April 15, 1910

CANADA TEMPERANCE ACT AMENDMENT.


Hon. CHARLES MURPHY (Secretary of State) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 209) to amend the Canada Temperance Act. He said: The proposed amendment to the Canada Temeprance Act relates only to the province of British Columbia. Its purpose is to enable a vote to be taken in that province under the Canada Temperance Act in the same, way as that a vote is taken under that Act in any other province. For instance, in the interpretation clause of the Canada Temperance Act, the word ' county ' as respects the province of British Columbia is defined to mean an electoral district therein in accordance with the division of the province for the election of members for the House of Commons. The 228J legislature of British Columbia has passed an Act called the Counties Definition Act by which the province is divided int'O counties for certain purposes and it is proposed that the definition of ' County ' in the provincial Act shall be substituted for the present definition of ' County ' in the Canada Temperance Act. Then the Canada Temperance Act, as it stands at present, contains no definition of a city or city municipality and it is proposed to introduce into the Act as far as British Columbia is concerned the definition of city or city municipality, which appears in another provincial Act of British Columbia, called the Municipal Clauses Act. Part 1 of the Canada Temperance Act sets out the proceedings for bringing part 2 of that Act into force. The commencement of these proceedings is to be by the deposit of a notice and petition in certain designated offices for public examination. So faT as the province of British Columbia is concerned, those offices are restricted to the five electoral divisions that existed at the* time the Canada Temperance Act was revised. There are at present seven electoral divisions in British Columbia represented by seven gentlemen in this House, and it is proposed to correct that anomaly by the amendment in question. Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


STRANGERS IN THE CORRIDORS OF PARLIAMENT.


On the orders of the day being called.


CON

Adam Brown Crosby

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROSBY.

Mr. Speaker, I have received the very regrettable information that a coloured clergyman who has been seen in the corridors of this building for a few days past, was instructed by the sergeant-at-arms to leave the building, not to frequent the building. We have a large number of coloured people in eastern Canada, a very respectable class of people, and I would like to know if it is correct that this has been done, and if so who is responsible for it. I hope it has not been done, because it would be a great pity that such a course should be adopted when a man is conducting himself respectably and well as I have seen him. I have not the honour of his acquaintance, but I understand he is a clergyman ol very high standing in the church.

Topic:   STRANGERS IN THE CORRIDORS OF PARLIAMENT.
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I think it is unfortunate that my hon. friend has not given to the House any more particulars. The House would be loath to believe that the se,rgeant-at-aTms, whose courtesy ifs well known, would be guilty of any act of *iiscourtesv to any coloured gentleman or anybody else, and at the present time we

have to believe that everything was done regularly.

Topic:   STRANGERS IN THE CORRIDORS OF PARLIAMENT.
Permalink
?

Mr. BANKER@

The reverend .gentleman referred to is a well known citizen of Hamilton, and a very respectable minister of the Methodist coloured church there. He told us yesterday that he had been soliciting subscriptions for his church as he has been dome- in years past, and as a great many other people, ladies and gentlemen, have done, but that he was spoken to by the sergeant-at-arms yesterday in a way that he thought rather rude. He tells me that he at once told the sergeant-at-arms that if there was any objection to his soliciting lie would stop at once, but that he claimed the right to be_ in any of the public portions of this building just the same as any other citizen. Then he says that a policeman was called and he was very much offended at that. I spoke to him and did my best to cool his anger. I told him I thought the better way would be to take no notice of it, and that I was quite sure the sergeant-at-arms could have no intention of offending him because he was coloured. He was very indignant find expressed himself very warmly, saying that though he was coloured he would not submit to be differently treated in any manner from anv other person in the country. That is all I know about it, and that is I think all that can be ascertained about it. I would not for a moment intimate that the sergeant-at-arms had any feeling against this gentleman on account of his colour. I believe that an expression of regret from the sergeant-at-arms to the gentleman personally would be the simplest solution.

Topic:   STRANGERS IN THE CORRIDORS OF PARLIAMENT.
Permalink
LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I will have the matter inquired into.

Topic:   STRANGERS IN THE CORRIDORS OF PARLIAMENT.
Permalink

RELEASE OF TWO PRISONERS.

LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. A. B. AYLESWORTH.

