Will the Prime Minister say whether or not such a statement is made there? He knows it is not. My right hon. friend smiles over this because he is thinking in the back of his head: Well, there are two items placed together so that if anybody wishes to he can infer that what the Toronto ' World ' meant was that there probably, if you dug into it, you might find the source from which the money came. But that is not a direct allegation. Two statements are made and persons reading the statements may take a certain inference from their being
so placed. But there is a difference between an inference and a direct allegation. My right hon. friend would perhaps. have been perfectly right in stating that the two statements were so deftly placed, side by side, that it might lead any one to infer that the money came from the Canadian Northern to the credit of the minister. I would no,t have found any fault with that statement oi the case, but when he tries to make this House or the country believe that the Toronto ' World ' made a specific state ment, made an allegation that Mr. Olivei (received his money from the Canadian Northern railway out of that transaction, he is undertaking a task which he cannot perform in this House, or in the country. No such allegation was made by the ' World.' The minister had to do that in order to find a basis for demanding a committee of inquiry.
With reference to this whole matter the Prime Minister has to-day not gone very lengthily, or very fully into the case, but he has made certain statements. He says that the amendment which is. moved by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition would not be fair to the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver). What does 'the amendment call for? It calls for an investigation into the basic facts which were brought out by the Prime Minister himself, and made a public question by the Prime Minister on April 28. This question would not have been before the House as a public matter as it is to-day if it had not been for the action of the Prime Minister himself. The Prime* Minister bases his action, so he told this House, on an article which appeared in the ' Telegram ' the day preceding, if I remembei aright, on April 27. The Prime Minister told this House that having seen and read that article and found what was stated in it, he deemed it of so much importance that he considered it was no longer in the category of a private, or personal matter and he brought it to the attention of this House in order to make his own position fair and clear before the House. How did he make his own position clear? He endeavoured to do so by referring to another gentleman who had nothing to do with the ' Telegram,' and to other information which did not come through the ' Tele gram ' to him at all, but had come through conversations which took place between Mr. Gillicuddy and himself, conferences more than one, from letters which passed be. tween Mr. McGillicuddy and himself, and from absolute specific charges which were made by McGillicuddy to the Prime Min ister himself with reference to the Minister of the Interior. Is not that where the right hon gentleman got his information? Is that not the information on which he based his statement in the House on Fri-Mr. FOSTER.
day last? Then why does he need to look to the Toronto ' World ' which commented upon certain matters of which the Prime Minister had absolute knowledge from six or seven conferences that he himself had with the man who made the charges? I say then that the basic charge, the only charge in which this House is interested, the only charge in which the country is interested, is the charge made by Mr. Daniel McGillicuddy to the Prime Minister himself, and that charge was that the Prime Minister had a minister in his cabinet who was a grafter and a boodler, and that he had the evidence with him to prove that he was a grafter and a boodler, and he offered that evidence to the Prime Minister as a friend, and a Liberal, and a beneficiary of old times.
