March 16, 1910

LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

There have been such requests, but no decision has been reached.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   INDEMNITY TO CANADIAN VETERANS.
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ALIENATION OF COAL AND TIMBER LANDS.

CON

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. During the time the Hon. Clifford Sifton was Minister of the Interior, what was the total acreage of coal lands alienated from the Crown ?

2. What was tlie total acreage of timber lands for which licenses and permits were

issued, and what is the total acreage of land sold ?

3. During the time Hon. Frank Oliver has been Minister of the Interior, what was the total acreage of coal lands alienated from the Crown ?

4. What was the total acreage of timber lands for which licenses and permits were issued ?

5. What has been the total acreage of lands sold, exclusive of pre-emption?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   ALIENATION OF COAL AND TIMBER LANDS.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER:

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   ALIENATION OF COAL AND TIMBER LANDS.
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FRONTIER QUARANTINE INSPECTORS.

CON

William Henry Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. H. SHARPE:

Was there any correspondence wjien appointing th& following frontier quarantine inspectors: Dr. Bradford, Dr. Carter, Dr. Duncan, Dr. Thornton, Dr. Wallace, Dr. Nay, Dr. McKenty, Dr. Little, Dr. Henderson and Dr. Scott? If so, how many letters were sent and how many received by the department? .

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   FRONTIER QUARANTINE INSPECTORS.
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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. SYDNEY FISHER.

Yes. Sent sixteen letters and seventeen telegrams; received, nine letters and seven telegrams.

These messages were dealing with the appointments and were not such as are usually brought down to the House.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   FRONTIER QUARANTINE INSPECTORS.
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QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-THE LUMSDEN COMMITTEE.


On the orders of the day being called: Mr. HAUGHTON LENNOX (South Sim-coe) Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak to a. question of privilege. On Friday last the-hon. member for Vercheres (Mr. Geoffrion)„ the chairman of the Lumsden Committee, speaking in reply to a complaint made by my ion. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden), as to the omission of certain words from the second report of the Lumsden Committee, said: The report was prepared by the clerk of ,„lffc°mrait.tee' ncl was submitted to the com-ww VvancLnobody Ejected. I do not know h! , °.n- gentleman means by saying that the chairman omitted any words at all.' i s'!i 'utfe<1, *- le report which was prepared by the clerk, according to the order of the-House, which says that the committee shall report to the House from time to time. I he printed minutes of the committee-show that on the 22nd February last the toll owing resolution was carried: Mr. Lennox moved that committee recommend that their proceedings and the evidence taken by them be printed and reported to the House from day to day, which was agreed to. The committee sat on the following day, the 23rd February, and at that meeting the minutes of the previous day were read, including the resolution I have just read, these minutes were duly confirmed, as appears by the printed evidence on page 41 and these minutes were accordingly attested as being correct by Walter Todd, clerk of the committee and marked * approved ' over the signature ' Victor Geof-fnon, Chairman,' which will be found in the printed proceedings at page 8. I call to the attention of the House the fact that there was no chance for any misconception or mistake in this matter. I do so because it is important to know how this extraordinary omission occurred, an omission very embarrassing to some members, of the House. On the occasion when I moved this resolution the attention of the chairman was specifically directed to it, I mean by that, Mr. Speaker, that it was not one of those resolutions; that go through without the attention of the chairman, but his attention was specifically directed to the resolution at the time-of its going through, and that is evidenced by the fact that he says ' I shall have to-be empowered by the House to have it ! °bC- Dealing with this in a way which substantially amounts to practically the-second reading of my resolution, although not, on the second occasion, in the exact words, I say in reply: [DOT] My motion is that the evidence he printed and reported day by day.



