April 25, 1901

LIB

George di Madeiros Loy

Liberal

Mr. GEORGE M. LOY (Beauharnois).

Before the House goes into Committee of Supply, I wish to refer to a matter which seriously affects some of the citizens of Valleyfield, on account of the serious charges which were made against them, as well as against the labour union of that town, and also against the Deputy Minister of Labour, with reference to the strike or strikes which took place in Valleyfield last fall. The hon. member who preferred these charges promised to lay on the Table of the House affidavits in support of his statements, and I would ask the right hon. the Prime Minister if such affidavits have been laid on the Table of the House.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. D. MONK (Jacques Cartier).

As the question seems to be addressed to me

more than to anybody else, perhaps you will allow me to state that I have communicated with the parties, who, as I stated at the time, had given me that information, asking them to procure the affidavits, and they have promised me to procure them. I have not received them yet.

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LIB
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

In this connection I may say that the motion which was granted called for papers from the Militia Department. There was a most important report, as I understand, made by Col. Ibbotson, or, at any rate, by the officer in command of the militia force that went out to Valleyfield. That report, upon which, I believe, great reliance is placed, is not among the papers brought down, and I would avail of this occasion to ask the Prime Minister why it is that that report, a most important one, is missing from the papers that the motion called for.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It is a long time since the motion was passed.

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LIB

George di Madeiros Loy

Liberal

Mr. LOY.

As these statements were made by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) on the 3rd of April, and the affidavits were promised to be furnished at the beginning of the following week, I think it is my duty now to prove to the House the incorrectness of the statements then made, and to show that the responsibility does not rest upon the Liberal party, who are accused of being the instigators of that strike. In support of this, I shall read affidavits which I have in my possession. The affidavits were made in French, but I will read the translation, and lay the copies on the Table of the House.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I rise to a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have no objection that these affidavits shall be read. Indeed, if there has been any misapprehension as to the conduct of Mr. King, I would be the first to see that justice is done him. But, perhaps, it would be better to wait until the affidavits I have been promised shall come.

'Some hon. MEMBERS. How long?

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

I do not see anything in the point of order. I would suppose from what the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) 'stated, that he would be the first to rise in this House to make the amende. He knows very well that a most serious charge is made against this young gentleman, Mr. King. I called his attention to it at the time. I told him I believed I was justified in saying that there was not the slightest foundation for the statement, and the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) volunteered to bring proofs. The time has long since passed. This has been referred to in the press throughout the country, and we have had no move so far on the part of the hon. gentleman to do some small measure of justice to this young Mr. MONK.

gentleman, who has been so seriously injured by the statements made in this House. The hon. gentleman from Beauharnois (Mr. Loy) now proposes to show what the truth about the -matter is, and I submit that he is not out of order.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I do not think it is right to put that construction upon me facts. When I made the motion, I stated I was making it on the information I received, and my information was to the effect that affidavits would be procured to prove all the facts. I stated that if that were not well founded. I would be prepared to consider that the statement as regards Mr. King was not well founded. I think I should have the necessary time to procure those affidavits. My hon. friend from Beauharnois (Mr. Loy) was not here the day my motion was passed, and I believe there is something in my contention that the whole of the papers should be brought down. That motion was passed by the House on the same day that this matter to which reference is made took place. These papers were here, but they have been sent back to Montreal, as I am informed by the Minister of Militia. Why are they not deposited on the Table of the House ?

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

If I understand tSe question that has been raised, it is this, that the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Loy) should not proceed to-day with the reading of the affidavits which he has declared his intention to read because the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) intends to bring some papers or produce some other affidavits.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

And because the papers which were called for by the motion are not here.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

It may be that the papers brought down are not complete-I do not know anything about that; but that is not a reason why an hon. member should not have the right, on the motion to go into supply, to discuss the question, and to read affidavits which are outside of the record.

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LIB

George di Madeiros Loy

Liberal

Mr. LOY.

These are the affidavits translated into English-I have the originals in French :

Province of Quebec,

Distriot of Beauharnois,

Town of Salaberry of Valleyfield.

