Hon. Raymond Prefontaine said to-nlgbt that the reflections on himself, Mr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Sifton, as published to-day in the ' Toronto World,' were not founded on fact. The whole article as far as it referred to the ministers was a fabrication of misstatements. As there was no definite charge, however, Mr. Prefon-taine declined to discuss the matter in detail.
The minister did take some cognizance of it, and did rush into print. I do not blame him after the manner in which he was referred to. It was stated in the public print that there was a plan on hand by which these gentlemen were to retire. What was the plan ? The Minister of Justice was to resign from the government, the Minister of the Interior was to resign, each was to be paid $100,000, but, for some reason or other, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Prefontaine) was placeu on the bargain counter at $75,000.
I will take the Montreal ' Herald ' for the statements. It goes on to state-and Mr. Emmerson makes similar statements, which are all in the Montreal ' Herald, and if they are not true the Minister of Justice and these gentlemen should have had an investigation long ago and called upon the Montreal ' Herald ' to do one of two things, either to retract the statements they have made or to make these statements good. Now, what are the statements made in the Montreal ' Herald ' on these different occasions ? The statements are these : That a certain syndicate with a capital of $4,000,000 was formed. That this syndicate was going, as its members expected. to take over the work of constructing the government end of the projected Grand Trunk Pacific Railway : that that proposition was laid before the premier himself,
and that that written proposition lay in the premier's hands for some days.
The hon. gentleman is a member of parliament, and does he undertake to make statements of that kind ? Does he re-echo those statements, or does he not ? What is his object ? Does he re-echo those statements ?
And, moreover, if the hon gentleman has any charges to make, let him make them like a man. Let him not go upon mere gossip. If he has charges to make, let him make them. There is not a word of truth in them.
The premier charges me with going upon mere gossip. Let me recall to his recollection a certain occasion when he did not do what I am doing-make a charge when the allegation and the denial could go out together. Tile right hon. gentleman, as leader of the Liberal party, in 1896 made the charge at Pembroke that Senator Drummond, now Sir George Drummond, had been instrumental in corrupting with a large sum of money the electors of this province, and that, as president of the Sugar Refiners' Association, he was in receipt of a large salary. The right hon. gentleman made that charge, not when Senator iAurnnioud could be present to meet him face to face ; and what was the answer of the Premier when afterwards he was challenged as to the truth or falsity of the statement ? Not that it was true or that it should be investigated, but that other people had made the statement, and therefore he felt quite justified in going before the public and repeating it Senator Drummond was not there to give a denial to the allegation ; but the government are here to answer the charges of these newspapers if they please, and I am simply quoting what is in these newspapers, and what has been current in the country during the last few months.
Mr. Speaker, are we not entitled to have the quotation made from the newspaper, with the date when it was made ? Let us have some opportunity of ascertaining the truth or falsity of these statements.
Mr. BENNETT'. I am reading from the Montreal ' Herald ' of the 5th of December:
Now, the statement is made that efforts were made, by threats and by the offer of money, to have three ministers resign. The prospective resignation of one of them, Hon. Mr. Fitzpatrick, was even announced by Conservative papers. But it seems the three ministers re-18
fused the offers of $100,000, or whatever sum may have been offered to them, and moreover declined to be frightened.
I am going to read something now* that 1 hope will not shock the House. Everybody who knows the Minister of Justice will recognize this as a libel upon him, because it says that he penned this now almost historic telegram :
Do your damnedest
-which sounds so unlike the Minister of Justice to those who know him well that it seems improbable
was the telegram with which Mr. Fitzpatrick is said to have closed the incident when Montreal Conservative financiers undertook to secure his resignation, as they had announced.
Now7, I am not making these statements of my own knowledge. I know nothing whatever of them. I do not know whether the Minister of Justice telegraphed that or not. I will sit dowrn and let him deny It if he will.
I never sent any such telegram. There is not one w*ord of truth in it; and I wdsh to say, moreover, that because I do not stop and kick every cur that barks at my heels, it does not follow that I admit the veracity of it.