July 31, 1931

LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

They were two years

ago in the case of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

This was confirmed by Arthur E. Dubuc, chief engineer, Department of Railways and Canals, who said:

The Robert rights were the ones which I regarded as the basis upon which this whole development could take place.

Further there is not the slightest doubt that the Beauharnois as part of the develop-

ment of the St. Lawrence is essentially a Dominion proposition and is necessary to fulfil our international obligations. As such it seems to me that it stands in a class by itself and I regret exceedingly that the late government took the position which it did. We all know that there are rival claims to rights but it seems to me that the Dominion government has yielded altogether too much to the viewpoint of the present administration in Quebec.

Mr. LaVERGNE: Hear, hear.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am glad the hon. member-

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

The hon. member must

be wrong if the deputy speaker is with him.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

We should remember that parliament may at any time annul or vary any order of the governor in council under the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Viewing the whole situation, an outstanding man has written me as follows. I quote it because he puts in good form that which many people are feeling. He says:

The group which has been guilty of such corruption should not be permitted to retain the fruits of their corrupt acts or escape prosecution therefor. In the Teapot Dome scandal in the United States the government took steps to cancel the oil lease and succeeded, and they prosecuted the principal actors in the deal. We sometimes think we have more political virtue than they. This case will show whether we have as much.

There is a danger of this whole proposal falling into the hands of another group of promoters. Such a disaster would be a sorry outcome to the probe. The Financial Po3t of August 1, suggests that public ownership would involve more jabs and hence more political power; further more opportunities for the continuation of the graft which has been already exposed. It says:

Graft or waste would pile up year after year by way of increased capital investment on which interest must be paid.

It seems to me that that is the most ludicrous argument which could be advanced. The graft in this case has come through private ownership, and I cannot imagine anything worse than the further suggestion of the Financial Post. They say:

The association of Sir Herbert Holt-under whom Montreal Powrer has been built up-with some unsuccessful merger promotions should not blind us to his main achievement.

They then actually go so far as to suggest that this development should be handed over to Sir Herbert Holt. We are asked to overlook for the moment that Sir Herbert Holt is the one largely responsible for that

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outrageous Canada Power and Paper Corporation affair which I think should be investigated just as thoroughly as the scandal now before us. Had it not been for this Beauharnois matter I was hoping to have an opportunity of impressing upon, the government the necessity of such an investigation. It seems to me that the government has a responsibility at this time. The Montreal Star of July 28 has a timely editorial headed Parliament is on Trial. The Star says:

They are shocked at the Beauharnois revelations. But that feeling is being fast submerged by another thought

What will parliament have the courage, the conscience, the public spirit finally to do about it?

Parliament should represent and express the moral sentiment of the people. It is the highest court established in our land. It has full power to deal with even novel situations in which the property, the future prosperity and the moral standards of the people are involved. It is denied one easy alibi - the favourite alibi of the coward - "non poss-umus."

To use the wording of the last phrase, I would say that nevertheless "non possumus" is the alibi in this case. To translate that legal phrase into the language of the street, I suppose we might put it: we cannot do anything about it.

The recommendations of the committee are decidedly disappointing, in fact they mean practically nothing. It is suggested that we should do all that is necessary in a manner that will best serve the people of Canada. That is all right as a phrase but it does not mean anything. The report states further that the respective rights of the Dominion and the province should be preserved. Everybody accepts that, but it does not mean anything. Again it says that definite action should be taken to preserve the rights of the-

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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member has spoken for forty minutes.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

My closing warning is that capitalism is on trial and that democratic institutions are on trial.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, on June 10 last this House of Commons appointed at my request nine of its members to conduct an investigation into the affairs of the Beauharnois power enterprise. That motion was adopted unanimously. The committee met, appointed a chairman and has made what purports to be a unanimous report; for on the last page of the minutes of proceedings the following words appear:

It was unanimously agreed that the following be presented to the House of Commons as a fourth report.

July 28, 1931.

After which follows the report, and at the end of the report, at page 30, appear these words:

A unanimous vote of thanks was tendered by the other members to Hon. Mr. Gordon for the manner in which he discharged his duties as chairman of the committee.

The committee adjourned sine die.

John T. Dun,

Clerk of the Committee.

