It is on Hansard; it is all right.
Mr. J. READ:
Mr. J. READ:
You are very anxious to create a monopoly, are you not? If what the minister has just said was correct, or if he had not been deceived, I would not say anything about this. But he has evidently been deceived, if he has been told that the miners' association has appointed that committee.
As a matter of fact, the Miners' Association sent down a gentleman named Mr. Caldwell, and he made the statement that
they did not want this committee-that the committee was simply a farce and was coing to put it over on the miners. They want a royal commission, that will deal fairly and justly as between the Smelting Company and the people of British Columbia. You already "have an appropriation in the Estimates and for that sum, or perhaps a little more, provision can be made for an inquiry by a royal commission. The Smelter Company -and the Consolidated Company are one and the same thing. That is the worst feature of the matter. And these people have already formed a great monopoly in the province of British Columbia by reason of having this- smelter, which is going to be supported by the Government. They aTe already producing, in fact, the returns for the past year show that the output of the Consolidated Mining Company of British Columbia, which is really the same as the smelter, is 30,659 tons of ore, whereas the production of the rest of the mines of East Kootenay would not total one-sixth oi that amount. In other words, the Consolidated Mining Company have put all the small miners out of business, and are now in possession, practically speaking, of the whole mining system of the Kootenay district. If hon. gentlemen are very anxious to perpetuate that sort of thing, I, for one, certainly am not. I put myself on record against such a giant monopoly as that is. I am only asking the Government to protect the ordinary mine owners of the Kootenay district by giving them a royal commission to discover whether the allegations they are making are correct, and to fix the smelting charges so that they shall be on a reasonable basis.
This matter is o.ie oi very great importance to the whole ot the district referred to. There may he something in my hon. friend's contention that there is a difference of opinion between certain mine owners and the mine owners as a whole, and that the committee which is suggested would not have powers wide enough to investigate the charges which the smelter is making. A convention of the Associated Boards of the Kootenay district was held on February 26th at Kootenay, at which this whole thing was threshed out. It is possible, as my hon. friend intimates, that the mine owners were not thoroughly represented there. At all events, all interests were represented to some extent, and as a result of that convention they asked for a commission to investigate whether charges
made by the smelter were fair, because they thought the existence of the whole industry was imperilled. Two gentlemen were sent from that convention to Ottawa who placed the whole matter before me, 4 p.m. when we had a two hours' talk and discussed the subject thoroughly. Subsequently I had a discussion with the Prime Minister on the subject. The smelter had raised no objections whatever to an investigation, in fact they were prepared to throw open their books, accounts, and processes to inspection, because they believed that their charges were fair and they were willing to meet the contention of the mine owners in a fair spirit. As a result of that discussion we concluded that, as there was some objection to the perpetual appointing of royal commissions -because there is undoubtedly a good deal of restlessness in the country in regard to the multiplicity of commissions,-the purpose in view might be achieved by a friendly investigation carried on by the committee suggested, in which we would assist them financially. An Order in Council was thereupon drawn up setting forth all the facts, and the sum of $3,000 was placed in the Estimates for the purpose of meeting the expenses and giving power to enlist the services of a metallurgical expert and accountant in connection with the conduct of an investigation. Since that time, it is true, representations have been made to the Government-and there have been very strong representations in a telegram received as late as this morning-to the effect that the powers that were given to the committee in question are not sufficient, that the committee is not sufficiently in the nature of a royal commission. It is asked that the powers granted should be enlarged, and permission given to take the 3worn testimony of witnesses, and so on, and thus get what the complainants believe to be the essential facts of the case. I have not had much opportunity to discuss this matter with the other members of the Government, but I think I might go so far as to say that consideration will be given to the representations made, and I believe I can fairly say that we will try and meet those requests as far as possible by enlarging the powers that have been given. We do not necessarily pledge ourselves, even if we go that far, to appoint the same committee, but we will take up the question of giving further powers, if such powers are necessary, and of perhaps granting a little more financial assistance, and put the matter in such shape
that these disputed questions can be adjusted to the satisfaction of both the mine owners and the smel'ter. The main thing to be achieved is to stimulate production from all these mines of the Kootenay district which are so immensely important, not only to that district but to the whole of Canada. Under those circumstances, I would ask my hon. friend not to press his amendment.
Section agreed to. . Bill reported, and read the third time and passed.
YUKON TERRITORY BILL.
. Hon. HUGH GUTHRIE (Solicitor General) moved the second reading of Bill No. 112, respecting the election held in the electoral district of Yukon.
