April 2, 1909

?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Carried.

klr. GEO. TAYLOR. It will be carried when I get through, and not a moment sooner. Here is J. J. Yorston, Pictou, for hauling up the steamer ' Minto ' on two occasions, 1,451 tons at 20 cents, $580- laying on ways, 29 days, $4,207.90. If my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries would go to Kingston dry docks or to any other dry dock in the country and have this boat hauled up would he pay half that amount for having it done? I have made up a statement here. In 1896 the cost to the country for the uniforms of the men on the nine steamers that the Conservative government controlled was $150. What does it cost to-day? The government are not satisfied to give each man a cap for a uniform, but they clothe every man from top to bottom. The total cost for uniforms last year was $14,500, as compared with $150 in 1898. Let me read you a few items of expenditure for uniforms for the men employed on these boats. They did not buy the uniforms for the men on all the boats from the same firm, but they travelled all over the country from Halifax to Quebec and they went to different firms for the supplies for each boat. To some of their friends they went two or three times. We pay the captain, the engineers and the men good wages and, under those circumstances, why do they not furnish their own uniforms? Let us take the case of the ' Montcalm:'

8 uniforms at $25

10 " 21

3 dress suits at 45

Suits fit for members of parliament. They cost $135.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

I will give the minister something to laugh at before I get through.

41 blue jumpers at $3 50

4J. " pants at 8 50

41 " collars at 0 35

41 white dickies at 1 00

41 white duck suits at 2 50

41 sweaters at 2 75

Then they go across the road to another gentleman and they buy $301 worth from him, which, with $1,114.50, makes $1,415 in all for uniforms for the officers and crew of the * Montcalm.'

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An hon. MEMBER.

What is the rate by the rule of three?

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

If the rule of three were applied to that we should not furnish anything. The men in our employ get good wages and they have a right to furnish everything they require to wear. I will give you another example. I want to ask the minister how much mud this expenditure took out of the ship channel? The money is charged to the ship channel. He will find these accounts in the Auditor General's Report at page 0-163:

7 ladies blouses at $13.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

I am surprised that the Tight hon. Prime Minister can laugh at that. He is the trustee of the people of this country, and yet he will allow one of his ministers to put his hand in the public chest and spend money like this.

1 ladies cloak $25

8 ladies costumes, each 30

The total of these accounts is $744. I would like the right hon. Prime Minister to apply the rule of three to that. If one suit will move 20 yards out of the ship channel, how much will these eight costumes, which he has paid $30 apiece for, move? Then we have another which is worse than that, and the Minister of Public Works will say that there is no necessity for an investigation.

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An hon. MEMBER.

Who were the ladies?

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

I do not know. I will put these facts on record some day before the session is over. These hon. gentlemen had a political friend at Toronto and he had to have a pull:

63-5-12ths doz. black neckerchiefs...$686 90

18 doz. petty officer's badges 34 50

31 doz. badges 57 18

100 gross Canadian gilt buttons 613 10

20 yds. 1J gold wire navy lace 46 13

400 yds. fth gold wire navy lace.. .. 271 70 300 pairs officer's shoulder straps.. .. 109 50 25 pairs commanding shoulder straps. 17 74 Mr. G. TAYLOR.

24 doz. officer's cap badges $385 44

119-ll-12th doz. cap ribbons 189 68

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

Who says Canada has not spent anything for a navy?

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

The duty on these articles was $456, the freight $18 and two cases $9, making $2,896 of the people's money that might as well have been thrown into the river. Why should we buy 52 dozen neck handkerchiefs, I ask the Minister of Public Works? I have given him the date and the page in the Auditor General's Report. In the other departments he will find the same story. All of these items make up a total of from $51,000,000 to $60,000,000 that has gone to the middle man for which the country has received no benefit. Yet we are told that in that department there is no need of an investigation. The Prime Minister laughed so hard that he did not hear what I read to-night, but I ask why we bought eight ladies costumes at $30 each which are charged to the ship channel. Does that need investigation? Was that brought before Judge Cassels? I want my hon. friend to ask his three officials in Montreal who certified that account for $831 why they did so, when they could have bought the goods for $209.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I have already asked them.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

I want to know where the $531 went if it did not go to the political supporters of my hon. friend for campaign purposes? Why was $100 a thousand feet paid for basswood and $150 for ash. Gentlemen opposite who will vote against this motion know in their inmost hearts that $1,000 is nearly four prices for that timber. They will vote for anything. I think I have said enough to convince the hardest conscience that it is the duty of this government to grant an inquiry into this loss to the country, which is really an increase in the national debt. Why should the government pay $10 for the rent of two bucksaws that they could buy for $7?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I thought they were cross-cut saws.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

The minister should know that he can buy them in any hardware store for 50 cent a foot.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

They cost more than that.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. TAYLOR.

