Mr. King declares Berlin Board of Trade did not denounce reciprocity. Record disproves it. Return in Commons shows that he was informed of board's action.
Then appears the following:
Special to the r Mail and Empire.'
Ottawa, March 14.-Another return of resolutions and correspondence respecting the reciprocity agreement was brought down to parliament to-day by Hon. Mr. Fielding. Among the resolutions opposing the agreement was one passed by the Board of Trade of Berlin, on January 13. It will be remembered that during his speech in condemnation of the government's policy Mr. Lloyd Harris (Brantford) mentioned that the Berlin Board of Trade had adopted such a resolution. He was at once contradicted by Hon Mackenzie King.
The file of correspondence brought down today includes the resolution to which Mr. Harris referred. It also includes a telegram from Mr. M. W. A. Lochead, secretary of the Berlin organization, apprising the Minister of Labour of the action of the board and an acknowledgment of its reception sent in reply by Mr. King. The resolution itself reached Ottawa on January 14 and Mr. King wrote to Berlin saying that he had laid it before Sir Wilfrid Laurier and that the premier had promised to give it due consideration.
There is such a semblance of truth in that article that I am afraid the public will not be able to discern the amount of error which it really contains. The statement I made to the House when the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Harris) spoke the other evening was entirely and absolutely correct. I refrained from drawing the attention of the House to this article until my hon. friend, who has been absent for the last few days, was in his seat; and as he is in his seat to-day, I now draw the attention of the House to it. When my hon. friend was speaking, he made reference to an article which appeared in the Toronto ' Globe ' and which led him to believe that the Berlin Board of Trade had, a day or two previous, passed a resolution opposing the agreement which is proposed and which is now before us for consideration. The hon. gentleman, along with others in this country, got his information from a report sent out erroneously by the secretary of the Berlin Board of Trade, and which appeared' in several papers, but in particular in the London ' Free Press ', under the following head:
The Berlin Board of Trade unanimously oppose pact.
Then it goes on :
At a recent meeting of the board this resolution was reaffirmed.
Referring to a resolution passed while the negotiations were under way, and before the present agreement was made known. This article, which appeared in the London ' Free Press ', was copied into Mr. KING.
other newspapers, and also a despatch was sent to the Toronto ' Globe.' It was this despatch which led my hon friend and many others to believe that the Berlin Board of Trade had reaffirmed the resolution they had passed at the beginning of the proceedings; and it was to this alleged reaffirmed resolution, which he supposed to relate to the proposed agreement now under consideration, that my hon. friend referred. My hon. friend is in his seat and acknowledges that in that statement I am quite right. I understood him to refer to the resolution that was supposed to be reaffirmed, but which in fact was never reaffirmed; and it was because I knew he was in error and would not intentionally make an error that I corrected him. The Berlin Board of Trade did in fact pass a resolution when they were afraid that the manufacturers of that town were going to be seriously affected by the reciprocal agreement. That resolution was forwarded to me and I presented it to the right hon. the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister will recall that I spoke of the importance of considering the weight to be attached to an expression of opinion of that kind coming from a manufacturing centre like Berlin.