Will the Prime Minister deny that? What are the facts, then, that Mr. McGillicuddy laid before the Prime Minister? The facts were admitted by the Prime Minister himself, and the Prime Minister's answer to the specific charges was given before the House. What was the evidence that Mr. McGillicuddy laid before my right hon. friend? Did my right hon. friend, as the keeper of the conscience of his government and the honour of the public men surrounding him, men in whom this country is interested as well, did the Prime Minister look into, investigate and weigh that evidence? Will he say that he did? Or did he refuse to look at that evidence, and spend his time in an endeavour to switch off Mr. McGillicuddy from pursuing a course that he, as a friend of the party, thought it was his duty to pursue in order to cleanse the cabinet of which he was a supporter. Will the right hon. gentleman tell this House now whether he refused or not to look into the evidence which was given by Mr. McGillicuddy, which he had in his hand? Will he say so? I take it from what he said that he refused to look into that evidence. His statement to this House bears me out in coming to that conclusion. He stood ou his dignity. His statement to the House is: I told Mr. McGillicuddy that
I would not look into the matter, that I would not investigate the matter, that I would not give him a decision on the matter. Why? Because Mr. McGillicuddy said to me: Sir Wilfrid, here are my charges;
Sir Wilfrid, here are my proofs. I want you to take these charges >and see whether-these proofs substantiate them. If they do, I want you to purge your cabinet of the minister against whom I make the charges, and if you do that it will remain a family matter. You and I are both Liberals. I have supported you for many a long year, I have written for you. You have supported me in a way, I was a beneficiary of yours
for a time and enjoyed your confidence as a friend of the party, and as such I put this up to you. I say to you now: Investigate this and do your duty, as I consider you ought to do it in this matter. If my proofs are correct and sufficient, then I want you to do your duty by the party. If you do not, I must take them elsewhere, for I am not going to stop with your refusal. That is where my right hon. friend parted company with Mr. McGillicuddy, that is where he showed his keen sense of his duty to the public and the country. Got a little huff on him, stood on his dignity, and shook his fist in the face of Mr. McGillicuddy, and said: Aha, you threaten me, do you, that if I do not take this matter up and look into it you will go to the leader of the opposition? That separates you from me. I will not allow my dignity to be infringed upon in that way. You should have crouched to me, Mr. McGillicuddy; you should have said to me: I your most humble and obedient servant, beg you to look into those things, give your judgment upon them, and then, whatever you tell me to do, I your obedient servant will do. Be sure that it will never go out from the room in which we two are talking about it now. That would have pleased my right hon. friend. Mr. McGillicuddy is a man with a conscience, I suppose, with a history, with a purpose. His own record is one as a Liberal through and through. Having got hold of what he thought was a case of malfeasance in office, having the proofs by which he believed he could substantiate that, he came to his own Prime Minister and asked his Prime Minister to look into it. My belief is that the Prime Minister refused to look into the evidence altogether, and his statement to the House goes to prove it. He told the House the reason why he and Mr. McGillicuddy parted company: I could not stand his putting
it up to me in this way; you look into it and it will go no further, but if you do not, I shall have to take it further. I ask my right hon. friend if he will put himself in the place of Mr. McGillicuddy. Suppose we argue it out in this way, that the Prime Minister was in Mr. McGillicuddy's place, that he was in possession of this information, that he had these proofs, that he was an honest man, as we will suppose that the Prime Minister is; and the Prime Minister standing in that position, with these facts and the proof behind him, goes to the man in power and says: In the interest of public life and the purity of public life, I put these things before you as a friend, and I ask you to act upon them. See if the proofs are sufficient to substantiate my charges, and if they are, do your duty. If you refuse I must go further. Will my right hon. friend imagine himself 263
in that position, and then if the man to whom he applies says to him: Well, Sir, I will not treat with you on that ground at all. You tell me that if I do not look into these things you will take them to some one else. If that is your position I refuse to do anything. Would he not, if honest, be bound to say: But I am a man
with a public duty, and I refuse to be balked because you decline to look into these things, and investigate them and do what I think is your duty. Would not my right hon. friend be doing his duty if he did that? The simple question I ask my hon. friend is this: Does he believe that
Mr. McGillicuddy, not being able to get the Prime Minister to make the investigation, should not persist in going on and getting somebody else, to bring force enough to have the investigation made? I do not think my right hon. friend can hold otherwise. The basic fact then is the charge that wa's made by Mr. McGillicuddy. '
Now, what happens? It is extremely farcical, it seems to me. The Minister of the Interior sits tight. I do not blame my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior in sitting tight if he thinks that is the best way to do. The Minister of the Interior, as he sits there, is not a man proved guilty of anything, he sits there perfectly innocent, so far as any proof that is before this House or this country is concerned. He has a perfect right to maintain his innocence and to maintain his position by all the means in his power. But the Minister of the Interior must recollect that he is not a private person. The investigation which was brought by the Prime Minister himself is not an investigation into the private business of the Minister of the Interior. We are simply pressing for a fuller investigation, which will not be abortive but effective, in a matter which the Prime Minister himself brought up because he considered it to be of public importance.
