Mr. G. R. Pearkes (Nanaimo):
On a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) a question regarding the fire at Tofino and censorship-monitoring over government telephone lines-of information coming out of that village. In reply he said there was no censorship of any kind.
I have received information today by wire from Vancouver island which states: "Censorship by R.C.A.F. on west coast became worse today instead of better." Contrary to denials and apologies "a tight veil of secrecy is still maintained". Airmen are confined to barracks, I am informed, and civilians are forbidden to approach the area of the fire. Civilians of Tofino have been instructed by the R.C.A.F. to give out no information and to maintain a strict silence.
The government telephone operator is reported as claiming that she had been instructed that she was to allow no information about the fire to pass through her office at Tofino. However, the divisional superintendent at Vancouver did apologize, I am informed, for the monitoring and said that "he was sorry it had happened". In view of the above it would seem that the minister was not fully informed of all circumstances when he made his answer yesterday that there was no censorship of any kind. I would request that the matter be further investigated so that this house may be fully informed.
Subtopic: PRIVILEGE, MR. PEARKES