May 3, 1910

LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

The question raised by my hon. friend is one in which the people in the parish of Beauport on the line

of the Montmorency river are deeply interested. As I understand, the railway has been constructed from the line of the Canadian Northern, but it only carries freight, and that in the summer time, it has no stations between the termini, and does not carry passengers. That is quite a list of grievances. I do not know whether this road has had any subsidy from the Dominion government.

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LIB
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I cannot understand why the Railway Commission would say that they have no power to deal with this matter unless it be owing to the fact that until the amendment to the Railway Act which we have just adopted becomes law the commission have no power to allow a construction company or a contractor building a railway to carry passengers. They could allow them by an order to carry freight when the condition of part of the road was such that that would be feasible, even although the whole of the Toad was not constructed, hut they have no power under the Act to allow them to carry passengers. It strikes me that this road was being operated, though practically by the Canadian Northern, really by the construction company.

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LIB
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

They might be through with it to all intents and purposes, but the road might not have been approved of by the Board of Railway Commissioners so that they could carry passengers. However, the amendment to the Railway Act will enable the Board of Railway Commissioners to allow roads even under these circumstances to carry passengers although they may not be taken over. If that be the condition the difficulty will be obviated after the passing of the amendment to the Railway Act which is now before parliament. It being a spur line probably does not make any difference as to the power of the Board of Railway Commissioners. If it is a completed railway they have full power not only to authorize them to give accommodation, but also to give direction as to the number of stations to be erected. I shall call the attention of the Board of Railway Commissioners to this matter which has been brought to the attention of the House by my hon. friend.

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GIFTS TO MINISTERS OF THE CROWN.

CON

Arthur Cyril Boyce

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. C. BOYCE (West.Algoma).

Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair to go into Committee of Supply, I desire to draw the attention of the House briefly to some matters of history with respect to this House, a course which I deem to be necessary in the light of recent events. The right

hon. gentleman who leads this House, prior to the year 1896 was the leader of the opposition, and while enjoying the privileges of that position laid down and struggled for certain high principles to which he pledged himself. I am going to refer briefly to one of those principles. I speak of the complaint, the very vehement complaint that the right hon. gentleman made while leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition in 1891 with regard to certain gifts having been given to ministers of the Crown, and to the offence against good government which he said had been committed by ministers rf the Crown or ministers of state, as he was pleased then to call them, accepting, while in office, gifts of money or other presentations as ministers of the Crown. A colleague of my right hon. friend who is now the leader of the Senate, Sir Richard Cartwright, moved in the House, on August 13, 1891, the following resolution to which I now refer, and wThich I unhesitatingly commend to my right hon. friend. At page 3827 of ' Hansard,' 1891, Sir Richard Cartwright moved:

That Mr. Speaker do not leave the Chair, but that it be resolved: That the acceptance

of gifts or testimonials of any kind on the part of ministers of the Crown or of any member of their families from contractors, government officials or other persons having pecuniary relations with the government, is entirely opposed to sound principles of administration, and is calculated to bring parliamentary government into contempt, and that the example thus given tends to corrupt and demoralize the officials serving under ministers who have accepted or permitted the acceptance of gifts or testimonials as aforesaid.

That is the resolution which was moved, and while deprecating the manner in which it was moved, and some of the statements that were made by the mover of it and by my right hon. friend who seconded it, Sir John Thompson, then Minister of Justice, on behalf of the government of the day accepted that resolution, and it became the resolution, and principle adopted by this parliament. But all the glory, all the honour, all the esteem, and all the prestige for the high principles laid down in that resolution were claimed by, and gathered in by my right hon. friend the present Prime Minister. At page 3839 the right hon. gentleman, then leading the opposition said:

I congratulate the Minister of Justice upon what I conceive to be the very wise course he has now taken, but I still more congratulate the hon. member for South Oxford on the signal victory he has obtained. He has laid down a principle which has been long contended for on this side of the House, which has always been refused on the other side of the House, but which, at last, circumstances compel the government to accept.

