May 13, 1916

CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

If the hon. minister

was referring to the words used by the hon. member for North Cape Breton (Mr. McKenzie, or by the hon. member for Carle-ton (Mr Carvell), I think he is out of order; but I understand that not to be the case.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

I think that under

your ruling, Mr. Speaker, I will have to admit that I was making that reference, and will have to withdraw the expression. The hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugs-ley) suggested that I was forgetting myself. May I say that I was not forgetting myself that I was remembering the language of the hon. member for Carleton. However that language may be characterized, I felt that I should be doing very much less than my duty if I did not stand up to make-I do not know that I should call it a defence, because I am sure that the reputations of

the two gentlemen who have been attacked stand so high that they might be left to stand as the sole defence against the attack (I hope that is parliamentary) made upon them by the hon. member for Carleton. We had some discussion this afternoon on comparison of reputations. May I say to the hon. member for Carleton-and in this I am not depreciating in the slightest degree the height of his present reputation- that if he ever succeeds in attaining the reputation which Sir Charles Davidson has attained, after a long career lived out in the public eye, and under conditions in which his qualifications for such a position as he now occupies were put to the severest test, the hon. gentleman can flatter himself that his life has been that of one of the most honourable, the most distinguished of men whom Canada has produced.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. E. M. MACDONALD (Pictou):

Mr. Speaker, the matter now before the House may be said to be a sequel of what began as long ago as the 9th of March. The Minister of Justice charges my hon. friend from North Cape Breton with being in this position in bringing this matter before the House-that he desired to have something to talk about, having found that the Government had referred the matter to Sir Charles Davidson. The hon. minister should not have made that remark; it was totally unwarranted. It is just as well that we should be clear as to the facts. The hon. member for Cape Breton (Mr. McKenzie), on Monday last, informed the Prime Minister that he proposed to make a motion based on the papers that had been brought down. It was after my hon. friend from North Cape Breton had intimated that he would move in this matter that the Prime Minister moved.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I beg the hon.

gentleman's pardon. There is no foundation whatever for that statement.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I have already

explained, but the hon. member must have overlooked it, that on Thursday or Friday last I spoke to the Minister of Justice and told him that Sir Charles Davidson should be instructed to proceed with that inquiry. He saw Sir Charles Davidson on Saturday, I think. On Monday he reported to us that Sir Charles Davidson thought that an additional Order in Council would be necessary, and the recommendation was brought

to Council on Monday by the Minister of Justice.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

It appears, then, that my right hon. friend discovered last Thursday that this was a matter that ought to be investigated. My- right hon. friend was very alow in bringing down information to the House in regard to this question. It took him two months to give to this House information which he might have given within two weeks after the matter was first called to his attention.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I do not think it was as long as that.

Mr. (MACDONALD: I will give the' House the story of the way in which this matter came before Parliament. Last Thursday it developed in the mind of -the Prime Minis' ter that this was a matter that ought to be investigated, and he communicated the fact to the Minister of Justice. He knew, or ought to have known when the idea first developed in his mind, that there was no power in Sir Charles Davidson, under the Order in Council under which he had been appointed a commissioner, to deal with this matter. My right hon. friend knew that last Thursday.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The statement that my hon. friend has just made is not a correct statement. It was not presented to my mind at all that -any further Order in Council would be necessary. That was first brought to my attention on Monday by the Minister of Justice.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Then my right hon. friend did not know the extent of the powers that he had previously conferred on Sir Charles Davidson?

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I did not have the Order in Council before me, and it did not occur to me that it related to purchase and did not include sale.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Why did my hon. friend not have in mind that according to the statement which he made to the House, and under the Order in Council creating the Meredith-Duff Commission he could have sent this matter to that commission without specially dealing with it? My right hon. friend intimated here more than once that the Order in Council creating the Meredith-Duff Commission contained powers which were sufficiently wide to enable him to send to that commission any matters coming up in Parliament that might require investigation.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

It would have required an Order in Council even in that case. My hon. friend ought to know that.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

My right hon. friend some weeks ago constituted a commission which for the purposes of this discussion we will call the Meredith-Duff Commission. He announced and re-announced to the House that the Commission was constituted for the purpose of dealing not merely with those charges in which the name of J. Wesley Allison was mixed up, but with any other charges of a kindred nature that might arise. Some days after having brought down to the House the papers which, produced only a week ago Monday, he could have brought down long before that day, he decided that the papers which he himself had produced indicated the existence of a state of affairs which demanded an investigation. Instead of referring the matter to the commission which he had led the country to believe was constituted for the purpose of investigating matters relating to J. Wesley Allison, my right hon. friend in some inscrutable way decided to utilize the services of Sir Charles Davidson. Last Monday the member for North Cape Breton went to my right hon. friend and intimated to him that he purposed moving a resolution in the House based on the facts disclosed in the return brought down by the Prime Minister, and then and not till then did my right hon. friend disclose to the member for North Cape Breton the fact that he intended to refer .the matter to Judge Davidson. What did my right hon. friend do subsequent to that? On Tuesday the Order in Council was passed. He did not notify Parliament; he did not bring the Order in Council down to the House. No one in the country except my right hon. friend and his colleagues knew that such an Order in Council existed. It was his duty to give us the facts.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I beg my hon. friend's pardon. I have already stated that when the member for North Cape Breton spoke to me on Monday last I told him that the matter was referred to the Davidson Commission.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

As a matter of fact, it had not been at that date.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The recommendation had been signed and sent to the Governor General for approval at the time that I made that statement to the hon.

member for North Cape Breton and Victoria.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

We have here in this file the memorandum of another Order in Council which had apparently been prepared but had never been approved or passed. It is rather curious, therefore, that my right hon. friend's Order in Council was in that position. But my right hon. friend has not told us why he failed to place on the table of the House the- Order in Council which was passed on Tuesday. [DOT]

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I told the hon. member for North Cape Breton that the matter had been referred to the Davidson Commission. If the Order in Council had been asked for, I should have been perfectly willing to lay it on the table of the House.

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LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

The Prime Minister does not say that he mentioned anything about an Order in Council to me?

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May 13, 1916