That report, purporting to be a unanimous report made by at least three Liberal members, one Independent member and the remainder, or five in number, Conservative members or supporters of the administration, is now submitted to the house. It was presented to the house last evening by the chairman, who moved its adoption in a speech that all will regard as one of singular moderation, based entirely upon the findings of the committee as supported by the evidence adduced.

He was followed by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) who for three hours and a half dealt with all possible means at his disposal for the purpose of creating a smoke screen to prevent this report being considered. I have listened to the right hon. gentleman for four hours, for three and a half and for two hours, but I confess I never before listened to so many irrelevancies with respect to the subject matter of a motion as I did last evening. In some houses of parliament I have no doubt he would have been called to order because his observations were wholly irrelevant.

The issue before the house to-day is concurrence or non-concurrence in the report of the committee. I do not know that I have ever before been more pleased at unanimity as expressed in a report than I have been with respect to this report. It has very properly been urged that where party strife runs high and men have strong political opinions and convictions, there is always a danger that the evidence and the value of it are sometimes obscured by reason of those opinions and convictions. But in this case the fact that unanimity was reached, at least indicates that in the mind of the committee there was a high sense of individual duty and a clear realization of obligation to the institution called parliament. The one criticism that I have to urge against the speech to which we listened last evening and this morning is that it was a speech in which there was an entire and utter forgetting of parliament, of its great traditions, of our

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institutions and of what is involved in this inquiry, and one long continued effort on the part of the right hon. gentleman to vindicate himself at the expense of parliament. In entire forgetfulness of parliament and our obligations, it was a long effort to vindicate the position of the right hon. gentleman himself. That was not at issue; that was not what was being tried. The order of reference that was made by the house was to have an investigation into the Beauharnois undertaking, and I say this to the right hon. gentleman: Had he desired to give evidence, why did he not go down to the committee and give it under oath so that he could be cross-examined? What right has he to stand in his place now and state as facts mere conversations? Everyone who has anything to do with courts of law, with investigations before tribunals, knows you cannot get at the truth without recalling to the memory of the witness circumstances and fact, relating one thing to another and bringing to his attention circumstances that in the ordinary course of events he might and probably would have forgotten. The only way in which the truth can be arrived at is by relating those incidents one to another and carrying on a rigid cross-examination under oath. I shall not follow the course of the right hon. gentleman; I shall not state what I believe to be facts, because I was not before that tribunal. I was not called as a witness. I had at one time a very strong conviction that I should have gone before that tribunal because of the way in which my name was used in connection with it. I did not do so, however, and I do not yet understand why the right hon. gentleman, thinking as he does, did not go to the committee and say: I desire to be examined under oath, cross-examined, and to give my view of the matters under investigation in order that the truth may be known and justice be done. If there be any cause for complaint that it has not been done, he cannot complain; for the opportunity was there for him or any other man who so desired, to give evidence before that committee. It was a committee of this house of whose honour at one time he was the custodian, the former leader, who knew something of its traditions, who knew just what was expected from public men who occupy positions of that kind; and under those circumstances, as I have said, I shall not endeavour to follow the course which the right hon. gentleman pursued. I shall not read from the story of the life of Sir Robert Hudson, who could get money from rich men when the prime minister could not do so.

I shall content myself with dealing with the issue which is before the House of Commons this afternoon, and ask hon. members wheither or not in their judgment the adoption of the report with the remedy suggested, will not go a long way towards meeting what was in the mind of the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner) when he made his submission to the House of Commons. May I remind the house, as it has frequently been reminded before that a year ago I suggested a judicial tribunal should be appointed for the purpose of investigating this matter. When this question was raised by the hon. member for Acadia in 1930, before the last general election, I in my then place yonder pointed out that I regarded it as of so serious a character, in view of the statements that had been made, as to necessitate a judicial investigation. But I pointed out on the very evening when in May of this year the hon. member for Acadia renewed his attack, ill-advised as I think he was, in making the references which I am sure on sober reflection he would not have made, with respect to judges and the judiciary, it was obvious that a judicial inquiry was no longer possible and that the house must itself deal with the matter. I stated that frankly. I am only too pleased to say to-day that the efforts and the result have entirely justified the course I then took.

