February 11, 1936

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

That was the position taken by Chief Justice Brown in the letters he wrote, which form part of the record. However I must say that my views in that respect differ from those of my predecessor. I had occasion to consider this matter in some instances prior to 1930. I had the legal opinion of the late Mr. Justice Newcombe, then deputy minister of Justice, who advised me at the time that judges could act on those provincial commissions. I merely followed the precedent which was created at that time and which was followed even by my predecessor in the department until this incident occurred in Regina.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Oh, no. The province of Ontario, for a long time, requested that the dominion should agree to the appointment of judges for these purposes; then it ceased to do so. Whatever it may mean, the statute says that the consent of the dominion should be sought and given. Mr. Justice Neweombe's view was that this did not have reference to a provincial commission. I recall the circumstances, but the difficulty is tJhat judges cease to be judges the moment they accept a commission.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

But they are commissioners acting at the request of the province and performing a public service. Of course the only knowledge I have of the matter is from the records, but I must tell my right hon. friend that in connection with the hydro commission inquiry in Ontario the _ minister admitted that this action was taken by the province alone without authorization from Ottawa, though he stated that this did not alter the fact that the authorization should come from Ottawa.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

However, that is a matter as to which we must be permitted to differ. This commission is going on; its work is proceeding, I think, in a most effective way. I do not think there were any politics in its appointment. This is merely a means of getting at the truth of a matter which was debated between the provincial and the federal governments. What made it perhaps still more imperative that this should be done was the fact that Saskatchewan is policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who receive their orders in provincial matters

The Address-Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East)

from t.he attorney general of the province and in federal matters, of course, from Ottawa. There was a conflict between the two authorities, and I sincerely believe that the work of the commission and its report, instead of intensifying this friction and conflict, may make it easier to reconcile the two views. My right hon. friend stated that the morale of the police has declined because of the appointment of this commission. Far from it. I believe the evidence that is being given before the commission will rather be a justification of what the police did, and will rather clarify certain issues which were perhaps dangerous, as to which the people did not have the best information, the information they should have had.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I was dealing with the effect upon the trial of the accused.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I do not think so. My right hon. friend referred to the fact that the chief justice permitted one of the strikers to say that the victim of the battle had been killed by one of the mounted police officers.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That he saw the officer battering the man to death.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Yes. How could the chief justice refuse to hear that man? That is what that witness said, but there were scores of witnesses, both police and neutral citizens, who said otherwise. After all, the only way to get at the truth is to secure the evidence of all those who claim to have been witnesses to what took place at that time.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I agree, only the matter should be in a court.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

It should be in a court, but it is difficult to get a matter like that into a court.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

But it is in a court now.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

It could be in court only in connection with one special incident having to do with the accused on trial in that court. Now my right hon. friend said it is even stated that evidence would be taken in British Columbia. Possibly one of the commissioners is going there. But it is to serve the ends of justice and it may happen that the evidence given there might be far from injurious to the case of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I was not concerned about that.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

It is exactly as I said already, to get the facts. Surely it is not a bad thing to get the facts and to find where the truth is, no more in this matter than in the reference to the supreme court, and even in the Riddell incident. Those strikers, or a committee representing them, came to see me since the commencement of this investigation. They asked three things: first, that we should appoint a dominion commission instead of that provincial commission which apparently they do not like; second, that we should change the personnel of the commission, increase it and put a representative of the strikers on it. Of course we could not very well agree to that. Their third request was that we should pay counsel for the strikers. Those three demands were submitted to me and to some of my colleagues, and after consideration we rejected them. We thought the present commission has all the necessary powers to secure what we want to have shown, and the facts. We did not give them what they desired, but they paid us the compliment of saying it was the first time for years that they had been received courteously when they came to Ottawa.

Now there is another matter which also relates to the administration of justice. I am prevented from referring to it except, without giving any names, to say that far from being actuated by politics in this matter, certain people had made the same demand before 1930. There had been a subsequent trial of another man, who had been acquitted in connection with the same matter, and the man who had been convicted claimed that this made a change and that there had been a mistrial. The attorney general of Ontario advised strongly against a new trial. I refused to recommend a new trial before 1930. Surely this was not because of politics, for the attorney general of Ontario then was a Conservative. But when I came back to the department this year there had been an investigation held by the present attorney general of Ontario, who had made a new report strongly recommending the granting of a new trial. This report had been submitted to my immediate predecessor in office, who was there only a short time, but he did not deal with it; he had no time, and I found it on the doorstep. Conditions were altogether changed. But, Mr. Speaker, even then I did not feel like granting a new trial. I thought the ends of justice would be better served by using the discretionary power which I have under the criminal code to refer the whole matter to the court of appeal of Ontario, and to let them decide what should be done. I thought, in

The Address-Mr. Douglas

face of the conflict between the two attorney's general of Ontario, the one prior to 1930 and the one of to-day, the best thing for the Department of Justice here to do was to refer the question for judicial determination in the province, and I do not think I deserve to be told by my right hon. friend that some people are afraid there are politics in the Department of Justice.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I did not say politics. Look and see what I said.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Well, I hope it is not that, because if my right hon. friend said it he knows the gravity and the seriousness of such a remark.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

However, I think I may close these remarks by telling my right hon. friend that I hope he will think well of me in the future as he did in the past. As far as I am concerned I wish him happiness and peace. My best and most earnest wish is that he may be brought to feel kindly about his political opponents.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. T. C. DOUGLAS (Weybum):

Mr. Speaker, first I wish to take this opportunity of congratulating you upon your accession to the position which you now hold. I wish also to congratulate the mover (Mr. Slaght) and the seconder (Mr. Fournier) of the address.

