No, I won't. I would not be so foolish as to contradict every idiotic rumour a man may hear.' The district of Alberta is not in need of defence against absurd rumours. The * Free Press ' did not say that cattle in Alberta had suffered a loss of ninety per cent, and when the hon. member for King's said it did, he was not telling the truth. It was exactly in line of the attitude of the member for Marquette (Mr. Roche) who deliberately undertook to mislead this House and to mislead this country in regard to these reports having appeared in the ' Free Press ' and for which he was brought to task by the member for Saskatchewan (Mr. Davis). If it would be a crime against this country, had these statements appeared in the ' Free Press,' supposing they had been as the hon. member for Marquette said, how much greater crime it was against this country, against the district of Saskatchewan and the district of Alberta, that these statements should be embodied in ' Hansard,' and become a part of the permanent records of this country, as they have been as the result of the hon. member's efforts. If the facts were -as the 'hon.. member for King's said they were, Iwhen they were not, then he committed a (greater offence against the welfare of this (country than the man who wrote them or the man who published the paper, because he made them a part of the official record of this country on his responsibility as a member of parliament.
Mr. FOWLER, I would very much prefer being accused of lack of mentality than to be proved out of my own mouth of an absolute lack of honesty and lack of candour, and that is the position which the just now ferocious member for Alberta occupies be-lore this House. The hon. gentleman listened to-night to an attack by one of his colleagues on the district he represents, and he sat there dumb as an oyster apparently not daring to open his mouth ; and when I challenge the hon. gentleman to stand up in his place and defend the district from which he comes, he tries to draw a herring across the trail and accuses the hon. member for Marquette of defaming the Northwest when the hon. gentleman for Marquette very properly drew the attention of this House to the fact that this government was spending over $7,000 of public money to disseminate in tne United States absolute libels and falsehoods respecting the country.
The hon. gentleman for Marquette did characterize them as libels. He drew the attention of the House to the publication of that sheet for the purpose of showing the wrong that was being done.
to this country. Because a storm had occurred in the Northwest only once in twenty years, the people to whom the paper was sent, which did not mention that fact, would suppose that it was the usual occurrence, just as the writer of that article A-efiecting on the district of Alberta as a ranching country did not say it occurred only once in twenty years, but would have the impression go forth that it was the usual occurrence in Alberta, and that the district around Saskatoon was preferable for raising cattle. Speaking of Southern Alberta, the paper said :
. It is said by those familiar with both places that Saskatchewan is a better and more certain ground for ranching than southern Alberta. In the latter place blizzards come suddenly, and as no shelter is provided, often ninety per cent of a drove is lost in a single snow storm.
The hon. gentleman who represents the district of Alberta sat silent when the statement was made about his country ; and yet he pretends to be an honest representative of the people of that district. In the Agriculture Committee, because he forms an unfavourable opinion of Mr. Macoun, he wants to fight everybody in sight. The hon. gentleman had better confine himself to his own district, and not wander so far afield.
I think they are pretty extensive ; from my standpoint they are at least ; and I am interested in not havifig that country defamed. That is my excuse for speaking on this occasion, if any excuse is needed. The wrong in this attack is that this paper goes out with a stamp of government approval. I was a little surprised tonight at hearing the hon. Minister of the Interior, in speaking of this matter, try to shift the responsibility on his officers ; but he did not say that he would see that the officer who was responsible for allowing that paper to go forth in that shape would be castigated or even reprimanded, as Mr. Preston was for having written that letter. Notwithstanding that, he said it was perfectly right that these statements should go forth. You want to induce farmers from tile United States to settle in the Northwest Territories, and you do it by saying that in Southern Alberta, one of the most important districts of the Northwest, ninety per cent of the cattle are destroyed by reason of the blizzards that often rage throughout that district. It seems to me the hon. member for Alberta has to-night given a most pitable exhibition in sitting silent and not until the lash was applied to him would he
rise and say a word on behalf of the district which had been so abused and maligned by the documents which had been distributed by the government of which he is a supporter, a thick-and-thin supporter- an hon. gentleman who professed at one time to be an independent member, and who has developed into one of the most ardent thick-and-thin supporters of the government that can be found within their ranks. He wanted to inflict violence on those who; disagreed with him in the Agricultural Committee in regard to what was said by Mr. .Macoun with respect to the little-known and sparsely settled Peace River district, and yet to-night he sits mild as a cooing dove and listens to this abuse of his own district of Alberta.
