February 5, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


If the discussion which has gone on is not to be continued- and, so far as I am concerned, I will reserve my remarks for another occasion when my hon. friend (Mr. W. F. Maclean) proposes to bring it up-I would like to mention two matters. The Secretary of State (Mr. Murphy) yesterday gave an explanation- or what he seemed to consider an explanation-of the extraordinary and unusual delay that has taken place in the printing of the evidence taken before Mr. Justice Cassels. He told us, what we already knew, that one volume of about 325 or 350 pages had been printed or distributed early in October. He promised another volume next week, and the third volume in two or three weeks from now-I have forgotten the exact date. He told us also that a fourth volume would be out at some time in the future, which he did not undertake to define. Now, I want to tell my hon. friend (Mr. Murphy) that I regard his explanation as the most extraordinary statement I ever heard in this House in regard to the printing of a public document of so much moment as the one to which I have alluded.
Let me point out to him why I regard his explanation as extraordinary. Every day we have debates in this House from three to twelve or one o'clock, which debate takes up more space in print than a single day's evidence before Judge Cassels. That debate is printed and ready for examination by any hon. member in this House by ten o'clock on the following morning. Yet my hon. friend comes to this House, when evidence taken in September last has been withheld from us in a printed shape for four months, and seems to imagine that his statement is an explanation which the House ought

to accept. I say that that evidence, with ordinary diligence such as is applied in the printing of Hansard, could have been ready for distribution the very next day after it was given, yet four months after that time we are told in a very philosophical way that we will get part of it some time next week, another part in three or four weeks, and another some day in the future, which the hon. member does not name. My hon. friend said that the delay is partly due to the fact that a portion of the evidence was taken in French and there was some delay in translation. If my hon. friend will apply the analogy of Hansard to that, he will find that Hansard is translated into French and printed and is not more than ten days behind the English edition. The translation need not cause a delay of over a week or two at the outside. My hon. friend had better look into the matter and give some reason why the distribution of the evidence is delayed. I am not disposed to accept that which he is pleased to call an explanation; and I shall venture to treat this matter as of sufficient importance to engage the attention in a considerable debate at no distant day, unless we have an investigation made into this delay in the Printing Bureau.

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