March 15, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)

PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

The Prime Minister has tabled the interim report of the commission to which, he referred yesterday. Ini doing so
Official Secrets Act

he also referred to the arrest of a member of this parliament. He read certain legal opinions with respect to the procedure followed in that arrest, and he referred to a question of which I had given him notice and which I intended to put at the proper time today. I believe everyone will agree that these important developments have justified the bringing up of this matter at this time; therefore, I think I should put on record the question that I had proposed asking. Tire Prime Minister has only partly answered it. The question was as folio,ws:
In answer to questions directed to him yesterday, the Prime Minister indicated he would make a statement on Monday next in connection with espionage.
Since that time a letter has appeared in the press, reported to have been directed to certain members of parliament from one of those already detained in this investigation, complaining of a disregard of his constitutional rights; and, in addition, this morning's press carries a report of the arrest of a member of parliament, while parliament is in session, in connection with a matter related to this investigation.
My question is: In view of these incidents and in view of the consequent mounting public interest in this matter, will the Prime Minister make to-day the statement he proposes to make rather than delay it until Monday?
As I said, the' Prime Minister has made a statement referring to these matters in part. If my question had been answered in the affirmative we would have had a fuller statement. I presume, the matter having gone this far, that the Prime Minister does not feel that he can say any more at the moment. Whether he does or not I should like to say this further word, that the refusal of habeas corpus proceedings, the bolding of men without a legal charge against them, without the right of bail and without the right to have counsel, is a serious matter to all who pride themselves on the principles of British justice. The Canadian people will be behind the government in searching out and in punishing crimes against the state, but the Canadian people are- not in sympathy with any departure from the regular procedures of our courts, established over long years, for dealing with matters of this kind, unless the circumstances are most unusual, such as, for instance, the safety of the state being in danger.
I am sure the house appreciates the information which the Prime Minister has given us to-day; whether he cares to say anything further now is a matter for him to decide.
IMr. Bracken.]

Topic:   OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT
Subtopic:   ARREST OP MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT-SECOND INTERIM REPORT OP ROYAL COMMISSION
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