The hon. member made some reflection on my candour. He said he would rather be accused of lack of mentality than lack of candour. I think he has given evidence to-night that he is as lacking in candour as in mentality, and that he is absolutely lacking in both. I am sorry that my conduct in this House has not the approval of the hon. gentleman ; but as I did uot come here under his approval, I will try to suffer under his disapproval. I am here at the approval of the district of Alberta, the district which he says has been maligned by the reading of a quotation from the Winnipeg ' Free Press ' by the hon. member for Saskatchewan. If there could be anything more absurd than that statement, it would be the whole attitude and action of the hon. member himself and the part he has taken in this debate to-night. The hon. gentleman is surprised that I sat silent. Well, certainly this House would be surprised if he sat silent and also more greatly surprised if he talked sense when he did not sit silent.
I do not think the hon. gentleman has succeeded in saying anything very clever, although of course he drew, forth a cackle from the back benches over there. So far as mentality and candour are concerned, I would be prepared to be judged by a competent jury, but I would hardly consider these gentlemen on the back benches as competent to give a verdict. In neither respect would I care to be reduced to the low level of the hon. gentleman, and I am confident that a comparison of the speeches made by both of us, as shown in the * Hansard,' would prove that the hon. gentleman has occupied at least ten times longer the time of this House during this, or any other session when we both occupied seats in this House, than I have.
I would go still further and would guarantee that in the one-tenth of the time I have talked, as compared with the .time the hon. gentleman has taken up, I have talked a thousand times more sense than he did in ten times longer time. No one has yet been able to discover in any speech the horn
gentleman lias made one single, solitary, minute portion of sense. He is looked upon by the great majority of this House, not excluding a great many of the members on the other side, as a sort of mountebank.
I only wish to refer, not to what the hon. gentleman has just said, but to the allusion he made to my action in the Agricultural Committee. He said I was anxious to use physical force in that committee. I want to say here and now that in that committee, in defence of the district I represent and the people I represent against attacks made by an officer of this government and other members of that committee who sit before me, I was compelled to risk the application of physical force to myself by those hon. gentlemen and take chances upon it or else to submit to just such bullying and just such abusive language as the hon. gentleman has undertaken to deal out to me tonight. I want him and his colleagues to understand that neither in this House nor in the Agricultural Committee shall I submit to hear the country or the people I represent slandered or insulted by any members of this House, whether they are capable mentally or not.
I would like to bring a witness to bear out the statement of my hon. friend and see whether or not all the blame attaches to members of the opposition. I find that in its issue of April 23rd last, the Montreal ' Witness,' thus speaks of the hon. member for Alberta :
Mr. Macoun, who is one of the best known of the staff of the Geological Survey-
I would ask the committee to keep to the question before the House and not introduce a personal controversy. Neither is it in order to discuss what took place in the committee, the report of wThioh is not before the House.
Before this discussion came up, I asked that the report of the committee be presented to the House in order that we might deal with it, and we were told that we could deal with it at anv length without its being laid on the table.
When I was interrupted, I was about to quote from the Montreal ' Witness ' and I propose to continue my quotation :
Mr. Macoun, who is one of the best known
of the staff of the Geological survey
This would come home with especial force to Mr. Frank Oliver, M.P., for Alberta, and we can quite appreciate his bitter disappointment with Mr. Macoun's report, especially as he has been responsible for much vaunting of that Mr. FOWLER.
country abroad. Such disappointments, however, and however much he may disagree with the report, does not justify him in charging Mr. Macoun with deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. . . . But if Mr. Macoun s report is doing any great injury, it must be principally because of the great publicity it has received owing to the disgraceful scenes this week in the House of Commons Committee of Agriculture, for which Mr. Oliver is
principally to blame There seems in
this case to have been at least none of the aridity referred to above as one of the drawbacks of the climate. Who can tell that better luck may not come to these settlers as it did to those of Manitoba ? It is at least better to hope so than to threaten to horsewhip Mr. Macoun and call him a liar as Mr. Oliver thinks it the proper thing to . do.