May 14, 1908

LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

It was introduced even before Judge Cassels sent me his letter.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   WALTER CASSELS.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

And will the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) tell me also, when, since its introduction it has been pressed ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   WALTER CASSELS.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I will come to that presently. But let me call the attention of my hon. friend, and of those behind him, anil of the House and country, to what is in that Bill. Section 1 provides as follows :

In case of the illness of the judge of the court or if the judge has leave of absence, the Governor in Council may specially appoint any person having the qualifications hereinbefore mentioned to discharge the duties of the judge during his illness or leave of absence, and the person so appointed shall, during the period aforesaid, have all the powers incident to the office of the judge of the court.

2. If the judge of the court-

(a) is interested in any cause or matter, or is disqualified by kinship to any party, or

(b) has been professionally engaged in any cause or matter as counsel or solicitor for any party previously to his appointment to the office of judge, and considers himself thereby incapacitated from sitting or adjudicating therein, the Governor in Council may, upon the written application of the judge, setting out such impediment, appoint any other person having the qualifications hereinbefore mentioned to act as a judge pro hac vice in relation to any such cause or matter.

3. Every such temporary judge, or judge pro hac vice, shall be sworn to the faithful performance of the duties of his office.

Now, in this clause there is provision made to appoint an assistant judge at the request of the judge in certain contingencies. I am not prepared to say that the contingency here provided for has arisen, but it is easy to make it applicable to the present contingency. Now, by section 2 of this Bill, the Exchequer Court Act is amended as follows :

2. Section 87 of the said Act is amended by adding thereto the following paragraph:-

(f) for empowering the registrar to do any such thing and transact any such business as is specified in such rules or orders, and to exercise any such authority and jurisdiction in respect thereof as is now or may be hereafter done, transacted or exercised by the judge of the Exchequer Court sitting in chambers in virtue of any statute or custom or by the practice of the court.

-the very thing that is asked for by Judge Cassels in the letter I have read.

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Subtopic:   WALTER CASSELS.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

If I may be allowed it seems to me to deal only with matters in chambers.

Sir WILFRID LAURIER, I say this is the very matter asked by Judge Cassels, though, possibly, the request of the judge may have gone beyond this. But in this respect the Bill can easily be amended as soon as we take it up. Now. my hon. friend asks me: When has this Bill been taken up in

the House? I ask my hon. friend: What

business has been done in the House since then ? The very first thing we have to do in this House is to provide the appropriations in order to carry on the business of the country-to pay the civil service, to pay for the carrying of the mails, to pay the Mounted Police, to provide for the most elementary matters of civil government. We have been trying to get these appropriations through the House. We have moved the House into committee day after day. And day after day we have been met with deliberate obstruction, not avowed at first, but repeated and maintained. We did not know what was the matter, until some of the more candid amongst hon. gentlemen on the other side told us : You will get no estimates until you bring down your legislation : bring down your Election B'U and we will give you Supply. We brought down the Election Bill, and then we are told : You shall not have any Supplies ; we will stop them altogether. If hon. gentlemen on the other side will give us facilities to do business, the very first thing we will do will be to take up and pass this Bill.

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Subtopic:   WALTER CASSELS.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Carleton, Ont.).

Whenever the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) has not a very good answer, he affects to fly into a passion. He is not in nearly so much of a rage to-day as he would have us believe, and he thoroughly understands that he has not a leg to stand upon in his argument with my hon. friend (Mr. Foster). In the first place, he relies upon a measure introduced into this House by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Ayles-worth) on the 9th of March, four weeks exactly before this letter was written by Mr. Justice Cassels, to persuade the House and the country that the reason why he has not complied with Judge Cassels' request is that the opposition has not brought on and passed that Bill. I am bound to say the right hon. gentleman is establishing an extraordinary reversal of the functions of government. I have been in parliament twelve or thirteen sessions, and this is the first time I have learned that the opposition has the right to call government orders and to decide in what precedence government measures shall be ta.^en up. If the right hon. gentleman will confide that duty to us, we will bring on the Exchequer Court Bill the first thing after this debate closes. If he had consulted us, or had made us aware that we possessed this authority, we might have brought on this Bill long ago. But it would have been of no use to do so, for this Bill does not, as it stands, make provision for that which Judge Cassels requires, and the right hon. gentleman knows it and conceded it in his speech. The Bill makes provision for the appointment of a deputy judge in case of the illness of the judge of the Exchequer Court or in case he has leave of absence,

and the right hon. gentleman admits that is the purpose for which it was intended. Why, then, does he talk about the Bill, why does he put forward a Bill which does not provide for the difficulty that has arisen? Or, if he intended to utilize this Bill, why has not he, since the letter of Mr. Justice Cassels was written, submitted to the House the amendments necessary to make it provide for the difficulties referred to by. Judge Cassels, and then ask the House, as a matter of urgency, to pass the Bill at once ? That is all he needed to do. When he desired a Bill put through with regard to immigration and stated that it was an urgent matter, it was put throught the same day and sent to the Senate. If he had called up this Bill and asked that amendments be made-and, by the way, I would; ask if the amendments have yet been drafted ?-I venture to say it would have gone through in half an hour. Have the amendments been drafted, and if so, when were they drafted ? The right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) does not reply. Well, if the amendments have not yet been drafted, is it not delicious to hear the right hon gentleman suggesting that the opposition. gentleman suggesting that the opposi-gress? In the first place, the argument of the right hon. gentleman is that the opposition are responsible for not bringing on this Bill, and then, in the next place, that they are responsible for not passing through the House amendments which the government have not yet drafted. In that way and in that way only is the opposition responsible for the difficulty which has been created.

