May 7, 1901

LIB

George di Madeiros Loy

Liberal

Mr. LOY.

I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon for interrupting him, but I should like the House to be well Informed of the facts, and it is very important to know whether

Mr. King's call upon myself was on liis arrival or on his departure. I may say for the Information of the House, that it was on his departure-when he was going to the station.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I would not for an instant call in question the statement of my hon. friend (Mr. Loy). Mr. King was there one day. Why do I say that ? Because he came down on the 29th, and, as shown by a copy of a telegram to be found at page 22 of the first report, he telegraphed on the 30th to the minister in charge of the Bureau that he was returning to Montreal that day-he was there twenty-four hours. Now let us for a moment leave aside these, to my mind, most injudicious visits paid by this gentleman charged with that important mission concerning employers and employees-and at a time of political ferment, doubly injudicious on his part-and let us take up for one moment the statement made in Mr. King's own language : that he had settled the strike. My hon. friend the acting minister put on sackcloth and ashes and declared that it was an awful pity that this young man who had stopped bloodshed and destruction of property should be attacked in this way in the House. The hon. gentleman probably took as perfectly accurate the statement made by Mr. King. And we had not, at that moment, the return from the Militia Department. I claim, amongst other things, that some credit is due to the military commanders who went out there and who, as I will show very briefly, by their firmness, their courage and their tact brought the strike to a close and settled the whole thing up before Mr. King came there at all. I will show that, and I think that having shown it, I shall have demonstrated that the militia who went out there and who, with their commanders, got pretty well knocked about and maimed, are entitled to a little credit. Mr. King arrived there on the 29th, which was a Monday. Now, there were three officers concerned in the suppression of this strike-as we have agreed to call it-

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

Would the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) allow me to ask him if that is the only affidavit concerning Mr. * King that he intends to read ?

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

No, there is another.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

I would like to see them, if he would be kind enough to allow me.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

It comes in later, but if the hon. gentleman desires it, I will read it now.

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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland

Liberal

Hon. Mr. SUTHERLAND.

I would like to see them after the hon. gentleman has read them.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

There were three officers concerned in the suppression of this strike. Lieut.-Col. Roy, commanding the district of Montreal ; Lieut.-Col. Ibbotson, commanding 143J

the principal detachment of troops that went to Valleyfield and who, as Well as Lieut.-Col. Roy gives us a long circumstantial report, which we had not before the House when this matter was discussed on the 25th April. There was also Lieut.-Col. La-belle, commanding the 56th Battalion of Montreal, who came out subsequently. I have no hesitation in saying that any person who reads the report of these three commanding officers cannot fail to come to the conclusion that they are deserving of the very highest credit. They displayed firmness, they displayed courage, they displayed gentleness, and they displayed tact ; and it was to them alone, in co-operation with the authorities of the place,' and in no way to Mr. King, that we owe it that the whole matter was settled. For it was practically settled on Saturday, the 27th October, and Mr. King, who claims somewhat greedily for himself the whole merit of the settlement, arrived there on Monday, the day of the departure of the troops.

Now I will quote from the reports of Lieut.-Colonel Roy. These reports are circumstantial, and I believe there is not the slightest doubt as to their accuracy. Paragraph 5 of this report says :

On the afternoon of the 26th of October, I received a communication signed by a few councillors of Valleyfield-' Exhibit E '-requesting the withdrawal of the force, stating that peace and order was now restored and the presence of troops was no longer a necessity; seeing that the excitement continued the same, and threats were freely made of a further attack the same night, I had to decline complying with this request. A copy of my reply-' Exhibit F'-is also inclosed.

That statement is corroborated by the protest of a certain number of councillors, and by the reply of Colonel Roy, who says that he could not comply with their request and withdraw the troops. We have the proof that on the 26tli there was already some kind of a settlement. In paragraph 6 he goes on ;

On the 27th October, seeing no change in the attitude of the rioters, but things not getting any worse, I returned home a detachment of about 150.

On the 27th he began returning his troops.

Things went on smoothly, and on the 30th October I received a letter from Mayor Lange-vin-' Exhibit G '-informing me that the employees of the Montreal Cotton Mills Company had returned to their work, and that peace had been restored, and asking for a withdrawal of troops. I immediately gave Instructions to that effect, and all were withdrawn with the exception of the cavalry, who remained until the 31st, owing to being unable to provide necessary transport for them-' Exhibit H '.

