May 18, 1905

QUESTIONS.

OPINION OF MONSEIGNEUR LEGAL.

LIB

Mr. AEMAND LAVERGNE asked :

Liberal

1. Is the government, or any of the ministers, aware of the following paragraph that appears every day in ' Le Canada,' of Montreal, under the heading : ' The Opinion of Monseigneur LS-gal.' ' We are satisfied with the system of education that we have, and we hope that it will he left to us ' ?

2. Are these words an extract from any document of which the government or any of the ministers has a knowledge ?

3. If .so, has the government or the minister who knows of that document any objection to communicate to the House the entire document in question ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   OPINION OF MONSEIGNEUR LEGAL.
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CON
?

Rt. H@

The ministers, like all others who read ' Le Canada,' have seen the sentence which is quoted in the question. The words so quoted are not an extract from any document of which the government or any of the ministers have a knowledge. I may say to my hon. friend that Monseigneur Legal has not written to the government on this question so far as I know.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   OPINION OF MONSEIGNEUR LEGAL.
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SALVATION ARMY-MR. RIDER HAGGARD'S REPORT.

CON

Mr. URIAH WILSON asked :

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. Has the government received a copy of the report made by Mr. H. Rider Haggard to the imperial government respecting the working of the Salvation Army colonies ill the United States ?

2. If so, will the government leave a copy of said report on the table of the House at an early date ?

3. If not, has the government any reports by its own officers of the operation of these colonies, and will they be presented to parliament ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SALVATION ARMY-MR. RIDER HAGGARD'S REPORT.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior).

The government has not received a copy of Mr. H. Rider Haggard's report, and has no reports of its own officers respecting the workings of the Salvation Army colonies in the United States.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SALVATION ARMY-MR. RIDER HAGGARD'S REPORT.
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CHILD IMMIGRANTS FROM ENGLISH WORKHOUSES.

CON

Mr. URIAH WILSON asked :

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. Has the government, or any official thereof, had a conference with Mr. Neill, an English Poor Law Guardian, with -eference to the migration to Canada of selected children from English workhouses ?

2. What is the nature of fhe proposal, if any, that Mr. Neill made ?

3. What answer was given by the government or its officials ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CHILD IMMIGRANTS FROM ENGLISH WORKHOUSES.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior).

Mr. Neill is in this country gathering information as to the progress of children emigrated from Great Britain by boards of guardians, and has not made any proposal to the government or its officials.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CHILD IMMIGRANTS FROM ENGLISH WORKHOUSES.
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SUPPLY-PROHIBITION OF IMPORTATIONS INTO THE STATE OF NEW YORK OF FISH CAUGHT IN MISSISQUOI BAY.

?

Hon. W. S.@

FIELDING (Minister of Finance) moved tliat the House go into Committee of Supply.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PROHIBITION OF IMPORTATIONS INTO THE STATE OF NEW YORK OF FISH CAUGHT IN MISSISQUOI BAY.
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LIB

Louis Philippe Demers

Liberal

Mr. L. P. DEMERS (St. Johns and Iberville).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, before this motion is put, I wish to draw the attention of the House and the government to a matter of some moment. The legislature of the state of New York has just adopted an Act prohibiting the importation into that state of fish caught in Missisquoi bay and the Richelieu river.

