March 23, 1904

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Answer ; name.

Mr. McCarthy. Apparently the hon. gentleman will not even now answer, but I must say that I did1 not expect him to. I know his disposition. I know how, if I had not put on record in this House the actual facts, they would have been misrepresented, and how they would have been howled about in the constituency I have the honour to represent. But I have stated the facts, andi shall fee glad to have an investigation into them. I cannot understand why this hon. gentleman should desire to take to himself the role of public disseminator of political scandal. But he seems to pride himself on that role and to rejoice in giving evidence on every possible occasion of a narrow and bitter spirit. But even to gratify that spirit, I do not think he should have gone so far as he has done. Let him make a charge if he has one to make, but if he has only insinuations, let him keep his scandals to himself. It would be more in accord with his dignity as a member of this House that he should cultivate a better reputation, and he would stand higher in the esteem of the public if he would cease disseminating scandals and make straight charges, if he has any.to make.

This is my sixth session in this House, and I think it is the first occasion on which I have felt compelled to Indulge in any personalities or make ill-natured remarks, but i when I have been made the butt of insinuations such as the hon. gentleman has indulged in, I could not, with any respect to myself, refrain from replying to the hon. gentleman in the way he deserve?, and I have done so in as temperate a manner ns I could under the circumstances. So far as j any of my actions are concerned, since I j have entered this House, they have all been open and above board and I invite investigation into each and all of them.

Topic:   DOCK SALE.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. H. BENNETT (East Sitncoe).

Mr. Speaker, I must plead the absence of the kon. gentleman, Mr. McCarthy, from the House when I spoke the other day, as my excuse for not naming him then, as X do now, as the member to whom I referred. I came into this House in 1894 ; X then had perhaps no stronger supporters than the firm of Burton Brothers, Barrie, lumbermen, and they were even stronger supporters of my hon. friend opposite ; in fact they were his political god-fathers, they were his wet nurses, and here we are told by him frankly, fully and fairly, that when they asked for a little departmental work to be done, $400 is the price of his services.

Mr. McCarthy. No.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

The hon. gentleman states that the sum he received was $400. If Burton and Brothers, will look over the flies of their oflice from 1891 to 1896, when I had the honour of being a supporter of the then Conservative administration, they will find that there were many oflices performed by me for them in departmental work, for which I did not charge them a single cent.

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An hon. MEMBER.

Bribery.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

And the services by me performed were of more importance to them than the services performed by the hon. gentleman. Now Sir, what is all this to do about. I started out with a statement and I am prepared to stand by it now. I discussed it with the hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House and stated that it seemed necessary to-day with the low state of morality that if you want anything put through with the departments, there are certain impecunious lawyers, who, for a consideration are prepared to do it, and who receive by reason of what they do fees that are grossly in excess of what they should be.

In 1886, I was reeve of the town of Midland, and continued to be reeve for a number of years. I was elected reeve a year or two after I went to the town. I continued in that position and had a great deal to do for the town with the then Conservative administration in connection with public matters, and from that day until the Conservative administration went out of power, the books of the town of Midland will not show that I ever charged one cent for duties of a public nature.

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LIB
CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

And I did not ask for it.

Mi'. COWAN. You would have disqualified yourself as reeve.

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CON
CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

There was a piece dispute referred to in the letters.

Mr. McCarthy. The hon. gen^\e will find in an Ontario patent that the w ^ piece in dispute was conveyed to Burt ^ Brothers or their predecessors in the but the Minister of Marine and Fis11^ j0t said that it was not fair to grant fh^e to Burton Brothers and shut out the J

lot. .4

, r gfU'*

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CON
IND
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Some hon. MEMBERS

