June 24, 1904

LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

In discussing these things with my hon. friend (Mr. Sam. Hughes).

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Why, it has been in the papers all over the country. Colonel Whitley admits it.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I would like to understand what the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sam. Hughes) has stated. If he will put it clearly we shall all know what he means.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

It will require more than the equivocation displayed in this House to make us believe the charge is not true. I may tell the Minister of Agriculture that, so far as any denial from him is concerned. Colonel Whitley and Colonel Smart came to Ottawa on this matter early in the obstruction. Colonel Whitley had an interview with the minister when Colonel Smart was not present, and, later on, after three o'clock, all three had a meeting over here. Colonel Whitley is a good Liberal- nobody will deny that. And he is a good officer-nobody will deny that either. The General Officer Commanding followed exactly the course that the constitution of this country lays down as the proper course for one in his position. And, on this point I would address myself particularly to the Prime Minister. Lord Dundonald has been charged wTith pursuing a course contrary to the principles of responsible government. Mr. Speaker, these hon. gentlemen have failed to show where he stepped aside from the proper course in one single particular. What course does the constitution of this country provide in such matters ? This regiment was to be organized. In the first

place, a commanding officer was appointed- Colonel Smart. The brigadier, Colonel Whitley, was instructed to look after the regiment. He and Colonel Smart selected the officers of the regiment as it was their duty to do. It was understood from the first that the officers of the old 53rd Battalion of Infantry, and the 97th Regiment, the old regiment down there on the border, were to be taken, as far as possible, in the formation of the new regiment. And yet one would gather from the tenor of the remarks that have been made-and I should much dislike to say that there was an intentional effort in those remarks to mislead the House, but I think that, considering the way in which the case is put we would be justified even in saying that there wras that intention-that Colonel Smart had gone about the country drumming up a lot of Tories who had had no previous experience, and taking them, simply because they7 wrere Tories to be officers in the organization of the regiment. Under the constitutional course, Colonel Smart, selected his officers. Of course, he could get advice wherever he chose, but it was for him to make the choice. There is one constitutional avenue of communication according to the laws of responsible government and of common sense government. There must be an official channel of communication. That channel was from the officers, the captains of the companies and the majors commanding the squadron, through Colonel Smart to. Colonel Roy and from Colonel Roy to the authorities at Ottawa. There is the plain, well understood course. The man who pursued the unconstitutional course, who followed principles inimical to responsible government was the Minister of Agriculture ? He is the man who tramped under his feet the forms that have been in use for ages, and that will continue to be in use for ages in any properly organized community. He tried to make himself the medium of communication between the officers organizing the regiment and the department at Ottawa. , , , ,

He is the man who stands branded, and will stand branded to the end of time, as the only instance of a minister of the Crown in Canada who has ever stooped to interfere in the organization of a regiment, and has constituted himself the Colonel of the regiment. the brigadier of the district, the District Officer Commanding of the district, the General Officer Commanding, and the Minister of Militia. Following the precedents laid down by this government, and rightly laid down, in dismissing General Hutton, and in the dismissal of ministers again and again in British history, I maintain that the Prime Minister is bound to turn the Minister of Agriculture out of his cabinet, or he is guilty of a violation of the principles of responsible government, and himself merits dismissal by the Governor General of the country. Our friend, the

juvenile member for London (Mr. Hyman), may sit there with a sardonic smile ; he may not know as much about the principles of responsible government as about pigs feet; but I may tell him that the more he studies the principles of responsible government he will find that away down in the hearts of the people of this country, where the sentiment has not been swallowed up bj chicanery, opportunism and trickery on the part of the government of this country- I say that deep down in their hearts there is an admiration for the old principle of responsible government, and he will find it out sooner or later.

