Mr. F. D. MONK (Jacques Cartier).
Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair, it is necessary for me to refer once more to the Yalleylield strike in order to give the House some explanation as to the facts which, on the 3rd of April last, I laid before the House in moving for all papers, documents and military returns connected with that unfortunate affair. It seems to me I am doubly justified, in doing so, and in taking up a few moments of the time of this House in view of the treatment which was meted out to me on the 25th of April last, when, before the essential papers called for by my motion had been placed before this House, I was made, without any previous notice and contrary to the well-established understandings of this House, the object of a most unjustifiable attack by some of the members of the government and some of the members of this House. It seems to me, Sir, that, in view of the incompleteness of the report and in view of the right hon. the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) having had due notice that the matter was to be brought up, the right hon. gentleman might have extended to us on this side of the House the courtesy of some information as to the bringing up of this matter by conferring upon it with the leader of the opposition. That is, I believe, the well-established usage of this House and of the British parliament. And. although my right lion, friend may be British to the core, it seems to me that in this instance, he has not observed the ordinary principles of fair play which lie at the foundation of our discussions in this House. Now, Sir, wishing to take up as little time as possible I wiil refer only to those statements which I have made and which were controverted in this
House, not to what I said that is beyond all controversy. What I stated, as the House remembers I stated upon the information of reliable people. My statement can be found at page 2588 of ' Hansard.' And will you allow me, Sir, to say here that I consider not only that it is the right but that it is the bounden duty of any member of the House when he receives information of a nature to show that the efficiency if the public service is impaired through any employee of the service-provided that information is given him by xieople on whom he may rely-to lay that information before this House. And, very far from being called to account, if his statement is couched in proper words, he deserves the praise of this House for so doing. I am astonished to find such extraordinary zeal among some of the bon. gentlemen who sit on the Treasury benches in attacking a man who takes that position. Those of us who have sat in this House in the previous parliament know full well that that zeal was not displayed with great fervour when, after the elections of 1S90, hundreds of civil service employees were dismissed from the service, not upon information laid frankly before the House, not upon the denunciation of an informant who was not ashamed to give his name, but upon the obscure and hidden work of people who merely wanted the removal of these employees that they might get their positions for themselves. Why, Sir, the men who were dismissed in my own county were not promising young men, they were not graduates of Harvard, they were not literary men, but they were men who had spent years in the public service and who, undenounced, were dismissed without even having an opportunity of defending themselves. Mr. Crevier. an obscure man who collected tolls for twenty years at the locks at Ste. Anne's, and who had not once been found at fault by any government, but who was guilty of having seen to it that his name and the names of the members of his family were on tlie electoral list where they had a right to have them, was dismissed for that offence and for nothing else. We had the dismissal of a man of the name of Sauve. another obscure man, the keeper of the Cote St. Paul bridge, who had been placed there by the Hon. Rodolphe LaFlamme, Minister of Justice in the Mackenzie administration and who had been xjromoted by every .succeeding government for his good conduct. He was dismissed without complaint and for what ? This man, who had nine members of bis family to support, who was infirm and bad become infirm in the service of the government, was dismissed to make room for a relative of a member of the House. We had the employees dismissed at Lachine without any cause ever having been assigned, so far as I was able to find out, of their dismissal, men who had been years in the public service. Knowing, as I do, that that has been the exijerience of many of us, I think it is to be regretted that my hon. friend tlie acting Postmaster General and Minister of Labour (Mr. Sutherland) did not display his great zeal at that time in favour of these unfortunate men who the most of them, have not been able to find employment since then.