They do not cost more than that; I have sold many of them. For these clamp screws to hold a plank on a vessel when it is being spiked the government paid $8 a day although you can buy the whole outfit for $3.50. Who got the rake-off there? I could cite many similar instances, but I think I have adduced enough to show that the middleman receives from $51,000,000 to $60,000,000 out

of the controllable expenditure of $92,000,-

000. The members of this House should certainly vote for the amendment proposed by my hon. friend from Ste. Anne (Mr. Doherty).

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. R. LEMIEUX (Postmaster General).

At this early hour in the morning I shall not detain the House at any length. I would not add anything to the debate but I think it is due to my colleague who represents the province of Quebec in the House, that I should say a word not in his defence, because he needs no defence, but in justification of the attitude taken by the Liberal party which is being assailed through him to-day. I was pleased to hear my old friend from Ste. Anne (Mr. Doherty) speak yesterday. I was not surprised at the tone which he adopted in moving his amendment. I have known him for many years. I am well aware that he is above all things an honourable gentleman. I know that he possesses a judicial mind and I believe that he is unbiased by party politics. Thanks to the hon. member for Ste. Anne the cloud has lifted and we know, the country knows and the House knows that the hon. Minister of Marine is an honest man. Under ordinary circumstances, I would not mention the fact, nobody would take notice of it; I suppose a man's first duty to himself and to his country as a public man is to be of sterling honesty. However, we have heard so much for two or three years with reference to the honesty and integrity of the minister that it is refreshing indeed to hear a man of the position of the hon. member for Ste. Anne declaring that in his opinion the hon. Minister of Marine is indeed an honest man. Parliament, as you well know, is not a school for mutual admiration. But as this is probably the closing chapter of a very sad story, may I say a word about the hon. gentleman who has represented Rouville since 1891? He sat from 1891 to 1896 on the opposition benches. As private member for Rouville, a county which in the past has always elected men of ability, he enjoyed the esteem of all his fellow members in the House. He was highly esteemed and respected when in 1896 he was elected deputy speaker and later speaker of the House of Commons. It will be remembered by the older members that as speaker of the House he adorned the chair which you, Sir, occupy. He again enjoyed the respect and esteem of the House when later on he was called by the Prime Minister to fill an important position as Minister of Inland Revenue. He certainly possessed not only the esteem and respect of both sides of the House but also the confidence of all.

We all know that this man who has been branded before the country as a criminal and against whose character insinuations of the basest kind have been made, fought, as Minister of Inland Revenue, not a lonely

battle, but a manly battle indeed against the trusts. I contend that at that time he possessed the full confidence of both sides of this House. Suddenly, he was called to fill the position of Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and then the onslaught against him began. I am not at all surprised that the onslaught was made against one member of the Reform government two years ago. The Conservative party had to find some one in the Liberal party as a scapegoat for the approaching elections. History only repeats itself. In 1900, after four years of Liberal rule, finding nothing against the Liberal policy, realizing on the contrary, that this country had been prosperous in spite of themselves, hon. gentlemen opposite had no other war cry but that of corruption to raise against the Liberal party. The cry then was directed against the hon. member who sits to-day a*s the representative of the county of Brandon. The country wa*s filled with posters representing that hon. gentleman, who was then among the most prominent members of the Liberal Cabinet, as having acted dishonestly in his administration of the then newly-discovered Yukon district. You remember, Mr. Speaker, the battle he fought in the Northwest against Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper on that very question. The elections of 1900 were not fought on the fiscal policy of the Liberal party or on any of the principles which divided the two parties; but they were fought on lcud accusations of graft. It was the same with the elections of 1904. Then rumours were afloat that some members of the Liberal party were to be brought not merely before the bar of public opinion, but before the bar of the criminal courts of justice. During the last campaign the accusations were again repeated, and again a scapegoat had to be found. Unfortunately, circumstances have helped our hon. friends on the other side of the House in their campaign of defamation. We all know that important additions were made to the Department of Marine and Fisheries; it had become a great spending department. The minister who had that department in charge, the late Hon. Raymond Prefontaine, had died suddenly in Paris and his remains had been brought back to Canada. My hon. friend (Mr. Brodeur) had to assume the direction of that department; and, Sir, as soon as the session opened, charges were hurled against the Department of Marine and Fisheries. Insinuations were made, not against the living minister, but against the dead minister, both in the press and on the platform; but there was such a protest from every section of the country, even from Conservatives themselves, that immediately the charges against the de_ad minister ceased, and they were directed against my hon. friend. Everybody will admit that he assumed a noble attitude

