February 13, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

If it was not the intention of Colonel Drew to prove that there had been fraud and corruption in connection with this contract, how else can one account for his boast, given at the Ontario Conservative convention, that the contract itself would be cancelled before the opening of this session of parliament? Surely it would be only upon the basis of some fraud or corruption in connection with the contract that any government would have been justified in cancelling it, particularly in view of its close connection with the contract let by the British war office. If there had been fraud or corruption in connection with this contract it would have been condemned with equal vigour on all sides of the house. But upon that point the commissioner has left no one in doubt. The leader of the opposition apparently objects to the repeated reading of that section of the report which deals with this important matter, but I suggest that if this entire question is to be placed fairly before the people of the country it is well that we should remember three things: First, that it was the intention of this article in the first place to create the suspicion that there had been fraud and corruption in connection with this contract; second, that all the evidence in the matter was brought before the commissioner; and, third, that the commissioner found that there was no evidence which would justify even the suspicion of fraud or corruption. These are his words:
There is no evidence that any member of the Senate or of the House of Commons of Canada was admitted to any share or part of the contract, or to any benefits to arise therefrom,

or had been promised or given any suggestion that he was to have any share or part of the contract or was to be admitted to any share or part of the contract, or to any benefit to arise from the contract.
The evidence relating to the activities of Mr. Hugh Plaxton prior to the making of the contract has already been set out or referred to in this report, and with that exception (and excepting of course the minister presiding over the Department of National Defence) there is no evidence that any member of the Senate or of the House of Commons of Canada had any connection with or took any part in the discussions or negotiations leading up to the contract.
There is no evidence that any senator or member had any connection with or took any part in the affairs of the company or in the sale of shares or securities of the company.
I think it right to say that there is no evidence (nor is there in the evidence any ground for suspicion) that the minister or the deputy minister or any officer or official of the Department of National Defence was guilty of any act of corruption or anything in the nature of corruption.
Surely in the light of the evidence brought before the commissioner, and in the light of his own findings, it could not be suggested for one moment that there was the slightest ground for the cancellation of the Bren gun contract because of any taint of fraud or corruption.

Topic:   BREN MACHINE GUN CONTRACT
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