6189 MAY 18, 1905 6190

According to United States newspapers that Act was passed in retaliation against the Dominion government, the latter having thought proper to allow fishing in Pike-river-viz., in that part of Lake Champlain which belongs to us-against the will of the United States government. That Act is such as to cause serious loss to fishermen in the district which I represent, and wherein the fishing industry is quite large. That trade has been established for quite a while, and our fish are sold largely on the New York markets. The matter is of interest, not only to fishermen in my constituency, but to the country at large. The United States government has adopted this vexatious law against the province of Quebec because the Canadian government would not comply with its request. I shall not undertake to say, Mr. Speaker, what our government should do under the circumstances. It seems as if negotiations would not be of much avail ; hut there is surely some remedy at hand. The suggestion 'of people in my district is that tolls should be exacted as formerly on the Cham-biy canal. Traffic over that canal is carried on in United States bottoms.. According to the Trade and Commerce returns, river boats in that part of the country are almost wholly controlled by people from the United States. The tonnage of exports in 1904 was as follows ;-united States boats, 82,000 tons ; Canadian boats, 10,000 tons. The tolls on the Chambly canal used entirely by United States boats, amounted to $24,000 yearly during the period tolls were levied on this canal. The exports of fish by the St. Johns farmers and fishermen average $23,736 year-iv. Should we decide to exact tolls as we did formerly on the Chambly canal, we would thereby reach the shipping Interests of the state of New York and be compensated for the loss resulting from that prohibitory law, the outcome of which will be to ruin that trade. Besides, that canal being used mainly toy United States boats, it seems only reasonable that we should resume exacting the tolls which were levied formerly. In order, Sir, to give you an idea of the loss inflicted on us by the prohibition of this trade, I may be permitted to read to the House an extract from a letter written by Air. Pierce, agent of the American Express Company, who refuses to reopen the agencies of that company in the St. Johns district, on the ground that the trade with the United States will not in the future be of sufficient importance to warrant the carrying on of the business. I quote his own words : I beg to say that, after looking into this matter very carefully, I do not see how we can consistently reopen the offices at Clarenceville Henriville and Sabrevois as there is not sufficient business to warrant the expense. The new law which has recently been passed in New York State prohibiting the importation of fisli from the province of Quebec makes the prospec less favourable than it otherwise would he, as this fish business would constitute the larger 1974 portion of the revenue which we might hope to obtain providing we reopened the offices. I trust that tbe government will at once take up this matter. It is a mere act of retaliation against us, an act which has no justification In itself, and which will surely be regarded in that light, not only by the people of the district I represent, but by the government as well. Hon. RAYMOND PREFONTAINE (Minister of Marine and Fisheries). (Translation.) This is not a new question. It has come up in this House and before the people several times within the last few years. The Department of Marine and Fisheries has done all in its power to bring about a friendly settlement with our neighbours. However, we have not succeeded in concluding a satisfactory agreement. We had, a few years ago, in 1901 or 1902, I believe, made arrangements whereby Canadian fishermen were debarred from using nets in Misslaquoi bay. On the other hand, it was understood that United States fiisharmen would be prevented from fishing on the remainder of Lake Champlain. It has often been the case, as shown by our past experience, that while we are expected to carry out our xiart of the agreement, United States people do not carry out their own pledges. Although Canadians were prohibited from fishing in their own waters, no watch was kept on the other side of the line, and United States fishermen were using nets almost openly and at will. While we conformed to the law in Canadian waters, they did not conform to it within their territory. Subsequently, perceiving that fish were diminishing In numbers In the waters of Uake Champlain, United States authorities took up the matter once more and requested the Department of Marine and Fisheries to re-enact the ordinance passed in this connection In 1900, as the misdeeds I have just referred to had induced us to repeal it as regards fishing in the Bay of Missisquoi. These misunderstandings have given rise to a good deal of discussion and have induced our neighbours to renew their efforts towards bringing about an understanding < with us on that point. We answered that this was not the only question awaiting settlement; that there were many others. For instance, there is the question of the Pacific coast fisheries, which is of much greater moment than this, and concerning which we are seeking to bring about an agreement with the authorities of the state of Washington, with a view to putting a stop to the destruction of salmon in Puget Sound and in the Fraser river. And we informed the United States authorities that if they would agree with us to appoint a joint commission for the purpose of considering all these controverted questions, all these difficulties which spring up in Canadian and frontier waters we would willingly cooperate with them in taking the necessary

steps for the protection of the fisheries belonging to both countries. Of course, we are all well aware that in the neighbouring republic fisheries are left under the control of the respective states. There are seven of these interested in fishing. The President of the United States is in favour of appointing such a commission, but negotiations have fallen through.

I agree with my hon. friend from St. Johns and Iberville that the question is one of exceeding interest for his constituents; but, for the time being, I do not think it possible to remedy matters, except by reopening negotiations between the two countries" However, I have not lost all hope of attaining that object, seeing that the main issue, that concerning the fisheries of the Pacific coast, is one of interest, not only to the state of Washington, but, in a large measure, to the United States trade as a whole. As regards any other step which might be taken, the question is rather a difficult one just now ; but the Department of Marine and Fisheries has not given up the idea of resorting once more to negotiations.

