June 24, 1904

L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES :

They say that my hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture, has never left himself open to any charge of breach of promise, but merely breaches of etiquette. He is open to the charge of breach of etiquette for having overlooked the General Officer Commanding, for having acted in collusion with the Minister of Militia through Colonel Smart, when he brought this Order in Council to the Council meeting without the knowledge of the General Officer Commanding, brought it in a mutilated shape. He has been proven guilty of having interfered in the selection of the officers in the eastern townships and of having overridden the statute of Canada by preventing the General Officer Commanding having a free hand in the selection of officers. He has been proven guilty of having introduced partisan politics into the militia. Let me refer to the words of an American on that subject, Captain Mahan, who showed that the reason why the Canadians defeated the Americans in 1812 was because the Canadians were united, whereas the Americans were disunited and suffered from political meddling and interfering with the troops. Charles Francis Adams, one of the American statesmen and a veteran of the recent civil war, said:

When we were blackened by the smoke of Antietam we did not ask or care whether those who stood shoulder to shoulder beside us- whether he who led us-whether those who sustained us were Democrats or Republicans, Conservatives or Radicals ; we asked only that they might prove as true as was the steel Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

we grasped, and as brave as ourselves would fain have been. 'When we stood like a wall1 of stone, vomiting fire from the heights of Gettysburg, nailed to our position through three long days of mortal hell, did we ask each other whether that brave officer who fell while gallantly leading the counter charge, whether that cool gunner steadily serving his piece before us. midst gasping comrades, crushed and torn, and dying in agony around us, had voted for Lincoln Or Douglas, for Breckenbridg'e or Bell. We then were full gf other thoughts. Wre prized men for 'what they were worth to the common country of us all, and reckoned not of empty words. Was the man true, was he brave, was he earnest, was all we thought of then ; not, did he vote or think with us, or label himself with our party name ?

I commend these words to the First Minister and the people of Canada, and I trust whatever may be the future of the Minister of Agriculture, whether he be dismissed by the Prime Minister or not, we will never have another exhibition such as that which we have had regarding this regiment. The Minister of Agriculture is guilty of presenting-well, Mr. Speaker, I have in my notes the word ' false,' but I am not allowed to use that, so I will say * misleading ' and deceptive

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I am afraid those are not parliamentary.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

' Misleading ' is not unparliamentary.

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Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I think so.

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Mr. SAM@

HUGHES-Misleading state merits to parliament. And when publicly exposed, how did he seek to clear himself ? We all remember, how, the other day, he so calmly read his memorandum to the House, denying that he had, either directly or indirectly, been influenced by party considerations. And when Colonel Smart's letter was produced, a letter of the existence of which he had not been aware, and the cold facts were exposed before the House, he at once turned around and admitted that he had interfered for political purposes. I charge him with being unfit to be a minister of the Crown by reason of his conduct on that occasion.

He has been guilty of collusion with the Minister of Militia. Smirk as he may, that is the fact. Possibly these gentlemen have beeome so hardened that they do not care what their conduct may be in these things. But men with a high sense of honour, when accused of such conduct would not smirk or grin, as I regret to see the hon. member for London (Mr. Hyman) doing.

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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

It is enough to make anybody laugh.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

It seems easy to make the hon. gentleman (Mr. Hyman) laugh ; but perhaps the laugh will be on the other side of the face before long. This

collusion-I shall not use the word ' conspiracy '-between the Minister of Militia and the gentleman who evidently has been acting as his servant, has been most reprehensible. The idea of the Minister of Militia slipping away, leaving this Order in Council to be put through and Dr. Pickpl's name struck off by the Minister of Agriculture, and then, to cover it up, getting Colonel Smart's and Colonel Whitley's consent, Dr. Pickel being induced to resign his position. This is unworthy of a minister of the Crown. And, if the First Minister is true to the principles of responsible government, he will ask for the resignation of the Minister of Agriculture. I furthermore charge, Sir, that in his action as acting Minister of Militia-I presume it was done ignorantly-the Minister of Agriculture has been guilty of violation of the constitution. In 1855, when Lord John Russell was absent in Vienna, his department was taken over by another minister. This was protested against, and it was claimed that it was unconstitutional. And Sir George Grey, admitted that the facts had been correctly stated and that arrangements could not be sanctioned for any length of time, but contended that the Prime Minister was constitutionally competent to take charge of any department. Only the Prime Minister, And so I contend that the Minister of Agriculture, in seeking to act, not in a mere matter of routine business, but in an official matter of this kind, has acted iu a manner clearly unjustifiable under the principles of responsible government.

Now, we have instances of men having taken the course which has been taken by Lord Dundonald. It is not long since Lord Charles Beresford, finding that the British navy was rotten, and that the machinery of government had fallen into the hands of men who were unfit to control it, came out and openly stated to the world that the navy of which he was an officer, was unfit to defend the empire. Of course there was a great disturbance about it. Of course, the machine men said : Dismiss him ; off with his official head-just as some petty minds on the government side called for the head of Lord Dundonald. But Lord Charles Beresford was too big a man, and the navy too important fo the empire, for any such course to be followed.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

If my hon. friend (Mr. Sam. Hughes) will permit me

I diu not refer to that case. But, I am sure he will not object to my stating what actually occurred. .

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

I happen to know what actually occurred.

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Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I was afraid lie' might overlook it. I might remind the House that Lord Charles Beresford wrote a letter, but the letter was published without his consent; and that, and that alone

saved him from immediate dismissal from the navy. And Lord Charles Beresford wrote a humble apology which was published iu the ' Times ' admitting his offense.

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Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Yes, after he had succeeded. And if this government had had a good sterling head to it and a Minister of Militia with backbone, if there had been a determination to maintain the interest of the country even if it required the turning adrift of the Minister of Agriculture, Lord Dundonald would have got out of his scrape as easily as Lord Charles Beresford was got out of bis. But, in this respect the cases were different. Lord Charles Beresford was dealing with the very heart's blood of Great Britain-her navy. And he was backed up in what he did. The people of the House of Commons of Great Britain were independent men : not time-servers ; not men sitting here in expectation of office -like the member for Hants (Mr. Russell) whom I see now taking notes, and who is sitting here with a judgeship in his pocket.

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Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON.

You are getting afraid now, are you ?

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

They were not men simply waiting for the dissolution of parliament in order to begin the enjoyment of the fine offices that were being dangled before them. The British parliament is composed of sterling men : and they gave the admiraltv to understand that if they interfered with Lord Charles Beresford. their heads would go off -too. But, to the discredit-

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Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON.

Why did Lord Charles Beresford apologize 1

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Mr. SAM@

HUGHES-I say to the discredit of the First Minister and of his colleagues in the cabinet, like the hon. gentleman from Brant-and like my hon. friend the Deputy Speaker-they sit here dumb as ovsters and yield to political exigencies rather than demand that the Minister of Agriculture be made to apologize.

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Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. ALEX. JOHNSTON.

Why did Lord Charles Beresford apologize ?

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

I say this whole matter could have been smoothed over and Lord Dundonald kept in Canada, if the Minister of Agriculture had been kicked out and the Minister of Militia put in his proper place. I dare say, that, iu that case, Lord Dundonald would have been willing to take back his utterance in Montreal, in order that the country might go on and profit by his efforts. Why, Mr. Speaker, these tilings are matters of arrangement. We have an instance closer to us geographically. in the Cuban war, when a certain incident arose-which the Minister of Militia seems to have followed as a precedent with his emergency ration-when the American

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

All over the province of Quebec, and elsewhere. We have found these young gentlemen

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June 24, 1904