So much for the principle that was so strongly contended for by the right hon.

gentleman, and, according to his contention, so strongly resisted by the then government. I do not desire to criticise or to offer any remarks that I may have to make on the subject in any hypercritical sense. I do not desire to offer any criticism upon the fact itself at the present time. I desire to state facts, and I propose to state facts, and then I propose to leave some questions to my right hon. friend. Public notoriety has been given in the last few days of this session to the fact that the Minister of Finance, who has enjoyed the office of minister of the Crown since 1896, and now enjoys it, while occupying that office of the Crown, to wit, Minister of Finance, has been presented with, and has received, according to newspaper accounts, especially that of the ' Globe,' which commends the transaction very highly, a gift or testimonial aggregating some $118,000, or $120,000 in round figures. If that statement be true, and I have never heard it denied, the government organs in different parts of the country have referred to it as a fact, then it is a matter for the consideration of the House, and I am quite sure that my right hon. friend would be the very last to reproach me as a member of this House, having the privileges and responsibilities of a member, for mentioning the matter and drawing the attention of the House to it in the light of the resolution which he so highly commended. That on or about the 26th day of April, a presentation was made to the Minister of Finance of so large a sum of money, a fortune in itself, is, as I said, a matter which certainly should, and does excite the curiosity of this country. That presentation was made, according to the newspaper reports, in the presence of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister. More than that, the Liberal organs which I have read, and which refer to the fact, state that the right hon. gentleman expressed his unbounded delight at the exhibition of confidence shown by the magnificent gift. Well, Sir, the fact not being disputed, it does form a pretty bold, blunt presentation of a fact. Congratulations have been expressed with great unanimity in Liberal papers all over this country upon this matter. Some sombre effect has been given by criticisms coming from quarters where perhaps they were least expected, and which refer back to the good old days when my right hon. friend sat here as leader of the opposition, and was contending for the principle contained in the resolution to which I have referred. But if the fact be not disputed, if the notoriety which has been given to this transaction is just, if I am correctly informed by the government organs throughout the country, if the newspapers are not publishing that which would otherwise be a very serious reflection upon the minister, and the whole of this gov-Mr. BOYCE.

ernment, I say that the matter calls, here and now, for some explanation on the part of the government. There has been a dead silence on the part of the government. I am not saying that there is anything significant in that silence, but there has been an utter absence of any word in this House coming from government benches to the effect that that which has been done is openly declared to have been done with the absolut unbounded joy of the right hon. the Prime Minister himself, and was not within the mischief, and the purview of the legislation which he commended to this House in 1891. I, therefore, ask my right hon. friend the first question: Does he not

think under the circumstances that it was his duty, if he was true to those principles, to come down to the House, and if there was any explanation, if this transaction did not infringe upon the principles involved in that magnificent resolution, that he should have explained the circumstances? I ask my right hon. friend now to state whether this gift, this testimonial, was not the result of a subscription, whether there was not a public subscription list, whether it was not delivered and presented in public, and whether the names of the persons who subscribed to this large testimonial of money were not made known to the Minister of Finance, and to the right hon. the Prime Minister, and if they were made known, I assume of course that the right hon. gentleman will without any hesitation make public the names of the subscribers. I can only assume that pressure of parliamentary business heretofore has prevented him from doing so. I am sorry indeed to have the matter so long delayed in the session, but I could not regulate the time at which this magnificent fortune was to be presented to the minister, and I can only assume that having risen to such high principles in 1891, having congratulated his colleague the present right hon. Sir Richard Cartwright upon having obtained this signal victory in getting this resolution through the House, the right hon. gentleman will certainly, before this House prorogues, and if possible without a moment's delay after I have taken my seat, lay before parliament and before the public the facts, so that in the light of day every one in Canada may see that that which has been done, that which is publicly reported to have been done, did not in any way come within the mischief of the resolution of 1891. My hon. friend will see, of course, that there is only one course to pursue along the lines of this resolution, and that is to make the facts public. Here and now is the time to make the facts, public, and I think it will not be necessary to urge my right hon. friend very strongly, f quite conceive that he realizes his duty and responsibility in the matter. I urge

