May 29, 1914

PRIVATE BILLS.

FIRST READINGS.


Bill No. 215, for the relief o.f Alberta Ring.-Mr. Morphy. Bill No. 216, ior the relief of Bertha Lucinda Graham.-Mr. Blain.


THE EMPRESS OF IRELAND DISASTER.


On the Orders of the Day being called: Right Hon. R. L. BORDiEN (Prime Minister): I conceive it my duty to refer to ithe .appalling disaster of which tidings came to us this morning. In its awful suddenness, and the enormous toll of human lives which was taken, the disaster comes to us with a shook which, I suppose, was never experienced in this country before. I am speaking of the earlier reports of the disaster. There are some later reports which indicate that a very much larger proportion of the passengers may have been saved than was supposed at first. We all sincerely hope that the later news, which in some quarters has been received with incredulity, may in the end prove accurate. That a ship only a few hours out from Quebec, in the dead of night, with 1,300 persons on board, should have been so damaged as to sink within ten or twenty minutes, and that so many human lives should have been sacrificed, cehtainly comes to us all in this House, and to all in this country, as a most appalling shock. I do not believe, from the reports which have come, that the disaster is one that could have been prevented by anytthing that the country could have done in the way of rendering the navigation of the St. Lawrence more safe. It appears that it occurred in a fog and was one of those accidents which are almost if not wholly un-prevcntable by any possible means that we could devise for the safety of navigation. ' In view of the apparent great magnitude of the disaster-according to the first report at least-it has been my painful duty to bring it to the attention of Parliament so that we may have the opportunity of expressing not only our deep regret for the disaster itself, but our profound sympathy with all those who have been bereaved in this way. 44.34


LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Rt. Hon. Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Mr. Speaker, the hand of late has certainly been very heavy against us for the last few months: this is the third disaster which

has happened in the St. Lawrence since navigation has opened, and this one surpasses in horror anything that has occurred for many years-, certainly since the fatal calamity of the Titanic. The disaster which we have to deplore to-day approaches, in the loss of human life, the horrible proportions of the Titanic disaster. It is, of course, premature to-day to express any opinion, but it is very difficult to believe that such an accident, taking place in our own waters of the St. Lawrence, and so near the last station that we have, at Father Point, should not have been preventable. I do not pass any judgment upon this point at the present time, and I hope it will turn out, as hinted and hoped by my right hon. friend (Mr. Borden), to be one of those which could not have been prevented by any human agency. Our sympathies will go to the relatives and friends of those who have been lost, and possibly later on our sympathy may take a substantial form. In the meantime, I join my own voice to the voice of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister of Canada in extending to the victims and their families

all that we can offer to -them under the circumstances-our most sincere and deepest sympathy.

Topic:   THE EMPRESS OF IRELAND DISASTER.
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OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS IN FRENCH.

LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I wish to call the attention of my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen) to something that has happened in connection, with the marine agency at Quebec-without his knowledge, I am quite sure; in fact, I am positive that it is without his knowledge. 1 understand that Mr. Tremaine has been appointed to supervise the work of the office pending the investigation that is taking place. I saw 1-a-st night by La Patrie, of Montreal, a good Conservative organ, that Mr. Tremaine had .sent instructions to the officials of the agency, and the captains and crews on board the Government steamers at Quebec, that all their reports should be made in English. Some of them had been made in French, and they have been returned with the order, says La Patrie, that the reports should be made in English. I am quite sure that my hon. friend has no knowledge of this; but I beg to inform him of what is taking place, >and

[Mr. Borden. 1

I would ask him to see that Mr. Tremaine withdraws -such a drastic order as that.

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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Mr. Tremaine, who is inspector of agencies, is acting as agent at Quebec until the report is received from Mr. Doutre and Mir. de S'alaberry regarding the state of affairs there. If Mr. Tremaine has issued any such order as is stated in the newspaper, I say most unhesitatingly that it was improper on his part to do so. We have two official languages in this country, French and English, and any person in -Canada -has a perfect right to address any department or any official of any department in either of these languages and expect to receive a reply to his communication. I will take -steps, however, to ascertain the truth of the statement made by my hon. friend-

Topic:   OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS IN FRENCH.
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LIB
CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

-by La Patrie; -and if such orders were given, I will see that they are countermanded 'at once.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

In this connection will

the hon. Minister of Marine- and Fisheries allow me to call attention to a statement I made last session. I asked for a return concerning the dismissal of Louis Bujold, lightkeeper at Carleton Point, Quebec. All the correspondence was originally in French, but it had been translated and was. sent to me in English. I wanted it in the original language. The department went to- a great deal of trouble to put it in English. I asked the minister afterwards to gat it for me in the original language, but I never got it. The result was that when I got back to my people- I had to translate the English documents back into French. Apparently it is the custom of the department to translate -everything into English. If a document is submitted in French it should be allowed to remain in French.

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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

I shall be very glad to get that information for my hon. friend and to see that he gets the correspondence as originally received. The- reason for the circumstance to which my hon. friend alludes is evidently that officials in the department who have to deal with these matters are perhaps not as familiar with French as they are with English, and -therefore these documents would have to be translated into English so that they would be absolutely certain as to the-ir contents. If my hon. friend last year made the request to which

he has alluded, evidently it has been overlooked. I shall be very glad to see that my hon. friend get all these communications to which he refers, in the language in which they were received by the department.

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ALLEGED INCOMPLETE RETURN.


On the Orders of the Day being called:


LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

My hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen) brought down a return in regard to the dismissal of William Campbell. I notice that the papers in connection with the appointment of the new lightkeeper seem to be incomplete. There is no certificate of the last employer, clergyman, magistrate, or schoolmaster, and the interesting point abcut the matter is as to who gave the certificate for this, man's appointment. That has not been brought down.

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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

I laid the papers on the

table of the House as they were delivered to me without examination, presuming that they cohitained the information which my hon. friend desired. I will find out at once.

Topic:   ALLEGED INCOMPLETE RETURN.
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LIB

William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. WILLIAM CHISHOLM:

When may I expect the return in compliance with an order of the House passed the 16th of March, referring to the appointment of the collector of customs at Antigonish? The Minister of Customs undertook to make a partial compliance with the order, but the order of the House has not been com plied with inasmuch as papers which I happen to know are on file have not been brought down. I address my inquiry to the Secretary of State because the order calls for all papers or correspondence received by the Minister of Customs or any other minister of the Government, or any officer of any department of the Government.

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CON

Louis Coderre (Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CODERRE:

Am I to understand

that the return is not complete?

Topic:   ALLEGED INCOMPLETE RETURN.
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LIB

William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. CHISHOLM:

There was a single

letter brought down by the Minister of Customs. There is a whole lot of correspondence, but the Minister of Customs arrogated to himself the right to say it is private, although it was not marked private and was not regarded as private by the sender.

Topic:   ALLEGED INCOMPLETE RETURN.
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May 29, 1914