Now, the Minister of the Interior, besides being a man, is a public officer of this country, and the gist of the charges is that the Minister of the Interior had a bank account in which large sums appeared to his credit in two separate amounts, and that these moneys, according to the man who makes the charge, were not properly obtained, and were not properly paid out. That is the charge. There is no other before this House. The Minister of the Interior can dispose of this matter in five minutes if he chooses. We have to take facts as they appear and circumstances as we know them. Few cabinet ministers are rich men; at least, they are not when they start in as cabinet ministers. There have been some exceptions, which, I hope proves the rule, where cabinet ministers have started in most mighty poor, and have come out most mighty rich. Well, as
a rule, then, we will say that a cabinet minister generally starts in poor and if he remains honest he generally comes out about as poor, or a good deal poorer, than he started in. The Minister of the Interior is a man like the rest of us, and I do not think lays claim to any great wealth. I do not think he did when he came in as a minister, and I do not believe that he would now. When a bank account is portrayed to the members of this House, and to the people of this country in which a poor cabinet minister gets a deposit of $70,000 in two sums, it makes people think; that is all. My hon. friend the Minister of the Interior will not object to people thinking if the matter is made public. He himself would think if it occurred in the case of another, and he would say: Where under heaven
did that man-that poor cabinet minister get a $70,000 deposit to his credit? That would be the natural question which would come to men's! minds. He is engaged in politics, he is fighting battles, battles are fought by various weapons; was this one of the weapons with which political battles were fought? Was that a contribution for political purposes put at the minister's credit, where did the money come from, and did he check it out for political purposes? If he did he is amenable to public opinion as a minister in the cabinet taking in large sums of money, putting them to his credit, and using them to fight political battles which is to debauch the electorate. So that, if there was no personal dishonesty at all, if it comes out, or is the fact, that the minister's bank account show these large sums improperly obtained as political contributions, and that he then checks them out in the way of political payments, he is amenable to the Prime Minister, he is amenable to this House, and he is amenable to the country as well.
I said that the minister could settle this in five minutes. He could inform this House in what business he was engaged which brought him in, on these two dates, payments of $50,000, and of $20,000. If he did so it would clarify the position. If that $70,000 was business profits would not the Minister of the Interior settle this whole question and allay all suspicion by immediately rising in the House, and giving the details of the business which brought in these large deposits? Then he can go on and give the details of the checking out in the course of his business. That would settle the matter very largely; that would clarify it. The Minister of the Interior is his own judge as to whether he will take that course, or not. He does not choose to take that course. What course did he take? I am free to say that he took a course which I do not think helps his position before the House, or the country. He really does Mr. FOSTER.
this, when you bring it down to plain English; he forages around, finds a paper which comments upon the basic charges made by Mr. MeGillicuddy to the Prime Minister, and partly brought out in the ' Telegram ' article, he finds in one of the newspapers a comment which seems to him to be heaven-sent, two statements side by side without an insinuation, the minister manufactures an insinuation, treats that as a charge, and then asks this House to appoint a committee to investigate his own charge based upon an insinuation. That is all he does. If the minister had said; I received that $70,000 in the way of honest transactions, I deny that there was anything dishonest in it, I am a public man, and this is now a public matter, I invite this House to appoint a committee which shall investigate that, and I will put my bank books, and my cheque books before the committee, it would settle this question in short order. He does not do that. It is as if there is a charge made against a man, and the man against whom the charge is made, not wishing to face it, looks around and says: No, this charge does not suit me at all, and that other charge does not suit me, but here is one that I make myself, and that I would like you to investigate. If every man who had charges against him in the courts or otherwise had latitude allowed him to do that same thing almost anybody could make a very plausible, and good defence.
