Mr. E. G. HANSELL (Macleod):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege, which, I think, will be discovered to be a
privilege affecting every member of the house. I asked a series of questions some few days ago, which questions were passed as an order for return; it was in respect to the production and export of coal. The second question was:
What is the total tonnage of coal exported, and to what countries, for each of the years 1939 to 1943?
The answer comes, from the Department of Trade and Commerce I think, to this effect: In keeping with the present practice in the United States and the United Kingdom it is deemed inadvisable to state the importing countries. My point of privilege is that I am unable to get the information as to what countries this tonnage of coal vras exported to. May I now ask a question of the minister on the basis of the answer which I received here. Is the practice not to reveal countries to which we are exporting coal a temporary policy of the government on account of the war, or is this a permanent policy, that we are never to know what countries coal is exported to?