Who was prosecuting? *
The hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and his colleagues were the investigating committee, and what do you think that committee found as its conclusion?:
That the practice of giving extra work to permanent clerks in the department, in conjunction with temporary men, was not known to the present minister.
My hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Brodeur) was asked to resign his seat because certain officials in his department had obtained moneys which did not rightly belong to them or were not paid to them in the due performance of their duties. Well, here was the -then Minister of Finance, the present member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) investigating into the acts of civil servants, and he found 122
that certain employees in the service were receiving money through fictitious persons -moneys which they had not earned and which did not belong to them. Did that hon. gentleman then resign his seat? Were his skirts then clean? In some cases he and his colleagues did dismiss but in other cases they adopted a very peculiar course, and in these cases we find that this peculiar investigating committee recommended as follows:
That all those permanent clerks who, since 1880, have taken extra pay for services performed out of office hours, and those who authorized or certified to such payments bedo you think dismissed, as the present Minister of Marine and Fisheries has done? No, Sir. Now, if the hon. the leader of the opposition were in his seat, how he would blush for the conduct of his hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster). Why, I see upon the countenance of the mover of the amendment, my good friend from St. Anne (Mr. Doherty) that virginal blush- because he was not in his seat at the time- do you know, Sir, what the then Minister of Finance did? Did he imprison them? Not a bit of it. What did he do? He recommended that they be fined one month's salary. This apostle of political purity recommended that they be:-
fined one month's salary which shall be deducted from (their present salary in the proportion
-they did not want to be too hard
of one-half thereof from the amount falling due in each of the next following two months.
Then thev came to a very hard case and were a little stricter with it. I do not think it necessary to mention the name; but in the case of another party, it appears:
That he applied in 1886 to the deputy minister for a bonus of $500 as a remuneration for work done after office hours,
the minister did not resign
in keeping up his regular office duties, which were at that time pressing; that the deputy minister declined to recommend the bonus but hinted at a recommendation for promotion and intimated that the work he had done would be mentioned in support of the same; that the clerk in question then arranged with another one, who was a temporary clerk, to use his name for getting a portion of what he thought he was entitled to for working overtime, and in the name Of that temporary clerk drew $73 on an account certified by himself; that he received also a present of $20 from another temporary clerk who was paid on his certificate.
Presents were going in those days. What did the committee recommend? They recommended that the party in question:
he reduced to the minimum of his present class and suffer the consequences of his suspension to the date of this report.
There was no question of dismissal. And this report is signed by Geo. E. Foster, John Haggart, and E. Dewdney. I do believe in playing the game but in playing it fairly. If that was the proper constitutional course to follow in 1891, I fail to see why, upon suspicion, and upon criticism, the money of the people should be expended in investigating all the departments of this government. Sir, the Cassels' commission cost this country $55,000. That could have been expended in the interests of the farming classes. That would have helped the labouring classes. Hon. gentlemen opposite are not satisfied with taking from the pockets of the farmers and the poor people $55,000, and giving it to judges and lawyers, but they want to vote for a proposition which will take a million dollars of the people's money, and take it in order to obtain what? To obtain what hon. gentlemen opposite have obtained through the investigation- the opening of the doors of some homes and the throwing out upon the roadway of the poor bread-earners of these homes. That is what they have obtained, Sir.
Some hon. MEMBEES. Hear, hear..
Hon. gentlemen opposite may smile, but I ask if some of these hon. gentlemen themselves, being placed in the way of temptation, have not fallen? I ask these hon. gentlemen if when, perhaps, almost starvation faced them, they were offered a hundred dollars, would they not accept it? After all, we must be fair. We took, perhaps, excessive means. We took the course suggested by justice and reason; we found that one department of this government was charged with offences, and we investigated it. And hon. gentlemen opposite are criticising every day. Do they want us to go further with that investigation? I think it is absolutely unnecessary.
Now, I do not think I shall feel justified in detaining the House at greater length-
Hon. gentlemen opposite do not seem to like the reading of certain reports-but I hardly think that the hon. member for North Toronto would pardon me if I did not refer to some of the language which he used, and which some hon. members seated here last session heard him use, with respect to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. I have sat in my place during the last few days expecting that the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule), and the hon. member for Victoria and HaTiburton (Mr. Hughes), would be men enough to stand up and utter the same words, the same manly words, that Mr. DEVLIN.
were uttered by the hon. member for St. Anne's division, and declare that they believed that personally the Minister of Marine and Fisheries was an innocent man. Where is that hon. member who, last session, prior to this investigation, said that the name of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries reeked throughout this country? He is not in his place to-night to stand up and give credit to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries for the reforms he has accomplished. What shall we say of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) in view of the language he used last session in speaking of my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. I quote from page 3990 of 'Hansard' of last year:
The hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) makes the statement that I have been in the habit of taking money from the public chest, and using that money for my own purposes and have been obliged to refund a part of th'at money. That is the charge he has made.
Now, Air. Speaker, this sensitive man who does not like to hear offensive language used against himself, yet who uses more disagreeable language than any other hon. member had not the courage to stand up and say: ' That is not what I said, that is not what I meant to say.' But here is the mean insinuation used by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster):
You are pretty close to it.
That is the charge the hon. gentleman made against the Minister of Marine and Fisheries-that he had kept for his own purpose for months money that he had no right to keep. Is that a charge, or is that an insinuation? And, Sir, he had not the manliness to do what the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurierj nobly did to-night, but he kept his seat and said:
' You are pretty close to it.' I feel that I am in the judgment of the House and will be in the judgment of the country by voting against the amendment as it is proposed. The leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden), very ingeniously said:
' Change the amendment in any way you like, provided you give us an investigation.' The hon. leader of the opposition knows full well that by constitutional practice and parliamentary rule no amendment can be offered to an amendment such as that before the House, because it is in the form of a vote of want of confidence in the government. Had an amendment been possible, we might have moved, as we would have moved, that whenever there was a direct and specific charge against any department we would afford an investigation. And, Sir, in conclusion, I say that when any hon. gentleman opposite has a charge to make against a department of this government and makes that charge, as constitutionally he should make it, upon the re-
sponsibility of a member of this House, then this government certainly will give a thorough and true investigation, and I will be the first to support them in taking that course.
Mr. WM. PRICE (Quebec West).
My hon. friend from Hull (Mr. Devlin), seemed to have no argument against the amendment, but he has a great deal to say about the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster). The hon. member for North Toronto is well able to defend himself, but it seems to me rather absurd that so many members attempt to cross swords with that hon. member. I find that I have practically no arguments to rebut; I have heard simply nothing against this amendment. What I did hear was that Conservatives before 1896 did the same thing. I can only answer as, I believe, a member of the British House of Commons did, ' I am glad to see that the Liberals of this day are now as advanced as the Conservatives were in 1896.' One would suppose that in thirteen years we should make greater advances than that. One would suppose that, by this time, we would drop this tu quoque argument and bring forward solid arguments before the House. It is tiresome, indeed, to a business man to come to Ottawa and to listen to this sort of thing in place or argument. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Brodeur) told us yesterday that the responsibility for the state of affairs in his department as shown by the report of Mr. Justice Cassels rests as much with his predecessors as with himself. He goes as far back as 1867. This may be so, and let us assume that it is correct. In 1867, the expenditure on fisheries and coast service was something over $205,000. In 1896, the expenditure was $893,000, an advance during that time of $688,000. In 1907-8, the expenditure was $3,791,737, an increase since 1896 of over $2,900,000. I am not going to find fault with that increase now, because a great deal of the money was well spent in lighting the St. Lawrence channel and in many other important works.