My hon. friend suggested the re-enactment of tolls on the Chambly canal. I am not sufficiently well posted on the question to give an opinion off-hand ; but I am under the impression that such a step would not be productive of good results. I think that by means of diplomacy an understanding may be brought about with our neighbours, which will result in the passing of regulations satisfactory to both people.

Mr. B'. D. MONK (Jacques Cartier). (Translation.) Mr. Speaker, as these difficulties have been in existence for some time past, I think the House is entitled to know whether there has been an interchange of correspondence between the Dominion government and the United States authorities on the subject, and of what character have been the negotiations carried on between such authorities and Canada. There must have been an interchange of correspondence, there must be records and memos on file in the department, and I think the hon. minister would be meeting the wishes of the House by having this correspondence brought down.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PROHIBITION OF IMPORTATIONS INTO THE STATE OF NEW YORK OF FISH CAUGHT IN MISSISQUOI BAY.
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Mr. P REF O XT AIN E.@

(Translation.) I

may inform my hon. friend that when the supplementary estimates for fisheries are laid before the House, I shall be in a position to give all the information he wishes for, and to bring down papers which will shed new light on thet question.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PROHIBITION OF IMPORTATIONS INTO THE STATE OF NEW YORK OF FISH CAUGHT IN MISSISQUOI BAY.
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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

(Translation.) I also am of opinion that we would obtain more through diplomacy than by taking the means suggested by the hon. member for St. Johns, although the House should be grateful to him for the information he supplied as to the effect of such a measure. Our trade with the United States is extensive ; we are all Mr. PREFONTAINE.

interested in it; and its profits are shared in, not only by the constituents of the hon. gentleman, but by those of other counties as well in the vicinity of Montreal. I am not sure that by exacting tolls on the trade carried on with our neighbours, as suggested by the hon. gentleman from St. Johns, we would be bettering the condition of things. More would be obtained through negotiations, provided they are followed up as they should be. The government may prove their watchfulness by laying before the House the correspondence, which will show what negotiations have been carried on with a view to settling the difficulty. It is contended that United States authorities were not the first to fail carrying out the agreement. The papers which I wish to have brought down would put things in their true light.

The following newspaper clipping, containing an item sent from Albany to the Montreal ' Star,' has been handed to me :

Albany, April 3.-Confiscation of all fish caught in Missisquoi- bay, Lake Champlain, if shipped into this state, is planned in the Bill introduced Friday by Assemblyman Knapp of Clinton county. This is proposed in retaliation against Canada, that government refusing to prohibit the use of nets in Missisquoi bay. The Bill was advanced to third reading, and introduced to-day in the Senate.

Ninety-five per cent of perch, pike and bass of Lake Champlain are hatched in Missisquoi bay and at this season fish are running in large numbers. Until recently Canada issued licenses to fifteen men in Canada, who were able to take out fish valued at $30,000 a year.

According to the above item, dated, it is true, April 3rd, it does not seem to be such a foregone conclusion that we are not to blame in the matter, or that our government has not been neglectful of its duty. Under the circumstances, it seems doubly necessary that we should have access to the correspondence carried on, and that we should know where we are at concerning this disastrous state of things, for it is a disastrous state of things for parties concerned.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PROHIBITION OF IMPORTATIONS INTO THE STATE OF NEW YORK OF FISH CAUGHT IN MISSISQUOI BAY.
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THESSALON, OXT., POSTMASTER.

?

Mr. A.@

0. BOYOE (West Algoma). Mr. Speaker, I desire to draw the attention of the House, and particularly of the Postmaster General, to certain irregularities which have occurred in connection with the post office at Thessalon-irregularities of so gross a nature that if the facts which I have to present to the House remain uncontradicted, as I believe they will be, the House will be seized of one of the most notorious transactions that have ever characterized this government or any other government. I refer to the subject of questions which were asked in the House yesterday and the replies of the hon. Postmaster General thereto. The hon. Postmaster General was asked who was the postmaster at Thessalon, and he stated that the post-

