It was not my intention to take part in this debate, but after the extraordinary speech of the member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and his personal reference to myself, I think it my duty to say a few words in my own defence. I do not intend to follow that hon. gentleman on the ground of personalities in which he has indulged, I do not think that style of debate is calculated to raise or even to maintain the dignity of this House. This country has before it enough weighty problems to discuss without members of this House wasting our time in discussing personal matters. For that reason I cannot follow the hon. gentleman on the ground he has chosen, I will leave him to follow alone that line of debate. But I will say this to the hon. gentleman, that I am not afraid to compare my personal record with his own. So far as integrity and honour are concerned, I think my record will compare _ favourably with his : consequently if I do not choose to follow Mr. COWAN.
him in personal attacks, it is not because I do not feel quite able to defend myself on that ground. As to my public career as Minister of Marine and Fisheries, I am not afraid, either, to compare my record with the record of the hon. member for North Toronto. He was for a number of years Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and what did he do to reform that department? Let him point to one single action of his when Minister where he tried to reform the department. He did nothing, he let things drag on as they had been doing for years, He allowed the same abuses to continue that had been existing before he took hold of the department, and he never had the courage to effect a single reform in that department, as I have done. Sir, I have effected considerable reforms in that department, and if to-day I am attacked by some of the Tory newspapers and by the hon. member for North Toronto, it is because I have reformed the administration of that department. In the first place, we had a bad system of keeping accounts. That system existed when my hon. friend was Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and what did he do to remove it? Nothing at all. I have reformed that, and to-day the abuses which existed under my hon. friend's administration have disappeared, and we have now a clear and straight administration of that department.
But why are these attacks levelled against me now? We have just passed through a general election contest, and my hon. friend knows the result. He knows what he and his friends essayed to do before the elections. He spent the whole session last year in attacking me, by all means and under all circumstances, by saying the most abusive things against me personally. When the elections came on he gathered together those abuses and reproduced them in pamphlet form and scattered them over Canada. Sir, what has been the result of that campaign of slander inaugurated by the hon. member for North Toronto? jHe and his party were hopelessly defeated, that was the result. There is not a county throughout Canada where my name was not mentioned by the Tory speakers, but it was all to no purpose, and this government has been triumphantly returned. Why, Sir, my opponents were not able to put a candidate against me in my own county, they were not able even to find twenty-five electors to sign a nomination paper for a candidate against me. True, they sent an organizer from Montreal into my county, instructing him by no means to allow me to be elected by acclamation. That gentleman went around the county to get signatures, not in favour of any man who was known in the county, but in favour of a man from Montreal who did not know ten electors in the county. This organizer succeeded in getting 25 names, but just as he was about
to deposit his nomination paper, two of the men who had signed it came up and said, 'We do not want our names on that nomination paper, we want Mr. Brodeur to be elected by acclamation. I was elected by acclamation, and that is my answer to the hon. gentleman and his friends. Not only Liberals of my county, but many Conservatives were in favour of my election by acclamation, as they told me themselves, in order to rebuke the hon. member for North Toronto for his abusive personalities. Let him continue that policy if he likes. Tonight he seems desirous of continuing it. Let him go on. I do not care, I will be reelected as long as he continues that policy.
I shall not be obliged, as my hon. friend was, to desert my own constituency and my own province, but I shall continue to be elected in my own constituency and my own province, because my electors have confidence in me.
The Department of Marine and Fisheries has been attacked. I would have thought that my hon. friend would at least have waited until he had had an opportunity of reading the report of Mr. Justice Cassels. I do not want to discuss that report now because I suppose that my hon. friends opposite have not had the opportunity of reading over the report, but probably we will have occasion later on to discuss it. But, I am glad to see that some of the attacks which have been made by my hon. friends opposite, and especially by the hon. member for North Toronto, have been proved to be absolutely false as far as they concern myself. I will give the House one instance. Hon. gentlemen who were then members of the House will remember the hon. member for North Toronto last session referring time and again to Merwin and Brooks and to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries who, he said, was still doing business with Merwin and Brooks. I was attacked and attacked by the hon. member for North Toronto on that ground. Let him read the report of Mr. Justice Cassels and he will find that the charge which was made against me in that connection is absolutely groundless; in fact, it is stated that the purchases which had been made from Merwin and Brooks were made contrary toi and in disobedience of the instructions that I had given by an officer of the department appointed by my hon. friend for North Toronto. If there is anybody who is at fault it is not myself, but it is the hon. member for North Toronto who has placed^ in the service men who will not fulfil the instructions of their ministers, men who have been disobeying the instructions of their ministers. I
My aim upon going into the department was to reform that department and put it on a proper basis. Abuses of the worst kind have crept in, I admit, abuses which had existed since confederation, which had 3
existed under the Tory governments and which had existed under the Liberal government. Take the question of purchases for example. You have heard a great deal lately with regard to purchases and how scandalous it was that we had a patronage list or that we were purchasing from some particular personal. Let us read some extracts from' a document which was placed before the House last year, because I do not want to refer to the report of Mr. Justice Cassels. We will discuss that later on. and we will draw from it the arguments which I venture to say will vindicate absolutely what I have done. But, let us quote from a report which was laid before the House last year. Take for example a letter of the 28th March, 1894, addressed by Mr. Art. J. Turcotte, member for Montmorency, to Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, who was then Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and which is as follows:
Hon. Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, K.C.M.G., Minister of Marine and Fisheries,
Dear Sir,-For the supplies of groceries at the Department of Marine of Quebec, I would much recommend you Napoleon Moffet. Hoping that you will do me that favour.