I would like to draw attention to the salaries received by the agents of the Marine and Fisheries Department. Have they been increased or not? I find that Mr. J. U. Gregory, late agent at Quebec, was getting a salary of $2,200, a man who had been there 38 long years. This man was in charge of expenditures, averaging during the last three years $904,000. Mr. Harding, of St. John, was getting $1,800 a year after 13 years' service, and was handling an average expenditure of $250,000. Mr. J. O. Parsons, of Halifax, was getting a salary of $1,600 after 14 years' service, and was spending on an average $674,000 annually. Now, it seems to me that in view of the enormously increased expenditures since 1896, and particularly during the last four or five years, 1224
the Minister of Marine and Fisheries ought to have had some thought 'for the agents at those places. Enormous responsibilities were laid on the shoulders of these men.-They were expected to look after the spend-' ing of these enormous sums, they were expected to look after all the shipping and all the multifarious interests of the department. During the last five years the cost of living has greatly increased, and every one knows that men in those positions are supposed to maintain a certain style of living. Do you mean to tell me that many of those officials, who are paid salaries averaging from $1,600 to $2,200, salaries that are paid to ordinary bookkeepers because they keep their books correctly, are receiving what simple justice requires they should receive? I say the Minister of Marine is responsible for not having raised the salaries of those men. It is no wonder that some of those agents have done some things that they should not have done, or that things have gone wrong in this department, seeing that its agents were so poorly paid. I think they deserve sympathy, and that the government deserves condemnation for the parsimonious way in which it has treated those men. I noticed in reading the evidence taken at Halifax that the late members, Roche and Carney, were allowed to employ men during the election, or at least that they got men employed during the election. What has the minister done about that? Is he going to allow that to go on year after year? Are members and candidates on the government side to be allowed to have men employed in that way? I have myself suffered from the unfair interference of the Department of Marine and Fisheries in employing extra men during my election in Quebec West, men that were employed on purpose to vote against me. We are told that there is no reason why a further investigation should be held by the department. I think there are many reasons why a further investigation should be undertaken. Many of the men who have been proven by the Cassels investigation to have given bribes are still supplying goods to the Department of Public Works, and to several other departments. What kind of work is being done by the government at various wharfs? We have had the case of the Sorel wharf slipping into the water, after we have spent large sums of money upon it. We have been told about the absurdly high cost of the servants' quarters at Kingston. We know that there are various wharfs built in different parts of the country to many of which vessels cannot go. Now, it seems to me that if the public money is being wrongfully spent in these ways, an investigation should be held in regard to it. I submit that the amendment moved by my hon. friend from St. Anne's is a good one, that the reasons he Has given in support of it are sound, and that the
government, if they wish to do their duty, should accept it and immediately order another investigation into the various departments. I do not suppose they will do it, they are altogether too well satisfied with themselves. To the pure all things are pure. I think it might be better said that to the impure all things are impure on the other side of the House.
Mr. GEORGES PARENT (Montmorency).
I was rather anxious to hear my hon. friend from Quebec West (Mr. Price) express his views on this question. As many hon. members are aware, the member for Quebec West lives in the district in which most of these pretended scandals took place. Mr. Gregory, of whom we have heard so much, is living in the hon. member's county, as well as several other gentlemen who have been concerned in the Cassels investigation. I am not surprised, therefore, to hear the hon. member for Quebec West express his sympathy with these men who have been dismissed by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. I think the hon. member might have gone a little further and told the House why he had sympathy for these gentlemen, but he did not. Perhaps the reason he did not was that the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and the leader of the opposition has spoken of these gentlemen in such language that the member for Quebec West did not dare to say anything further in their favour. After the words which have been pronounced to-night by the member for North Toronto about the Quebec merchants and the Quebec officials, I am not surprised that the hon. member for Quebec West could not say much more about them. If he did speak in that way concerning them, it was because he knew better than the member for North Toronto that these gentlemen who were concerned in that investigation were not as bad as the member for North Toronto has painted them. The member for North Toronto mentioned several names when he was replying to the hon. member for Lunenburg; he spoke, for instance, of Mr. Drolet, and he read some of the evidence taken with regard to him, but the hon. member did not read that evidence as he should have read it. He only selected certain words, or perhaps something that he might have heard from certain persons who were hostile to this gentleman, and then he brings them forward in the House of Commons. I might tell the hon. gentleman that if he had ever met Mr. Drolet personally, if he had ever known him, he would not have used that language. Let me tell you that Mr. Drolet is not a man to bribe anybody. He does not know how. He never learned, and he cannot even understand it. He is simply a skilled worker; he is a man of genius, a man who devotes
his attention to mechanics. The business and financial affairs of his firm are in the hands of his bookkeepers. I mean to say that while he is at the head of his firm the business and financial side of it is managed by others, and he does not himself know anything about payments made on behalf of the firm. The same thing might be said of others whose names are mentioned in the report of Mr. Justice Cassels. I make this statement because I believe it tp be true. I do not think there is any proof at all which would satisfy the country or parliament that Halliday has done anything wrong so far as his dealings with the Department of Marine and Fisheries are concerned. It has been said that he has received $6,000 more than he was entitled to. That is an affirmation which is entirely wrong and is not founded cn fact. If Mr. Halliday has received $6,000 more than what his original contract called for, as stated in Mr. Justice Cassels' report, it is because of the subsequent agreement which he entered into with the Department of Marine and Fisheries and under which he was entitled to receive that amount. It is easy to say that he has received more money than he was entitled to, but do hon. gentlemen know the circumstances under which he received it? Mr. Halliday had a contract with the Department of Marine and Fisheries by which a boat of his was hired to the department at $125 a day. There was a condition that he should be entitled to a certain part of the service of the boat for his own trade, and it was agreed that the moment the department wanted the entire service of the steamer for its own use the department would pay more than the first contract called for. That is the whole story, and yet we hear hon. gentlemen opposite making the statement that Halliday has received more money than he was entitled to. We hear these hon. gentlemen saying that men like Mr. Drolet were bribers. The statement is entirely wrong; it is entirely false, and there is no reason whatever for making it. Of course, I do not get up to defend any person who has given money to officials of the department. I do not say it is right, but I am taking special individuals, that hon. gentlemen opposite do not know at all, whose names they have put before the country as being bribers, and I am showing that their accusations are entirely wrong and that they do not know what they are talking about. They may find enjoyment in slandering these men, but the name of Drolet will remain in the minds of the people of the city of Quebec as that of a man of genius and integrity.
