April 24, 1908

LANDS IN SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA.


Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior) moved that the House go into committee on Monday next to consider the following proposed resolution : Messieurs Ministerial. Logan, Greenway, Maclean (York, C.), Hughes (Kings, P.E.I.), Schell (Glengarry), Gordon, Knowles, McLean (Huron, S.), Fielding, Dyment, Macdonald, Smith (Nanaimo), German, Harty, Borden (Sir Frederick), McCarthy (Simcoe), Sinclair, * Cyr, Roche (Halifax), Black, Crawford, Law, Clarke, Devlin, Lemieux, Opposition. Lefurgey, Tisdale, Northrup, Ganong, Barker, Kemp, Roche (Marquette), Owen, MacLaren, Beattie, Stanfield, F oster, Osier Hughes (Victoria), Haggart, MacLean (York, S.), Porter, Lake, Ward, Pringle, 01&T6 Smith (Wentworth), Marshall, Lalor, Forget, Resolved, that the Minister . of Finance may, under the authority of the Governor in Council, pay to the proper authorities of each of "the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, out of the Assurance Fund formed under the Territories Real Property Act, chapter 26, of the statutes of 1886, and continued under the Land Titles Act, 1894, chapter 28, of the statutes of the year, so much thereof as has arisen from transacti9ms relating to lands now within such province. Motion agreed to.


QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE.

SALVATION ARMY IMMIGRANTS.

LIB

Armand Renaud La Vergne

Liberal

Mr. ARMAND LAVERGNE (Montmagny).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day are called I wish to rise to a question of privilege relating to a letter written by Dr. Nadeau, medical officer of the immigration branch at Quebec, which I will read before the House because he apparently so desires. Dr. Nadeau is under the impression that in the remarks which I offered the other day upon the question of 1 immigration I did cast insinuations upon

the integrity of the medical men of Quebec who are immigration officers. Here is what he writes to me:

Quebec, April 21, 1908. My dear Lavergne,-My attention has just been called to a report which ' I/Aetion Sociale ' of the 18th instant has given of a speech purpoted to have been lately delivered by yon in the House upon the question of immigration.

Following is the report of ' L'Action Sociale:'

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE.
Subtopic:   SALVATION ARMY IMMIGRANTS.
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THE SALVATION ARMY.


I challenge the minister, said Mr. Lavergne, to have an inquiry made into the Salvation Army and the immigrants it has brought into Quebec, and to ask the doctors at Quebec to give their evidence; but I hope this time the government will not stop the mouths of the witnesses who give evidence. There has been collusion between the officers at Quebec and the Salvation Army and I have it from officers who receive the immigrants at Quebec that before they pass the medical examination these immigrants go to the barracks and get the password of the Salvation Army at Quebec, and then go back and answer the doctor. The minister cannot contradict that, if he looks at the correspondence produced.


LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The hon. member is making a great many statements which he puts forward as statements of fact. The statement that immigrants coming out under the auspices of the Salvation Army are treated any different from any other immigrants who come out, so far as my knowledge goes, is absolutely incorrect; and if he can by any means demonstrate that it is the fact we will have a change in the immigration service at Quebec immediately.

Topic:   THE SALVATION ARMY.
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LIB

Armand Renaud La Vergne

Liberal

Mr. ARMAND LAVERGNE.

All last summer the immigrants brought out by the Salvation Army were sent to the barracks and there they got the password from the Salvation Army officers to answer the doctors of the Immigration Department. Not only was a complaint laid before the Interior Department here, but Mr. Doyle and the immigration doctors at Quebec, I think Dr. Nadeau and Dr. Potvin were advised, that if there were one hundred Salvation Army immigrants, they would pass before the doctor first, but if less, they would go to the barracks first. That is the statement I have to make and on it I would like the department to throw more light.

Dr. Nadeau adds:

So then, the Salvation Army of England, exclusively, devotes its attention in the recruiting of immigrants, without trying to locate them, relying as to that upon its representatives at Quebec, whose business office is under the same roof as the office of the government agent himself, where all examinations are passed, medical and civil.

As a rule, those representatives keep a list of employment offers to several mechanics or to farmers far in excess of the number of arrivals. Thus thev are able to direct sys-tematicallv and more safely these people to their destination.