Now, we will come to a few details. Not only has the Minister of Agriculture been guilty of meddling with and trampling on the constitution, but he has been proven guilty in this House of deception, not to use a stronger term. He has stated again and again in this House that these regiments along the border were Tory preserves in the olden times, and that he was going to take particular pains to see that they no longer remained Tory hives. He has had the hardihood to stand up and state in this House what he must know is a deliberate untruth.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Mr. Speaker, if the rules of parliament forbid me to utter what is in my heart, then I retract the word.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

I have retracted the statement, I bow promptly to parliamentary rules. As an Ameflcan said the other day in the House of Representatives at Washington, a man will sometimes speak from his heart. The Minister of Agriculture has stated in this House on two or three occasions recently, and he has made the welkin ring with the statement, that the regiments along that border had been Tory preserves in days gone by, that they are Tory preserves to-day, and that was the reason he interfered. The charge was made in Monreal in his own paper, and in order to avoid a lawsuit, I presume, he has had to publish a letter from the officer commanding one of the eastern townships regiments who is charged with that sort of thing. I will read the article :

The colonel of the regiment

I think he is the colonel of the regiment, H. R. Fraser signs the letter. And let me say this before I pass on, that I see they are resorting to a little species of petty intimidation in relation to Colonel Smart, and the Hamilton ' Times ' warns any officer who wants to keep his place in the militia that he had better keep his mouth shut. The Waterloo ' Advertiser ' does the same 1 thing. Let me tell the hon. member for Shefford (Mr. Parmelee), who, I believe is the editor of that paper, let me tell the Minister of Agriculture, and the Hamilton Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

' Times,' and the Toronto ' Globe,' and the Montreal ' Herald, ' that when an officer of the militia of this country is not on service he is just as free a man to tell his colonel, to tell the District Officer Commanding, to tell the Minister of Militia or any other man in this country, what he thinks of him as any other man living, and there is nothing in the militia laws of this country that can possibly prevent him. That was the fight that I fought with General Hutton, and let me tell the Prime Minister hat the militiamen of this country while they are ready to defend their country, abdicate none of the rights of citizenship in joining the militia. Let me tell the hon. member for Shefford that it ill becomes him to write what appears in the last issue of his paper, and which I will read. Mush less does it become him when the public know' that Colonel Smart, the gentleman whom he is threatening here, took him into his confidence and took his advice in the selection of a number of the officers of that corps. It ill becomes him to stoop to a threat resembling the tyranny of the dark ages. He says :

Colonel Smart's connection with the matter stamps him as unfit to command a corporal's guard. To employ no harsher term, his usefulness is gone.

Mr. Speaker, let me draw the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that that article is in the paper of one of his supporters and if that is the spirit that is going to be displayed and acted on in this country, let us know it. Let me tell him that the people of this country are going to stand by the principle of responsible government. If that is the treatment that is to be meted out to the free men of this country, let us know it, that is all I ask. We are ready any time they wish to meet them on this ground. This trouble has been brewing for a long time, and we are ready, at any time they chose to throw down the gauntlet, to pick it up. Here is a statement made by Colonel Fraser in relation to the absurd charge made by the Minister of Agriculture that these regiments were Tory hives. Colonel Fraser first quotes from the article in the ' Herald : '

I quote the following extract from the article : * Any one who is conversant with the affairs of the 53rd regiment will see how ridiculous the ' Gazette ' is when it states that the officers of the 53rd regiment are above politics. Is there a Liberal officer in the regiment ? It is well known in Sherbrooke that no Liberal-minded gentleman need apply for commission in this regiment.

This is from his own organ, the Minister of Agriculture. Colonel Fraser then goes on to say :

This statement is as false as it is malicious, and I designate its writer an infamous liar, and I challenge him to take action against me for calling him such, or to come out and re-

peat the statement over his own signature, when I will take action against him tor malicious libel.

That cap fits the Minister of Agriculture. He has stated in his speeches in this House, he has repeated it again and again, that these regiments were Tory hives, and I now ask him to peruse the article dealing with that letter. Colonel Fraser goes on :

I have been in the regiment for twenty-six years, from drummer-boy to its commanding officer, and during all that time not one word of politics or political influence has ever been heard to my knowledge, either on the part of the commanding officer, the regimental staff, the company officers or in the ranks.

Let me say in passing, that I have associated with these men on the rifle ranges here and in Montreal, and in camps in the eastern townships, I have talked with the boys of those regiments, and I never knew what politics any one of them believed in, and I cared less. I never heard that any politician interfered in the political allegiance of the men of any of the regiments, whether Colonel Gibson's regiment in Hamilton, or any other, and I defy any man to point-out where the question of politics has ever been allowed for one second to intervene between the officers and, the men of the regiment.

We have never even pretended to know, inquired into or cared what the politics, religion or nationality of incoming officers or men

might be.