Not only was the attention of the chairman evidently directly challenged by the motion that was made, but the attention of the clerk was specifically directed to it. I say that, because, as the members of the committee were leaving, the clerk came to me and said: * Do you really mean reported as well as printed from day to day '? To which I replied: ' I mean every word of it; I mean it very much; see that you get it just as I put it I may say that I did so far the reason that^ I had some little experience upon committees of this kind, and I had considerable experience as to the difficulties that confront us in the Public Accounts Committee where, when the ruling is, in the opinion of the minority, unjust, we are unable to bring the matter into the light of day in the House because the majority refuse to report to the House. Therefore, advisedly, and I think, wisely, I had taken the precaution of preparing a resolution which covered the whole ground that the proceedings should be printed from day to day, and that they should be reported to the House from day to day, so that we would have an opportunity of, to some extent, controlling the action of the committee. The result of it is this, as I submit to the House, that it was manifestly impossible for the clerk inadvertently to omit the important words: reported to the House,' and equally impossible, as I know the clerk, for him to be dishonest. We are, therefore, confronted by an important inquiry, a very exceptional inquiry, one that I am glad to say has not often presented itself to this House, that is how this peculiar blunder, if you call it a blunder, occurred, by whose command, or at whose instance, or instigation, this important provision, calculated to enable us to carry on our proceedings more satisfactorily, and calculated to enable the people to know just what was being done was left out, and how it is that our intention should have been so speedily, and for the time being, so effectively blocked. The public, Mr. Speaker, is interested in this. It goes to a question which has come up in this House very frequently during recent years, namely, the procedure for getting these matters before the public, and letting the people know what is being done. It is important to the public, and it is important to me personally, and to the other members of the minority of the committee, because, by reason of what was done our way is blocked for the time being and certain important incidents that have occurred in that committee, we have not been able to discuss because there is no report before the House. Our way is barred, but I trust to effectively urge on the Prime Minister that it shall be barred no longer, and that an opportunity shall be afforded to the minority to Mr. LENNOX. present certain matters to this House, and to the people. Resuming the thread of the incidents-in professed pursuance of the action of the committee which provided that the proceedings should be reported from day to day to the House, there .was a report presented by the committee and passed by the House in these words: Your committee recommend that their proceedings and any evidence taken by them be printed from day to day for use of the members of the committee and that rule 72 be suspended in reference thereto. Two important changes are made in that report. First, it entirely omits the important provision that the proceedings are to be reported to the House from day to day, and next, they have incorporated in it this qualification: That the printing is to be done for the use of the members of the committee, and not for the use of the members of the House. And so, if this plan was carried out in the way suggested the effect would be that the resolution is absolutely useless, because the committee already had power to report from time to time as they saw fit. Of course, the report provided for the printing of the proceedings and evidence from day to day, but only for the use of the members of the committee, and that does not amount to anything, because we already had better than that in the typewritten copy of the proceedings to hand every morning of what took place the day before. It does, Mr. Speaker, suggest some puzzling thoughts as to why and how this thing was done. I shall not at the moment say what my idea of it is, because the chairman of the committee will no doubt make a statement which I hope will be more satisfactory than his statement of the other day. I shall feel it my duty to analyse his former statement. The chairman said: The report was submitted to the committee and nobody objected. Surely this experienced chairman, the chairman of the Hodgins committee as well, a gentleman whom I think I can say without offence, but rather in compliment, above all other of their supporters the government selected for offices of this kind; surely he has not so far lost his head as well as his candour as to say that such is the fact. The facts are: At one o'clock in the afternoon the resolution was moved and the committee dispersed. At three o'clock in the afternoon the report is presented to the House. Every hon. member of the House had the right to presume, I certainly presumed that once the report was brought in it was in harmony with the action of the committee. But that has not turned out to be so. Does the hon. gentleman (Mr. Geoffrion) seriously want to pro- pound to this House that the report was presented to the members of the committee and was not objected to? There is not one word of foundation in fact for that statement; it is absolutely incorrect. It was never submitted at any time to the members of the committee; but, of course, it is most important to establish that it was, because if it were it would to some extent estop us from complaining. Now, the second defence of the chairman of the committee is the statement that the report was prepared by the clerk. What does the hon. gentleman mean by saying that the report was prepared by the clerk? Of course, the Teport of the committee is always prepared by the clerk, but does he mean by that, that the clerk is responsible for the mutilation of this report? I venture to say that I refuse to believe it. Mr. Todd is an experienced, an efficient and painstaking official as everybody in this House knows. Could he make a mistake under the circumstances? Let us see. With the resolution before him, within' probably half an hour after it was read in the committee, twice read in his presence, impressed upon him by the subsequent conversation, a mistake on the part of the clerk is wholly inconceivable, and treachery on his part is to my mind equally inconceivable. If the chairman of the committee _ wishes to put it otherwise I will give him an opportunity now. If he does not feel that he has to shoulder not only the theoretic responsibility for this improper report by which the House was misled, but the actual responsibility as well, I will challenge him to get up in his place now and say that he had no hand in guiding the wording of that report. The third defence of the chairman of the committee is-and this is very innocent in this gentleman who has had' so little experience in matters of this kind-his third defence is to say: I do not know what the hon. gentleman means by saying that the chairman omitted any word at all. He does not know-what marvellous innocence-he does not know what was meant by the leader of the opposition. I hope he' has had time for reflection, and knows now. He does not know: I have endeavoured1 to make my meaning reasonably undisguised. What I mean to-day is that a most unprecedented omission has occurred in this report, and if the chairman made it accidentally he should have detected it the next day, when the wording of my resolution was read in his presence. What I mean is this: that when the matter was brought to the attention of the chairman, the other day it was time for him to get busy, and I mean that he1 shall get busy now. What I mean to say, just as emphatically, though I hope moderately, as I can, is that if this matter is not adjusted now the government will have to hear something more about it-we will have something more to say, and it will be said. One other point. I admit that the chairman had not much' time for thought. The complaint was presented unexpectedly to him, and he wound up in this way: I submitted the report, which was prepared by the clerk according to the order of the House, which says that the committee shall report to the House from time to time. Here is the clerk again. We have, I think, exonerated the clerk pretty effectually. 1 think the hon. gentleman has left it so that there is no loophole in that direction. The First Minister suggested the other day that there may have been a misprint in the report. I had examined the records, and I knew that there was no mistake in the printing, so that that avenue of escape is not open. The chairman says that the report was prepared by the clerk according to the order of the House. Mr. Speaker, I will ask you if in your experience you have ever known such an extraordinary statement as this. I thought the report was to be prepared according to the resolution which I submitted, and which was carried unanimously by the committee. Does the hon. gentleman mean that what he thought he was bringing into the House was an application of the House of Commons to authorize that which the House had authorized to be done?-because that is what he would have us understand if he thought he was presenting a report which was prepared according to the order of the House. I think he will hardly argue that that is a position which he can very successfully take. The only other alternative is that the chairman, a gentleman of distinguished ability, and of special training in matters of this kind, forgets within two hours all about the resolution which was passed in his presence, which he declared carried, to which he had his attention specifically called, and when he prepares the report absolutely omits practically all the provisions that were to have been covered by the report, all the ground practically that was to be covered by that report. Referring to the order of the House,' the hon. gentleman says: Prepared by the clerk according to the order of the House, which says that the committee shall report to the House from time to time. The_ order of the House does not say anything of the kind. My resolution was that the committee should report from day to day, but the order of the House is 'that the committee shall be appointed to in-