I would call the attention of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) and of the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. L. R. Borden) to the fact that the
hon. member for Quebec West (Mr. Price) had not a word to say against Mr. Drolet or Mr. Halliday. Yet, we hear these hon. gentlemen trying to cast discredit upon these men. They admire very much the hon. member for" Quebec West, they have great confidence in him, but still he does not share their views. He said to-night that he had a feeling of sympathy for the merchants and officials in Quebec. If I have referred to Quebec to-night it is because the hon. member for Qubeec West has spoken. It was not my intention to say anything about it, but I, in common with other Quebecers, feel sore because of the dismissals that have taken place in the Department of Marine and Fisheries. There were in the department men who had done a great deal for the public service. There were certain men who, if I am permitted to say what I think, should not have been dismissed, and who should not have been treated as they were. I might mention the case of Geo. O'Farrel, for instance, who, under special circumstances, happened to borrow money from some person who had business relations with the department. He borrowed money from him one day, it was made public and as a result of that the decision was arrived at that O'Farrel had to go. Any one who has followed O'Farrel's career knows that he has given valuable services to the department. He entered the department many years ago and since that time his life has been devoted to the public service. He continued in the service for many years at a very small salary, because as every one knows, the officers of the Department of Marine and Fisheries are not well paid. What were the circumstances under which he received the money which was the basis of the charge against him? He has explained them. His explanation is this: * I was in Halifax when I received a telegram saying that my son was dying, that my wife was very sick and that everything was going wrong as far as my family were concerned. I came to Quebec without any money. Whom did I meet? I met some persons in the office who were doing work for the department and I happened to borrow $100 from one of these persons.' For the sake of $100 you put that man out of the service; and what can he do now? You have said to him: 'You are dismissed.' That is the voice of the department, that is the voice of the minister, that is the conclusion of Mr. Justice Cassels' report. I might say the same for others but it is not my duty. We are bound under circumstances of this kind to sacrifice a few heads, and perhaps there are others in the department who might have been treated in a different way. That, of course, is a matter of personal opinion I leave it at that.
I would also say a word for another official of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, Captain Spain. It is of course a good rule that when an employee of a department has to travel on government business, he should give an account of his expenses from day to day, but if an official happens to make a mistake, if he happens to forget, surely there must be enough leniency in the minds of the people to overlook the disappearance of a few hundred dollars, and if Captain Spain was a good servant of the country, as Mr. Justice Cassels says, should we for the sake of $500 for which he cannot account, deprive the country of the very valuable services which he has rendered in the past? I cannot believe that we should do that. What is $500 or even $1,000 that for it we should sacrifice the services of a man of that sort. .
I wish now to refer to the work performed by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. Unfortunately the member for Quebec Centre (Mr. Lachance) who is much better able than myself to express the views of the Quebec members in this House, is absent, but I felt it my duty to say a few words about the work which I know has been performed in Quebec. I have admired the position taken by the hon. member for St. Anne (Mr. Doherty). He has presented an amendment to the motion for Supply and he has done it in such language and in such a way as will surely appeal to the members on this side of the House. He has praised the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Brodeur) and he has done it probably because he knew that such praise was deserved. His language tonight was in striking contrast to that uttered by hon. gentlemen opposite last year. To-day the hon. member spoke not against Mr. Brodeur personally, not against the Minister of Marine and Fisheries as being Mr. Brodeur; he was criticising his administration, but not his personality. That is something to which we have not been accustomed, because during the time I have had the honour of a seat in this House, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries has been the most bitterly attacked and criticised member of the administration. We have seen him for days and nights trying to pass a few dollars of his estimates, but prevented from doing so, by whom? By the members of the opposition, the same members who now recognize his merit and who now say he has done his duty and has been a good administrator of public affairs. When we say he has been a good administrator of the affairs of his department we know something about it and I probably know more than many other members in this House, because.it is my good fortune to represent a county situated on the shores of the St. Lawrence river. My constituency is a maritime constituency ; I have there sailors, navigators, captains.
pilots, and all classes of men connected with navigation. From all these men there comes nothing but compliment for the Minister of Marine and Fisheries because he has rendered every one of them full justice and has given them every aid in their profession that they could demand. A passenger travelling on one of the great ocean liners, going through the channel from Montreal to the gulf does not realize what the maintenance of that river navigation means; he does not think of the pilot who guides the ship, he forgets the men in charge of the lighthouse, and he forgets the man at the head of the river service. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries has to look after all that , and to-day he has all the lighthouses and aids to navigation from Montreal to the gulf in such a state of efficiency that a steamer can start from Montreal at any hour of the day or night and traverse the St. Lawrence river as safely by night as by day. This has been the work of the present Minister of Marine. His predecessors tried to accomplish this,, but they did not succeed. He has succeeded and the country should be thankful for his efforts and should give him credit for that great achievement. Not long ago the Shipping Federation, whose opinion will not be opposed by the hon. gentlemen opposite, enjoyed an excursion down the St. Lawrence river as the guests of the minister in order that they might see the work that the department was performing. I need not repeat the opinion expressed by the Shipping Federation; it was published in the papers. They recognized that the work of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries was the very best effort that any Minister of Marine had performed. I shall not longer detain the House in demonstrating that the minister has done his duty towards his country. To prove that, I need only take the words of the hon. member for St. Anne (Mr. Doherty) who has said plainly that the personality of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries is not in question. It cannot be. for those who know tfte minister feel that his name stands for honesty, for integrity, for everything that is the very best.
I wish to state now why I shall not support the amendment of the hon. member for St. Anne (Mr. Doherty.) I do not believe that sufficient reasons have been advanced to induce us to vote for that amendment. Without any reasons and without any justification, we have the hon. gentleman's assertion that other departments may be wrong; but we do not know it, and until we have from hon. gentlemen opposite a definite charge, we cannot justify an amendment of this kind, and therefore I wish to put myself on record as saying that I will vote against it.
Mr. A. C. BOYCE (West Algoma).
Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate my hon. friend Mr. PARENT.
from Montmorency (Mr. Parent) upon the courtesy he has done those of us, who would have been unable to follow him in the beautiful language in which he is accustomed to address the House, in making his speech in English; and if I do not pay that attention to it to which it is entitled, he will have to pardon me because of the lateness of the hour. If this debate has been somewhat protracted, it has not been lacking, at any rate in the later hours, in interest. To that interest the Prime Minister has largely contributed. I fancy that it is many years since this House has witnessed such a scene as has been enacted here to-night, for which the Prime Minister and he alone was responsible. What position has the right hon. gentleman taken with regard to this resolution? He has taken the position of obstructing it, opposing it upon premises which were absolutely untenable, and, as has been pointed out by the hon. leader of the opposition, upon grounds which the right hon. gentleman demonstrated clearly he was not sure of, and which I am quite sure he is satisfied now were incorrect. The right hon. gentleman, in making the attack he did upon my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster), boasted of his manliness and of his long parliamentary career; yet he did not hesitate to make an imputation against the hon. member for North Toronto which he was afterwards obliged to retract. That was the commencement of a scene which was somewhat extraordinary, and following which the right hon. gentleman, with a fluency to which he is quite accustomed, quoted scripture. We have heard the right hon. gentleman quote scripture before, I think pretty often during the last campaign. The right hon. gentleman to-night quoted this saying: 'To the pure all things are pure.' When the right hon. gentleman made that very apt quotation, it occurred to me that I would like to quote to him, not from scripture, but from Shakespeare, apropos of the right hon. gentleman's specious explanation or apology for calling upon his party to vote down this resolution:
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But being season'd with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil.
It is not extraordinary to find the right hon. gentleman opposing this motion, in view of the fact that during the last five years we on this side of the House have made similar motions to the present one, though limited in their scope to one department or another, and they have been met invariably with the same reply from the right hon. gentleman, that these departments were above suspicion, that he did not propose to investigate them no matter what scandal was charged against them. To
'the pure all things are pure,' is the song the right hon. gentleman constantly sings. Let me remind the right hon. gentleman of some of the pure things which he has called upon his followers to vote down a reasonable, fair and full investigation into.
