April 26, 1904

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I think these agreements had better be in writing. My hon. liiend the chief whip of the Conservative party came to me to-night after I had [DOT]seen him in conference with the Minister of Justice behind that door, and told me after some previous negotiations, that there was a distinct agreement that the debate should be adjouisned after the member for Pictou had spoken upon condition, to which I consented, that we would go into committee to-morrow night before 12 o'clock.

I told my hon. friend we would probably go into committee before six o'clock, but that we would not make any agreement to that effect, because I had already got into trouble with some of my hon. friends by consenting to vote on last Wednesday night. Six or seven gentlemen on this side of the

House wanted to speak, and I thought they were justly entitled to have that vote postponed till Thursday night, but because the right hon. gentleman insisted, and because I had given my word that it would rot be later than Wednesday night, I told these gentlemen they could not speak. I spoke to every one of them personally, and a good deal of dissatisfaction was caused by my doing so. Although circumstances had arisen which I thought might justify the vote being postponed till Thursday, I had given my word without qualification and I proposed to carry it out and did carry it out. To-night my hon. friend from Leeds (Mr. Taylor) after his conference with the Minister of Justice, was firmly under the impression that an agreement had been arrived at. and he came to me and reported the agreement which had been made and said he was going home, that everything had been arranged. He went and told my hon. friend from South Grey (Mr. Richardson! that | under the arrangement he was entitled to | move the adjournment of the debate. That hon. gentleman did move the adjournment of the debate. When he moved it, I understood from the right hon. gentleman that we would keep on until 11 o'clock. My hon. friend from South Grey waited until 11, and then again moved the adjournment of the debate, but the request was again denied. So after two incidents that amounted, as I understood, to a violation of a distinct agreement made with a member of the hon. gentleman's cabinet, after that I did not ask that the adjournment of the debate should be made. I understood that these gentlemen were apparently departing, either wilfully or otherwise, from an agreement which the Minister of Justice undoubtedly did make and which the Minister of Justice will not deny. All I can say is that so far as I am concerned there will be in the future no arrangement made between the whips as to the date at which any debate is to be adjourned or concluded unless it is put in black and white, so that there will be no question about it. It is a very unpleasant thing to have these questions as to the truthfulness of one side or the other coming up continually, as they have been doing during the past four or five days. So far as I am concerned in the future there will be no more question about it, because I will make no arrangement as to the taking of any vote in this House unless it is put down in writing. Then we will all understand it, and there will be no more of this nonsense of agreements being made and then broken, and our being told afterwards that they were only tentative. How could they be tentative when the negotiations with regard to the adjournment of this debate went on for 15 or 20 minutes, and when finally such an agreement was come to as justified the chief whip in telling me what he did. and in telling what he did to the member for South Grey, and then going

home thinking everything had been fairly arranged ? It is time that agreements of this kind should be placed in such a position that there will be no possibility of these unpleasant disputes.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I can say to my hon. friend that I have broken no word of mine. I have only this to say, that it appears the hon. gentleman was consulted by his own whip and he agreed ; I was not consulted by the Minister of Justice and did not agree, and that is all there is about it

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to say with the indulgence of the House that I think my hon. friend the chief whip of the Liberal party was not justified, if, as he says, he did not understand this to be a binding agreement, in not coming to this side of the House and telling some of the whips who were in the House that he did not understand this to be an agreement. He was not necessarily obliged to convey that information to the chief whip on this sidA He could have come to some of the other whips on this side of the House, or to myself, and explained what he must have known to be at least a misunderstanding, and if he had done so we would have had an avoidance of the very unpleasant incident that has taken place tonight.

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LIB

William Samuel Calvert (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CALVERT.