I, Nepthalie Benoit, weaver, of the town of Salaberry of Valleyfield, solemnly declare that :

1. The labour union of Valleyfield is not a political institution ;

2. That there has never been nor ever is question of politics ,in its meetings ;

3. That it is the contrary to the constitution of the union to talk politics at its meetings, this being even a cause of expulsion from the union ;

4. That as soon as the general elections were officially announced the labour union of this town immediately adjourned its meetings to a date after said general elections; and the same thing was done for the provincial elections ;

3757 APRIL 25, 1901 3758

5. That the union took no part in the strike which occurred at Valleyfield last autumn, and, on the contrary, made every effort to prevent its members from participating therein ; 6. That Mr. Mackenzie King, Deputy Minister of Labour, who came to Valleyfield to settle the difficulties existing between the workmen and the Cotton Company, made no allusion to politics, and profited neither of his position nor of his mission to do anything of a nature to favour any political party. And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath in virtue of the Canada Evidence Act, 1893. (Sgd.) NEPTHALIE BENOIT. Declared and signed in presence of (Sgd.) C. A. LAVIMODIERE, N.P. I have similar- affidavits from Pierre Le-febvre, joiner ; Hyacinthe Chevalier, jr., labourer ; Jean Baptiste Faubert, labourer ; Joseph M. Decliene, tailor, Celestin Theoret, clerk ; Amedee Laberge, carter; Laurent Dagenais, jr., labourer; Julien Rouleau, labourer ; Pierre Benoit, weaver ; Etienne Leger, farmer ; Charles Poirier, labourer ; Charles Tessier, labourer ; Louis Leduc, jr., labourer, and Damase Ledue, stoker. In addition to these, I beg to read the following which are also made in French and translated into English : Province of Quebec, District of Beauharnois. I, Narcisse Wells, machinist, of de Salaberry cf Valleyfield, solemnly declare that on the morning of the strike, the 22nd October, 1900, I heard Mr. Damase Tessier, one of the foremen of the Cotton Company at Valleyfield, say to the crowd then present the following words : [DOT] I myself have always been against strikes, hut this morning I counselled my men to stop work.' And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath in virtue of the Canada Evidence Act, 1893. (Sgd.) NARCISSE WELLS. Declared and signed in my presence at Salaberry of Valleyfield, this 15th day of April, 1901. (Sgd.) C. A. LAVIMODIERE, N.P. I beg to remark, Mr. Speaker, that this Damase Tessier, who is here spoken of, is a well-known Conservative. Here is another affidavit : Province of Quebec, District of Beauharnois. * I, Frank Decoste, labourer, of the town of de Salaberry of Valleyfield, solemnly declare that on the day of the strike, the 21st October, 1900, in the afternoon, one of the foremen of the Cotton Company at Valleyfield, Mr. Damase Tessier, asked me to go and see the employees who were working further off under another foreman, to find out if they were willing to stop working the same as those under his own orders. And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously, believing it to be true, and knowing that it has the same force and effect as if made under oath in virtue of the Canada Evidence Act, 1893. (Sgd.) FRANK DECOSTE. Declared and signed in my presence at Salaberry of Valleyfield, this 15th day of April. 1901. (Sgd.) C. A. LAVIMODIERE, N.P. Another : Province of Quebec, District of Beauharnois. I, Amedee Laberge, carter, of the town of de Salaberry of Valleyfield, solemnly declare that on the day of the strike, in the morning, Mr. Damase Tessier, foreman of the Cotton Company at Valleyfield, came to where I was working a little further away under another foreman and asked me if our gang would consent to stop working when his would cease, and when he would raise his arm in the air to give us the signal, that a little later on he gave the signal himself, and then the employees stopped working. And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true, and knowing that it has the same force and effect as if made under oath in virtue of the Canada Evidence Act, 1893 (Sgd.) EMEDEE LABERGE. Declared and signed in mv presence at Salaberry of Valleyfield, this 15th day of April, 1901. (Sgd.) C. A. LAVIMODIERE, N.P. Now, iMr. Speaker, I do not intend to take up the attention of the House any longer ; but I leave hon. members to draw their own conclusions between the statements which were made without proof given and the statements which I now make denying all those allegations and producing affidavits in support of my statements. Mr. MONK. Mr. Speaker, I can only say that it seems to one that my hon. friend would have been only acting in accordance with what I believe is the custom among members of this House if he had given me some intimation that he intended to bring this matter up to-day. With regard to my own position, to these members who beard the statement which I made at the time this matter was brought up, I do not think it is necessary for me to make any correction of what I said. I brought the matter up on information which was given to me by reliable persons, who knew the responsibility of a member making statements such as I made ; and I brought it up, as I thought I was in duty bound to do-I had no personal interest in it-on the assurance given to me that any fact which I might articulate could be abundantly proven either before a committee of this House, if the House saw fit to grant one, or by affidavits. The House will remember that in consequence of these representations I read from a paper which I had in my hand, so that I should not vary any the facts as they were given to me. Since then I have been almost continuously in Ottawa; but on every occasion when I have been in Montreal, I have seen the parties interested, and have applied for those affidavits. I have alwavs been informed that the affidavits could be procured by any one going to the county of Beauharnois ; and there the matter rested. I have not received those affidavits. I have not pressed the matter on the parties beyond telling them when I had a chance, during my weekly visits to Mont-