Another reason, and one that has been borne in upon my mind very strongly during the progress of this discussion is this: Our judges should not be selected to sit on matters of this kind; the statutes contemplate they shall not do so, for judges to a very great extent, dealing with questions of this nature, have once more recalled to them their ancient past, the memories of their old political prejudices and the glories of their political antagonisms. That, I think, would be most injurious to the interests of this country. May I point out further that when in 1899 the circumstances in connection with the elections of West Huron and Brockville were investigated by a committee of this house at the instance of Mr. R. L. Borden, now Sir Robert Borden, the committee made a report which I believe many people thought was not highly creditable to parliament, and it was suggested that the committee should be renewed the next year. But in June of the next year, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, from his seat as Prime Minister, stated that he had that day submitted an order in council to his colleagues appointing Chancellor Boyd, Chief Justice Falconbridge and Judge Mac-Tavish a commission to inquire into election proceedings in the province of Ontario. That

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commission never met; it never took a word of evidence. It was open to either party, but nothing was done under it. For reasons which are obvious I am not in a position to say whether or not the information I have received is absolutely correct; but the dominating reason, as I understand it, was that those judges realized fully that it would detract from their dignity and from the position judges should occupy if they were to sit as commissioners upon a matter of that character.

I have revised my opinion as to the functions of this house. I have greater faith in it to-day than I have ever had in my life, as I find it was aJblc to arrive at what purports to be an unanimous opinion with respect to a matter in connection with which the most acute differences were possible. I agree with my right hon. friend that it is possible in a matter of this nature, where a report involves many pages, that a line here or there may constitute a line too many or a line too few, but the fact is that there was at least a semblance of unanimity.

I am free to say that once I sat on a committee of this house, not many long years ago, a committee on which there were representatives of itthe Liberal party, the Conservative party and the party to my right across the floor. I recall vividly that the committee, in terms stronger than any committee had ever made denunciations of wrong doing in departmental administration in Canada, submitted a report to this parliament, which report, amended to read stronger still, was adopted by this house by a small majority, as will be found in the journals I have under my hand. Yet in the succeeding election the people of Canada brought back to power the very men whom this parliament had condemned. That in itself is some reason why there is cause and justification for pride in the report of the committee before us to-day. At least it is a report which has reviewed the evidence at length, has about it some semblance of unanimity, and suggests remedies for the conditions which have been found to exist in connection with the enterprise.

I do not purpose to deal with the personal attacks which were made upon me last night. The right hon. gentleman spent hours complaining of insinuations and innuendos. Yet, for line after line he said, "If the right hon. gentleman does so and so; if the right hon. gentleman does so and so; if the hon. gentleman does so and so"

for which there is not a scintilla of evidence, or the memorandum of a single conversation. Do you call that

right and fair and just? You call that a smoke screen which it was hoped would divert the minds of the Canadian people from the Beauharnois project in order that they might think of tariffs and income taxes. Is that the sense of decency that prevails in the mind of my right hon. friend who stands in this house and makes the sort of attack he made last night? I was amazed. What was that attack made for? What was it made for? There was not a single person within sound of the voice of the right hon. gentleman who did not know what it was made for. It was made to induce the Canadian people to try to forget Beauharnois. It was made to induce the Canadian people to forget that there had been an investigation. It was an effort, through that cunning which has characterized the discharge of my right hon. friend's public duties, as evidenced by that very report of the customs inquiry to which I referred-it was an endeavour, I say, by that cunning device, to insinuate hypothetical conditions and draw hypothetical conclusions, and then afford an opportunity for his political friends to go out into country and quote them as indicating the true position of the Prime Minister of Canada.

Do you call that decency? Do you call that high art? I suppose some will. Some will call it high technical art and skill. But that is not the idea of the Canadian people;

I repeat, that is not the idea of the Canadian people. To insinuate-that is what it was- that if I carry in my pocket a list of the contributors to the funds of the Conservative party I have placed myself in a position where every legislative act I take must be influenced by that sordid consideration-and that from one who has been for nine years Prime Minister of Canada!

And then he complains, almost in sobs, about the innuendos against him in th'>

house. Is that the sense of decency that should govern with respect to matters of this kind? I asked last night, and I ask now: Show me within the four corners of the evidence given in this instance anything which warrants such observations. All that appears there-and i't is correct-is that I did decline to have anything to do with contributions from the Beauharnois people, so far as my party was concerned.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

And it is not a matter for which any great credit is to be accorded to me. I never have claimed such credit. I merely took the view any man should take, that as the matter had been raised in parliament, and I had said that I thought a judicial

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investigation should be held, if I succeeded to power I was bound to provide that investigation. How could I do that if I had taken benefactions from them for the purpose of preventing my taking proper action? That is the question. That position is met by the whispered insinuation: "You raised the tariff on textiles, woollens and steel, and you raised the tariff on something else, and where is your list of contributions? I have no such list; that I desire to make perfectly clear.

