April 2, 1909

CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. W. EDWARDS (Frontenac).

Mr. Speaker, I had no intention, until, a short time ago, of taking any part in this discussion this evening, or, I might say more properly, this morning, if it had not been for certain statements made by the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Pugsley) in the course of his remarks. I have listened to many of the speeches which have been made here during this debate with a great deal of interest and pleasure. I have listened with some surprise to some of the remarks which have been made. I have listened to speeches made by some hon. gentlemen opposite with a great deal of surprise because of the lack of argument which they contained relevant to this resolution. The hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) furnished two very strong arguments, for further investigation, or rather he furnished one direct to the members on the government side of the House and when he was furnishing that argument they furnished this House with another argument. My hon. friend from Leeds made some very serious charges as regards the expenditure and as regards the prices paid for articles in different departments of this government. Those statements, which must be taken seriously, have furnished this House with something that we should think of very seriously and they have furnished us with an argument that this investigation should be carried on farther. The mirthfulness with which they were received by hon. gentlemen opposite is a still further argument why this investigation should go further. It is a serious matter indeed that statements such as those which were made by my hon. friend from Leeds should only elicit from members of the government and their supporters laughter and jeers. By that very Mr. GLADtf.

act of laughing and jeering at statements so serious as those, the government have inadvertently furnished this House with an argument why this investigation should go further because as evidently the Cabinet Ministers are disposed to look on matters such as that in a light manner we naturally think that there is ample reason for further investigating the affairs of the different departments of the government. Before referring to the remarks of the hon. Minister of Public Works I want to call attention to some statements made by the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Lemieux). The Postmaster General said that the Conservative party went into the last election with the cry of graft and corruption. I would like to ask the hon. gentleman and the members of this House who forced the Conservative party to refer to graft and grafters: Was there not evidence enough

to attract the attention of the Conservative party to graft and grafting? What about the case that was referred to by one of the speakers this afternoon of Philip Wagner, the man who was taken out of prison and appointed to a responsible position at an increased salary? Was that not sufficient to call the attention of the Conservative party and of the people of the country to graft and grafters? What about the importation of ballot boxes into the ridings of Frontenac and Hastings by men connected with the party across the way? Is not that sufficient to attract the attention of the country and would not the Conservative party be open to censure if they passed matters of that kind without comment? The Liberal party, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, has furnished the Conservative party with lots of reasons for speaking of graft and grafting. I regret that the Liberals have done so. Another reference made by the Postmaster General was to the effect that the officials who had been dismissed after the Cassels inquiry were officials who had been appointed by the Conservative party. Very well; it does not matter ,as far as I can see, whether they were officials who had been appointed by the Conservative party or whether they were Conservatives or Liberals. I think he makes a case out against himself and the government in making that reference because the fact shows that if these men were appointed by the Conservative party the Conservative party were successful not only in keeping them but other officials in their places while the Liberals were not capable of keeping them in their places when they came into power.

Now, I want to call your attention to one or two remarks made by the hon. Minister of Public Works. He said that he rose for the purpose of defending a gentleman by the name of Mr. Harding, but it struck me that he was more concerned about doing

justice to or putting up a defence on behalf of one of his party friends than he was in discussing the resolution of my hon. friend from St. Anne (Mr. Doherty). The Minister of Public Works criticised my hon. friend from Montreal, St. Anne, on the ground that he had made inaccurate statements. He said that he should be sure his statements were accurate before he made them. I could not help but take particular notice of a statement like that from the Minister of Public Works and I repeat that it was the statements made by the hon. gentleman which led me to speak at all upon the matter under discussion. I had before my mind, when he made that statement, certain statements which had been made by the Minister of Public Works in reference to expenditures in the neighbourhood of the city of Kingston. Let me refer to one or two statements made by that hon. gentleman. The Minister of Public Works has been more than inaccurate. He appealed to this Plouse for $15,000 to build a veterinary hospital. When that expenditure was criticised he defended it. What did we find later on? We have the hon. gentleman, after obtaining that appropriation, coming forward and admitting that the year previously he had talked the matter over with the Minister of Militia and Defence, and had made up his mind not to indulge in the expenditure, stating that it was a printer's error and that he would, with the concurrence of the House, cut it out of the estimates. Yet, the hon. gentleman comes here and criticises the mover of the resolution as to the accuracy of his statements. Do you want another instance of the inaccuracy of the Minister of Public Works? A certain contract was let in the city of Kingston for some sixteen cottages, now famous, and the contract called for $77,000 of expenditure. Some $55,000 was voted last year. The hon. gentleman asked for $57,000 additional this year. Gentlemen on this side of the House criticised that, and said that the expenditure was ridiculously high and absolutely indefensible. The Minister of Public Works put up a defence for that. He argued that the amount was not too much and went into details about rock excavation and so on. After defending this expenditure of $112,000 and the additional expenditure of $57,000 the minister announced that it was a mistake, that a five had been put down instead of a three, and he reduced the item by $20,000. Then he presumes to criticise the mover of this resolution on the ground of inaccuracy. The very manner in which money was expended in the Public Works Department as we have seen this session calls for further investigation, and shows the need for further investigation. I was surprised to hear the hon. gentleman

