigation Act. I also said that I had consulted with the then commissioner, Mr. Fred A. McGregor, and was informed by him that, having regard to the fact these opinions were based upon a consideration of all the evidence and exhibits, which were analysed and examined at very great length, and that since in these opinions the advising counsel indicated the course of actual conduct of the prosecution in these cases, it would be of the greatest value to the defence; and for that reason these opinions had always been regarded as confidential in nature, had never been produced, and, as I indicated before, had never even been asked for.

I might add that we have at the present time three prosecutions under way: one against certain companies in the bread

Inquiries of the Ministry industry, another against certain companies in the flat glass industry, and another against certain companies in the match industry.

As to the legal point concerning limitations, I am informed that that point will arise in each of these prosecutions. As to the prosecution against the bread industry, there are several points which arise in connection with the milling report which will have a possible bearing legally upon the issues in the bread industry. For these reasons we think that, in accordance with what has always been the practice, these opinions should not be tabled, nor should any indication be given of their contents.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

On a question of privilege arising out of the answer given by the Minister of Justice, I will not seriously contend that-

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I am rising on a question of privilege.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I have given considerable leeway on this question. Probably I should read the first paragraph of standing order. 44:

Questions may be placed on the order paper seeking information from the ministers of the crown relating to public affairs, and from other members relating to any bill, motion, or other public matter connected with the business of the house, in which such members may be concerned: but in putting any such question or in replying to the same no argument or opinion is to be offered-, nor any facts stated, except so far as may be necessary to explain the same. And in answering any such question the matter to which the same refers shall not be debated.

It seems to me we are getting into a debate. Probably I should allow the hon. member for Lake Centre to proceed with his question, but I hope that in future hon. members will endeavour to observe the rule.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, I shall not transgress the rule. I want to point out that I agree with my hon. friend so far as a portion of his reply is concerned. He says that the question of the limitation of actions will come up in other prosecutions, and that therefore the crown should not reveal the attitude of its law officers. I am going to agree with him on that. That does not apply, however, to the first part of the question which asks whether a submission was made to counsel following delivery to the Minister of Justice to ascertain whether prosecutions may be taken under the combines act or the Criminal Code. Your Honour will remember that the Minister of Justice, in the case of the bread prosecution, the glass prosecution and the match prosecution, said he would not proceed until he had a recommendation from counsel to whom the matter had been submitted.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

It is for that reason I ask why in this case that course was not followed.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. Wrighl:

I wish to ask a question of the Minister of Trade and Commerce-

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order,-

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Sit down.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The leader of the opposition is raising a point of order.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, I think there is an aspect of this that has not been placed before you.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

What is the point of order?

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I am addressing my remarks to you, Mr. Speaker, in case there may be any doubt about it.

The point that arises in connection with the discussion which has taken place is this. The Minister of Justice supported his previous announcements of prosecutions by the statement that he was acting upon recommendation. If that is an appropriate explanation to the house for acting, then surely it is equally appropriate for the minister to inform the house whether he received an opinion to that effect in the case under which he is proceeding. I submit that only Your Honour can determine whether the question as asked is in keeping with the practice which has been established.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Let me say, as I said a moment ago, that this discussion is out of order under our standing orders. I would also say, however, that if the minister of whom the question is asked thinks it should be answered, he may answer, but I cannot compel him to do so.

Topic:   COMBINES INVESTIGATION ACT
Subtopic:   FLOUR MILLING INDUSTRY
Sub-subtopic:   OPINION OF COUNSEL AS TO PROSECUTION-LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
Permalink

QUESTION AS TO MAKING CHURCHILL A DELIVERY POINT UNDER INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT


On the orders of the day:


March 23, 1950