February 3, 1905

LIB
CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

I would go to a person higher up than Mr. Hugh Graham, if I wished to find the person who had the authority and the personal knowledge to answer the question truthfully as it should be answered. We who read the newspapers remember an account of a certain interview between Mr. Blair and a certain person prominent in the Council of the Liberal party. And even the sanctity of the Sabbath day was invaded by these counter-plotters. They did not respect the holy calm of the Lord's day itself. And, Sir, if the secret history of that interview is ever written, if what took place is disclosed, nothing will be shown that should make any Conservative ashamed. If this investigation that the hon. gentlemen opposite are talking about is held, perhaps the two high contracting parties to that interview will be called before the investigating committee and will be asked to tell under oath just what passed in that particular interview on that particular Sabbath day. Plots ! They say there was a plot that a certain prominent lawyer in Montreal and certain promoter in Montreal, both Liberals

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?

An hon. MEMBER.

Oh, no.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

Certainly. They are the arch plotters always. They say there was a plot between these gentlemen and Mr. Blair and some other persons, to do, what? To stab in the back the leader of this House; destroy his government and set up another. Well, it is not the first time by any means that we have heard of plots within the ranks of the Liberal party. I take up the Ottawa ' Free Press ' to-night, the leading Liberal organ of the Capital, and I find there an account of a plot in the Liberal cabinet of Quebec, to stab in the back the premier of that province. Why, it is only a case of history repeating itself. If there was a plot to destroy the prime minister of the

Dominion, it is only another Liberal plot such as we have known before.

The honourable member for Cumberland (Mr. Logan) is a splendid exponent of political morality. If we are correctly informed, a gentleman answering to his description, and with just as much right to a vote in the late election as he has, presented himself at one of the polling booths in this city at the late Ontario provincial election and attempted to vote, it cannot be possible that a small city like this contains within its necessary narrow limits two gentlemen of such magnificent form and such perfect beauty of face as the hon. gentleman and his double- if he has a double. Therefore, we are forced to the conclusion that it was the hon. gentleman himself, the member for Cumberland who presented himself at that polling booth in the city of Ottawa and attempted to vote in the late election. Well, Sir, the hon. gentleman has told us that we should kiss the hand of the prime minister rather than attempt to pierce his side. I do not know what he meant by that, but I want to say that is not the kind of osculation that hon. gentlemen on this side prefer. It may suit the hon. gentleman to kiss the hand of the premier ; it may suit the hon. gentleman to kiss the foot of the premier ; it may suit him to kiss any other part of the anatomy of the premier he may prefer-but when it comes to a game of that sort, I think I am entitled to speak for my hon. colleagues, and to say that we wish to be counted out.

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LIB
CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLBR.

It seems to be about the hon. gentleman's (Mr. Logan's) sort, and he was the gentleman to whom I was referring.

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LIB
CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

I do not think the argument he put forward, or the argument he attempted to bring into this debate, has tended to the dignity of the debate. The hon. gentleman threw down the gauntlet; he gave the challenge to this side of the House ; and if he has got the worst of it. he has only himself to blame. As far as I am concerned I propose to vote against this resolution.

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CON

Arthur Cyril Boyce

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. C. BOYCE (West Algoma).

Mr. Speaker, I am glad as a new member of the House to have had an opportunity of listening earnestly and carefully to the debate on these resolutions which have been offered by the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick). They contain within them the elements of a great many deep principles which are involved and by which the country will judge this House. They contain a collection of principles which it is of the utmost importance that hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House should consider carefully before consolidating in a measure of this importance. I do not know that I can add much light to what has

