April 27, 1911

OF THE DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS OF THE DOMINION OF CANADA THIRD SESSION-ELEVENTH PARLIAMENT 1-2 GEOKGE V., 1910-11 VOL. CII COMPRISING THE PERIOD FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH DAY OF APRIL TO THE TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF JULY, INCLUSIVE OTTAWA PRINTED BY C. H. PARMELEE, PRINTER TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY 1913


House of Commons Uebntes


THIRD SESSION-ELEVENTH PARLIAMENT.


Thursday, April 27, 1911.


QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR HUGHES.

L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. In the Ottawa ' Free Press ' and I understand in some other papers of recent date there appears an item, trival it is. true, but still more or less important, to the effect that I had apologized to the legal gentleman in the city of Montreal who had defended the prisoner in the recent Masonic trial in that city. I thought I was very fair to that gentleman in explaining to the House, and the country that he had not appealed on his own account to religious fanaticism in order to defend the prisoner. I think I went much further than I might have been expected to do. He explained, as I stated to the House, that his object in referring to religious fanaticism in the trial to show that the prisoner had no intent to commit robbery for the sake of robbery itself, but was carried away by the spirit of fanaticism characteristic of all religious fanatics. I made no apology to any one. I merely recited the statement in fairplay to the gentleman who conducted the defence on that occasion. The object of the barrister was to show that the prisoner was carried away with fanaticism, and had no intention to rob. That was the reason why he brought it in. The fanaticism was admitted as regards the prisoner, but not on the part of the lawyer further than to explain that the prisoner had no intent to commit robbery for his own advantage.

Topic:   QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE-MR HUGHES.
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CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.

LANCTOT, M.P.

?

Mr. W. M.@

GERMAN, (Welland). Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to move that the third report of the Select Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections be now concurred in. Before submitting the motion, n is perhaps advisable that I should as

shortly as possible explain to the House mv views in regard to the evidence that was taken before that committee. The committee had several meetings, and examined a number of witnesses, and were aided in their investigations by counsel employed for the gentleman who made the charge, and for the gentleman against whom the charge was made. Speaking for myself, I wish to :say that the committee were very considerably aided by the intelligent manner in which those gentlemen conducted their respective sides of the case. They both showed themselves to be keen examiners, good lawyers, and very correct in their mode of conducting proceedings of this kind. The charge is a very serious one, in so far as a member of this House is concerned. That charge is as follows:

That in the course of the years 1908, 1909 and 1910, irregularities, abuses, frauds, malversations and robberies have been committed in the shops and stores of the government of Canada at St. Joseph de Sorel and in the city of Sorel, in the electoral district of Richelieu.

That barrels and tins of paint and other goods of this nature have been illegally and fraudulently taken and carried away from the said stores and shops and transported to the house of Mr. Adelard Lanctot, then and now a .member of the House of Commons of Canada, for the electoral district of Richelieu, which house was then being bnilt on George street, at Sorel above mentioned, and ready to be painted.

That with these goods and paint, paint works, decoration and varnish works, have been done by the employees of the government of Canada under the supervision of the painters' foreman employed by said government at the said place, at the government's expense and during the hours supposed to be devoted to the government and for which said employees were paid by the government, these men registering each day as if they had really worked for the government, and this during weeks and months; the materials and time, thus furnished, are valued at about one thousand or twelve hundred dollars.

That said goods were so fraudulently appropriated to, and said work so fraudulently done at the expense of the government of Canada for the benefit of the said Adelard Lanctot, then and now a member of the House as aforesaid, with his knowledge, assent and approval, the said Adelard Lanctot abusively and fraudulently profiting at the

public expense and to the public detriment by his position as member of the House.

Now, that appears to me to be a very serious charge made against an hon. member of this House, and before the tiouse comes to the conclusion that the hon. member for Richelieu is to be condemned on a charge so serious, it seems to me that the evidence, and all the evidence taken, should be very carefully weighed and very fairly considered. On the day the charge was given utterance to in the House, Mr. Lanc-tot, the member for Richelieu, made a statement in which he said that in 1910, in consequence of the serious illness of Mrs. Lanctot, his wife, who was away at a health resort, it was necessary for him to be considerably away from home, arid it was-I think he used the word ' impossible ' -at any rate, he was unable to get painters in Sorel to paint his house, and he, therefore, spoke to Mr. Jean Baptiste Page, who was foreman of the painters in the government yards at Sorel, to know if he could let him have the men to paint the house, and would look after the painting of the House. Mr. Page lived across the street from the building which Mr. Lanctot was having painted. Mr. Page told him that he would be glad to do it, the expression he used being ' with pleasure, if you can get the permission of Mr. Papineau ' who was the director or superintendent of the government shipyard at Sorel. The men were permitted to go and work on Mr. Lanctot's house. Mr. Lanctot said that he had on different occasions asked to have an account of the men's time and the paint that was supplied sent to him so that he could from time to time pay the men's wages, but Mr. Champagne who was the timekeeper at the government yards, and who kept the time of the men, told him to wait until the work was all completed, and then he would send in a full account of the whole work, and it could be paid in one lump sum. I apprehend, if that is the true condition of affairs, that no person inside or outside this House will condemn Mr. Lanctot for having fraudulently, or with intention of fraud, used the employees of the government, or government material for the painting of his house. It is simply a question as to whether that statement is true or untrue, as to whether or not the evidence which was adduced before the committee bears out the statement of Mr. Lanctot.