state that works in his department were carried on by tender and the patronage list was abolished. This statement was repeated by the Postmaster General in reference to all the departments. In Kingston alone we have had the Royal Military College stables for which the contract price was $6,960. They were built several years ago at a total cost of $8,573. An extra of over $1,500 was given without tender to the man who had the original contract. As these stables were built four or five years ago and have never been used, surely there should be an investigation of that expenditure. Do the ministers think that the people of Kingston are not asking for it? I can assure them they are, and that there is room for investigation. For the barrack accommodation in connection with the stables the contract price was $9,490, and the work has cost $15,000. $5,000 or $6,000 going to the fortunate contractor. The Royal Military College cottages were to be erected for $77,739. The minister says he has abolished the patronage system, yet he gave to Michael Sullivan without tender extras in connection with these buildings amounting to $6,237, and other works to the amount of $3,034, a total of $9,361. The only amount above the original contract let by contract was $3,695 for lighting to the Halliday Company. The Royal Military College gymnasium cost $40,000 without being equipped, and it is common street rumour in Kingston that the specifications required that that building should be lined with pressed brick, but that ordinary brick was substituted and painted red. Do the members of this House not think that the people in Kingston, knowing these things, are asking for an investigation into all these departments? That is the opinion of the people down there. They believe there is need of investigation in the different departments as called for in this resolution. The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Pugs-ley) admits that the investigation of Mr. Justice Cassels was not thorough and did not cover the whole ground. He said it would cost $1,000,000 to make a thorough investigation. Would it not be more sensible and more in the interests of the country to spend even $1,000,000 on that work than to throw it away in the Newmarket ditch or in such useless expenditures as the building of those cottages in Kingston at that price?

I believe there is a general feeling throughout the country that these matters should be further investigated. Prior to the last election if these questions were raised in the country the Liberal party would appeal to the people, it was one of their election cries that because the Civil Service Commission reported certain irregularities Sir Wilfrid Laurier would investi-

gate further, he would probe to the bottom and had appointed Mr. Justice Cassels for that purpose. They appealed for support for Sir Wilfrid Laurier on that ground and in that way many votes were cast in his favour. When we referred to the. irregularities, we were met with the argument that Sir Wilfrid Laurier was disposed to be fair and to go to the bottom of these things, that he had shown that by appointing Judge Cassels. In that way they appealed to the people to give the Prime Minister an opportunity to finish his work. To-day not a man has attempted to prove that the investigation has been anything but a partial investigation. The amendment which has been moved by the hon. member for St. Anne is one which should appeal to all members of this House, but more strongly to members on the other side than to those on this side. The public honour is in the keeping of the Prime Minister and his cabinet and it is up to them and not to this side to keep that honour unsmirched and to probe this matter to the bottom. I repeat they are not dcing their duty by the country in voting down that resolution.

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LIB

Paul-Arthur Séguin

Liberal

Mr. P. A. SEGUIN (L'Assomption).

(Translation.) I do not intend giving a silent vote on the amendment which is now before the House; but I shall be short. I wonder why the hon. member for St. Anne's has introduced a motion on those lines. He proposes that an inquiry be carried on concerning all the departments, because the inquiry relating to the Marine Department has brought to light certain frauds, certain extortions already condemned by the Liberal party.

I do not wish to fritter away the time of the House; however, as a young member, I must say that I was really surprised to hear old members, who have occupied seats in this House for several years, or even members who have been entrusted in years past with the administration of justice, suggest into the various departments, inquiries entailing heavy expenditures, without having any idea of the outcome of such inquiries.

I am perfectly satisfied that the policy adopted by the Minister of Marine is absolutely correct. He has thought fit as a result of the Cassels inquiry to dismiss some of the men and to superannuate others. I must say that some of his followers have possibly disapproved that jxdicy to a certain extent. We were of opinion, especially if yielding to the impulse of youth, that some of the officers who have been superannuated, might have been dismissed purely and simply. We considered that some of the worse cases of extortion were attributable to officers who have been kept on through condescension, through the good-heartedness of the Liberal ministers, and among others the Minister of Marine and Fisheries who Mr. EDWARDS.

wished in that way to give fair play to the appointees of the old regime.