. So far as the second clause of the Bill is concerned, a very hasty reading of it indicates to me that the jurisdiction proposed by this Bill to be conferred on the registrar of the Exchequer Court is jurisdiction to transact certain business in chambers and is not that jurisdiction which Mr. Justice Cassels proposed in his letter of the 6th of April.

Apart from all this delightful attempt by the right hon. gentleman to put forward an excuse which he at least knows does not exist, let us look at the situation. The situation may be summarized in three or four sentences. The government themselves have realized the necessity of this investigation by Mr. Justice Cassels or some one else, because on the very day on which the report of the Civil Service Commission was laid on the table of this House, the Minister of Marine arose ond made the announcement of the proposed action of the government. Mr. Justice Cassels was consulted and placed his position frankly before the government, declaring that he regarded his judicial duties as his first concern, that he must give his attention, in the first place, to them. He went further, he suggested the amendments (which have not yet been drafted) which would enable the Mr. E. L. BORDEN.

government to deal with the situation as it has not yet been dealt with. So that, apart from the appointment of Mr. Justice Cassels to fulfil duties which the time at his command does not enable him to adequately to discharge, the government have done nothing and the situation is as the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) has described it. An investigation is proposed to clear the Department of Marine and Fisheries of certain charges made against it, and to make such an investigation as may be necessary to discover any officers of that department who are worthv of punishment. That investigation is being delayed by reason of the very circumstances pointed out by Mr. Justice Cassels six weeks ago; those circumstances exist to-day and they exist by reason of the inaction of the government. The obvious injury to the public service, the neglect of public interests, cannot be too strongly emphasized and I sincerely trust that steps will be taken by the government immediately to enable that investigation to be carried on promptly and effectually in order that right may be done, those who are innocent may be cleared and those who are guilty, if there be any guilty, may be properly punished.

Motion (Mr. Foster) to adjourn, negatived.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   WALTER CASSELS.
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QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.

LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day are called I would like at the request of the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Cyr), who is sick and unable to be present, to raise a question of privilege on his behalf arising out of remarks made in this House yesterday by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and affecting Mr. Cyr's standing in this House. I have here a letter received by me this afternoon from Mr. Cyr which, with the consent of the House, I would like to read.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

It must be a question of privilege affecting the hon. member ; if Mr. Cyr is claiming the right it is must affect him.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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LIB
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I rise to a point of order. In what position am I.? The hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. S. J. Jackson) does not make the allegation that I stated something which I knew to be untrue, but he reads a letter from a gentleman-

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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LIB
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

- a member of this House, but he is not present, and he declares in that letter that I stated what I

knew was untrue. Who is to make the renunciation, the member for Selkirk or the absent member? I state myself that I made no statement which I knew to be untrue, that is Incorrect, and the member, being a member, who has read the letter and the member, being a member, who has written the letter have both of them to take it back and I shall have to ask the member for Selkirk to take it back twice, once for himself and once for Mr. Oyr.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

As to the point of order raised by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) I might say that if there is anything in the letter which is contrary to the rules of the House I do, on behalf of Mr. Cyr, take it back.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Have you a power of attorney from Mr. Cyr?

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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LIB
CON
LIB
LIB

Robert Franklin Sutherland (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

As far as the letter contains a statement which the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) says is untrue, that portion of the letter should be eliminated.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

It is a little harder later on.

Ottawa, May 14, 1908.

S. J. Jackson, Esq., M.P., Ottawa.

My Dear Mr. Jackson,-I noticed in the Ottawa ' Morning Citizen ' of to-day that the Hon. Mr. Foster did yesterday make a statement in the House to the effect that I was elected in Proveneher at the last general election through fraudulent means employed by one Duggan, who acted there as returning officer for the constituency of Selkirk. The hon. gentleman could not show in a plainer way his ignorance of the facts. I am sorry that on account of ill-health I am unable to be in the House and give the hon. gentleman the castigation which he so well deserves. At last the hordes of Tories who have been hounding my returning officer, Mr. Ayotte, for three years have not yet been able to find a single evidence against him of corruption in any way, and in face of the fact that the election petition against. my return was dismissed by the court, Mr. Foster has the effrontery to make in the House a statement which he knows to be untrue

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR. CYR.
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May 14, 1908