June 24, 1926

PRO

Arthur Moren Boutillier

Progressive

Mr. A. M. BOUTILLIER (Vegreville):

Mr. Speaker, when I rose to address this House for the first time some days ago I neglected the courtesy due Your Honour, and at this late moment I wish to express my regret and to make amends; I desire to convey to you, Sir, expressions of my highest respect and esteem.

After listening to the learned exposition by very able members of this House it is somewhat presumptuous for me to ask hon. gentlemen to listen to any remarks I may have to make. I rise with a deep sense of responsibility; I may or may not make another address in this House, but I shall be ever grateful to the electors of the constituency of Vergreville for the privilege of being present on this important occasion and having the opportunity of presenting my views.

In speaking on this matter all personal feeling is absolutely divorced; I wish to assure the House on that point. I have received very courteous treatment from the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), as well as from every member of his cabinet, and I appreciate that extremely.

In looking over the columns of this morning's Citizen, I find these words as part of an editorial :

The Woodsworth amendment should have the support of every free member in the House.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I am a free member but I am not prepared to support the amendment in its present form. I understand that the principle of the subamendment as proposed by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. WoodSworth) has been accepted by the right hon. leader of the opposition. If I am not right I wish to be corrected.

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CON
PRO

Arthur Moren Boutillier

Progressive

Mr. BOUTILLIER:

Well, if the hon.

member for Winnipeg North Centre is sincere, I presume he will allow his subamendment to be incorporated into the amendment as presented to the House, and I am sure it will

facilitate matters; it will show a sincerity on his part that will be entirely admirable. I for one want that judicial inquiry, and the introduction of that part of the subamendment into the amendment will, I am sure, make for a more efficient inquiry and be more satisfactory to all concerned. As I said before, I am perfectly free"-perfectly free to pronounce on the issue before the House. And I am proud of the fact that I am free. It would be a great deal easier for me to give the matter no thought but let somebody else do my thinking, and to make my decision and to vote with the crowd1 or with the majority. But I would not be true or faithful to the electors of my constituency if I followed that course. If being free is merely to get up in this House and declare that a public department has been debauched'; that certain political conduct is inexcusable; that the lives of men and women have been ruined; that the people of Canada have been plundered of large sums of money; that certain evidence respecting the conduct of an ex-minister of the crown was so indecent that the Customs inquiry committee had to leave it out of the records; that the man to wlfom these remarks apply, had, in order to reform the Senate, been rewarded' and elevated to that august chamber as a shining example to the youth of our land and as in indication of what they might expect in the way of gifts from this government as long as they served it faithfully-if to rise in my place and merely express my disapproval and hold no one in a position of trust responsible, if that is to be free, if that is my duty, then, Mr. Speaker, I misunderstand very largely the meaning of the word. It is nothing to the taxpayers of this country that the treasury of Canada has been defrauded of large sums of money? Canada has been suffering from a heavy burden of taxation which might have been relieved easily had the administration of the Department of Customs been honest and effective, and had not a man sworn to guard the interests of the people of this country disregarded his solemn oath of office. I consider, Mr. Speaker, that the moral welfare of this country transcends every other issue; compared with it other issues fade into insignificance. Since 1921 I have been combating political immorality of the blackest type. Such disgraceful occurrences as took place in the constituencies of Athabasca and Peace River are not unknown in the district of Vegreville. I will not weary the House with details, but court records and newspaper clippings and files can be produced to verify my statement.

My experiences in this regard have been most interesting.

In 1921 I found myself in the ranks of the United Farmers of Alberta, a band of men and women pledged to bring about better economic conditions in Canada and to work for higher standards in public life and higher standards of citizenship. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that there is now a concrete opportunity to put these tenets or principles into effect, and to strike a real blow for Canada and all who reside within her borders.

I fully agree with all that has been said as to the thanks of the whole country being, due to the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) for his splendid efforts, and to the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) and other members of the committee who so ably assisted him. No one can come to any other conclusion, after reading the evidence, even with much of the famous Duncan reported omitted, but that a most serious and disgraceful state of affairs exists as it affects our public life. In that regard may I be allowed to read a short extract from the Toronto Globe of June 19? This is but a small portion of that editorial, Mr. Speaker, but it refers to the report brought in by the Customs inquiry committee:

The country will be fortunate if it ifa not termed departmental culpability with governmental connivance. The committee is generously lenient in attributing the conditions which have [prevailed to slow degeneracy in efficiency accumulated over a number of years. It may be so, but the evidence points with damning clarity to disregard of official responsibility on so many occasions that the deipartment is made to appear too often as little less than a clearing-house for political adventure and personal ambitions.

It seems, Mr. Speaker, that the time has come when our parliamentary standards should be raised, and those w7ho are sent here for that purpose would be derelict in their duty if they did not do everything in their power to contribute to that result. I used a very unfortunate word some time ago; it is a word I do not like to use, but it happened to come into this matter, and that was the word " indecent ". I found that word on the pages of Hansard and it refers to the Duncan report. In this connection, may I quote a dialogue which occurred yesterday between the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Donaghy and the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens):

Mr. Donaghy: It is [printed in this book.

Mr. Stevens: In part only.

Mr. Donaghy: It is the hon. member's fault as well as anybody else's if the dirty part is not in it.

Mr. Stevens: It was unanimously agreed by the committee to omit it. Put it all on the table.

Mr. Donaghy: I am quite agreeable to that. It was through no desire on my part that any part of it was not put on the table.

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Boutillier

Mr. Stevens: The hon. member consented to its suppression.

Mr. Donaghy: As my hon. friend knows, the part that was omitted has nothing to do with the stealing and destruction of nine government files. It relates to some matter of an indecent nature, unconnected with those files.

It seems to me it is very unfortunate that such a word should be used in connection with any public servant of this country.

Now every phase of this matter has been referred1 to very fully, and I just wish to touch on one matter that is quite interesting to me, namely, the bootlegging of liquor and its allied activities. This traffic, along with its allied activity, must have material to feed upon. There must be a place to go to get recruits to repair the wastage or to replace those whom they destroy. May I ask where these recruits come from? Are they not supplied from the ranks of such fine lads as we have around this chamber, from upstanding young men like those who made such a splendid1 display before this House a few days ago. The youth of Canada, the finest asset which the country possesses, are the fodder needed for the capacious maw of this monster. This traffic-and now we speak of it in a larger sense-does everything it can to drag our young men, aye even our young women, into its net. It would soon cease to exist if these came not forward to pay toll.

Should we not, Mr. Speaker, do everything in our power to protect the young people of this country, the next generation of Canadians? The evidence does not indicate that this administration gave a thought to our young people. In time of war we call upon our young men to go forward and fight for those who are at home, the children and the older men and women of the nation. This they willingly do. Is it then not meet and proper that we of this country with age and experience should in time of peace contend as valiantly as those who go forth to fight our battle, to protect our boys and girls at home from influences that are so terribly dangerous? Is not this serpent, this traffic, rearing it slimy head in this country in a most menacing way? Does it not strike at the heart of our country? Is it not gnawing at the vitals of parliamentary institutions? Has it not brought disrepute upon one of our greatest governmental departments? What are we going to do? Stand idly by and do nothing, or are we at this time by our action to give notice to smugglers and bootleggers that Canada will be an unpleasant place for them to live in? This enemy is not in Europe; it is here. Many of our best

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fall by the wayside. Some are rescued and restored, while others miserably fail.