In rising to speak to this motion I feel that not only do I represent the constituency of Weyburn; that not only do I represent a group in this house which holds a particular social viewpoint, but that as one of the youngest members in this house I represent a class of people in Canada who hitherto have been unrepresented. Might I point out that there are perhaps more young men in this House of Commons than there have been for many years past. I feel we can say, because of the contacts which some of us have with youth organizations across the dominion, that through us to some extent a certain section of young Canada speaks.

I wish to draw the attention of the house to one remarkable phrase in the speech from the throne, a phrase which seems to me to be pregnant with irony. It is this:

-in adhering to the aims and ideals of the League of Nations, and in seeking, in unison with members of the league as well as with other nations, to support by all appropriate and practical means the maintenance of peace, and the establishment of a world order based on justice and equity.

I should like this house to think for a moment of what that means and what steps the government has taken to maintain peace.

[Mr. E. Lapomte.i

I need hardly remind hon. members that in 1919 at the close of the great war the League of Nations was formed, and that in signing the covenant of the league, for the first time in the history of the human race over fifty nations gave up their sovereign right to wage war. But in return for giving up that right these fifty-seven nations required that they in turn would be guaranteed collective security. That after all is the only way that you and I can ever hope to live in a law-abiding and peaceful world. Just as you and I within the state, by giving up certain privileges of attacking the person of another individual, receive certain protection and certain privileges, so the nations of the world began this noble experiment of giving up the sovereign right to wage war and in return were guaranteed collective security.

Following that, Italy is declared by the nations of the league to be an aggressor against Ethiopia. I want here and now to commend the present administration upon two things which they have done. They interpreted correctly the mind of the Canadian people, first when they decided that the people wanted economic sanctions, and, second, when they correctly decided that the Canadian people did not want to indulge in a world war. That is, they understand what I suggest is the basic psychology of the Canadian people to-day, namely, that we will not trade with a murderer while he is engaged in the act of murdering, and that we will not have any trade or traffic with any brigand while he is engaged in international piracy. That I believe to be the attitude of the Canadian people, and the government correctly interpreted it.

What happened? We went through the motions of passing economic sanctions-and I say "through the motions," because it is very evident that sanctions have only one aim and one purpose, namely, to prevent war. Sanctions are valuable only if they are made effective. For instance we know today that it is absolute nonsense to talk about passing sanctions against Italy or any other country if the sanctions which are passed have the effect of boycotting commodities which are not needed by that country for purposes of war. Italy can get along without Christmas trees, Christmas candles and teddy bears, but there are certain basic commodities without which she cannot wage a war.

I believe Doctor Riddell took the logical position that if sanctions are to be valuable they must be effective, and that the most effective sanction in this day and age would be oil. Napoleon said that an army marches on its stomach; the modem army marches

The Address-Mr. Douglas

on oil. Without oil Italy could not continue to fight. What happened? The Canadian government gave the impression throughout the civilized world that Canada was not prepared to stand behind the statement that had been made by her representative. This afternoon the Prime Minister explained that what was meant was something similar to the statement made by Sir Samuel Hoare. That however was not the interpretation placed upon it, and I believe the statement was open to the interpretation that Canada was not in favour of oil sanctions.

There are two sources from which Italy has been drawing her oil, namely, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company of Great Britain and the Standard Oil Company of the United States. When Mr. Lloyd George made the statement during the last general election campaign in Great Britain that aeroplanes flying over Ethiopia had Anglo-Persian oil in their petrol tanks, the reply of the president of that company was significant. He said, "We are keeping the sanction; we are making Italy pay cash." In other words the only crime that, in the minds of certain financial interests could be perpetrated would be that of giving credit to Mussolini. Because of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Great Britain and the influence that had been brought to bear in this country, we find today that oil sanctions are much further away than when they were first suggested. Why is that so? Is it because the oil interests have too much influence on the powers of government? Is it because those people who make their profits out of oil have a great deal more weight in the councils of the governments of the world than have the dictates of humanity?

The speech from the throne speaks about maintaining peace-peace to-day, when Canadian nickel is indirectly being shipped to Ethiopia. Peace to-day, when Italian aeroplanes are being flown with British oil! Peace! Mr. Speaker, if this be peace it must be like the peace of the Lord-it passeth all understanding. Hon. members in this comer of the chamber voice a logical protest. If the government is going to talk about sanctions, we urge that they be effective sanctions. The people of Canada are asking that we take a definite stand in the matter, a stand with the forces of peace rather than with those of financial interests desiring a greater sale of oil.

I would point out that the speech from the throne is notable not so much for what it says as for what it fails to say.

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February 11, 1936