The Prime Minister leaped to the occasion, and he had his resolution ready to empower a committee to investigate-what?- to investigate a charge that the minister himself made in reference to himself, on two parallel passages, stating what were the facts, but making no insinuations as to what the facts led to, and making no allegations of any kind at all. I think that what ought to be done, if anything is done, and the least that can be done, is to investigate the charges which were made by Mr. MeGillicuddy. If the minister will not clear the matter up himself, as he could do in very short order, then let a committee be struck, and let it have the scope to determine whether or not the facts which Mr. MeGillicuddy alleges in his charge, and which the Prime Minister thoroughly knows, are well founded, to investigate that to the extent at least of the payments, and deposits in the bank account which evidently form the basis of Mr. McGillicuddy's charges, and which is of the essence of the ' Telegram's * article, and charges so far as they are preferred by the ' Telegram ' in that respect.
For, let it be thoroughly understood that the ' Telegram ' made no statement with reference to the order in council granting the choice of selecting these lands to the
Canadian Northern Railway Company. What the ' Telegram ' said is this:
There are theories as to the origin and significance of the deposits of $69,340 on the credit side of the bank account. These theories cannot be tried out in these columns, or in the proceedings that might follow the disclosure of names and identities.
This journal has tried to stick to the facts and leave theories to the parliamentary tribunals that can test such theories. The truth or falsity of the charges which warring Liberals urge against a cabinet minister of their own political faith was tried by Sir Wilfrid Laurier and decided in favour of the cabinet minister. The facts and issue of that trial are matters of public interest. Everj minister of the Crown should be prepared to have the origin of his bank deposits shouted from the housetops.
Publicity is the great cure for the ills of public life in Canada, and facts that were forced upon the attention of this journal could not be suppressed without making the ' Telegram ' a party to the conspiracy of silence that clothes in the robes of secrecy proceedings that should be fought out and controversies that should be decided iu a blaze of publicity.
So that Mr. Speaker, the Toronto ' Telegram ' itself was absolutely silent as to the source from which the money came. It exposed the photograph; its letter-press wojk brought, out certain other incidents, and made reference to certain other facts, but the ' Telegram ' absolutely said nothing with reference to the order in council, or any other possible source of the money which was deposited to the credit of the minister in the bank account. I, therefore, think that the Prime Minister has not been well advised when he attempts to limit the scope of the investigation to something outside of the ' Telegram ' article, and outside of Mr. McGillicuddy's charges, and bases it upon a chance guess; not even a chance guess, but bases it upon two statements of fact made by the Toronto ' World ' without any allegation direct or specific that there was a connection between the facts, allowing it to the minister to infer that there is such an insinuation, and such a connection. It seemed to me that the Minister of the Interior has been badly advised in endeavouring to cut out and shut away the real charges and to base his effort at exoneration upon something which was not included in Mr. McGillicuddy's charges so far as we know, and was not included in the Toronto ' Telegram ' article. One single word at the end-I am not here as a member of parliament to say that the Minister of the Interior is guilty of any wrong-doing in this matter. I am not here to say so. I would not say so. I am here to state another thing; that I will be glad if the Minister of the Interior shows himself to be absolutely clear in this matter I have 263i
been long enough in public life, and I have had enough iron driven into my soul to know that it is not pleasant for a man's reputation to be put in stake and wrongfully be tried out, and I hope that every man in public life who has any charge brought against him will be able to substantiate the falsity of that charge. I have never had a charge brought against me as to my public life; never once. I believe that I can stand any charge that any man whose face is above clay can make against me in that respect. I have had charges made against my private life, and my private business, and in my opinion very unwarranted ones, and ones which were very unwarrantedly prosecuted; and, there are men in this House that went beyond what any decent Christian should. But, trying to be a decent Christian myself, I have no hard feelings against any man in this House, not one. My character will stand for what it is worth, and what God knows it to be, and for no more and no less. Therefore, I say that I will be glad if the Minister of the Interior shows that this whole thing is a tissue of falsehoods, and has no foundation in fact. But as a friend I would advise him to take hold of this matter frankly, and to lay before this House and the country, or a committee if he chooses, every transaction in that bank account of his. If the business is honest he can afford to do it; if he does not doit, I fear that many men will have a suspicion that he does not do it because he is not able to do it, and that I should be sorry to believe.
Subtopic: NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.