I would that I had the eloquence of many hon. members so that I might place this matter properly before this honourable body, that I might do it justice, that 1 might plead forcefully in behalf of those who suffer from this traffic. The bootlegger deserves the utter contempt of every law-abiding citizen. He treats laws enacted iby this honourable body with utter disregard. In other words, he is a law breaker of the vilest kind and a wretched example to all with whom he comes in contact. Apparently he has no conscience, or, if he has, it is skilfully concealed. He not infrequently causes death and disaster with the poison he peddles. Follow him and what do we find? Broken hearts, the tears and sighs of mothers, wives and sweethearts, ruined homes, disease, separations and sorrows of all kinds. He is associated in his villainous work with smuggling dope smuggling included, burglary, gambling, perjury and bribery, in fact every form of dissipation and evil. Let me say here that statistics collected by our various health departments indicate that ninety per cent of new cases of our most terrible social evil are traced directly to alcoholic stimulants. It is believed that many of these cases can be traced to the activities of the bootlegger. He respects not hi3 neighbour, his mother, his wife, his sweetheart or his child. The children of his neighbour are not secure. They are nothing to him. He is responsible directly or indirectly, through his product, for blindness and deformity in many of our Canadian children, with all the suffering and heartache that these involve. He has no patriotism. He thinks only of himself. To add to his ill-gotten gains he would ruin his native land and those who inhabit it. He has no regard for body or soul; he is just as ready to destroy the soul as the body. He apparently pays no respect to those solemn words and I repeat them with all reverence, Mr. Speaker:

What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Does a being such as I have described deserve much consideration at the hands of hon. members in this House? Is any treatment too severe for him? What then shall we think of those who, either directly or indirectly, have countenanced or protected such enemies of our country? How would hon. gentlemen feel if this influence touched their homes? What then of the homes of others? Shall we not remember them at this time? I ask hon. members to pause-to stop, look and listen.

Reference has been made to the ex-Minister of Customs, the Hon. Jacques Bureau, under whose administration the bootlegger and smuggler flourished like green bay trees, who was culpable of gross negligence and responsible for the loss of much money to this country. Yet this man is taken into the bosom of the Prime Minister of this Dominion and protected by him by an appointment to the Senate, the haven of refuge. Is there no sense of responsibility, Mr. Speaker? At the opening of each day's session, Sir, you most reverently repeat certain beautiful petitions. In one of these you ask-I say it with reverence-our Creator, "That peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety be established among us for all generations." It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that the conduct of this administration as revealed has not helped greatly to contribute to the consummation of these desires. Where is the peace and happiness, in the homes of those invaded by this nefarious traffic? Where is the truth and justice in permitting a man, unworthy, to be elevated to the highest chamber in this country? If there is little regard for the peace and happiness of so many Canadian homes, and if there is so little regard for truth and justice, are religion and piety likely to abound?

There is nothing personal in this, Mr. Speaker. It is away and beyond a personal matter. I am here as an elector of the province of Alberta as representative for the district of Vegreville, and a servant of the people of Canada. I speak on behalf of our Canadian boys and girls, and I ask most respectfully that this parliament see that every action is taken to protect them from the evils that have been brought to light. If I have been sent here by the electors of Vegreville to apologize or make excuses for, or to attempt in any way to whitewash, the political transgressions of hon. members of this House, either singly or collectively, no matter, Mr. Speaker, upon which side of the House they sit, or to what party they belong, I mistake my mission. I do not believe it is my duty to do so, or that my electors expect it of me.

I believe that this administration has not not been careful in important matters affecting the moral and material welfare of this country; that this administration is entirely responsible for negligence in not taking steps of a sufficiently active nature to prevent bootlegging, to prevent recurring infractions of the law, and for appointments to high office of unworthy persons. For these reasons I cannot support the subamendment except under the condition under which the leader of the opposition would accept its purport.

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, we are supposed to be discussing the report of a committee appointed to investigate conditions in the customs. We have not been discussing that report for the greater part of the time; we have drifted off into a discussion of an amendment calculated to give a political aspect and slant to the whole discussion and incidentally to the whole report. This illustrates the initial mistake we made in entering into this matter when we confided the investigation to a political body and consequently a partisan body, because a political body will sooner or later make a political report.

I decry in no way the sterling services rendered by these hon. gentlemen. They have given intensely of their time and energy. I would not have pretended to do it; I do not think it is fair and right that they should have been asked to do it. But the work would have been as well done by a commissioner with the assistance of the very able counsel that was engaged and hon. members would have been free to attend to their parliamentary duties. Further, when the report was brought down it would have been considered entirely on its merits and not have had a political bias imparted to it.

The amendment immediately gives it a political slant by moving a vote of want of confidence in the government and more particularly in the minister at the head of the department. We then have the subamendment moved by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) last night. I wish to compliment him upon the very able manner in which he handled the subject. I thought he put the debate on a higher plane than it had yet reached. I was particularly grateful to him for the lucid way in which he brushed aside the superfluities, the details, that appear only on the top and got down to the essentials and to a discussion of those principles which should really govern members voting on this question to-night.

There was in his subamendment one point with which I do not entirely agree and that is the suggestion to put the deputy minister in the class of those who ought to be more severely dealt with. I know nothing about the gentleman myself and I have no brief for him at all. It is for that very reason that I hesitate to support a condemnation of him so-to-speak unheard. I know this committee of nine men have gone thoroughly into the subject and I rather hesitate, without any further evidence than that which the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre furnished last night, practically to reverse that decision as regards this one man. Otherwise I am in full accord with the sentiments expressed in the subamendment.

I would like briefly to refer to the report.-Section 13 claims that six men whose names1 are given should be dismissed. I was going to say that it shows there are six crooks in the service, but that is too strong a word. The language used in the report is only that they have been delinquent in their duties, and it may well be that there is no great censure attached to some of these men. They may have been incompetent, careless or inattentive; but for that they have to suffer because perhaps they have allowed smarter crooks on the outside of the service to take advantage of their laxity of duty. In that way they are not so much to blame as those who operated outside of the service. I am glad to think that this long investigation has so far resulted in pointing the finger at only six men in the service. It is rather a good record for the service which consists of thousands of men, men of good character and working under great temptation as we all know. I presume, although the fact has not been emblazoned abroad, that these gentlemen whose discharge is recommended, are not appointees of the present government. It is reasonable to suppose from their positions that they have been some years in the service and have therefore been appointed by hon. gentlemen opposite.

The report makes various recommendations, all of which I may say have been given very little heed to in this discussion on account of the political slant which it has taken, but all of which are good and have been arrived at unanimously. Nearly all of them deal with recommendations looking to a better enforcement of the liquor regulations, more particularly as regards the exportation of liquor to the United States, a condition that as we all know has enormously increased since the United States went dry and the temptation of bootlegging into the United States was greatly increased. That of course is what you might call a new crime or series of crimes, and therefore possibly the machinery adopted in years gone by has proved inadequate to cope with the growing increase of crime in that regard. That in some measure explains the failure of the department at the present moment.

I should like to deal briefly with the political aspect of the amendment which is entirely political and designed of course tooverthrow the government. On the amendment will depend the fate of the government of the day. I would like to address myself more particularly to the Progressive members in this House; they are the jury in this case and the full responsibility lies upon them. It has lain upon them throughout the whole session so I am not

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

saying anything more than what we all know; nor am I in making my remarks to them putting myself into the position of dictating to them in any sense at all because, with the other minor groups in the House, we must share the responsibility of having kept this government in office for the last six months.

If I might for a very few minutes turn aside, I should like to imitate the example of the hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges (Mr! Wilson) who speaking a few weeks ago, hinted that he might retire from the House. I wish to take the same attitude and to say that possibly this is my last public appearance, and to take the opportunity of expressing to my fellow members my appreciation of the courtesy and kindness which I have invariably received at their hands. It has been my fortune or ill-fortune to go into politics on two occasions when times were in a condition, shall I say, of extreme flux. When I entered local politics in British Columbia conditions were even more chaotic than they have proved to be here. After I had run three elections in five years I decided that politics was no game for a poor man. If the government is defeated to-night there is no doubt that an election will be held, if not this fall, certainly before another House is called together.