been enunciated in support of or in opposition to these resolutions, but I am constrained by the attitude which has been taken by hon. gentlemen opposite to add my quota, my mite in opposition to this legislation, because of the principles which are involved in them or rather because of the want of principle. The question at issue is not the irrelevant question which has been dragged into this discussion as to whether hon. gentlemen on this or that side of the House, or hon. gentlemen who have since passed from the scene, revered statesmen of Canada, or hon. gentlemen still in the House and holding prominent positions therein, have committed themselves to principles such as are inculcated in these resolutions. We are beside such questions at the present time. They are wholly extraneous, and foreign to the question under consideration. We should lift the plane of this debate a little higher, we should elevate it to the point of declaring that we are prepared to enunciate in concrete form on the statute-book or in the shape of a resolution the principle which we have always upheld and which certain hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House have always upheld and stood for, namely, that the judiciary of our land is separate and apart from all political influence, is entirely free from all influence and is uninfluenceable. If the belief be involved in this resolution that the judiciary is not to be free, as it has been free in the past, notwithstanding some errors and mistakes, which have been pointed out by certain hon. gentlemen opposite, errors capable of explanation in connection with particular circumstances, if there be involved in these resolutions of the hon. minister a desecration of those principles which are applicable to the judiciary and for which this country has long struggled and to which we have been committed, then I say we are lowering the plane and lowering the standard of the judiciary in Canada. It is not an answer, although it has been admitted and I am sorry to say it has been the only answer we have had so far from the other side of the House, to the very clear and forceable enunciation of the principles involved in the discussion on the part of the opposition that those on this side of the House, or certain other gentlemen who have been on this side of the House, have been guilty of similar acts, or have adhered to principles, or have made mistakes which are now deplored from this side of the House. The cry of tu quoque was ever a dangerous one. We have had it enunciated very recently in the provincial elections in the province of Ontario. We have seen the people rise in their might as against an hon. gentleman who had led the legislative assembly in the province for many years, and who, from the hustings, defended his own party on the cry that the

i"

other side was just as bad. It was not an answer to the question as to whether the judiciary shall be impugned, as to whether efforts shall be made "to lower the standard of the judiciary and to drag it into the political arena to say that such and such an appointment had been made in the past when such and such a party was in power, but I should have been glad personally had I been able to listen to arguments from the other side of the House in support of these resolutions along a higher plane than the mere throwing back of charges that similar mistakes have been made and similar principles enunciated by hon. gentlemen on this side of the House. To what purpose are these resolutions offered ? They are to the effect that from henceforth it can be said, by reference to the records of this House, that hon. judges, when they are, as we suppose, removed from political preferment and from hope of preferment, are as a matter of fact not so removed, that they are still open to further preferment, to be removed from the high positions to which they are promoted, and that they may look for greater preferment along political lines. I always had the idea, Sir, that when a gentleman from the bar was elevated to the bench he was removed from all political influence and from all political associations. I was under the impression, having great regard and respect for the judiciary, and desiring in every possible way to uphold it in its pristine purity, that when a member of the bar was elevated to the bench he was politically dead as far as political preferment or political associations were concerned, but here we have had introduced resolutions involving a reversal of that salient doctrine. We find that even so far as the chief justice of the supreme court is concerned he may. after he is elevated to that high office, look forward hopefully and may strive earnestly, and there is no objection to his doing so, for that preferment which can only take place by 'reason of political favours being granted to him by one government or the other. That, Sir, is an insidious principle to advocate, it is aiming a blow at the prop and pillar of the judicial system of this country, and it is a blow which I verily believe hon. gentlemen on both sides of this House, as well as the great people of Canada, will have reason in the future deeply to deplore and vainly to regret.

There have been chapters in recent history-hon. gentlemen on this side of the House have referred to them-where distinguished members of the judiciary, men who are entitled to the utmost respect, and for whom I as one entertain the most profound regard, have been dragged into the mire of politics merely by reason of the acceptance o'f political commissions such as is now to be put upon a chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Is that an elevation of the standard of our judi-Mr. BOYCE.

cial system ? Is it a thing to be encouraged. Is it a thing to be lauded to the skies, to be applauded by the hon. gentlemen who introduced this measure and are advocating it ? Is it not rather the commencement of the lowering of the standard of that judicial system for which we all entertain great veneration ? Sir, I desire to enter my feeble protest against such an interference as is now being made upon the judicial independence of this country, as has been well and cogently set forth by hon, gentlemen on this side of the House. I hope that this is not a question of political necessity, I hope that these resolutions do not grow out of expediency.