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I notice also that Messrs. Hewson & Creswick, of Barrie, have been for a long time acting for Burton & Brothers in the town of Barrie. Be that as it may, Burton & Brothers were anxious to sell their dock, and unless an appropriation was granted by the government for the construction of a dock at Midland there would be no sale, as the town would not buy the dock unless there was a guarantee and an assurance that the government would spend a large sum to build the dock ; it was therefore necessary to put leverage' and power behind the government, in order that the announcement anight be made public that the government would build a dock, and then the town would go on and complete the purchase. Mr. Chew and I had appealed to the hon. tihe Minister of Public Works (Mr. Tarte), and he had assured us practically that there was little prospect of the dock being built, and the people of the town had been told so, and did not expect that the dock would be built owing to the fact that the Minister of Public Works had not been able to encourage them. But a change came about. Burton & Brothers were anxious to sell -the dock, and apparently enlisted the services of the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy), and what happened ? The sale of the dock went on, and a promise was then made that the money would be expended in the purchase of this dock. Did not the hon. member for North Simcoe have something to do in the prompting and helping the progression of that grant ?

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IND

Leighton Goldie McCarthy

Independent

Mr. MCCARTHY.

If the hon. gentleman is asking me, I say no ; and I challenge him to show that I had any connection with it, good, bad or indifferent.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Well, Sir, what happened next ? Leverage was exerted by somebody, and the result was that an announcement was made publicly that a dock would be built at Midland, and at the same time the town went on and made a purchase of this property. Now, I am here to say that I do not believe the hon. member would ever have been called in by Burton Brothers had he not been a member of parliament, and merely for drawing up a deed he gets this large sum of 8400. My position was this : I was a member of

a firm In the town, and the town consulted my partner and myself-most of the business Avas done by my partner because I was away. But acting for the town in this and other matters, any little business that was to be done 011 behalf of the town was done through my firm to the value of some $40, and we had a great deal more to do than the preparation of a deed. But what happened next ? The question that was in dispute was this piece of water frontage, and the town was anxious that it should not he handed over to this gentleman named Jeffrey, but that it should be kept by the

Crown so that the Crown "might have the benefit of all that frontage. I called on the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr-Sutherland), who was then acting as Mimstei or Marine and Fisheries, and he told me- the matter had been before him, and very courteously handed me a file of papers, some six inches high, and said : ou

can look these over, and call my attention to any that you , W1S,1 , e *; look at I commenced to look ovei them and the result was that I round a number of these water frontages were m dispute between the government and certain applicants. And who was the solicitor acting on behalf of all of them . 1 here

were several from the town of Parry Sound. These gentlemen in the town of Parry Sound had sought the services of the member for North Sim'coe, Burton & Brothers sought the services of these people too.

Mr. McCarthy. I acted for all of them. Mr BENNETT. Oh, yes, they wanted somebody with a pull. I now come to the town of Collingwood, and what do l hud there ? I find there a meat company who are claiming a certain water frontage ; I find that the town of Collingwood are asking for some water frontage too, and I find that the member for North Simcoe is arrayed against the public interest in favour of a private interest; and I have been assured by one of the gentlemen connected with one of these concerns in the town of Collingwood that they had to pay the bon. gentleman pretty handsome fees for what he did, and judging from the fact that he gets $400 for drawing a deed, goodness only knows what he got out of these other com panies.

Mr. McCarthy. So far as Collingwood i, concerned, the moment that the town objected to the grant to the Collingwood Beef Company for whom I acted, I withdrew from tlie matter entirely.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Now, what happened ? A deputation came down from the town of Collingwood, and I was met by some of these gentlemen on the deputation who said to me : There is a dispute as to a valuable water frontage in the town of Collingwood. The town of Collingwood wishes to secure that from the government so that we can give it to a large industrial concern which proposes ro settle in that town. But we are met at the threshold of the department of Marine and Fisheries by the hon. member for North Simcoe and this meat company, and we cannot do anything. We claim that he is acting against the interests of the town, although he is the representative of that district, and we claim that he is being paid handsome fees for ids services, and unless Mr. McCarthy withdraws all opposition we will to-morrow place in your hands certain papers which we deem it in the public interest should be brought forward In the House of Commons

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CON
CON
LIB
CON

March 23, 1904