What we have sought for has always been the right kind of stuff to make good officers and men for the regiment, and to serve their country and their King, and I think we have succeeded in some slight degree. In this respect the record of the regiment will speak for itself. What the number on either side of politics may have been from time to time in the past I do not know, but this I do know: that I served for many years under Lieutenant-Colonel W. A. Moorehouse, a staunch Liberal, and who obtained and held his command under a Conservative government, and I could refer to many other past officers who have been on the Liberal side of politics. It may not be out of place for me to say that my immediate predecessor in the command of the regiment has been repeatedly spoken of as the next Liberal standard-bearer at the Dominion elections, and again that my late surgeon-major, the present P. M. O. of the district, has also been prominently spoken of in the same direction.

When the scarlet coat is on, the boys drop politics. We regard is as a little bigger than politics. The late right hon. Sir John Macdonald, of whom I had the honour to be a humble follower in politics, had two staunch rules in political life that I heard him enunciate. He preserved the integrity of the bench and as far as possible made it rise above party politics and he preserved the integrity of the militia. My good friend they right hon. minister sometimes seeks to follow in his footsteps. Let me draw his

attention to the fact that in relation to the bench hon. gentlemen opposite have woefully, in the province of Ontario at all events, departed from that rule laid down by the late Sir John Macdonald and in the organization of this 13th Scottish Light Dragoons they have woefully departed from that rule. Let me point out to the right hon. Prime Minister that if he wants to do credit to himself and the country, he will follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor, Sir John Macdonald. The right hon. Prime Minister, in his remarks the other day on this matter, did not do himself credit in seeking to make it appear that Lord Dundonald and not Colonel Smart was selecting the officers of this regiment. In that connection when he was growing eloquent, endeavouring to make a speech which would read well in certain parts of the Dominion, saying that he wanted no interference from a man of Lord Dundonald's stamp, a man who did not understand the country, it was at that unfortunate moment -possibly he spoke from the heart rather than from the head-that he called Lord Dundonald a foreigner and a stranger. Let me tell him that Lord Dundonald is neither a foreigner nor a stranger either in Canada or in any land under the British flag. Take the right hon. gentleman's words in ' Hansard ' where he leads up to these expressions and endeavours to make it appear that Lord Dundonald was selecting these officers when he said the hon. Minister of Agriculture had a greater right to do it, and it will -be seen that he was neither fair nor just to Lord Dundonald. Lord Dundonald was pursuing a constitutional course, and the right hon. Prime Minister knows it. He had no politics, but be trusted his brigadier, Colonel Whitley, a man of experience and judgment in military matters, not like the hon. Minister of Agriculture, he trusted Colonel Smart, a man of experience and judgment in military matters also, men who knew the country and who, although they did not know every grit heeler in every polling subdivision as well as the hon. Minister ot Agriculture did, at all events showed that they knew the free men of that locality just as wdll as the hon. Minister of Agriculture did, he trusted to the judgment of officers appointed by the government of Canada. He pursued a constitutional course. Yet, the right hon. Prime Minister sought to make it appear that Lord Dundonald had made these appointments. I do not charge the right hon. gentleman with anything improper farther than that he was endeavouring to make a little political capital out of the course of the government in bouncing Lord Dundonald by trying to make it appear that Lord Dundonald and not these officers was picking the officers of that regiment and it was at that time, when, carried away by the impulse of the moment,

that he made that unfortunate break which does him little credit. It is not necessary that he should explain what the French idiom means. The word in French or English means a man unknown, an alien, a foreigner, an outsider, a man who does not belong to us. He cannot explain it away in French or English.

Now, I will come down to the point where the hon. Minister of Agriculture has been caught red-handed in deception and I am afraid that the hon. Minister of Militia and Defence will require to keep on his best bib and tucker in order to convince his friends throughout the country, that he has not been caught red-handed in a piece of the pettiest political intrigue that the Dominion of Canada has ever furnished in my time, at all events. I shall not read all the letters. My good friend the leader of the opposition has pointed them out very carefully in their order and has made all the points that it is possible to make out of them. All I shall do is to .summarize. The evidence of political interference is apparent from start to finish. The hon. minister writes on the 20th May:

I have written to our friends.

There is another letter written by Colonel AVhitley on May 22nd, from Toronto to the hon. minister, in which he says:

You will remember the Minister of Militia pointed out that it was not nceessary to have all the officers (which of course is the most difficult part of the organization) at first, they can follow and be selected with much more care and consideration later on.