I shall not enter into a further discussion of my position; for if this matter is further investigated-and I say right here and now if the right hon. gentleman and those who sit beside him think that the Beauharnois matter has not been adequately investigated I will give them an investigation, judicially or otherwise, if they require it.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

But if the right hon. gentleman had ended his remarks at that point one might have not been so greatly concerned; we expected that. I did not however expect that in three sentences he would explain the whole situation. Standing out here in the cool of a summer's evening looking at Victoria chambers we see the right hon. leader of the opposition, saying, "Behold, these Conservatives, how they work. See the literature they are sending out. Haydon, I have no money; we cannot do it." Haydon gets it; Why wouldn't he? Haydon gets it; why shouldn't he? Why wouldn't he?-why wouldn't any man who stood in relation to the Prime Minister as he stood? Let me read what my right hon. friend says the relationship was; just listen to this. Referring to page 4383 of Hansard I read a quotation from Mr. Spender's Life of Hudson, as quoted by the right hon. gentleman:

The confidence that Hudson at once inspired in men, even rich men, wary of their pockets, was extraordinary. Rich men would give him thousands when they would not have given prime ministers a penny piece, and yet Hudson had nothing to offer them in return save his good-will, for the federation possessed neither patronage nor power, and never attempted, or would have been allowed, to interfere with the arrangements of the whip's room.

Then my right hon. friend, Speaking of Haydon, said':

I had asked Senator Haydon why it was that, despite the fact that we were labouring night and day in this parliament to make our policies known, we could not get a leaflet published which we could distribute among the electorate. We had the Dunning budget which we were bringing in and we wanted to have the electors acquainted with the details of that budget and the policies that underlay it. So

far as the Liberal information office was concerned, there was no money for the purpose of getting out any publications.

There is the story. He said Senator Haydon occupied to him the relation that Sir Robert Hudson did to the leader of the Liberal party in England. Why would not Haydon do what he did do? When his chief, his fidus Achates, his inseparable friend said to him, "I have no money; we can publish no information; the 'beauties Of the Dunning budget-cast iron and icut flowers-will not be known to the electorate unless we have money." And Haydon goes out and gets the money. The suggestion to him was a command, and he forgot everything else except Beauharnois and the getting of the money. And he gets it by the hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is the reason our constituencies were flooded with leaflets, that is the reason that there went all over western Canada the great volume of Liberal literature, some mimeographed, some prepared by Mr. Deaohman of the consumers league-they too, are in it; this literature went all over western Canada and throughout other parts of the country. The Prime Minister said, "Why is it we have no money? Haydon said, "Here ^ is the money." And Beauharnois provided it. That is the position the former Prime Minister occupies to this corporation. Did he think Haydon was going to make money? Did he think Haydon was going to pull it down from the stars, did he believe he was going to find it in the earth, or did he believe-as the facts are-that he found it in the water? Those are the facts, Mr. Speaker.

The former Prime Minister stated that the relationship that existed between Senator Haydon and himself is the relationship which he says Spender so splendidly mentioned as the relationship between himself and his chief; and he says: "You will observe that Sir Robert Hudson did not have any patronage; all he had was good will." Good will-that is what Spender said he had. And look at the good will that his friend Senator Haydon had! All Mr. Sweezey had to say to Senator Haydon was "S50.000, if you secure our order in council." And he got it. All Mr. Sweezey had to say to Senator McDougald was "Two thousand units, if you secure approval for our scheme." And he got it. That is the evidence of this inquiry, and that is the testimony of the right hon. leader of the opposition himself as indicated in his speech last night.

I put to every hon. member of this house, as I put to every citizen of this country, this simple, single question: Is there any organizer

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of any party in the world who, confronted by his chief and told that the party had no money with which to make their virtues known, would not go out and get it-or try to? And so we have the right hon. leader of the opposition saying that he told the organizer that they hadn't any money. He must have seen that it was received from some source, and what source so likely? Just think of it! And then calling upon high heaven to witness to his virtues, to speak of the disinterested character of his services to the country, it resolves itself at last to the statement of his organizer, "We have no money."

