June 2, 1908

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

He was right in a part of his facts, but not in the whole of them.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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?

Mr. POSTER@

I imagine that he was right in the whole of his facts, but not in his anticipations.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

He stated his anticipations as facts, in the most emphatic language. The Yukon is a very important territory, and it is not necessarily surrounded with that air of mystery which my hon. friend suggested, and which seemed to be such a

source of enjoyment to him. The Yukon is a business proposition, and it is desirable in the interests of every j>art of Canada that it should be fully and properly developed. Tile value of the Yukon is in its gold production. When gold was discovered there the means whereby that gold production could be made most effective, most economically, was under the consideration of the government of the day. In a vast country like tlie Yukon no government could expect, and this government did not expect, that there was abundance of gold everywhere. While there was abundance of gold in one or two or three locations, a great balance of the area contained either no gold or a limited quantity of gold. Therefore in their mining regulations they made provision not only for the mining of the limited area where gold was abundant, but also for other areas where gold was less abundant ; that is to say. they provided for miners' claims and for hydraulic concessions. Rev. Dr. Pringle, in this letter written in 1902, declares most strongly against hydraulic concessions, declaring them to be iniquitous, and holds the government responsible for tile iniquity of the policy, as he was perfectly right in doing if it was iniquitous. The principle underlying that policy was an absolutely sound principle, a principle which it is necessary to recognize in the securing of the gold production of that country. Any policy that does not recognize the necessity of providing for the development of the vast areas of low-grade values in that country is not an effective or sound policy. It is possible that, owing to lack of knowledge of the conditions at the time, the administration with regard to the hydraulic concessions was not all that could be desired ; but the idea that is attempted to be conveyed by Dr. Pringle, that the principle of hydraulic concessions was a principle of corrupt dealings, intended to bar out the individual and to advance the interests of corrupt friends of the government, had absolutely no foundation in fact ; and my hon. friend, in using Dr. rringle's letter to place that same idea before the House, is in exactly the same position as Dr. Pringle.

There is just one other allusion I want to make to these long letters of Dr. Pringle's. In the letter of January 3, 1905, he deals with conditions as he considers he finds them at that time, particularly with the circumstances surrounding the election of Dr. Thompson, the sitting member for the Yukon, and he gives his opinion, in good free terms, of the gentleman who was or claimed to be, the government candidate, and of the methods by which he attempted to secure election. I want to read one line of this letter, because I think it is desirable that the House should have its attention drawn to it in view of further or future letters written by Dr. Pringle. He is dealing with the expenditure of money, asserting that the money of the country was being administered under the Yukon government with a view to advancing the interests of those who were likely to support Mr. Congdon. This he particularly charges was the case in regard to road works, and he says :

It is am open secret that Mr. Bertrand would ha.vc started ia road around the cliff to Moosehide, to cost about $15,COO had not Mr. Lithgow (refused to be responsible for the expenditure.

Mr. Lithgow was the controller of the territory, what might be called the Finance Minister of the government as it then was, and Dr. Pringle declares that Mr. Lithgow, in the discharge of what he believed to be his duty in his official position on that occasion. saved the government of the country $15,000 which he charges it was desired to expend corruptly in the interests of the election of the government candidate. That is the same Mr. Lithgow whom in his letters of last year, he charged with divers and sundry crimes and misdemeanours, which I think was very little to the credit of the gentleman making the charges.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Will the minister allow me one remark there ? That seems to me to show a spirit of eminent fairness in Dr. Pringle. He gave to Mr. Lithgow the full credit of stopping the illegal expenditure. When it comes to other sides of Mr. Lith-gow's character, he prefers his charges.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Dr. Pringle at that time did not make any charges against Mr. Lithgow. His charges in 1905 were against Mr. Congdon and his supporters. Mr. Lithgow apparently was not one of Mr. Congdon's supporters, and therefore he has no charges against him, and the simple statement was made that Mr. Lithgow had prevented an improper expenditure of $15,000. Either the statement that Mr. Bertrand wanted to expend $15,000 improperly is untrue, or the statement that Mr. Lithgow prevented that is untrue. He can have it either way.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Which way is it ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I say he can have it either way. I do not think it is either way. I am not entitled to accept his statement.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

You are not in a position to deny it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I am not in a position to deny it, but I do not accept it. There is nothing in these letters to warrant an acceptance of their general allegations. 1 have pointed out one or two cases in which they are very wide of the mark, and where a gentleman uses such strong language as Dr Pringle does, the chances are that he has gone wide of the mark in more cases than one.