Possibly suggestions have been out,

possibly even promises have been made that if the government is overthrown there will be no need for another election; that the House could carry on for another session or more. Anyone credulous enough to believe that deserves to be pitied. I am as certain if the government suffers a defeat to-night that an-election will take place before we meet again, as I know it is impossible to stop the sun from rising to-morrow morning. In that case I will retire from politics because running an election in my constituency is a heavy and arduous task, involving three months of very hard campaigning. In addition to the duties of being here and the necessity for looking after the district at home, if one is to have the physical, not to say the financial, strain of a campaign every year, then I for one have no particular desire to undertake such burdens in the future, more especially as, being independent of party funds, my financing is a matter entirely for myself. So much for the personal aspect, and I will not allude to the matter again.

Now the issue to-night we must face squarely, so far as the groups at the lower end of the House are concerned. We are being asked to vote a Liberal government out of power and put in the Conservative party- and, by the way, I notice that the hon.

gentlemen now in power are referred to exclusively as the Liberal party. We are told to turn the Liberal rascals out; that is the cry. A few days ago, however, it was not the Liberal party; that party was not functioning, for the government was said to be dominated by the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke). Just a few short days ago the party in power was the ProgressiveJLabour-Liberal party with the Liberal very much in the background. Now, however, these other groups are forgiyen their sins and if we vote the right way we are to be taken into the Conservative paradise, or, at least, be given the privilege of turning out the Liberal party.

Now I will ask one important question which cannot be put more opportunely than here and now. In return for voting the Liberal party out-and I am speaking generally for these groups at the lower end of the chamber -what is there in it for us? What shall it profit us if we defeat the government? This is the proper time and this is the proper place to ask that question. This is the highest court of the land, as we have frequently heard, and here the greatest publicity is possible. I am a firm believer in publicity; anything that cannot be told on the platform had better not be told at all. I repeat the question, therefore: If we turn the government out what shall we get in return? By that I mean, what benefit will accrue to the people whom we represent? I am not of course speaking of any individual advantage. That is the question I want to discuss for a few minutes.

We have reached in this debate the occasion which comes up about once a month when a vote of want of confidence is moved, when the Conservative party turn their eyes once more longingly towards the lower end of the House. Hon. gentlemen opposite listen to our speeches and hear us with courtesy and attention while the expectation and the hope exist that we may lend our assistance to have them regain the treasury benches through a vote against the government. So far, however, it has been our experience that after a vote has been taken and the government has been sustained in power a change has come over the spirit of the dream; the flag of truce comes down with a run, and hon. gentlemen opposite have not hesitated, indeed they have been quite frank, to express in no measured terms the contempt they entertain not only for ourselves but, as well, for our principles and all who belong to our parties. I have been wondering to-night, in the event of hon. gentlemen opposite climbing into office on our shoulders, whether-or rather I should

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

say, how soon, for there is no doubt as to what would happen-how soon, I say, the same conditions would again prevail. I recall once in the local house of British Columbia three socialists had kept the Conservative government in power for a whole parliamentary term. Now, I never heard any suggestion that it was scandalous for these socialists to maintain that government on the treasury benches. There was no talk about any unholy alliance. It was all right because the socialists were supporting a Conservative government. In return for the support they gave that government, possibly as is the case in this parliament, those socialists got certain concessions in the shape of labour reforms, which were enacted. But time went on, and as the result of an election the Conservative party came back with a majority so large as to make them independent of the socialists, who were returned in the same numbers as before. I remember hearing the leader of that Socialist party, an able man now in a prominent position in British Columbia, saying in his soft Welsh voice, "Yes, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentlemen opposite when in power during the last parliament used to throw bouquets at us. They still throw bouquets at us, but there is a brick concealed in them." In other words, having kept the Conservative party in power for four years, these socialists, after the Conservatives had been returned by a clear majority, were ignored as utterly as they had ever been. Possibly there is a lesson there for us too.

There is some advantage in having been in local politics in times of chaos. The occurrences in the local House are to my mind a moving picture of what has been going on here; I have recognized every phase as it has come up from time to time. I recall an incident which made quite an impression on my mind. An hon. member got up in the local House on one occasion and disavowed his .party. He was a Liberal and he expressed his intention thenceforward of supporting the Conservative government of the day. Now I have no fault to find with any man who takes that stand, for it requires strength of character in a man to take up a position against his party. He must be animated by a strong conviction and sense of duty. In this particular case however it was not so; this man's abandonment of his party was prompted by petty motives of a very trivial nature. But, as I remember, the Conservatives in the House and the newspaper the next day, proclaimed the bold step he had taken. Great headlines in the

press, three inches deep, described him as the saviour of the country, another Daniel come to judgment, a brand plucked from the burning. He was everything that was good and great and intelligent and holy. It is many years ago but I remember saying to my wife at the time, " This man has committed suicide; now watch his finish." Time passed and an election came around. He had been carried along on a wave of popular enthusiasm for his heroism on going back on his party. He had been promised that all he had to do was to show himiself at the convention and he would get the Conservative nomination. Well, he was received with the glad hand; there was still a good deal of adulation for his bold independence. He was proposed for the nomination and just as a matter of form he was asked if he had any objection to going before an open convention; and as he could not logically object he agreed. The vote was something like four for him to eighty-four for his competitor. However, he had been treated with the greatest courtesy and he got what was coming to him. I am not saying that he was wrong in changing his party if he had been animated by proper motives, but he was not. The point I make is that all is not gold that glitters.

So in this case we must answer this question: If we put hon. gentlemen opposite into office, when the shoutings die down, when the cheering is over, when the kings and princes of the Conservative party are

safely installed on the treasury benches,, what will be left for us? We of course can go home; .there will be no bands for us, no acclamation, no $14,000 positions.. I say we can go home, and when we do go home the first person who will meet us will be old Bill Smith. He may have one name in one member's constituency and a different name in another's, but he is the typical voter. Bill Smith we will call him for convenience sake. While our ears are still filled with the applause that will follow our turning the government out, while there is still lingering around us like a halo the eloquence of hon. gentlemen opposite for turning the government out and putting them in, Bill Smith will shift his chew of tobacco from one side of his mouth to the other and will say to us, "You say you have turned those rascals out. What did you turn them out for?" "Have you not heard? Why, we turned them out because 'of corruption in the Customs department which was proved to be directly connected with the Minister of Customs (Mr. Boivin). Here is his record.

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

He postponed a man's gaol sentence for several months and we turned him out." Bill Smith will take another chew and he will say, "Yes, I see you turned those rascals out but whom did you put in?" Why, we will say, "We have put in the Conservative party. They will start with a clean sheet." Bill Smith will then want to know whether the Conservative party too have not a record. And then is when we shall begin scratching our heads!

Now, Bill Smith is not the man he used to be. He is not a Liberal or a Conservative because his grandfather was a Liberal or a Conservative; he is becoming more intelligent; he is taking a keener interest in politics although from a different angle. He is no longer interested merely in hearing of the success of this or that party; he is taking a keen interest in his own interest. In other words he is becoming class conscious and he wants to know what there is in any form of government for him. He is keeping a sharp eye on changes at Ottawa affecting the interests of his class. Presently he will want to know about the new party that we put in-[DOT] if we put them in^- "W'hat about their policies?" For we must not forget that many of the policies of the Conservative party are diametrically opposed to those which we in these groups in the lower part of the House were elected to support when we came here. He will want to know what we have done about that. He is apt to ask us: "Well, in this Change have you advanced in any way the principles, the policies and the interests of the people who sent you there?" "If not, why not?" That is the question we have got to ask ourselves, and perchance, Mr. Speaker, it would be well if we ask ourselves that question now, and have the answer ready before we go home. Therefore before we do the spider and the fly act and walk into the parlour of our friends opposite, let us atsk ourselves: Is it a question of putting purity into politics, or of putting politics into purity? Or, to put it another way: Are we being asked merely to be the stepping stones, the toote, we might say, of an adroit office-seeking body of men in this House? I was very much struck by an hon. gentleman's naivete. He does not generally display any, .but in talking of something that happened in the Customs committee he said: Of course, the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) gave the deciding vote. He took it for granted as a foregone conclusion that as there were four Conservatives and four Liberals on the committee the casting vote must fall upon the other man, it not being nossible in his con-

ception of political life that even in that Customs committee the Liberals or the Conservatives would be voting other than against each other. I suggest, then, we should ask ourselves, as we wall be asked by our constituents: Well, what guarantees have we got to justify a change of government? I use the word " guarantees " rather than the word promises. Promises can be written in sand, Mr. Speaker. As Tennyson says:

Like the snowfall in the river,

A moment white, then gone forever.

