February 27, 1928

SELECT STANDING COMMITTEES

LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

On behalf of the Prime Minister

(Mr. Mackenzie King), I beg to move, seconded by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb):

That the names of Messieurs Duff, Sinclair (Queens), Jacobs, Descoteaux and Glen be substituted for those of Messieurs Bourgeois, Boivin, Delisle, Fafard and Steedsman on the select standing committee on agriculture and colonization.

That the name of Mr. Lacroix be substituted for that of Mr. Kay on the select standing committee on railways, canals and telegraph lines.

That the name of Mr. MacLaren be substituted for that of Mr. Price on the select standing committee on marine and fisheries; and

That the name of Mr. Price be substituted for that of Mr. MacLaren on the select standing committee on printing.

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Motion agreed to.


PRIVILEGE-MR. BIRD


On the orders of the day:


PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. T. W. BIRD (Nelson):

I rise to a

question of privilege. I wish to quote from an article which appears in The Evening Guide, a newspaper published at Port Hope, Ontario, and I trust the house will restrain its sense of humour until I have concluded the quotation. The article in question, which appears in the issue of this newspaper of Monday, February 13, in commenting upon the bill which was introduced in the house a few days ago by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woods worth), for the purpose of amending the criminal code in respect of blasphemy, makes this statement:

The personality of those wdio supported the bill is worth a passing notice. It was introduced by 'Mr. Woodsworth and supported bv Mr. Bird.

That is misstatement No. 1.

Remarkable to relate both these members of the house are ex-clergymen.

Misstatement No. 2: I am no more an

ex-clergyman than the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) is an ex-lawyer.

The former was a teacher or professor in the Winnipeg Methodist Theological College a few years ago.

This, I understand, is false: misstatement No. 3.

The latter was a prominent preacher of the gospel in one of the western provinces.

That is a slight exaggeration.

The question might very well be left just here, without note or comment.

But apparently the writer cannot withstand the temptation to slander, so he proceeds:

All that might be said of this extraordinary exhibition will readily occur to every rightthinking person. One cannot but hope that in the inner consciousness of each of these gentlemen some ray of light may pierce through the outward darkness that enshrouds what was once their better selves. Milton depicts Lucifer's fall as immeasurably tragic, because he had held an honoured place with the most high. One wonders at the strange perversion of an erstwhile religious mind contemplating the advisability of removing all restrictions to the flood-gates of heart-breaking, vile, shocking and contemptuous blasphemy, under the childish plea that liberty of speech is being fettered. It is a sad commentary, however, that the withdrawal of clergymen from their calling and their entry into public life in this country, has been disappointing and in many cases truly tragic. In no single case has any one of these clergymen been anything but a disappointment. Not a few but have gone wrong morally.

So much for this paper. I turn now to The Port Hope Daily Times of February 17. This newspaper prints the following:

The Rev. Mr. Woodsworth and the Rev. T. A. Bird of Nelson-

Not ex-clergymen this time.

-want to strike out the section of the criminal code under which Sterry was convicted, so that in future particularly red orators would be free to blaspheme at will. The language used by Sterry in the paper he published was of a most revolting character and made cold shivers creep up the spines of even those who cannot be termed religious, and one of the ministerial members of the house is so much enamoured of it that he attempted to read it to the house. Hon. Mr. Bennett, however, objected to the pages of Hansard being thus polluted and Rev. Mr. Bird took a second thought and desisted.

I will overlook the comparison between the religious zeal of the leader of the opposition and that of myself; it is very much to my disadvantage. However, I want to say that in regard to the first-

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I rise to a point of order. We have on two or three occasions in the past listened to personal explanations from members of this house, to corrections of misstatements, or to commentaries on statements or articles which have appeared in the press. Possibly we were right in treating these as matters of privilege, but I respectfully submit that we should not regard as a

Privilege-Mr. Garland (Bow River)

question of privilege the reading, with comments upon them, of lengthy newspaper articles.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Bourinot is very clear on this subject. He says:

When a member conceives himself to have been misunderstood in some material part of his speech he is invariably allowed, through the indulgence of the house, to explain with respect to the part so misunderstood.

