October 14, 1903


Motion agreed to, Bill read the third time, and passed.


SUPPLY-FAST ATLANTIC SERVICE.


The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) moved that the House again go into Committee of Supply.


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

I understand that it is not convenient for the Minister of Trade and Commerce to be here to-day, and therefore I have arranged not to proceed with the motion respecting the Fast Atlantic Service, of which I gave notice last evening. I might say to my right1 lion, friend the Prime Minister that I would like to proceed either on Saturday or on Wednesday. Believing that this session would have ended before this, I made an engagement for Monday, which will necessitate my absence on Monday and on Tuesday until ten o'clock in the evening ; therefore,

I would be prepared to go on on Wednesday or on Saturday, as may be most convenient.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

I am exceedingly obliged to my hon. friend. I am sorry that the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who we all know has not very good health, is not able to be here to-day. But whether my right hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce is absent or present, we will make it a point to give the hon. leader of the opposition an opportunity of moving this motion on Saturday.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

As I expect to have to leave on Saturday afternoon at four-o'clock, I would like, if convenient, to have it fixed as early in the day as possible.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

We shall make it three o'clock.

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SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.

LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. T. O. DAVIS (Saskatchewan).

Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair, I desire to bring to the attention of the government and of the House a matter which affects a large portion of the population of the community in which I reside, and which

I have the honour of representing in this House. X have had the honour of bringing this question before the House on other occasions, but up to the present time nothing has been done in the matter. I refer to the claims of a great many settlers in the Saskatchewan district arising out of the rebellion of 1885. After the rebellion, the government of the day appointed a claims commission who were sent up to the Saskatchewan district with the idea of settling the claims of the settlers for losses incurred in that rebellion. The government of that day, apparently in a fair spirit, saw fit to appoint on that commission a resident of the district who was well known in that part of the country. The commission was appointed on August 25tli, 1885, and sat until January 6th, 1886, a period of 135 days. They brought in a report, which 1 have here, in which they recommended the payment of a certain number of claims. A Short time after that, as the election of 1887 was coming on in the near future, and as there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with reference to the unsettled claims, the government saw fit to send the same commission to settle the balance of these claims. On March 15th, 1886, this commission resumed its labours and apparently was employed until August 9th, 1887. During the summer of 1886, this commission took evidence in a great many cases and reserved (judgment as to what should be done in the matter of paying or not paying, and that is where the grievance comes in. One of these commissioners, a gentleman appointed from my district, came up to the Saskatchewan district in the fall previous to the election of 1887, and started to work as an agent in the interests of the government of the day. He attended public meetings and spoke at public meetings and worked among the people for nearly three months, until the election of March 15th, 1887.

Mr. 1,a RIVIERE. Would the hon. gentleman give the name ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-FAST ATLANTIC SERVICE.
Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

Mr. Thomas McKay, now a member of the local legislature. He spoke at these meetings and canvassed and worked there until the election took place. At * that time we had an open vote, and it was possible to know just how each elector voted. This gentleman, being in charge of the organization of the Conservative party in that district, was in a position to have access to the poll-books and everything of that kind and knew exactly how every man polled his vote at that election. When the election was over and the commission made its award, it was found that the gentlemen who had voted against the government of the day had received cold justice, while those who supported the government of the day were in some cases paid twice the amount that was legally due to them. The worst feature of the whole thing was-and I have the record under my hand-that during the three

months that Mr. McKay canvassed and worked and addressed public meetings in the interest of the Conservative party, he was receiving from the Dominion government $15 a day as claims commissioner and $5 a day for living expenses, and in addition his travelling expenses from here to Hie scene of rebellion and back again.

Now, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, is it possible that justice could be rendered to these people in a case of that kind ? Here was a paid official of the Dominion government who was getting $20 a day as claims commissioner going up and attending political meetings, and after he had attended the meetings, after these people had refused to vote as he wanted them to, this man is authorized to sit as a judge on their claims ? Could they expect justice in a case of that kind? They could not expect justice in a case of that kind ? They could not expect it, and they did not get it. These people have been agitating ever since, getting up petitions and sending letters, and they are not going to be satisfied until at least some steps are taken to investigate their grievance, and to see that the gross unfairness of the award of that commission has been rectified. Why, there are cases of men that we know of ourselves who were drawing $13,000 and $14,000 for losses of goods that one man could have carried on his back, while other men, bona fide settlers who did lose their all, got nothing or scarcely anything. I have all the reports here, the awards made, the amounts claimed, the amounts paid, and everything of that kind. I am not going into that, but I have briefly placed the facts before the House, and I would ask that some steps be taken to look into the mattter and see that these people get justice, because they certainly did not get justice at the hands of that commission; and every member on both sides of this House will agree with me that they could not expect to get justice from a gentleman who was paid $20 a day by the government for stumping up through Saskatchewan and who was afterwards sitting as a judge on the claims of these people.

Topic:   SUPPLY-FAST ATLANTIC SERVICE.
Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

It seems to me extraordinary that the hon. gentleman has sat in this House ever since he came here, and it is only at this late date that he brings this subject before parliament.

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Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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Fred Langdon Davis

Mr. DAYIS.

I want to draw attention to the fact that if the hon. gentleman goes through 'Hansard' he will find that I have brought the subject up several times in this House.

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Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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Mr. SPRO JLE@

For several years there has not been a word from the hon. gentleman, but now he gets up, in the dying days of a long session, when it is expected there will be an election in the near future, and brings this subject to the attention of the

House, without notice of any kind. Now, whether this Mr. McKay did or did not act as a political agent during that time, it is impossible for us to say, at least it is impossible for me to say.

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Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

I have made a speech here in parliament showing that the people in my district know well whether he acted as election agent or not, and here is a return from the department which goes to show that he was paid for the time during which he was acting as agent. I think the proof is absolutely clear that he did.

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Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The hon. gentleman, in my opinion, should have gone further, and he should have shown us from his records whether this gentleman did any work as a commissioner during that time, becanse if he had proven by the records which are in the possession of the department that he had not done any work at that time, then it might be assumed that he was acting only as a political agent, and was improperly paid for the time he was doing no work. But the hon. gentleman has not done that, and we are not in a position

Topic:   SUPPLY-FAST ATLANTIC SERVICE.
Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

Will the hon. gentleman allow me for a moment I make this statement, if he wants to know, that for two or three months after this gentleman was appointed claims commissioner he acted as political agent of the Conservative party in Saskatchewan, that he spoke from platforms, and he canvassed, and he did everything that an organizer had to do in Saskatchewan and he was paid $20 and travelling expenses by the government of the day while he was doing all that.

Topic:   SUPPLY-FAST ATLANTIC SERVICE.
Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. POPE.

Did he sit as a commissioner ? Mr. DAVIS. Certainly not.

Topic:   SUPPLY-FAST ATLANTIC SERVICE.
Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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CON

Rufus Henry Pope

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. POPE.

Then sit down.

Topic:   SUPPLY-FAST ATLANTIC SERVICE.
Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

Certainly he was not sitting on cases when he was electioneering.

Topic:   SUPPLY-FAST ATLANTIC SERVICE.
Subtopic:   SETTLERS' CLAIMS RE REBELLION OF 1885.
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October 14, 1903