But he does not make the contention that Mr. Cox does-not by any means. I think I know Mr. Bruce's private opinion, and if Mr. Bruce had been willing to say there was a mistake, why did he not come forward in the Banking and Commerce Committee and say so? He did not do it because he is an honest man, and would not make a statement he did not be-"eve- This Bill was put in the hands of Mr. Thomas Robinson, then member for Hamilton, to present to this House. Who was he? He was a good lawyer, who afterwards became judge in the High Court of Ontario. All those who had to deal with this matter were men of high character and ability, who knew what they were doing, and no doubt did exactly what they wanted. And we are asked to-day to review what they did and to say that every one of them blundered.
Certainly, let me read who were in parliament at that time. Were they inferior to the men we have today? Let me take a list of them. I have the journals of the House for 1879 and will give you the list, and probably the hon. gentleman who says that a grievous blunder was committed in 1879 will change his mind when he finds that his own respeeted father was one of the men who assisted to pass the Bill. We find here men like the Hon. David Mills. Did he blunder? I had a very high regard for David Mills. Many a
time I listened to him in this House and I often asked him for advice and counsel, and he was always willing to treat young members fairly and give them the benefit of his experience. The Hon. Wm. Paterson was member for the House then. Did he make a blunder? Did he not know the meaning of the legislation he was helping to pass? Is he willing to come now and say he made a mistake, and that the legislation they passed meant something else than he thought it did. Mr. George A. Kirkpatrick, afterwards lieutenant-governor of Ontario, was one of those who put that measure through. Also Dr. Sproule, and I never heard him say there was a mistake made. There was also the Hon. Mr. Macdougall, who then represented Halton. Will any one say that he was the kind of man who did not know what he was doing?
I think he would do what he thought was right. The company asked for certain legislation and he gave it to them. Then we come to Mr. Thomas Farrow, now Judge Farrow, then member for the north riding 'of Huron.
I stand corrected. I was misled by the similarity of names. Then we come to the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie. Where is the man on that side who will stand up and say that honest Sandy Mackenzie made a big blunder and did not know what he was doing?
I undertake to say that the hon. gentleman never heard me make that statement. I may have thought it sometimes but not always. I do not say he always made mistakes by any means. In a simple matter like this, he would do what was right. Next we find Mr. John Haggart and Sir John Carling, and then we come to another gentleman whom I am sure no one on that side will accuse of wrong doing, the Hon. G. W. Ross. Did he make a blunder? He had not arrived at the age when he blundered, but later on in life, he did go astray. At that time, however, I am under the impression that the Liberals thought he was incapable of committing a blunder, whatever they may have thought later on. Then we come to John Charlton, a man of good judgment, a good business man and thoroughly veTsed in the English Mr. HENDERSON.
language. Did he make a blunder? And the Hon. Peter White, the late respected speaker of the House, in whom we all had confidence as a business man. He blundered too? Then we come to Dalton McCarthy, the late lamented uncle of the gentleman who, up in the committee room, told us that the legislation of 1879 was a mistake. I wonder what his uncle would think if he heard his nephew make a statement of that kind? I do not believe that he did make a mistake. He had too great a command of the English language not to be able to give exact expression to his ideas. Another was Mr. John Beverly Robinson. I never expected to be called on to review his judgments. I never expected to stand in the same class with him, much less to be put in court to declare that J. B. Robinson did not know how to frame an Act of Parliament.
It is the same name at any rate. He belonged to a family we have always held in respect in Ontario, as men of intelligence and abilty. Then we come to Mr. Hector Cameron, who.represented North Victoria and who was a high class lawyer. Then we have another gentleman I know well, a good lawyer, highly respected for his ability, and yet we are told . that he made a grievous blunder. His own son in the House the other night said a grievous wrong had been done.
I have not now the time to look it up. But the hon. gentleman's father was one of those who did the wrong. If he admits that his father did not make a mistake, he ought to vote against this Bill. I would very much dislike to see him vote against his father. Now, we come to the Hon. Desire Girouard, who is on the Supreme Court bench today, are we, farmers and others from western Ontario and elsewhere, going to sit on his judgment?
Yes, I will find a few. If you have a higher opinion of the farmers than you have of the lawyers, I shall endeavour to catch a few of them Mr. Julius Scriver was here then. He was a farmer and a very highly respected member of this House. I come to Joseph Alderic Ouimet, another lawyer, who afterwards became a judge in the province of Quebec. My hon. friend, may excuse me for not giving the names of farmers, because if I did he would tell me that the farmers were not capable of drafting Acts of parliament. It is for that reason I have selected men who are versed in the law, who would know what they were doing. Another of those men who made a blunder -and I would ask the Finance Minister to say whether this man did not know what he was doing-was Sir Wilfrid Laurier, now Prime Minister. He is one of those my hon. friend tells us made a blunder and who did not know what they were doing. He passed legislation he did not know the meaning of, and now we are to sit in judgment on him and declare that in 1879 he was guilty of passing into the statutes words which did not convey the meaning they were intended to convey. I believe that the right hon. gentleman was right then; and if he will only vote that he was I will be perfectly satisfied. There was another member of that parliament, in whom perhaps some hon. gentlemen would not have so much confidence, I refer to the hon. Sir Charles Tupper. He was one of those who made that mistake. Then there was Mr. Frank Killam, of Yarmouth. I am not sure but I think he was the late judge.