I thank the hon. minister. I read first at page 1407. He uttered two sentences before he used the following words:
If the committee will look two pages further down in the same evidence they will find that I took good care to say, before leaving the box, that I did not want to mislead the committee-
Evidently the minister had been in the box before.
-that I had been in Ottawa on two or three occasions to attend council meetings, and when here had gone to the office and attended to some routine matters. The 29th September, or 28th and 29th September was evidently one of those occasions. I remember very well having seen a telegram or a letter of the 21st September which was on my desk when I arrived.
How does the minister say he was right in stating that to the committee if he had not read that letter? Everybody would assume from that answer that he had read the letter. Then he goes on:
I might say I was at the office only in the evening. My private secretary, Mr. Ide, was there with me, assisting me to clean up correspondence, and when I saw the letter of September 21, without taking the time to go through the file, I was informed by Mr. Ide in a previous message sent by the-
and so on. Twice there he states he saw it. I turn to the next page, 1408:
Q. Tlhe fact is Moses Aziz has no-t yet been imprisoned?-A. No, he has not.
Q. And so far as the records show he has not been imprisoned because of the intervention of the Minister of Customs and Excise?-A. Well, I would not like to admit that the intervention of the minister was the sole cause of his not being imprisoned.
Now I ask hon. members to listen to this:
Q. It is the causa or causan, speaking as a lawyer,-
said Mr. Bennett.
-of his not being imprisoned?-A. Possibly. I am sure the committee will appreciatesaid the hon. minister:
-that seeing this letter as I did on the 28th or 29th of September, having just entered into my duties and not knowing the rules and regulations, I was asked to consult the Hon. Mr. Lapointe who was not in Ottawa at the time, and whom I could not consult.
Now, the hon. gentleman will remember that in the body of that letter he was asked to consult the Hon. Mr. Lapointe, and he explains that he did not see him, because Mr. Lapointe at the time was out of town. So far I have quoted from the minister's evidence, but now I want to direct the attention of hon. gentlemen to what the minister himself said in this House before the question of the hon. meriiber for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) was posed. I ask hon. members to look at page 4837 of Hansard containing the speech of the minister delivered the day before yesterday, and I direct special attention to this because the minister knows this address was revised by himself, and very rightly so.
Sitting at my desk in Ottawa, on or about September 28, 1 was approached by my secretary who had several hundred letters to dispose of-the accumulation of a month. He was trying as rapidly as possible to deal with them, and reading this one to me he remarked, "This is a request from Mr. Robichaud-"
and so on. The minister in his own speech before the question was put declared to this House that that letter was read to him by his secretary before it was answered, and previously three times in three sentences in his evidence he declared that he had seen the letter which asked him to consult with Mr. Lapointe. I wonder if this impresses the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. Are we to hear now the minister say he did not see it or read it, that he had not it read to him, that he did not know its contents when he made and directed that reply, in face of the fact that three times on'oath he swore he saw it, again in his speech he said it was read to him, and in face of the further fact that the reasons given in this House for acceding to the request were reasons which involved considerable inquiry on the part of the minister,
Customs Inquiry-Mr. Meighen
inquiry which it is certainly not reasonable to assume he would undertake without making inquiry into the contents of the letter itself. I lay these matters before hon. members, and I venture to say that all who will read this evidence will never accuse me of having presented unfairly the position of the minister.
Now he says: I was justified in directing that despatch and in writing my reply of September 28 or 29. I ask hon. gentlemen to keep closely in mind what that reply was. The minister said: I did not stop this man going to jail. I had to order him to jail-that is the only inference; I am not putting it in his own words, I admit-under the custom of New Brunswick, unless the private prosecutor interferes and sees that a warrant of commitment is issued after sentence, the warrant will not be issued; "That," he says, "is. the custom in New Brunswick; I did not keep him out, all I did was to say to Mr. Stewart, 'Don't interest yourself to see the warrant is issued'." The fact is that is not what the minister did at all. The minister directed Mr. Stewart to go to the magistrate and see that the warrant was not issued.