him now to lay upon the table of the House forthwith the list of names, and the amounts subscribed which made up this magnificent testimonial. My right hon. friend will agree with me that that is due first to the Minister of Finance himself, secondly to the Prime Minister, and his government, to every minister of state, and ex-minister of state. It is due to this House, and it is due to the people of this country that a full disclosure of these matters should be made, and having brought this matter to the attention of the House I can only again say that the responsibility incident to the acceptance of such a gift-and I am making no comment as to whether the presentation or the acceptance of the gift in itself is right or wrong-the responsibilities incident to the acceptance of the gift of such a large sum of money make it absolutely imperative upon the government or upon the minister to make that full disclosure to which I have referred, and to forthwith give publicity to the list of all those who have subscribed. I shall not attempt to dwell upon the principles involved nor to moralize upon the dangers of the situation, but I feel safe in assuming that my right hon. friend, realizing that he spoke upon this resolution in 1891, and that he congratulated his party upon the signal victory obtained, will see that the grand victory of which he speaks, and which was attained as he would argue through blood and tears, be not besmirched now in 1910 by a derogation from the principles then enunciated. The only way, as I submit, in which my hon. friend can put himself square with the resolution, the only way in which I submit he can discharge the duty he owes to this country as Prime Minister and leader of the government, is to make full disclosure, and publish the names and lay the list on the table. -

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LALTRIER.

It is true. Mr. Speaker, that in 1891, Sir Richard Cartwright was 'a prominent member of this House, and when I had the honour of leading Her Majesty's opposition, he introduced the resolution which has been read by my hon. friend, but which I think can bear to be read again. It was in these words:

That the acceptance of gifts or testimonials of any kind on the part of ministers of the Crown or of any members of their families from contractors, government officials or other persons having pecuniary relations with the government, is entirely opposed to sound principles of administration, and is calculated to bring parliamentary government into contempt, and that the example thus given tends to corrupt and demoralize the officials serving under ministers who have accepted or permitted the acceptance of gifts or testimonials as aforesaid.

It is a matter of notoriety that the public men who have served Canada have not

always been blessed with wealth. A prominent example was Sir John A Macdonald, and what Mr. Fielding's friends have done for him, Sir John A. Macdonald's friends did for him, they came to his rescue, and gave him a testimonial accompanied by a large sum of money, which was invested for the benefit of his family. I am not aware that any fault was found by anybody, whether by friend or foe, when the fellow countrymen of Sir John A. Macdonald thus provided for him in his old age and put him above the anxieties of providing for bis family. I am not aware that any fault was found on that account, and I do not think that even the hon. gentleman who has addressed the House finds fault with that. But, there were other testimonials given on a subsequent day; a testimonial was given later to Sir Heetor Langevin. I would prefer not to have to speak of these things. Nothing but good should be spoken of the dead. Sir Hector Langevin is no more, he has been long in his grave, and if I have to speak of his memory in this way the fault is not mine, but the fault is that of the hon. gentleman who has just addressed the House. If the resolution of Sir Richard Cartwright, which I have just read was brought before the House, was accepted by the House without a word of dissent from anybody, wa3 passed unanimously by the House, it was because the charge was made in the newspapers, not in the press of his opponents, not in Liberal newspapers, but in Conservative newspapers, that directors had been permitted to subscribe to that fund. I have before me and I could quote a paragraph from a pamphlet which was issued at that time, and which I read in 1891, in the presence of Sir Hector Langevin, when he was in this House, and which I do not care to read now when he is in his grave. But, that was the reason why the resolution of Sir Richard Cartwright was brought in, it was to prevent matters of this kind taking place, contractors, public officials, men having business with the government, subscribing to a similar fund and under similar circumstances. The resolution of Sir Richard Cartwright was adopted by the House.