Mr. J. BUREAU (Three Rivers):
Before the Bill is read a second time I wish to again protest against the principle contained in it. In doing so I need not go into a recital of what has transpired at each successive stage of this Bill's progress. As I have stated before, the question of the qualification of the member, or of the candidate, for this electoral district, is not at stake. We on this side deem the question involved to be one of law, and iwe consider that a grave injustice has been done to the candidates in this election by the passage of the Order in Council concerning it, which we believe to be ultra vires and illegal inasmuch as it deprives one, or both, of the candidates of the rights granted by the Dominion Elections Act to appeal to the courts to correct any error which has been committed in connection with the election, or to decide the case itself definitely upon its merits. The present Bill is simply a camouflage which has been introduced toy my hon. friend the Solicitor General (Mr. Guthrie). He and his friends say to the candidates in this election, " We have illegally deprived you of your rights, as a result of which you could not go before the courts. Now we are going to restore those rights, but we will do so on one condition," and that is that any rights which you may have shall be annulled, any means of submitting to the court the grievances or wrongs of which you complain shall be taken away." This is another case, Mr. Chairman, where the Government have decided that they should have their man in the House, and they have now got him. It is another case where the House has ratified the substitution of the Governor in Council
for the legislation of Parliament and the will of the people. We have protested. I do not want to weary the House With the arguments which we have brought forward -and which have not been answered, may I be allowed to say, by the Government-as to the legality of the steps taken by them or of the Order in Council suspending the statute without any authority or justification whatever. The only thing that we on this side of the House cam do this year is to protest, because we know if we go any further and move an amendment the Prime Minister cracks the Whip and everybody on that side votes as he is told to vote. I won't give him the trouble of doing that, or put his followers to that humiliation. But I register my protest as an independent member of this House.
I do not think the protest as it stands should go unanswered. The Bill is only brought before the House on account of the objection made by Mr. Gong-don at the last sitting of the Committee on Privileges and Elections. During the discussion he urged, and I took his words down: " The Order in Council," he said, " prevents me from going to the courts under the Controverted Elections Act, upon questions of bribery and corruption, and I claim that right." It is on account of that objection that the Bill has been introduced at all. The Committee on Privileges and Elections itself dealt with the question of the soldiers' vote. I assume their finding on that was conclusive, and it has been concurred in by this House.
Now, in order to meet Mr. Congdon's objection, and for no other purpose-because he is the only man in Canada who can take advantage of this. Bill-this Bill is introduced to give him a chance of invalidating the election through election irregularities, If he has the evidence necessary. If my hon. friend who has just spoken speaks on Mr. Congdon's behalf, and desires the Bill withdrawn-
On my own behalf; I speak for nobody else.
-I do not know that the Government has anything to gain by passing the Act.
1 think that the remarks of the Solicitor General aTe not an answer to the' point at issue. It is not the fact that we speak on 'behalf of Mr. Congdon that is at stake, but that the Bill is now introduced to remedy something which cannot
be remedied. I think that the country at large should know that the Bill introduced at this stage provides a remedy ,to a certain extent, but it does not give the full remedy to which Mr. Congdon is entitled. I think the private members of this House are justified in recording their protest on the ground that a full remedy is not granted.
Mr. JOSEPH READ:
I desire to protest also. I am absolutely surprised at the Solicitor General saying that this Bill gives back the rights' of Mr. Congdon, when, as a matter of fact, it only gives back part of his rights. And then he makes the proposition that if we do not like it they will withdraw the Bill. Half a loaf is better than no bread. I would not favour withdrawing the Bill, because I assume the possibility-I do not know anything about it-of Mr. Congdon establishing his right to sit, or, at any rate, unseating his opponent, with the Bill as it is. But I do know this, that the Bill has omitted that which should not have been omitted, that is that part referring to the soldiers' vote. That is the part of the Bill, as is quite apparent f,o every man in this House, including* the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty), on which, if it went before the court, there could be only one decision, and that decision would be in favour of Mr. Congdon. I am not speaking in behalf of Mr. Congdon; I am speaking in behalf of fair play. There is no question in my mind or in the 'mind of any unprejudiced member on either side of the House, that if the two candidates had been nominated before the election the result of the overseas vote would have been different. That is very plain, and it is a question of law whether it is or not. There has never been such a thing known in the history of parliamentary government where 'a man was .elected before he was nominated.
Motion agreed to and Bill read the second time, and the House went into commit* tee thereon, Mr. Boivin in the Chair.
On section 1-Extension of date for filing an election petition.
There is some ambiguity there, at least there is the possibility of ambiguity. There were two returns made, one to the House of Commons, undone returning the member. I think it would be better to specify the date of the return in the Bill, so that there will be no doubt about which is meant.
The one meant, of course, is the one made within a day or two, electing the member.
No doubt the one intended is the one electing the member.
We might add to the section the words "on the twenty-second day of May, 1918."
Why not say "by the return of the returning officer proclaiming the election?"
I will move that the words "on the twenty-second day of May, 1918" be added to section 1.