April 10, 1923

PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

I should like somewhat out of curiosity to draw attention to a statement made by the Acting Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Graham) yesterday in reply to a question by the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Johnston) regarding a question I had put on the order paper some time ago. The minister had this to say:

If I might be permitted, I am not sure that the Farmers' party has brought much light to the subject. The light was forced upon it.

I would like to tell the hon. minister-

Topic:   GRATUITIES TO GRAND TRUNK OFFICIALS
Permalink
LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. This refers to a debate which took place yesterday and cannot form the subject of a discussion at the present time.

Topic:   GRATUITIES TO GRAND TRUNK OFFICIALS
Permalink
PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

What I would like to ask the minister is what ground he had for making that statement.

Topic:   GRATUITIES TO GRAND TRUNK OFFICIALS
Permalink
LIB
LIB

SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE


On the motion of Right Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King that the House go into Committee of Supply:


LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. WILLIAM IRVINE (Calgary East):

Before the motion is put, there is a matter of great urgency which I should like to bring to the attention of the House. It deals with one Mr. John J. Hayes of Calgary. I want first briefly to state this man's position.

Mr. Hayes has been a postal employee of the Dominion of Canada for thirty-three years. Not only has Tie served in that capacity for that length of time, but he also served overseas for some years. After returning he was moved from the Toronto post office to the post office of the city of Calgary. He was moved there immediately after the postal strike in Calgary. He was considered to be of such efficiency that he was placed in the position of supervisor of the letter carriers there at that time. Now for some reason unknown to me, the postmaster at Calgary seemed to take an aversion to Mr. Hayes, and recently they set a trap to catch him. There had been some petty thieving going on in the post office, and a trap was set by a policeman and an official of the post office expressly to catch Mr. Hayes. These gentlemen were in the office watching for Mr. Hayes to put his foot into the trap. They sprang the trap when they were ready but they did not catch Mr. Hayes in it; the money they had planted was found elsewhere. Nevertheless Mr. Hayes was arrested. He was not accorded trial by a jury but was brought before Hon. Mr. Justice McCarthy, and was found guilty. His case then came before the Appeal Court and was heard by Hon. Mr. Justice Beck, Hon. Mr. Justice Hyndman, and Hon. Mr. Justice Clarke, the result being that the conviction was quashed. I would refer those who are interested in the case to the report of the proceedings to be found in Canadian Criminal Cases, volume 38, page 348. Mr. Hayes then found himself a free man. The case was thrown out by the Appeal Court because the evidence against him was insufficient. Subsequently Mr. Hayes applied for reinstatement in the post office but was told by the postmaster that he would have to wait for some time. After repeated attempts to be reinstated he was informed that an order in council had been passed by the present government discharging him from the service, the letter from the Deputy Postmaster General stating that they were taking this action in the light of the judgment as summed up by the dissenting judge of the Appeal Court. I would like to know by what authority the Deputy Postmaster General sets himself above the Appeal Court in this case or, for that matter, by what authority the cabinet even judges a man over the head of the courts.

I want next to show what these proceedings mean to Mr. Hayes himself. As already pointed out he has seen thirty-three years' service. I think his service overseas counted for something more than the regular time, which would give him about thirty-five years' service under the postal department. Now,

Dismissal of John J. Hayes

by his discharge Mr. Hayes loses the pension which rightfully belongs to him as an employee of the department. In this regard I want to point out that on the morning of his arrest the postmaster at Calgary offered Mr. Hayes the privilege of resigning. Had he resigned at that time he would have obtained his pension, but he would not resign because to do so would have been an admission, inferentially at least, that he was guilty of the charge laid against him. Mr. Hayes would not take that opportunity of getting out, but went to the court with his case. However, although he won out in the courts he was summarily dismissed by an order in council. By that dismissal the fruit of his labours of thirty-three to thirty-five years was lost and he himself, as long as the attitude of the department is what it is, is even regarded by his friends with suspicion. I saw Mr. Hayes when I was at Calgary a few days ago and he is undoubtedly in dire financial straits, and his family, at the present time, are dependent upon the precarious charity of friends. Owing to this charge against him, and to the attitude of the department, Mr. Hayes is unable, to get work and is on the very verge of starvation. Now, I submit that a grave injustice has been done to this man. I do not mean to say that the government would knowingly pass an order in council calculated to inflict injustice upon anybody. At the same time, I want to say, that in my opinion, the attitude of the Deputy Postmaster General is contemptible; I cannot find words with which to express my contempt for his attitude in the matter. I imagine that the government reached the decision which it did under the influence of communications received from the postmaster of Calgary, and has not been guided in its decision in this matter by the judgment of the courts. I therefore think this injustice should be remedied. The thirty-three years of creditable service by Mr. Hayes should not be forgotten. The government's attitude not only robs Mr. Hayes of the pension which he has earned, but it also robs him of his character, for it was on the charge of theft that he was discharged, the judgment of the courts notwithstanding. I would

therefore urge remedial action on the part of the government immediately. I contend

that Mr. Hayes should be paid his wages from the moment he was arrested until he is reinstated, or else, if the department does not want to reinstate him he should be granted his pension. The least the government can possibly do, in recognition of his service overseas, and of his long term in the service of the department, is to give him his pension.

fMr. Irvine.]

