The 12th December, 1910. Mr. Lanctot is asked:
Q. I do not understand this account, Mr. Lanctot; this account is from the Mount Royal Color and Varnish Company, Limited, of Montreal, to the Department of Marine?- A. This is the account that was sent to the Department of Marine and Fisheries to replace the materials I had got from the Department of Marine and Fisheries. I will explain how it was done: After having sent my cheque to Mr. Papineau on the 22nd of November, 1910-which was Tuesday or Wednesday, I believe-the following Saturday, I think, I came from Ottawa to Sorel. I saw Mr. Papineau at the Department of Marine who told me:
That is a little remarkable. He does not go to Mr. Papineau to get his bill but he saw Mr. Papineau, and the latter said to him.
-'You have an account for paints; you had some paint; you had some material from Mr. Jean-Baptiste Page. Here is his account.'
Q. He had the account?-A. Yes, he had the account. He told me: 'You want to return these goods, do you not?'
That is not an offer to return them.
-' I said: ' Yes, as it was understood with Mr. Page.'
Q. At what date did this take place?-A. I could not say exactly at what date. I know it was a Saturday, at all events.
Q. How many days had elapsed from the time you had sent your cheque to the time you had this interview with Mr. Pagd?-A. I do not know. It was the following Saturday or the Saturday after or the fortnight after
That was either the first Saturday or a fortnight after he had the interview with Mr. Papineau.
-I coud not say exactly. It was not very
long after anyway.
Q. Then it was the following Saturday, or the Saturday a week following?-A. I suppose so. Perhaps I saw him on the street; I do
not remember. Mr. Papineau told me: 'I will send Mr. Page's account. I will give a requisition to get the same quantity and the same quality of material from the factory to correspond with the material you got from the shop.'
Q. I repeat my question. Did you receive an account from Jean-Baptiste Page for the paint that was furnished to you?-A. I tell you it was sent to Mr. Papineau. I do not remember having seen it. ,
Q. Will you, if you please, answer directly to my question and say if Mr. Page furnished you with an account?-A. I do not remember. At all events if I got an account from Mr. Page, I took it to Mr. Papineau. Mr. Papineau sent a requisition for the same quantity and the same quality to the same factory and the goods were shipped to Sorel and I paid the freight for the carriage of the goods from Montreal to Sorel. . .
Q. Will you explain, Mr. Lanctot, how it is that on the 22nd of November, 1910, you had settled, according to your statement, with the Department of Marine and Fisheries for the sum of $375, amount of your cheque for the work done by the men at your house and you did not settle on the same day for the material and paint furnished?-A. It is because I was not to pay for the material. I had borrowed it and 1 was to return it. . [DOT]
Mr. Papineau paid the factory and I reimbursed Mr. Papineau.
So that, unmistakably, he had not paid Mr Papineau on the 6th December. Thus, I say whether this understanding with Mr. Papineau was or was not before the 6th December, it is clear that he had not paid for the material before the declarations were made, and clear that he was not to pay for the material at all but was to return it. I think the letter does say that he was to return it. The testimony of Mr. Papineau shows that there was quite a long delay, shows that it was in December. This is what Mr. Papineau says at page 109: He is asked about the painting of
When did you see Mr. Lanctot in connection with this account, Exhibit No. 20?
That is for painting.
A. Well, I saw him-at the time of receiving the letter. I expected to see him within a few days and then I acknowledged the receipt.
So that on December 2, when Mr. Papineau acknowledged the receipt, he had not yet seen Mr. Lanctot.
When I saw he was not turning up in Sorel I acknowledged the receipt of the letter,
I hope the hon. member is satisfied that he had no arrangement previous to the 2nd of December.
-and a few days afterwards I had occasion to see him in Sorel and I mentioned the account.
That is the second, the day on which Mr. Papineau wrote, and he had not yet any
pretense of a settlement. Four days after that, on the 6th, Mr. Lanctot was in Ottawa. He can hardly on the interval have made a settlement, And even if he had, was it right that he should say he had made a settlement long before the 30th of November? It is inconceivable he should have done that if he were trying to tell the truth.
-'which account, the account Mr. Champagne had given you?-A. The account for material. I told him I thought the best plan would he to have the same quantities of material returned to the department. He was quite willing that I have that done for him.
Q. That was the last communication you had with him on that subject?-A. I do not recall a'ny other.
Q. Well, in writing you, for instance, inclosing the cheque to pay for the mens' time did not he also tell you there would be an account for material, for paints? Did he say anything about that?
A. I do not think he said anything, but I knew it about the same time.
Q. Then you knew it from Mr. Champagne? Well then he agreed to return the materials to the department?-A. Yes.
Q. Well, how were the materials got?-A, About the same time
That is, about the time the settlement was made-about the 12th December, I put it at:
-about that time there was the manager of the Mount Royal Paint and Varnish Company-
Q. Mr. Lamontagne?-A. Mr. Lamontagne- happened to be in Sorel and as he was one of the men supplying material for the department at one time and another, I gave him a list of what we required; you see the list was according to that memoranda.
Q. The memoranda of Mr. Champagne? Exhibit No. 20?-A. Yes. Mr. Page, so that Mr. Lamontagne agreed to send the goods to the department, and I gave him my personal cheque.