The immigrants who do not come under the Mr. A. LAVERGNE

auspices of the Salvation Army are supposed to have received at the time of their departure from Europe the necessary directions that will enable them to reach their destination ; at least, that is mentioned on their tickets. So that they can go directly from the medical inspectors to the civil inspectors, who require them to say what trade or calling thev follow, and where they are going.

At first, immigrants coming out under the auspices of the Salvation Army, having passed the medicad examination, had to go to the barracks to learn what their destination was and then came back to comply with all the requirements of the civil examination.

That system gave rise to many inconven-iencies, above all it greatlv delayed the inspection. It was then decided that the immigrants would go to the barracks first in order to learn what their destination is and should afterwards pass the medical examination, so as to be able to give all the necessary information, when passing the civil examination.

This rule was to apply only if there were less than one hundred Salvation Army immigrants. Otherwise, the Salvation Army officers, for convenience sake, volunteered to attend at the arrival of the steamer at Rimouski, in order to acquaint all the passengers with their destination, so that everything should be ready when they landed at Quebec.

Neither Mr. Doyle or the doctors did ever receive from Ottawa any directions as to that; but the representative of the Salvation Army the immigration agent and the doctors came to an understanding. Besides, all those particulars of the administration are settled in the same way. Our instructions concerning the medical examination of the immigrants admit of no relaxation in favour of anybody, neither for the Salvation Army people nor for any other immigrants. Moreover, I am at a loss to understand what password could be given to the diseased immigrants, so as to conceal their shortcomings, when they come to pass the medical examination.

Dr. Nadeau's letter shows that what I stated the other day is entirely true, namely, that the immigrants who come out under the auspices of the Salvation Army are treated differently from other immigrants. The officers of the Interior Department at Quebec confer with the representatives of the Salvation Army. I said nothing else.

I never intended to cast any reflection upon the integrity of the medical officers at the port of Quebec. I am satisfied that they all discharge their duty. This I did say and I say again : the immigrants that come out under the auspices of the Salvation Army receive a different treatment; the officers of the Army that take care of those immigrants are located in the same building as the immigration agency. When they come out, they do not know where to go, having all been inscribed by their officers as farm labourers: then the representatives of the Army direct them where to go, and as the majority of them are mechanics they do not go out and work upon farms, not-

withstanding the policy of the government, as laid down by the minister.

Topic:   THE SALVATION ARMY.
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THE NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY-MAJOR HODGINS.

LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LATJRIER.

Mr. Speaker,

I have received from Mr. Parent, the Chairman of the Transcontinental Railway Commission, the following papers, which I desire to lay before the House :

The Commissioners of the Transcontinental Railway, Ottawa. .

Office of the Chairman,

April 23, 1908.

Memorandum to the R;t. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister.

A letter from Major Hodgins, lately our district engineer, at Kenora, Ontario, has been given wide publicity in the press, namely by the Manitoba ' Free Press' and the Ottawa ' Morning Citizen,' where it was commented upon. .

There are insinuations and statements in it that should not be allowed to pass unanswered. ,

Without laying anv specific charges, Mr. Hodgins makes vague, general accusations that are absolutely groundless. It is plain that the object in view is to cause us annoyance, without any regard to truth or public interest [DOT]

If Major Hodgins has had in his possession anv evidence of irregularities or wrong-doing, he should have submitted such to the commissioners. As a corporate body, and being the first concerned, it would have been our dutv to investigate the matter promptly, rl he'had done so. and the commissioners had refused to look into his charges, then he might have be.en justified m issuing statements to the public. There is nothing in Major Hodgins* allegations to indicate that he is even now in possession of any such evidence. . .

Taking up seriatim the allegations m Major Hodgins' letter as printed m the

^l^That the government is paying padded accounts for the work done, and that the Grand Trunk Pacific people are making no objection because they merely have to pay the added interest. ,

This statement is without any fondation. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company make objections when they see fit, and these are looked into at once with due care.

2. They (the commissioners) wanted to change iny ideas, based on a good many years experience, on the construction to the classification that is allowed to contractors in

^This statement is also without foundation. The commissioners never, at any time, requested Major Hodgins to adopt in his district any classification not in accordance with the contract and specifications. As to the classification in Quebec, it was looked over and found to be agreeing with these and therefore perfectly regular.