Now, Sir, it may happen, and it has happened, that other men than Sir John A. Macdonald have not been careful of their own interests, have given their time, their health, their brains and their life to the public service, and have made no provision for their old age and no provision for their family, and such a man, unfortunately, is my hon. friend the Minister of Finance. But, if there is a man in this House, or if there is a man in this country, whose honour is above reproach, is above the rebuke of the hon. gentleman, it is the Finance Minister. If there is a

man who has a high sense of honour, a most delicate sense of honour, it is my colleague the Minister of Finance, Mr. W. S. Fielding. Does the hon. gentleman who has just addressed the House think that the man who has been at the head of the Department of Finance for the last fourteen years, and against whom there has never been raised even the breath of suspicion, does he believe that that man would consent to take a dollar of money if it came from a contractor, if it came from a man who had anything to do with the government? If my hon. friend holds such an opinion as that, he does not know the Hon. Mr. Fielding as I know him, and as his friends know him. When the friends of Mr. Fielding undertook to lay before him a testimonial and to provide for him and his family in his old age, the committee who had the matter in charge consulted me, and I told them that I approved of what was being done. The letter can be quoted, it was quoted the other day by the gentleman who presided at the meeting where the presentation was made to Mr. Fielding, and in the letter I said ' There is nothing too good for Fielding.' At the same time it was understood and stipulated that not a man would be called upon to subscribe to that testimonial if he was a director, if he was a government official, or if he had anything to do with the government. It was well understood that only men in private life would be allowed to contribute, men who had no connection whatever, directly ot indirectly, with the government, who had no expectation of profiting ever so remotely from any transactions -with the government. I am glad to say that the answer came, not only from the political friends of Mr. Fielding, but from his political opponents as well. I have this to say to the hon. gentleman who has just addressed the House, that not a dollar, not a penny has been contributed to that fund, which I am glad to say has reached a very substantial amount, by anybody except personal friends and admirers of Mr. Fielding; not a dollar has come from public contractors, or government officials, or anybody who could expect to profit therefrom. Now, all sorts of rumours have been circulated in regard to this matter. I read yesterday with deep chagrin, in a respectable newspaper published in this city, the following paragraph:

' Where did the money come from ' ? The answer is that the money came from private sources; that I assert on my honour as a man, on my responsibility as the Prime Minister of Canada. I will read from the article I refer to:

Sir Wilfrid and some other prominent Liberals could, of course, answer this, but so far as the ordinary member of parliament is concerned, the test has not been seen.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

A report is going around the corridors of the House that the Bank of Montreal subscribed $25,000 of the gift.

There is not a word of truth in that statement. The Bank of Montreal did not subscribe one dollar to that fund. That 1 assert. And I made inquiry at once when I saw the paragraph about it.

The Dominion Iron and Steel Company are also said to have contributed a very large sum toward the presentation.

Concerning this I have not the personal knowledge I have of the statement with regard to the Bank of Montreal, but I do not believe there is a word of truth in it. At all events, if such an institution as that had been allowed to subscribe, it would be a gross breach of the understanding which was arrived at when Mr. Fielding's, testimonial was started. I will look into that further. I do not speak with the same authority as in the case of the Bank of Montreal, but I do not think there is any truth in this statement. At all events, it is not to my knowledge, and I think I ought to know if there i3 anything of that kind.

Sir, I have only to repeat what I have, already stated; not a dollar has come into that fund except from honest, legitimate sources. And I do not believe that that which was done for Sir John Macdonald could not be done also for Mr. Fielding. I do not believe that there is a man in this House who, knowing Mr. Fielding as we know him, would believe that he has com sented to put his hand upon a dollar the receipt of which would prevent him from looking his opponents in the face. The honour of Mr. Fielding is above reproach. This I say with full confidence that my word will awake an echo, not only in this House, but throughout the length and breadth of this land. The hon. member for Algoma (Mr. Boyce) told us that his curiosity-curiosity!-had been aroused by what has taken place. I am glad to relieve his feelings, and I am sure he will be glad to know that the suspicion he had in his mind had no foundation whatever.