under these conditions. The elections were fast approaching, and on the eve of last session a commission had been appointed to investigate, not the administration of the departments, but the status of the Civil Service. We had heard in this House and out of this House, that the Civil Service of this country was underpaid, and that the work was not well apportioned among the employees of the various departments, and that commission was appointed by this government to investigate the two above mentioned facts. Three independent gentlemen were appointed, and they reported to this parliament generally or., the status of the Civil Service, but as they investigated the Department of Marine and Fisheries, they found what they thought to be very serious irregularities, which they mentioned in their report. The hon. member for St. Anne has embodied in his amendment the very words which were used by these commissioners. What was the duty of the government when these three independent and honest men reported that that department was lacking in organization, lacking in conscience, and that some of the officials were serving two masters. Scripture notwithstanding? Sir, the government did not remain silent under these general charges made against the Department of Marine and Fisheries. We appointed another commission under the direction of a judge. Mr. Speaker, I call your attention to the fact that other judges have been appointed by preceding governments to investigate. In this instance the Reform party did not inquire whether Judge Cassels had been during his past political career a friend of the government or a Conservative. We all know that Judge Cassels had been an independent Conservative during the time he was practising law in the city of Toronto. He was therefore appointed to investigate the very vague and general charges which had been made by the three commissioners without naming any one. Judge Cassels accepted the task and investigated. Lawyers were retained by the government, we secured the best legal talent in the country to assist Judge Cassels. Sir, I will not repeat what has been said on both sides of this House ; I will not read the conclusions of Judge Cassels' report. He reported that serious irregularities had been committed in the Department of Marine and Fisheries. Sir, let me point out a fact which our hon. friends on the other side should not lose sight of, and which the country in the last general election did not lose sight of, namely, that the officials whose names were branded before public opinion as having been guilty of very serious offences, had nearly all been appointed by the Conservative government thirty or forty years ago. I do not say that officials appointed by the Liberal party cannot be derelict in their duties. But, Sir, the public knew that in Mr. LEMIEUX.

the present instance, the officials who were the cause of all the troubles in the Department of Marine and Fisheries were old-time nominees of the Conservative party. Sir, the report of Mr. Justice Cassels has been published. Has the Minister of Marine and Fisheries been found wanting in taking action upon that report ? Here is the chain of facts; accusations made by the three commissioners ; the investigation immediately ordered by this government, in order to find out who were the guilty officials; names of the guilty officials published in the report of Judge Cassels. Has the minister not done his duty like a man under very difficult circumstances, because, as you very well know, Sir, it is always a hardship for any employer, more particularly a minister of the Crown, to dismiss any of his officials. My hon. colleague has dismissed the guilty ones, and therefore has wiped out the evil complained of in the Teport of the Civil Service Commission and-of Mr. Justice Cassels.

Insinuations may be made, but there has been nothing charged against any minister rf the Crown. I appeal to the sound judicial sense of my hon. friend from St. Anne (Mr. Doherty) who asks this parliament to appoint a commission-to investigate what? Charges made? He knows full well that in no British parliament, unless a member puts his seat in jeopardy by making a direct charge, will the government grant a commission of inquiry. The government can afford to disregard mere insinuations. Can we be reasonably asked to investigate general insinuations? We have had no charges made against any minister of the Crown. We had charges made against officials, we have had an independent investigation into these charges, and the officials have been dismissed. Sir, charges were made against the officials and also against the patronage system which has prevailed since confederation. What has happened? Let me refer my hon. friends to that portion of the report of Mr. Justice Cassels in which he states that unfortunately many of the minor officials sometimes fell into temptation because their salaries were too low, and where he points out that perhaps those who offered the bribes may have been more guilty than those who had accepted them. For the removal of the patronage list, all credit is due to my hon. colleague the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. It was he v'ho took the bull by the horns and did away with that list The patronage system has been abolished by the Liberal party. Then take the second evil complained of and that is the underpaying oi the officials. This government has gone to the very root of that evil. Last year, under the inspiration of my hon. friend who administers the Department of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) a Bill was introduced to reform the Civil Service. In future our civil servants will not be ap-