I remember a debate which took place in this House two or three years ago, in regard to the action of a gentleman named Philip Wagner, who was in the civil service somewhere in the North West Territories. This gentleman had been convicted of stealing from the very men with whom as a public official he was brought into contact. After having been twice in gaol, he was brought out, re-appointed to the Department of Interior, promoted, and givem an increase of salary; and when a motion was made on this side of the House that Philip Wagner be dismissed or that his conduct be inquired into, the right hon. gentleman rose in his place and called upon his followers to vote down the motion, and it was voted down, because to the right hon. gentlemen then, as now, 'to the pure all things are pure.' I might refresh the right hon.gentleman's memory with one or two other instances in which he has voted and called upon his followers to vote against similar resolutions. He remembers well the case of one Joseph Nixon, another gentleman who in his office stole from the people with whom he was brought into contact. A motion to condemn that man, made from this side of the House, met with the same reply from the right hon. gentleman-'to the pure all things are pure.' As long as this government is in power, as long as this right hon. gentleman sits here, thieves in the public service are safe and immune from prosecution, because the right hon. gentleman says that 'to the pure all things are pure,' and by the thief all things may be thieved. Is the right hon. gentleman's memory so bad that it cannot carry him back to only a few days ago, when a measure of reckless extravagence was passed in this House, namely, the wil-iul and unjustifiable expenditure of $1,000,000 of the money of this country at a time when this country could ill afford it, when we have lectures on retrenchment preached to us by ministers of the Crown, for a work said to be a public work, but one that served no other purpose than either to satisfy election pledges or the greed of some contractor and to endeavour to entrench this government in power.
Does the right hon. gentleman remember *this? I might cite several votes which the right hon. gentleman gave to burk investigation, even when there was a case made [DOT]out so clear that he himself had to admit there was evidence in support of it and considerable suspicion. On each occasion the right hon. gentleman blocked the way.
He prevented any attempts to clear the atmosphere of those charges which hung so black and low upon the government and refused, as he is now doing, investigation after investigation. We have here facts which undoubtedly point to corruption and irregularities in the various departments of the government, but all the reply_ we can get from the right hon. gentleman is a misapplication of the words of the scriptures.
I do this, he says, because to ' the pure all things are pure.' With regard to the scope of the investigation there is a somewhat extraordinary divergence between the position taken by the government now and that which they took prior to the Cassels inquiry. When the Civil Service report was laid on the table, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries made certain explanations. Let me draw a contrast between what the government promised in the shape of an investigation and what the government gave. In the session of 1907-8 the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, on page 5621 of ' Hansard ' said:
While I am aware that some officials have been open to censure for the manner in which they have discharged their duties, I never had any evidence to show dishonesty on their part.
Note that at the time the Civil Service Commission report was brought down, the minister admitted that he knew that some of the officials of the department had been open to censure. Well, is there one jot or tittle of evidence to show that there was any attempt made by him at any time to censure any of his officials or dismiss one of them, or hold an inquiry on his own account into the administration of his department? On page 3725 of ' Hansard,' I find the hon. minister saying with regard to the scope of the commission:
I may say at once that, so far as the government is concerned, nothing will be done to prevent this investigation being as thorough and as extended as possible. As head of that department I have every interest in seeing that it shall be as complete as it can be. I want to see this investigation conducted in such a manner that the people of Canada may be satisfied that the intention of the government and of the department is to make the investigation absolutely right in all respects.
Contrast with that declaration the fact that at that time the minister had written out, in the inner chamber of his department, a commission which circumscribed and limited the commissioner in such a way that it was absolutely impossible for him, according to his own ruling, to make a thorough and complete investigation into all the matters and in such a way as to satisfy the people that the intention was to have a thorough investigation. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance had also something to say with regard to the position in which the department found itself. On page 7330 of the ' Hansard ' of 1908, he said :
It is practically stated in the report of two of the commissioners, Messrs. Fyshe and Bazin, that there has been corruption in the Department of (Marine and Fisheries. The word is not used, But my hon. friend says he knows what the report means.
And again, on the following page:
If they wished to go into that branch of the question-and I do not say they should not have done so-as to whether or not the officials in the service were corrupt, then they were bound in justice to themselves, to the House and the individuals concerned, to go further and say in some detail who was corrupt and wherein the corruption lay.
Therefore, I say that what the minister and the government promise, and what they gave, are so far apart that the only possible reparation they can make now, in view of the circumstances as they are, in view of the insufficiency of this report, in view of the fact that this report in every way breathes of matters behind the scenes which ought to be, and which some day must he, investigated, is to open the doors of each department and extend the investigation along the lines of the resolution of my hon. friend (Mr. Doherty).
Now, what has been said by the other side in answer? Mainly, there are two grounds of opposition to this amendment. The first is that when the Conservatives were in office there was great corruption in the departments; and the other is one on which the right hon. Prime Minister and his supporters greatly plume themselves-that the people last election returned the right hon. gentleman and his party to power and thereby declared themselves completely satisfied with this investigation. How did they satisfy the people? I have shown that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and others were telling the country that the investigation would be thorough and efficient and that justice would be done all round. And the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laur-ier) told the people on the hustings at Niagara Falls that the people believed his government was an honest government, and, as the hon. member for North Toronto showed, he took to himself the credit of directing the holding of an investigation by the Civil Service Commission, and, as it was not sufficient, of ordering the one which he said would satisfy the people that there was nothing wrong left undisclosed to the public gaze. I say that the report of Mr. Justice Cassels, in certain respects which have been pointed out, and which I shall not go into in detail, shows that the cloud which rests upon the government has not been dissipated and that a further investigation is necesary. The inquiry stops short at most important points; very important subjects are not followed up; conclusions are not drawn; witnesses who could give Mr. BOYCE.
most valuable testimony on certain points are not called; and the result of the whole report is most unsatisfactory in that those who are most guilty are not disclosed and do not appear in the evidence.
I desire to refer to one feature of that report, the attitude taken with regard to the relations between Mr. Gregory, of Quebec, and the deputy minister of the department.
The Minister of Marine and Fisheries will tell me if I am wrong in believing that the deputy minister has been retired with a superannuation allowance of $3,000 per annum, while Mr. Gregory, of Quebec, has suffered the pain of dismissal. Some animadversions have been made in the report on the deputy minister. I have not made an extended or analytical examination of the report, but I think there is a great deal that might have been brought out if witnesses had been called whom the deputy minister wanted to have called to complete the investigation. Extraordinary facts are brought to light. For instance, at page 55 of the report, the comissioner purports to quote the first part of a letter from the deputy minister to Mr. Gregory:
My dear Gregory,-As regards the letters which have been written to you lately, and which will probably be written again, they are simply to save the department in the eyes of the Finance Minister, they are doing all they can to curtail our expenses, but that cannot be done.
That clause, standing alone, seems to be rather peculiar; it would appear to bear only one construction, and that is that the deputy minister was instructing Mr. Gregory in one way by letters which were on file in the department and instructing him privately to pay no attention to these letters. I do not know whether the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Brodeur) has laid on the table, or intends to lay on the table, the correspondence with Mt. Gour-deau in that connection. I would like to ask the minister that question. Apparently, the hon. minister does not consider the question of sufficient importance, so I will pass it by.
