February 8, 1932

CHARGES BY HON. G. N. GORDON MOTION FOR SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF INVESTIGATION

CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. HUGH GUTHRIE (Minister of Justice) :

At this point I wish to make a motion o) which I gave notice on Thursday last and which appeared in the votes and proceedings of this house. In doing so may I be permitted to say that the incident which has given rise to this motion occurred a short time ago in the city of Hamilton.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Leader of the Opposition):

I do not wish

to interrupt my hon. friend (Mr. Guthrie) but I suggest to him that, as no intimation was given that this matter would be discussed this afternoon, customary procedure would not be violated if he permitted the debate on the address to proceed until His Excellency had been thanked for his address and then took up other matters. That is the correct procedure and I hope my hon. friend will follow it.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I believe I am following

correct procedure. The orders of the day

announced that at a certain juncture motions would be called, and in the regular way I am introducing a motion of which regular notice has been given. The matter is of sufficient consequence to engage the attention of the house for a few minutes. I do not anticipate prolonged discussion; personally I intend to offer very few remarks.

The incident to which I refer occurred at the city of Hamilton a few weeks ago, and as it involves a very dark reflection upon a man who is Prime Minister of Canada and the chief adviser of His Excellency the Governor General, and pertains to matters of public concern, and as the allegation is said to come from a man who served as a member in this house and was at one time a member of the government of this country and is yet one of the king's privy councillors for Canada, the matter is of added importance. To my mind it is of sufficient concern and consequence to be brought to the attention of the house at the earliest possible moment. An opportunity will be afforded to the Hon. Mr. Gordon to state whether in fact he did make the statements as set out in the newspapers and as quoted in the notice of motion, and he will be given an opportunity to state what if any foundation he had for making such statements. This matter concerns the honour of the first citizen of Canada, a member of this house, and 'Concerns also the dignity of the House of Commons. For that reason it is of the utmost importance to proceed at once.

When a matter such as this reaches the press it is looked upon by newspapers throughout the whole length and breadth of Canada as front page material, and for that reason receives wide publicity. Many of us have waited from day to day and from week to week to see if there would be any explanation or withdrawal of the statement. I understand that at a meeting held in the city of Cobourg about the middle of January the Hon. Mr. Gordon made a statement which might be regarded as a somewhat belated explanation of or apology for his remarks pertaining to Mr. Herridge. The present motion does not complain about anything said with respect to Mr. Herridge; it seeks only to investigate the remarks made by Mr. Gordon concerning the Prime Minister of Canada. Mr. Gordon has been singularly silent in regard to any explanation or apology on that branch of the subject.

I beg therefore to move seconded by Mr. Stevens:

That a special committee consisting of seven members of this house to be named hereafter be appointed to enquire into certain charges

Charges by Hon. G. N. Gordon

and allegations made by the Honourable George N. Gordon, K.C., a member of the King's Privy Council for Canada, upon a public occasion in the city of Hamilton, on the 6th day of January, 1932, as reported in the Globe newspaper published at the city of Toronto on the 7th day of January, 1932, and also in respect of a further statement made by the said George N. Gordon at Lindsay on the 8th of January, 1932, and published in the said Globe newspaper on the 9th day of January, 1932, and also published in other newspapers throughout Canada, reflecting upon the Right Honourable R. B. Bennett. Prime Minister of Canada and a member of this house, in regard to matters of public concern; and which said charges and allegations published in the said Globe newspaper are in the following terms and were published on the following respective dates-

January 7, 1932.-"The bald charge that Premier Bennett had financed the honeymoon trip of his sister to Europe out of the Canadian treasury, and that he had obtained a new private railway car for his own use at a cost to Canada of $125,000, was made to local Liberals to-night by Hon. G. N. Gordon, K.C., who was deputy speaker in the federal house under the King government."

"He criticized Premier Bennett for having appointed his brother-in-law as Canada's envoy at Washington, and then charged that the cost of Mrs. Herridge's honeymoon trip to Europe had been paid for by Premier Bennett out of the Canadian treasury."

January 9, 1932.-"I have been too long in the public eye to make statements that are not based on facts," Mr. Gordon said, adding that only a small section of his reference to Mr. Herridge appeared correctly in The Globe. A large audience in Hamilton heard every word he said, and he followed his notes very closely, Mr. Gordon continued.

"Major Herridge was Mr. Bennett's brother-in-law. and this was his honeymoon trip," said Mr. Gordon. "He also went to London to argue an appeal before the Privy Council, so if he was a full-time Canadian legal adviser he should not have taken the full time preparing and arguing the appeal before the Privy Council and thus neglecting his duty as the Premier s legal adviser, which Mr. Bennett permitted him

to do. .

