June 29, 1931

PRIVILEGE-MR. BELL (HAMILTON)

CON

Charles William Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. C. W. BELL (West Hamilton):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. In Hansard of Friday last I observe, at page 3079, that some remarks were made by the hon. member for West Edmonton (Mr. Stewart), which remarks directly concern myself. They have to do with the occurrences at a convention held at the city of Hamilton the night before. The report in connection with which the hon. member spoke is not identified, but purports to come from Hamilton under date of June 25. In order that I may identify what I have to say, perhaps the house will bear with me while I quote that report. It reads as follows:

Charges that four cabinet ministers in the recent Liberal government at Ottawa had promised to smash the glass industry in Hamilton were levelled by C. W. Bell, K.C., M.P. for Hamilton West, addressing the Conservative convention here to-night in the federal riding of Hamilton East at which M. M. Robinson, sportsman and newspaperman, was chosen Conservative candidate to contest the riding at the by-election, August 10.

Hon. Charles Stewart, Minister of the Interior, and Hon. James Malcolm, Minister of Trade and Commerce in the King government, and two other cabinet ministers had opposed the efforts of Hamilton to build up the glass industry there, said Mr. Bell.

Referring to his efforts to aid glass manufacturers in the city, Mr. Bell said: "This is the truth of the thing.

The report then continues, "In ten or twelve visits," and then follows in parantheses "to

Privilege-Mr. Bell (Hamilton)

government officials at Ottawa"; this is distinctly inaccurate as these visits were made to Ottawa amongst other places. The report continues :

I did all I could. Yet every time I went to them I found that a new flood of propaganda undermining the confidence of their financial backers had been poured upon them.

This went on until one day at Ottawa I was told by Mr. Stewart, the Minister of the Interior in the King administration, and Mr. Malcolm, the Minister of Trade and Commerce, and two other cabinet ministers that they would never let Hamilton get its glass industry. And they said: 'We will smash your d- industry.' "

The hon. member for Antigonish-Guysboro (Mr. Duff) then interjected, "That means ' damned,' " which proves my contention that he and I speak the same language. The hon. member for West Edmonton then continued:

May I say that when a member of the government I never was canvassed by the hon. member for West Hamilton (Mr. Bell) for aid for the glass industry.

There are points on which I disagree with my hon. friend, and those points I propose to mention presently. However, let me say that so far as that statement is concerned, I agree cordially with him; he never was canvassed by me for aid for the glass industry whilst he was a member of the recent government, nor did I ever say so. In so far as this statement, whatever its source may be, relates to the hon. members for West Edmonton and North Bruce (Mr. Malcolm), to that extent it is entirely accurate. The hon. member for West Edmonton continued:

When the present government cancelled by an order in council the duty which was imposed at the September session, I met the hon. member in the Chateau Laurler and had a discussion with him, but that is the only conversation I have had with him with respect to this matter.

Then the hon. member for North Bruce, in his invariably fair manner, said:

Mr. Speaker, may I join with the hon. member for West Edmonton (Mr. Stewart) in saying that I do not wish to doubt the accuracy of the report, but as it is not based on any conversation that I can recall, I am inclined to think that the statement attributed to the hon. member for West Hamilton is not in accordance with the facts.

Under the circumstances which then obtained, I can quite believe that this matter might easily have passed from the minds of both hon. members in question, but it did not pass from mine. The circumstances to which I allude have to do not with the occasion when the glass tariff had been recalled or cancelled, but rather with an occasion some weeks after the breakup of the emergency session in September. At that time the

criticisms which were being made publicly of the efforts to establish industries amounted to a very distinct newspaper propaganda. I made a number of visits to Ottawa, as I made visits elsewhere, in an endeavour to get this industry on its feet. On the occasion to which I am referring I met the hon. members for West Edmonton and North Bruce in the Chateau Laurier. I was sending a telegram and was standing at the stand where telegrams are written, and my hon. friends came along. The hon. member for West Edmonton stood at the end of the stand, and the hon. member for North Bruce stood up against the counter where the telegrams are accepted. Both hon. members started to chaff me about our inability to get going, and presently the hon. member for North Bruce said, "Charlie, you might as well go home, you cannot do anything here; you will never get your glass factory opened." I said, "If you fellows would only leave us alone we could get it opened, but it is this ceaseless, everyday propaganda which is blocking us and we cannot get anywhere." The hon. member for West Edmonton then laughed as he is laughing now, only perhaps a little more heartily.

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An hon. MEMBER:

I do not blame him.

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CON

Leslie Gordon Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL (Hamilton):

I am not asking

the opinion of the hon. member. The hon. member for West Edmonton then said to me, "That is right, Charlie, we are going to smash that glass tariff of yours if it is the last thing we do."

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LIB
CON

Leslie Gordon Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL (Hamilton):

That is just what would occur to the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysboro. Then both my hon. friends laughed and went away.