Dr. Pringle wrote in 1905 and received a

reply, but he finds fault because he is not given a copy of the reply which Mr. Goiig-dou sent to the department. I want to point out in this connection that when the government received Mr. Pringle's letter in the beginning of 1905, the government at once asked Mr. Congdon what reply he had to make to it. It was not therefore a case in which the government was letting the matter rest. The demand for a reply from Mr. Congdon was immediate and so was his reply, and in my humble judgment his reply was conclusive. It seems to me that the case was then closed. The government had inquired into it and the allegations had not only been denied but disproved. And there was nothing further to be done. And I am not aware that Dr. Pringle had any particular or inherent right to be given a copy of the letter sent by Mr. Congdon. He had seen fit to make a statement, the government had made inquiry, and it was for the government to decide whether it was satisfied or not.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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Sir WILFRID I.@

What inquiry did the government make ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It inquired from Mr. Congdon, who was the man charged by Dr. Pringle with impropriety in the conduct of the election. Mr. Congdon's reply was, in my judgment, conclusive.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Why then was Mr. Henderson appointed to investigate ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

My hon. friend is mixing up his dates. That was subsequent. Mr. Henderson was not appointed until the summer of 1907 and Mr. Pringle's charge and Mr. Congdon's reply were in 1905. The matter rested there until the necessity came to appoint a commissioner to the Yukon in succession to Mr. Mclnnis. In the interval between the beginning of 1905 and 1907, Mr. Mclnnis had been appointed commissioner, and after having served a certain time he resigned and we had to appoint a successor. Mr. Lithgow's name was mentioned favourably for the vacancv by some of his friends in the Yukon. His name was forwarded in nomination for the position, and Dr. Pringle, having heard I presume of this recommendation, came out with another letter in which he gave his opinion of Mr. Lithgow and matters and things generally in the Yukon. His letter was written to myself and replied to. Dr. Prinsrle's letter was dated 19th January, and is as follows :

I am ashamed to think that the impression will go abroad that the people of the Yukon are willing to have such a man as Lithgow as commissioner, much lo^s to request the government to appoint him. His life here has been a public scandal, and while if he were a private citizen, I should have nothing to say excent to himself, as a public official and one evidently seekinv the highest position in this territory in the people's gift, he is or>en to the judgment of any citizen Mr. OLIVER.

He says that Mr. Lithgow's life was a public scandal, and after a long statement to that effect, concludes :

Last night a meeting for the purpose of promoting Mr. Lithgow's interests was called by his friends who are for the most part those who surrounded Congdon. The meeting was overwhelmingly anti-Lithgow. Many did not vote, but it showed 97 to 73 against Lithgow.

In that letter there is no suggestion of an attack on Mr. Lithgow because of any act in his position as controller. The attack is based wholly on the possibility of his appointment as commissioner. That letter was promptly replied to and did not call for further action ; but on the 31st July 1907, the Rev. Mr. Pringle comes forward with his charges against Mr. Lithgow and Mi. Girouard in their positions as government officials.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Is the minister correct in that ?

Mr- OLIVER. That is as I understand

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

If my hon. friend will look, he will find that the charge against Girouard, substantiated by affidavits, was made in 1905 by Mr. Pringle.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Possibly, I am speaking of the correspondence addressed to myself and of which I have personal knowledge.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Mr. Pringle's letters of 1905 were also addressed to the minister.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I was not minister at the time ; but if this letter was addressed to the then Minister of the Interior in the early part of 1905, I myself visited the Yukon during that period. I visited that country for the purpose of looking into the conditions for myself, and I am bound to say that neither Mr. Pringle nor any one else in or about the Yukon gave me any hint or indication of any such charges such as have been made in the letter. It appears to me that if the conditions were so bad and urgent as represented, it would have been only reasonable and fair that I should have been informed of them at the time and in the place where I was for the express purpose of seeing and hearing all I could with regard to the administration in the Yukon.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

They might have been a little frightened.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Topic:   SUPPLY-ADMINISTRATION OF THE YUKON.
Subtopic:   JOHN PRINGLE.
Permalink

June 2, 1908