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Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Well, it has been my experience through life that all great poetry originated with Bums, but my modesty forbids me proclaiming it. We want guarantees, not promises. When the party opposite, whose policies in many cases are diametrically antagonistic to our own, get into power what guarantee do we have that they will carry out such legislation as we desire or as we were elected to support? We do not want to be in the position of France at Versailles. Her one ambition was not to get promises from Germany. She had pages and pages of them, and France had had a bitter experience of their inefficacy. What she asked for, what she schemed for, and what she prayed for, was a guarantee. She asked Britain: Will you guarantee all these promises made by Germany? Britain did not care to do it. She then tried the United States, and if she could have got the United States and Britain to guarantee her security she would not have worried the least bit about Germany's promises. When Mahomet and the mountain come together, we want to know which will show up the- bigger in the picture. When the lion and the lamb lie down together, we want to know which is going to get the better meal. These things we want to know before we go too far.

I think I am justified in saying that the amendment will convert the report practically into a political report. Now, by the shrewdly drawn amendment, the whole blame is fixed on the hon. Minister of Customs. The hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Donaghy) the other night drew my attention to the question and in some measure went into it, so I need not deal with it at length; but he did direct my attention to the fact of the great discrepancies between the charges made on February 2 by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) against the administration of this department and the results shown by the report which we are now considering. It may be said: Why bother

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

about that? That is a thing of the past. Charges are generally more or less vague and exaggerated. Let us deal with the facts as we have got them now. Well, there is another side to it. Not only were the charges very extravagant in their language, they were exceedingly positive and were widely circulated. I have in my hand a letter from a constituent who says:

Praatically every voter in this district has been supplied with Conservative literature, especially the . charges by the Hon. H. H. Stevens concerning the Customs department. I enclose a sldtp bearing the initials of the member forwarding some of them.

This slip bears a rubber stamp, such as tve use for franking our letters, with the initials " W. K. E., M.P." Consultation of the House of Commons Guide shows me that the only gentleman whose initials are W. K. E. is the hon. member who represents the constituency of West Kootenay, which is in British Columbia. May I say that not only one of those speeches has been sent around in the manner I have indicated, but a whole assortment, like a parcel of sweet peas, was distributed. You could take any variety you wanted. It was a sort of Aladdin's lamp business, you could take what you did like and discard what you did not like. The hon. gentleman who represents that district-I do not see him in his seat, and I should like to give him an opportunity of contradicting this-apparently used his frank, or allowed it to be used, to circulate this thing. His constituency is not in any way in the neighbourhood of Comox-Alberni, it is at the extreme other end of the province, and I must thank him cordially for the kindly interest he has taken in the education of the electors of my district. I must assume that he sat up night after night with 7,000 envelopes high in front of him while he kept this little stamp with the initials, W. K. E., going in his zeal to spread the glad gospel of Conservative propaganda among the electors of Comox-Alberni. But methinks, Sir, I smell a scandal. Did he sit up night after night to do that; or was his stamp stolen from him; or did he give it to someone? If he gave it to somebody, then there is a scandal of such magnitude that that of which the minister is accused sinks into insignificance. And it is not simply one scandal; there are 7.000 scandals at your door. It is a well-known fact, and I think I am justified in saying that it is part of the law under which these franks are issued, that they are strictly non-transferable, they are not to be used by anyone other than the members of parliament in whose favour they are issued. I may be wrong, but I do not think so. I think these franks are something like railway passes,

which you know will be immediately taken up by the conductor and retained by him if somebody other than the members themselves are ever detected using them. This literature containing the charges made on February 2, has been circulated far and wide throughout Canada. I presume that other gentlemen, inspired by like zeal, helped to circulate the propaganda in other districts. Now there will be the idea given out through the press in one vague, general, sweeping statement, that these charges were proved. The man out in the backwoods will reflect back upon these sweeping, horrible charges and say, "Good gracious; if they are all true it is certainly time the government was out.'' Now leit me deal for a moment with this man Bisaililon. It seems that Bisaillon was discharged by the government of the day before the dhariges were made by.the hon. member for Vancouver Centre. I would like to quote a few of the remarks of the hon. gentleman in making those charges. Here is the opinion of the hon. member concerning this man Bisaillon, which is found at page 684 of Hansard:

The worst of crooks. ... a typical debauched and debauching -public official; .... a criminal and a known crook. ... if I can judge by this man's Character I doubt if he lived a straight day during that whole period.

That is, for ten years.

He is the head, the chief smuggler of the ring, a perjurer and a thief.

And on page 687:

I purpose to show that this man Bisaillon. . . . received moneys of the crown, some $69,000 . . . deposited them to his own account, and never remitted them to the Receiver-general.

Then on page 696 we find a reference to a man named Gaunt:

-the exchequer had been, defrauded of $60,000 odd in duty.

That is, by this man Gaunt. Then again,

speaking of him:

Why don't you prosecute him now? Why haven't you prosecuted him since you started this investigation?

.... The arch conspirators, the chief smugglers, the men who deal in millions will not be prosecuted-no-t if the government can get away with this adjournment .... there will be an odd official dismissed here, a fellow perhaps like Giroux who ought to be .behind the bars, and Bisaillon who ought to have a life sentence.

Then again at page 698:

I am asking for action on the part of -this government. 'Let them arrest this man Bisaillon. ... let them arrest Giroux. ... Let them prefer a charge of fraud and the grossest kind of fraud against Gaunt .... I could put my finger on dozens of -them tomorrow-let them go after the hosts-

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

Mark that word'.

-o-f others as to whom they have abundant evidence in their possession, and arrest them, put their liberty at stake and then there will be disclosures that will surprise the House and the country.

At page 699 again he asks:

Why was he (Bisaillon) not prosecuted?

Brave words full of meaning, especially if they are to be circulated to the extent of 30,000 or 40,000 copies among the electors of Canada. That was the statement of hon. gentlemen opposite on February 2, but now let us see what happened. One would suppose after the language I have read that when those who had been accusing this man Bisail-lon got him there would not have been much of his reputation or indeed of his person left;

you could almost imagine him 12 m. crawling away, ashamed and degraded, with his reputation utterly gone. But what was the situation? It appears that Bisaillon was not that kind of girl at all. What really happened was that when they were through with him he put on his hat at an angle, wished them good-day and said he would see them later, then strutted out. It was supposed that once they got hold of him they would turn him inside out, but perhaps the inside looked even better than the outside. It might be that he had such a strong personality that he was able to put it over the members of this committee. I would not suggest that, but it seems to be the only solution. On February 2 he had been described as a thief, a crook and all the rest of it, but we find that the only reference to him in the report is as follows:

The committee recommends that the evidence of Mr. J. A'. E. Bisaillon given before this committee. . . . be transmitted .to the Attorney General for Quebec-

To be compared with the evidence he had given on some previous occasion. But I would like to point out that this is all new stuff; this is something which happened when he was before the committee, and they had reason to suspect, I presume, that he was perjuring himself. So they recommended that his evidence be taken and compared with the evidence given in a court somewhere else, but there is not one word about this perjurer, thief, criminal, who should be in gaol for the rest of his life, with that exception. I think perhaps it is a good thing that the law of criminal libel does not attach to a member of parliament making statements in this House, or Mr. Bisaillon would have added something to that $69,000 which he is supposed to have swiped from the government, but which investigation showed had not been stolen, at least from the government. In other words,

he was practically whitewashed and turned out into the world as a man sans peur et sans reproche.