(Sgd.) ART. J. TURCOTTE.
Then Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper replies as follows:
Dear Mr. Turcotte,-Your letter of the 28th, recommending that groceries be purchased from Mr. Napoleon Moffet, was received by me.
Mr. Moffet has been asked, through the agent at Quebec, for his prices.
(Sgd.) C. H. TUPPER.
Here is a letter dated the 7th June, 1894, addressed to Mr. Gregory:
In reply to your letter of May 2, 1894, informing me that you had no correspondence with the department, regarding the purchase of groceries from Mr. O. A. Larose, I have to request you to inform me whether Mr. O. A. Larose was recommended by any one. Inform -me al9o whether you purchased groceries from any other grocer than Mr. Larose.
The deputy minister writes that to Mr. Gregory.
It appears from the accounts, that nearly oil! the groceries purchased for steamers' use were obtained from Mr. Larose. I have to request you to report whether -this is the case.
No competition was required in any way, shape or form. Here is an extract from a memo.:
January 14, 1905.
Re purchasing of supplies, for lighthouses. Small supplies.
With regard to what are called small supplies, such as towelling, ticking, gray cotton, &o., the agents are allowed to purchase these without tender -at the lowest possible prices for good articles from merchants who have
been recommended by the M. P.'s of the several cities.
Recommending by the M.P.'s, members of the several cities ! That is very clear. Here is another:
. April 5, 1895.
Sir,-Mr. Turcotte, M.P., has written to the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries asking that crockery and smallwares be obtained from Mr. Omer Lecomte, when required, the same as supplied by his predecessor Mr. Bruneau.
I have to request you to report on the matter foT the information of the department.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, (Sgd.) JOHN HARDIE, Acting Deputy Minister of Marine and Fisheries.
J. U. Gregory, Esq.,
Agent Department of Marine and Fisheries, Quebec
Here is another letter:
Quebec, April 9, 1895.
Sir,-I am in receipt of your letter of the 5th instant (No. 10729), requesting me to report upon the application of Mr. Turcotte, M.P., for crockery and smallwares to he obtained from Mr. O. Lecomte, successor to Mr. Bruneau.
Mr. Louis Bruneau was recommended for this patronage by the late Hon. Jno. Hearn, Sir A. P. Caron and others; it amounted to very little. He has gone entirely out of the business and is succeeded by Mr. Omer Lecomte, who appears to have as many good friends as Mr. Bruneau; and his getting the supplying of the few articles which may he wanted in his line will not injure Mr. Bruneau nor any one else that I know of. Please inform me if approved of.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Sgd.) JOHN U. GREGORY,
Agent Department of Marine and Fisheries. The Deputy Minister of Marine and Fisheries,
And it was approved of. These are some of the things which happened in Quebec. Now, take St. John, N.B. I see that during the elections a gentleman in that province went out of his way to work against the Liberal party. This gentleman seemed to be very much scandalized in regard to patronage. What do I find ? -a letter from the Hon. John Douglas Hazen, Premier of New Brunswick, written to Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, as follows:
Dear Sir,-Last year, acting on my recommendation, you decided that the dry goods, required to be obtained at St. John for your department, he purchased from James Hamilton.
No objection there.
I believe the price was thoroughly satisfactory, and I will be obliged if you will give similar instructions to your agent at St. John for this year's supplies. Mr. Hamilton is one of our very best political workers, and Mr. BRODEUR.
his party services entitle him to anything that can fairly be given to him.
(Sgd.) J. DOUGLAS HAZEN.
Here is the Premier of New Brunswick who is not asking even that a purchase list be made, that prices be obtained from some friends of the government, but that purchases be made direct from Mr. James Hamilton.
We find on May 8, 1894, another letter from Mr. Hazen reading as follows:
My deaT Sir Charles,-I beg once more to call your attention to my recommendation of some time ago that the dry goods required in your department in St. John be purchased from James Hamilton. I judge from your reply at the time this recommendation would be acted upon and I will feel very much obliged if you will now instruct Mr. Harding to purchase from Hamilton if his prices are satisfactory.
(Sgd.) J. DOUGLAS HAZEN.