But the results of money from some source soon became apparent. We have the circumstances under which Mr. Sweezey made his payments. I agree with what was said yesterday about Mr. Sweezey. I mentioned his position last year. He is an engineer of vision; he saw great industrial communities thriving where you and I saw but a stream flowing over rocks; he saw the possibilities of dams, he saw the possibilities of machinery, he saw energy created and industries grow. He is a promoter-some would say a dreamer. This simple-minded engineer was told, "The only thing to do is to get in touch with those who know how to do it." So there in his first letter, and hon. members will remember that when mentioning Mr. Jones he said, "He has no political value, he has just a business value." As to the rest of them, they had that value which belongs to those who "get things done." Not necessarily improperly-just "good will," according to Spender. "Get it done." And look at the efforts to get it done. I am not going to discuss how it was done; that is not a matter of importance at all at the moment. It was done. The promoter says it was done in that way because he understood that that was the way to do it. Now, whom did he learn that from? "We have no money."

Leaving that for the moment, behold the character of the influence that is used. These gentlemen do not deny in reality, although they clothe it in words of milk and honey, that they were interested in this matter, They bought shares in syndicates to make money. Surely men who contribute must recoup themselves some way if there is a chance to do it I that is the theory, and they did it. That is all. But that is not all for parliament. There is an Independence of Parliament Act, there are such things as the traditions that pertain and belong to parliament. Yesterday you saw the vindication of the law in England with respect to one of the proudest of the men who live in that country. But herewell, here it is sanctioned, here it gets the hallmark of ready approval, here men become apologists-or used to; they will not after this committee's report because this report marks a distinct advance in the public life of this country. I am perfectly certain of that.

I am not going to discuss any of the senators mentioned in the report. The conclusions of the committee are warranted by the evidence. That is all I have to say. But the right hon. gentleman is wrong there. This house has a perfect right to discuss the evidence given before the committee. When any senator is requested to give evidence, and is granted permission by the house of parliament to which he belongs to attend and appear, and does attend and appear, he attorns to the jurisdiction and must accept the inevitable result of his attendance. And it becomes no part of the procedure of this house to stand between him and the discussion that is raised by reason of the evidence that he has given. We may not in debate discuss members of the Senate. We discuss them now as witnesses, or as those whose position has become known by reason of the evidence given by witnesses before the commission. But I do not propose even to do that. We can leave that to the Senate and the government. The Senate must act first; it is the custodian of its own honour. It will receive this report when it is adopted by this house, and from what I know of the Senate of Canada-despite the reformation that has been made therein during the last few years- it will, I think, be worthy of its great traditions. The only thing the right hon. gentleman did not mention last night was reform of the Senate. I waited anxiously for a reference to that reform! I wanted to hear about those who when they went into the Senate had signed a document by which they were going to bring about its reform; at least that is what was told to a confiding public. Now, I suppose if we ask for the documents they will say they are lost. Peradventure there were not any. But I believe the Senate will take care of that part of the situation. Afterwards, it may be, the government of the country will have to put in operation certain laws and institute certain proceedings; which the government will do.

So far as restitution is concerned, I can only say to the hon. gentleman from Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) and to other members of this house that that is not a matter over which this government has any jurisdiction. The lawyers who framed the report realized that is so. One of the cor-

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porations was created by act of the Department of State, the others were created by statute of the province of Quebec. And we have no power to institute civil proceedings for the restitution of money. So far as our right to institute criminal proceedings is concerned, every hon. gentleman knows that such proceedings must be instituted by the provincial and not by the federal authorities. Inasmuch as the deputy attorney general of Quebec has been retained by Beauharnois I am satisfied that for his $1,500 a year he will take proceedings to that end.

Leaving that for the moment we will proceed to what I regard as the more important phase of this matter. As I said, I have no interest in discussing these senators or other witnesses; time will take care of them and the body to which they belong. But I have a very great interest in this further phase of the question, because of the unhappy position which I occcupy-for it is unhappy at times -and I desire now to indicate to this house, not as leader of a party but as leader of the House of Commons, what action this government propose to take in connection with this matter. I am dealing now with the second branch of this case. The first deals with the injury done to parliament, the injury done to our institutions and the fuel that it provides for bolshevists from one end of the country to the other to deride our country and its institutions. But the very fact that this House of Commons has done what it has will do much to still that criticism and make men realize that in the end the House of Commons will rise to a high sense of its own responsibilities.

