I believe no reputable man would have published the statement that I will read to the House in a newspaper having reference to an event which took place in his own town, unless there was some foundation of truth in that statement.
The Salaberry. This article is entitled 1 Truth, if you please,' and it says :
Mr. Monk last week put before the House the interesting and now celebrated question in regard to the strike which took place in Valley-field during the last elections. Mr. Monk, while be stated a good lot of truths, has placed his finger upon a point which is extremely unpleasant to the political heelers of our good little town; that is to say, upon whom rests the responsibility of this strike. Mr. Tarte, who cannot swallow his defeat of 1896, has found the means, under pretext of re-establishing the facts from a Liberal standpoint, to completely discolour what really took place at the time. Thus, for example, the town of Valleyfield counted 6,000 souls in 1896, and to-day it would have
12.000 according to the hon. minister. Thus, under the Liberal regime this town, in five years, would have doubled its population. Beg pardon ; but to be faithful to truth one should have said that in 1896 our town counted more than 7,000 souls, and that since the census of last winter there are 10,790-a slight error of
3.000 souls, but what is this for an hon. minister
of the government. The minister has also affirmed that there were as many Conservatives as Liberals in the Union Ouvriere of Valleyfield. We have reason to doubt this assertion, but there is one thing of which we are quite sure, and which the hon. minister knows as well as we do. It is this : The president of Union
Ouvriere is an ardent Liberal, Mr. Etienne Leger, a farmer. The vice-president, Mr. Ddehene, Liberal-Radical, is a merchant tailor, and finally, the secretary-treasurer, the ubiquitous Mr. Bertrand, is employed by the Federal government on the Lachine canal. None of these three gentlemen is a labourer by trade. Nevertheless, all three politicians, well known, used the labourers of Valleyfield as their instrument to arrive at their ends. Nay, whatever may be said and whatever may be done, everybody here knows that this strike was got up by three or four political heelers, who managed to induce those among the ranks of the labourers to beat the Conservative candidate, and the proof is that Mr. Bergeron was stronger in the county outside of Valleyfield than in 1896. Mr. Monk has merely lifted the corner of the veil that covers the causes of the results of this unfortunate affair. The contestation, which will probably continue after the session, has in store for us other surprises and other emotions upon the same subject. Events will show whether it was Mr. Monk who told the truth or the Minister of Public Works.
I submit this article for the consideration of the House, and I think X am abundantly justified in the position which I have taken
in this matter. I would be the last man to carry out a policy which led to such distressful results as the dismissing of men in 189ti without any reason whatever. I have heard it stated in this House, that the editor of the Labour Gazette, the deputy minister is a young man of promise. The articles which I have read in the Labour Gazette lead me to believe that there is truth in that statement, although I must confess that the articles of October, just before the election, did not please me as much as the other articles. But I think I have done enough to lead this House to the conclusion that the minister, who seems to be very friendly with that young man. might very properly have taken him into his chamber and told him that when called upon to perform, so to speak, judicial functions on that occasion, at a time of great difficulty. he should have avoided calling upon any but the parties immediately interested; that he should have avoided calling upon men who above all others were known to be identified with a political party, and not the protectors of the labouring men. It is all nonsense-Mr. Bertrand cares no more for the interests of the labouring men than he does for his duties as a government employee. Mr. King should have avoided calling on the Liberal candidate at the Liberal committee rooms or holding any conference with him to which the opposing candidate was not a party. It was indiscreet, it was not fair, it was not right. And when in the evening he saw fit to holct a meeting, he was wrong in employing as an interpreter this employee of the canal, who seems to me to have taken a most disgraceful part in the whole of this transaction. He seems to me to be the man principally responsible for the charge east on the country or the town in connection with this strike. I have no hesitation in saying that any man who reads the reports which have been brought down to this House cannot fail to arrive at the conclusion that but for the interference of politics and the political heelers in this affair, there would have been no troops, no strike, no bad feeling, and no injudicious waste of money.