In the first place, it is alleged that he could have procured men in Sorel to do the work and that it was not necessary for him to go to the government yard to secure employees to do it. The evidence on that particular point is not voluminous. There were only three witnesses called, and the first witness called was Mr. Henry Proulx, a contractor in Sorel. He makes the state-Mr. GERMAN.

ment that there were four painting contractors in Sorel who could have done this work for Mr. Lanctot. His evidence will be found on page 48 of the printed evidence. But, he says this:

I do not know that they would have had the time to do the work.

So that his evidence as to that is more guesswork than anything else. He says that there are four painting contractors there who might have been got to do the work, but he does not know if they would have had the time. Of these four only two are called. A Mr. Georges Cartier, a painter is called, and Auguste Payette, a painter, is also called, two out of the four contractors whom Mr. Proulx said were able to do the work. Why the other two were not called I cannot understand because I may say that the committee gave every possible opportunity to the learned counsel, Mr. McDougall, who is a very able lawyer, evidently well accustomed to conduct a case of this nature, and well accustomed to conducting cases of any nature as he showed himself to be an expert cross-examiner, and an expert conductor of the case. But yet, he only calls two of these witnesses. What does Cartier say:

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

What page?

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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LIB

William Manley German

Liberal

Mr. GERMAN.

Mr. Cartier's evidence will be found on pages 29-36. He says that in the month of November, 1909, almost a year before Mr. Lanctot's house was ready for the painter, he met Mr. Lanctot and asked him about doing the painting. He says that he asked for the job of painting the house and that Mr. Lanctot said he would not give the job without seeing him, but that he did not see him again. This was in November, prior to the July or August when the painting work began. Mr. Cartier, in his cross-examination, admits that during the year 1910 he was busy with other jobs of painting, that he had work to do. He went to the city of Montreal to do certain work, his time was occupied, and on cross-examination he had to admit that the painting work which he had done in Sorel had not been satisfactory to, at any rate, some of his customers. It was very evident from his own statement that he was not a man whom any person would 'be willing to trust with the responsibility of looking after work of that kind, particularly when the owner of the work and the man wh& wanted the work done would not be present himself. I think, therefore, that Mr. Cartier's evidence is not such as should impress the members of this House with the idea that he could have done the work, and done it with satisfaction. Mr. Augustin Payette gives' his evidence at page 120, and he says that one evening in March, 1910, he met Mr. Lane-

tot on the street about nine o'clock and said to him:

You won't forget me for the painting.

And that Mr. Lanctot said:

I will think it over.

Nothing was further said. These were the only two men who were called to even say that they could have done the work. Mr. Payette, on cross-examination, also showed very clearly that he was not a man of that standing as a painter, or as a contracting painter, whom a person would he willing to trust to do a good piece of work such as this was supposed to be. These are the only two witnesses, and this the only evidence to controvert the proposition of Mr. Lanctot, that he could not get men in Sorel during the months of July, August and September, when he wanted the painting done. I cannot imagine that any person with the feelings of fairness will say that Mr. Lanctot was overstepping the mark when he made the statement that he could not get men in Sorel during those months to do his painting.

That being the case he goes to the government yards. In May, 1910, between the 15th and 30th, he had a conversation with Mr. Page-acquaintances, it is sure, and no doubt, friends. He met Mr. Page and asked him if he could overlook the painting and lend men to him from the government yards. Mr. Page says:

Yes, if you will get the consent of Mr. Papineau, the director.