Before the orders of the day are called, I wish to make some further allusion to the matter which the hon. member for West Algoma (Mr. Boyce) brought to the attention of the House yesterday. I was not aware that the hon. gentleman intended to mention this matter yesterday, and in what I said yesterday about it I was relying entirely on my memory. Of course it is impossible to keep in mind all the details of 2,000 or more similar cases which pass under consideration in the course of a twelve months. Since the House adjourned, however, I have verified my recollection with regard to this matter by referring to the past, and am therefore in a position to speak definitely and accurately at the present time. The article which the hon. gentleman read to the House is taken from the current April number of a journal called the 'Canadian Municipal Journal,' published I think in Mon-

Sir WILFRID LAURIER,

treal. It is entitled ' Where was the pull,' and pursuing the idea suggested by that caption, it proceeds to charge that two prisoners to whom clemency was extended by His Excellency some time ago, were released because their counsel, Mr. T. C. Robinette of Toronto, was a personal friend of mine, and a man who enjoyed with me a considerable amount of personal influence, or ' pull.' Speaking fropi memory, as I was yesterday, I could not feel absolutely sure that there might not be some memorial or certificate of character among the papers which bore the signature of Mr. Robinette among others. I did not think it was so, but I could not be absolutely positive. I wish now to state that in the first pla^e, Mr. Robinette was not counsel for the prisoners, or either of them, as stated in this article; nor was he concerned in any way whatever in the application for clemency on behalf of these prisoners, and did not in any way intervene in the matter even by so much as signing a petition or certificate as to the character of the men. In short, the fact is that he had no single thing to do with this matter any more than the hon. member who brought this matter to the attention of the House yesterday. Yet this article, in order to found its attack, states categorically :

Mr. Robinette, K.C., defended the prisoners -though it seems strange that an eminent lawyer should stoop to such a dirty case

and he, it is understood, is a personal friend of the minister.

The prisoners were defended by two gentlemen each of whom is a personal friend of mine quite as much so as Mr. Robinette. The gentlemen are Mr. Geo. Tate Black-stock, K.C., of Toronto, and his partner, Mr. Hugh Rose. These gentlemen are the men who made application for the clemency of the Crown in regard to their clients, the prisoners. The article in question states that these men were convicted for distributing obscene literature and post cards, that evidence was given by two stenographers that they had refused to work for the prisoners, so filthy was the business. After making other statements in regard to the case, the article proceeds :

The question that is now being asked is, ' Where is the pull ? '

Now, I am sorry to say, Mr. Speaker, that this article, like a good many other newspaper articles, relies upon its imagination for its facts. There is not merely inaccuracy in the statements I have referred to, there is what cannot be properly designated otherwise than untruth, in short. It is simply an instance of a newspaper writer fabricating his own news in his own back office. It is not a fact that two stenographers at the trial of these prisoners gave evidence that they had refused to

work for the prisoners so filthy was the business. No evidence whatever was given at the trial; the facts were admitted. It was in short a question simply whether upon the admitted facts the offence charged in reality existed. The offence charged had nothing to do with post cards, it was the circulating of obscene books, as they were called, tending to corrupt morals. The prisoners were either partners, or one the proprietor and the other the manager of a business in Toronto for the selling of books.

I have forgotten the name under which the business was done; but so far as the papers show, and so far as any report on the matter which I received, shows, the business was the ordinary legitimate business of respectable book selling. But among the volumes which had been sold by these men were such books as English translations of Balzac, of Petronius and other Latin authors, of Brantome, also a French writer; and undoubtedly in these books, which are classics, and which are to be found on the shelves of our own library or of any other large library, in these books are to be found passages, just as I need not say there are to be found passages in that best of books that we all revere, which, if they were singled out or collected and published together, might properly be described by the word indecent. But the business which these men were carrying on was of the legitimate character I have described. A prosecution was instituted against them. It is not for me to express an opinion of the judiciousness of that prosecution, but a prosecution was instituted against them, not for distributing obscene post cards, for there was nothing of the kind, but for circulating books said to be obscene and tending to corrupt morals. The learned judge, upon the admitted facts of the case, made a conviction and sentenced the two prisoners. In sentencing them he said that it had come within his knowledge, or that he had been told-I have forgotton the exact way in which he worded his remarks-that one of two young women who had been engaged as a typewriter by this firm, had been compelled to abandon the position by reason of the character of the work that she was called upon to do. There was no evidence of it, but that observation was made by the learned judge when passing sentence. There was sent to me an affidavit or statutory declaration from this young woman who said that she was the only woman employee of the business, that she was the stenographer and typewriter engaged by this firm, that she had been with them for some length of time, and that there was not one word of truth in the charge that she had been compelled to abandon her position by reason of the improper character of the work that she was called upon to do. That statement then, as this

other statement of fact to which I have adverted, is entirely without foundation in fact.