We had a challenge from the other side recently, from the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Logan) I think, to demand an explanation of the reason why the Hon. Mr. Blair resigned the chairmanship of this commission. Well, Sir. however strange, however ridiculous that challenge may be, I would ask hon. gentlemen opposite whether it would not be more pertinent to ask them to explain, whether it does not rather lie at their doors to answer the question why Mr. Blair was appointed to the chairmanship of the Railway Commission in the first place ? What were the necessities, what were the qualifications and what were the expediencies, if the necessity did not exist, for that appointment ? It was an extraordinary thing to contemplate. We see that hon. gentleman, finding that the government of which he was then a member was not in accord with his own ideas, resigned his portfolio in the government and that he then received probably the highest appointment within the gift of the government. I say it is an extraordinary thing to behold what is now taking place, as is apparent from these resolutions, a transaction, a negotiation between the government and a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada. That, Sir, is a principle which, having due regard to the upholding of our judicial system and the creation of that profound respect which we all have for it, cannot be encouraged and cannot be extended. It is the commencement of a danger that will increase, it is the first step towards creating a great difficulty in the future, it is sowing a seed which may spring up later on and produce a direful harvest. When it is necessary, when it is desirable or expedient for the government of the day to choose for this high position a judge of the Supreme Court to fill a political appointment, then I say there is the commencement of a state of things which it is undesirable to approve of or to continue.

If it can be said that this appointment might be made elsewhere, that there are other gentlemen, as undoubtedly the House knows well is the case, qualified for this exalted position, possessing perhaps more business qualifications than are possessed bv the estimable gentleman whose name

lias been mentioned, then why not make the appointment without regard to the judiciary? Why establish the precedent which will create emulation and rivalry and political aspirations among the members of the judiciary. Where is the necessity for it ? And if the necessity does not exist why drag political expediency into the judicial system of this land ? Sir, 1 would rather have heard from the Minister of Justice some explanation of these resolutions which would have shown them to rest upon a higher plane of public interest; I would like to have heard less of extraneous matter dragged in, and less of that which is not pertinent to the question involved. When one comes to consider the dangers that are involved b'y this appointment, one cannot but regard the resolutions as a menace to that system which we hold in the highest respect. There has been, and there is, a necessity for further strengthening the hands of the judiciary of this land; there is now an opportunity to demonstrate to this country that the judiciary stands supreme in the respect of the country, and cannot be assailed by the government of the day. I trust that hon. gentlemen opposite have not lost sight of that desirable principle. I hope that in the passage of these resolutions, respect will be paid to that principle ; and it is much to be desired that, if the overthrow of the principle involved in this appointment is inevitable, the judicial system should be tampered with as little as possible in the creation of public offices. Sir, there is a time coming when this great Canadian people will need the solidity and the calm independence of the judiciary. As this great country grows, surely we need a stable, and independent judiciary, that cannot be influenced by political considerations. It is of vital necessity that its independence be preserved, no matter what other systems in our land become subject to political influence. I say that to interfere with the judiciary as these resolutions are doing is not a step towards that progress and towards the attainment of that true prosperity which we would like to see prevail in our country. I am opposed to the principle, opposed to it because of the absence of necessity for it, opposed to it because of the utter lack of expediency-if that fateful word has to be dragged into this discussion -and I am opposed to it because it is lowering to the dignity of the country and is aimed against and weakens the greatest safeguard that the people of Canada have to-day.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. H. BENNETT (East Simcoe).

After the charge that was made by the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Logan) this afternoon, that the present leader of the opposition, who will soon be in his seat to defend himself, had by some plan or scheme induced Mr. Blair to resign his position as chairman of the Railway Commission, I

think that members on both sides of the House expected that the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice would have risen in his place before this debate closed and stated officially that there would be a thorough investigation into the matter, and I kepi my seat in the vain hope of seeing either these gentlemen or some other member ot the House rise

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LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. LOGAN.

