have had an opportunity of perusing in Hansard of yesterday the remarks addressed to the house by the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff) on the question of privilege then raised by him. I am glad to see him in his seat, and I am sorry that when he had occasion to make those remarks-in which I appear to be slightly interested-unfortunately I had not arrived.
Needless to say, sir, I very cheerfully and very readily accept what my hon. friend then chose to state as being the condition of his own-shall I say?-affairs so far as they relate to the steamship-I should say the schooner W. C. Kennedy. However, it does devolve upon me as a matter of privilege to make some reply to what my hon. friend then asserted. At page 1918 of unrevised Hansard I find that he objects to my designation of "steamship", and I cheerfully make the correction and acknowledge that I should have described the Kennedy as a schooner.
On the same page I find my hon. friend said that I was in error in saying that at the time of the seizure of the Kennedy he was its owner. Again, I cheerfully accept his statement, but until yesterday the only information available to me in regard to the ownership of the schooner was that given under oath before the special committee of this house which in 1926 investigated the Department of Customs and Excise. At the bottom of page 1918 of Hansard my hon. friend is reported as follows:
If I remember correctly, I sold the W. C. Kennedy in 1923, about six months before she was illegally seized-mark you, not legally, but illegally seized-in Northumberland straits nine and a half miles east by south of Pictou island. At the time of this illegal seizure I had no interest whatever in the schooner,-
The remarks that I addressed to the house in connection with this matter on Tuesday last-not by way of any criticism of my hon. friend but on a resolution in amendment of the Customs Act to prevent smuggling- certainly did come from me on the assumption and in the honest belief that my hon. friend was at that time the owner of the boat. My reasons for so concluding are to be found in the statement by Percy D. Rafuse, master of the W. C. Kennedy, which will be found at page 1202 of the proceedings of the special committee which in 1926 investigated the Department of Customs and Excise. Let me quote it for the benefit of the house:
Statement of Percy D. Rafuse, captain boat W. C. Kennedy.
Q. What is your name?-A. Percy D. Rafuse, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
Q. Are you a British subject?-A. Yes.
Q. Are you the master of the Kennedy?- A. I am a certified master.
Q. Of what tonnage is the Kennedy?-A. 112 tons.
Q. Where is she registered?-A. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
Q. To whom does the Kennedy belong?-A. To Mr. William Duff. Lunenburg, that is as far as I know, but she is under charter to Ronald Betts and Charles Mee.
Q. Who pays you your wages?-A. Mr. Duff, also the crew but I have a telegram from Mr. Duff instructing me to take my orders from Mr. Mee.
Q. By whom are you employed?-A. By Mr. William Duff, Lunenburg, N.S.
Q. How long were you hovering off the place I found you?-A. About three days or three and one-half days.
Your Honour will readily appreciate that, gladly hailing as I do my hon. friend's statement yesterday, I might well be forgiven down to the time of that very convincing explanation for thinking that my hon. friend was the owner of the schooner W. C. Kennedy at the date on which the master so emphatically swore that he was.
Treaty with Spain
I notice also that my hon. friend has taken exception-it is apparent in the paragraph to which I have alluded-to the statement in regard to the boat having been seized for hovering. I have just read what was stated about the hovering that occurred, and I find on page 1194 of the report of the special customs committee the following statement by the chairman, the hon. member for St. Henri (Mr. Mercier):
I must remark that this is a question of law. Each one of us may interpret this question as we like, but I would like, if there is an opinion given by the Department of Justice, to see it.
Mr. R. L. Calder, K.C., counsel for the committee who had gone over the file, answered :
The entire file reveals no opinion, but the action was taken by the Customs department, merely on the representations of the owners of the vessel, that that was the true legal position. Without referring to the Department of Justice, the decision was made.
May I say again that, with the very best intention in the world to do justice to my hon. friend from Antigonish-Guysborough, no one can legitimately complain that I accepted these statements without reserve from the sworn evidence given before the customs committee. I was not present yesterday, but my hon. friend felt called upon to make some comments on certain things that had occurred when I visited Lunenburg in the campaign of 1926. I shall not attempt to follow him there, but I would say-Sufficient unto the election is the campaign speech thereof. I am willing to leave the matter at that.
I am rising to a question of privilege and I think I am within the rules of the house in replying to the statements made by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bell, Hamilton), in his attempt at an extenuation of the remarks he made in this house the day before yesterday. You will have noticed that the hon. member did not refer to what he had said about my being president of the company owning the cargo of the W. C. Kennedy, valued at $20,000. He made that statement deliberately and now he offers no excuse and gives no reason for it.
thing. I did not pay for or own the whisky. I am talking about the cargo, and the hon. member cannot deny the fact that he stated that I was president of a company which owned the cargo of the W. C. Kennedy. That statement, I say, is a falsehood, and I am surprised that the hon. member should have dared to give utterance to it the other day, or to get up now and try to explain it away.