May 3, 1911

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

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.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. FRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior).

I wish to offer a very few remarks to this House in regard to this matter so unpleasant to me. My view of the important features of the matter differs materially from the view expressed by my hon. friend (Mr. Foster). It appears to me, Mr. Speaker, that the question which is of interest to the House and of interest to the country is the question as to how those who are charged with the responsibility of administration in this government discharge that responsibility; whether honestly or dishonestly, fairly or unfairly, in the interest of the public or not in the interest of the public. As to what private transactions any person may have it is quite true that when an improper connection is established between these private transactions and public responsibility then the public have an interest and a serious interest, but as long as private transactions are private transactions, as long as they are not connected with public responsibilities, I submit Mr. Speaker, that however, public curiosity may be aroused, however, public interest may be inflamed from other causes or in other ways,

these matters are not in any degree in the same class or entitled to the same consideration. as .the discharge of public responsibilities. In regard to my action, I do not wish the House or the country to understand that I am in any way trying to shirk investigation into any administrative act of mine. The article read by the Prime Minister from the Toronto ' Telegram ' did not allude to me specifically, that is to say my name was not mentioned, and there is no evidence in that article that I could put before the House or before the country that there was an allusion to me. Therefore, it was not for me to act. There was an allusion- in the article to the Prime Minister, and it was for the Prime Minister to take his own course in regard to that. But when the Toronto ' World ' came out specifically mentioning my name and specifically connecting me with an act of administration, which although it did not specifically charge that that act of administration was connected with certain private transactions, still, as my hon. friend will admit, conveyed an insinuation. Now, it is true that I might have been satisfied with denying the insinuation or with saying nothing about it. But I do not know that .that would be fair to the House or to the country or to my friends. There was an insinuation, and a serious insinuation, which related to an important administrative act for which I was primarily responsible, and I think it is only right that the country should know and have the earliest opportunity of knowing, what foundation there was for that insinuation. In regard to that my hon. friend the leader of the opposition has suggested-he has been unkind enough to suggest-that the money which was deposited to my credit might have come from a thousand different sources. He was perfectly correct in that. I want to say to the House, what is within the knowledge of the members on both _ sides, that the transactions of the Interior Department during the six years that I have been at its head have been necessarily of such a character as to make possible the securing of contributions from day to day of large ot small amounts. Everybody knows that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I would like to interrupt the minister for a moment. In the first place, I did not say a thousand. In the second place, I used the word 'hundred' without the slightest idea of making any insinuation or suggestion, but merely by way of argument. I do not want the minister to be under any misapprehension as to that. I was merely saying that if you select one particular source, you do not clear the whole matter up. I did not wish to make any insinuation or suggestion whatever as to matters Mr. OLIVER.*

of fact. It was using that argument only in the way of an illustration.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I do not wish to press the point. I was only using it as an argument, too.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I was making no insinuation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I do not wish to make any suggestion of that kind, but such a view might be drawn from the hon. gentleman's remarks.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I did not intend it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I very much appreciate the consideration of the hon. leader of the opposition in making that statement. But what I want to say is this. I have been at the head of the Interior _ Department for the last six years, and in that time there have been from day to day administrative acts involving values of large and small amounts which might be laid under contribution for political purposes or for any other purpose either private or political. Now, I want to say, so far as I am concerned, that, although the motion before the House has reference to a specific case, the only ease with which my name has been specifically connected, I court inquiry, and the fullest inquiry, by parliamentary committee or otherwise, into any administrative act of mine of all the thousands that have taken place, and of all the millions of dollars of value that they have involved. I say I court the fullest inquiry into any of all those thousands of acts, in the House or in the committee or anywhere else; and I want the House distinctly to understand that as far as I am concerned, there is no restriction to the particular charge mentioned, because it was the only specific case in which my name was mentioned.

Now, my hon. friend said that I might -clear the whole matter up as to my bank account by a simple statement as to the source from which this money came, and the direction to which it was diverted. I have no doubt that is a fact, that I -could take that action, and could clear this whole matter up. But I conceive my duty to be this: I do not think it is in the interest of Canada, I do not think it is in the interest of the public life of Canada, that upon an insinuation based upon theft, and put forward as blackmail, a man in public or private life in Canada should be compelled to expose his private business. I do not think that it would add to the dignity of parliament or to the standing of public life in Canada to say that parliament should be the assistant of thugs and blackmailers by requiring the exposure of a bank account on -such a