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to detain the House very long. I am bound to say that the Minister of Marine has acted with all the earnestness that might_ have been expected in starting this inquiry, that he has followed it up with unrelenting zeal, and has meted out punishment to the guilty men. I shall vote against the motion of the hon. member for St. Anne's, because it strikes me rather as a pretext for empty talk, as a means of making political capital, as an attempt at slandering our government. We are interested in maintaining in power the honest government which we have since 1896. I shall not detain the House any longer at this late hour of the night. However, I must add that the carrying on of an inquiry into any of the departments would not satisfy the opposition, and particularly those who, while holding here a mandate as members of the House of Commons, are at the same time pensioners of the state.

We have a duty to fulfil here, it is to administer the public funds in such a way that every dollar expended may accrue to the benefit of the state. Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied that if further inquiries were granted, the net result would be the condemnation of friends of hon. gentlemen on the other side, who were appointed while these gentlemen were in power. Those who are in favour of a general inquiry have not shown that we would be justifiable in spending such a large sum of money as an inquiry of the kind would entail. _

I know moreover that the inquiry which has been carried through will cause the ministers to keep their eyes open, and that some day or other we shall witness the disappearance from the service of those people who are there only for the purpose of intriguing in the interest of persons oc-cuping seats on the opposition side.

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LIB

Joseph Pierre Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. J. P. TURCOTTE (Quebec County).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I request a moment's hearing. I have made up my mind to vote independently of all party prejudice; and I am even willing to close my ears to anything that has been said by members on this side of the House and to rely solely on the remarks made by hon. members on the opposition side. But there is one circumstance that is somewhat annoying to me. I would like to know from the leader of the opposition whether he intends starting a new inquiry into the Marine Department in case the amendment carried. I am waiting for an answer.

I want to know from the leader of the opposition if, in case the amendment is adopted he will be ready to begin over again the investigation in the Department of Marine and Fisheries?

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. B. L. BOEDEN.

(Translation.) I would be entirely disposed to do so. There are some matters in that department which have not been fully investigated. The Commission which began its work in 1907 only partially completed it, and the investigation made by Mr. Justice Cassels was confined to a single paragraph of that Commission's report.

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LIB

Gustave Adolphe Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. TUECOTTE.

(Translation.) Then, if I understand correctly, we have this extraordinary statement: An inquiry has

been ordered for the purpose of discovering all that has taken place in one particular department, that of Marine. That inquiry was open to the public; the opposition was entitled to have a representative present.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. BOEDEN.

(Translation.) That enquiry was only partial.

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LIB

Gustave Adolphe Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. TUECOTTE.

(Translation.) I cannot see how it can be called partial. It bore on all questions relating to the Department of Marine and it was open to the public at large. The hon. leader of the opposition was at liberty to take a hand in it. He is a distinguished lawyer and might have summoned witnesses, questioned or cross-questioned those that were called upon to testify, so as to bring out the whole truth.

Should it be understood that the leader of the opposition has failed to do his duty? Where was he, what was he about when the commission was travelling from town to town? How is it that we have to-day, from the mouth of the leader of the opposition, the admission that he is not satisfied with the inquiry.

Well, if so, he can only lay the blame on his own gross negligence. He gets a salary because he is expected to look after public business the whole year round; why did he not- think proper to appear before the commission and do the work the country pays him for ? Thus, on that occasion the hon. leader of the opposition was obviously neglecting his duty.

Then, if such an investigation costing

355,000 do not answer his expectations, will he be any more satisfied with a general investigation ? Or perhaps he thinks that we are going to order as many inquiries as there are departments.

There is a touch of irregularity irj the resolution of the hon. member from St. Anne's. The hon. gentleman acknowledges that the Minister of Marine is not guilty, that he is honest. On the other hand, we heard the hon. member for North Toronto making insinuations and taking to task not only the Minister of Marine, but the whole cabinet, and even the Prime Minister himself.

Another surprise was sprung upon us

when the hon. member from West Quebec (Mr. Prince) came here and stated that as for him not only is the Minister of Marine honest, but even those who have been found guilty by Mr. Justice Cassels, and dismissed, did not deserve it.