Do I understand the hon. gentleman (Mr. Boyce) to ask me a question?
Yes. Will the minister lay on the table the correspondence between Mr. Gourdeau and Mr. Gregory relative to the circumstances referred to in this letter?
I do not know of any correspondence, except that Col. Gourdeau sent some letters last year with regard to his resignation. I think these letters have been brought down.
Last year, Col. Gourdeau sent some letters-that is all the minister tells us. Let me ask the minister if he
recognizes this as being the context of that part quoted from Col. Gourdeau's letter?
In the meantime, I have obtained the Prime Minister's approval for the large expenditure for repairing the lightship and provision will have to be made, some way or other, to meet this.
What does that mean? It means that the Deputy Minister of Marine and Fisheries was telling Mr. Gregory that expenditures were being made beyond the estimated amount, that he was telling him to curtail, but only in order to blind the eyes -of the Minister of Finance, and that he had, in the meantime, obtained the fiat of the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) to the expenditure, and following that had got a warrant from the Governor-General in order to defray the expense. Well, Sir, it is an extraordinary fact, but I understand it to be a fact, that Col. Gourdeau also contends that there was-and I say this subject to correction by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries if I am wrong-an interview in the city of Quebec between the right hon. Prime Minister and Mr. Gregory with reference to the expenditure, and that only a few days before this letter was written, the right hon. gentleman expressed himself to Mr. Gregory in the presence of Mr. Gourdeau as being satisfied with the explanation that Mr. Gregory gave as to his position at that time and the reason for the expenditure he had made, and that the Prime Minister came back, and, in order to provide for the expenditures, which then exceeded the estimates, he went to the Governor General and got a Governor General's warrant. Am I right or wrong? I ask the Minister of Marine and F'isheries. Then, if that be the case, what becomes of the statement in Mr. Justice Cassels' report with regard to this paragraph?
Col. Gourdeau, I understand, contends that the paragraph which was alleged to have been untrue was absolutely true, and that he was so instructed to notify Mr. Gregory. At that time the affairs of the department were under the management and control, not of the present minister nor of the late Mr, Prefontaine, but of the Prime Minister of the country himself. If there were irregularities which ought to have been brought to light as between the late deputy minister and Mr. Gregory at Montreal, surely it would have been proper, and in accordance with the scope of the investigation, if these statements are true, that the right hon. gentleman should have been called to the witness box to give evidence, seeing that he was in charge of the department at that time, and who, it i>s said, had conversations relative to these very matters with both the deputy minister and Mr. Gregory, and who gave his fiat for the increased expenditure. Without referring at greater length to the matters which are the subject of this resolution, I want to point out to the Prime Minister that the people of Canada demand a full and searching investigation into the expenses of thiis country, and I think I am only echoing the sentiments of the people when I say that they will not submit to an investigation being choked at its birth, as the government are trying to do in opposing this resolution. The resolution of the hon. member for St. Anne (Mr. Doherty) grows out of the facts referred to in Judge Cassels' report, and it follows as a logical sequence, that there should be a further' investigation, an investigation not limited to one department, but extending to all the spending departments of the government. And I say that just so long as the government stand in the door and bar the way to a complete and thorough investigation into these departments, just so sure will the government lose the confidence of the people.
Mr. CYRIAS ROY (Montmagny).
(Translation). Mr. Speaker, I do not propose speaking at great length on the question now before the House. I do not propose going into the details of the inquiry which has been carried on at the request of hon. members and with the approval of the government. The hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) charged some hon. gentlemen sitting on your right, Mr. Speaker, with not being well posted on the rules of the House and having shown a lack of logic in their remarks. As regards myself, I think that if the mover of this amendment had proceeded in such a way as to permit our accepting his proposition, that is, if instead of introducing a non-confidence motion, he had applied directly to the government with a view to obtaining a continuation of the inquiry they had willingly granted in the case of the Marine Department, there would not have been a head of department who would not have agreed to such a request, and myself, as a liberal, I would have been in favour of such a move. But to-day a non-confidence motion is laid before the House asking for a general inquiry into the departments, and that after the government, through the Minister of Marine, has announced the policy he intends to follow in pursuance of the report of Mr. Justice Cassels. Seeing that the opposition has thought fit to take that stand, the proposal of a non-confidence motion, I consider it the duty, not only of the members on the government side, but of the whole House, to vote against the proposed amendment.
What reasons have been advanced in support of the amendment? Was there any
reference made to the report of Mr. Justice Cassels? Incidentally some members have mentioned it. We have it from the very mouths of those who have taken part in the debate on behalf of the opposition, that the Minister of Marine and his department are in no way involved in the findings of the Cassels inquiry. That is no doubt the reason why efforts are now being made to mix up things. What the minister has agreed to is declared insufficient. It must be stated publicly that the government is responsible for the circumstances brought out by the Cassels inquiry, since they refuse to grant the request implied in the said amendment. Well, Mr. Speaker, I say that such a mode of proceedure cannot be approved.
As I stated a moment ago, the hon. member for North Toronto has had the courage, relying on the experience he gained in this House, to rebuke an hon. member on your right, Mr. Speaker, for his so-called lack of experience and the illogical stand taken by him in consequence. Well, at the risk of being dealt with in like manner, being also a new member, not very familiar with the rules of the House, I shall undertake to express briefly the opinion I have as regards the question now before us. If I were called upon to answer the hon. member who has just taken his seat, I think that would be an easy matter, as he would have to admit that he has not dealt with the question before the House, that is to say the report of Mr. Justice Cassels. The hon. member stated that, if the report referred to is to be believed, all the ministers, and among them the right hon. Prime Minister, are to be held accountable for the findings contained in Mr. Justice Cassels' report. Now, what are those findings? Does not the report clear the department of Marine and all other departments of any charges made against them?
To show the good faith of the Minister of Marine, it will be sufficient to recall that this inquiry was made following on a report made by the Civil Service Commission appointed by the government. It has been claimed that the inquiry was incomplete, that the Minister of Marine was interested in preventing any light being thrown on the management of his department. Now, what is stated in the report of the Civil Service Commission, which has been the occasion for instituting the Cassels' inquiry? That paragraph has already been read, and in order to save time, I shall quote only the two last lines:
In other words some of the government's officers are serving two masters, and apparently succeeding with both-Scripture notwithstanding.
Mr. Justice Cassels, after quoting that sentence from the report of the Civil Service Commission, goes on as follows:
Some limitation had to be given the inquiry and as the charges made by the report of the Civil Service Commission are mainly confined to -the -fiscal year 1904-5, 1905-6 and 1903-7, I limited the investigation in the meantime to those years.
An hon. gentleman on the other side charged the minister with having limited the inquiry. The above quotation from Mr. Cassels' report shows that, in limiting the scope of the inquiry to those three years, he took his inspiration from the report of the Civil Service Commission.
Then, by referring to the instructions given to Mr. Justice Cassels, it will be found that they do not contain any restriction as to the scope of inquiry. I quote the following lines from the commission signed by the hon. Minister of Marine appointing Mr. Justice Cassels 'Commissioner to investigate and report upon certain statements contained in the report of the Civil Service Commision reflecting upon the integrity of the officials of the department of Marine and Fisheries, or some of them.'
