On the Orders of the Day:
Mr. E, GUSS PORTER (West Hastings): Mr. Speaker, before proceeding with the Orders of the Day, I desire to make a personal explanation in regard to a statement made by the hon. member for Chambly-Vercheres (Mr. Archambault) a day or two ago in the House in discussing the Grand Trunk Acquisition Bill. That statement found its way into the Ottawa Evening Citizen in its issue of the 4th inst. The statement in question is reported1 in that paper, as follows:
Mr. Archambault declared that in one in stance the whole Canadian National railways schedule had been interfered with for political purposes. He read letters [DOT] and newspaper articles dealing with the case of R. H. Thompson, of Mont Eagle Valley, Ont., who declared that because the C. N. R. train had been cancelled at Bancroft for the purpose of carrying people to E. Gus Porter's picnic at Marmora, his daughter whom he was taking to hospital at Toronto had died.
Neither the Citizen nor the hon. member for Chambly-Vercheres can be accused of originality in regard to this statement as it first appeared in a notorious publication known as Jack Canuck. So long as the report remained with such a disreputable publication as that, or in the hands of the hon. member for Ch.ambly-Vercheres, I did not consider the matter was such as to call for an explanation from myself. Both the statement and the inference from it seemed to be too silly to require any contradiction.
But the matter having found its way into Hansard and also into the respectable public press, I feel that in justice to myself, and to the Government managing the railway in question, I should make an explanation. It is said, as I have read, that the whole Canadian National railway schedule has been interfered with for the purpose of helping to make a success of my political picnic. I had no idea that I had acquired any such prominent position, as alleged, that I could have control of the whole Canadian National Railway system in order that I might hold it up and use it for the purposes of my picnic. However, that seems to be the allegation and the statement is just as devoid of truth as the conclusion is lacking in common sense. The facts are that on the day in question I did not have a single thing to do with the regulation or operation of the trains on this branch of railway in any manner, shape or form; nor did the committee in charge of the picnic which was held in my honour at that time. I have made inquiry and I have ascertained the fact to be that not a single train upon that railway altered its regular schedule time on that occasion. The trains ran regularly all day long and no application was made to the railway company to have them alter or change their schedule in that respect.
Hon. gentlemen may not know that on the Central Ontario branch of the Canadian National railway the station at Marmora, where this picnic was held, was about two miles distant from the village itself and that for the accommodation of the traffic at the village a branch line has been put in between the main line and the village. On the day in question the last train of the day operating to the south ran into the village and out again, as a pure matter of business and not as a result of any interference by myself or the committee, to pick up the hundreds of passengers living south of the village and to convey them to their homes.
The result was that the train was about one hour and a half late, not more than that.; and to convince hon. members that it was not due to any concerted action on the part of myself or the committee, the train left Marmora just as soon as the people could get on board. The train had been advertised to leave at six o'clock, but as a matter of fact it left some twenty or twenty-five minutes before that hour, and did not even wait for the picnic to break up. As regards the death of Mr. Thompson's daughter, I regret that exceedingly, as I am sure every one will, but my regret is still greater in that any hon. gentleman in