April 25, 1901

LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

1 suppose the hon. gentleman (Mr. Borden, Halifax) will do me the justice to hear my answer at once. I did not even know that the matter was to be brought up until I heard the hon. gentleman (Mr. Loy) speak, so it could not have been at my instance.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I will with great pleasure give the reasons so far as I am concerned. My attention was never called to the fact that there was any deficiency in the papers brought down. I understand the papers moved for have been brought down.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

May I state, with the permission of the right lion, gentleman, that I called the attention of the Minister of Militia and Defence to the absence of these two documents, and he wrote me a note stating that they had been returned to Montreal and he expected them back in a 'few days.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

Now, the leader of the opposition has the reason why I am not called upon to give an explanation today. I never heard the report was brought down. But it appears that certain papers which the hon. gentleman expected to be in the return were not in it, and he called the attention of the Minister of Militia to the fact. These are matters of detail as to which the Minister of Militia never spoke to me. Now, the hon. leader of the opposition understands why I can not give an explanation, and why these papers were not brought down. He now has an explanation from the hon. member for Jacques Cartier of the reason, who says that he called the attention of the Minister of Militia to the absence of these papers, and I suppose the Minister of Militia is now corresponding with the authorities in Montreal to procure them.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I was not attributing any default to the right hon. gentleman personally, because I understand that he can not deal with all these matters of detail in the different departments. But I suggest that these papers should have been brought down in the first instance. I *would like also to point out to the right hon. gentleman that great fault has been attributed to my hon. friend in consequence of the delay which has taken place in regard to the production of this very important document.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I am not going into the matter as to where any fault may lie. The Minister of Militia has done his duty so far as he could. Certain papers were not in the report, his attention was called to the fact, and, I presume, that in a very short time he will be able to produce them. I will say now, moreover, in justice to the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Boy), that he informed me last evening that he intended to bring up this motion to-day, and I saw no objection to his doing so. As to issuing a commission to investigate this matter, I must say that the House certainly will not expect a commission of this kind. There has been no charge made

against anybody. Insinuations have been made against Mr. King, the Deputy Minister of Labour, but the hon. member for Jacques Cartier does not even take the responsibility of that charge, he does not give the warrant of his name in support of that charge; he simply says that he heard statements from some party, but he gave them for what they were worth. Well, so long as we have no more substantial charge than that against a competent officer like Mr. King, I do not think there is anything to investigate.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROTJLE.

There is one peculiar thing about it. The hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Loy) could inform the First Minister, but he could not inform my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier, that he intended to bring this matter before the House. My hon. friend made certain allegations in a speech which he made before this House, but he is in a measure stopped from substantiating them for want of the very papers which the government ought to produce.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

The only interest I have taken in this matter was on account of the language used by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier the other day in reference to the Deputy Minister of Labour. With reference to the statement of the leader of the opposition, I may say that I do not think that previous to that time or since, have I spoken to the hon. member who brought up this question, nor has he spoken to me about it. I have no recollection of having had any conversation with him.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I accept the statement at once.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

I do not wish to be misunderstood. I may say that after I asked the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) why he made such a serious charge, affecting the character of a young man holding a responsible position, perhaps affecting his future success in life, and on what grounds he made such a serious and pointed statement in this House, he at once said that his information was well founded, and that if he could not substantiate it by affidavit he would withdraw it. I took the hon. gentleman at his word, believing that his own sense of justice and right would have led him to fulfil that promise. I have not been anxious to press the matter, believing that the hon. gentleman would produce his evidence, knowing as he must that this young man is suffering a great injustice. I am willing to say that if I thought the hon. member for Jacques Cartier was not sincere in his statement, and if he did not of his own accord bring it up in the House, I would have felt it my duty either

to bring it up myself

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Not without I notice.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

Not without notice. If my bon. friend from Jacques Cartier did not bring it up I would have been the first one to do so. I have no interest in this matter except to see that justice is done to the gentleman who is attacked. As to the merits or demerits of the case, I suppose that, both at the time of the occurrence and since, there has been an effort made to make political capital by the parties locally. However, that will be taken up, X suppose, by other parties. I want, Mr. Speaker, to confine myself to the interrogation I made at the time to the hon. member for Jacques Cartier, and to ask him if he will now name some reasonable time within which he will take an opportunity, either to substantiate his allegations, or withdraw them. Surely that hon. gentleman, as a lawyer of experience, should know that before making such a charge, and before asking for a committee of investigation, he should have some reliable foundation to work upon. I would ask him now to say what time he would consider reasonable within which to produce his proof. The reference to the papers in the Militia Department can have nothing to do with the matter now under discussion or with the statement made against Mr. King. It does not affect it at all whether they exist or do not exist, or whether they are brought down or whether they are not brought down. I would ask the hon. gentleman if it is not fair and in the interest, not only of the gentleman accused, but in the interest of all parties that he should take whatever reasonable time he thinks requisite and say that he will, at the expiration of that time, be prepared to act according to whatever information he may have. That is all I can ask of the hon. gentleman.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I am quite prepared to state, in answer to the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Sutherland), that as far as arranging a delay is concerned it seems to be a reasonable request. I would be prepared to say that I have sent for a telegraph form and I intend to telegraph to the parties who gave that information what has taken place here to-day. Any reasonable delay will suit me, and if these affidavits that have been promised are not forthcoming the House and the country may draw their own conclusions.

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LIB
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Some day next week. I do not think the circumstances under which this matter has presented itself warrant the violence of language of some hon. members, nor do I think that my demand for a commission is an unreasonable one. The government has time and again granted commissions under circumstances far less important than this one. I think the remarks made by the hon. member for Winnipeg (Mr. Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Puttee) would still more justify that demand for a commission. I gave the information for what it was worth as the hon. member has just stated.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I would remind the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) that he has already spoken on the question.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

X am closing my remarks, Mr. Speaker. We had the direct statement from the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) that a contract which he defended had been completed when it had not, and last night he could not say that the contract had been returned executed, when, as a matter of fact, it had been in his department for three or four days executed.

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Motion agreed to, and House went into Committee of Supply. The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding). We propose to take up the immigration item on page 36.


April 25, 1901