In view of the above quotations, on what grounds can it be contended that the Minister of Marine is responsible for restricting the scope of the inquiry? There is nothing to support such a contention.
As I stated a moment ago, the finding contained in the Teport of Mr. Justice Cassels, is that certain officers regarding whose conduct the inquiry was held, have, received certain amounts which they should not have received. Well, my views may differ from those of some of the hon. members on whose side I happen to occupy a seat, but seeing that the inquiry has been granted at their request, and that as a result, some officials have been found guilty, should the House now, in accordance with the wishes of some hon. members, start- a flesh inquiry ? Of course, we have the right to do so, but would we be justifiable in so doing ? I do not think so. Unless there are some very sound reasons for believing that the commissioner erred, it seems to me hon. gentlemen are not justifiable in discussing these conclusions. We are bound to accept them. And they go to show, unfortunately for the province of Quebec, a constituency of which I represent in this House, that certain officials have committed a breach of duty in accepting what they should have refused.
In view of the promptness and cheerfulness with which that inquiry was granted by the minister, who, though unaware of what had been going on, was anxious to dispel any suspicions resting on his depart-
ment, it seems t-o me that all that can' be expected now from the Minister of Marine is that he should give effect to the findings of the commissioner.
Mr. Speaker, I have noticed, and I make the statement in all sincerity, that in regard to certain questions, members on both sides of the House are apt to repeat the same arguments. I noticed it and took note of it. I do not wish it to be said that I am committing the same error. Considering the lateness of the hour, and as I understand the question will shortly be put, I shall discard the copious notes I had jotted down. However, I may state that for the reasons above mentioned and for others which I might state, I shall vote against the amendment introduced by the hon. member for St. Anne's.
Mr. JOSEPH DEMERS (St. Johns and Iberville.) (Translation.) I apologize to the House for having to take up some of its time at such a late hour. I listened with great interest and care to the speech delivered yesterday by the member for St. Anne's (Mr. Doherty). I am happy to say that, like the whole House, I appreciated his remarks in reference to the hon. Minister of Marine.
The hon. member for St. Anne's has deemed it his duty to publicly acknowledge the honesty of the hon. minister. Possibly he thought it incumbent on him to relieve his party of an obligation incurred, that of making amends for an injury unjustly caused to others.
The hon. minister had surely no need for the certificate of high honourability, which has been thus granted to him ; at the same time, the stand taken by the hon. member for St. Anne's is not the less meritorious, and is evidence on the part of the mover of the amendment of a spirit of fairness, which is creditable to him, and for which I sincerely congratulate him.
That is sufficient compensation to the minister for the attacks directed against him, during last session and this, as well as in the course of this very debate, attacks which have been of such a violent character, that we could not help wondering whether those who directed them were conscious of the part they were playing, and whether the minister was being attacked because of his being Minister of Marine or for some other reason.
The hon. minister had the right to expect an apology from some member of the opposition. True, the hon. member for St. Anne's has not thought fit to go to the point of congratulating the minister on his administration, but I think he could have done so just as well.
Just think what an enormous amount of work the hon. Minister of Marine has taken on himself to accomplish since he came into office ! Appointed in 1906, his first step was to go into the working of his. department, so as to put himself in touch with all details of its management. Very soon, however, he realized that such a task was very difficult of accomplishment, on account of the defective system of bookkeeping in use. He then decided to effect a change and to introduce a new and business-like system of bookkeeping. That required several months and entailed a pretty heavy expenditure ; but that expenditure was justified, I think, in view of the benefits derived therefrom. .
Shortly after, the Civil Service Commission started its inquiry, one of the findings of which informed us that some wrongdoing had been committed by high officials of the Department of Marine. However, as that report did not mention any one, it was impossible to find out who the guilty officials were. The hon. minister then decided to require on his own account a thorough inquiry, in order to get to the bottom of the whole matter and insure the punishment of all offenders. The inquiry was held and the guilty officials have been punished. The department is to-day on the best possible footing. _ ,
Was the hon. minister right in trusting the officials of his department, from the time he took office until the facts were brought out in the course of the Cassels inquiry. Surely it is unbecoming on the part of hon. members on the other side to find fault with him on that account, considering that the officers in charge when he came into office had all been appointed by the late Conservative administration.
Could the minister be expected to do more than he has done? Appointed, as I have already stated, in 1906, that is three years ago, twenty months of which have been taken up by the work of succeeding sessions, he has been called upon to spend five or six other months in Europe, nego-ciating the Franeo-Canadian treaty. In spite of his numerous occupations, the hon. minister has found time to introduce in his department an admirable system of bookkeeping, which ensures a considerable saving. He has, moreover, vigorously prosecuted the great national work of deepening, lighting and providing with buoys the channel of the St. Lawrence. In spite of these enormous undertakings, the hon. minister has time to reform and renew the Montreal harbour commission, and to hold an inquiry which has enabled him to rid his department of a number of people who were not qualified to occupy important public positions.
The above statement of facts warrants me in saying that the hon. Minister of Marine has set himself to accomplishing a tremendous task, and I think he may well be proud for having carried it out in so short a time, by dint of unrelenting energy. The hon. member for St. Ann's might therefore
very well have gone a little further and instead of being content with praising the minister personally, have congratulated him also as to his administrative work.
As regards the amendment submitted to the House, I do not think we should agree to it. No new facts have been brought forward of a nature to warrant our starting a further inquiry into the management of the various departments. Inquiries are expensive, as we all know, and before granting them we should carefully consider that aspect of the question, and grant them only for very good reasons. I for one can see neither in the Cassels' report, neither in the speeches of hon. gentlemen opposite anything sufficient to warrant such action on the part of parliament.
As regards the Department of Marine the circumstances 'were different. The facts brought forward by the Civil Service Commission were such as to render an inquiry without hesitating a single moment, without even waiting that the request be made. That action of the government is an assurance to us that if it had been necessary to institute inquires in regard to the other departments, such inquiries would have been instituted and all the circumstances brought to light, as easily as in the case of the Marine Department.
To my mind, the hon. member for St. Ann's and other hon. gentlemen opposite have not brought forward any arguments warranting such an inquiry. Besides, an amendment such as this one, coming from hon. gentlemen on the other side, is rather a matter for surprise and a subject for laughter, when it is remembered that the state of things revealed by the Cassels' inquiry has been in existence from 1878 to 1896, during the long period of office of the Conservative government; when it is remembered, also, that the Auditor General, in 1886-as stated yesterday by the Minister of Marine-went to the length of notifying the department of the existence of the deplorable state of things then in existence, notwithstanding which these gentlemen^ never raised their voice in favour of instituting an inquiry. We have, in view of these circumstances, every reason to be surprised at the motion introduced by the hon. member for St. Ann's.
I have faith in the government, and I know they will take necessary measures for the safeguard of the people's interests. They can verv well do without the dictates of the opposition when it comes to reforming or setting matters right.
As for the speeches delivered by the members of the opposition, a number of them, while too long, were made up wholly of quotations from the evidence taken in the course of the inquiry and from the report Mr. DEMERS.
of Mr. Justice Cassels. I cannot see what bearing nor what expediency these speeches can have, when the reading population has been thoroughly posted on the whole matter through the great daily newspapers which have printed that evidence and even Mr. Justice Cassels' report. A considerable saving of time might then have been effected by leaving out such quotations.