pointed on the mere caprice of any party, but will be selected by an independent commission. We have now an independent commission which will select our officials, regardless of politics, and solely on their merits, and this parliament only a few. weeks ago has passed legislation in order to raise the salaries of our under-paid civil servants. This is a great reform due to the Liberal party. I claim that we have eradicated the evil. Now we are asked to appoint another commission to investigate the other departments. What departments? Has my hon. friend named any one minister whose department requires investigation or scrutinizing ? He has not. I appeal again to his judicial sense and his knowledge of parliamentary government. Is it not a fact that the regular process in such matters is to first, when there is anything wrong in connection with the administration of public affairs, to make a charge before the high court of parliament and await its decision This House is elected by the people, and amongst the represen-tives of the people is chosen a cabinet. The cabinet is after all only a committee of the House of Commons. If there are charges made affecting the government, they must be brought before parliament, and if the majority of this House find that these charges are unfounded, these charges fall through. But the members of this House are responsible to the people who elect them and who will in last resort, pass judgment on their conduct. Such is the doctrine of British parliamentary government. It is a sound doctrine to which, for my part, I shall give my adhesion. I therefore decline to accept the amendment of my hon. friend from St. Anne.

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CON

James Davis Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. TAYLOR.

The closing arguments of the Postmaster General and his quotations from the scriptures remind me of the several illustrations we have had this evening of Satan quoting scripture for his justification. Immediately after the general elections on the 26th of October last, a number of newspapers engaged in a contest to find out the reason or the meaning of what had occurred; and one paper, not unfavourable to hon. gentlemen opposite, suggested that the meaning of the results of the elections of the 26th of October was that the people had decided that 'He that is unjust let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy let him be filthy still.' I would ask whether the argument put before the House does not bear out the answer given by this newspaper? We are asked to vote down this resolution, demanding impartial inquiry into the conduct of important departments, on the ground that while the scandals complained of were fresh before the public we had a general election and that the government was sustained in that election by the majority which supports it in this House.

I do not intend at this hour to dwell upon that, further than to say that the majority by which this government has been sustained is not larger than the number of persons upon the pay-roll in the several constituencies. In fact, I would venture to say that, if we took the total number of people on the pay-roll in the constituencies, especially on election day, the total majority by which this government has been sustained will be found far less than the number of persons in their direct employ. The reason why I have arisen at this hour to take part in this debate is that I think the record would not be complete without the addition of a chapter contrasting the attitude of the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) now with the attitude taken by him on a very important occasion when the report on an investigation of one of the departments was before parliament for adoption or rejection. At that time he did not lead the government, but occupied the seat of leader of the opposition and the post of chief inquisitor for the opposition of that day. We had an investigation into the Department of Public Works in consequence of grave charges which has been canvassed for a time before parliament and in the press, and which were at last put into such shape that they were referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elections for thorough inquiry. In that investigation we did not find the spectacle presented now by hon. gentlemen opposite opposing at every step the work of a commission with authority to investigate only into the minoT officials employed by the department; we did not have a commission restricted so that the moment a point of danger was arrived at, the moment, for instance, when a witness said-as I have seen reported in the press one witness did say in the present investigation-that one reason why he charged excessive prices to the department was that he was expected to contribute to the party campaign funds, the inquiry was checked. On the contrary, whenever in that investigation such a suggestion was made the inquiry got hotter than ever, the activity of every person was aroused, and summonses weTe issued for all those concerned in the allegation made, and they were brought before the committee to be questioned as to even the smallest detail. When they got the case of a minister under suspicion of having received from the government-or having stood in with the contractor who received from the government-sums to which he was not entitled, what did they do? Did they take his word for it that he was innocent?-word which he gave on his responsibility as a member of this House that, so far as he was concerned, there was nothing in the accusation. No; they

brought that minister with his little bank pass-book, and the accountants from the bank came with their ledgers, showing his account from the first day of the acceptance of office by the minister until the day the investigation was carried on, and an inquisition was held into every item of that account. After such an investigation, the committee came before the House with certain findings. And, when it was moved in this House that the report should be accepted-and it took four months to carry out the investigation, which was as complete as an investigation could be, for the government appointed leading counsel to conduct the inquiry, including counsel from the other side of politics, so that there could be no suspicion of bias-we found, according to the report in ' Hansard ' of September 24, 1891, that Mr. Laurier made these observations:

Sir, this is not a question of individual offences. Individual offences may always take place; frauds may be perpetrated in the most honest communities, but in this case, we have to grapple with a system which permeates the whole public service from the top to the bottom. We have often boasted of our political morality in this country, especially in contrast with that of our neighbours to the south. But the American people have given us an example which should help us on this occasion. Twenty years ago, comparing ourselves with our neighbours with our eyes turned up to Heaven, we thanked the Lord that we were not like other nations. I admit that our neighbours had much to be ashamed of in those days.

