February 28, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I think it was during either the second or the first session that I had the honour of a seat in parliament that the principle was laid down by the leader of the hon. minister, that if any civil servant undertook to devote his attention to politics and interfere in elections, he would be given full liberty to devote his whole time to that purpose. That is a very good principle, if carried out impartially, but not if it be used merely for the purpose of dismissing office holders whose political convictions are opposed to those of the party in power. That doctrine laid down by the leader of the government has been frequently applied in my own constituency. A postmaster in the county of Halifax was very recently dismissed from office solely on the ground that he had taken part in the last election and was dismissed without any trial, although he was prepared to prove that the charge was without foundation.
Unless this declaration of the leader of the government was intended merely to humbug the public, the statement of my hon. friend from West Hastings is deserving of investigation at the hands of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. I do not ask that this official should be dismissed on the mere statement of the hon. member for Hastings that he had interfered in the elections, although that is the kind of justice that has been meted out to many Conservative officeholders-and one of them I might name in my constituency, who was dismissed from office during the past year-but we are certainly entitled to demand that an investigation he held.

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