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS, (Hon. ,T. Israel Tarte). Mr. Speaker, on the 3rd of April last, the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) brought to the attention of the House the troubles tliat have taken place at Valleyfield. More than thirty-five days have elapsed since he got up from his seat in parliament and made a speech to which we all listened with great attention. The hon. gentleman is a responsible man; he occupies a strong position at the bar; he is a well-known gentleman: and his statements had a good deal of effect for a time. Those statements he had abundant time to substantiate and prove. The House has just heard what he has said. The House would like to hear what he said then. He accused, in very
strong and emphatic language, the Deputy Minister of Labour. I shall read his words -here they are. After reading what was the duty of the Deputy Minister of Labour, he added :
Though that is the duty of Mr. King under the circumstances, I am credibly informed that he did the very opposite. He became a political agent. He met the leading people in Val-leyfield and told them, the government were prepared to do a great deal for the success of this strike, hut it was all-important that they should support Mr. Loy, who was the Liberal candidate.
These are the words which my hon. friend uttered, and for which it seems to me he should apologize immediately. He is unable to substantiate these words; he has not read a solitary word to substantiate them, and he is unable to do so. I challenge him to substantiate them; he cannot do it. He said :
So Mr. King became, when there, an active canvasser.
Where is the evidence of that, Sir ? There is none. 1 leave the hon. gentleman to the judgment of the House and of the labouring classes and of the community at large. He has made statements that are inaccurate. He has not invented these stories; he is not that kind of a man. The stories have been told to him by unreliable men, and it seems to me it is his duty to-day to l'ise from his seat and state that those men did not inform him correctly. There is no shame in one saying that he has been misinformed. I may say that I would take pride in saying so if I were in the hon. gentleman's place. He has been as badly informed in reference to Mr. Papineau. What did he say on the 3rd of April ?
Mr. Papineau joined with the rioters.
I took him to task a little later on for having used those words. He said, ' I did not say that;' but all the same the hon. gentleman uttered those words, and to-day what evidence has he produced ?
The hon. gentleman has not and cannot produce any evidence that Mr. Papineau joined with the rioters. What Mr. Papineau did was this. He was asked to read the Riot Act, and he declined to do it. Why did he decline ? My hon. friend knows right well that when the Riot Act is read, the military commander has the right to give the troops orders to fire. Well, the population of Valleyfield is a peaceful population. It may be a little hot at times, but it is a peaceful and honourable population. My hon. friend gives to the military forces tlie credit of having settled the difficulty. Tlie present government resorted to other means. We are a government of peace, Mr. TARTE.
a* government ol' harmony between all classes of the community. My hon. friend prefers war to peace. We prefer peace to war. Mr. King was called to Valleyfield after the troops had been called out. The troops had been called out by the Cotton Mills Company; they are responsible for that. Mr. Greenshields, as my hon. friend said very properly, acted for the Montreal Cotton Mills Company. Instead of applying to the Minister of Labour or to Mr. King to try to bring about a settlement, they preferred to appeal to force. I am sorry to say this was the means-force, violence, tyranny. I use strong words, hut I know that I am using them rightly, because I witnessed in Valleyfield such a state of tyranny in 1800 such as I never witnessed anywhere else. The Dominion Cotton Mills, instead of resorting to peaceful means, called out the troops. The troops went there. The Dominion Cotton Mills apparently were anxious that the Riot Act should be read, and I congratulate Mr. Papineau and all the justices of tlie peace in Valleyfield. both French and English, on having refused to read it.
Mi-. MONK. I do not know' whether the hon. gentleman has read the report of Lt.-Cols. Roy and Ibbotson. If he has, he is doing them a very great injustice by saying that nobody desired that the Riot Act should be read.
I have read their report. They asked Mr. Papineau to read the Riot Act, and he refused, and properly refused. There was no man killed. A few stones were thrown, and the soldiers were just as well armed with their guns as the populace was. There was some little tussle, which did not amount to anything. Would my hon. friend tell me that had he read the Riot Act and somebody had been killed, Mr. Papineau would not have been guilty of murder ?
We hear a good deal about volleys in the air on the other side of the line, and we do not wish to have that sort of thing here. We can settle our difficulties without even firing volleys in the ah\ and the best proof is the fact that the strike was settled without any bloodshed or serious trouble after all, and without any volley.