June 14, 1938

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Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

I have given particulars, and I can provide the name.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Who sent the first one?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I will tell you in a few moments.

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Why not tell it now?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I say further that there is no group in this house which stands as unitedly as the group with which I am

associated against railway amalgamation or unification, and people throughout the country know that.

I have here the letter, dated June 9, received by me to-day, which accompanied the communication I have just read. It is from Mr. A. M. Nicholson. I quote:

The enclosed was handed to me just before a meeting at Canora on June 7. It was received by a C.N.R. employee who prefers not to have his name known.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

The reason for the omission of the name is quite obvious; anyone who knows anything about that Saskatchewan Liberal machine knows that it intimidates large numbers of workers and relief recipients in that province.

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

That is not true.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

The letter continues:

Three other employees came to me after the meeting and had similar communications. The employees are Ukrainians who had intended voting C.C.F. but who were greatly disturbed by the contents of this message on company stationery, and also by the fact that it was delivered through C.N.R. mail in the road-master's envelope.

Will you please do what you can to see that whoever has been responsible for intimidating voters in this manner is properly dealt with.

This occurred on the Margo subdivision of the Canadian National railways. I shall be glad to supply any necessary affidavits. Will you please return by registered mail.

That is signed by Mr. Nicholson. A moment ago I was asked who signed the original letter. The writer had not the nerve to sign his name to it, but it is so easily traceable that, now that it is brought to the attention of the Minister of Transport, there will be no difficulty in finding out who sent it. I had not seen one of these letters, Mr. Speaker; I had heard of similar communications in other parts of the province, though I could not lay my hands on them. This came to me, without having been requested, by registered mail this morning.

As a believer in public ownership, I stand for our publicly owned institutions; yet when attempts to use them are made by political parties or officials interested in the success of political parties for partisan ends, then I say it is time this house sat up and took notice of the situation. This is the rankest kind of intimidation. A few moments ago we heard speakers from several quarters of this house discuss the situation at Vancouver, where men are jobless. These in Saskatchewan, humble railway workers, some

Saskatchewan Election

of them with families, receive a communication of this description and are intimidated; they are made to fear that if certain things happen they will be in the bread line, and I say that in a British democracy any group of people who dare use the bread of our fellow citizens in order to take from them their full rights of citizenship and franchise ought to be condemned in the eyes of every decent citizen of this country.

I rise in my place this afternoon because I have been associated with elections in Saskatchewan for a very long time, and I have seen this sort of thing go on year after year, with teachers afraid to express themselves because it was so worked that the boards would get rid of them if they did; with ministers of the gospel moved from place to place if they expressed an opinion against the most unscrupulous political machine you can find in north America. What we have heard this afternoon is the sort of thing that should be frowned upon by every citizen. From time to time I have quoted in this house from Escott Reid's article in the Political Science Quarterly of February, 1935, wherein he outlines the methods under which the Saskatchewan Liberal machine has operated in days gone by. We know that whenever movements arise in western Canada that seek to unite the people, that machine is able to intimidate and divide. It was the attorney general of Saskatchewan who, in regard to social credit, confessed, "We started a prairie fire. Now we have to put it out." We know what that phrase meant. We know how some of these social credit candidates came into Saskatchewan in 1935, into some of the constituencies which we represent. We know the whole story, and in bringing this matter to the attention of the house this afternoon I have in mind not only this sort of intimidation but also the reference made by the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Poole), a few moments ago to the situation that occurred in the city of Regina in 1935.

When men are jobless they are desperate; and if they are threatened with the loss of their jobs they become desperate also. I say a threat of this description is something of which we should take notice. I was in Regina just three years ago, almost three years to the day. I saw those seventeen hundred boys arrive there. I mingled with them that evening; over the air I appealed to citizens to assist them. I moved among them and found them peaceful, law-abiding boys. I believe the government at Ottawa was misinformed regarding the situation there, and day by day I saw those boys become

more restless. Just a day or so before the riots occurred I was among them, and they told me there was no need to worry. I had done what I could for them; I advised them to obey the law and maintain order, and then the riots occurred. I do not want to see a repetition of that in Vancouver, in Regina, in Calgary, in Winnipeg, or in any other city of Canada. But that is the sort of thing that is brought about when you take from the people the right to express themselves at the polls. Then you leave them only one alternative, an alternative to which I am absolutely opposed; but matters such as we have discussed this afternoon make it more difficult all the time for those of us who believe in democracy to maintain and propagate it for the achievement of orderly progress.

So I am bringing to the attention of the government and this house this communication, which is easily traceable, in order that steps may be taken to see that the person responsible for this sort of thing may be properly disciplined. In the future I believe conduct of this sort should be punishable not by fine but by imprisonment, and by a fairly steep sentence at that.

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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

Is the hon. member stating

on his own responsibility that this leaflet or pamphlet which he has just read was sent out by an official of the railroad?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

On the responsibility

of this letter which I have in my hand, from Mr. A. M. Nicholson of Hudson Bay Junction, Saskatchewan, who is a minister of the gospel-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Was.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Or who was a minister of the gospel-

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

The C.C.F. organizer.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

Maybe he is, but that

does not make him-

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

You know he is.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I submit that does not make him any the less a minister of the gospel of good news, any the less a citizen of Canada, or any the less a man. Mr. Nicholson forwards this to me stating that it was sent out on company stationery. That is obvious; the form is there, showing that it was sent out in a roadmaster's envelope on the Margo subdivision of the Canadian National railways, dated Kamsack, June 6, 1938.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

I would say to my hon. friend who has just spoken (Mr. Coldwell)

Saskatchewan Election

that I take no exception to his having brought forward the matter he has, but strictly speaking I think his protest should have been made to the president and directors of the Canadian National railways rather than to hon. member's of this house.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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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:

Hon. gentlemen say " oh, oh," but may I ask my hon. friends if they assume that members of this house or members of this government have been in any way party to the transaction to which my hon. friend has referred.

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June 14, 1938