April 15, 1901

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

You will come in somewhere.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

Is that all the minister knows about it ? The minister is asking for money here and we will have that information before the estimate goes through.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

The instructions tell the enumerator what to do.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

In the few minutes since the instructions have been laid on the Table of the House I have not been able to see them, and the minister does not actually know what his own instructions are.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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?

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

You will hear about them some time.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

The minister will hear a good many times about the incompetency with which the affairs of his department are being conducted. He told us to-night that there was a column for Canadians and in that column are counted those who may have been born in Great Britain and Ireland, and presumably natives of Sweden or any foreign country who have taken the oath of allegiance will be included. A more absurd systejn of taking the census could not be devised. Canadians ought to be assumed to be Canadians born. My hon. friend from Victoria, B.C. (Mr. Prior), was, I presume, born in England, and when he puts his name down as being of English birth, he cannot claim to be a native Canadian as well. He cannot be born in Canada and in Great Britain. The thing is absurd. The minister told us to-night that he had not heard of this circular to which attention has been called until this morning. I will read a report of the debate which occurred in the Ontario legislature on Thursday last, four days ago. It says :

Mr. Whitney sprang a surprise by producing a copy of a circular which has been sent out in thousands to census enumerators all over the province, directing them to fill out certain forms stating the politics and religion of every male over sixteen in their ridings, and forward this record to the Liberal member or defeated candidate in the riding. This information, it was proposed to use, said Mr. Whitney, in the coming Ontario and the next Dominion general elections.

Mr. Whitney pointed out that as census enumerators were sworn to secrecy, this was a direct inducement, almost a command, to them to perjure themselves. The moment they complied with the request they would be guilty of perjury.

Here is a matter affecting the department of the minister (Hon. Mr. Fisher) in reference to which every paper in Canada was ringing about on Friday morning; a thing that every person in Canada except the Minister of Agriculture knew all about, and he was oblivious and ignorant of the whole thing until this Monday morning. Of course we have to accept his statement, but it simply means that the minister (Hon. Mr. Fisher) knows nothing about matters which vitally affect his department. A few days and the census will be over and yet this Minister of Agriculture seems to put himself some place where no information can reach him.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

In cold storage.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

Yes, he is put away in cold storage and he does not know anything about this matter until this morning, and then he coolly tells us that if he hears anything more about it he might make inquiries. This report goes on to say :

The Hon. Mr. Ross

97i

Not our right hon. friend across there from Cape Breton (Mr. Ross).

The Hon. Mr. Ross, the premier, in response, admitted that the Liberal party had fathered the circulars, and made light of the matter. It did not appear a conspiracy against the public weal in his eyes.

Mr. Ross admitted that the Liberal party had fathered this circular. Who is the Liberal party and where are the headquarters of the Liberal party, and who directs its movements. Is it the right hon. the leader of the Uominion government ? He is the head of the Liberal party in this Dominion. Is he the father of the circular 7 I shall not accuse him of it, because I do not believe he would be guilty of conduct like that. I will freely exonerate him from any such conduct. But Mr. Ross, the Prime Minister of Ontario, says that the Liberal party fathered the responsibility of the circular, and as the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden) has pointed out, that circular is a conspiracy against the nation. And, Sir, any enumerator who attempts to carry out the instructions of that circular can be arrested and will be arrested for perjury. It was the duty of the Minister of Agriculture on Friday morning last to telegraph to every one in charge of a census district and threaten them with all the penalties of the law if they did not at once destroy that infamous circular. A minister placed in charge of responsible duties as the head of a department cannot shirk his responsibility by saying that he knew nothing about this.

What are the objects of it 7 To furnish at the expense of the people of Canada information for the benefit of a political party -information which they have no right to ask from the people. The man who goes to the head of a household and asks for the information referred to in this circular has been instructed by whom 7 By the Liberal party. Where did the Liberal party get authority any more than the Conservative party to send such a circular to every census enumerator 7 The authority comes through this parliament of Canada, and nowhere else ; and if any other authority attempts to thrust itself on these enumerators, the government of this country should arrest the perpetrators and put them in the common jail, and try them for high crimes and misdemeanours. The premier of Ontario has committed the Liberal party to these circulars, for he admitted that the Liberal party had fathered them. He could not get out of it. It would not do to repeat the old story that the ballots were burnt in the cellar of the legislature of Ontario, and that they took fire by spontaneous combustion. That kind of yarn did not go down in that case, and it will not in this. This circular was printed at somebody's expense, and we presume it was handed to every census enumerator in Ontario, and the Minister of Agriculture folds his arms utterly uncon-

cerned about it, saying that he will consider it, that be did not bear of it until to-day, and be does not propose to do anything even at this late hour of the day. fifteen days elapsed before be knew anything about it. That circular must have reached the census enumerators before they started on their duties on the 1st of April. A nice way the business is being conducted. In the meantime the census enumerators have been filling up these circulars. One of them goes to a man, we will assume, and asks the date of his birth, the number of the lot or house

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

So long as he does not go to the graveyards to get information, as you did in 1891, it will be all right.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

I think the hon. member for Saskatchewan had better get another haul of half-breed scrip, and it will satisfy him.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

We will have to give you a scrip.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

The enumerator will also get the nationality, the post office address, the religion, and the church to which the man belongs ; and then he has to make some remarks. He will also get the man's politics. What right have these enumerators to go to a household and ask the politics of any man in this country ? Who gave them authority to do that ? As the hon. member for East Simcoe pointed out, if a citizen having a schedule placed before him refuses to answer the questions in it, he can be prosecuted. When asked what his politics are, his natural inclination would be to say : It is nobody's business what my politics are ; I can disclose them, or I can refuse to disclose them, just as I please.' I would like to know where in all this country it is permitted to ask a man what his politics are. We have voting by ballot in this country, and it is supposed to be secret and sacred. But here is something put down in front of you, and it is said that there are severe pains and penalties if you refuse to answer anything in that circular. What right has the Minister of Agriculture to countenance the promulgation of that circular ? He says he did not know anything about it until to-day. What has he done since he did know about it ? Has he done anything ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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LIB

Robert Holmes

Liberal

Mr. HOLMES.

Will the hon. member for West York allow me to ask him a question ? Will he tell us what proof there is that that particular circular which he is alluding to was sent to the census enumerators ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

I will tell him why :

Mr. Whitney sprung a surprise by producing a copy of a circular which had been sent out by thousands to census enumerators all over the province.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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LIB

Robert Holmes

Liberal

Mr. HOLMES.

You are reading from a newspaper article. I will admit they are not always reliable.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

I am not reading a newspaper article in that sense. I am reading a report of a debate in the local legislature.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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LIB

Robert Holmes

Liberal

Mr. HOLMES.

That still is no proof of your statement.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

I will give the answer which the hon. member for West Huron wants :

The premier, in response, admitted that the Liberal party had fathered these circulars.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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LIB

Robert Holmes

Liberal

Mr. HOLMES.

The hon. member for West York has not answered my question still. There is no proof in the statement, or the.article you are quoting from, that the circular was sent to a census enumerator. It is only a matter of assumption.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PENSIONS TO HEADQUARTERS STAFF, PERMANENT MILITIA.
Subtopic:   THOMAS COTE,
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April 15, 1901