Omitting a passage which is not relevant to the present discussion, we find that the hon. gentleman proceeded:

But I almost despair of my country when I see the government willing to punish the minor offenders, ibut receding before the mighty-when I see them willing enough to punish clerks in offices, but refusing to censure the men who are the most blameable of all. How can this nation expect to live if such offences are condoned? No nation can live in which public moneys are not applied exclusively to public purposes. In discussing this case the other day, the hon. member for Jacques Cartier was only too happy to have a fling at the Liberal party, and to point out that there are accusations pending against ft in the province of Quebec. Sir, I will not prejudge the case; I have only this to say, that that measure of justice which we call for in this parliament we want applied also in the province of Quebec. Wherever, after investigation, blame and censure are found to be deserved, blame and censure should be pronounced. Upon this occasion, I appeal especially to my fellow countrymen of French origin, to stand up to the duty of the hour-

The ' duty of the hour ' seems to have been a spectre in those davs as it was in 1908.

painful as that duty is. I do not appeal

to them in any words of my own; but I ap-Mr. J. B. TAYLOR

peal to them from the teaching of their history. The old city of Quebec has been the victim on this occasion of most of the malversations which have been unearthed. Let them remember -that -this is not the first time in her history that she has thus suffered, and let them remember at what cost to the country.

So you will see in a great many phases of these two investigations the situation in 1891 was similar to that before this parliament to-day. The hon. gentleman continues :

Sir, the system which has been revealed in this investigation was not invented by the Department of Public Works. This system of manipulating contracts for the profit of the contractor, this system of substituting private for public interest, this system of plundering the treasury to enrich individuals, was not invented by the -Eepar-tment of Public Works, but was practised in those days by the administration, by Bigot the Intends n-t, and his creatures Pean, Vergor and others. In the month of August, 1757, M. de Doreil, one of -the commissioners of the army, thus wrote to the Minister of War, concerning Pean, one of Bigot's creatures: 'Pean has made so rapid a fortune in eight years that he is now supposed to be worth two millions.'

Mr. Speaker, I -am not authorized to make any application of that, but I would ask those familiar with the records of this country, and of the popular report voiced by the members of this House if there have been any fortunes similar to this made under the aegis of the Liberal party now in power in Canada? This very eloquent passage concludes:

Canada was the prey of official jackals-true lion providers, since they helped to prepare a way for the imperial beast, who, roused at last from his lethargy, was gathering his strength to seize her for his own.

That is a quotation from Parkman. Then Mr. Laurier proceeds:

How humiliating the language, but how true-how painfully true! The resources of the colony were exhausted in shameful peculations, the way was prepared for the invader, and after her first defeat Canada had not the strength -to retrieve the loss. Sir, 130 years have rolled over since those unfortunate days, and time and freedom have obliterated the grief, but the shame is always there, and there is not to-day a cottage in Lower Canada where the names of Bigot and Pean and the other official jackals who suoked the life blood of their country in the hour of danger, are not remembered with abhorrence. Sir, Canada is to-day again the prey of official jackals-the jackals of this government. Again there is robbery everywhere; if again cupidity has taken hold of clerks and storekeepers and officers, again everywhere false certificates are admitted. Montcalm is not here, but if he were, and if he were a menber of this parliament, with the right to speak and vote, is there any one who doubts -that he would denounce the conduct and the infamy

of the Bigots and the Peans of to-day, as vigorously as he denounced Bigot, Pean and Vergor in his own day. But if Montcalm is not here, we have his example; and if his stern patriotism still lives in the hearts of his countrymen, to them I appeal, and as lie would now do, so now let us do.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not know why I should not appeal to my fellow countrymen of the province of Quebec, which I am proud to claim as the province of my nativity, as the right hon. gentleman appealed to his fellow countrymen on that occasion -I do not know why I should not appeal to them to follow the noble example of Montcalm. The government of Canada has now been entrusted to men of their race, to men of their province whom they had delighted to honour, and who have so deservedly occupied positions of leaders in the political and social life of that province, and now when these hon. gentlemen have the government in their possession, I do not know why I should not appeal to them to preserve the record unsullied, and not to add their names to those of Bigot, Pean and Vergor on the roll of dishonour referred to in this narrative.