But leaving that aside and coming to what X then said, and for which 1 was blamed. I stated in connection with the Valleyfield strike that there existed at Val-leyfieid a so-called labour association having a distinct political character, governed and controlled by men having no interest whatever in common with the labouring men of that town. I stated in the second place the fact that on the eve of the general election last fall a strike had been organized among the Valleyfield mill operatives through the efforts of this association, or rather of its leaders, the men to whom I have just referred as having no interest in common with the labouring men. I stated that that strike was brought into existence though there was no difference between the mill company and its operatives proper. The difficulty had occurred among the labourers employed in making the foundations for a new mill, which difficulty, I said, had Ceased several days before and could not explain the violence displayed in the so-called riots afterwards. I said, and the Minister of Public Works took me to task for it, that the recorder of Valleyfield, an ardent and active Liberal worker, was in sympathy with the strikers, that he gave evidence of this by refusing to read the Riot Act when the militia was being stoned and wounded, and refused to exercise his influence to bring about immediately a cessation of that state of affairs. I said that the calling out of the troops was the real cause of resentment and violence on that occasion, there being no trouble whatever between the operatives and the mill company. These are the special and unique features of this strike. I said that the conciliator sent there by the government-and that was the crucial point-had displayed a political bia?, and that his visit to that place had assumed a political character. And what did I conclude ? I concluded that this was a matter which deserved an investigation on account of the special circumstances which I laid before the House. My request in that regard was summarily dismissed by the Prime Minister. And let me say here to you, Mr. Speaker, that if that investigation had been of the character of certain government commissions which were executed in our province after the election of 1896, at a useless cost of thousands of dollars, it is not probable that anybody would have appeared before the commission. X regret that the Prime Minister should have arrived so quickly at the unwise determination that
lie did In refusing a judicial investigation, but I believe, that if a judicial investigation had been ordered, conducted, for instance, by the judge of that district, an old supporter of the Liberal party, and a man of unquestioned and unquestionable integrity and ability, Mr. Justice Belanger, I venture to say that the hope expressed by myself and by the member for Winnipeg (Mr. Puttee) would have been realized, and that we would have been able to find out how 3,000 odd employees who had never on any occasion made any demand which would justify a strike, were submitted to the humiliation of military supervision quite unnecessarily for several days. I concluded, it seems to me correctly, that if what 1 stated to the House was true it was unfair that the town of Valleyfield, the so-called strikers, the men who had never made a demand for increase of wages, should be called upon, as in law they must be, to settle the cost, some $5,000, of this military expedition, (he burden of which we know will ultimately fall upon those very labourers whose conduct in no way justified the action taken by certain people at the time of this so-called strike.
Now, Sir, I spoke of the existence of this association, and I was reprimanded by the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Smith), and his words are reported at page 3700 of the ' Hansard' :
Now, these charges were, in the first place against the members of an incorporated union in Valleyfield.
Sir, I have looked everywhere for any proof of the legal existence of this union, and I have found none. I have no affidavits to prove a negative, but I venture to assert that that association has never at any time up to this day received a charter of incorporation from the Central Trades and Labour Union which would give it a right to call itself an incorporated trade union. My hon. friend from Vancouver is, I believe, president of the Trades and Labour Congress of the Dominion. The name of this particular society does not appear upon a list of over 200 chartered unions. I said that association was under the control of men who were not labour men, who were political leaders in that town, and I will proceed to read affidavits in support of that contention, which was contradicted right and left in this House. These affidavits are in French, but I do not think that fact detracts from their value. I have not had means at my disposal to have them translated into English, but I will give the House word for word what they say, and place these affidavits at the disposal of members of this House. The first one is the affidavit of Ferdinand Archambault, labourer, of the city of Valleyfield, who declares solemnly :
I know Mr. Etienne Leger, farmer, president of L'Union OuvriSre; Mr. Louis Bertrand, employee upon the Beauharnois canal, secretary cf Mr. MONK.
the said union, and Mr. Ddchene, treasurer of the said union. These three gentlemen are Liberal leaders, who took an active part in the election which occurred late last fall. Mr. George Loy, M.P., is an honorary member of this Union OuvriSre. The said Union OuvriSre passes for being a political organization, controlled as it is by the officers who are all well-known Liberal leaders.
So much for Ferdinand Archambault.