June 17, 1904

CON
LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

There is no question of that for the present year.

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L-C

Edward Hackett

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HACKETT.

I am not speaking about dog-fish at all. I asked the following question of the hon. minister on the 13th of April last with regard to the distribution of the fishing bounty in the province of Prince Edward Island :

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Hon. RAYMOND PREFONTAINE (Minister of Marine and Fisheries).

Preliminary information was procured, upon which the minister came to the conclusion to suspend proceedings for further consideration.

I want to ask tbe hon. minister whether he intends to prosecute an inquiry into those alleged frauds.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

Last year when this question was put to me, I answered it as the hon. gentleman has stated, and I thought the matter would rest there ; but on further representations made by the hon. gentleman, I promised him that an investigation would take place. Accordingly I appointed a person to investigate into these charges of fraud and I hope to have his report pretty soon.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

Do I understand that a person has been appointed to prosecute an inquiry ?

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

Yes, I will bring down the information and give my hon. friend the name and instructions and everything.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

I think that is what the hon. minister should do, in view of the fact that those gentlemen who made those allegations are supposed to be inplicated in some personal matters in that connection and in order also to give the fishery guardian charged with these frauds an opportunity of vindicating himself before a proper representative of the government. I think the matter very important and trust the inquiry will be prosecuted without delay.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I want to call tlie attention of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries to a campaign sheet issued by his department giving a review of the improvements in the lighthouse and coast service of Canada between 1896 and the 30th of December, 1903. It is a new departure that any minister should have a campaign document published in connection with his department. The hon. gentleman shakes his head, but this is nothing else. I know of no greater outrage than for a minister to use his position and department and the public funds for the purpose of publishing and disseminating campaign literature. The hon. gentleman may find precedents, but po matter where he may have selected his models, what he has done is not in the public interest.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

When I got an official of the department to prepare this statement, it was in order to inform people on the other side of what he was doing for the St. Lawrence route. In doing this, I simply followed the example of my predecessor who issued a similar pamphlet. The information in this pamphlet is taken from the report of the Marine Department. It is a condensation of what is contained in that report and better adapted for ready reference. The hon. gentleman would be surprised if I were to show him the numerous letters we have received from England and other European countries asking for more of these pamphlets, so as to post themselves on what is going on in the department. We at first ordered 2,000, and these were distributed only to people connected with the shipping interest and members of parliament.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

It is very fortunate perhaps that some members of parliament got them on this side.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

They were sent to every member of parliament.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I am not questioning that statement. The pamphlet purports to be a review of the progress and development of the Department of Marine since 1896. Why was that date selected ?

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

It is after 1896 that the most important work was done. In 1894-5-6, there were great complaints against the St. Lawrence route and we had any amount of difficulty in dispelling the wrong impression that had been formed regarding it. We all know the efforts that were made by the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal and the shipping interests of Quebec and Montreal in 1896 to convince the government that it was a question of life or death for the St. Lawrence route that certain improvements should be made ; and it has been since that time that large sums were voted in order to improve the route and remove the bad impression which had been formed concerning it.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

Of course, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Prefontaine) is always single-Mr. HAGGART.

minded in everything. It was by the merest accident that he selected the year 1896 for comparison. The hon. gentleman devotes his whole effort to show that there was complaint in 1895 or 1896. Has he been asleep that he does not know that these complaints had been made for years before and have been made for years since ? The charge was made by one of his own supporters, the hon. member for St. Lawrence Division, Montreal (Mr. Bickerdike), from his place in the House that the whole service was in the most deplorable condition. Why did not the hon. gentleman (Mr. Prefontaine) date it from that time ? He could hardly have been ignorant of the complaints that were made by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bickerdike). But, in compiling this table to show what has been done on the St. Lawrence route he, incidentally and quite accidentally, fell upon the year 1896. I do not mind giving the hon. gentleman my opinion that that is mere parish politics and looks all the worse when practised by the head of a great department. The hon. gentleman brought action against a newspaper for having stated more definitely, not than the facts warranted, probably, but than he was willing to have known, that he had established a sort of bureau in his own city through which his friends would secure places, it appears that it is a part of the outfit of the government to which he belongs. The Postmaster General (Sir William Mulock) on one occasion when he was acting Minister of Public Works, advertised for applicants from one end of this country to the other-

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LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK..

That is entirely without foundation.

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CON
LIB
CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I will do so with pleasure, and probably with not a little pain to the hon. gentleman. Evidently the hon. gentleman has forgotten. It is said that reckless people never take pains to remember what they have said. I would not say that the Postmaster General was reckless, but he was new in the business and anxious to distinguish himself. So, when the back of the hon. member for St. Mary's, Montreal (Mr. Tarte) was turned, he resolved to out do that hon. gentleman and learn every place that wanted a wharf or a dodk. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries-

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June 17, 1904