statement as has been put before the public. The committee which has been asked for will have every opportunity to establish any connection that can be established between my bank account and that transaction or any other transaction that may :be brought forward in a similar way. But I say I do not think that it would be right or wise or that it would tend to the dig-taity of parliament, to the standing of public life or to the good of the country, "that, because a thug or a blackmailer should make a statement in regard to a man's private bank account, thereupon the authority of parliament should be invoked to expose that bank account to the public, no matter what the consequence might be to the man involved or no matter who might be affected by it. My hon. friend says that I am in public life and I cannot dissociate my personality from my position. That is true; but at the same time I have a responsibility to the public in Tegard to my public position that I have not in regard to my private transactions. So far as that is concerned, I am absolutely in the hands of parliament, and I ask for an investigation of any public account for which I am responsible to parliament and the country, which affects the welfare and the rights of the country; and I do not make the exposure which my hon. friend suggests for the purpose of clearing up my bank account, for the reason I have stated, that I do not think the public interest, the public welfare or the standing of the public men of Canada would be benefited by my doing so.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

Mr. Speaker, I would not have said anything on this matter but for the fact that I do not think the original motion exactly covers the ground in the information that was given to the House in the first place by the Prime Minister. What was the Prime Minister's statement to. the House in Tegard to this case? He did not give names, but he said:

I deem it my duty to call attention to an art-iole which appeared yesterday in the Toronto 'Telegram,' in which direct reference was made to me. The article is a long one, and I need not read it all. _ It will he sufficient to read the matter which has reference to my name. The article proceeds to say that on the 2nd of March this letter was addressed to me:

My Dear Sir Wilfrid,-I see that you are having troubles of your own by the defection of the 'young Napoleon' on the trade question and in other ways.

The other ways are the more serious. Only in one instance in the history of Canada has the trade question played a part in making or unmaking governments, and that was in 1878. Neither your government nor any other government will fall except from weakness

on the .inside. That was what happened to the Tories in 1898. Ministers of the cabinet had become corrupt, and the McGreevy-Lange-vin scandal, aided by the Manitoba School Bill and cabinet crookedness did the rest.

Then the writer gives information that is of interest to the House to-day:

Recently evidence has come to me that one of your colleagues is a grafter and a boodler.

I shall be in Ottawa for a few days, and am willing to submit the evidence to you.

That was the allegation, namely, that one of the Prime Minister's; colleagues was a grafter and a boodler. No doubt the writer of that letter told the right hon. gentleman who that colleague was. He also said that he would be in Ottawa in a few days and was prepared to submit the evidence. The writer proceded to say that .should the Prime Minister take immediate action, he would go no further, but in the event of the right hon. gentleman failing to do so, he would place the documents, letters, photographs of cheques, &c., in the hands of the opposition. He thus declared that he had the evidence in his possession. But what did the right hon. the Prime Minister say in his winding up? He said:

This is the position I take, and I leave that position in the hands of parliament and the country.

He thus handed the matter over to parliament and the country and did nothing himself. But on account of another article following that one, which appeared in the Toronto ' World,' the right hon. gentleman took this matter up again, and in pursuance of the article and a statement made by the Minister of the Interior, he proposed [that )a commisision should toe appointed to inquire into the allegation contained in the Toronto ' World '-not into the allegations made toy this "friend of his in that letter which the right hon. gentleman read to this House. The only allegations he deemed it necessary to have the commission inquire into were those published in the Toronto ' World.' But what *were the allegations in the letter sent to the Prime Minister and which he read to the House? One of them was that the right hon. gentleman had a colleague who was a grafter and a boodler, and had improperly become possessed of certain moneys which were placed to his credit in the bank, and that certain portions of these moneys were disbursed for improper purposes, and the party who made these allegations said he had the documents to prove them. It seems to me, therefore, that if we appoint a commission of inquiry, that inquiry should be extended to cover these allegations. The right hon. gentleman knows the party who gave him

the information, but he did not disclose his name to the House "when he said he handed over the whole matter to parliament to deal with. In my opinion the commission of inquiry which we are asked to appoint should he instructed to ascertain whether these allegations are based on fact or otherwise, and should call on the individual who made them to submit those documents, letters, photographs, &c., and other evidence, and let parliament satisfy itself as to the truth of these charges. But if the right hon. the Prime Minister confines the scope of that inquiry to what is contained in another paper which was not before the House at that time at all, he will not satisfy the country that he has done his full duty.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir ALLEN AYLESWORTH (Minister of Justice).