The hon. member for Elgin (Mr. Crothers) charged the government with carelessness and neglect for not having discovered promptly enough the existing state of things, the outcome of the bad behaviour of the officers of the department of Marine.
To that I answer that the system recognized as bad has been in existence since confederation, as shown in the evidence and in the conclusions of Mr. Justice Cassels. I cannot admit for one moment that the Conservatives, from 1878 to 1896, realized what was going on, without seeking to apply a remedy; otherwise they should be held criminally responsible. Now, if they have failed during all those years in bringing to light the wrong-doing of certain officers of that department, is it surprising that this government should have let eleven or twelve years go by before finding out what was going on and applying a remedy?
The government have done their duty, and I trust they will continue to do so as in the past. By carrying on this inquiry they have shown of what metal they are made and what is their energy; they have shown themselves to be inspired by the purest motives of public interest.
As long as the government is favoured with a government such as this, the people may rest assured that public affairs will be managed in the best possible manner within the range of human power.
Mr. A. LANCTOT (Richelieu).
(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I listened with a great deal of interest to the various speeches which were delivered yesterday and to-day, in support of the motion introduced by the hon. gentleman from St. Anne's (Mr. Doherty). Of the various reasons put forward by hon. gentlemen who favour this motion, I fail to see a single one warranting its adoption.
In short, the hon. member for St. Anne's proposes by this motion that a general inquiry be carried on regarding all departs ments, so as to dispel, he says, any cloud of suspicion resting on the management of such departments; he adds that such an inquiry is called for by public opinion, by the whole electorate of this country.
I submit, Mr. Speaker, that if there Tested a cloud of suspicion on the management of the various departments, that cloud has been dispelled and carried away by the wind
which blew on the 26th of October last, and Drought about the victory of the present ad-mmistration. It will be remembered that the Civil Service Commission was appointed on May 8, 1907, and submitted its report on February 28, 1908. In that report some charges against officers of the Marine Department whose names are not given, are mentioned.
On April 6 of the same year, a further C?1?imis?T011 wa? ^PPDinted at the suggestion ot the Hon. Minister of Marine, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Cassels, to look mto some indefinite charges contained in the report of the previous commission, and summed up into an imputation of lack of conscience directed against public servants in the carrying out of their duties, and particularly against officers of the Marine Department.
That commission was issued about seven months previous to the last general elections. The result of the electoral campaign largely hinged on the discussion of that issue, and the people's verdict was that the scope of the inquiry as suggested by the Hon. Minister of Marine was sufficiently wide. The electors of this country took that stand, in spite of the charge preferred by our opponents that the same system of corruption was rampant in all departments. Whereof, I say that this issue has been settled at the last general election, there is no sense in insisting to-day on a further mquiry being carried on as regards the other departments, and in contending that such further inquiry is called for by public opinion.
The hon. gentleman from St. Anne's, in the course of his remarks yesterday, contended that the state of things which has been found in existence in the Department of Marine was to be found in the other departments as well; because the same people who have intercourse with officers of the Department of Marine must have acted in the same way in their dealings with the officers of other departments.
The hon. member for St. Anne's will allow me to ask him this question : he was for many years a judge of the Superior court at Montreal, and with honour to the bench ; _ would he advise a jury to force an inquiry on a party for the purpose of finding out whether he has committed some fraud, although no specific charge is made against that man ? I am satisfied the hon. gentleman will answer in the negative. Now, the proposition set forth in his motion is identical to the one I have just stated.
Allow me also, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate the hon. member for St. Anne's on the courtesy he has shown in his dealings with the Minister of Marine, when he stated that the hon. member for Rouville was an honest and upright man. We had not been accustomed on this side of the House to such expressions on behalf of members of
the opposition. In the course of the last two years that I have had the honour to occupy a seat in this House, I have never until the day before yesterday, heard a single kindly word in reference to the hon. Minister of Marine fall from the lips Oi members on the other side. It was necessary that a judge should come down from the bench and enter the political fray to have it proclaimed in the midst of his political allies in this House and before the country, what all his friends, no doubt, thought m their hearts, but had not had the courage and generosity to state in pub-
Foliticai partisanship has its exigencies, Mr. Speaker, I am aware of it ; and it is seldom that from the ranks of a party there stands out a man generous enough to state the truth, in spite of party prejudices, and do homage to an opponent whom he has to hght, but whom he cannot help
ZrTn'Tv, aud admiri,ng- Such is the purport of the hon. gentleman's remarks, and I congratulate him once more on that account.
Mr Speaker, my intention is not to take up the criticisms of the opposition regarding the management of the Marine department. However, I may be allowed to state that, since the minister holds that im-pertant portfolio, he has invariably done his duty. He has accomplished in the interest of shipping and transportation more than any of his predecessors. It is under his rule for instance, that the building of dredges has been started throughout the country, and particularly at Sorel, in the constituency which I have the honour to represent here.
The deepening of the channel of the St Lawrence, as was stated yesterday, has had the effect of lowering the rates of ocean insurance. Manufacturers, farmers and shippers have largely benefited thereby, owing to the reduced cost of transportation in connection with the products imported or exported by them.
The policy of the hon. Minister of Marine which makes for the building in our own country of dredges and boats, which used to be imported from abroad, is also worthy of general approval. While deepening the bt. Lawrence, lowering the rates of insurance and putting manufacturers, farmers and business men in a position to ship their products to the markets of Europe under more favourable conditions, the hon. minister has also had in mind that other very interesting class, the mechanics. He was anxious that people engaged in the trades should take a hand in forwarding the success of his undertaking; he was anxious of satisfying foreigners and the country as a whole that, within the bounds of the Dominion, within the province of Quebec, within my own constituency, there were men capable of building these dredges, these
boats, used by the Department of Marine; in other words, he was anxious that our craftsmen, particularly those familiar with work of that kind, should be in a position to put their talents to use right here, without having to go abroad for a living.
Such is Mr. Speaker, the showing made by the hon. Minister of Marine. Such is the showing of that utterely incapable and incompetent man, who should resign his portfolio, to please the virtuous member from North Toronto (Mr. Foster).
As a representative of the province of Quebec, Mr. Speaker, I wish to say.that the hon. minister has always enjoyed the confidence of his fellow-citizens in that province and since he has taken office he has always been trusted and held in high esteem by his English-speaking fellow citizens.
While I am on my feet, Mr. Speaker, allow me also to congratulate the hon. minister of Marine on the firm stand he has taken in connection with the dismissal of the men who had been found guilty of wrong-doing in the Cassels' inquiry. _
I am aware, Mr. Speaker, that it is not without some misgivings that a man of fine feelings, such as the hon. Minister of Marine, deprived of their means of living heads of families, who, I am satisfied, were not the greatest sinners. But it was necessary that severity should be shown; it was necessary that the good should be separated from the bad. The hon. minister has not hesitated one moment in doing his duty.
Allow me, Mr. Speaker, to state my satisfaction, as representative of the county of Richelieu, at being in a position to state in this House and before the people of Canada that the searching inquiry held on the extensive and multifarious works carried on at Sorel has not brought out any facts of a nature to discredit in any way, any of the officers or honest men employed at Sorel, and that the honour of the county of Richelieu has not thereby suffered the least injury.
