August 23, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)

PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Surely if it is all so simple and so clear, there should not be any delay in production of the letter or letters. The minister is not going to assume, is he, that a letter received from the commissioner of the mounted police regarding an officer in the army, no matter when it was received, whether before or after he left the army-in this case it was after-should not be producible to the House of Commons? Apparently two counsel had arrived at the conclusion that a proper case had been made out. The mounted police had fully investigated the matter and had determined to go ahead; they were simply awaiting formal instructions. These instructions were not forthcoming, not because of any desire or action of the mounted police, but in consequence of a direction of the deputy minister of labour. After the letter was received from the commissioner of the mounted police, was or was not Major Elliott interviewed by the representatives of the army? How many of the medical discharge certificates or medical discharge documents disappeared from Camp Borden or were lost while Major Elliott was in charge at Camp Borden? My information is that in the case against one Lawrence Schrupsole, of Toronto, who was prosecuted in April or May, 1945, it was revealed that Major Elliott did give a statement to the mounted police to the effect
Supply-Defence-Army

that he had signed a considerable number of documents in blank and had turned them over to Mr. Arnold. All I am trying to find out is the basis upon which, after investigation and recommendation by the mounted police, the deputy minister of labour decided that, regardless of whether or not there was a conspiracy to interfere with the war effort of this nation by assuring to certain individuals medical discharge certificates to which they were not entitled, there should be no prosecution and the mounted police should be hobbled, first on the ground that there was no evidence that money had passed when there was clear evidence of a conspiracy as revealed by Lennox in his evidence, and secondly on the ground that the war was over and therefore prosecution should not be considered.
I know that the minister himself had nothing whatever to do with any impropriety in this matter. But I want to know what the commissioner of the mounted police alleged against Major Elliott. Surely there can be no question of privilege here. This is a request for information. I have not been able to get these documents by a motion in this house. In a matter affecting a goodly number of persons, in connection with which there was an investigation which lasted from December, 1944. to March or April, 1945, the government would lead the house and the country to believe that the complete file has been brought down. Actually only eight letters are on the file in regard to what the commissioner of the mounted police communicated to the Department of National Defence, yet that was one of the matters covered in the order which was made by the house for the production of the papers. The order read:
Order of the house-[DOT]
For a copy of all correspondence passing between the Department of National Defence and/or the Department of Labour, and/or the Department of Justice-[DOT]
There were no qualifications to that order. My hon. friend mentions this letter. Does he not consider that it passed between departments? Is not the mounted police under the Department of Justice? As a matter of fact no question was raised by the Department of National Defence as to their not having certain documents when they made their answer to this return. They did say:
It is understood that copies of the correspondence in question will be furnished by the Department of Labour.
The minister of Justice would have this country believe that a return consisting of eight letters, without the enclosures-therefore the letters required are not there-constitutes the full file on an investigation into a conl Mr. Diefenbaker.]
spiracy widespread in its ramifications. Surely any reasonable person will realize that an order made by parliament without qualification has not been complied with. All I am asking at the moment, however, is for production of the correspondence between the commissioner of the mounted police and the Department of National Defence. Only by that means can parliament achieve through the medium of questioning what it has not been able to achieve as a result of an order passed by the house.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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