About the 29th of May-the evidence is the 29th, but it was evidently the 28th as the 29th was on a Sunday-he went to the government shipyards to see Mr. Papineau. Upon going there he saw Mr. Champagne, and he saw Mr. Page. He asked one of them to see Mr. Papineau and see if Mr. Papineau would consent to allow the men to work on the house. They found, and it is proved clearly now, that Mr. Papineau was away from Sorel. Mr. Papineau says that he left Sorel early in the morning of the 28th, went to Montreal where he stayed until Monday afternoon, attending some fete or church entertainment that was being held in Montreal on Sunday. It is very clear that Mr. Papineau was not in Sorel on Saturday the 28th of May or on Sunday the 29th of May. But, he did see Mr. Champagne. Mr. Champagne is the timekeeper, and would be the man that one would naturally be inclined to speak to with regard to a matter of this kind particularly when Mr. Papineau was away. Mr. Champagne said:

Yes, we can let you have the men.

And Mr. Lanctot said:

Keep an account of their time and I will pay you for the men's time.

On that day, or a day or two previous, he is not sure which, he had a conversation with Mr. Page, the foreman painter, .about the supply of paint, and he told Mr. Page to get the paint required from time to time from the firm known as Cyrille Labelle & Co., of Sorel, with which firm, Mr. Lanctot said, he had an account. Mr. Page said to Mr. Lanctot: They may not have the

paint you will require. It was then arranged that if they had not the paint in stock which was required, Mr. Page was to lend the paint from the government store, was to keep an accurate account of the paint used; and Mr. Lanctot would pay for the paint after the completion of the job. That is all there was about the transaction so far as Mr. Lanctot was concerned. He was very seldom in Sorel during that summer; he was back and forth from time to time, but not very frequently. He saw that the work was going on, and that Mr. Page was looking after it. That being the case, and if that is all there was to the matter, surely there was no fraud and there was no indiscretion on the part of Mr. Lanctot. He went to these men to borrow the men required; the foreman consented to allow the use of the men; they were to keep an accurate account of the time of the men and of the supplies, and all were to be paid for. That, to my mind, is exactly what happened.

It is contended that the accounts were falsified, that certain men worked on Mr. Lanctot's house for a longer period of time than was charged for in the accounts. One Alfred Douaire, a painter, states in his evidence that he worked on Mr. Lanctot's house for eight weeks, during July, August, September and October. He kept no account or record of the time, and it will be noticed that in his declaration read to the House when the charge was made, he does not state that he worked eight weeks or any specified time. But he says in his evidence that bn his conscience he worked eight weeks during the period referred to. He is down in the account which was filed as exhibit No. 2, for only 15 days' work at $2 a day-and there is no dispute about the daily wages which are admitted to have been the correct wages the government paid the men. Now, it is contended that Alfred Douaire's evidence on that point is to be accepted, that he worked eight weeks instead of 15 days. Mr. Pagb says that he kept the time of every man from day to day. It was not shown that he has any personal interest in the matter. When he was first spoken to about it, he told Mr. Lanctot he would be willing that the men should go there if Mr. Lanctot got the approval of Mr. Papineau. He was to keep

the time of the men, and he swears he kept the time of the men and kept it accurately. He had his time book, which -was produced before the committee shown as exhibit 23. That book was criticised most carefully. He was cross-examined at great length by Mr. McDougall on his time book. Every opportunity was given to show inaccuracies or falsification; and, after a thorough examination by Mr. McDougall of Mr. Page and his time book, the book was shown to be in every particular absolutely accurate no suspicion of falsification in the book. He kept the time from day to day, and each week he supplied Mr. Champagne, the time-keeper, with a sheet showing the time of the men as he had kept it. These sheets were kept by Mr. Champagne until the work was completed and the account sent to Mr. Lanctot was made up from these sheets and from . Mr. Page's time-book. Now, it is asked that the statement of Mr. Douaire should be accepted in preference to the statement of Mr. Page, that we are to believe that Mr. Douaire worked eight weeks and that, instead of keeping an account of eight weeks' time in his book, Mr. Page deliberately and fraudulently failed to keep account of Douaire's time, and in that way defrauded the government. I do not quite see how any person of fair mind can possible reach such a conclusion. It can be easily imagined that Mr. Douaire is mistaken. He is not working continuously for the government. His evidence in that particular shows that for many days, and for weeks at a time, he was not working for the government but was laid off. It can easily be imagined that Mr. Douaire, in that matter, was mistaken. But we cannot reject the statement of Mr. Page without at the same time holding him responsible for perjury, for he deliberately says: There is my book; I kept the time from day to day; I marked it down each day in that book. He cannot be mistaken; either his statement is correct or he is deliberately perjuring himself. I will ask any hon. member which of these men he is prepared to believe. Are you going to say that the evidence of Mr. Douaire, who worked from time to time and who kept no record of his time-does not pretend that he did; admits that he did not-is to be taken against the evidence of Mr. Page, who did keep the time and kept it correctly. I should hardly think so; I should hardly think that any jury or any court would say that Mr. Douaire's evidence was to be accepted and that of Mr. Page rejected. The only man besides Mr. Douaire who says that he worked for a greater number of days than is shown by the time-book kept by Mr. Page is Mr. Louis Paul. There is a pecu-Mr. GERMAN.