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Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Will the hon. gentleman

give an indication of where there is any evidence that that money was his own?

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Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, not at all. If it

was, why does the committee recommend that its origin be investigated?

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Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

I was just going to deal with that. I remember the hon. member for Vancouver North saying yesterday without contradiction that crook and all as this man Bisaillon was, the one thing he did not appear to have dione was embezzle the country's money. The right hon. leader of the opposition speaks of the recommendation of the committee, and I am just going to read it:

The committee recommends that the following firms and companies should he .proceeded against in the proper forum .to recover the sums, if any, now owing by them *to the crown.

The first name mentioned is the John Gaunt Company. Yes, but that is a very different thing from the charges made on February 2. Then it was not a question of the possibility of this man owing money to the crown; it was charged that he had embezzled the sum I have mentioned, the amount of which I forget, but it was a large amount at all events. And the hon. member challenged the government at the time, asking why it was they did not arrest this man and make him talk. In the committee they had every opportunity; they cross-examined him to a finish and now their only recommendation is a somewhat meagre one, to try to collect any moneys-if any-which may be found due from this man.

These are only two occasions which I have used as examples of the wide divergence, after an investigation extending over five months, between the charges made by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre of February 2nd, and the facts brought out in the investigation. I hope the hon. member for West Kootenay (Mr. Esling) will do the Martha act and ponder these things in his heart. Perhaps in the fulness of time it will bring forth fruits meet for repentance. I hope then he will be found sitting up at night stamping another seven thusand envelopes to correct the errors of his previous propaganda, and I shall be glad to furnish him with copies of my speech at cost price. It turns out after

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

ail that a very small percentage of these statements is true, and what makes it worse is that, as the hon. member for Vancouver North pointed out, there should have been a largo measure of results obtained from the charges made on February 2, because the hon. member was playing with loaded dice; he had information-someone called' it smuggled information-but at any rate it was information that had been gathered by the very man he was accusing. Certainly the results should have been to have obtained a greater number of bull's eyes than were actually scored.

Now a great deal was made in the course of the debate from time to time by various other hon. members of this phase of the "booze" question, to put it vulgarly. I saw the trend of it in the speech of the hon. member who preceded me, who thought the whole country is being devastated by this influx of illicit liquor, and so on; and the suggestion was advanced-it was not specifically stated because it could not be-that the government were a party to the spread of this booze in Canada and the traffic that has grown up, admittedly grown up. Then there was the suggestion that with the wish and consent, so to speak, of the government, multimillionaires were being created out of a traffic that was sapping the life of the young people of Canada. Much was said about the loss of revenue to Canada. Now I would point out in that connection that the traffic, immoral and improper as it was, involved no loss of revenue at all to Canada. If there was loss of revenue it was that of the United States and not of Canada, as of course the stuff was manufactured in this country. Is this a new cry? It is as far as hon. gentlemen opposite are concerned, but is it a new condition? I think not. My memory goes back to the year 1922 when the government of the day brought down an amendment to the act by which the export houses in British Columbia would be put out of business. Not one step could ever be taken so far as the province of British Columbia was concerned that would do more to crush out the evils sugested by the hon. member for Vegreville than that simple bill as introduced by the Minister of Justice. It was passed almost without comment by this House but rejected by the Senate. The Commons declined to accept the rejection of the amendment and there was a conference 'between representatives of the two houses. I was a member .of that conference and we found that we were up against a dead wall. We could not get a compromise in any way at all, the dead wall taking the shape and form of the Brewers'

Association of the province of British Columbia. The bill was rejected entirely that year. It was introduced, I think, another year and again rejected. Then what happened in 1925? Hon. members-not the Conservative member for Vancouver Centre or his associates, prominent in the House and prominent in the party as they are, but two insignificant members from the backwoods of British Columbia, the hon. member for Cariboo, Mr. McBride, well known and esteemed in this House, and myself-had to go to the government, and I suppose the Minister of Justice ought to be impeached for listening to us when we beseeched him to give us once more this law that was so badly needed in British Columbia. He yielded to our pleading. The bill was once more introduced into this House, and Mr. McBride and I had to bear the whole brunt of the opposition, led for the most part by one of the Vancouver members of the House who is still in parliament. About that time there had been two men just recently convicted of murder. They had been hi-jacking, that is stealing the other fellow's illicit booze. Those robbed could not squeal because it is an illegal traffic. The victims were murdered and these two men were sentenced to be hanged. I pointed out that it was technically and perhaps legally correct for us to allow this booze to go over to the States, but I said it was anything but a friendly act toward the United States and sooner or later it would involve us in responsibility and friction with the United States that we would be very sorry indeed to incur. I got no support from the hon. members of the Conservative party. Instead of that I got their active opposition, in the case of one or two at least who seemed more faithful to the brewers' interests of British Columbia than to the interests of the province. This booze question is not a new thing. It is brought up now in order to attack the Minister of Customs, but is not a new thing at all. Let us begin at home. Let us consider who is to blame for the situation in British Columbia. Owing to the existence of these export houses and their proximity to the water and to the neighbouring towns of the United States, the situation is ten times worse there than any revelation contained in the report we have been considering. Then do not let us talk in too careless a manner about blaming the government for allowing this liquor trade to grow up in the east.

Another feature of this amendment is the utter condemnation of the Minister of Customs and Excise. The language used is that his actions are utterly unjustifiable.

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

Such language to a man in an ordinary sphere of life might not seem very strong but in the case of the Minister of Customs it means his complete condemnation, just as much as if the mover of the amendment had used the word "criminal" or employed the language used to describe Bisaillon. Because in view of -his position as a minister of the -crown if he is convicted of doing something -that is very unjustifiable it means that he must vacate his cabinet position and possibly even his seat as member. But let me compare the language used to describe this minister, whose fault was most trivial compared with that of the Hon. Jacques Bureau who, it was admitted, was responsible in very large measure for a great deal of the corruption that has gone on and for the downfall of men who, perhaps, if they had been left alone would have been in office respectable and respected to-day. What is the language used in Mr. Bureau's case? Bet me compare the two. The actions of Mr. Boivin are described as being utterly unjustifiable. The language used in regard to the other gentleman-and apparently that is the only allusion made to him in this report-is:

Apparently-

"Apparently," Mr. Speaker-

-the Hon. Jacques Bureau, then .Minister of Customs, failed ito appreciate and properly discharge (the responsibilities of his office.