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LIB

Joseph Ernest Oscar Gladu

Liberal

Mr. J. E. O. GLADU (Yamaska).

(Translation.) Before speaking to the motion which is just now occupying the attention of the House, I wish to say a few words in answer to the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor). He recalled a moment ago an incident of his youth. His appearance shows that he is no longer a child, but his speech leads one to believe he is in his dotage. That hon. member stated with a groan that the country's debt has to-dav reached $309,000,000. If that is not mere childishness on his part, I am at a loss to know what name to give to such a statement on the part of the hon. member. He knows very well that the financial situation of a country cannot be gauged merely by the amount of its public debt; its assets should also be taken into account, that is to say the financial status should be considered in all its aspects.

The hon. member finds fault with us for having considerably increased the expenditure. But when these hon. gentlemen were in power in 1896, the country's trade barely reached $200,000,000, so that the revenue at the time was very far from reaching the figures reached nowadays, when the trade aggregates $600,000,000.

To return to the motion submitted for our consideration, I intend to deal briefly with it, on account of the lateness of the hour and seeing that there is very little left that has not been said. However, there is one point which, if I am not mistaken, has not been dwelt upon in the course of this debate, and to which I shall refer. We are being called to task on account of wrongdoing and deeds of extortion committed in

the Department of Marine. No doubt, you have not forgotten, Mr. Speaker, that in 1896 and 1897, when the government resolved to make some changes in the staff of the various departments, in pursuance, as it were, of the verdict of the people who had decided on a change of government, you have not forgotten, I say, how these gentlemen on the other side waxed indignant and branded us as persecutors. You have not forgotten with what energy they protested against the ways of the government whom they ^ called persecutors because they were dismissing, they claimed, public servants of many years standing in the service.

Well, what does the Cassels inquiry now bring to light? That all those who have been guilty of extortion, who have committed the greatest frauds in the management of that department are those very men of the old regime whom we were prevented from expelling, under the threat of being branded as persecutors.

Of course, I do not contend that the present staff is unimpeachable. It is a human institution and therefore may have its imperfections. But we are free from all stain, and if to-morrow the people thought fit to change the government-I say"so with a feeling of pride for the party to which I belong-if to-morrow the country though fit to send us back to the cold shades of opposition, our last moan, when descending into our political grave, would be the faithful echo of the first wail heard in our cradle when we came to power; there would be just as much honesty in one case as in the other.

I stated that, while not contending that our management of affairs was free from imperfections, it was at any rate free from all stain. I congratulate the hon. Postmaster General on his eulogy of the late hon. Raymond Prefontaine ; i congratulate him on the lesson he has taught a moment ago to those occupying seats on the other side and who still go through the country casting aspersions on the memory of the late Mr. Prefontaine. I trust they will not fc-rget that lesson, and it is this ; in the grave there is room only for the corpse ; there is room for nothing else, not even the poisonous breath of the serpent.

It seems strange to me that the hon. member for North Toronto should have grown so indignant and shown himself so touchy in connection with some remarks made by the right hon. Prime Minister. If those remarks had been uttered by a private member, it is just possible they would not have been taken back as they were by the Prime Minister, on account of the high position he occupies in the House.

If those remarks grate on the nerves of the hon. member for North Toronto, one thing only remains for him to do, and that is to read over once more the fearful arraignment of himself by the Minister of

Justice a year ago, when direct and formal charges of which he has never cleared himself, were made against him. As a matter of fact, he has never got rid of the blemishes which for the last twelve years have made him as well as his party, an object of scorn in the eyes of the public, not- only in this House, but in the country at large ; nor did the abuse with which ha and his friends have loaded the hon. Minister of Marine, tarnish the high reputation of the hon. minister as an honourable and respectable man.

I do not intend, Mr. Speaker, to speak much longer, it being so late. In the meantime I was anxious to make known my views on the question, and to state in all sincerity my admiration for the Minister of Marine personally, and for the able way in which he has administered his department in the interest of the country at large, of the government of which he is a member and of the whole Dominion.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE MARINE AND FISHERIES DEPARTMENT.
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April 2, 1909