liarity in regard to Mr. Louis Paul's statement. At page 61 of the evidence is given exhibit No. 14, in which Mr. Paul states that he worked 30 days or one month. It is shown in the evidence by Henri Proulx, who is called as a witness, that Louis Paul gave him this statement in which he says:

I_ declare that I have worked at Mr. Lanc-tot's house for one month, paid for at the government.

On the time-book, Mr. Louis Paul is down as having worked 20 days at $2 a day. When that statement was placed before the committee I unhesitatingly, and with the annroval of all the members of the committee, ruled that the statement was not evidence, it was only marked for identification, with the expectation that Mr. Louis Paul would be called as a witness to verify the statement himself. I submit that that statement should not have been offered as an exhibit in this evidence, and it should not be considered, because it is-certainly not evidence of any kind. There was no opportunity to cross-examine Louis Paul, this is his bald statement, not even made to the committee, but given to an outsider who is called as a witness. He says he worked thirty days, and even applying the same rule that you apply to Mr. Douaire and Mr. Page, where does it land us? Supposing Louis Paul had been there and made that statement; ' I worked for thirty days,' he kept no accurate account of it, he kept no account of any kind. Mr. Page did keep an account, and says he kept it correctly. I submit that the evidence of Mr. Page, on these matters should be accepted, rather than the evidence of Douaire, or the evidence of Louis Paul, even though that evidence were admissible, which it is not. Those are the only two witnesses called who say they worked a longer time than is shown in the time-book kept by Page. Well it appears to me that the committee would be doing a wrong thing to doubt the evidence of Page, who appears to be an eminently respectable man, and a highly intelligent man, who was not shown to be in any way personally connected with the matter, who states frankly, and above board, what his connection with the matter was, with an apparent desire to tell the truth, apparently having been desirous of keeping a correct account of the time of all these men. I say we should not place the statements of these men who kept no time as against the statement by Mr. Page, and as I say, those are the only two who were called, the only evidence there is of any time having been worked which was not charged for.

iBut it is said that the work did not cost nearly as much to Mr. Lanctot as it was

,7881

woTth, and that that is evidence that the men's time has not been fully accounted for, and that all the material which went into the painting of the house had not been charged for by the government and paid for by Mr. Lanctot. Now, what is the position with regard to that? We find that Mr. Lanctot paid the government for 217 days painting on his house. There were about four days of ordinary labourers, who were not working on the painting ivork, w'hich made it a little more than that; but the labour on the painting came to $367.59. Now, Mr. Douaire, the star witness of the gentleman who made this charge, himself admits, at page 36, that 216 days' work was all that was necessary to do the painting of that house, and 217 days work was paid for by Mr. Lanctot at the prices paid by the government, and Mr. Douaire says that 216 days' work is what he calculated. Now, we find there is $367.52 for labourers on the painting. An account was kept of all the paint that was supplied, and Mr. Page tells us what was done. He says that he mixed the paints himself. When he found that paint could not be obtained from Labelle & Company, at Sorel, he mixed the quantity of paint to be used on Mr. Lanctot's house, and set it apart for that use and for none other. The whole of that paint was not used, but the whole of it amounted,, in value, to $81.60. As soon as that account came in to Mr. Lanctot after the work was completed, he paid the money. Mr. Papineau replaced the paint, having purchased it from the same people, I presume, the government buy their supplies from; Mr. Papineau purchased the paint at $81.60, and Mr. Lanctot paid him the money. Then there was $18.95, an account with Labelle & Company, for paints, and there was an account of $25 with Mr. Joseph Rivet ifor [paintilng blinds, wint dows, &c., making a total of $493.07 for the painting. Now, we are reminded that Mr. Douaire says that the painting should have been worth $950, but he calculates in the $950, about 20 per cent of a profit. Another witness Isays about $1,(200, but they all admit that 217 days is the requisite number of days to do the painting, and then it is a question of what the paint itself was worth.