master at Thessalon to-day is one J. B-Dobey. Then he was asked as to why the former postmaster whom J. B. Dobey succeeded had vacated the office, and the kon. gentleman stated that he chose to resign. When asked if that were all, the hon. gentleman said-I did not hear him say it. but read it for the first time in 'Hansard' this morning-that there was a reason for the resignation of the gentleman who was succeeded by J. B. Dobey. When I inform the House that the former postmaster at Tliessalon and the gentleman who was appointed by the hon. Postmaster -General on the 16th of February of this year to succeed him are one and the same person, it will be seen that the matter is so extraordinary that it demands some explanation from the government. The hon. Postmaster General, in his answers to the questions of yesterday, stated that this postmaster resigned on the 21st of May, 1904, and was reappointed on the 16tli of February, 1905. Now, I have some information to offer to the House on the history of this extraordinary resignation. I propose to state the facts for the consideration of the House, and if the hon. Postmaster General can controvert or explain away the extraordinary facts which I am about to disclose, I am sure that the House and the country will be very greatly relieved. I understand that on the 11th of April, 1904, an investigation was ordered by the postal department into the Tliessalon post office. At that time the same gentleman who now occupies the position of postmaster was in charge of that office. The inspector reported to the department in April of last year that there was a shortage in that office of $505.44, that that shortage had been unexplained, and that the postmaster had promised to make it good. In arriving at that shortage the postmaster had been credited with a remittance of $500, alleged to have been made by him to the postal department. If that remittance was a sham, if the statement that he had remitted $500 to the department was false and fraudulent, then the shortage as discovered by the inspector should have been $1,005.45. On the following day, the 12th of April, the department here telegraphed to the inspector that it was impossible to arrive at the balance of that office until the February accounts had been received. The Deputy Postmaster General about the 2nd of May wrote a letter to the inspector in which he referred to the alleged remittance of $500 which the postmaster had stated that he had made by registered letter, giving the number of the letter. The Deputy Postmaster General also makes the following statement to the inspector for his information in the inspection of that office; that the department is not satisfied that that remittance (referring to the remittance of $500) was ever despatched by the postmaster, because if he (the postmaster) misstated the date of mailing each of the cash accounts, it may be inferred that he would also mis-state the facts in connection with the remittance in question. The deputy also asks the inspector to visit the office again, and says that if the inspection proves that the remittance was not forwarded, he will take the money order books and place a reliable person in charge. He adds that there is scarcely any reason to doubt that the postmaster, for some rea-' son unknown, has been making false statements for four or five months with 'regard to the returns to the department. The inspector visits the office, and on or about the 10th of May, 1904, I believe, he made a report to the postal department, with which doubtless the hon. Postmaster General is familiar. In order to draw the attention of the House to that report, I will just state a few heads of the subjects which were covered by it. He reports, I understand, that he visited the post office at Thessalon on the 7th day of May and made a careful audit, that before leaving Ottawa he had examined the letter book of the railway mail service in the department, and that there he had checked over the letter bills, with the entries in the registered letter book ; and he found that the statements made by the postmaster in regard to the disposition of the accounts on the 8th and 11th of April were not correct, and were not substantiated by the letter books. He further states that the credit taken by the postmaster on the 5th of April, for $500 sent by registered letter No. 200, was not correct; that no such number appeared on a bill of that date ; and that credit had been taken for a further remittance of $608 on the 30th of April, 1904, under registered letter No. 580, but there was no receipt for it. In that report he adds : ' I am satisfied it has not been sent.' He further says that the postmaster or his assistant has been falsifying the returns. He says he examined the assistant In the post office, from whom he obtained the following information, which is of an extraordinary character, in view of what followed. He says that the assistant stated that he had handed the postmaster, at his request, out of the post office till in the Thessalon post office the following sums : about the 10th of May, $450, which was to enable the postmaster to buy a house adjoining his own residence which he considered a bargain; $172 a short time before the date of the report, with which to buy pulp wood, as, forsooth, he was speculating in timber ; $200 a few days before the report; and he thinks $300 further ; in all about $1,100 out of the post office funds. The inspector in that report further says that he questioned the postmaster, and asked, as would be reasonable and proper, for an explanation ; and this is the explanation that he got. The postmaster admitted that he had, received sums of money

from his assistant, but said that he supposed all the time that they were from what had been placed to his credit by salary warrants. The inspector criticises that statement, and says ' This

statement I do not believe, but I am satisfied that there was an understanding between the postmaster and the assistant.' The inspector had said he was led to believe that the postmaster was well off, but he was now satisfied that he was in financial difficulties. As a matter of fact the postmaster at that time was, and now is as I understand-although I am subject to correction in this-an undischarged bankrupt. He says :

I have been much deceived with the postmaster and his assistant. I told him that he would be dismissed. The postmaster said that he would prefer to resign.