real, that I desired to have them, and that unless proof were forthcoming, I would he prepared, as any man ought to be, to state that so far as Mr. King was concerned proof did not seem to be forthcoming. I have not received the affidavits as yet. No doubt if my hon. friend from Beauharnois had intimated to me that he intended to bring the matter up, I would have prompted the parties with more vigour, by telegraph, or by telling them that the matter was going to be brought up ; but more than that I cannot do. I understand that parties applied to for affidavits are not willing to give them. In fact, I may say to the House frankly, several people informed my informant that the facts were as they had stated to him, but that they felt some reluctance in giving affidavits. If the minister, however, will name a commissioner, as I believe he has the power to do, and let that commissioner take evidence in the county of Beauharnois, he will take a far better step, I think, towards the vindication of the reputation of the official concerned. This will give people ample and open opportunity to furnish proof of what they have done, and if they failed to do so, their failure would stand as a much better vindication of Mr. King than any default on my part. At any rate, the House will remember under what circumstances I gave the information ; and I will produce the affidavits if I can, or take the consequences.

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LIB

George di Madeiros Loy

Liberal

Mr. LOY.

If I am in order, I would heartily support the request of the hon. member for Jacques Cartier for an investigation to be held into the cause of the strike, and I have no fear of the result.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

With regard to certain words which were uttered by the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. Puttee) on another occasion, when he referred to an incorporated company, I desire to state that I have been informed since that the particular society to which I made reference had no incorporation whatever. Possibly there is an incorporated labour union in the county of Beauharnois ; but the information given to me was that the union to which I referred was not an incorporated company.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. RALPH SMITH (Vancouver).

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) complains that the hon. member (Mr. Loy) who has brought this matter up to-day did not give him notice of his intention to do so. I would like to say that we have been waiting for three weeks for that hon. member to substantiate his charges. He made certain charges on the floor of this House three weeks ago to-day, stating plainly, that he would produce the affidavits in the following week-that is two weeks ago-and if he was not able to do so, he would retract his statement. That is on record in ' Hansard.' We did not consider for a moment that it was our Mr. MONK.

business to give the hon. gentleman notice of bringing this matter forward, as we had been waiting for two weeks to give him an opportunity to prove the charges that he made. Now, these charges were, in the first place, against the members of an incorporated trade union in Valleyfleld. The hon. gentleman stated that that union was a political institution. The second charge was against the Deputy Minister of Labour, who, he said, had gone down there to take part in the settlement of the strike and had acted as a political partisan. The hon. gentleman stated these things very plainly. We can read in ' Hansard ' that be repeatedly made the statement with regard to the Deputy Minister of Labour. Now, the members of this trade union, seeing what the hon. member had charged them with, repudiated hi,s statement very strongly, and they went to work immediately and prepared some sixteen or twenty affidavits declaring the very opposite of the charges of the hon. gentleman to be true, and these have been read too by the hon. gentleman who has brought this matter up to-day. Now, our position is this-I supported the resolution calling for the correspondence, and if the evidence brought forward by the hon. member had substantiated his position that Mr. King had gone down to Valleyfleld on the occasion of that strike and had used his position for political purposes, I would have supported the hon. gentleman's position still further. But, when lie made the serious charge against an imxiortant officer of the government that that officer had used his influence for political purposes; and when he promised to produce affidavits to' prove his statement and said that if he was not able to produce the affidavits he would take back the whole matter; and when two weeks have elapsed over and above the time within which he promised these affidavits-I think it is reasonable to demand that, so far as Mr. King and the members of this union are concerned, the hon. gentleman ought to be prepared to give some proof of his position or take the whole thing back. It seems to me that that is a very reasonable position. The hon. gentleman 'says that he has great trouble in getting affidavits. Well, we had no trouble in getting affidavits. These people were perfectly sincere; they knew that they could prove their case, and in forty-eight hours after the hon. gentleman had made his statement there were sixteen affidavits in the hands of members of this House to prove the opposite of the statements he made. In justice to Mr. King the hon. gentleman ought to make a plain statement of the position.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I will do so, after the hon. gentleman (Mr. Smith, Vancouver) has made his statement about the Peterborough affair.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. SMITH (Vancouver).