The question before the House narrows itself into limits that are certainly not of any great breadth. The question is simply as between the motion and the amendment and as to the form in which this matter ought to go to a committee of inquiry. It is to be borne in mind that this committee of inquiry has been asked for by the member of this House who is, so far as personal considerations go, particularly concerned. He has been for the last few days the object of continuous attention on the part of some of the newspapers of this country, and the course he ought to take has necessarily been a question with him to decide. I would ask any one to consider what course he himself would have taken if he had been placed as a public man, in the position in which my hon. friend and colleague, the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver), found himself, when the article was published in the Toronto ' Telegram.' I read that article with some care, and without taking up time to go into detail, I may say that the general impression which it leaves on the mind of the reader-at any rate of a reader without any previous knowledge of the circumstances-is that the writer is purporting to give an account of some investigation or proceedings which have recently,-according to his statement, taken place before the Prime Minister in respect to one of the members of his cabinet. In *the article ino name is mentioned. It could not be said who was hinted at or whose bank account it purported to give. Apart altogether from the fact that no one was in any way specifically attacked, there

is, from first to last, no specific charge in

it. There is just the general reference to which my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden), has referred, namely, that the Prime Minister was waited upon by a political friend-name not given-and told that one of the members of his cabinet was a grafter and a boodler.

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Mr SPROULE.

I ask hon. gentlemen to pause and think, in a spirit of fairness to the man who is now marked out as the one aimed at in that article, how could any one meet such a charge. Would any one suggest that it should be referred to a committee of this House or any tribunal to investigate in order to determine whether or not any individual person was a grafter or a boodler?

If a man writes of another that that other is a thief, then that other person has redress by an action of libel, because there is something specific. But if a man in conversation, or even in writing, limits himself to some vague, unspecified term, which has no recognized meaning in legal terminology, although it may have a perfectly well understood meaning in every day parlance, the position of the man assailed is very different indeed. It may be that it would be libellous, and that it would be the foundation of a civil action for damages, if any newspaper specifically charged a person with being a boodler or a grafter. I do not doubt that under certain circumstances, and if there were facts surrounding the general charge which tended to make it a little more specific, the language would be actionable, but the question was upon the appearance of that article in the ' Telegram ' whether or not the Minister of the Interior could, assuming he was the person intended to be referred to, maintain an action for libel against the proprietors of that newspaper with the slightest hope of success. I cannot undertake to say whether or not the publishers of that paper took the precaution to have the manuscript of that article revised by counsel before it appeared, but I cannot help saying, speaking with some experience as a lawyer, that that impression was left on my mind after reading it, for nothing more carefully guarded, more evidently designed to convey an impression without stating it, more plainly intended to be used not merely for political effect, but fon the purpose of stabbing an opponent in the dark, and behind the back, without the writer, or the publisher incurring any responsibility for what he did, I can scarcely imagine. It was not many days, not many hours, before the allusions of the article were pointed by the appearance in a contemporary newspaper of something a little more specific. Possibly that was not necessary; it may be that there were rumours and hints in the air, passing from mouth to mouth, and from lip to lip, to enable the average reader of the ' Telegram ' article or at least the readers of it who live or are temporarily in this city, to understand who was meant by what was said. But whether or not that is the case it was a very short time before another article appeared which was a little more specific, and which mentioned the

name of the person who was meant by the previous article. When that article appeared, I ask gentlemen to pause, and think again, what course the Minister of the Interior could take in regard to it. Was it actionable? Could he, with any hope of maintaining it, bring an action of libel against the publishers of the Toronto ' World '? The article of the ' World ' is upon the pages of 'Hansard'; it may be looked at by any one interested, and if it is examined it will be seen that again while there is innuendo and insinuation by the way in which sentences are put together, there is no specific allegation of any wrong-doing; there are simply statements of fact which probably are perfectly true, and it is only by the collocation of them in the manner in which the writer has placed them that any injurious meaning is conveyed by the article in question. The Minister of the Interior, so far as he has redress by legal proceeding in any court, was left as perfectly helpless, notwithstanding the statements in the Toronto ' World ' in which his name was used, as he was when the original article appeared in the ' Telegram.'

The only remedy to be thought of for a public man in such a position, wag to demand his right that there should be an inquiry into this matter at the hands of a committee of this House. That course the hon. gentleman has promptly taken. The only point of difference at this stage of the matter that I am able to understand is as to the terms of the reference to the committee. Every member, I presume, is agreed in thinking that, after what has happened, a committee ought to be appointed with power to take evidence under oath and to investigate this thing. The question is what should be referred to that committee. I fully concede the handsome spirit in which this matter has been treated to-day by hon. gentlemen opposite so far as I have been able to follow their observations. I am well assured in my own mind that no one in this House, no matter how strong his political feeling may be, desires to pry into a man's private affairs unnecessarily. It is not a matter of individual curiosity, it is not a matter of one of ourselves satisfying his own mind on this subject, but it is a matter of exposing private business affairs to the public knowledge. The ' Telegram ' newspaper has purported to publish as its evidence of these transactions what is called a photograph of something, a photograph of the evidence. It has been stated in ether newspapers since that photograph appeared that it is not a photograph of the bank account of the Minister of the Inferior at the Bank at Edmonton. I have seen the statement that the head officer of the Imperial Bank

