December 20, 1963

LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice):

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am. I do so in answer to a question raised by the Leader of the Opposition and also one raised by the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam, but it has to do chiefly with a question put by the Leader of the Opposition with regard to whether or not my parliamentary secretary had any communications with others in connection with this matter.

The statement is as follows. After the extradition warrant had been sent out a telephone call was received by my parliamentary secretary from Mr. Ray Perrault, speaking for himself and on behalf of what he described as a legal committee, asking for further consideration of the point that Wasy-lenchuk ought not to be surrendered for extradition because he was on parole, and for consideration of the point that the habeas corpus judge had not actually issued an order dismissing the application.

Inquiries of the Ministry

Mr. Perrault indicated that the execution of the warrant was imminent and suggested to Mr. Macdonald that he should telephone the warden of Oakalla prison with a view to delaying execution of the warrant while these points were being considered. Mr. Macdonald complied with the request, and when he reached the warden he was informed that Wasylenchuk was already in the custody of United States officers and on his way to the United States.

With reference to the question raised by the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam with regard to my looking into the point having to do with section 24 of the Extradition Act and section 11 of the Parole Act, I have this to say. I do not wish to be drawn into a legal argument, and I do not believe it would be in accordance with the practice for me to engage in one. Therefore I shall restrict myself simply to saying that I have been advised by the legal officers of my department that neither by force of section 24 of the Extradition Act nor section 11 of the Parole Act, nor both, is a person who is at large on parole to be considered as a person who is, to use their words, "undergoing sentence" within the meaning of the Extradition Act.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
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?

Mr. R. Gordon L. Fairweaiher@Royal

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question. In view of the confusion surrounding the extradition I wonder if the minister would not see fit to table the so-called opinion?

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Mr. Speaker, it is not a socalled opinion. It is an opinion, a verbal opinion that was given to me by the officers when the matter was under discussion prior to the statement I made the other day and again today.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
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PC

Robert Gordon Lee Fairweather

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fairweaiher:

Will the minister table the opinion?

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

There is no written opinion; therefore I cannot table it.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
NDP

Francis Andrew Brewin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Andrew Brewin (Greenwood):

A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. Does the minister not think that a reading of the sections indicates that the opinion he received is a nonsensical opinion?

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Mr. Speaker, I have read the sections. I do not think it is a nonsensical opinion. As I said the other day, I must be guided, as every minister of justice must be guided, by the advice I receive from the officers and not by advice received from members of parliament. That is what I was guided by when I made the statement yesterday and when I, in effect, repeated it today.

Inquiries of the Ministry

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

May I ask the minister one supplementary question. Did he receive this opinion before he signed the surrender order or afterwards?

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

I am glad to answer that question. The point raised by my hon. friend was not raised until afterward, and that is why my parliamentary assistant, in deference to Mr. Perrault, who raised the point particularly in his telephone conversation with him, made representations to the warden of Oakalla prison. It was after that that the point was considered; in fact two points were raised, and I might as well give them to the house.

The first point was that the proceedings had not been properly signed by the judge in question. This was gone into, and it was seen immediately that was not the case. The next question was whether a person who is on parole is subject to extradition. The opinion was given by our officers, and they have communicated it to me on several occasions, that according to their interpretation of these two sections a person who is on parole under these circumstances can be extradited.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

May I ask a supplementary question. Do I take it from what the minister now tells the house that he signed the surrender order for this man prior to receiving the legal opinion on this particular point; that his parliamentary assistant, in his absence, was so perturbed about this point that he tried to stop the extradition, and not having been successful in stopping the extradition the legal opinion has now been concocted to fit the situation?

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I would have thought the Minister of Justice would have been quick to answer the suggestion of the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

He cannot.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I do not want to get into an argument about this. Does the minister say that his opinion was received before he signed the order permitting extradition?

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

No, I did not say that, because the point was not raised specifically at the time. When the warrant was placed before me with a memorandum from my officers there were two judgments. There was the judgment of Mr. Justice Hutcheson, who had conducted a preliminary hearing and had committed the man under the circumstances. Then there was the decision of Mr. Justice Ruttan having to do with the habeas corpus proceedings. Those were the two things I had before me; and it is customary under those circumstances for the officers to come

before me and advise that this is the kind of warrant that should be signed. Having those circumstances before me I signed the warrant of commital, as I believe every minister of justice would have.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

That latter statement I challenge immediately; I do not think it can be justified in law or in justice, regardless of whether this man is good or evil.

The minister did not mention whether the parliamentary assistant communicated with the border officers to see if he could stop the F.B.I. from taking this man over to the United States. This was part of the question yesterday, and I am sure that with the amount of consultation that has taken place since the minister will be able to tell us.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

No, the parliamentary assistant did not communicate with those officers.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

With reference to the statement made yesterday by the minister, has attention been drawn to a Canadian Press dispatch on this case and an interview with Mr. Perrault, the leader of the Liberal party in British Columbia?

It states as follows:

Mr. Perrault said yesterday in Vancouver that he categorically denies a statement made by justice minister Chevrier.

Mr. Perrault termed untrue a statement by Mr. Chevrier.. .that he advised Mr. Perrault all points in the affair had been investigated and that he (Mr. Chevrier) had no alternative but to sign a warrant permitting release of the murder suspect to U.S. authorities.

.. .Mr. Perrault said: "At no time have I received from Mr. Chevrier any telegram or letter on this subject".

What has the minister to say in that regard?

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the right hon. Leader of the Opposition raised that question. The statement was brought to my attention. Since the right hon. Leader of the Opposition has put something on the record, I would like to put on the record the telegram which I received from Mr. Perrault last night, which reads as follows. It is dated Vancouver, December 19:

Received your letter regarding Wasylenchuk dated December 12th and postmarked Ottawa December 16th today at 2.20 p.m. Pacific standard time. I appreciate your assurance that following my letter to you of December 5th, you took every step in accordance with my request to review the matter and that following our telephone conversation of December 16th, you felt compelled to follow the advice of your officials that the point raised by me specifically the effect of section 11 of the Parole Act and section 24 of the Extradition Act did not relieve you of your duty to execute the warrant. I trust that everything will be done to assure an adequate defence for Wasylenchuk and I welcome your reported announcement in the house today to this effect. It is unfortunate that a breakdown in communications-

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

-has led to misunderstanding. Best regards.

Topic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Subtopic:   JOHN WASYLENCHUK
Sub-subtopic:   DEPORTATION PROM B.C.
Permalink

December 20, 1963