Turning to the report of Lieut.-Colonel Ibbotson, we have an account of the return of the troops previous to the arrival of Mr. King upon the scene of action. At page

10 of liis report addressed to Lieut.-Colonel Roy, he says : [DOT]

I was present with you at a peace conference, which was heild at Mr. Lacy's house, on Friday afternoon, when negotiations were trying to be effected between the mill authorities and the strikers, and at the time that letter was addressed to me and signed by ten aldermen of the town, two of whom signed a requisition calling out the militia, in which letter they asked me to withdraw ithe troops, as peace and quietude had been restored. The answer to same was made by yourself, and in which I thoroughly concurred, being of the opinion, and from personal observations, that peace and harmony had not been restored, the fact of the mill hands not returning to their work on Friday was sufficient proof of the same. I proceeded with you in person, also being accompanied by Major Stuart and Lieut. Simpson, to the town hall, where we were .told by the chief of police, who bad delivered the above-referred to letter, that the aldermen were in session. We there learned, and were told that the above-referred to officials were in sympathy with the strikers-

These aldermen are all Liberals,

*-and that if we did not retire all our patrols, there would be serious trouble again that Friday night. This matter of retiring troops within our lines was acceded to on the assurance that no appearance of a gathering of any kind would take place during the night, but if we did not do so we might expect further trouble.

Coming to his report of what took place on Saturday morning :

Saturday morning, the 27th, passed off quietly. On Saturday afternoon half the infantry were relieved from further duty and returned to Montreal. Saturday night stones were thrown at a sentry, and an attempt was made to out electric wires near the Hussars' horse quarters. This was the only incident that occurred during Saturday night. On Sunday church parades were held by the Roman Catholics and Protestants, under command of Lieut.-Col. Labelle and Major Carson. Sunday passed off quietly, we continuing to keep the whole of our force within the lines referred to as our headquarters-[DOT]-

That was the 29th, the day of the arrival of the deputy minister.

-and on Monday ail the mill hands having returned to work, and there being no further cause for suspicion of a return of trouble, arrangements were made with the railway company for the remainder of the troops' withdrawal to Montreal. The infantry, numbering about 200, left by special train, about 1.30, the cavalry remaining over night in consequence of the railway people not being able to supply cars to transport the horses.

Therefore, quiet was restored on Sunday. On Monday it was decided that the troops should be withdrawn, the infantry left at 1.30 of that day, but the cavalry did not leave because the railway authorities could not provide sufficient accommodation. The men returned to their work. And yet we have the statement of the actiug minister, and the report of this young man himself, in which not once does he mention the work, the most difficult, the most danger-

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

ous and, in some respects, the most delicate work done by the military commanders, who, in reality, put a stop to the trouble and succeeded in allaying all suspicion, and were practically off the ground before the deputy minister arrived. I refer to the statement contained in the report of the deputy minister, that, in view of the circumstances as he found them on his arrival, it was necessary for him to hold a meeting at the town hall that night. That was Monday night after the infantry had left, and when the cavalry horses were waiting for transport the following morning. He held a meeting that night. I do not know what took piace at that meeting, but it must be remembered that Mr. King did not know the language of the vast majority of those he addressed upon the occasion.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

They all speak English in Valleyfield.

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?

The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Nine-tenths of the inhabitants of Valley-field speak English. There is scarcely a man there who does not talk English, as the hon. member for Valleyfield (Mr. Loy) knows very well.

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LIB

George di Madeiros Loy

Liberal

Mr. LOY.

X think it is a fact, Mr. Speaker, which is well known by the hon. gentleman, because the former member for Beauharnois, Mr. Bergeron, often addressed public meetings in English there.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

It grows darker and darker. I will not take back what I said, and members of this House will ask why, if the people understood English so well, did not the great pacificator address himself to these men directly, and why did he require an interpreter ? He had an interpreter with him. When I speak to hon. members of this House I do not require an interpreter. But Mr. King required an interpreter, and who did he take ? There were in Valleyfield justices of the peace, there were disinterested persons, but whom do you think he took ? Why, he took the ever necessary, the ubiquitous Mr. Bertrand, an employee on the canal. He was the man who interpreted the thoughts, the suggestions and the counsels of the deputy minister. My hon. friends have asserted that the employees understood English perfectly but they have not asserted that the deputy minister understood French and the ubiquitous Mr. Bertrand spoke to the people in the language with which my hon. friend and myself have the advantage of being familiar. He spoke French.

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LIB
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

What did lie say. what was the secret ? Nobody can speak of what took place there, but this is quite certain that he had an interpreter.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KEMP.

Was it a public meeting ?

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Was it a private meeting or a public meeting ? That it was not a public meeting appears to be quite understood. We have not been able to find out exactly what took place, but it was asserted next day, and if my voice reaches to Valleyfield they will know that it is telling the truth, that political matters had been chatted over at that meeting.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

Do I understand the hon. gentleman to say it was a public meeting or a secret meeting ?

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I understood that it was a secret meeting, that the door was closed, and that the people who went there were told that it was a private meeting.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

How uues my iion. friend know that there was an interpreter for Mr. King if it was a secret meeting ?

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May 7, 1901