has so declared, and I think there is certain evidence of that kind upon this photograph of the document. It will be noticed at any rate if any one examines the photograph of the document that the date of that $19,000 transaction is said to be 1909, and notwithstanding the statement, or the appearance on the photograph of the figures 1909 as being the date of that transaction, the whole point of the matter in the various newspapers, so far as that transaction is concerned, has been that it was money used in the general elections of 1908. I think that circumstance demonstrates that the photograph is probably, while a true photograph, not the photograph of an authentic document, and I think that the probabilities will corroborate the statement attributed to the cashier of the bank that this is not a photograph of a bank account. It does not look on the face of it like the work which would appear on a ledger page of a bank, and my theory is in that regard that certainly the bank or any official of the bank would never make public unnecessarily the business of one of its customers. My supposition is that some one has surreptitiously stolen a copy of the account, in other words has sought to make a copy of some ledger account appearing in the books of the bank at Edmonton, and has not copied correctly.

The photograph, of course, does not lie, but the document which has been photographed I feel no doubt is not any page of any ledger of a bank. That, however, is a matter of detail into which I did not intend to digress. I want to say merely this: This account, while it is a

private account of the Minister of the Interior, is not his private account in the ordinary sense of the word. It is an account in trust, he is trustee for other persons unnamed and unknown. Is it a matter of mystery that, in connection-with some trust estate, a large payment may be made, or large disbursements paid out? It is not at any rate an unusual thing in the handling of many trust accounts. This circumstance, perhaps, increases the difficulty of the position in which the Minister of the Interior finds himself. He is obliged, in a sense, to formulate the charge. He comes before the House and he says to the House: The only specific thing which is here is the collocation of these circumstances in the articles which appeared in the Toronto ' World ' by which the ground appears to be laid for an inference or a supposition that the two things are connected, and that I got this money for something connected with the administration of my department; that because 600,000 acres of land was given in Saskatchewan instead of Manitoba to the Canadian Northern railway, and because that was done upon my recommendation as Minister of the Interior, then this

$50,000 -which came to my account four months afterwards was connected with it and was the result of it. It is perfectly true that he puts those two things together. That is only doing- what the mind, perhaps, of every reader would have done the moment his eye ran over the article. It is perfectly true that no man in this House has made any such suggestion. But I ask hon. gentlemen to consider what was the Minister of the Interior to do. Has he not, in putting those two things together in the statement which he made to this House yesterday, stated as fairly as words can state it, the gist of what is insinuated or suggested by the article in the 'World ' newspaper? If he has not, if any one has any suggestion of omission or variation in that regard, I am perfectly sure, from what I know of my hon. friend, that it is one he would be very willing to receive. That is the only thing in the nature of a specific charge which has appeared in any way before this House, or anywhere, from first to last, in connection with this matter, and accordingly that is incorporated in the terms of the resolution proposed by the First Minister-

Now, it is the first right of any person who is accused that he should know something specifically - of what it is he has to answer. More than that, it is the first right surely of the committee of investigation that it should have, with some reasonable accuracy defined before it that which it has to inquire into. In this case the question for consideration now is properly, as it has been put by hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House, whether a specific thing, which is the only thing specific that can be framed or deduced from the newspaper articles which have appeared, should be the subject of investigation, or whether the matter should go at large pitchforked before a committee of this House, for that committee to inquire whether or not the hon. gentleman is a grafter or a boodler. I think that position only has to be stated to show its unfairness. No one in this House is making any charge, or is desirous of so doing, so far as I understand; no one outside the House is doing so. In those circumstances, can there be any doubt as to the course which this House ought to take in referring this matter to the committee?

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Does not the Minister of Justice regard the charge in the letter read to the House by the First Minister, as a specific charge in connection with which Mr. McGillicuddy said he had the documents and letters and photographs to prove it?

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LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir ALLEN AYLESWORTH.

I may say that the charge is not in any way a specific Sir ALLEN AYLESWORTH.

charge made before this House, upon the responsibility of Mr. McGillicuddy, even, leaving out of consideration altogether the fact that he is an entire outsider so far as this House is concerned. No member of this House would take the responsibility of repeating that charge. It is in fact nothing more than the general charge which I have referred to, that this man is a grafter and a boodler, and unworthy of a position in the cabinet.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. GUSS PORTER (West Hastings).