And then the report goes on to say that there was a lack of efficiency. "Apparently" is the strongest term they can employ after five months' investigation of the department of which he was the head. Every trail sought apparently led directly to this man. and yet the strongest language the committee can employ is "apparently." Now I have looked up the term in the dictionary and the meaning given there of "apparently" is "seemingly but without actuality." Seemingly the hon. senator was guilty, but not with actuality. That is the language used to condemn this man as compared with the language used in the case of the minister. Could anything be more gentle or more suggestive of a Sunday-school picn-ic? Why was not- Senator Bureau called by the committee? That question has already been asked but I am going -to ask it. again. It was suggested that he was not called because there were personal reasons, thpre were matters that it was undesirable to go into. That is no excuse, none Whatever. He could have been called, he should have been called and cross-examined without any reference -to these personal matters. It was not his personal record that was on trial at all, it was his official record and that could

[Mr. Neill.1

h-ave been inquired into without entering upon any personalities whatever. Why not have called his secretary, admittedly an honest man, to make any revelations as to what transpired? It was not the duty of Hon. Jacques Bureau, an -accused man, to go on oath and incriminate himself. It was the duty of those who accused him to make good their case; to call him and make him certify to -the facts that the country wanted to know and which the committee indeed was created to find out. I see -a parallel between the case of the Hon. Jacques Bureau and that of Samson of olden times. By the way, the hon. member for Vancouver Centre alluded to the buccaneering spirit of the Hon. "Mr. Bureau; and if we cast our minds back into the pages of biblical history we find that Samson was a man somewhat of the same character; he had the buccaneering spirit. He was a man of great stature and enormous strength, and he had the convenient habit, when he needed a change of raiment, of going down into the camp of the Philistines, slaying a number of them, and getting his raiment at a very cheap rate. That was better than smuggling prison goods from the United States, because there was not the same risk and) trouble. That was his attitude and course of life. He had the buccaneering spirit, and in that regard the oases are analogous. Time went on and he was betrayed by a woman. His hair was cut off, his eyes were put out and he was a horrible sight and a pitiful spectacle. But in course of time his hair grew again. He was brought out on some gala day to -a place where the Philistines -had assembled, and with true Jewish guile-which is exhibited among his descendants to-day-we find him saying to his attendants, "Where is the pillar of this building?" An enormous number of people were gathered in that place. They showed him where the pillar was.- His strength had come to him, and he exerted all his power, with a call to his God to help him once more; he pulled down the pillar of -the temple, and it is said in the Scripture that the number of the Philistines that he slew at his death was greater than -all those whom he slew before in his lifetime. Now here is the comparison: There is a chance that the spirit of the buccaneering senator, when he heard there was talk of calling him,, came into prominence and perhaps he said-not in the committee, no; such things are not written on visiting cards, not published through a loud speaker-but perhaps a bird whispered in the air that he had said to himself, "If I go down I will not go down alone. I will be like Samson and

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

the Philistines, and those who fail with me will be greater than all those who have gone down before." Perhaps for that reason he was not called on to give evidence before this committee, where every suggestion of propriety and urgency demanded that he should be called.

Now, Sir, perhaps it would be well for hon. members opposite to soft-pedal when they blame the government for the petty charge made against the Minister of Customs with which I will deal in a minute. Although these men went to the committee animated with the greatest idea to keep out of politics, the smear of politics shows itself all through the proceedings. If the proceedings had been before the Supreme Court or before a royal commission, there would have been no considerations of that kind.

I want to deail with two other cases, those cases cited by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre in connection with Montreal and Regina. When the hon. member for Vancouver Centre was making his statement the other day, prior to moving the amendment, I do not mind saying that I was strongly impressed with the force of his argument, and before he had half finished I turned to the hon. member sitting behind me and I said, "If Mr. Boivin cannot answer those charges I am going to vote against him."

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Hon. gentlemen seem to doubt my statement. Nevertheless I say I did make that statement, and I can produce the hon. member if necessary. It was one of the Ontario members. But it matters not. If they will not take my word, then they would not believe if one rose from the dead.

I was going to say that after the minister made his statement I believed he had made good his position, and I was convinced that he was worthy of support. I am coming to the stage in the remarks of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre when he introduced these eases from Regina and Montreal. I could not help feeling that he had very materially and almost fatally weakened his case, because I cannot but. think it was a great error of judgment. I was reminded of the old saying that you can judge the future by the past. That is an old saying and a very good one, and I want to apply it in this way. If I were buying a motor car-I may say that my knowledge of motor cart only extends to ten per cent, and that is a liberal allowance-and a shrewd salesman was holding forth about the merits of the car and the engine and all the parts, as long

as he kept off the ten per cent with which I was acquainted I might be favourably impressed with his statement, but when he entered the field of which I had some knowledge and began to lie to me, I would1 realize that his statement could not be correct. I would not say to him that his statement was ninety per cent true and ten per cent false, because that is not the way any reasonable man would argue. I would say to him: I

have found you lying with regard to the features of the car with which I am acquainted, and therefore I cannot believe your statement in regard to the other features. 1 would be convinced that he was lying one hundred! per cent on account of the fact that I knew he was lying as to the ten per per cent. I am not using that literally, but simply as an illustration of tlhe principle. When you find an hon. member putting forth an argument in regard to the complicated and complex matters reviewed by that committee with which you are unfamiliar, you cannot judge whether or not his statement is correct. You have to take his word for it, and to some extent we are glad to do so. But when an hon. member introduces such cases as those I have under my hand, which we can check up, and' when we find he has not been so straightforward in his presentation of those cases as he should be, it leads us to suggest the same argument would apply to his statement in regard to the other features of the case with which you are not acquainted. We would say his statements were overdrawn and the matter was overstated. I think the letter to the Prime Minister was framed for a certain purpose, not to give information. The very language of the letter will show it. The purpose of the whole suggestion would have been very far-reaching if it had' been successful. The purpose of the resolution was to catch us at the lower end of the House and to say to us, "Now you have heard the records of the crookedness and corruption of this department, and you should form your opinion of the matter on that record. But here is the feature: who is to continue the work and who is to turn over the neiw leaf? Listen to these revelations. They are proceeding at Montreal and Regina with the same corrupt practices and interferences as have been the whole cause of trouble so far." These statements have been made to us, and it is argued that therefore we could not trust them further. Had that argument succeeded! we would have been justly entitled to say that these men cannot be trusted with the reins of power and continue the administration. I quote from page

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

4829 of Hansard some of the remarks the hon. member made. This is from a letter to the Prime Minister:

I have now before me information regarding two cases, a recital of the facts concerning which would indicate that, in spite of the disclosures of the last four months, there still remains within .the ranks of the government those wfho are willing to submit to outside influence in order to prevent the ultimate result of illegal and criminaJl practices being arrived at through the regular courts of justice.

If that is true, then let us vote against them. Then in the same letter he says:

It appears however-

Dealing with the Montreal case-*

-that certain influences in the government ranks are exercised to prevent this case from being successfully handled.

Again we find that "the police operative at Regina is recalled, on the excuse that he is required to give evidence on a case in Montreal." If that is true that is a very vital and important thing, as if the Minister of Customs was to take that man away from Regina the government should be condemned; and that is a statement made with the knowledge of the fact before him. He says:

The police operative is recalled on the excuse that Ihe is required to give evidence on a case in Montreal, and Bryant is removed-

He was a Conservative lawyer employed by a policeman, a peculiar method to hire a lawyer.

-and one Anderson, secretary of the Liberal Assoeia-tion of Regina, is retained.

The hon. member was asked^-I would, hesitate to make the statement if I had not seen it in Hansard-if he did not know that Bryant was a Conservative and leader of the Conservative organization. He said that the man that the government ordinarily used and employed to prosecute cases in that district was the secretary of the Liberal Association. But he said that he did not know that the man whom the operator hired, on some sudden inspiration from heaven itself, I suppose, was the president of the Conservative Association.

Again we find-and this is my closing quotation:

The facts as disclosed to me-

This is a solemn letter written on a solemn occasion to the Prime Minister and intended to be brought into this House:

-'reveal a. co-rotinuance of a practice of .political interference, which cannot now be justified, and which would seem to indicate a continuance of .the very practices which brought about the breakdown in the Customs department.

If that letter is true I repeat: It is the bounder, duty of every decent man to vote

against the government. But along comes this letter from the respected head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which knocks the whole thing into a cocked hat. It says:

It is always customary to apply to the Department of Justice for the appointment of counsel.

He said that the police agent had no authority to hire another counsel. He said that the secret agent had not been removed from Regina; that his absence was .only temporary. Then he went on to explain that the secret agent was working on a very urgent case in Montreal and the arrangement had been made that he should immediately go back to Regina and prosecute the work there. The letter goes on:

There has been no interference whatever in connection with Secret Agent Cahill's work.

