In Canada, the findings are expected shortly of the judicial enquiry into the Munsinger affair: the alleged sex and security scandal in which the central figure is German-born Mrs.
In Canada, the findings are expected shortly of the judicial enquiry into the Munsinger affair: the alleged sex and security scandal in which the central figure is German-born Mrs. Gerda Munsinger, who spent six years in Canada between 1955 and 1961, but is now living in Munich.
The enquiry was conducted by a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, Mr. Justice Wishart Spence. It was held partly in public and partly in private. The court was told that Canadian police files showed that Mrs. Munsinger had an illicit sex relationship with the former Associate Defence Minister, Mr. Pierre Sevigny, and that she was on first-name terms with the former Minister of Trade and Commerce, Mr. George Hees. The lawyer producing the evidence also alleged that Mrs. Munsinger had been arrested in West Germany in 1949 and had admitted spying activities; and that she had once been refused entry to Canada on security grounds.
Mr. Justice Spence has already ruled that there is no evidence that Mrs. Munsinger engaged in spying while she was in Canada. Mr. Sevigny has repeatedly stated that he knew Mrs. Munsinger only socially. Mr. Hees has said he had only a few casual social meetings with her.
The name of a third former Canadian Minister, Mr. George Nowlan, who has since died, was mentioned in a debate in the Canadian Parliament. His son, Mr. Patrick Nowlan, also a Member of Parliament, has called on the Canadian Government to clear his father's name, and has said that otherwise he wold consider giving up his Parliament seat.
The whole matter has become closely enmeshed with Canadian party politics. The ministers named were members of Mr. John Diefenbaker's Conservative Government, which was defeated in the General Election of 1963, and succeeded by the Liberal Government of Mr. Lester Pearson. Last March, Mr. Pearson's government was accused by the Conservatives of mishandling another security matter. The present Minister of Justice, Mr. Lucien Cardin, counter-attacked by charging Mr. Diefenbaker's government with not taking proper action in the Munsinger affair. There were stormy scenes in the Canadian House of Commons, and the Prime Minister announced that a judicial enquiry would be held.
Since then, Mr. Pearson's government has survived a censure motion arising out of the affair, and Mr. Diefenbaker has criticised the way in which the judge has conducted the enquiry. He said the tribunal was set up for the political assassination of the Government's opponents, and both he and the former Conservative Minister of Justice Mr. Davie Fulton, withdrew from any further part in the hearings.
When Mr. Cardin first reopened the matter in March, he said that Mrs. Munsinger had returned to East Germany and had since died. However, she was soon found, by a Canadian newspaper, living in Munich in West Germany. She claims that some of the reports about her are lies.