November 26, 1909

LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

There was no such promise; not even hinted.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

But that is the standpoint from which my hon. friend from New Westminster was arguing and he w'as pointing out to the Prime Minister that if anything of that kind had taken place conditions would he intolerable as I am sure the Prime Minister would himself consider them intolerable. Look at it for a moment. Suppose a Lieutenant Governor in this Dominion were to be selected in the person of some man who had been campaigning immediately before his appointment against the government who were to be his confidential advisers. The thing would be absurd, monstrous and ridiculous, and I am glad to have the assurance of the Prime Minister that there is absolutely nothing in the suggestion. But it does seem to me to be altogether another matter that he should dismiss so lightly the delay" in the appointment of the members of the court of appeal in British Columbia. I do not know of my own knowledge anything about the assertions which have been made by my hon. friend from New Westminster.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

Martin Burrell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL.

He has made them upon his own responsibility as a member of this House and, as I gather from his remarks, they are to the effect that a man is languishing in prison in British Columbia to-day because he cannot get his remedy under the law owing to this default on the part of the government and of the Minister of Justice. A more intolerable and a more disgraceful condition than that I cannot imagine. It is absolutely intolerable that the appointment of men to the court of appeal in British Columbia should have been delayed with such results as that. What was the answer the other day? The answer of my hon. friend the Minister of Justice was, forsooth, that the wheels of justice must stop because ne was away in Europe. The Act was proclaimed on the first day of September. He came back somewhere about the middle of October, I think, and he would not count the intervening six or eight weeks. Justice must stand still, the courts of British Columbia must remain without judges because he, on official duties, no doubt, had found it necessary or convenient to absent himself in the British Isles. When the Minister of Justice went from here in June or July last did he leave no other member of the government to preside over his department? Was there no other minister of the Crown, was there not the Prime Minister or some other member of the government, who could take up and who did take up the duties of that department? The excuse put forward by the Minister of Justice is absolutely unworthy of consideration. I say that within a week or ten days after that Act had been nroclaimed by the government of British Columbia the corresponding Dominion Act should have been proclaimed by this government and there should have been constituted a court of appeal in the province of British Columbia not later than the 20th of .September last, in which case the man who is now lving in prison because his rights under the law are denied him through the laches of this government would have been able to obtain his proper remedy under the law. Under these circumstances the country and the House ought to ask the Prime Minister and the government for some adequate explanation of the delay of now nearly three, months during which the machinery of justice in British Columbia has been absolutely out of gear.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance).

I am afraid, Mr. Speaker, that the leader of the opposition hardly gave a fair statement of what the Minister -of Justice said. I remember that the Minister of Justice said that he did not think the proceedings required such very great activity in the case of these British Columbia judges -because he pointed out that the government of British Columbia, after causing

the enactment of this measure, failed to proclaim it for very many months. And, curiously enough during that interim there was an election pending, and gentlemen on the other side are so ready to suggest that elections have something to do with things, might I mention that it was even rumoured that the reason why the British Columbia Act was not proclaimed was that the British Columbia government was waiting for the results of the Dominion elections in the hope that a Conservative government might have a chance to make the appointments.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

Martin Burrell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL.

May I ask a question?

Mr. FIELDING, Yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

Martin Burrell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL.

Is it not true that during the time the British Columbia government failed to proclaim their Act, there was an efficient and available court of appeal in existence?

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I was merely pointing out that when the leader of the opposition undertook

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Answer.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

One of my weaknesses is that I never undertake to answer a question when I am not familiar with the facts.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Or when you are in a tight place.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Well, I do not know that; I think hon. gentlemen opposite will give me credit for being ready to answer questions whenever I can. I was pointing out that the- leader of the opposition had hardly put the position of the Minister of Justice fairly, and I rose specially to take exception to some very dangerous doctrines that -were laid down 'by my hon. friend from New Westminster (Mr. Taylor). I took down the words of my hon. friend, and he says he wants this government to lay down as a principle that public office is not to he given to any one as a reward for service in a political campaign.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

My hon. friend says hear, hear, but I refuse to subscribe to that doctrine. The hon. gentleman himself holds an honourable and important office as a member of this House, and I have no doubt he received that office as a reward for his services in political campaigns. If my hon. friend did not get his office in that way, I should think he did not very well deserve it. In my opinion participation in political campaigns is not a crime. Politics is the business of the people at large, and the men who engage in politics, according to their respective views of public affairs, ought to 'be regarded as the best citizens in the country. It is the duty of every good citizen to participate in politics, and far from being a cause for condemnation, participation in political campaigns ought under proper conditions to be a cause for reward.

I hold a rather important office in the government of the country, and I venture to say that had I not taken a part in a good many political campaigns I would not have the pleasure of occupying it. This idea that a man is to be ignored and condemned because he takes a part in a political campaign is certainly a very strange notion. Then, my hon. friend from Yale (Mr. Burrell) went a little further; he said: Look at this question of the judgeships; here is the former leader of the opposition-a gentleman whom he spoke of and deservedly so in terms of respect-he actually went out and poured cold water on the McBride government and the hon. gentleman asked: Would you dare to make that man a judge after that? What a monstrous thing it would be to appoint a man to the bench after he has dared to pour cold waiter on a local government? Well, I have had a long experience along these lines. It was my pleasure and duty for a great many years to be the leader of a local government and I remember on one occasion that my chief opponent in the constituency of Halifax was a gentleman of the legal profession [DOT] and a very eminent one. He went out through the length and breadth of the province, he poured cold water and sometimes hot water upon the government which 1 had the honour to lead, and, fortunately,

I was successful and he failed. And, a very short time after that he was appointed by the Conservative government of the Dominion to the high and honourable position of Judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Was it not some years afterwards?

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

No, it was not some years afterwards.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

In what year was the campaign?

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I cannot tell my hon. friend, but I will remind him of the case.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I know the case.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
CON

Martin Burrell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURRELL.

Would the Minister of Finance permit me a brief explanation.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY-LIEUTENANT GOVERNORSHIP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
Permalink

November 26, 1909