Now, with regard to the application for clemency, I have only to say this: The application was made by the solicitor whom I have mentioned. I received a large number of letters with regard to the case from prominent men, business men, men of standing not only in Toronto but in other parts of the country. I do not think it would be right that these letters should be made public. There is nothing in them to conceal, but of necessity any communications of this nature are of the most confidential character. The department must obtain information with regard to the reputation of prisoners in the community by all means available and unless all communications were permitted under the seal of confidence there would be an end to the possibility of obtaining information or getting the particulars with regard to each case which are of importance in order that the application for clemency may properly be dealt with. I, for the same reason, think that it would not be right even to mention the names of the writers of such letters. I will say simply that I have had letters with regard to this case and urging clemency from more than 25 people of undoubted respectability and standing in the community, such people as managers of banks in Toronto, clergymen, a bishop of the Protestant faith, three other prominent clergymen, one a leading clergyman in the Methodist church, and business concerns of different characters in the city of Toronto, who are acquainted with the prisoners and knew the style of business that they had been carrying on. 1 am quite content to hand to my hon. friend, or to any hon. gentleman in the House, a list of the writers of these letters which 1 have made and which I have before me, but do not wish to put it on ' Hansard.' Just one word more. I have had the advantage, in connection with this matter, of a personal discussion of the case with the At torney General of the province of Ontario, who. I am proud to be able to say, is another warm personal friend of my own, and who, perhaps, on that account, would have had some ' pull ' in the matter. He expressed his opinion to me in conversation with perfect freedom. He did more than that; in his capacity of Attorney General of the province, charged with the responsibility for the administration of criminal justice, and whose representatives prosecute in the province, he wrote me a candid, frank letter in the matter, which is upon tile, expressing his own views and his own recommendation in regard to this case. I seek to put no resDonsibility upon him in the matter, I willingly assume the whole responsibility myself. I gave the advice to His Excellency that these men should be sum-

7] 87

marily. released, because, in my humble judgment, speaking as a lawyer, they were not guilty of the offence with which they were charged.

Topic:   RELEASE OF TWO PRISONERS.
Permalink

WATERWAYS TREATY.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether he would have any objection to a motion for the immediate printing of the documents brought down in connection with the Waterways treaty?

Topic:   WATERWAYS TREATY.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

In that case I would move: ,

That Rule 72 be suspended and that the documents brought down in connection with the Waterways treaty be printed forthwith.

Topic:   WATERWAYS TREATY.
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


HUDSON BAY RAILWAY.

LIB

Thomas MacNutt

Liberal

Mr. MacNUTT.

I would like to draw the attention of the government to a report appearing in the Montreal ' Gazette ' a few weeks ago which, I think, has been referred to before. The article is a follows:

It is reported that government engineers employed in locating the Hudson Bay railroad have been obliged to 6top work, having come to an impassable obstacle in the shape of an extensive muskeg, which cannot be bridged. The country may have cause for satisfaction if a physical muskeg keeps it out of the financial muskeg into which the construction of the railway threatens to plunge it.

The ' Globe ' a few days ago, had the following statement:

Topic:   HUDSON BAY RAILWAY.
Permalink

THE HUDSON BAY RAILWAY.


A bottomless bog had been encountered on the survey of the Hudson Bay railway, the Montreal ' Gazette ' said in a recent issue. The writer added that if it prevented the building of the railway it would be a public benefit. Whether this attitude towards the Hudson Bay railway represents a majority of the people of the Dominion it is impossible to say, but that it represents a number who have given the subject some attention there can be no question. This is followed by a long article which opposes the project of building the Hudson Bav railway. I would like to ask, on behalf of the west particularly which is greatly interested in this undertaking, whether the government has any knowledge of any impassable bog having been encountered, or whether it has any intention whatever of abandoning the project of having the Hudson Bay railway constructed in the near future?


LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I had noticed the articles in question to which my hon. friend (Mr. MacNutt) refers, and I communicated with the chief engineer, Mr. Armstrong,

Topic:   THE HUDSON BAY RAILWAY.
Permalink

April 15, 1910