June 10, 1938


Employment Offices Coordination Act, Administration, $63,925. Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour): Mr. Chairman, in view of certain statements made yesterday by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) I am obliged to ask the committee to give attention for a few moments to a garage in the yard of Mr. Stansbury, president of the Liberal association of Kingston. Perhaps I can best illustrate the point by quoting from page 3702 of Hansard: Mr. Rogers: To my knowledge Mr. Stansbury has had no connection whatever with any one of these contracting companies. That was in regard to a previous reference by the leader of the opposition. To my knowledge he has not had any part in the awarding of any government contracts from which he has benefited in the slightest degree. But his predecessor- Mr. Bennett: We shall see about that. What about his garage? What w-as it built with? Where did the stone come from? Mr. Rogers: He has no garage, to my knowledge. I was speaking of a garage in the commercial sense. Mr. Bennett: Near his house, on his lot? Mr. Rogers: As to that I do not know. Mr. Bennett: Well, find out. 3710 COMMONS Supply-Labour-Employment Offices Mr. Rogers: Certainly my right hon. friend seems to have made a special purpose of conducting a minute investigation in the constituency of Kingston, if he is now coming down to the question of the garage in the yard of the president of the Liberal association of that constituency. Mr. Bennett: If he built it with public property, that is my duty. Some hon. Members: Did he? Mr. Bennett: He certainly did. Mr. Rogers: Let my hon. friend make a charge, and I will make an investigation. Probably my right hon. friend is no more correct in that information than he was in his earlier information. I am quite content to have the matter investigated at once; I want to make that perfectly clear. In conformity with that undertaking I immediately placed myself in touch with Mr. Stansbury in Kingston. My information is that the building used as a garage in the yard of Mr. Stansbury was possibly built before confederation, in the sense that it is an old stone building such as may be seen in many parts of the country.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Don't cheer yet; he

knows perfectly well the building I referred to. Call it a garage, or any other name you like. You know the building I refer to.

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CON
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

The building itself was constructed many years ago.

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CON
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

There was a renovation of that building within the last two or three years. No public property went into the renovation of that building. There was at the time a pile of loose crushed stone in a cutting near the site of camp 37. Mr. Stansbury, I am informed, with the permission of the officer in charge, and on the understanding that he would pay the cartage, received four cubic yards of waste crashed stone, which was not placed in the building of the garage but on the roadway leading to the garage. I am informed that the actual price of the stone if sold by a contractor would be somewhere between $2 and $3. And as I have said before, Mr. Stansbury asked for permission to use this stone a$d received it accordingly. There was no public property that entered into the building of this garage referred to by my right hon. friend.

This is the third time the leader of the opposition has made this statement about Mr. Stansbury, who is a member of the city council of Kingston, and a highly respected citizen. He is at the same time the president of the Kingston Liberal Association. The

fMr. Rogers.]

first statement made by my right hon. friend was that Mr. Stansbury was connected with a contracting firm while president of the Liberal association. He was not. But the former president of the Conservative association of Kingston did receive contracts from the then government, and on a very large scale. We shall hear more about that later.

I am perfectly aware of the tactics pursued by my right hon. friend. He has made these charges on at least four separate occasions.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

And he will make them for the fifth time in a minute.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He has not retracted any of them, except the one with respect to Mr. Stansbury's contracting firm, and that was accidental, as is known.

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Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He certainly does not intend to; he is going to repeat them.

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Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

We know the tactics pursued by my right hon. friend. He makes these statements, knowing perfectly well that the correction seldom catches up with the charge. And he probably hopes and believes that there are some who will see the charge on each occasion, and will not see the correction, and would in due course receive the impression that the Minister of Labour from Kingston is a villain and a blackguard. If that is the kind of tactics pursued by my right hon. friend I would suggest that he should alter his ways, as quickly as possible.

He has pursued these tactics on more than one occasion during the present session of parliament. Now I have made my position clear with respect to these several matters which have been brought up. I have made it clear beyond doubt that if complaints exist with respect to governmental matters in the constituency of Kingston I shall be obliged to have those complaints brought to my attention, and if they are brought to my attention I will do my utmost to rectify them. Naturally I cannot keep under my eye at all times everything that goes on in the constituency of Kingston. My duties keep me here at Ottawa during the greater part of the time. But I suggest to my right hon. friend that he would probably add something to his own stature, and contribute something to the business of this country, if instead of making these charges, without himself undertaking to prove their truth or otherwise, he should bring them to the attention of those who are able to deal with them and who are in a position to rectify them if they are well founded.

Supply-Labour-Employment Offices

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Mr. Chairman, I directed attention to the city of Kingston and the constituency of Kingston for a very special reason. The Prime Minister opened his electoral campaign in Kingston in 1935, and charged me with being a Hitler, a Mussolini and a Stalin, all combined.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Don't flatter yourself.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I am not in the least flattering myself. I am merely pointing out the language used by my right hon. friend the Prime Minister at Kingston. And he indicated further that the conduct of the administration of business in this country was such that it was highly essential that it should be changed. And at the same time the present Minister of Labour became the candidate in Kingston.

Kingston has been a stormy spot in the politics of this country ever since I can remember coming to this chamber, so far as patronage is concerned. I can recall in 1911 and 1912 the difficulties in connection with the penitentiary, and I recall too the charges made by the late member for Kingston, Doctor Ross, as to the lack of attention to patronage matters by the late administration.

Great hopes and expectations were raised when it became apparent that one who had the high qualifications of the present Minister of Labour was to stand as candidate in Kingston. He is an eminent scholar. He has had long experience at Ottawa in the capacity of private secretary, a position which enabled him to know something about the machinery of government. And no one for a moment suggests that he has had other than the strongest desire to improve conditions, so far as the administration was concerned. I therefore made myself the promise that I would watch and see whether or not these high hopes and expectations would be realized or whether what is known as the machine would crush the minister, and he would be overborne by it, rather than overbear it; whether or not the political patronage committee in Kingston would be able to compel the minister to conform to their mind, or whether he would be able to give effect to those high principles, those noble sentiments he expressed so frequently during the campaign.

And I did watch, with great care. I have made many inquiries. Many questions have appeared on the order paper in the house, both last session and the present one, with respect to the administration of matters in Kingston. There were two camps in and around Kingston. Camp 42 was one and camp 37 was the other. Both camps were closed by the government. There was much clothing

and supplies in one of those camps. They were placed in a storehouse. They were sold. In a public meeting one of the electors of Kingston, at Sydenham, gave illustrations as to the prices received for them and the, method of their disposition-horses, wagons and costly equipment. Who got it, and at what price? It is a singular coincidence that within four hours after the conclusion of that speech at Sydenham Ithe storehouse was on fire.

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

Mr. Chairman, I might as well deal with that now.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No, no; excuse me-to use the language of the minister, I am making this speech.

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Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes, quite.

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June 10, 1938