3. If Mr. Poulin, the engineer appointed by Mr. Parent to replace me on the western district. has allowed the introduction of a classification similar to that allowed in Quebec, this will account for the increase in the estimated cost of the line. If this increase

amounts to $3,000,000 or $1,000,000 it is time the public demanded some explanation.

Such hypothetical statements of course amount to nothing at all. In the first place, Mr. Poulin was not appointed by Mr. Parent, the chairman, who did not even suggest it, but by the 'board, on the recommendation of the chief engineer, because he was considered to be the best rran for the position and to take hold of th< work of organizing the district, which had been left in such a had shape by Major Hodgins. At this point it may be well to remark that classification comes from the chief engineer and not the chairman or the commissioners as Major Hodgins puts it.

Since leaving our employment, Major Hodgins has talked a good deal openly, m fact much more than professional dignity and the sense of justice would seem usuallv to permit.

It is time, we feel, in justice to ourselves and to the public, before whom there is an evident desire to misrepresent the facts, to call a halt and make it necessary for the accuser to bring facts to substantiate his charges.

You will find, attached, newspaper clippings in reference to Major Hodgins' letter, and all correspondence relating to the circumstances of his dismissal; also a letter from our chief engineer, Mr. Lumsden, on the same subject.

In conclusion the commissioners would respectfully request, as they do not wish to remain under the aspersion which such reports cast oil them, that the whole matter be referred to and looked into by a committee ot the House, and that Major Hodgins be assigned to appear before the same to repeat his charges in a specific manner in order to substantiate them if he can. Then an opportunity will be given right minded people to see where the truth is and if public interest would have'been better served by keeping an engineer who ignored the specifications or by replacing him, as was done, by one who will follow them. ,

The commissioners trust their request will receive early attention.

Topic:   THE NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY-MAJOR HODGINS.
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S. N. PARENT,


Chairman. The communication of the chief engineer referred to in this letter Is as follows : Ottawa, April 23, 1908. Sirs,-In regard to the article which appeared in the Manitoba Free Press of the 18tb instant and the editorial in the Morn ing Citizen' of the 22nd instant referring to a letter from Major E. A. Hodgins, now of Victoria, B.C., I beg to state that as far as I know no estimates or accounts for work done have been padded. The Grand Trunk Pacific have made from time to time some general objections as to classifications m dlstrmt 1 > but until after the dates above referred to no details giving actual points where such over-classification was claimed were submitted to me. As you are aware I on the 11th and 30th January, issued special circulars to the district engineers, giving my interpretation of clauses 34, 35 and 36 of our general specifications accompanied by a diagram explanatory of same, and I have letters from the district engineers in districts A, B, and F where actual grading was being proceeded with, stating that my interpretation had been and is being adhered to. My letter of the 19th of September last to the chairman, gives



my reasons for suggesting a change in district engineers in district F. Your obedient servant, _ . HUGH LUMSDEN. *the Commissioners of the Transcontinental Railway, Ottawa, Ont. In view of the request contained in this letter, I beg to inform my hon. friend and the House that on Monday next I will move that the matter be referred to a special committee for investigation.


ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES AT SOREL.

CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

I beg to renew my question of yesterday as to whether a report has been made by Mr. Gaudet who has conducted the Sorel investigation and to ask the minister to bring the report down to the House if it is ready ?

Topic:   ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES AT SOREL.
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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

Mr. Gaudet came to Ottawa the other day to complete the investigation. I hope the report will be ready for Monday.

Topic:   ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES AT SOREL.
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INSURANCE ACT AMENDMENT.

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Has the Finance Minister any information to give us with respect to the Insurance Bill which was brought down some weeks ago ? It was the subject of more or less investigation in the Banking and Commerce Committee, but since that time little has been heard of it.

Topic:   INSURANCE ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

In view of the very extended hearing which took place before the Committee on Banking and Commerce and the numerous statements made, I desired that some time should elapse before proceeding with the Bill, in order that the officials of the Insurance Department might have an opportunity of studying all that was said. We hope at an early date to make a further move in the matter.

Topic:   INSURANCE ACT AMENDMENT.
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April 24, 1908