vestigate this matter, and that it shall have power to send for persons, papers and records and examine witnesses on oath, and report from time to time.' But the hon. gentleman, the other day, wanted us to understand that he thought it was not necessary to include the exact terms of my resolution, inasmuch as we were already ordered by the House to report from time to time; in other words, that the order of reference was mandatory that the committee should report from time to time. If the hon. gentleman means that he thought it was mandatory and obligatory, why has he not reported accordingly? That is a cogent and important question, particularly so in face of the fact that we have an event in that committee which is unprecedented in the annals of the Dominion parliament-an action by which three members of the committee have been practically compelled to retire from its deliberations; and yet there is absolute silence from that day to this, although the committee meet from day to day, and although I have reason to believe that the question has been considered. Yes, and I have reason to believe that the First Minister has been consulted as to whether there should be a report or not; and he can say I am wrong if he choses to say so. I have reason to believe that the First Minister has been consulted as to whether this committee should proceed practically in the dark with only members.


?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-THE LUMSDEN COMMITTEE.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

Yes, in the dark practically-a committee which is not constituted according to the order of this House; a committee proceeding as it was never intended to do by the order of this House; and I ask the chairman of this committee if he thought that order of reference meant that we were to report from day to day, why is it that he has been contented with perambulating backwards and forwards to interview the First Minister instead of reporting to the House?

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-THE LUMSDEN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend has brought up this question as a matter of privilege; but in my humble judgment he has not uttered a single word which has any reference to a matter of privilege. My hon. friend comlains that the full orders of the committee

ave not been reported to the House. On the 22nd of last month Mr. Clarke, of Essex, for the chairman, brought in this report:

Mr. Clarke (Essex), from the special committee appointed to investigate the charges and allegations made by Hugh D. Lumsden regarding a portion of the engineering staff of the National Transcontinental Railway, pre-Mr. LENNOX.

sented the second report of the said committee, which is as follows:- .

Your committee recommend that their proceedings and any evidence taken by them be printed from day to day, for the use of the committee, and that rule 72 be suspended in reference thereto.

Subsequently:

On motion of Mr. Clarke (Essex), the second report of the special committee appointed to investigate the charges and allegations made by Hugh D. Lumsden, presented this day, was concurred in.

