May 3, 1911 (11th Parliament, 3rd Session)

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Mr. Speaker, I submit to the fairness of members of this House, that the amendment submitted by my hon. friend would not in any way meet the justice of the case and be fair to my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior. It is true that on Friday last I spoke on the matter, but in.what respect? I quoted from an article published in the Toronto 'Evening Telegram ' of the day before to the effect that a gentleman, with whom I had been formerly acquainted, had stated to me that he could bring charges against one of my colleagues, and the article seemed to take me to task because I had taken no steps to investigate that statement. Well, I drew the attention of the House to the matter simply to inform it that I had told the gentleman who called on me, that if he had any charges to make against my colleague, he should make them. I also called attention to the alternative given in the letter which had been addressed to me, namely, that Mr. Oliver-the gentleman in question-should go out of the cabinet and that would set the matter at rest, or otherwise it would be made public. I replied that I did not consider it my duty to take any notice of charges made in that way and that the gentleman who made them should go on and make them public. So far there was nothing but a general statement. In addressing the House I simply gave it the correspondence which had been placed in my hands. In that correspondence as published no charges were made against anybody by name, no charge was made against anybody in particular, no facts were given. But the following day another newspaper, the Toronto ' World,' made, not a charge, but an insinuation, against my hon. friend and colleague, the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Oliver. That insinuation was to the effect that in the month of May, 1907, he had made a recommendation to council to substitute, for certain lands situated in Manitoba, which had been given as subsidies to a certain railway, certain other lands in the province of Saskatchewan, inferring, though not asserting, that the latter were of greater value than those originally given. This was a specific fact, it was something tangible, but there was no direct charge. Nobody took the responsibility of coming Mr. BORDEN (Halifax)
forward and making a charge. There was however, an insinuation based on certain facts set forth in that newspaper. My hon. friend and colleague (Mr. Oliver), might very well have waited. He might very well have said: * Certain insinuations have been made against me and I am ready to meet an accusation if any be made.' He, however, did not wait for a charge but he said: There is an insinuation made in that newspaper against me and I challenge investigation.
Now, my hon. friend, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden), says that the investigation asked for by my hon. friend and colleague, is restricted. But how much more could it be extended? What is there to investigate except this insinuation-not a direct charge at all-that certain lands were improperly substituted for others for the benefit of a certain railway company. It will not do for this House, or the other House, to investigate rumours floating in the air, things which are not tangible, which cannot be taken account of. The moment a specific fact was brought up, and an insinuation based upon it, tt y hon. friend' and colleague said: I deny
the insinuation and am prepared to show it is not true. What more could he do? If there is anybody in this House, or out of it, who will bring against my hon. friend and colleague, any specific accusation of any kind whatever, it will be the duty of my hon. friend, and colleague to meet that, but here we have nothing of the kind. The article in the ' Telegram ' is made up of vague insinuations. In the article of the Toronto ' World,' however, which was published the following day and which referred to this first article in the ' Telegram,' there was the specific fact I have just stated. My hon. friend then comes forward and says he is prepared to show there is no foundation for it.
But my hon. friend, the leader of the oposition (Mr. Borden), says there is something suspicious, there is the possibility that there was $50,000 given for other purposes. But when we have the statement that the $50,000 was given as a consideration for a certain order in council, is it not right and proper that this allegation should be investigated, and that thi3 is the very thing which should be looked into? I submit to the fairness of my hon. friend and everybody else, that my hon. friend and colleprgue (Mri Oliver), has taken the only course he could. He did not wait for a charge, but the moment there was an insinuation which could be reached, he asked for the opportunity to show that it had no foundation.
My hon. friend (Mr. Borden), has said that we had no consideration for the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster).

I did not want to bring the name of that hon. gentleman into this matter. A commission was appointed in his case, that commission did its duty according to its lights, and that has nothing to do with this matter. If any one has any charges to make against my colleague, outside of this House or in it, of course it will be the duty of my hon. friend and colleague to meet them. [DOT]
My hon. friend (Mr. Borden), said a moment ago that the money might have come from a thousand different sources. Certainly it might. But are you going to fish to find out those sources? Is that what my hon. friends would call justice?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   NEWSPAPER STATEMENTS AFFECTING HON. MR. OLIVER.
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