"Mr. Herridge. according to Mr. Gordon, remained a long time in London as a Canadian official, and was in the pay of the Dominion government during the time of his honeymoon trip." , ,

With power to call for persons, papers and records and to examine witnesses upon oath and to report from time to time to this house.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Before the

motion is carried I should like to repeat my former remarks concerning what is due His Excellency in the matter of the speech which he has presented to parliament and for which we were expecting to express our thanks this afternoon. I believe, were one to search the records of British parliamentary institutions the world over, one would not find a case, where, at the instance of the Prime Minister, through one of his colleagues, a matter of this particular character would be interjected as a subject of debate before His Majesty or

His Majesty's representative had been thanked for the speech from the throne delivered to parliament with a view to opening its deliberations. I am not surprised that the Prime Minister has absented himself from the house at this time. Quite evidently he knew this matter was to come up, and for reasons best known to himself is not present. However, there is a custom followed in matters of debate and other business in parliament, and we might as well understand at once whether that custom is going to be observed or not. That custom is that each side of the house should receive some due notice and warning of matters which are to come up for public discussion. If this question is of the great importance the Minister of Justice (Mr. Guthrie) has just said it is, it was certainly due to myself as leader of the opposition that I should have had some notice that it was to be brought before the house to-day, and it was due to every hon. member on this side that that notice should have been given in the regular manner in which notice is generally given with regard to other motions. My hon. friend the Minister of Justice who has just made the motion has been in parliament for many, many years. I do not hesitate to say to him that never in his parliamentary experience has he known anything of this kind, and that if our positions were reversed and he were standing where I am on this side of the house to-day he would be most eloquent and emphatic in the exception which he would be taking to this method of procedure.

As to the motion itself, may I say. Mr. Speaker, that personally I felt more or less shocked when I saw the notice which had been placed on the order paper and realized that it had come from the Prime Minister himself. The Minister of Justice says he is not so much concerned with Mr. Herridge-and I presume that includes Mrs. Herridge-but that with regard to something which has been said about the Prime Minister it is all important that we should have this investigation. May I say that if the Prime Minister had been as considerate of his sister and of his brother-in-law as he has been of himself, he would have been very careful to avoid bringing their names into public discussion in the manner in which he has. This is a means on the part of the Prime Minister to satisfy his self-will and wounded pride of his own. No man in Canada has less reason to take umbrage at what political opponents say about him than has the right hon. Prime Minister. If I had wished to seek revenge

Alberta-British Columbia Boundary

for some of the things the Prime Minister has said about me at one time or another, I should not have taken advantage of my position of power and authority in parliament to serve this end; I would have brought action against him for criminal libel; for he has used expressions which I consider of that character. People who live in glass houses ought to be very careful how and where they throw stones.

I am not going to take up any time at the moment in discussing the merits of the motion. If the Prime Minister wishes to have the kind of notoriety for himself and others who are related to him which an inquiry of this kind is certain to give not only in Canada but throughout the world, he is certainly welcome to it; but I think he would be well advised -and well advised by his Minister of Justice -to have this motion withdrawn instead of having it proceeded with. As a matter of fact I think there was a general sentiment throughout this house-and I need not go further than the Conservative organ in this city to express the view of many Conservatives in the country as well as in parliament as they have been expressed since the motion was put on the order paper-that this whole business is a "tempest in a teapot," and that it is not befitting the dignity of parliament that its time should be wasted in matters of this sort. If the time of parliament is to be taken up and the money of the people used for furthering inquiries into matters which affect the vanity or the susceptibilities of the Prime Minister, a lot of public money will be wasted to no good purpose, and I do not believe the people will endorse for one minute the object of this particular investigation.

May I add, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Gordon, who is mentioned in this motion as having made the statements referred to, did make a public retraction and apology in respect to them. The Minister of Justice says the apology was not sufficient. If it was not sufficient, and something more was required, surely there were other means of obtaining it than by asking this house, before it has begun the business of the session at all, to start an elaborate inquiry by a special committee. This thirst on the part of the Prime Minister for personal vengeance in so many directions is something that the people of this country are beginning to find very difficult to understand. It is perhaps well we should at once realize that something in the nature of a reign of terror is to be started at this session, and that we are to experience in the parliamentary sense of the term as much in the way of "frightfulness" as possible. Well, if that

is the policy of hon. gentlemen opposite as dictated by their leader, they must take the consequences that will inevitably follow from such a course.

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Motion agreed to.


ALBERTA-BRITISH COLUMBIA BOUNDARY


Hon. C. H. CAHAN (Secretary of State) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 2, respecting the boundary between the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.


?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Explain.

Topic:   ALBERTA-BRITISH COLUMBIA BOUNDARY
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CON

BOARDS OF TRADE ACT


Hon. C. H. CAHAN (Secretary of State) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 3 to amend the Boards of Trade Act. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


PATENT ACT AMENDMENT


Hon. C. H. CAHAN (Secretary of State) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 4 to amend the Patent Act. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY

BILL RESPECTING UNFAIR COMPETITION IN TRADE AND COMMERCE


Hon. C. H. CAHAN (Secretary of State) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 5 respecting unfair competition in trade and commerce.


?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Explain.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY
Subtopic:   BILL RESPECTING UNFAIR COMPETITION IN TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

We would like to know what is meant by unfair competition.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY
Subtopic:   BILL RESPECTING UNFAIR COMPETITION IN TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Probably the minister will explain when he moves the first reading of the bill.

Topic:   INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY
Subtopic:   BILL RESPECTING UNFAIR COMPETITION IN TRADE AND COMMERCE
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February 8, 1932