Will the hon. gentleman pardon me ? I did not mention Mr. Borden, or refer to him in any way whatever this afternoon.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I am within the judgment of the House, and certainly the gentlemen on this side understood the hon. member as referring to Mr. R. L. Borden, and to no one else. The hon member went further, and stated that he was to be Minister of Railways in Mr. Borden's coming administration. That, I think, effectually clenches the statement. Be that as it may, the hon. gentleman made another statement which should have been either denied by the government or else the government should have claimed that they had no con nection with it, and that there would soon be a complete investigation or a disclosure of the whole matter which would show who was at fault. If the government are going to shoulder the responsibility of that investigation, some member of the government should have risen and stated that it would be commenced. I have heard the Prime Minister in this House on more than one occasion threaten hon. gentlemen on this side of the House that if they dared to formulate charges which they had made, these charges would be investigated and [DOT]probed to the bottom, either by a committee of this House or by judges, the highest in the land. The offences charged in these cases were not great in their nature, but were of a trifling character, and yet the Prime Minister in this case has permitted and allowed, since last December, charges to be made against three members of his cabinet, against the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Blair)-charges that have astounded the people of Canada-and yet after this House has been nearly a month in session there has come from him no intimation-

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LATJRIER.

What members of the government ?

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I will come to that in a moment. The country was startled early in December by certain charges that were made in connection with the elections just passed. What was the nature of these charges ? I am going to take newspapers favourable to the hon. gentlemen opposite and ministers of the Crown for the statements that were made in that connection. No hon. gentleman on that side of the House can deny that the Montreal ' Herald ' is the leading Liberal newspaper in Montreal?.

There is not a doubt about that. Further, that is the organ in which the Minister of Agriculture is largely interested financially ; it occurs to me that he has said that he is not interested in it, but we all know that the minister said in the House that while he had been a large stockholder in this newspaper he had transferred his stock to his brother when he became a minister. Be that as it may, no man will gainsay the fact that the Montreal ' Herald ' is the leading Liberal English newspaper in Quebec, and that this government is anxious to enjoy all the good effects it can obtain from that newspaper's influence. Coming to the issue of the Montreal ' Herald ' of December 5, what is stated ? After referring to this whole scandal-and it certainly was a scandal-it says :

Nevertheless there is much to indicate that it deserves to take rank in Canadian history with the Pacific scandal of 1873, which also cost the Conservative party dear.

What was the scandal, as stated in the newspapers, as stated in the Montreal ' Herald ' of December 5 ? Mr. Emmerson being interviewed as to some rumours then current-and it is strange to note that the interview given by him is telegraphed far and wide in this country and published, not only in the papers of Ontario and Quebec, but also in those of Manitoba-what was the whole scandal as related by Mr. Emmerson, and enlarged on by the papers ? It was that a gentleman who has been associated with hon. gentlemen in the past, the well-known lawyer, Mr. Greenshields, who was the most important figure in what is known as the Drummond County deal, a well-known friend of the government, who has on more than one occasion been a candidate in Quebec for hon. gentlemen opposite-this gentleman, Mr. Greenshields, associated with David Russell and other gentlemen had gone to certain members of the government, and these members of the government were specifically named. First and foremost was the Minister of Justice, the Minister of the Interior-

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

I do not desire to allow that statement to go unchallenged for one-half second. I say it is absolutely untrue, and I defy the hon. gentleman to prove it, and it is not in the newspaper that he refers to.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

If the hon. minister will calm himself

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

No man can remain calm in the presence of such a statement as that.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Will the hon. minister allow the statement to go first ? He challenged me to name the paper in which he was referred to. The hon. gentleman was

referred to, and the Minister of Marine-

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CON
LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

I have to make the same statement as has been made by the Minister of Justice.

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February 3, 1905