Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinlon):
Mr. Speaker, the motion that the house resolve
itself into committee of supply affords members an opportunity of bringing before the house what may be considered to be grievances. It is in that light that I bring before >
the house a matter which has been touched upon on two occasions but in my submission has not received consideration at the hands of the house, and certainly has not received from the government the consideration which the seriousness of the matter justifies.
On March 29 my leader raised the question by way of illustration of the dangers of unlimited and arbitrary powers being vested in government officials without any recourse or appeal to the courts. The subject to which I refer is of course the recent action of the deputy postmaster general in denying to certain persons in the province of Ontario the use of the mails.
The subject was again referred to in the house on April 5, when the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), at page 1562 of Hansard, put certain questions to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson). My leader said:
I wish to ask the Minister of Justice whether he has given consideration to the extent to which the Post Office Department is usurping the authority and responsibilities of the Department of Justice in acting as a court by making decisions as to the guilt or otherwise of certain people using the mails of Canada.. According to his published statement, the deputy postmaster general is deciding, without notice to the people affected, whether they may or may not use the mails.
To that inquiry the Minister of Justice made this reply:
Without in any way acquiescing in the allegations of fact which the hon. member has made in his question, I may say that the matter to which he has referred has had consideration and is still under consideration.
We have had no information whatever from the Minister of Justice as to the outcome of the consideration which his department is giving to the question. I submit it is a matter of great importance, and unless the government takes the house into its confidence and either justifies what has been done, on whatever grounds may appear to the government to justify the action, or expresses disapproval of the action taken, then I think the house has every right to feel that the matter has not received from the government the consideration to which it is entitled. Certainly when it was referred to in the house by my leader on March 29 in the statement he made at that time it was not even mentioned in any
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Denial of Postal Services reply by the government, and I think the attitude taken by the government on that occasion was quite cavalier.
Putting the facts briefly, they amount to this: that by decision of the deputy postmaster general-