That is signed by the commissioner of the mounted police. But supposing the commissioner had been a man of a different type; supposing that when he was asked for this report he had shilly-shallied and said he did not know; he would see about it later on. Where would the reputation of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Customs have been in these two cases? It would have been another nail in the condemnation of their conduct. One of these cases was dealt with in the committee; the' other was not. They were being vigorously prosecuted and there was no necessity and no design at all in bringing them into the House except for the purpose I have suggested, namely, to suggest that the government were proceeding in the same way as had been done by certain officials in the past.

By the way, if I may refer for just one moment to the Cohen case in Montreal, a great deal was made of the fact that this bootlegger or criminal had turned king's evidence. Yes, many a man turns king's evidence to save his neck. Many a mac condemned to the gallows will give away a great deal in the hope of extending his life a little longer. The word "frame-up" was used against the government. It seems to me that Mr. Cohen with all his national ability rather slipped up a cog. It appears that it was he who was framed up. He gave evidence against certain smugglers, but he apparently was not smart enough to have a legal adviser so that he might get protection for himself. If there was any frame-up it was not against the interests of justice. But these two cases were used to prop up the idea that the government were not worthy to prosecute any further. Instead of weakening the position of the government, it has weak-

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

ened the confidence we must place in the arguments adduced by hon. gentlemen opposite in this connection.

Let me give just one illustration more and I am done with this phase of the matter. The suggestion was made that there was a paradise of smugglers down near the border at a place called Rock Island. The suggestion was made with very great subtfety, subtlety worthy of a better cause, that the constituency of the Minister of Customs was in that neighbourhood. It would not have done to say that he represented those thugs and bootleggers. That could have been contradicted. It would not have done to say that they were living in his constituency, so that the adroit language is used that the district was in his neighbourhood. Another hon. gentleman got up and pointed out that it was not even the next district to the one in Which the smugglers were located; that there was a constituency in between. In the same way one might suggest that the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Donaghy) was liable at least for the electoral corruption that went on in the Peace River district because there is only one constituency between that of the hon. member for North Vancouver and that of the hon. member for Peace River. Of course it f'.i V1 in tVm wtirvlo mrwiuce of British

Columbia, 1,500 miles across, but one could as truthfully say that the constituency of Vancouver North was in the neighbourhood of the constituency of Peace River.

I come now to the famous Moses Aziz case, soon I hope to be known as Moses as was. On this centres the whole crime and crux of the charge against the Minister of Customs. It appears that the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Robichaud) was guilty of endeavouring to influence the attitude of the Minister of Customs, and I admit frankly that the hon. member for Gloucester did what he did for entirely improper purposes. But his motive is not of so much importance because there is no charge against him, there is no vote of want of confidence being moved against him. The charge is against the Minister of Customs who, in Ignorance of the improper motive of the hon. member for Gloucester, gave heed to him and postponed action until the member could have an opportunity of being heard. In other words, the hon. member used his influence. If a member is to be condemned for that, how few of us indeed can go unscathed! I spend half, yes more than half of my time using my influence such as it is for the benefit of my constituents in every walk of life. More than that, I have done it with every department

of the government and I have done it and am willing to do it again to the extent I have done it with the Department of Customs.

I claim it is my perfect right and duty to do so. The Minister of Customs in these matters has a discretion allowed him by law, a very proper discretion.

I am not quite clear what the amendment moved by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) means. It says something about taking away that discretion. I hope if he takes it away from the minister he will leave it in the hands of some officials, because it is essential for the ordinary and decent carrying on of the law that someone should have some discretionary power. If you make one fixed arbitrary rule, one fine for one offence, you are going to inflict unheard of hardships on many practically innocent people.

The criminal law, the greatest law we have dealing with these things, in almost every page records the fact that it is necessary to give the magistrate or the judge a margin on which to work. I was a magistrate for many years and under the act the penalty, if I remember correctly, for vagrancy gave a justice of the peace power to impose a fine of not more than fifty dollars or not more than six months in gaol. But he can impose as small a flue a= L like; - as short a time in gaol as he likes. It is very essential that this should be so. Cases came before me time and time again when I would have been doing absolutely wrong on a technical conviction if I had given anything but the most trivial penalty possible. That is so particularly in the Customs department. We must have somebody using that discretion and it is the privilege and duty of every member to appear on behalf of his constituents in that regard.

Even while this investigation was going on I had the temerity to apply to the department. I think I even intruded on the minister himself in the case of a man in my district. This was a large respectable firm doing a big business, importing a lot of stuff. Inadvertently they had made a mistake to the extent of some $200 in the value of some articles they were importing. It was a pure accident, a pure mistake. They showed me how it had occurred and asked me to explain the matter to the department. More particularly they did not mind paying any appropriate fine, but they did not want the officials here to get the idea that the firm was the cheap, shyster kind of dealer who would make a practice of that thing, because they had a high reputation to maintain.

Topic:   A. 1925.
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

Topic:   A. 1925.
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Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Some members laugh at the idea, but men treasure their reputation. There are in British Columbia, if not in Ontario, men who treasure their reputation. This firm is one of that class. They did not want their reputation to be shattered. They asked me to lay these facts before the minister and I was only too pleased to do so.

Another case that comes nearer home is one that I was mixed up in. It was a bootlegging case and I wonder that I am not at the bar of the House to-night, accused of all the crimes in the calendar. The only reason for my immunity, is, thank God, the obscure position I hold. Had I been in the position of the Minister of Customs (Mr. Boivin) nothing would have prevented my exposure. Here is my criminal record: a boat was caught bootlegging to the United States and the Customs department seized it along with the liquor. It was discovered that a gentleman in the district I represent had chartered the boat for so much a day, and according to the customs law the boat was going to be confiscated and he would lose the whole value of it. He was as innocent of any desire to bootleg as I could have been. At the previous election he had voted against me but I took the case up as a fair one. I made representations to the department in the matter. I did not ask for anything improper but by putting the wheels in motion I facilitated the settlement of the case. I got the man's boat out on bail, so to speak, by having him put up a large sum of money as deposit by way of guarantee. This enabled him to have the use of the boat in the meantime. Otherwise he would have suffered a considerable loss for many months. Was there anything criminal in that? In the course of time the matter was settled satisfactorily. I merely smoothed things over so that business was accelerated and justice was done.

I want to deal for a moment now with the position of the hon. member for North Sim-coe (Mr. Boys). Of his action in connection with the Waisberg case I have no complaint whatever to make. I would have done exactly the same thing in his place, with one distinction, which does not touch anything vital, being perhaps merely a matter of opinion. I may be wrong, and if I am I offer the hon. gentleman my apologies; but I understood his position to be that when he applied to the minister on behalf of Waisberg he did so not in his capacity as a member, but as a lawyer. In that case, in my judgment, he was wrong. I cannot conceive how a man can be these two things at once; I do not understand such a dual personality. Was the hon. member using his friendship

with the minister, his reputation and standing as a member of parliament, in order to secure, in his capacity as a lawyer, justice for this man? I do not think that hon. members who are of the legal profession should allow their respective interests as members and lawyers to conflict. I remember once a man, not a constituent of mine, asking me to present his case before a certain department. I said I had troubles enough of my own and I asked him why he did not consult his own member. He said his member was a lawyer and he would charge a fee. It would not have been proper for me as a member to charge anything, and I am sure no member wants to do that. If the hon. member from North Simcoe had not been a member there would of course have been no objection to his making representations to the minister in his capacity as a lawyer. I entirely support the view that he was not guilty of any crime any more than I was guilty in the case to which I have referred.