As far as I am concerned, as I said before, I entered into no agreement with the chief whip of the opposition. My hon. friend from Leeds (Mr. Taylor), in the presence of the hon. Minister of Justice, explained to me the proposition of the opposition, and I immediately waited on the right hon. Prime Minister and made the suggestion to him, but it was not agreed to. I looked for the hon. member for Leeds for some time. I did not know that he had gone home and I expected to have him return to the chamber at almost any moment. I waited until he had returned and I did not know until I saw him in the House that he had gone home. However, I did not think of going to any whip of the opposition, or to the hon. leader of the opposition, because the right hon Prime Minister had not agreed to the suggestion and as the hon. member for South Leeds had made the suggestion to me in regard to an arrangement, I expected to have made the arrangement with him. I wish to say to the hon. leader of the opposition that I have never broken a pledge made on behalf of this side of the House. I do not think the hon. leader of the opposition can charge us with having broken an agreement entered the other night. If there has been any breaking done here it has been done by the opposition and not by us. Still, I might possibly have gone over to the hon. leader of the opposition, but it did not occur to me, as

1 expected to meet the bon member for Leeds almost at any moment. However, I entered into no agreement with him. As I understand it is the duty of the chief whips on both sides to make these arrangements. I did not think I had anything to do with any arrangement suggested by the lion. Minister of Justice unless it was agreed to by the hon. member for Leeds and myself after I had consulted the Prime Minister.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

The hon. member for West Middlesex (Mr. Calvert) was not a party to the arrangement. The negotiations v out on between the hon. Minister of Justice and myself and I had two or three conferences with him.

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LIB

William Samuel Calvert (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CALVERT.

I was in the House all the time.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

The chief whip of the government was not here and was not a party to the negotiations. The hon. Minister of Justice and myself met at the door and as we met, the chief whip of the government came up and in his presence I explained the arrangement to the hon. Minister of Justice and he said it was satisfactory. The chief whip ot the government had no part, as I understood it. in the arrangement and had no reason to ask the consent of the right hon. Prime Minister, because, as I understand the whole arrangement was concluded between the hon. Minister of Justice and myself.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC RAILWAY.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

There was no arrangement with me. He came and reported the arrangement, and I would not agree to it.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Then, I say it was the duty of the hon. Minister of Justice to have come back and told us, or it was the duty of the chief government whip to have told us and not allow this unpleasant incident to have taken place. As the chief government whip has referred to what took place the other night I want to say that it was reported to me by the chief whip on this side of the House that the vote was to be taken at the close of the speech of the hon. member for Prince Edward (Mr. Alcorn.)

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LIB

William Samuel Calvert (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CALVERT.

No, after the right hon. Prime Minister's speech.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I am not going to enter into the merits of the matter ; that was the information given to me and it was given to a great many hon. gentlemen on this side of the House. I did not hear of the intention of the right hon. Prime Minister to speak until two or three minutes before my hon. friend from Prince Edward had concluded his speech.

Mr. TAYLOR moved the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC RAILWAY.
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Motion agreed to, debate adjourned.


LIB

ADJOURNMENT-CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY BOND AGREEMENT.


Sir WILFRID LAURIER moved the adjournment of the House.


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Mr. Speaker, before the motion is put, I would like to ask the attention of the government to the fact that there was an engagement by the government last year, which is to be found in the third volume of ' Hansard,' 1903. page 5641, that the mortgages and other securities taken by the government to indemnify them in respect to the guarantee of the bonds of the Canadian Northern Railway were to be placed on the table of the House within ten days after the opening of this session. I had suggested that a provision to that effect should be inserted in the Bill. The hon. Minister of Railways and Canals asked whether I thought that was necessary or whether an assurance by the government would be sufficient. I then said that I would be happy io accept the assurance of the government in that regard. I would ask that the assurance be implemented and that these documents be brought down and placed on the table of the House.

Topic:   ADJOURNMENT-CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY BOND AGREEMENT.
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Motion agreed to, and House adjourned at 1.25 a.m., Wednesday.



Wednesday, April 27, 1904.


April 26, 1904