If the House is to take the Minister of the Interior at his word, and we are bound to do so, I cannot understand why so much concern should be exercised by other hon. members of the government to prevent the inquiry which the hon. the Minister of the Interior says he is perfectly willing should take place. There is an inconsistency there which it seems to me calls for some specific answer on the part of the Minister of the Interior. If I understand the Minister of the Interior correctly, he said that he courted the fullest inquiry into any public act of his during the six years that he had occupied the position of Minister of the Interior. This charge that has been made, as I understand it, is a charge against the Minister of the Interior in his public capacity, and not a charge against him as a private individual at all. Now the Minister of Justice, in his remarks he made upon this question, stated that the Minister of the Interior was obliged to formulate a charge against himself; that the newspaper article appearing in the Toronto* World ' was the only charge before the House, and that the Minister of the Interior had a right to know what he was charged with. With those statements I beg to take most direct issue. The article, as I understand it, appearing in the ' World ' newspaper was nothing more than a repetition-in fact it did not amount quite to that-a reference to the direct charge that had been made to the right hon. the First Minister himself by Mr. McGillicuddy during the interviews he had with that gentleman. It is idle to say that the Minister of the Interior is obliged to formulate a charge upon an insinuation. There is not an insinuation contained in the article in the ' World ' newspaper. They do not insinuate that the Minister of the Interior has been guilty of any particular offence, but they make reference to the facts that had been declared before the Prime Minister himself.

If theMinister of the Interior is as anxious as he says that there should be a full investigation of the charge, if there is any charge against him, then it seems to me that he needs to go no further than the interviews which took place between Mr. McGillicuddy and the Prime Minister. There is no uncertainty about the charge.

The charge is there made. clearly and distinctly. The minister is charged with being a boodler and grafter, not a boodler and grafter in private life, but a boodler and grafter in public life in connection with these two sums appearing in his bank account, the $50,000 and the $19,300. There is a direct and specific charge and, as has already been pointed out, the Prime Minister himself considered that that was a specific and definite charge against his minister. In the interest of the country the right hon. gentleman thought it- his duty to bring it before this parliament. He did not undertake that responsibility or duty without having some evidence before him, and the gentleman who had preferred the charge to the First Minister offered to submit the proof by which he could establish the charge of grafting and boodling against his minister. When evidence is laid before any member of this House, without making any special reference to the right hon. gentleman himself, that is considered sufficient to prove a charge of boodling tad grafting against another hon. member of this House, I conceive it to be the -duty of any member before whom that evidence is laid, to take the responsibility, just as the right hon. gentleman did, of bringing the matter to the attention of the House. When the right hon. gentleman had a thorough opportunity of viewing that evidence, when the charge was made direct and when he _gaw fit, in the discharge of his duty, to bring the matter before the [DOT]House, I think the scope of this inquiry should be wide enough to cover the charge [DOT]that was made and the evidence that was 'offered to be submitted.

We have in this case a very remarkable situation. We have, on the one hand, a gentleman who interviewed the Prime Minister saying that he has evidence in his possession which he is ready and willing to submit, and which will be sufficient to "prove the Minister of the Interior guilty of the charges to which I have referred. There Is no answer to make to that charge. There is no offer in this motion to investigate that charge. The only answer that is made 'at all is the reltort by the Minister of the Interior himself, when he is called a boodler and a grafter, that the man who says that is a thug and a blackmailer. There are the two questions-a boodler and grafter on the one hand, and a thug and blackmailer on the other. It is proposed To settle this question by a reference to a Special committee appointed by this government to say whether the Minister of the Interior, in a certain transaction in 'connection with the Canadian Northern Vailway, received a certain sum of money or not. The Minister of Justice was quite *right when he used the expression that it was just a question here as to how far

the motion should be limited. The government have gone to the full extreme, in the motion offered by the Prime Minister himself, when they limit the inquiry in the way in which they do. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax), has proposed that this motion be amended to such an extent as to permit of the investigation, not of any insinuation, nut of the direct charge of which proof has 'been offered. He has appealed to the right hon. gentleman himself to open it wide enough to admit that evidence, and if it is tme, and if it establishes the guilt of the Minister of the Interior, then the consequences must follow. But, if, on the other hand the evidence is not sufficient to establish that charge then the minister goes free and there will be no one in this House happier than myself, because of my personal relations with him, if the minister is acquitted of the charge which has been made against him. But, so long as the position taken by the minister himself is allowed to prevail, I cannot but think that this country, as well as this parliament, will believe that there is something in the situation that it is the desire of the government to hide and to prevent the country from fully knowing.

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. S. MIDDLEBRO (North Grey).

