May 5, 1909

BARRIEFIELD CAMP-QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE.

CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. W. EDWARDS (Frontenac).

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege.

I wish to call attention to an article in the last issue of the 'Military Gazette' which charges me with having made statements involving the good name of a Kingstonian, and with bringing discredit and dishonour on the Department of Militia and Defence. These statements have reference to my criticism of the expenditure on the servants cottages at the Royal Military College, Kingston. The justification for that criticism of mine is found in the fact that the Minister of Public Works himself, after giving consideration to the matter, reduced the item that I criticised, by $20,000. This article in the ' Military Gazette also charges me with reflecting on the Commandant and the entire staff,_ as well as on every officer, non-commissioned officer and soldier that attended the Barriefield camp last year. That allegation on the part of the writer has reference to a statement as to the drunkenness and brawling which I witnessed at Barriefield camp one Sunday, last year. I wish simply to say, Sir, that my remarks with regard to the camp_ were preceded by some remarks of the Liberal member for Huntingdon (Mr. Robb), which remarks were concurred in, almost to their entire extent, by the Minister of Militia himself. By reference to the statement of the Minister of Militia, it will be found that the personnel of the militia was not what it should be, and that the canteen was a nuisance which the department was endeavouring to regulate. I believe that the Minister of Militia would receive the en-dorsation of the people of this country, if he made an effort to control the sale of liquor at military camps. Now, Sir, I did not say that the men at the Barriefield camp were vicious and drunken; I did say that those in charge of the canteen were charged with selling liquor, and I repeat that statement now. One of the men charged was tried and convicted and fined for selling liquor; and, as regards the other men charged, the charge was amended by consent to having liquor in their possession, instead of selling it. All of these people pleaded guilty, and all of them were fined. In fact, the only regimental corps that was not fined was the 47th Battalion, which did not have any canteen. I repeat that I did not state in this House, as the article says, that the men at the Barriefield camp were vicious and drunken. I could

not have made that statement in truth, because I am very well acquainted with many of the men who attend that camp, and I know that some of them come from the most respected families in and around that district, and are orderly and respectable themselves. I repeat that there was drunkenness and brawling at the Barrie-field camp on Sunday afternoon. I have made careful inquiry into the matter, and it is only fair for me to state that in my belief most of that drunkenness and brawling was on the part of civilians, and not on the part of the soldiers themselves. In fact, I was more careful to investigate, on account of this matter being called to my attention by some of the officers from my locality, and, although drinking no doubt did exist in the camp there, as probably it will exist in any camp, yet I think it is quite possible that had it not been for the civilians who visited that camp, the drinking of the soldiers themselves would not have been noticed. I wish, further, to say, that in no way did I in my remarks on that occasion attribute any wrong to the Commandant, Colonel Gordon, or to the officers^ under him. I believe, Sir, that the fault, if fault there is, lies at the head of the Militia Department. From all I have been able to learn, and I desire to say it here now, I believe that the District Officer Comamnding at Kingston is an officer who well deserves the high reputation he enjoys in the vicinity in which he is best known.

I believe he is a gentleman who will carry out any instructions that are given him, and if the Minister of Militia should issue an order abolishing the canteen, I am firmly convinced that, so far as the camp at Bar-riefield is concerned, and so long as Colonel Gordon is in command, the instructions of the Minister of Militia will be carried out to the letter.

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FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 171) respecting the Quebec and New Brunswick Railway Company.-Mr. Michaud: Bill (No. 168) respecting the Mexican Transportation Company, Limited, and to change its name to Mexican Northwestern Railway Company.-Mr. Turriff. Bill (No. 170) respecting the Brockville, Westport and North Western Railway Company.-Mr. Marshall. Bill (No. 167) to incorporate the Board of Elders of the Canadian District of the Moravian Church in America-Mr. W. McIntyre. Bill (No. 166) respecting the Central Rail way of Canada.-Mr. Ethier. Bill (No. 169) respecting the patents of Washington R. McCloy.-Mr. Rivet.


CON

REPORT OF THE CENTRAL RAILWAY COMMISSION.

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Yesterday, I moved for leave to introduce, by unanimous consent, a motion, but the assent was not given and I let it lie as a notice that I would move it. I beg therefore to move:

That there be laid on the table of the House a copy of the order in council of the government of New Brunswick, dated June 5, 1908, of the statutes of the said province under which said order in council was passed and of the findings of the commission appointed under the said statute and order in council.

The reason why I am moving this is to place upon the table, for the information and inspection of all the members of the House, these documents so that there can be no question as to their genuineness in connection with a motion which will form the foundation of observations to be made hereafter by hon. gentlemen in pursuance of the busineses of the House.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

It will be sufficient to call attention to the fact that this motion is absolutely out of order for several reasons. At this moment I think it will be sufficient to mention one only, and that is that there has not been sufficient notice according to the rules of the House. There are several reasons which I might urge against the motion of my hon. friend, but this, I think, is sufficient.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) is evidently very much afraid of these documents. That is apparent at once. He seeks to take refuge behind some supposed rule of order. Inasmuch as the report of this commission contains matters gravely affecting a member of his own government,

I thought he would have been the first to rise in the House and move, as a matter of privilege, without any notice, that authentic copies of these documents should be laid on the table of the House. But the right hon. gentleman does not seem disposed to take that course. He is strong on rules of order in this connection. I think it would be a pity to set up the precedent in the public life in Canada that the report of a commission which, as every hon. member knows, gravely touches the public conduct of a member of the administration, should not be laid on the table of the House as soon as it has been presented.

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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I think the hon. member (Mr. R. L. Borden) can only discuss the point of order at this stage.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Very good.

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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

This is not the motion I of which notice was given yesterday.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I am discussing the point of order. I am saying that inasmuch as this motion touches the public conduct of a member of the government, my right hon. friend the member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) should be entitled to move it as a matter of privilege and without any notice whatever. On that ground I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that the motion should be adopted this morning as a matter of privilege.

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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I would like to have any misunderstanding cleared up. This is not the motion of which notice was given yesterday.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I will explain that. I gave notice to the House yesterday in a general way of the subject matter which my motion would include. Afterwards, I wrote out, in obedience to a request of the clerk, a form of motion, A sufficient time, as I understand, has not passed to enable that motion to come regularly before the House. I gave notice of the substance of the motion, and this morning I moved a motion embodying the substance of the notice which I gave. It may not be in the same words and it is open to the House to accept or reject it. I move it for the convenience of the House in connection with subjects which are before the House, or which are imminent, and it is for the House to say whether or not, by consent, or as a matter of privilege, it shall be adopted.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

It is unfortunate, if the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) desired merely to discuss the point of order, that he should have begun his remarks with the rather superfluous observation that the Prime Minister-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Order, order.

Mr. FIELDING

w>as afraid to have

these papers presented to the House. I think it will take even a more astute mind than that of my hon. friend-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

What is wrong? What is the point of order?

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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

Of course, this motion cannot be presented at all, except by consent under rule 8, without two days' notice it cannot be discussed except by unanimous consent. If there is no consent it will have to stand for notice.

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May 5, 1909