Hon. WM. PUGSLEY (Minister of Public Works).
Mr. Speaker, I would not have taken part in the debate, particularly in view of the very exhaustive manner in which the questions of interest in the discussion have been referred to on both sides of the House, if it were not for the fact that I feel that if I were not to make some observations, I might allow a grave injustice to be done to the gentleman who was the representative of the Department of Marine and Fisheries in the constituency which I have the honour to represent and upon whom a very unfair attack was made by one of the gentlemen who spoke from the other side of the House. I refer to Mr. F. J. Harding, who has been, for a good many years, agent for the department in Mr. A. LANCTOT.
the city of St. John. I thought that perhaps the House would pardon me for having felt it necessary to rise in order to do justice to that gentleman. I find, in the remarks which the hon. member for North Ontario (Mr. Sharpe) made, that he referred in terms of condemnation to the government because we had retired Mr. Harding from the service and given him a superannuation allowance. The hon. member for North Ontario, in referring to Mr. Harding, said:
The nest official, Harding, is superannuated, although, according to the evidence and the report, lie had 'financial transactions with corporations dealing with the department, and was concerned with the destruction of papers of the department and with false entries made in books, in order to protect him.
In justice to that gentleman I desire to say that there is not a shadow of foundation for the statement made by the hon. member for North Ontario. I cannot but express my surprise, that, when the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) was addressing this House, knowing the grave injustice which had been done to that gentleman, a gentleman who is well known to the hon. member for North Toronto, a gentleman whose father before him was well known to the hon. member, because both he and his son were under him when he was Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and having knowledge of the general character of that gentleman and of the faithful manner in which he has performed the duties devolving upon representatives of the Marine Department in the city of St. John, should not have felt it incumbent upon himself to do a small measure of justice to Mr. Harding by calling attention to the evidence and pointing out that the hon. member for North Ontario was entirely mistaken in the references which he made to Mr. Harding. It would have been but a simple act of justice on the part of that hon. gentleman and, coming from him as one of the leading members upon the opposition side, would have carried great weight in this country and would have afforded some measure of satisfaction to the friends and relatives of the gentleman who was so unjustly attacked by the hon. member for North Ontario. As far as Mr. Harding is concerned, the government has superannuated him because the evidence failed entirely to show that he had been guilty of any wrong-doing or of any corrupt act. M-r. Justice Cassels, in his findings, expressly reports that there has been no corrupt act proved against Mr. Harding. The one thing that was found against him was that he had the misfortune to be poor. For a good many years he had been in the habit of borrowing money from some gentlemen who had been for a number of years supplying goods to the department, which
moneys he had from time to time returned. Even before any of these gentlemen had business with the department he was in the habit of obtaining loans from them. But, in so far as the evidence shows, Mr. Harding always faithfully and honestly discharged the public duties which he owed to the department. Unfortunately, he had been stricken with paralysis a few months before the investigation took place. He was not able to give his evidence and because of his very severe affliction my hon. friend, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, has felt it in the public interest to retire him from the public service, but he has retired him honourably. He goes out from the public service without a stain upon his character and he receives the superannuation which he is entitled to by law.
With regard to the deputy minister, he also has been superannuated. I do not wish to add anything to what has been said in regard to him, but I would say to my hon. friend from North Ontario, if he were in his place, that if he searches the evidence from beginning to end, while he may find that Colonel Gourdeau has at times been lacking in discretion, or may not have been as firm as he should have been in the interests of the department, the evidence fails to disclose any corrupt act on the part of Colonel Gourdeau; it fails to disclose that he at any time profited by anything that was done by the different people referred to in the report, and, therefore, it seems to me, that it was not improper, in view of the forty years service which Colonel Gourdeau had rendered to the department and the country that he should be retired with a superannuation allowance. I, as one member of the government, am prepared to take the full responsibility for the superannuation of these two officials. In addition, having made these remarks and done, as far as Mr. Harding was concerned, the justice, which was due to him, of defending him from the attack which was made upon him, perhaps, while I am on my feet, it might be proper for me to give reasons why I think this amendment which the hon. member for Montreal, St. Anne (Mr. Doherty) has moved should not commend itself to the judgment of this House. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) referred in most eulogistic terms to the observations which the hon. member for St. Anne addressed the House in support of the resolution, and a good many compliments have been showered upon that hon. gentleman by other gentlemen who have addressed the House. With regard to the observations of my hon. friend I do not differ at all in my appreciation of his remarks, but I am not prepared to give to my hon. friend that credit which I would like to give him for the resolution which he has presented and for which he asks the
support of the members of this House. It does seem to me that when an hon. gentleman presents a resolution to the House he should be sure that the statements which are made in it are accurate. He ought to be sure that he is calling upon the members of the House to support statements which they can justify afterwards and which are supported by evidencfe sufficiently strong to justify their actions in that regard. My hon. friend in his resolution calls upon this House to ask for an investigation into the other great spending departments of the government. And what does my hon. friend by this resolution say? He says:
The report of the commission affords ground for the conviction that similar methods prevail m other great spending departments.
In other words, that the report of the commission affords ground for the conviction that there is official negligence ; there is wastefulness, and there is corrupt dealing. That is what he says by this resolution and what he asks this House to say. Let me ask him what there is in the report to justify a statement of that character? He may read the report from beginning to end and he will not find any suggestion of any wrongdoing upon the part of any officials of any other department of the government. Therefore, my hon. friend is asking the House to affirm something which upon its face is absolutely without foundation, and may I say without offence to my hon. friend, is absolutely false. Surely when my hon. friend prepared the resolution he should have taken pains to examine the report and see if he would be justified in asking the House to affirm the statements made there, which I have said are absolutely without foundation. Then by this resolution he makes the statement to this House that the ^ commission of 1907 simply made inquiry into the workings of one department at Ottawa. As my right hon. friend the Prime Minister has stated, it is absolutely clear that the commission must have made inquiry into the Public Works Department, into the Customs Department and into the Military Department, because at page 42 you will find what they have to say of the Department of Public Works and at page 37 what they have to say of the Militia Department, and also in another place as to the Customs Department. It is true that they did not go as fully into the departments as they might have gone if they had had a longer time, if they had had years to make an inquiry, because then they might have gone to all parts of the country and made inqufty as to all transactions between the public and the various officials of the different departments of the government. The remarks which they make with regard to the Public Works Department and with regard to the Customs and Post Oflice Departments I think are sufficient to satisfy
this House that if the commissioners had seen any evidence of wrong-doing in any one of those departments they would have fully set out what they had discovered in their report. That they have not done, and the fact that although they made inquiry into those departments they make no suggestion of having discovered anything wTong ought to be sufficient evidence that they did not observe there was anything wrong or anything that should be reported to His Excellency the Governor General. Therefore, it seems to me that my hon. friend in making the statement that the commission had only made incidental inquiry into one department, states something which is absolutely without foundation, and is asking this House to affirm something which is not only without proof, but which is absolutely contradictory to the proof as we have it in the Civil Service Commission and the report made by Mr. Justice Cassels.
Mr. R. L. BORDEN.
Is the hon. gentleman under the impression that the word [DOT] only ' is in the resolution in the sense that only one department was investigated?
It is absolutely clear,
The commission, in the course of their investigation into the condition of the Civil Service, having made incidental inqury into the workings of one department at Ottawa