On the Orders of the Day being called:
Mr. 0. TURGEON: (Gloucester, N.B.):
I rise to a question of privilege. My attention has been called to an article in the St. John Standard of the 11th instant, in which certain assertions of mine are misrepresented. I am reported as having used the following words at a recruiting -meeting:
I <lo not see how Britain can expect the men of Gloucester county to volunteer or enlist to light her battles when they are obliged to leave their homes and go to the United States to earn their living and a living for their families.
I brand that report as an infamous distortion of fact and language. Others may call it what they wish, but that is what I think of it. I believe that no member of this House-especially you, Mr. Speaker, who have heard practically all my utterances in this Parliament during the last fifteen years-would say that I would use these remarks before the people of Gloucester county. I believe too that the diatribes contained in that report are not the views of the editor who wrote it. It has been published, no doubt for a purpose, one month after I made the declaration in Tracadie; but every man from New Brunswick knows that I was the first to organize and call recruiting meetings in Gloucester coupty and along the north shore of New Brunswick, as is shown by the correspondence with the Canadian Patriotic Committee of St. John, New Brunswick, of which His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick is president and Mr. Jas. Gilchrist is secretary. At my instance, eloquent speakers have attended these meetings. One of them in Bathurst was addressed by a gentleman whose name is familiar throughout New Brunswick, more particularly to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Mr. F. M. Sproule, a member of
the legal profession, an ex-member of the legislature, one of the most eloquent speakers it has ever been my pleasure to listen to, and the next morning fifteen or seventeen young men from Bathurst enlisted before dinner. If I had allowed this statement to go without contradiction some one, not in this House or in New Brunswick, might have believed it. I did not wait until war was declared to pronounce my allegiance or my loyalty to the Crown. My allegiance was my birthright and my loyalty has grown stronger with each year of my life. At the last meeting I addressed I did say, at the end of my remarks, after calling on the young men to enlist, that the young men of the county of Gloucester had not responded as generously as I had expected, although more generously than those of any of the surrounding counties. The number was not to my satisfaction. I said that, owing to the hard times prevailing in Gloucester since the year before, owing to the depression of business, such as the closing of the iron mine at Bathurst by which three or four hundred men were thrown out of employment, many of whom had gone to the United States and were therefore not here to enlist, a larger number should have gone to the front. I shall not take up your time by reading the diatribe against me that follows, as I have said I do not think that the editor of the Standard himself believes it. If any further explanation is required at any time I shall be glad to give it.