And the report closed with a recommendation by the inspector that the postmaster be forthwith dismissed. That is the report of the inspector, as 1 allege it against the hon. the Postmaster General and his department. He may ibe able to explain it.

The postmaster said he would prefer to resign.

Contrast that statement with what we got yesterday from the Postmaster General when he said that he chose to resign and there was a reason. On receiDt of that report it appears that the Postmaster General was seized with a fit of most virtuous and righteous indignation because across that report he appears to have written his magnificent fiat that this postmaster be forthwith dismissed. 'That was on May 19, 1901, according to the report. Then in order to implement that and to make the dismissal effective the hon. gentleman, I believe, wired the member then representing that riding for a recommendation for a postmaster at Thessalon, intimating to the hon. member that the circumstances before him did not warrant any delay, and that he must dismiss the postmaster unless a resignation were filed. At that time I understand-the Postmaster General may set me right if I am wrong-the hon. gentleman had signed the fiat, for the dismissal, that the dismissal had taken effect, and that ,so far as the department was concerned, this gentleman, the postmaster at Thessalon, was a dismissed official and was no longer in the employ of the department.

The next circumstance that arises is a telegram on May 19th following, referring to the office and stating that the postmaster at Thessalon is still in charge of the office and that he signs the returns, and on May 20, there having been, as I understand, some correspondence in the meantime with regard to the employment of somebody else in the post office temporarily, the secretary of the postal department telegraphed the in-

Topic:   SUPPLY-PROHIBITION OF IMPORTATIONS INTO THE STATE OF NEW YORK OF FISH CAUGHT IN MISSISQUOI BAY.
Subtopic:   THESSALON, OXT., POSTMASTER.
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CON

Arthur Cyril Boyce

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYCE.

namely, the principle of provincial rights, which he championed so loudly in 1896. For political reasons and having regard to political exigencies of the situation, he changed his mind with regard to the enormity of offences committed by the postmaster at Thessalon, and he retracted his dismissal. He made up his mind that the gravity of that offence had been wiped out by the subsequent political activity of that gentleman. Sir, I look forward with some anxiety, certainly with eagerness, to the explanation of the hon. gentleman with regard to those facts. I would like to ask him what steps were taken by the Postmaster General towards visiting the consequences of those offences upon the postmaster, or his surety. Were the sureties of the postmaster ever changed ? Was a new post office bond ever entered into.? Was the postmaster ever prosecuted ? Was any inquiry ever instituted further than that involved in the report of the inspectors ?

Now, Sir, there is appropriated out of the funds of this country thousands of dollars every year for the maintenance of an efficient staff of post office inspectors, whose duty it is to ascertain just such facts as these, and to report. They are presumed to be competent men, and are judged to be competent by the hon. gentleman who has acted upon a report in this instance. Then, Sir, of what value to this country is that corps of inspectors of the Post Office Department when all their reports, all their inquiries, and the result that was ascertained, are set at naught, as in this case, where the crimes that were reported by the inspectors to have been committed have been condoned by reason of political exigencies ? Let me summarize again. The offences of which this postmaster was guilty resolve themselves under three heads : First, the misappropriation, the misuse, the conversion, or any other name the Postmaster General, as a lawyer, likes to put to the facts, and he knows the proper term to apply-of the sum of at least $1,100, and possibly $1,G00 ; second, the report of the inspectors that the postmaster has falsified returns for four or five months ; third, that the postmaster has been guilty of falsely pretending to send money in two registered letters, one with $500 and the other with $608, when there were no such letters on the letter bill. These facts require explanation. I ask the hon. Postmaster General to give a frank explanation to this House and to the country and to explain why, as Postmaster General, as holding the dignified pffice of a minister of the Crown, he could, without any investigation, without any explanation at all. condone offences so grave and foist upon the public the services of a man who was reported against by his own department for having committed such grave offences.

Topic:   SUPPLY-PROHIBITION OF IMPORTATIONS INTO THE STATE OF NEW YORK OF FISH CAUGHT IN MISSISQUOI BAY.
Subtopic:   THESSALON, OXT., POSTMASTER.
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May 18, 1905