That is to*say, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) is in such a fix that he must refer to a matter which has nothing to do with this question in order to avoid the discussion of the subject before us. So far as I am concerned, I am ready whenever the House is willing, to fight out the question of the Peterborough affair. But that is not the question before us. I made no such charges against any officer of the government or any member of the House as he has made; and the information I gave to this House, I gave from an open telegram and read the signature of the gentleman who sent it. But this hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) asserted that he was able to give proof by affidavit of his statement. He has not given the proof, and he evidently cannot give the proof. He told us that if he could not give the proof he would take the whole thing back. He has not given the proof, and he has not taken the whole thing back. This House is entitled either to have the proof he promised or to have a straightforward, manly position taken, exonerating the officer of the government whom he charged with using his position and influence for political purposes, and exonerating also the members of this labour union. That is the position I take and I think that that is a reasonable position.

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IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. A. W. PUTTEE (Winnipeg).

This matter of the Valleyfield strike, of course, could not rest where it was left about three weeks ago. I think my hon. friend from Beauharnois (Mr. I,oy) was perfectly justified. after waiting for this length of time, in bringing the matter up and laying his information before the House. However, the suggestion has been made that a commissioner should be appointed to go down into that district and obtain all the information available on the whole subject; and I wish to support that application. I think that would be a proper thing to do, because I notice that there is another question coming up in connection with this, a question which I drew attention to some time ago-the payment of the militia who were called out from Montreal at the time of the Valleyfield strike. On the 13th of February, I asked, among others, this question of the Minister of Militia (Hon. Mr. Borden)-and I am sorry the hon. gentleman is not in his place at the moment:

At whose expense, were these military operations carried out, and have the accounts been settled?

And the hon. minister replied :

At the expense of the town [DOT] council. It is not known whether the accounts have been settled or not.

Since then it is pretty well understood, publicly at ail events, that the account has not been settled; and I very much suspect that an attempt is being made to have the Department of Militia pay the money.

| On the 18th of this month there were sent | out from Montreal to most of the news-| papers of the country telegraphic despatches dealing with this question. From this and other things I apprehend that an attempt is being made on behalf of some parties interested, to have the expense of this movement of last October-that is, just before the last general election and now charged to have been got up for political purposes by some of the parties interested -foisted upon the Militia Department. I object to that, and I think we should have an investigation to find out who was the primary cause of calling out the militia. Was it the city of Valleyfield ? Or was it the Cotton Company ? Or was it due to parties who were trying to work up an agitation for political purposes ? While these accounts are unpaid, I think it is proper to have the question sifted and find who was to blame and who should bear the expense. I read from the Montreal Witness of April 18 :

For some time there has been much dissatisfaction beneath the surface among the men of the Montreal militia corps who were on duty in aid of the civil power at Valleyfield at the time of the big cotton mill strike last October. At last this spirit of dissatisfaction has broken out in public complaint, a proceeding which cannot fall to have a ba:l effect upon the discipline of the force.

The trouble is all due to the failure of the Militia Department to provide the pay of the force employed upon the occasion in question.

Of course, I do not assent to this, but this is what is being put forward as a plea why the Militia Department should be called upon to pay these bills.

It will be remembered that the troops were called cut in the regular way by a requisition signed by the mayor and three other magistrates of Valleyfield, addressed to the district officer commanding. That officer first ordered out the 5th Royal Scots, but as many of the officers and men were unable, owing to business engagements, to get away at such short notice, the second regiment Canadian Artillery, the Duke of York's Hussars, the Victoria Rifles and the 65th Regiment were ordered to send up such men of these corps as could get away to reinforce the Scots. The result was the mobilization in Valleyfield of a force of some 400 men, with a large number of colonels, majors, captains and other commissioned officers. This is one of the ostensible reasons why the pay has been so long withheld, as the reperesentatives of -the Valleyfield corporation maintain, not merely that the presence of the troops was not necessary, but that the pay-lists were abnormally large considering the small number of men on service. Of course, the officers' pay is very much heavier than that of the men.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it would be well to have this matter settled now, because it seems to me, that if these matters do come before this House, there should be some responsibility in giving sanction to the calling out the militia. At the present time, as has been stated, the Minister of Militia was not consulted, and I suppose

the provisions of the Riot Act would need to be amended before he could be consulted.

It seems to me that there is no necessity why we should have the matter of calling out the militia in the hands of purely local parties. All points are now in close communication by telegraph with the capital, and the important details of any trouble can be immediately reported to the Minister of Militia. I think that, in future cases, more especially in strikes and labour troubles where it is usually for some secondary purpose that troops are called upon, the responsible minister should have the power to give or withhold his sanction for the calling out of the militia. Not wishing to take part in the little disturbance this afternoon, but thinking that the matter is not closed and should not be closed until we have the facts, I support the proposal that the question should be investigated on the spot.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

Apparently this matter has been brought up at the instance of the acting Postmaster General (Hon. Mr. Sutherland), and it has been brought up without the usual courtesy extended across the floor of this House of

giving notice to the hon. gentleman

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April 25, 1901