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

May I ask my hon. friend to wThat pension he refers-this man's pension as an employee of the government or his pension for service as a soldier overseas?

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

I refer to the pension which Mr. Hayes has earned under the regulations governing postal employees. The man is innocent in the opinion of the court; he has been discharged as innocent of the crime of which he was accused. Therefore, I submit, he ought to receive his pension. He is an honest man in the opinion of the courts, consequently I do not see why anyone should desire to treat him as a criminal. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I would move, seconded by the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Shaw):

That all the words after the word "that" to the end of the question be struck out and the following words be inserted instead thereof:

That this House desires to record its opinion that the dismissal of John J. Hayes, formerly employed as a civil servant by the Post Office department, Calgary, Alberta, is wholly unjustifiable, and that immediate steps be taken to redress the injury done to the said John J. Hayes.

Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Acting Postmaster General): Mr. Speaker, this

amendment came into my hands just as I was entering the House, and you can readily understand that I have not had time to digest the details of this case. I might point out, however, that if the mail matter, either social or business, is not safe in the hands of public servants, then the business of Canada, as well as our social relations, goes to pieces. Any man who cannot be trusted to handle the mail matter in a post office, while he may have the sympathy, cannot have the confidence, of the people of this country. I do not want to say anything to hurt Mr. Hayes' feelings, and I think bringing up this resolution, while it is in order, is not doing Mr. Hayes a kindness. It would have been better, I think, for my hon. friend to have discussed it with me, to see if there was not some other way of reaching a conclusion. However, I am not responsible for that.

In reference to the charge against Mr. Hayes I may say that he was arrested on September 14th, 1922, charged, first, with stealing a post letter containing $2, a test letter prepared by the investigating officer, contrary to section 364 of the Criminal Code, and stealing a post letter addressed to Mrs. C. I. McFarlane, Calgary, contrary to section 364 of the Criminal Code. One can readily understand that the officials of the post office, particularly the postmaster who is responsible would be in a very embarrassing position, having discovered that at different times, on sundry occasions, letters mailed and contain-

Dismissal of John J. Hayes

ing money had gone astray, and he set out to find who was responsible for this loss of money, and who was guilty of malfeasance in office. He came to the conclusion, with the other officers of the department and officials who were there, that they should investigate the matter. Mr. Hayes was under suspicion at least. This case was tried before Mr. Justice McCarthy. Practically every man in this House knows Mr. Justice McCarthy, who was formerly a member of this House. He heard all the evidence, saw the demeanour of the witnesses, was in a position to take into account all the local conditions and he found Mr. Hayes guilty and sentenced him to three years' imprisonment on each of the two counts, sentences to run concurrently. An appeal was taken. That appeal was heard before three judges; two of them upheld the appeal, one dissenting, Mr. Justice Clarke.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

Did Mr. Justice Clarke dissent?

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Yes. I must not comment on the judgment-but perhaps I might as well. I will be very delicate about it. Mr. Justice Clarke was at one time a member of this House, and one of the ablest lawyers in the Dominion of Canada, and one of the ablest men that ever sat in this House.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

And appointed by the

late government.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LIB
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That may have been a

lapse of memory. But we are all unanimous in the opinion that Mr. Justice Clarke is a very able man. An appeal was taken. There were two questions at issue; first, the riglqt of trial by jury, which had been refused at the time of the trial by the presiding judge. My hon. friend for Calgary (Mr. Irvine) referred to that. As a matter of fact, the law provides for the trial, as it took place, without a jury. The second point was insufficient evidence. Two of the judges held that the evidence was not conclusive. Without criticizing the judgment at all, and I am not doing that, I would say that in order to come to a conclusion some other theory must be adopted, or some other explanation must be accepted as to the method by which Mr. Hayes got the letters and money into his possession. One of these was purely presumptive. The first suggestion was that the test letter had been stolen by a letter carrier who had later turned the money in to Hayes when buying stamps. Some letter carrier other than Hayes must have stolen this letter, brought it back

and turned it in to Hayes for stamps-a roundabout proceeding. The second point was that Mr. Tingle substituted this money while he was taking the requisition handed in by Hayes to the clerk from whom he obtained the stamps.

