June 27, 1904 (9th Parliament, 4th Session)


Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)


The Postmaster General says he is not very well acquainted with the inspector, but so far as he knows he is a respectable man. I am not at all acquainted with the inspector but I judge of his fitness for the office by what he has set down in writing, and by what the Postmaster General has inadvertently submitted for the consideration of this committee. On the rules of reasonable legal evidence with which the Postmaster General is so familiar, he will find it difficult to justify his action with regard to this postmaster. He will find it hard to sustain his decision, based upon idle rumour and upon mere tittle-tattle reported by his inspector, to dismiss an official who has been long in office. There was no ground for dismissing this postmaster, and whatever may have occurred in other cases it is abundantly clear that in this case the most flagrant injustice has been done. The inspector says :

I have no reason to doubt or question the correctness of the affidavits made by John Kerr, John Kearns, Isaac McEwan, Thos. Clyde, Gay Simmons and others, some of whom were personally interviewed.
The inspector was not asked to make a return that he bad no reason to doubt these statements, but he was asked to investigate by proper evidence whether the statements were substantiated or not. He continues :
That Mr. Gallagher did take part in the last political contest ; perhaps not so openly as heretofore, but an active part when opportunity occurred.
We do not know what active part he took heretofore, or what active part he took in the last contest. If he voted I assume the inspector would find he took an active part. The Postmaster General can takeTwhatever horn of the dilemma he likes ; either the inspector did not perform his duty or the Postmaster General acted upon the most shadowy suspicion which is not evidence at all. Does the Postmaster General claim that he was in any degree influenced by this report in dismissing Mr. Gallagher ? The inspector continues :
To what extent I was unable to definitely learn, although Mr. Gallagher admitted the facts stated in Mr. McEwan's affidavit, that Mr. Uriah Wilson and others were at his house the evening after Mr. Wilson's political meeting was held at Wilton, at the time of the last Dominion election contest, but denies that the meeting was political.
The admission of Mr. Gallagher was that Mr. Wilson and some others were in his House after the meeting was over, but he says there were no political matters discussed at all. Is that the reason the Postmaster General dismissed this man V That is not evidence ; it is not even enough on which to base a suspicion. The inspector adds :
Of course an accurate report of the business transacted or matters discussed cannot now be obtained.
What the inspector wants his chief to understand is that this was a star chamber meeting, and although there is not a scintilla of evidence to show that there was anything political in the meeting, he regrets to find that an accurate report of what took place cannot be obtained and then he says :
But I think the conclusion come to by Mr. McEwan is not unreasonable, and that a political meeting was held and matters in connection therewith discussed.
Could anything more disgraceful be conceived than that the Postmaster General received that report from his ofhcial without protest. In any court of justice the lowest in the land ; in any magistrate's court ; in any division court', would any judge for one moment take such evidence as that from a witness ; would he not tell ISO*
the inspector : you have no right to think ; your duty is to give facts to which you can depose. Is the duty less upon the Postmaster General ? I venture to say that the universal opinion of all thoughtful men, when this matter comes to be known, will be that a more contemptffide manner of administering the affairs or a great department could not possibly be conceived. The Postmaster General not only does not reprove his official, but actually brings his report before this committee and puts it forward as a basis on which to support the dismissal of this man who has been dismissed without any investigation or any opportunity to defend himself. Now, he comes to the second point :
Delay in delivery of a registered letter. This fact was clearly established.
This is the gentleman that the Postmaster General says he will not have criticised ; he will not have any aspersions cast upon him ; he will uphold him. Well, I wish him joy of him. He says the fact was clearly established-how ?
By reference to the registered letter book, and the admission of the clerk in charge of the office, showing that the letter, although frequently asked for, was not delivered for eight days.
The letter book will show when the letter was received and when it was delivered ; but it will be a peculiar kind of letter book if it will show that the letter was frequently asked for. I have not followed this matter with sufficient care to know what the evidence is on that point ; but I did not understand from the hon. member for Lennox that it is all admitted that the letter had been called for. I challenge the Postmaster General to show one tittle of evidence that it was ever called for. I notice that the Postmaster General said that he would not dismiss him on that ; but I propose to show the evidence in regard to that, and it is a gauge by which we can judge the evidence on other matters. The third charge is :
Delay in sending forward correspondence in order to gain a municipal advantage.
The animus of this independent inspector is pretty well shown in that very sentence. He is to investigate the matter, not to paint or colour it. He says further :
In January last, Col. Clyde was a candidate for the reeveship of Ernestown township in opposition to Mr. Gallagher, and of course no effort was spared by the friends of the respective rival candidates to win.
Again he enters into the political arena. What does he know about no effort being spared ? Has he any right to deal with that ? Is it not the most offensive political partisanship on the part of this inspector to put that into his report ? Was the Postmaster General ready to reprimand or dismiss him for that V This gentleman, on

no evidence at all; but on suspicion, is prepared to find' that no effort was spared.

Subtopic:   THOMAS PREST.
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