This is a trouble which has arisen within the domestic ranks of the Liberal party, and up to the present time the opposition have in no way interfered with it. But the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) thought that there had been sufficient allegations against one of his ministers to justify him1 in'bringing the matter to the attention of the House. The hon. Minister of Justice (Sir Allen Aylesworth) argued for a considerable length of time this afternoon for the purpose of proving: that neither the 'World' newspaper nor the 'Telegram,' published in the city of Toronto, contained any direct charge or allegation against the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver), that neither of these two papers contained any assertion which could by any manner of means be construed as a libel. If such were the case, why is it that the Prime Minister of his own action is proposing, in a resolution in this House, a committee for the purpose of investigating something against the Minister of the Interior? It appears to me at any rate that the reason he does that is because a certain gentleman of his own Liberal persuasion came to him and made certain allegations to him in private which were sufficient to justify him, apart from the newspaper allegations altogether, to bring the matter to the attention of the House. The Prime Minister having done that for the first time now asks us to consent to something. He asks us to consent to the nomination of a tribunal for the

purpose of trying the charges which were made to him by Mr. McGillicuddy. I would like to ask the Prime Minister here if he would give us the assurance now that the powers of the committee are wide and broad enough to enable it to call upon Mr. McGillicuddy to give the same evidence which he gave, or tendered, to the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister does not do that it is proof conclusive that he does not expect, and does not intend that this House shall have the same opportunity for investigating the charges which were made to him by Mr. McGillicuddy against the Minister of the Interior that he himself had. There seems to be no answer to that, as the Prime Minister does not reply. Perhaps the Prime Minister will tell us? If he will give us the assurance that the committee which he is appointing now will have full power to investigate and receive the evidence of Mr. McGillicuddy as it was presented to him, or as it was tendered to him. As the Prime Minister does not answer, I see that the Prime Minister does not intend to give us any such opportunity, that he does not intend us to look at the original bank account of which we have seen a photograph, which is the most positive proof we have, although, as the Minister of the Interior himself said, he could, if he chose, allow us to go into his bank books and clear himself, but that he did not intend to do so. If he does not intend to do that he knows that the scope of this resolution is not broad enough to allow Mr. McGillicuddy, or to allow the committee, to produce the evidence which might clear up the matter. I have not had very much experience in parliamentary life, but I would think that if I had a bank book showing $20,000 and $50,000 deposits, I would certainly know where the money came from, and if a charge were made against me in a public newspaper, published in Ontario, accompanied by facsimiles of the bank book, or what are supposed to be facsimiles of the original, showing these deposits, it would be a very simple matter to show where the money came from.

Thp Minister of Justice says that the fact that the account is marked as a trust account makes it more difficult for the Minister of the Interior to tell where the money came from. There may be more truth in that assertion than we think, and perhaps if we knew the names of the beneficiaries of the trust lit would place the matter in a different light than it now presents itself in. Looking at it from the *standpoint of the Minister of the Interior, I think I am safe in saying that if this resolution passes, judging by the stand taken by the Minister of the Interior and the Prime Minister, we will not have power to investigate the bank book and there-Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

fore, we will not have power to investigate the gravamen of the charge, that two sums of money -were received and disbursed by the Minister o.f the Interior for purposes which were not in accord, with the honest discharge of the duties of a minister of the Crown. It would be a very simple matter to allow the committee to investigate whether or not the charges which were read by the Prime Minister are true, and which charges were thought to be of sufficient importance by the Prime Minister himself, to, on his own initiative, bring them to the attention of the House, especially in view of the fact that his own Minister of Justice has said that nothing which was contained in the newspaper statement constituted a libel or a reflection on the Minister of the Interior. Therefore, in bringing the matter into the House the Prime Minister must have had in mind what had been told him by Mr. McGillicuddy, when making the charge.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. A. LANCASTER (Lincoln and Niagara).

I nise principally to protest against the doctrine, if you call it a doctrine, laid down by the Minister of Justice. I do not know whether the Minister of Justice thinks he was expounding a principle of responsible government which people hold dear in this country, but I did notice that as soon as he delivered his oration or special plea he left the chamber apparently not caring what any one else thought about it. The Minister of Justice has practically undertaken to say that the Minister of the Interior does not know what he is talking about, and he is not satisfied with the statement made by the Minister of the Interior. I was satisfied with it to a certain extent, but I was sorry that the Minister of the Interior did not give the country the hope, by accepting the amendment of the leader of the opposition, that everything was all right with him. I think he should have persuaded his leader, that, in his own interest, the amendment of the leader of the opposition should be accepted. I am assuming at present that the Minister of the Interior is able to clear himself, but unless the inquiry has the scope which the leader of the opposition calls for, it will be impossible for the Minister of the Interior to clear himself either in the House or in the country. If the Minister of the Interior so acts that the people must infer that he is afraid of something, coming out he can only blame himself if people draw the inference that he is guilty. The Minister of Justice thinks that the position taken by the Minister of the Interior is not the safest one for him to take. I do not know whether the Minister of Justice, acting as personal counsel for the

