May 1, 1951 (21st Parliament, 4th Session)


George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of ihe Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the

Leased Bases in Newfoundland members of the house will echo the hope expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), that on consideration they will find this is a reasonable arrangement in regard to the leased bases which were taken over under agreement by the United States prior to the time that Newfoundland came into confederation. As I was not previously aware of any of the arrangements that had been made, I shall of course require to give that consideration, as will other hon. members. There are, however, one or two observations I should like to make at this point, in view of the comprehensive statement the Prime Minister has made.
I notice that the arrangement with respect to jurisdiction, which the Prime Minister has stated to be the most important subject under consideration, provides that the United States give up or suspend certain jurisdictional rights, but that is conditional upon their being able to exercise in practice, even if not in strict verbal legality, the same authority that they exercised before. This seems to be giving with one hand and taking away with the other. I am interested in why it is necessary to go through such substantial formality if in practice the situation in that respect is to remain the same.
There is one thing about which I am sure all hon. members will be in hearty agreement, and that is that the Canadian government found it easy to deal with the government of the United States on a friendly basis and were not being shoved around. There has been some concern aroused in the minds of the members by things said outside of this house, if not in the house, as to whether we are still operating on a friendly and democratic basis with the government of the United States. This statement by the Prime Minister will reassure the members, and in the proper place, that it is now, as it has been in the past, easy to deal on a friendly and satisfactory basis with the government of the country which geographically is closest to us, and whose destiny in the years to come is inseparably linked with ours. The statement that this required a willingness on both sides to give and take merely indicates the firm foundation on which agreements of this kind are and should be established.
The Prime Minister has pointed out that one of the legislative provisions contemplated as a result of this arrangement is an amendment to the Criminal Code for the purpose of extending a greater measure of security to the forces of the United States. He has indicated that it will likely take the form of a provision which is to give a special measure of protection to the forces of any

allied country. In making that announcement he has emphasized the vitally important position that the new province of Newfoundland now occupies, not only in the defence of Canada but in the defence of the whole North American continent, and, as a result in the defence of freedom itself. No matter whether all the details of this agreement may be found entirely satisfactory after examination by those who live in Newfoundland and by other members of this house, certainly every one of us will hope that this agreement, in itself, may be regarded as a symbol of that firm and strong unity of purpose between these two countries, which is not only an advantage to ourselves but an advantage to the people of the whole world in these critical days.
I hope that the very necessity for introducing an amendment to the Criminal Code to increase the security of the allied forces will suggest to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) the advisability of bringing in the long-required amendment to the Criminal Code which will make it possible to deal with any kind of threat to security by communist activities, whether in Newfoundland or any other place in Canada. This agreement in itself suggests the desirability of recognizing the constant threat presented to the defence of this country, and of every other country, by men who are serving a foreign state with the purpose of destroying our democracy by every device available. Most certainly they will seek, if it is within their power, to weaken this strong bastion of defence. Therefore, in view of the fact that there is to be an amendment to the Criminal Code for security of another kind, I once again strongly urge the consideration of that other type of security which would deal with this particular form of crime in a way that it cannot be dealt with' under any provision in the Criminal Code which is now on the statute book.
In view of the importance of this announcement, I hope that the Prime Minister will be prepared to answer questions which may be presented by hon. members from Newfoundland, amplifying the information that we have received this afternoon.

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