King's Printer and Controller of Stationery.
Then there was some undue interference from some quarter, and the good work, which had been started years ago at my Instigation has been handicapped and has been left unfinished. If the Debates Committee had been given a free hand in the supervision of the reporting, translating and printing of the Official Debates, there would be no complaints against our committee today, and within twenty-four hours after the publication of the nnrevised English edition, there would be a French edition of the Debates for distribution throughout the province of Quebec. But the remarks on that point I reserve until the third report of the committee will come up for adoption.
Now, it is said that Mr. Charlier has been convicted of libel. That is true ; but, Mr. Speaker, please listen to the circumstances of the case. I may say at the outset that there are now sitting in this parliament at least five members and senators who have been in jail either for libel or contempt of court. In that there is nothing dishonourable, nothing to complain of ; because these questions of libel and contempt of court are differently appreciated according to the condition of mind that prevails in different ages. What was a criminal libel In 1840 is considered now to be a subject of free discussion in all the newspapers of the land, because freedom of speech is greater or smaller according to the condition of mind of each age. I may add, as being much in favour of Mr. Charlier the following explanation : When he was convicted in the Assize Court of defamatory libel, the late Hon. Mr. Justice Wur-Mr. GERVAIS.
tele asked Mr. Charlier, who was the actual author of the article which wras complained of, adding should he divulge such name he would be given liberty. Mr. Charlier said : ' I cannot disclose the name ;
I prefer to go to jail.' Then the late Mr. Justice Wurtele said : ' All right ;
if you do not want to divulge the name of the actual author, I will pass sentence upon you.' It speaks strongly In favour of Charlier ; there are not many men among my compatriots or among the other citizens of this country who are ready to go to jail just for the sake of standing firm and keeping secret the name of a man wrho has written something in a newspaper. Charlier said : I accept the responsibility of all that has been published in my paper ; I have been found guilty, I suffer for it,- and then he was sentenced. There is not much to be said upon this. Instead of impugning his character we should praise him because there is so little courage in our day. And, Mr. Speaker, my statement is borne out by the great organ of the member for Jacques Cartier, ' Le Rappel.' When he was sounding the bugle to bring back all his followers, the lost recruits, he established that great newspaper, ' Le Rappel.'