June 24, 1904 (9th Parliament, 4th Session)

L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Yes, it is a hard jolf, but he has evidently profited by it. He has been reviewing some of the lessons which it was my pleasure and privilege to teach a certain gentleman in the past. r. do not know that I could at any other period of my remarks better illustrate the position than at the present time. Let us contrast the conduct of the two officers concerned. One of them we find, as the hon. Minister of Agriculture pointed out last night, violated the principles of responsible government and the constitution. The former General Officer Commanding-I refer to General Hutton-actually arrogated to himself the authority of over-riding the Minister of Militia and passing directly to the Governor General without the consent or advice of the Minister of Militia. That was clearly in defiance of the spirit of responsible government. I shall come back to this case a little later on. The former General Officer Commanding, General Hutton, took it upon himself without the consent or authority of the Minister of Militia, to receive from the Governor General and from the imperial authorities, letters concerning officers of the Canadian militia and to transmit such letters without the consent of the Minister of Militia. Lord Dundonald neither directly nor indirectly has attempted to do anything of the kind, and the hon. Minister of Agriculture, although from his remarks last night he is filled with venom towards that officer, did not for one second attempt to say that Lord Dundonald had pursued anything but a constitutional course in all his dealings with him in this matter. The former General Officer Commanding, General Hutton, undertook without the consent or approbation of the Minister of Militia, without the consent of the officers commanding the regiments, to make appointments to these regiments and in that way he clearly violated the constitution of this country. Lord Dundonald neither directly nor indirectly has ever trespassed on the constitution. In a dozen different ways General Hutton usurped the functions of the Minister of Militia, and the minister tamely submitted to it, and Sir, the right hon. Prime Minister will recollect that I had the privilege at, his request, of looking up the authorities to show him that in Lord Palmerston's time, when he was secretary of

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state for war in 1810, I think it was, he 'Drought the Commander in Chief of the English forces, General Dundas, before him and told him that he dare not lift his hat to the sovereign officially without the permission of the first lord of the treasury. General Hutton violated all the principles of responsible government. Lord Dun-donaid has never violated one of them. In relation to the erasure of l)r. Pickel's name and to the 'Gazette' having gone through with the name of the hon. Minister of Agriculture attached as acting Minister of Militia, the hon. Minister of Agriculture, I am sorrv to say, in a tone reeking with pomposity and venom towards the late General Officer Commanding last night, asked : Is the act of
the hon. Minister of Agriculture valid or invalid ? He said : If it is valid I presume the hon. Minister of Agriculture had the powef to initial that list in the absence of the hon. Minister of Militia and Defence. I want to tell him that his bombast ill thi? House and before the country is not law and is not the constitution, and I want to say that the hon. Minister of Agriculture has committed an unconstitutional act, that, under the constitution of England, it is only the Prime minister who can act for another minister, unless any other minister so acting is actually sworn in to take the duties of the office. The Prime Minister and the Prime Minister alone is the only man who could have initialled that list unless the minister acting was actually sworn in. I Shall take that up though at a later period. I want to tell the hon. Minister of Agriculture further that if this matter is reported to His Excellency the Governor General, as it should be, I maintain that His Excellency would be justified in dismissing from his cabinet the hon. Minister of Agriculture, and if the right hon. Prime Minister does not see fit to dismiss the hon. Minister of Agriculture, I maintain it is the bounden duty under the constitution of the Governor General to dismiss any officer who would arrogate to himself that line of conduct that the hon. Minister of Agriculture has lately pursued and which has culminated in this unfortunate incident. Of that, though, later on. The hon. Minister of Agriculture went on to tell the House that in organizing a corps you must look to the prominent men of the country, men of standing, men physically fit, and lie gave a magnificent description of Christian De Wet, General Delarey. and Dr. Pickel. Yet, although he has described the very type of man that Dr. Pickel is, a splendid horseman. a magnificent rifleman, a man in the prime of life, commanding the confidence of the community, prominent in his own village, warden of his own county, the ideal commander, the Minister of Militia, obeying the dictates of the puny Minister of Agriculture, connives at this man being shut out of the militia. Why ? Because he Mr. SAM. HUGHES.
happened to be a political opponent to the Minister of Agriculture. Here we find a man living on the border whose only professed crime in the eyes of the Minister of Agriculture is that lie is willing to place his body between any invading enemy and the city of Montreal and the province of Quebec. And here forsooth he is turned down because he is a Tory. The Minister of Militia in one of his calmer moments last night uttered a word or two that restored the feeling I have had as to the characteristic of that hon. gentleman when he said that if he had been here this unfortunate trouble would not have occurred.

Topic:   SUPPLY-DISMISSAL OF LORD DUN-DONALD.
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