June 4, 1921

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

There are different reports at different dates.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

What is the latest?

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I think I have it here.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If there is nothing to be concealed about this trans-

action if it is perfectly open and bona fide, why was this item not put into the Main Estimates when they were brought down weeks ago? Why was it not put into the Supplementary Estimates which were brought down two or three days ago? Why is it the very last item presented to Parliament but twenty-four hours before prorogation?

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

So far as I am concerned, if any importance is attached to the time at which this item came down and if any hon. gentleman considers that, by reason of that, any useful purpose can be served by not proceeding now-of course, this is not my item; I intervene in this only because of the nature of the discussion that has arisen and only for the purpose of putting certain facts before this House in view of statements that have been made. I do not question that they are made in good faith, but I feel very strongly that they were made without adequate information.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Time is the essence of this.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

That is a question properly to be determined by the minister vhose item it is. But I think the House and the hon. gentleman himself will agree with me that, whether this item is proceeded with to-day or not, in view of the case as it has been put before the House- as I say, I have not the slightest doubt, in perfect good faith-it was nothing short of a duty to put the facts as they are before the House and the people who are responsible for action.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

My hon. friend who appeals to my good faith in the matter, will remember, no doubt, the Belanger case. He will remember that a sum of $223,000 was about to be paid. He will remember that I sounded the alarm bell; the Government took notice, and since then the amount has been reduced by the court. Let my right hon. friend, whom I am not charging with any participation in this grab-that is far from my mind-follow my candid advice to-day. Let him postpone this until next session. Meanwhile, if I do not establish to the satisfaction of any fair-minded gentleman of this House that this is a scandalous grab, I shall abjectly apologize to s the claimants in the first instance. Is that a fair proposition?

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

If the hon. gentleman can, in any delay which may elapse by reason of a postponement of this item, find

a ground upon which we can be relieved of responsibility, he will find what I and my officers, the officers of the Marine and Fisheries Department, and, I have reasjn to believe, the officers of the Harbour Commissioners of Quebec, have been seeking in vain for months. As I have said, the reason why this comes late is because, until we had exhausted the investigation of every possible field that might offer hope of getting free from the results of this arb.tra-tion, I and my colleagues with me certainly did not feel that we ought to put in an Estimate or ask for payment of this claim. On the other hand, when every effort was exhausted, we did not feel that we were justified in further prolonging the delay in making payment to parties who, after all, we have to remember, whatever may have been their share in the Yamaska election, have in their favour the judgments of all of the courts of this country, and some respect is due to judgments of the courts. After we have done our best to ascertain whether there is means of demonstrating error in those judgments, I do not think it can be questioned that the only open course is to submit to them. Having, however, put the situation before the committee, I want to repeat that, so far as it is in my control to say whether this item should be proceeded with to-day or deferred to be proceeded with later, I have no objection to enter, in the slightest, to the fullest possible time for examination on the part of anyone who has a reasonable belief that that examination would result in the finding of a means by which this judgment might be set aside.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have some little

knowledge of this item, derived several months ago. I do not remember hearing of it for some length of time. The parties to it then appeared and represented, just as the Minister of Justice has said, that the Quebec Harbour Commission had taken their property as a portion of the harbour. A map of the harbour shows-I speak from memory now, but I do not think I am very far out-that the property in question is under water or mostly under water and is largely across the river from the main harbour; but according to some law of the province of Quebec, the occupants of the harbour are the occupants of that property and must pay for it. I must say that that is not the law of our province, and the law itself I do not pretend to be a judge of; but that this property is absorbed in the harbour is and

has been their claim and, consequently, they claim damages for it. They represented that it was part of the harbour, and they took the question before a Board of Arbitration, one arbitrator being a gentleman who for about twenty odd years had been a judge of the province of Quebec.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

He could not be any

longer. That is why he was retired.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Because he was not

a good judge?

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I do not say that.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not know anything- about him. He acted as arbitrator, and he determined that, according to the law of the province of Quebec, this land had been taken by the Harbour Commission and that this land was of the value fixed by the terms of the judgment, whatever it was-I think some $50,000 odd. Counsel for the Harbour Commission represented that the Government, in the name, of course, of the Harbour Commission, because there was no other way in which we could get a hearing before the court, should appeal from this arbitration award.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

It is a corporation.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Yes, and as a corporation it has to conduct this case. But the Government being responsible in the end is really a party to it, although it has to be represented in the name of the commission. The Government then had counsel appear, and they appealed that award. The appeal came before a judge of the Superior Court of the province of Quebec. That judge sustained the award and sustained the first judge on both counts, that they were owners of the property we had taken, and that the value was so much and we had to pay it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Before the arbitration

who acted for the Government or the Harbour Commission?

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My information is that it was Mr. Guss Stewart in the first place. We appealed from that to the Court of Appeal, and the Court of Appeal unanimously sustained the judgment of the court below, which was the judgment of the arbitrator. There were three determinations by judges of the province of Quebec.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Exactly like the Belanger case.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. gentleman spoke long enough and loudly enough; I think he really ought to let me continue

now. I know he likens this to some other case, but that does not change this case. This case is precisely as I am stating it to this committee, and I am stating it in order that the committee may ascertain just what there was behind the vehemence of my hon. friend from Maisonneuve. Not content with that, the claimants represented that the Government had insisted on an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, had taken that appeal, and that the Supreme Court of Canada, with Mr. Lafleur acting for the Government, had sustained, without a dissenting voice, the judgment of the Court of Appeal of the province of Quebec on both counts, and that the justice Department had taken the opinion that it would only be a waste of costs to go past .the Supreme Court of Canada. They did not represent that, but on inquiry afterwards I found tnat out. They said to me: How do you justify standing in possession of our property, taking the judgment of three courts unanimously in our favour and setting those aside and refusing to pay us the money? I was powerless in the presentation of a case like that. I submitted the matter to the Department of Marine and I got a report from them to the effect that they, still did not want to pay the money, and did not think they ought to pay it, but they set up, "naturally, nothing in the way of legal argument in support of their position. However, the attitude of the department was against paying the money. I took it up with the Justice Department and found that the Justice Department was of opinion that there was no use proceeding further; indeed, that the better opinion presented to them before they went to the Supreme Court was that they would not succeed before the Supreme Court. That was the position. I never heard anything more about it, and I did not know that an Estimate would be included, though I should have known that. I did not know the item was in the Estimates. The item has no more to do with the Yamaska election, except in the mind of my hon. friend from Masionneuve, than it has to do with the election in South Africa, not the slightest. But a solution now is very close at hand.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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June 4, 1921