Now certainly the evidence may not have been conclusive, but to my mind the reasoning of the other judges was far from conclusive. I want to point out what Mr. Justice Clarke said in his dissenting judgment. Referring to these two contentions, or suggestions as to the method by which Hayes might have got these letters and this money, Mr. Justice Clarke first deals with the opportunity a letter carrier would have to steal this letter and shows that while it would not have been impossible for a letter carrier to have done it, it was highly improbable. He pointed out that Mr. Hayes's desk was only a few feet from the case in which the letters, including the stolen letters, were placed for his attention. Hayes personally took the letters from the pigeon hole, containing the "removed" letters, and put them on his desk to check them over as usual and turn them over to Clerk Black, the supervisor of city sortation. When examined by Black one of the test letters was there, and the other one was missing. The accused left the room for about 15 or 20 minutes-this was about 8.50 a.m.-immediately after he had turned the letter over to Black. About 9.30 a.m. he sent his assistant, Tingle, with the requisition for postage due stamped to the amount of $3.75, to the stamp vendor on the mezzanine floor. The marked money contained in the missing test letter was found among the moneys sent by Mr. Hayes for stamps. Hayes alleged he got this money from the letter carriers. I am not going to refer further to this judgment, but Mr. Justice Clarke dissented very strongly, giving, to my mind, real reasons for every point of his dissent. We begin with this again: Letters and moneys were found in the possession of Hayes illegally. Mr. Justice McCarthy, who heard all the evidence, sentenced Hayes to three years' imprisonment on each count.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

The minister said that the money and the letters which did not belong to Mr. Hayes, were found in his possession. I think the minister is in error as to that. I do not think any money was found in Mr. Hayes' possession.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The memorandum which I have here says that Hayes was charged with:

1. Stealing a post letter containing two dollars (test letter prepared by investigating officer) contrary to section 364 (c) of the Criminal Code, and

Dismissal of John J. Hayes

2. Stealing a post letter addressed to Mrs. C. I. McFarlane, Calgary; contrary to section 364 (b) of the Criminal Code.

Hayes appeared before Judge McCarthy and was found guilty and sentenced to three years' imprisonment on each of the two counts.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

That is the charge, but that does not prove that money that did not belong to Mr. Hayes was found in his pockets by the trap-springers.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Let me read again a synopsis of what Mr. Justice Clarke says:

The carrier would have had to pick out this particular letter from the thirty or more letters in the pigeon hole, which he would have no knowledge of, abstract the money-two dollars, and then turn in the money in two instalments to Hayes in purchasing a few cents worth of stamps, all before 8.50.

From that I take it for granted that the money was found in the possession of Mr. Hayes. But let me get back. I am not going to take the place of the court. Hayes was charged with stealing money and mail matter; Mr. Justice McCarthy, who heard all the evidence, found him guilty and sentenced him to two terms of three years' imprisonment, the terms to run concurrently. The case was taken in appeal on two points: First, refusal of trial by jury. That has been cleared up by Mr. Justice Clarke, who pointed out that the law provides for such trials without a jury. The second was that the evidence was not sufficient. The judges rather took the ground " not conclusive What I have read from the synopsis of the judgment of Mr. Justice Clarke would lead me to believe there was a wide divergence of opinion in that regard. Leaving all that aside, however, this is a man who is under suspicion sufficiently strong to make him a man not worthy to handle the mail of the people of Canada. WTould any man in this House trust a public servant who had been tried and found guilty by Mr. Justice McCarthy and who, although he won on appeal, had applied to the case the remarks of Mr. Justice Clarke which I have read? I cannot but oppose this motion. I am willing to discuss this matter in. the Post Office Department with my hon. friend; but I can assure him and assure Mr. Hayes that the object of the Post Office Department of the Dominion of Canada is not to persecute anybody; its chief object is to have the people of this country served, not only efficiently, but honestly.

Mr. JOS. T. SHAW (Calgary West): Mr. Speaker, I must confess that I am amazed by the attitude assumed by the Acting Postmaster General (Mr. Graham) in connection with this matter. He spent a good deal of time reviewing the judgments of the court and explaining why the view expressed by

[Mi. Graham.]

Mr. Justice Clarke must be upheld. Then, in the next breath, he tells us that he does not want to go into the matter as regards the courts. There can be no question of this fact -John J. Hayes is innocent of the charge which was laid against him.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF JOHN J. HAYES FROM POSTAL SERVICE
Permalink

April 10, 1923