On the list banded me this evening by the hon. member for Shefford (Mr. Boivin), Mr. Desmarais' name is inserted as having resigned. Would the minister be kind enough to inform me how he makes out that Mr. Desmarais has resigned?
I brought up this question of dismissal on March 21, 1912. The minister knows very well that Mr. Desmarais did not refuse to do his duty and he cannot produce any proof that Mr. Desmarais refused to do his duty. The Conservative candidate who was defeated in 1911 wanted to place one of his friends, Mr. Lemire, in this position and the deputy minister at that time wrote to Mr. Desmarais on January 18, 1912, as follows:
A. Desmarais, Esq.,
Temporary Assistant Inspector of Weights and Measures,
Dear Sir,-I am directed by the hon. Minister of Inland Revenue to advise you that a charge has been brought against you of having, during the last federal election, acted as a political partisan.
You are therefore in consequence of this charge called upon to tender your resigantlon or show cause why your services should not be dispensed with.
I remain, sir,
Your obedient servant,
W. J. Gerald, Deputy Minister.
Mr. Desmarais wrote and said he had not interfered in elections, but he was forced to undergo an investigation. The minister told me that himself. They have a Conservative organizer in the eastern township who has been made commissioner to investigate all these charges. You can
imagine what kind of a trial a good Liberal would receive. The minister promised' me personally in this House that he would show me letters he had received making charges agains Mr. Desmarais. I went to the minister's office and he would not show them to me.
He had one of his friends to place. This is what he gave in the House on March 21, 1912, in answer to my questions:
Mr. Ma ntel: A charge has been made against Mr. Desmarais by the Conservative candidate, Mr. D. Hayes, and acting upon that charge we gave Mr. Desmarais the notice that has been read. Since then Mr. Desmarais has left for Montreal and I have not heard of him since. We have been informed that he is working for a firm in Montreal and we have made no inquiry and decided on no dismissal.
Now, Mr. Desmarais had not left for Montreal ; but seeing that he had got this letter from the deputy minister and having a large family, he was trying to get another position because he knew what his fate would be if he had to pass through the hands of this particular organizer, Mr. Shurtliff who is employed the year round investigating charges made against Liberals. According to the return, Mr. Demarais resigned; yet my hon. friend the minister told us a few minutes ago that he had dismissed him.
In regard to Mr. Demarais, an investigation was to take place, but to prevent the investigation against him Mr. Desmarais went to Montreal and refused to perform his duties. We have dismissed him because he failed to perform his duties. No investigation was made, but if Mr. Desmarais had continued to perform his duties as inspector of weights and measures we would have caused an investigation to be made in his case.
Did I understand the minister to say that he had not made any dismissals in his department since 1912? I have a letter here of August 14, 1913, as follows:
Mr. F. H. Prefontaine,
Sir,-I beg to inform you that His Excellency the Administrator by an Order in Council, dated the 8th instant, has been pleased to dispense with your services as Assistant Inspector of Weights and Measures in the Weights and Measures district of Quebec, on the ground of political partisanship, to take effect from the 1st August, 1913. [DOT]
This letter was written on the 14th ci August and the poor man not only did not have one day's notice, but was told he had to get out on the 1st of August, fourteen days before he received this letter. Naturally, Mr. Prefontaine was very much surprised when he received this letter. He wrote to the minister; explained his surprise; asked him what evidence he had and asked for an investigation. There was no answer to this first letter of his. He then wrote another letter and the minister answers, undeT date 22nd September, 1913:
I am in receipt of your letter with reference to your dismissal.
Mr, Huard, the defeated candidate in
Megantic, ^demanded your dismissal, on account of political partisanship. Having received several declarations corroborating charges, I considered I was obliged to take action. I therefore recommended that you be dismissed and council has sanctioned my recommendation.
Now, I should like to know what these declarations are.
It does not change the number, but an exact count has been made, and the number of dismissals in the department since I came into office is 84. Mr. Prefontaine was dismissed for cause- political partisanship-and no investigation was held.