Now, as I have said, I come to what I conceive to be the second branch of this inquiry. Sir, the real, fundamental criticism I have to urge against the conduct of this enterprise is that from its very inception it defied government. Will hon. gentlemen take the trouble to turn to the report and note the conditions which were imposed upon that company under the licence it was given to exercise its powers? If those who are interested will look at page 628 of the proceedings of the committee they will find certain matters set forth which will leave no doubt as to the conditions imposed. I will say this, that there were twenty-eight conditions imposed in the order in council, and the original slips by which little amendments were made here and there as the document was being prepared are still extant, in the handwriting of one who is still a member of this house. Those amendments introduced into the final licence, as settled on the recom-

mendation of the former Minster of Public Works, indicated that if they were observed the public interest would be protected. What do you think they did, sir, with respect to them? Just let me direct your attention to the finding of the committee in that regard:

(7) Your committee finds as a fact that the work of construction is proceeding according to plans which have not received the approval of the governor in council or of the Minister of Public Works.

But that is not all; to show how supreme was their confidence in their own position let me tell you, sir, that they did not file any plans until fifteen days after this government came into power. They did not need to file any plans as long as the former government was here. Just look at the report in that regard. It says:

.... actual construction on the north embankment was commenced on the 7th August,

1929, in the vicinity of lake St. Francis, and on the south embankment on the 23rd April,

1930.

Then follows condition 11 of order in council 422:

The company shall not commence the construction of the works until detailed plans of construction .... have been submitted and approved of by the minister ....

They constructed something entirely different from what was provided for in the order in council; the remedial works have not been approved of either by order in council or by the minister; the Hungry bay dyke has been breached without consent or permission, and finally they are still proceeding without their plans having been in any sense ratified, approved or given even an acquiescent approval by the government.

Now let us see, for a moment, what they did when they found that situation confronting them, in agonized fear, I take it, seeing that a new government was in power. You can readily understand what would have been the significance of the position if the new government had been led by one who was under financial obligation to them. Certain other plans were substituted on the 22nd of August, 1930, as is indicated at page 623.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Those

were substituted for the plans filed in 1929.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Quite so, but the plans of 1929 were never ratified or approved. I am just coming to that. The report says:

None of these has as yet received the approval of the Minister of Public Works, although the chief engineer of the department has recommended them for approval. Plans submitted on the 22nd August, 1930, did include

Beauharnois Power-Report

plans for the remedial works, but such plans were subsequently withdrawn and as the matter now stands there is now

That should read "not now".

-before the department for approval any plan or plans of these remedial works.

I put this to every member of the house who happens to be a member of my profession. If a judge were charging a jury, as Mr. Justice Wright did the day before yesterday in England with respect to a matter not unlike this in some particulars, would he not say: "Gentlemen, is it not a significant fact that although order in council P.C. 422 provides that there shall be approval by order in council, and also by the minister, of plans of the undertaking and of remedial works which are to be carried out, until the defeat of the administration that was in power at the time the order in council was granted no such approval had been given, and fifteen days after a new government took office in Canada new plans were substituted?" Is that not a significant fact? Most men in this house have served on juries. Why was it that these people went on with their work week after week and month after month and paid no more attention to the government of Canada than they did to the government of China?

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER PROJECT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

Would the right hon. gentleman permit me just one question? I do not wish to interrupt him.

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER PROJECT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Certainly.

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER PROJECT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

What is the government

engineer doing there now? What has he been doing from August 7 to the present day? He must be representing some person.

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER PROJECT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The government engineer is there to see what is going on, and he was not there on the 7th of August. I asked for a report myself, because I realized that action had to be taken. I had heard of these things; I sent an engineer there last fail before I went to England and I asked the Minister of Public Works and the Department of Railways and Canals to keep watch on that undertaking because of what I had heard. I received a report which I told the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner) I thought I would have to treat as a confidential report made to a minister as to what was going on. I take it that the paragraph appearing in the report with respect to the chief engineer and deputy minister has some relation to these facts. -

Now I ask this house to consider that significant fact. The government of this country was defied. These people got their order in council; they breached the Hungry

bay dyke, which they had no right to do. They went on just as they pleased; they were so sure that the government would be returned that they thought they could afford to take almost any chance in the world.

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER PROJECT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I do not wish to interrupt,

but would my right hon. friend permit a question?

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS POWER PROJECT
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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July 31, 1931