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CON

William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. B. NORTHRUP (East Hastings).

Mr. Speaker, my only reason for rising on this occasion is that it seems to me that only half the question has been touched upon in the discussion that has so far taken place. The hon. member for Algoma (Mr. Boyce) called attention to the fac-t that a certain resolution had been passed in the year 1891 whereby both sides of politics in this House agreed that no testimonial should be presented to a minister of the Crown to which contractors or those having any financial relations with the minister had contributed. The right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), in his reply, has admitted that, in fact-and, of

course, it could hardly be denied-such a resolution was passed, and he has said two things: First, that the honour of Mr. Fielding is above question-and on that point 1 have no intention of engaging in a discussion with the right lion, gentleman;-and, second, that no contractors or parties who have been forbidden by the resolution of 1891 had contributed to this fund. Sir, this is very satisfactory so far as it goes. Perhaps it would have been a little more satisfactory if the right hon. gentleman whoi made the statement had not been obliged' to admit, in reading the quotation from the newspaper charging that the Bank of Montreal had made a subscription to this fund, that only since yesterday he had inquired into that matter, and, as to the other great corporation, he did not believe' that they had contributed-I say it would' have been more satisfactory had his statement not been weakened by these admissions. But, taking his statement in full, admitting that the right hon. gentleman' had denied, and had proved to the satisfaction of every member of this House so that no member on this side would dare to contradict his statement, that no contractor or official had contributed to this testimonial, I would like to ask the right hon. gentleman: Does he himself think that that is a sufficient answer to the question propounded by the hon. member for West Al-j goma? There are different ways of view-* ing this question, of course, and the present Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Richard Cartwright), in introducing this question in 1891 was very careful to say that he had no intention of entering on the vexed question whether or not a minister of the Crown ought, under any circumstances, to accept a present while he was in office. Now, the case of the Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald has been referred to. I will not occupy more than a moment on, that subject. I would only point out that the remarks made in 1891 by Sir Richard Cartwright and by the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), who now leads the House, showed that the testimonial to Sir John Macdonald was raised in 1870 when he was lying on what was supposed to be his deathbed, that'his family was unprovided for, and both the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and Sir Richard Cartwright thought it a most laudable and most praiseworthy spirit, a most honourable spirit, that actuated the gentlemen who raised such a testimonial at such a time, for all the objections that naturally apply to a testimonial to a living statesman had practically ceased to apply to Sir John Macdonald then. And yet, Sir, even in that case of Sir John Macdonald, Sir Richard Cartwright, in referring to it, used this language,-and I wish particularly to call attention to these words, because

they justify my statement that, even if every word that the present leader of the House had said, were accepted by this side of the House, the real question has not been answered:

It was perfectly well known that he

That is, Sir John Macdonald.

-was in deeply embarrassed circumstances; deeply indebted I believe, and that but a very slender provision indeed had been made for his family. Under these circumstances, if ever, it was quite justifiable for the hon. gentleman's personal friends and admirers to have contributed for the purpose of relieving his family from any danger of want, and had two or three very obvious and reasonable precautions been taken no blame could have been attached to the parties who were engaged in getting up that testimonial. Unfortunately, these precautions were not taken, unfortunately, publicity was not given, as I have always said publicity should be given to the names of persons who subscribed.

The language of Sir Richard Cartwright seems perfectly clear and distinct. But his were not the only words heard on that occasion. The Tight hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who now leads the House spoke on the same subject. He said:-

The testimonial to Sir John Macdonald, as was said by my hon. friend (Sir Richard Cartwright) was conceived in a very proper and laudable spirit at a, critical time in his life, when his life was despaired of, and with a view of providing ^for his family, since he had not been able himself to provide for them. So far, so good. The only thing, with which my hon. friend found fault in regard to what was done on that occasion by the friends of Sir John Macdonald, was that, instead of being done publicly, as it should have been done, it was done in secret.