Now, to establish that with accuracy, three witnesses are called who give their evidence in regard to that matter at pages 201, 204,- and 215 of the evidence. The first witness is Mr. Trudeau, manager of the painting department of Henry Morgan & Company, of Montreal. He has occupied that position for 11 years, is an experienced man in painting work. He went to Mr. Lanctot's and measured the house, took the number of cubic yards in tilt

house which had been painted, and can speak rwith accuracy. These mien who gave their evidence as to the cost of painting did not measure the house, they all admit that they did not measure, the house, and they are speaking from guess. Mr. Trudeau went there and measured the house, and he put the number of yards at 685, and he puts the value of the painting done $491.38, as against $493 which it actually cost. Then we have at page 204, Mr. Joseph Dagenais, sworn. He lives at Montreal, he is a painter and contractor, and has been a painter for 16 years. He went to Mr. Lanctot's and made a measurement of the number of yards of painting that was done, and he put the value of the work at $502.71. Here I wish to distinguish between the cost and the value, because all these men say that in estimating the value they add a profit of 10 to 15 per cent; he puts the value of the work done at $502.71, and he measured accurately the number of yards of painting, and indeed went there for the purpose of making a statement of the value of the work. Then at page 215, we have the statement of Mr. Joseph Edmond Gauthier, of 354 Champlain street, Montreal, manager for the painting department of Castle & Sons, Montreal. -

He has had many years experience at painting work. He went to Sorel, measured the house, took the number of yards of paint work and he puts the value at $461. There are three men of experience, none of them having the slightest interest in this matter, one way or the other, all leading business men of Montreal, and is there any person who will be bold enough to say that these men will come here and deliberately perjure themselves for the sake of satisfying the desires of Mr. Lanctot or any one else. They are experienced men, they went there to make the measurements, they did make them, they speak with authority, and that is the statement they give. Two of them are below the amount it cost Mr. Lanctot and one of them is only $4 or $5 above that amount. Remember they are including in that the contractor's profit as well as the cost of the work. So I say that when Mr. Lanctot made his statement in the House or in the committee, that he thought the work was costing him more than it should have done, he was speaking by the book. I cannot apprehend that any one will feel that the work cost Mr. Lanctot actually less than it should have cost. When you have got that far you have got just as far as the evidence will carry you-in regard to those particulars. In the first place was the time of the men, employees of the government, who worked on Mr. Lanctot's house, fully and completely paid for? The evidence is overwhelming

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Did Mr. Lanctot understand that he was making this compact or arrangement with the men or with the department?

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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LIB

William Manley German

Liberal

Mr. GERMAN.

With the men through Mr. Champagne and Mr. Page. The evidence shows clearly what happened, and we cannot go outside the record. The evidence shows that Mr. Lanctot went to the yards, having first spoken to Page about being able to secure the men. He went to

the yeards to see Papineau, to get the consent of Papineau, he got the consent of Champagne, and Mr. Lanetot that day left Sorel, and was not back for several weeks, and was there for only a little time in the summer; Champagne and Page were the men exclusively and solely responsible for the sending of the employees and the providing of the paint.

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I am merely asking for information. Might I be permitted one more question? Did the officials understand it in the same way as Mr. Lanetot? [DOT]

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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LIB

William Manley German

Liberal

Mr. GERMAN.

Does my hon. friend mean Champagne and Page?

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I mean the men who made this arrangement-did they understand it in the same way that Mr. Lanetot understood it, according to my hon. friend's apprehension?

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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LIB

William Manley German

Liberal

Mr. GERMAN.

As to how the men understood it there is no evidence at all.

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Not the men, but the managers, the foremen.

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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LIB

William Manley German

Liberal

Mr. GERMAN.

Champagne and Page understood it just as Mr. Lanetot understood it. They understood that the time of the men was to be kept and that Mr. Lanetot was to pay the men when the work was completed. Mr. Champagne, of course, understood that these men were being paid at that time by the government, but outside of Mr. Champagne there was no other official of the government who knew how the men were being paid. Mr. Page did not know; he kept the time and returned it to Mr. Champagne as being time for work done on Mr. Lanctot's house. Mr. Champagne, instead of sending in these accounts day by day or week by week to Mr. Lanetot, and having Mr. Lanetot pay the accounts, sent in the time to the government, and had it paid by the government, as if those men were doing ordinary government work, and kept it against Mr. Lanetot, and Mr. Lanetot paid it at the end.

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The reason I asked was this: If the officials understood it in the same way Mr. Lanetot understood it, according to my hon. friend's view, I do not see why the government had anything to do with paying the men at all.

Topic:   CHARGES AGAINST MR. A.
Subtopic:   LANCTOT, M.P.
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April 27, 1911