Then he goes on :

I think I told you, in Ottawa, my views re the drinking question. I dread an intemperate officer, they are useless, indeed of great harm wherever they appear and candidly I would prefer political opponents to such.

The hon. Minister of Agriculture was not honest enough to tell the House who the drinking Liberal was who was being appointed. We want to know who the officer was but the hon. gentleman did not give us his name.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

You will find that Colonel Whitley did not recommend anybody who was a drunkard.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Well, Colonel Whitley is here in black and white reasoning with the minister. It was evidently the Minister of Agriculture that was recommending the drunkard. I shall read it again :

I think I told you, in Ottawa, my views re the drinking question. I dread an intemperate officer

So would any one in command of a regiment.

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Mr. SAM@

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HUGHES,


-they are useless, indeed of great harm wherever they appear, and candidly I would prefer political opponents to such. A sober Tory rather than a drunken Grit.


CON

Robert Johnston

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. JOHNSTON.

Perhaps he drank that case of Walker's whisky which was purchased in England.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

No, I think that ease was all drunk over at Wolverhampton unless the hon. minister brought some of it here. If he did he would keep it for his own special use. On May 10th, the hon. Minister of Agriculture wrote to Mr. Clinton Benham. Every one knows that Mr. Benham is a very respectable Liberal in the eastern townships :

Would you care to join and take a captaincy or a lieutenancy ?

The hoii. Minister of Agriculture meddling and trampling responsible government under foot-tramping on Colonel Smart, on Colonel Whitley, on Colonel Roy and on the General Officer Commanding. Meddling, meddling! Then he goes on:

It would be only a matter of a few years for our men to work up into one or two of these positions, but in the meantime those v-'to have no military experience must commence lower down.

Then he goes on in another letter in -which he writes to Mr. Benham.

He

Colonel Smart

-and Mr. Parmelee and I have been discussing matters here at length, and Mr. Parmalee and I are satisfied that he is honestly desirous of remedying'these mistakes and doing ar j thing he can to meet our views.

The views of the twTo politicians of the riding. I have just pointed out the unfair action of the hon. gentleman referred to here as Mr. Parmelee in trying to knife Colonel Smart because he stood by his right as an officer of the militia. The letter goes on:

It is impossible, however, to make all the changes that our friends would like. The most important ones, have, however, been made.

Letter after letter, points out that the hon. Minister of Agriculture is trying to make of this regiment a regular Liberal preserve.

The Minister of Militia in his innocence has admitted in the former debate that ' when he went away he left the matter to be dealt with by his colleague the Minister of Agriculture, but that he told the deputy minister to see that the Minister of Agriculture dealt with this matter. Colonel Smart and Colonel Whitley anxious to get this matter pressed through were directed to meet our friend the Minister of Militia in Montreal. I do not know what trans pired there, all we know is that they met and that Colonel Smart came to Ottawa the

next morning and the Minister of Agriculture has admitted that whether Dr. Pickel retired or not, it was prearranged between the Minister of Militia, the Minister of Agriculture and Colonel Smart that the ' Gazette ' should go through without Dr. Pickets name. That being the case, what can we think of the Minister of Agriculture stand-up in his place in the House as he did only yesterday and trying to make it appear that he was influenced to drop Dr. Pickets name out owing to the fact that Dr. Pickel had withdrawn to Colonel Smart on the 19th and that he had received a letter from Colonel Smart that day. When the Prime Minister lays that fact before the Governor Genera]-no I do not think it need go that far-when the Prime Minister reflects on it in his own mind, whatever his personal views may be, he will believe that the honour of the Dominion of Canada will not permit that a man of the calibre of the Minister of Agriculture should remain in office an hour. I do not see how the Prime Minister can retain a minister guilty of the trickery and deception-

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Order.

Mi-, SAM. HUGHES. Will the Prime Minister tell me what word I can use ?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

It is not for me to instruct the hon. gentleman. I wish to call your attention Mr. Speaker, to the fact that the hon. gentleman has just stated that the Minister of Agriculture was guilty of trickery.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I think the hon. gentleman knows very well that that is not pariamentary.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

I do not know it is not parliamentary, Mr. Speaker.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think Mr. Speaker, you will have to inform the hon. gentleman that it is not.

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June 24, 1904