Later on, the right hon. gentleman said:-

The Minister of Justice said a moment ago in reference to the testimonial offered to the hon. Minister of Public Works, the member for Three Rivers, that that hon. gentleman did not know who were his subscribers. Sir, if he did not know, why did he not look at the list? If the hon. gentleman did not know, it was because he chose to remain ignorant of what were the names on the list, and if he chose to be ignorant of the names which were on that list, is it not because his moral sense told him that he might there find the names of persons giving contributions, which should not be accepted at all? Is it not simply because his conscience told him that if he were to look at that list he would find there the names of men who were every day suppliants in his office for favours? [DOT]That is the reason why the hon. Minister of Public Works did not choose to have a look at that list. If that is not the reason why did he choose to be blind on that matter? Then, I call on the hon. gentlemen opposite to tell what is the reason, if there could be any good reason for it. Certainly there could be nothing wrong of the admirers of a man in public life coming to his help and rescuing

him; but it seems to me that the recipient of such favours would naturally be too glad to know who are the persons to whom he owes gratitude, and if he does not choose to know who are those to whom he owes gratitude, it must be because his moral sense tells him that he would find there names that would be a condemnation of his accepting such a testimonial.

It seems clear from the language of Sir Richard Cartwright and the language of the right hon. gentleman who now leads the House that it was with them a sine qua non not only that contractors should not subscribe, but that the testimonial itself should be published, that the public, knowing who had subscribed, would have a guarantee that the contribution was bona fide. Now it is all very well for any hon. gentleman to stand up in this House and say that he has seen the list and that he knows that every name on that list was the name of a person who was justified in contributing to such a fund. Any gentleman might make that statement with absolute truthfulness, but he may not know the circumstances under which any name was attached, and he may not know that the names attached to any particular list were not the names of the individuals whose hands had gone into their pockets and who had put their names to that subscription. The Minister of Trade and Commerce says, going even farther than the right hon. leader of the government, says:

I have observed, Sir, that some of that hon. gentleman's apologists have undertaken to mitigate the error, or the crime, call it what you wrill, which was committed by the reception of that testimonial under the circumstances by the plea, which I think was also _ advanced in the other case, that the hon.

' gentleman did not know who had subscribed to his testimonial. Such a plea, in my judgment, is a direct aggravation of the offence.

A public minister has no right whatever to allow any gift to be made to him unless it is done publicly, and unless he knows from what sources it proceeds; and, Sir, I would say this, that if a minister of the Crown tells me that he has accepted a gift not knowing and not choosing to know from whom it proceeded, so far from regarding such a plea as a mitigation, I say that such a plea raises a presumption of guilt. It was his duty to know it; it was his duty to find out; it was his duty to see that not one penny went into his pockets or into his coffers unless it came from such sources that he could honourably and fairly receive it.

I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am quite prepared to admit that a testimonial might be presented to a public man in this country, to an hon. gentleman who had given the best years of his life to the country. I am quite prepared to admit that a testimonial of $120,000, or five times that amount might be presented under such

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Will you allow me to say that I have just received a note from a member of the committee stating that the Dominion Iron and Steel Company did not contribute one dollar to that fund.

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Motion agreed to, and House went into Committee of Supply. Law books and books of reference for library, and binding of same, $6,000.


CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. HAGGART.

That is a large sum for books surely.

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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU.

That amount was added on account of new subscriptions.

At six o'clock, the committee took recess.

After Recess.

Committee resumed at eight o'clock.

Administration of justice-salary to stipendiary magistrate for the Northwest Territories, $3,000.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Is that the same as last year?

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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU.

This is a new position. Justice has been dispensed in the Northwest Territories by various officers. There has been some dispute as to jurisdiction as to cases arising in the Northwest. For instance, an Indian was killed there, and there was no one to try the person accused of the murder until a special commissioner and a jury were appointed for the case.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

Will a member of parliament be appointed to this position?

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LIB

Jacques Bureau (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU.

No application has been received yet.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Is this officer to devote all his time to his duties?

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May 3, 1910