Mr. JEAN FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata):
Mr. Speaker, may I draw the
attention of this house to what I conceive to
be a breach of its privileges and refer for a moment to an article which appeared on Wednesday last, April 6, in LTllustration, a Conservative, French Montreal daily.
In order to be fair to the minister concerned, I notified him by letter on Thursday, April 7, that unless a satisfactory retraction was published on Saturday last I would bring it up on the following Monday-yesterday- as a matter of privilege. As my letter is still unanswered, as no retraction appeared on Saturday, yesterday, nor to-day, and as that paper is mailed to my colleagues, Englishspeaking as well as French-speaking, I will read a translation in order that my correction may be understood by all. The first four paragraphs are a preamble to the lies which abound in the latter; therefore I should deal with it not only paragraph after paragraph, but line after line, and almost word after word. This is what was printed after I had said "all was over":
Mr. Pouliot and Slander
Shall we believe that Pouliot, the Liberal member for Temiscouata, has at last realized that be often goes too far in his daily outbursts in the bouse.
During the sitting of yesterday, when Mr. Gordon, Minister of Labour, was submitting his estimates, Mr. Pouliot attacked him in the most injurious way.
Mr. Pouliot accused the minister of lack of tact, oi being an ignoramus, of not answering intelligently to question, etc.
But as soon as Mr. Pouliot resumed his seat he realized that he had gone too far and that he had behaved rudely.
Shortly afterwards he invited the Hon. Mr. Gordon to his office, asked for the stenographic copy of Hansard and made all corrections demanded by the minister.
The facte are as follows: The minister was gracious enough to come to my office without receiving any invitation from me. He did not demand any correction whatsoever; he simply requested me to strike two lines off Hansard, and I did not hesitate to comply with his request. What I said was not ruled out of order, but having agreed to strike it off I will not repeat it. The article continues:
Mr. Pouliot went afterwards to the press gallery beseeching the correspondents of the papers to soften his utterances in order that they should be decent, at least in the press.
I have been to the press gallery, true; but I have not besought any one to soften my utterances; I thought it fair to notify the members of the press gallery that I had agreed with the minister's request to strike those two lines off Hansard. That was the only thing I told them about it. The article concludes:
One cannot crawl more cowardly after having played the braggart.
It is to be hoped that in the future Mr. Pouliot will not be obliged to apologize so pitifully when he speaks in the House of Commons.
I did not crawl because I never put myself in a position, to crawl, and I did not apologize because I had no reason to apologize.
This is the second time that the same individual has published a slanderous libel against me; the first one was a circular sent six years ago to the Tory organization in my county. As it was not distributed, I did not pay any attention to it. This time I have settled the matter with him by telling him personally what I think of him. Should he offend a third time, I would not say that there would be murder because that would not be parliamentary, but there will surely be a K.O. that will be O.K. In accordance with Roosevelt's advice, we shall go to it with a soft voice and a big stick.