May 29, 1928

UFA
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The total expense was $9S,000.

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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARDINER:

I presume that the

agreement in regard to the building went through all right. I am not acquainted with the terms of the agreement and perhaps the Prime Minister will give us some information.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Under the

Public Works items the house appropriated the sum of $500,000 for the purchase of a building including furnishings-it was a building already furnished. The entire $500,000 was not required; the building and furnishings were secured for $470,000.

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UFA

Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPENCER:

What staff is employed,

and has it been found necessary to increase the number in the last year?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I might say

that the exact cost of the building and furnishings was $477,756. There is a staff of from twelve to fourteen, including stenographers, messengers, clerks and secretaries.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

What are the details of this $100,000? For instance, what provision is made for depreciation and things of that sort?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

This item has nothing ait all to do with the building; it relates to salaries, and allowances for travelling expenses and for the general carrying on of the legation.

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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Is this the only vote in

regard to the Washington legation?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

This is the

only vote; it includes maintenance of the legation, it covers salaries, allowances for motor car, travelling advances, telegraph, tele-

Supply-Representation at Washington

phone, printing and stationery, light and fuel, office keeping and some furnishings; also sundries of -one kind or another.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

In connection with this

item there is a matter concerning which I wish to make some inquiries, particularly in regard to our minister at Washington. I have reference to the case of a French Canadian widow, Mrs. .Amedee Bilodeau, who has a very large claim against the government of the United States, and which has been in process of settlement-at least, the negotiations have been going on for settlement-for a number of years. The matter has recently been drawn to the attention of the leader of the opposition, and as he was not able to be here ito-day he asked me to bring it up when this vote came before the committee. It is a very grave case of an international character and from the papers I have been able to examine in regard to iit I think this poor woman is suffering a serious injustice at the hands of the United States government. The question is, why our representative in Washington has. not been able to effect some settlement of this woman's claim. The facts, which I shall briefly state, will be in the momory of the Minister of Justice and also of the Solicitor General. They are these: Amedee Bilodeau of Sherbrooke was shot down in cold blood by an officer of the United States government in Canadian territory on May 29, 1925. The quibble that has taken place during the last three years has been whether it was or was not in Canadian territory; but when one reads the evidence adduced in support of the claim, one is convinced that it is merely a quibble. The unlawful act took place in Canada, and the officer of the American government who perpetrated the offence is at large and has not been prosecuted. This woman has made a plea to the United States government and I think she has enlisted the sympathy of the Department of Justice; considerable correspondence has taken place between the two governments, but the last leter placed in my hands is the reply of the Secretary of State of the United States, expressing the regret of the government of the United States that such a thing should happen, but refusing the claim of the widow for any compensation. This is a matter of international interest; why has not the Department of Justice taken proceedings to arrest the offending officer? If that crime were committed in Canada he could be arrested and extradited, but up to the present time no suoh step has been taken. It was admitted at the outset that the crime did take place in Canada.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

No, that is denied.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I need only take the

statement of the district attorney of Essex county in the state of Vermont, in a letter written on June 18, immediately after the occurrence. As a reason for not prosecuting the offender, who was an official of the United States government, he says:

The case was never presented in our courts because we were satisfied that the shooting of Bilodeau took place in the Dominion of Canada.

There was no prosecution; the man was given his liberty. As I have said, the evidence was submitted to the Department of Justice and was also placed in my hands, and it convinces one that the question of where the actual occurrence took place is merely a quibble. It occurred on the Canadian side of the international boundary, twenty-five or thirty feet in Canada; the man was deliberately shot down by the United States officer, three or four shots being fired at him. He was able to run some three hundred yards before he dropped, and he ran further into Canadian territory. Then he was picked up by the American officer, placed in a motor car and taken to a hospital in the state of Vermont, but was dead before he reached the hospital.

From the record I see that two American officers came to Canada for the purpose of getting evidence with which to break up some illicit drug trading which was being carried on between Canada and the United States. From the evidence one gathers that Bilodeau, the man who was killed, in some way was mixed up with this illegal traffic. These officers were sent to Canada for the purpose of stopping that traffic, if possible. They induced two men in the province of Quebec, Bilodeau the deceased and a man named Price, to get them some narcotic drugs to be taken to the United States. It seems that a certain quantity of drugs was procured in Montreal, and when the parties started to go back to the United States some altercation seems to have arisen when they were at a point in Canada near the international boundary line. What the altercation was I cannot say from the evidence, but it is certain that one of the American officers, who was travelling at the time under an assumed name, deliberately shot down this man Bilodeau. The other American officer drew a revolver and threatened the other man, Price; he severely assaulted him and threatened to shoot him. Bilodeau, however, was illegally shot down in Canadian territory, and I cannot imagine why the Department of Justice has not taken steps to prosecute that man. I fancy they have used the diplomatic

3510 COMMONS

Supply-Representation at Washington

channels in Washington, which not only exist now but which have existed for some time, but there seems to be little or no prospect that they will succeed in getting anything from the government of the United States for this unfortunate woman. The United States apparently allege that there is a great conflict as to whether the act was committed on the Canadian or on the American side of the line; if it was committed on the American side of the line why was not this man prosecuted? If it was committed on the Canadian side of the line why do not our authorities take proceedings now to bring this man to Canada and try him?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Does not my hon. friend think that if there is a possibility of criminal proceedings, the attorney general) of the province is responsible?

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CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I think the Department of Justice here has been seized of all the facts and has been diligently corresponding with the government of the United States.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

That was for the purpose of securing compensation for the widow and not in order to institute criminal proceedings.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Unless I am misinformed the Minister of Justice has power to direct the attorney general to lay an information, and I cannot see why this step has not been taken in regard to this case, with which the Department of Justice has greatly concerned itself. Whether or not the door is closed to this woman getting anything in the way of compensation, through the last letter from the Secretary of State for the United States, I do not know, but a glaring wrong has been done in the Dominion of Canada. Our law has been broken, altogether apart from the question of reparation, a crime has been committed in this country by an officer of the American government, and up to the present time no prosecution has taken place. I would ask the Prime Minister to see to it that our representative in Washington, reopens this matter with the authorities of the United States; it is sufficiently serious to be proceeded with. "Let justice be done though the heavens fall" is an old, accepted maxim, but at the present moment we have a condition which permits an official of the United States government to come into Canada and slay a man in cold blood, and no prosecution has yet taken place on either side of the line.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I might say to my hon. friend that this matter is by no means closed. My hon. friend has referred

to a communication from the United States Secretary of State, but the government of Canada does not accept the view of the United States government in, this matter. Within the last week representations on that very point have been made anew to the United States government through our minister at Washington. As my bon. friend has intimated, the United States government hold that the shooting took plane in the United States and that the act was performed in selfdefence. We do not admit that; we contend, as my hon. friend has contended, that the act was committed on this side of the line and that it resulted in the death of an individual whose widow is now entitled to compensation, and we are pressing the claim of the widow in the name of the government of Canada. I can assure my hon. friend that this matter is receiving all the attention which the circumstances will permit at this time.

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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARDINER:

With regard to this

matter I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether the government will be satisfied with compensation paid to the widow?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

As the Minister of Justice has just said, with respect to criminal proceedings there is an obligation upon the attorney general of the province; it is not an obligation which rests with the Minister of Justice of the Dominion. As the minister has just reminded me, it is not only an obligation; the power in the matter rests with the province. If the government of Canada succeed in establishing the right of this widow to redress, I assume that of itself will be evidence that a crime has been committed, in which event I would be very much surprised if the province in which it was shown that the act had been committed did not take immediate action.

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May 29, 1928