I could not laugh, Mr. Speaker, because my thoughts were with the unfortunate people in Hamilton, the poor, the needy and the unemployed who were out of work and who were looking for a chance to obtain employment through the establishment of this industry; I could not laugh at that although it seemed so funny to my hon. friends. From the attitude taken by hon. members opposite, I can quite believe that-

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I must ask the hon.

member to confine himself to a statement of what occurred. He is replying to a statement concerning himself which was made in this house, and I must ask him to confine himself to a statement of the facts.

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CON

Leslie Gordon Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL (Hamilton):

Naturally, at that time the circumstances were such that the words uttered by my hon. friends burned

Privilege-Mr. Bell (Hamilton)

themselves into my memory. There is no mistake about those words being uttered in the way in which they were, and that is what I want this house to appreciate and understand.

That is not all of it. Presumably after these statements were made in the house, my hon. friends gave an interview to that very excellent Liberal paper, The Hamilton Herald, and in its issue of Friday, June 26, on page 3, I read the following:

"The only time I ever discussed the glass industry of Hamilton with Mr. Bell," said Mr. Stewart, "was after the present Conservative government removed the high duties imposed at the special session of parliament last fall, and that night Mr. Bell was going to leave the Conservative party because of the government's action."

The next time the hon. member for West Edmonton (Mr.Stewart) undertakes to correct me, he should get a little better acquainted with the facts. The house will notice the statement:

Removed the high duties imposed at the special session of parliament last fall, and that night-

The fact is that that night the hon. member for West Hamilton was in Cochrane, 480 miles away from the city of Ottawa. That is the exact circumstance and it shows the accuracy of my hon. friend's statement. All that week, beginning on Monday 6 and continuing until Friday 10, I was engaged at the assizes at Cochrane before Mr. Justice Garrow, and I was not any nearer Ottawa than 480 miles away. That sho-ws the accuracy of the statement made by the hon. member for West Edmonton.

Further, the hon. member for West Edmonton says:

-Mr. Bell was going to leave the Conservative party because of the government's action.

I never at any time made any such statement to him or to anyone else, and any time that I think of so acting, the first person to learn of it will be my right hon leader (Mr. Bennett) and not the hon. member for West Edmonton. I have before me the order in council dated the 9th day of October, 1930, when that tariff was removed. On that date the hon. member for Argenteuil (Sir George Perky) telephoned to me at Cochrane informing me of that removal. Therefore, at that time I was the distance I have stated from Ottawa. The hon. member for West Edmonton is totally, hopelessly inaccurate in his statement with regard to the events of that night; he cannot get away from that. I would not be so boorish as to attribute to my hon. friend the deliberate invention of any misstatement; I would not credit cr discredit

him with anything of that sort. So far as I am concerned, I believe every hon. member records the facts exactly as he believes them to be, but that statement to a newspaper is calculated to do me as grievous an injustice as could possibly be done to any man because it contains the allegation that I would be guilty of disloyalty to my leader and my party. It is absolutely incorrect and my hon. friend is entirely wrong in the thought to which he is reported as having given expression. I am quite willing to give him credit for being mistaken, but I repeat there is nothing correct in that statement which has been given out to the Hamilton Herald, and I ask now that the hon. member for West Edmonton disavow it or give me that withdrawal to which I am entitled.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

What specific statement is the hon. member asking me to withdraw; he has made so many.

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CON

Leslie Gordon Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL (Hamilton):

If my hon. friend had listened to me, he would not have had any difficulty in knowing.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

If the hon. member will put his statement in definite terms, I will answer it.

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CON

Leslie Gordon Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BELL (Hamilton):

My hon friend, as I have informed the house, is credited in the Hamilton Herald, the Liberal paper in that city, with having said:

"The only time I ever discussed the glass industry of Hamilton with Mr. Bell," said Mr. Stewart, "was after the present Conservative government removed the high duties imposed at the special session of parliament last fall, and that night Mr. Bell was going to leave the Conservative party because of the government's action."

I ask my hon. friend to disavow the entire paragraph which I have read or else give me the withdrawal to which I am entitled.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES STEWART (West Edmonton) :

The reason I asked my hon. friend

to be specific about the statement was that the inference I drew, and the inference, I think, the house drew, was that this happened the night of the date of the order in council removing the duty on glass.

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CON
LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

It does not say so. I said it happened after the event and that statement is quite correct.

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CON
LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

There is no crawl about it any more than my hon. friend

Privilege-Mr. Bell (Hamilton)

is seeking to crawl at the present moment. My hon. friend knows quite well the instance spoken of, which he made so much of the other night, is the result of the fact well known throughout Canada that I am known to be perhaps the low tariff member of the late government-it will go down better that way-and anything that happened that night was purely in the nature of a chaffing game.

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CON
LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I say now

on my responsibility as a member of the house that I never made the statement that I would smash the glass industry of Hamilton.

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CON

June 29, 1931