Finally, the hon. member from Leeds (Mr. Tavlor) stated this evening that for his part he thought the whole system was faulty and needed a thorough cleaning

Thus we have four different views. I rely on the evidence of our oponents themselves. I can see them altogether surrounded by a mist or by that cloud which is mentioned in the amendment. This is not only a suspicion, it is naked truth. Evidently, those gentlemen did not put their heads together beforehand, for one says white and the other says black, and they pull different ways. Therefore, how eculd I conscientionsly pass sentence without knowing anything positively, how could I blame the government and ask that they be put on trial when there is no cause for it.

The hon, leader of the opposition is an eminent lawyer, and let him say what scandal he is after. Why not be courageous enough to make a change and we shall answer you. There are eighty members on the other side of the House, but not one of them is able to proffer a formal charge against a single^ member of the government.

The Cassels inquiry was regularly held in _ such a manner as to enlighten public opinion. For that reason, I shall vote against the amendment.

House divided Doherty. on amendment of Mr. YEAS:

Messieurs

Ames, Lennox,

Barker, Lortie.

Barnard, McCall,

Barr. Magrath,

Blondin, Marshall,

Borden (Halifax), Meighen,

Boyce, Middlebro,

Bradbury, Nantel,

Burrell, Northrup,

Chisholm (Huron) Owen,

Crothers, Paquet,

Currie (Simcoe), Perley,

Daniel, Price,

Doherty, Roche,

Donnelly, Schafiner,

Edwards, Sexsmith,

Elson, Smyth,

F oster, Sproule,

Fraser, Stanfield,

Goodeve, Stewart,

Haggart (Lanark), Taylor (Leeds),

Henderson, Taylor (New West-

Herron, Hughes, minster),

Thornton,

Jameson, W allace,

Lake, Wilson (Lennox and

Lalor, Addington),

Lancaster, . Wright.-54.

NATS:

Messieurs

Beauparlant,

Belaud,

Black,

Borden (Sir Fred'k.), Boyer,

Brodeur,

Calvert,

Carrier,

Cash,

Champagne,

Chew,

Chisholm (Antigonisli), Chisholm (Inverness), Clark (Red Deer), Congdon,

Conmee,

Currie (Prince Edw.), Delisle,

Demers,

Devlin.

Dubeau,

Dugas,

Eorement,

Emmerson,

Ethier,

Fielding,

Fisher,

Fortier,

Fowke,

Gauvrcau,

Gervais,

Girard,

Gladu,

Graham,

Harty,

Hodgins,

Hunt,

Kyte,

Lanctot (Laprairie-Nanierville),

Lanctot (Richelieu), Lapointe,

Laurier (Sir Wilfrid), Laver gne,

Law,

LeBlanc,

Lemieux,

Loggie,

Maclean (Lunenburg),

McAlister,

MoCraney,

Molntyre (Perth), McKenzie,

McLean (Huron), McLean (Sunbury), MoMillan,

Major,

Maroile (Bagot), Martin (Montreal, St. Mary's),

Martin (Regina), Martin (Wellington), Michaud,

Miller,

Molloy,

Murphy,

Nesbitt,

Neely,

Papineau,

Pardee,

Parent,

Paterson,

Pickup,

Proulx,

Pugsley,

Rankin,

Reid (Restigouohe), Richards,

Rivet,

Robb,

Ross,

Roy (Dorchester),

Roy (Montmagny), Rutan,

Sealey,

Seguin,

Sifton,

Smith (Middlesex). Smith (Nanaimo), Templeman,

Tolmie,

Turcotte (Nicolet), Turcotte (Quebeo County),

Turgeon,

Verville,

Wilson (Laval)-94.

PAIRS:

Harris,

Aylesworth,

Oliver,

Allen,

Knowles,

Sutherland,

Guthrie,

TurriS,

Schell,

German,

Clarke (Essex), MaoNutt, Sinolair, Carvell.

Beattie,

Maclean (York, S.), Haggart (Winnipeg), Thoburn,

Arthurs,

Cowan,

Macdonefl,

Osier,

MoCarthy,

Crocket,

Bristol,

Forget,

Lewis,

Sharpe (Lisgar).

Amendment negatived, motion agreed to, and House went into Committee of Supply.

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SUPPLY.

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I desire to make a general motion. The committee has passed a large number of items, but I desire to move that one-fourth of each remaining item be voted by the committee. The clerk can work out the details, so that we need not go over the items.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

There is no objection to that, subject to the usual reservation always made in such cases as to our right of discussion on the balance.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I could not deny that right if I wished.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

A reservation of that kind is usually made.

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Motion agreed to, and committee rose and reported accordingly. On motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, House adjourned at 3.12 a.m. Saturday.



Monday, April 5, 1909.


April 2, 1909