He concludes the paragraph by urging that such explanations be brief.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, a much more serious matter for a member of-this house to have his standing before the public, especially in relation to his religious convictions, scurrilously slandered in the manner adopted by these newspapers. Surely I can claim the protection of the house from that kind of thing. These articles attempt to brand me in the eyes of my fellow-religionists as being unworthy of the name I profess and of the profession I have followed for a good many years. I desire to call the attention of the house to what I actually said on the occasion in question. When this matter was before- the house I was careful to make my point of view clear. I had not intended to speak to the bill at all; I knew nothing about it. But when my hon. friend from South Toronto (Mr. Geary), perhaps unintentionally, cast an imputation upon my hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre, I rose and at once explained why I took part in the discussion. I said:

Now, I take part in this discussion in order to protect my friend from Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) from what I consider to be the unjust objection of my friend from South Toronto (Mr. Geary).

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Mr. Speaker, I again rise to a point of order. This is nothing more or less than an attempt to justify the participation of the hon. member in some debate, and I suggest that if his words on that occasion were not considered by the house to be sufficient justification for his stand, the matter should be allowed to drop.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have already said that these explanations must be brief, but at the same time in justice to the hon. member I must remind the house that Bourinot says that in all cases of personal grievance the house will frequently cast aside rigid adherence to established usage in order to permit a full explanation to be made. I think the comments made by the hon. member justify him in explaining his attitude to the house, but I again call upon him to be as brief as possible, because time is precious.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

I am just following the example set as recently as yesterday by a much more experienced parliamentarian than myself. On that occasion the hon. member's opinions were under attack, while in this case my character is being assailed. Any hon. member can read my few remarks through and see at once that I have been grossly slandered and misrepresented. It is my view of religion that when a friend of mine seems to be suffering under an unjust imputation, I should immediately come to his aid, and I would also say as the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) said yesterday, that there should be some protection for hon. members of this house against attacks of this kind. If there is one kind of blasphemy worse than another it is not the blasphemy of the soap box atheist who shouts on the street corner, but rather the blasphemy of the man who poses as a champion of religion, and while in that pose makes an uncalled-for attack upon the character of another man.

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CON

Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HOCKEN:

Perhaps these editors wrote inadvertently.

PRIVILEGE-MR. ADSHEAD On the orders of the day:

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LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. H. B. ADSHEAD (East Calgary):

Mr. Speaker, I also rise to a question of privilege, but it is quite different from that raised by my hon. friend from Nelson (Mr. Bird). In addressing myself to the house yesterday I made the statement that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) had addressed a meeting in Calgary, during the course of which he stated that 830,000,000 had been saved to corporations by his tax reductions, and that that saving was passed on the men below. The Minister of Railways and the Minister of Finance were both present at that meeting, and they have drawn my attention to the fact that I entirely misunderstood the remarks of the minister. It was quite unintentional, and I assure hon. members of the house that I had no desire to misquote my hon. friend. Therefore, accepting their statements as I do, I withdraw that portion of my address which relates to that particular statement made by the Minister of Finance.

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PRIVILEGE-MR. GARLAND (BOW RIVER)


On the orders of the day:


UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. E. J. GARLAND (Bow River):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. Yesterday the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McMillan) is reported at page 715 of Hansard to have said:

The hon. member for Bow River tried to hoodwink me when he wanted the support of Ontario to the subsidizing of the railways in the matter of bringing coal from Alberta.

Tariff Advisory Board

I am quite sure the hon. member did not intend to misrepresent me, so I simply state to the house that I have privately and publicly expressed my disapproval of any sub-sidy'for the movement of coal from my province to any other place, and through the mouth of its Premier the province of Alberta has done likewise. The operators of that province also, at a recent meeting, unanimously passed a resolution asking that the transportation be carried out without subsidy.

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TARIFF ADVISORY BOARD


STENOGRAPHIC REPORTS OP EVIDENCE On the orders of the day:


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Yesterday the Minister of

Finance laid on the table sessional paper 132, in which the following words appear:

As stenographic reports of the public hearings are now taken, copies of the stenographers' notes have been filed with the Minister of Finance. These cover all hearings during the year 1927. The chairman has also filed with the minister his general report on the activities and proceedings of the board since he was appointed to office.

This has reference to the proceedings before the tariff advisory board, and I would ask the minister whether he would lay on the table for the lise of the members of the house the stenographic reports of the public hearings before the board during the year 1927, together with the report of the activities and proceedings of the board as prepared and filed by the chairman.

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February 27, 1928