But there is another aspect of the matter that must be considered. I do not attach any blame whatever to the hon. gentleman but I would attach blame to myself-the hon. member for North Simcoe can speak in his own behalf-I should indeed be ashamed if, after having solicited a favour of the minister and accepted it, I then turned round and condemned him for granting a favour in some other case. We all remember, I am sure, the occasion on which the founder of our religion, when a certain woman was taken in sin, and brought to him, uttered those words which it is well for men always to bear in mind when judging their fellow men. A Jewish lawyer was endeavouring to get from the Master an opinion that the woman should be punished according to the strict letter of the Mosaic law, and the reply came:

He that is without sin among you, Jet him first cast a stone at her.

He appealed to the best elements in human nature in speaking those words.

I entirely endorse the suggestion of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) that we should consult our common sense, our good taste and our good judgment and refrain from any attempts to embarrass the minister or his officials with overdone appeals. A good deal of the fault must be shared by every member, for there is hardly one of us, certainly none of the older members, who have not been guilty- if there is any guilt about it-of applying to the minister to exercise discretion in particular cases. In the Moses Aziz case the minister was asked merely to delay and not

Customs Inquiry-Mr. Neill

to cancel the penalty that had been imposed, and I see in that a parallel in my own experience. When I was a magistrate charged with the duty of sending men up for trial in a higher court. I was often asked, when it was apparent that I was about to do so, not to sentence the accused immediately, for the reason that he would have to remain in prison until he could appeal to the higher court. Because once a man is sent up by the magistrate the magistrate cannot give bail. I was asked to delay the process of justice for a few hours until arrangements could be made for the man to get bail. I notice that the hon. member for Gloucester requested only such delay as would afford him an opportunity of being heard, whereas the hon. member for North Simcoe appealed for several delays, and that, too, for his own convenience.

Now the minister is accused of interfering with the course of justice, but he has read a statement by Mr. Gallagher of the Department of Justice in which the opinion is expressed that it was for the Minister of Customs to exercise discretion. I believe that a good deal of the contradictory exchanges that have taken place between the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) and members on this side of the House is due to misunderstanding.

I am reminded when considering the case of the Minister of Customs of the incident which was discussed in this House at a previous session in which the Hon. James Murdock, who was then Minister of Labour, was charged with having acted in violation of his oath of office because he had withdrawn certain private deposits which he had in the Home Bank before the failure of that institution, which failure he knew was imminent. We can recall that, according to hon. gentlemen opposite, the very foundation of constitutional government would quiver on its base unless parliament voted a want of confidence in Mr. Murdock. Let me read from the words of the leader of the opposition spoken on that occasion-words that echoed familiarly an hour ago while the right hon. gentleman was addressing the House :

It will not do for tdris House to treat these matters lightly. If the House goes on record as stating that in the face of all these circumstances a minister can so act, and be acquitted, then so much the worse for the conduct of cabinets and public men in the years ito come; so much the worse for the honour and repute of parliament; so much the worse for the standing of our political institutions throughout the empire and throughout the world.

The whole condemnation of the world was to be gathered around us if we did not cast

from our midst the hon. Minister of Labour of that day. The same language, or something almost similar, was used to-night in an exaggerated and magnified form about this trivial case of Mr. Boivin, who delayed a sentence of three months. What happened to the Minister of Labour? We were invited, as I say, by every phrase of oratorical ability to condemn this man. We did not condemn him; this House sustained him by the huge majority of 110. The case was then traversed to the greater court of appeal, to the district of the hon. member who made the charge, and there again the: common people of Canada said they did not take much stock in condemning a man who, going down the street, heard that the bank in which were all his little savings was going to break, and he took them out.. The man in the street looked at it in that way.

Topic:   A. 1925.
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CON
IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

I have neither time nor inclination to pay attention to such an interruption, and I hope I am a bigger man than to be distracted by it. Here then is a parallel case. The conduct complained of in Mr. Murdock was, in a sense, more serious than that complained of in the Minister of Customs. The latter only exercised delay in his discretion as given him by law. I am convinced, Mr. Speaker, that but for his position ' we would never -have heaTd of his case. Had it happened to myself or to any other private member it would never have come before parliament. And his -case would never have come before parliament had it not been for the exigencies of political war which -made it necessary to find a peg to hang a motion of want of confidence on, and a very poor and faulty peg I think it is.

If the government are going to be defeated, -perhaps it .might be to my advantage, perhaps it might be to our advantage, to -chip in with the crowd' and) turn on the- government before it is too late. But, Mr. Speaker, the role of a rat deserting a sinking ship has never been a popular one with me, nor has it ever been with the ordinary member.. I have received many benefits of legislation-, of policy and of administration from this government for the district which I have the honour to represent; nothing for myself, but everything for my people. They have benefited individually in many cases, in sections and in classes, and though I may have nothing to do with the steering of the ^hip, yet I think if the ship is going to founder I would prefeT to go down- with her rather than scurry -to

Privilege-Mr. Stevens

shelter at, the eleventh hour. I might lose something in that way, but, Mr. Speaker, I would not lose my self-respect, I would not have with me for all time the feeling of unspeakable meanness that would possess me if I knew I had solicited this man Boivin to d'o me a favour and was then going to condemn him because he agreed to do it. It is Roibi-ehaud and Boivin to-day. It may just as well be Boys and Waisberg or myself and my constituents to-morrow; the cases are practically parallel. It is only a chance that we, too, are not standing in the dock, so to speak, arraigned in the same way.

I do not think, Mr. Speaker, that in the years gone by I can be accused of having been particularly over-enthusiastic in proclaiming the virtues and merits of this government, but I have watched Mr. Boivin for four years as a private member in the last parliament and his career as a member of the cabinet in this, I have watched him handling matters intricate and delicate always with conspicuous ability. Even yesterday at the crisis of his career when he was in this awkward and embarrassing situation, trying to defend himself against charges yet to be made-an unfair position but one assigned to him by our rules-when, if ever, we might expect any man to show irritation and nervousness and loss of control, he maintained his same cool judgment, his same courtesy in debate, and his same careful consideration of the arguments that he wished to make. * I have seen him handling bills through this House, and to those of us who were in the older parliament and saw the confusion of some ministers and the way they poked their bills through the House, it was a pleasure to see the hon. Minister of Customs pilot his bills through the House. His knowledge of the subject, his courtesy to his opponents, his ability, his willingness to explain any point, and above all his readiness to accept reasonable suggestions from anybody, made the passage of any bill that he was handling very easy. I submit this as my judgment, poor as it may be, that we could ill afford to spare a man of such outstanding ability.

I wish to express my unqualified conviction, Mr. Speaker, staking on it such poor reputation as I may have gained in this House, that the Hon. George H. Boivin is first of all a capable man, next he is an honest man; therefore we cannot afford to lose him from this House; and though it should be the last act of my political career, I propose to express that opinion by the way I cast my vote.

On motion of Mr. Campbell the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   A. 1925.
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PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. My attention has been drawn by the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Donaghy) to a reference in Hansard at page 4889 which, inadvertently both on his part and my own, may do an injustice to an individual who certainly was not intended to be brought into the discussion. In the course of his speech the hon. gentleman challenged me in these words:

Perhaps the hon. member will say that Senator Bureau would not accept the invitation to appear before the committee.

Then there was a little passage between us, and he said he would give me an opportunity to speak in a moment. Later on he used these words:

Why did the hon. member for Vancouver Centre not ask to have the Hon. Jacques Bureau's secretary summoned (before the committee. Now I pause for an answer.

I rose and answered in a manner applicable to the ex-minister, not noticing that the word "secretary" had been used. I want to say very frankly, Mr. Speaker, that I had no intention, and it would have been altogether wrong, to apply what I did say to the secretary of the minister. Therefore I desire that this should be corrected in Hansard).

On motion of Mr. Robb, the House adjourned at 12.50 a.m. (Friday).

Friday, June 25, 1926

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. STEVENS
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June 24, 1926