Minister of the Interior, advised him to take the position he took to-day, hut evidently he is not quite satisfied with that position. The Minister of the Interior told *us that his only reason for declining the amendment of the leader of the opposition was that he did not propose that his private bank account should be inquired into for the satisfaction of a thug or a blackmailer. He gives the House to understand! that in his humble judgment the hank account in question was a private matter that nobody but himself was concerned in. The Minister of Justice, however, pays him the poor compliment of thinking that is not true, and he points out that on the face of it it is a trust account, and, notwithstanding that it is being advertised in the public press as evidence to show that the Minister of the Interior is a grafter and a boodler, the Minister of Justice undertakes to say that the fact that it is a trust account, and not a private account, is a reason for refusing investigation. The Minister of Justice is the legal adviser of the government, but judging by the breaks he has recently made I have not much hope that the Minister of' Justice will ever increase the moral tone or the high standing of cabinet ministers in this country. I regret that the Minister of the Interior has fallen into the unfortunate position of listening to the advice of the Minister of Justice. If the Minister of the Interior can clear himself, as he says he can, then it would have been better for him to act on his own judgment, and to have accepted the amendment of the leader of the opposition. If the Minister of the Interior insists on selecting the issue on which he should be tried, he must expect the people of Canada to think that he is more guilty than I hope he Ss, and, than at the present moment I believe he is. Knowing the Minister of the Interior as I do, I think he is making a great mistake. I do not want to lose faith in his honour or ability to conduct the affairs of this country as well as any one belonging to his political party can be expected to. I had hoped that he would place himself in a position which would lead us to believe he was innocent, but by adopting the argument of the Minister of Justice, he forces us to think, to use the words of the Minister of Justice, that he should be treated a 3 if he were on trial for a criminal offence. The Minister of Justice contends that he should have certain particulars given to him of what he is charged with, just as if the Minister of the Interior did not know all about it, before any of us on this side knew. Surely the Prime Minister told him what Mr. McGillieuddy said about him, and is not that a complete answer to the suggestion of the Minister o.f Justice, that nobody knew who was the cabinet minister alleged to be guilty. The Prime Minister knew and it was because the Prime Minister knew, that the matter came before the House at all. The Minister of Justice was disputing the statement of the Minister of the Interior and of the Prime Minister when he led us to infer that he himself does not know from the newspaper articles what minister is accused.

Nobody believes that any one is accused other than the minister whom the Prime Minister mentioned when he brought this matter up in the House. The Minister of Justice does not seriously think that any other member of the cabinet to which he belongs is accused, and it is idle for him to contend that any want of particulars exists, or that the minister accused and everybody else in this House does not know exactly what the charge is and what the investigation is required about. When the Minister of Justice undertakes to say that the Minister of the Interior should be treated as a criminal in any court is, and is entitled to particulars, if he -wants to put the matter on that basis, I would point out to him that after the minister has pleaded and said he is not guilty it is altogether too late to ask for particulars. He knows all about what he is charged with, and says he could clear it up by going into the box and giving evidence. But he prefers to stand mute and not tell, and the Minister of Justice says he is not obliged to tell because it has not been put down in black and white exactly what he is charged with. I repeat that the Minister of Justice knows, and the Prime Minister knows; and the Minister of Justice is really finding fault with the Prime Minister for bringing this matter into the House without apparently knowing what the charge was. The Minister of Justice has simply tried to find some technical excuse for preventing an inquiry in regard to the money which the Minister of the Interior is alleged to have handled. If the Minister of Justice wants to have the laws administered properly and investigations carried on in the interest of the people, he ought to have taken a position the very opposite of what he did. I cannot help comparing his stand with the stand taken by ministers of justice like Sir John Thompson in matters of this kind. The Minister of Justice is evidently bound to prevent any investigation that will prevent a recurrence of offences on the part of ministers of the Crown, preferring to leave them in a position where they will be liable to temptation to do what they should not do, because those whom the Minister of the Interior characterizes as thugs and blackmailers can say, ' we can go on and try to do all the

evil we can because we have a Minister of Justice who says thexe will not be any investigation and, therefore, we will not have to go to jail. ' That is the position. People who wish to approach ministers of the Crown with a view to corrupting them will be encouraged to do so by the doctrine of the Minister of Justice, because they know that no matter whether they succeed or fail, the Minister of Justice is going at all hazards to attempt to throttle all investigation and prevent the truth coming out. That is the position of the Minister of Justice in supporting the feeble attempt of the Prime Minister to find a reason for rejecting the amendment of the hon. leader of the opposition. The Minister of Justice knows that the Minister of the Interior is charged with having received in round figures $70,000 from some improper source for some improper purposes, and the only way to have that matter cleared up is for the Minister of the Interior to tell the whole truth about it. It does not do for the Minister of the Interior to say that because he does not want to give to the thug or the blackmailer the satisfaction of knowing where he got that money, he is not going to give the evidence, but is going to trust the majority in the House of Commons, led by the Prime Minister, with the Minister of Justice supporting him, to vote down the motion for having all the facts laid before the people, so that the people could see whether he was justified in doing what he has done or not. I regret exceedingly, as a friend of the Minister of the Interior, that he does not accept the proposition of the hon. leader of the opposition. It will be the worst thing he will ever have done as a public man if he allows this matter to go as suggested by the Minister of Justice.

