leader, would not have come to me and said something to me about it. Now I come to what 1 have got to do about it. Soon after the notice was put on the paper -last year, the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron) notified me that Dr. Worthington had something terrible against me. He -is going to expose you, said Mr. Bergeron, -and your grafting in connection with the Ross rifle. And he asked: Is it not possible for you to pay back the -money?
Mr. Bergeron then said :
This is the first time I have heard anything of the matter. The hon. member for Sherbrooke (-Mir. Worthington) has never spoken of it to me and I have never spoken to the hon. member for Victoria and Baliburton (Mr. Sam. Hughes) in the way he has here indicated. The w-ho-le thing is entirely a dream, as far -as I know.
Mr. Speaker, I want to be fair to the hon. member for Beauharnois-at the time he spoke to me we were sitting as we are today. He spoke, as I felt, as a friend, a gentleman talking over the motion on the Order Paper standing in the name of the hon. member for Sherbrooke Mr. Worthington. He stated to me that he (Mr. Worthington) had any amount of data, X think the expression was any God's amount of data against me, and the Minister of Militia ; and he went on further-I do not remember the exact words-but he begged me for God's sake to try and get out of it, and pay the money back, was there any way to pay the money back that had been grafted in order that I might get out of it ? These were the statements. Not only that but it was referred to on other occasions. I assured him there was nothing in it. He said ' everybody believes it.' Not only that but I spoke to the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) about it. He said it is a common rumour, current opinion in Montreal that 'you are in it up to the neck.' I spoke to the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. I,. Borden) about it and to twenty other members of the Conservative party and this is the first time I ever heard it contradicted. More than that, I happened to receive
No, what I mean is I had informed my fellow members of the statement made by the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron) and I mentioned his name last session and told it to a dozen members last session that my friend Bergeron had spoken to me and I said it was a slander, I gave that to the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) as the reason why I would not drop the agitation before the Public Accounts Committee at the time the First Minister wanted to go to England ; I was going to fight it to a finish, they were going to either prove their Mr. SAM. HUGHES
case or be exposed before the country to be as they have been shown to be. Mind you, I have other data upon it. I can show you just how these gentlemen would go around -not the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron), because as I say he spoke in all kindness, and wanted me to try and save the party, and save my own reputation by getting out of it-but the agitation was engineered by other gentlemen who went around with that pained expression on their countenances and would say : It is too bad that Hughes and the Minister of Militia are tied up in these things, it is a terrible thing th-at they should be tied up in this way. And oh, my the agony of soul these gentlemen would display in passing around the town and the country, circulating this slander on fellow members and some others who were not fellow members. The data is all available. Here is a letter from another gentleman to show how they are working it, how even within the last two weeks some of them have been trying to work it. The letter is from Colonel Greville Harston, of the city of Toronto, and in it he says :
Some of your good friends have industriously sent it about among some of our best men like John T. Small and Colonel .1. I. Davidson and others that yon have large pecuniary interests in the Ross Rifle company and that you are a director of that company. I of course denied it flatly.
Then follow other matters to show that the insidious falsehood started by this organization has been passing around. I do not know what the hon. member for Beauharnois means, if the words have not a double meaning, by saying: 'In the way he hqs heard indicated; the whole thing is entirely a dream.' The regrettable thing is that the gentlemen who started the agitation did not find out that it was a dream before they started it. It would have been much more to their credit and to the advantage of the country. I have nothing further to say than to repeat, in words as strong as the English or the French language will allow, that the words the hon. member for Beauharnois used expressed the sentiment I have stated in this House on a former occasion and on the present occasion.
As my name has been mentioned, I suppose I may be allowed to answer in one word. I have nothing to take back of what I said the other day, and so far as I am concerned, my hon. friend is entirely mistaken. I never heard that he had any interest in any shape or form in these so-called scandals, and nobody ever said anything to me about it.
As my name has also been drawn into this discussion, I wish to add my absolute denial to that of the hon. member for Beauharnois. I never at any time nor in any place made such a statement to him or to any other member of the House. I also think, as the hon. member for Beauharnois does, that it is nothing but a silly dream.
Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 181) to consolidate and amend the Acts respecting the public lands of the Dominion.
In reference to this matter I have just a word to say before the hon. member introduces his Bill. I wish to call the attention of the House to the time this measure is introduced. We have now been sitting six months. This is an important Bill. The minister and the government gave consideration to this matter last year. This is I suppose to a great extent the same measure that was Introduced last year, and I think the introduction of such an important Bill at this stage, when I suppose the session is pretty nearly drawing to a close, is very much to be deplored and to be condemned. I think the hon. gentleman ought to give some satisfactory explanation to the House as to how it is that an important measure of this kind has been delayed until this stage of the proceedings. If it were an isolated case it would be somewhat different; but more and more, not only during this session, but during preceding sessions, the practice is prevailing with the government of leaving the introduction of important measures to the late days of the session. This is not fair either to the members of the House or to the country. It leads to injudicious legislation and results in the measures not being properly considered, and it is a practice that I think ought to be condemned and discontinued.