Q. Have you any cheque with you, Mr. Papineau?-A. Yes. Then at the next
Q. Will you exhibit your cheque?-A. Yes.
And the -cheque is dated 12th of December, and the goods were charged on the 12th, and delivered, I think, on the 13th. So, I think I was making no mistake in saying that not only was there no payment but there was no settlement with Mr. Papineau when Mr. Lanctot wrote that letter. In the second place, the minister himself says that he would not have undertaken to say a word to Mr. Blondin, if that hon. gentleman had gone to him, about the lawfulness or unlawfulness of what had happened, what he would have told him was that the goods had been paid for. Well, of course, if that settled- matters we would not be here this evening. But the whole point is that we do not settle an unlawful appropriation of goods by paying for them. This is what the minister says on the subject, I quote from the portion of his evid-Mr. DOHERTY
ence which hears on Mr. Blondin's conduct. The minister (Mr. Brodeur), is being examined by Mr. Laflamme:
Q. Well now, just one question: from the 22nd of November up to the 6th of March, did Mr. Blondin ever inquire from you directly or indirectly, verbally or in writing, personally or through outside parties, whether or not the labour had been paid as well as the material ?
Question objected to, but the Chairman allows the question.
Hon. Mr. -Brodeur.-No, he did not.
By the Chairman-
Q. Could he have ascertained by inquiry from you that Mr. Lanctot had paid for the labour -that was done on his house and also had returned to the department -the material which had been supplied to him for that purpose?-A. Yes, Mr. Blondin, being a member of parliament, and making an inquiry of that kind, I would be very glad, of course, to have given him -the information which I bad in my department concerning the matter.
By Mr. Laflamme-
Q. That is to say, you bad on the 6th of March all the information required to inform the House generally
We know the minister did not inform the House generally:
-as well as Mr. Blondin, that the material had not been fraudulently appropriated, robbed or stolen?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. But had been borrowed?-A. Immediately after I got that information, as I told you, I inquired from Mr. Lanctot, and later on from Mr. Papineau, and I was informed that the labour had been reimbursed, had been paid by Mr. Lanctot and that the material had been given back.
Now, if there is -anything in that to satisfy one that the labour and material had been lawfully got, then Mt. Blond-in -should have withdrawn his charges. But to say material illegally got had been paid for or returned, leaves the charge exactly where it was.
By Mr. McDougall-
Q. As I understand, that would be a matter of opinion. You considered at that time the matter to be lawful and others may have considered it unlawful?-A. 1 do not speak of the lawfulness of the matter. -I speak of the information which I had been given.
Q. The information which yon had?-A. Yes.
Q. And the information -which you had consisted of letters of Mr. Lanctot saying that the matter -was all right, that he had borrowed the goods and -had paid for them?-A. Yes. He told me .that it -was true that some men had worked on his house
This also is important as showing -that Mr. Lanctot-different from the impression of the hon. member for Welland-knew that these men were on the pay-lists.
-and were retained on the pay-list, but that he had had reimbursed the money.
Q. And from that you drew an inference?- A. I must say, however, if I remember aright, in all justice to Mr. Lanctot, that he did not think those men were to be put on the list.
Q. And from that you drew the inference that everything was all right. As minister, you were prepared to impart the information to iMr. Blondin or to anybody else that everything was all right?
And here again the minister was guarded.
-A. Without passing judgment on the irregularity of the proceeding, I would have ready to give any member of parliament all the information I had because I thought it was for the benefit of all concerned.
I think that is all that bears on the statement that Mr. Blondin could have got the information if he had asked- for it.
So, the hon. member for Champlain (Mr. Blondin), has been censured by this majority report in this respect, because he did not go to the minister by whom he would have been told that Mr. Lanctot had paid for the work on the 22nd of November, and had returned- the goods some time after. Now, if it were not that sufficient weight, is attached to the fact to build on it -this condemnation of the hon, member for Champlain, I would not refer to it, but it is a signifl-cant fact-which might have influenced the judgment of the hon. member for Champlain as much as the statement -of the minister, which no doubt was perfectly true according to the information he had received
that what the hon. member for Champlain would have learned is that the sending of this cheque with great promptitude on the 22nd of November, the bill being made on the 21st, was singularly coincident with the fact that the minister, on the 22nd of November had sent instructions to Sorel to institute further investigation into the Marine and Fisheries Department. Now, was that a circumstance that would have added, in the mind of the hon. member for Champlain, any very great weight as bearing upon the manner in which these goods were obtained, to the fact that payment had been paid on that very -specific date? All these circumstances would still have remained, that all this thing had been carried- -on in secret without the knowledge oi Mr. Papineau, that there did not exist in any book of the government at any period one single charge to show that Mr. Lanctot had ev-er got anything from the department, that from the beginning to end this thing had been kept concealed- until this date, the 22n-d of November, coincident with the day on which the Minister of Marine sent instructions to Sorel for further investigation.
I am speaking now only from the point of view of the question whether the hon. member for Champlain had reasonable 251
.cause for going ahead. He might well (have thought that there was not much weight to be attached to the fact that payment was made just when the investigation was being started, for work and goods the disposal whereof had been withheld from everybody representing the department up to the 22nd of November. Might he not well have thought, that does not mean much, this payment made just when is coming the time when the people will find out what has been done. You have to look at the position of the member for Champlain, and the reasons he had for forming his opinion on that matter. What would he have had reason to believe had he gone to the minister and got that information? He would simply have got the information that after the thing was all done, when the cat was just coming out of the bag, a payment had been made.
It does seem to me an extraordinary thing that a committee whose standard was so low that it could see no harm in what the member for Richelieu had admittedly done, should suddenly take so lofty a position when it came to be a question -of the degree of prudence which the member for Champlain should have exercised in making these charges If it were not for the eloquent protests of the Minister of Justice, one would have been tempted to think-of course my thinking so might have been attributed to partisanship-but one would have been tempted to think that there had been perhaps a slight grain of partisanship in the balance that he was holding as between these two gentlemen. I must apologize to the House for detaining it so long on this case. I have spoken to this length because I thought it was my duty to do what I could to clearly convey my view of what is the proper conclusion to be reached on this matter, and thus to show at least that I realize how deeply the public interest is involved in parliament coming to a right decision on this important question.