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CON

James Davis Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. TAYLOR (New Westminster).

Mr. Speaker, before the House is asked to pronounce upon the resolution before it, for an investigation limited to the article which appeared in the Toronto ' World,1 I would like to call attention to several manifest inaccuracies in that article, which show it to be so slipshod in its composition that to go through the form of solemnly investigating it would be simply farcical. I refer more particularly to the concluding paragraph as printed in the oflicial record of yesterday, where it says:

The exact date was October 3, 1907. About one year later, just before the general election of 1908, the sum of $19,000 was deposited from the Manhattan Bank in the name of Mr. 'Oliver at the Imperial Bank at Edmonton. It is known that he chequed out this money for campaign purposes.

Now, the article upon which this ' World ' despatch is based shows that in these Mr. LANCASTER

seven lines there are three glaring errors of fact. In the first place, it was not one year later, just before the general election of 1908, that the sum of $19,000 was paid; but it was two years later, and nine months after the general election of 1908. In the next place, it was not deposited from the Manhattan Bank in the name of Mr. Oliver; but, as the photograph shows, it was sent from Ottawa to the bank. In the third place, it is not known that he checked out that money for campaign purposes, because the photograph of the account shows that that money was checked out month by month during nine months of the year 1910 when there was no campaign in progress. Now', it seems to me extraordinary that in view of these inaccuracies, that that one despatch, of all the matter published in this connection, should be picked out as the matter to be investigated. It is extraordinary that this should be suggested, in view of the statement by the minister himself that he is perfectly willing to have all his official transactions placed in the limelight. We are asked to put on the limitation that the person particularly concerned, according to his statement here today, has no desire to have placed on the investigation.

I am, Mr. Speaker, particularly concerned in this connection because of a rumour which I heard in the corridors of this House yesterday. This rumour is to the effect that Mr. Dan McGillicuddy, the informant in this connection, has stated in Ottawa that this $19,000 was paid in connection with a transaction in my own riding. L presume that if he made that statement to other persons in this city, he must have made it to the Tight hon. the Prime Minister in some one of his several interviews with him. That transaction was not connected in any way with the Canadian Northern railway or swamp lands of Manitoba or lands in Saskatchewan. It has no connection whatever with anything that has been mentioned in this House. I wish that the right hon. the Prime Minister were in his seat now so that he could say whether or not this information was given him by Mr. McGillicuddy, whether or not the fact has slipped his mind, and whether, upon its being recalled to him, it makes any difference to him in the limitation which he seeks to put on this inquiry.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Might I interrupt the hon. gentleman? I do not know to what transaction he refers, but that does not make any difference. If he will be good enough later on to inform the right hon. the Prime Minister as to what particular transaction it is, I shall ask my right hon. leader to include that subject in the inquiry.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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CON

James Davis Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR (New Westminster).

That statement is very satisfactory to me, and I may say that it is what I would have expected from the hon. the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver). I am -very loathe indeed to have any part in this matter, and I would not have taken any part in it were it not that to be silent, after the information volunteered to me yesterday, would be apt to be misunderstood by the electors whom I represent. I would like to add, however, in consequence of the limitation which the minister has suggested to place upon the scope of the inquiry, that I would not be satisfied to judge this question on the point -as to whether or not the transaction I have indicated was one which could be justified in the public interest. The protest against it is that it was of a very harsh character, confiscating the rights of a community on behalf of a private corporation. That matter is before the courts now, and I do not wish to go into it at any length, but would simply say that I understand the defence to be that the transaction was in the end in the public interest. Now it is not sufficient for me to be told that it is in the public interest if it can be established that at the same time as this transaction occurred-and the dates are almost identical-a very large sum was paid into any fund of which the minister was made the trustee by the beneficiaries of that transaction. I think that the scope of the inquiry should be enlarged to show not only whether or not that transaction was in the public interest, but whether the beneficiaries did make a payment of this kind. I would suggest further that a minister of the Crown, in a matter of this kind, occupies another position than that of a colleague of the Prime Minister. I would suggest that he is also an adviser of the Governor General, and that His Excellency is entitled to other information than can be conveyed to him by a resolution of this House refusing this or any inquiry, and that-, in my humble judgment, it is the prerogative of a member or members of this House to directly address His Excellency in a matter affecting the honour of one of his advisers.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I have suggested to my hon. friend that he should specify to the Prime Minister the matter which he wishes to have investigated so that it might be included, in this motion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
Permalink

May 3, 1911