I do not know whether my hon. friend was present in the House on that day, and heard the report. My impression is that he was. If he was in the House at that time, his attention was not called to the fact that the report did not, as he states now, contain a true statement of the proceedings of the committee. If that be so my hon. friend made a mistake in not giving to the report the attention which he might have done. If he is mistaken other members may have been mistaken also. My hon. friend charges the chairman of the committee by insinuation with having voluntarily deceived the committee. My hon. friend has no reason to make any such insinuation. If my hon. friend when the report was twice read to the House on Friday last did not perceive the mistake which he says was in the report, it is quite possible that the acting chairman, my hon. friend from Essex (Mr. A. H. Clarke) who brought in the report may also have overlooked the same mistake. I have only to appeal to the fairness of every member of this House. Everybody knows that the proceedings of the committee are prepared from day to day by the clerk of a committee and brought to the chairman, and as a rule the chairman signs simply on the statement of the officer that the report is correct without looking at it farther. If any one is guilty many of us are guilty, I cannot say that I have not been guilty as I have been chairman of a committee, and that is what I have done. I have taken the word of the clerk that it was all right, and presented the report accordingly. My hon. friend says the report is not a true statement of the proceedings that took place in the committee. That is possible. I do not say it is not so. I assume, since my hon. friend says so, that that was the case, but I have to say to my hon. friend if the report of the committee is not a true statement of the facts that, took place in the committee on that day, then what is there before the House to-day, but that report of the committee? We must assume that this report is correct. It is no use for my hon. friend to say on the floor of this House that the report is not correct, and not a true statement of the proceedings of the committee on that day.

How can we change it or alter it, and if there has been a mistake how can we amend it? The remedy of my hon. friend is to go before the committee, there is the place where he should address himself, and if there has been, as I understand, a mistake made somewhere, there the mistake can be corrected. But I ask my hon. friend and every member of this House how will the House undertake to amend this report, which is now here, and which has been adopted? How will any member say the report is not correct, and ought to be amended accordingly? There is only one thing for my hon. friend to do, that is to go before the committee, and there have the statement corrected. My hon. friend has no confidence in the committee; I understand he has withdrawn from it, and I understand he says the committee is proceeding in the dark. If the committee is proceeding in the dark, according to common report, it is because my hon. friend refuses to give it the benefit of his light. The committee would have the full light upon it if my hon. friend would be present, but he has chosen for some reason or other to withdraw from the committee, if I am correctly informed. But even although he has chosen to withdraw from the committee, I see no reason why he should not go back into it. If he cannot go as a member of the committee he can as a member of the House, and he hag only to call the attention of the chairman or members of the committee, and to show them that the report is incorrect to have it corrected, and he would have satisfaction. If the statement is correct that he made a certain motion which should have been reported, and has not been reported I would be the very first to say to my hon. friend that he ought to have his rights properly placed before the House. But I appeal to his sense of justice and fairness, and I am sure he will agree that at this moment this House is powerless to redress the grievance of which he complains. How can we change the report of the committee? What have we before us to do so? He will agree that the only thing for him to do is to go before the committee, and I am satisfied he will have every satisfaction there. Perhaps I have no right, no reason, no authority to offer any advice to my hon. friend, but I may say to him that I hope he will bear with me. I have a high idea of his sense of honour and justice, but is he the only man who has a right sense of honour and justice in this House? There are others besides him, and I believe that when such a clear fact is brought to the attention of the committee as he states, that is that he made a motion, that the motion should have been included in the report, and was not included in the report, he is entitled to have the correction made. In so saying I have no desire to throw blame on anybody. My hon. friend was altogether unwarranted not in the statement, because he made no statement, hut in the insinuations which he made against the chairman of the committee. He stated that Mr. Todd, the clerk of the committee, is an experienced and faithful officer of this House. No one denies that, Mr. Todd is a faithful and experienced officer of this House. But by making that statement my hon. friend made an insinuation against the chairman, and I have only to say that the chairman of the committee is an experienced and faithful member of this House. My hon. friend may depend on his honour to do my hon. friend every justice, and all the justice to which he is entitled.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-THE LUMSDEN COMMITTEE.
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CON
LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I have no objection to a question of privilege being raised and an explanation given on the other side, but as there is nothing before the House, I am wondering where the debate will lead us. There is nothing before the House, and it is not customary to debate a .question of privilege. The House will realize that there should be something before the Chair.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-THE LUMSDEN COMMITTEE.
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CON
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. E. M. MACDONALD.

In view of what occurred the other day in the discussion of this question, I would like to know how far this debate is to be permitted to go. If my hon. friend is to be allowed to speak, and no one on this side is to be allowed later on I would like to know it.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-THE LUMSDEN COMMITTEE.
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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

My idea at present is that it cannot be continued because there is nothing before the Chair.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-THE LUMSDEN COMMITTEE.
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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

Are the government taking the stand that they will not allow

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-THE LUMSDEN COMMITTEE.
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March 16, 1910