July 28, 1911 (11th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I would point out to the Minister of Finance in connection with the affairs of the Farmers' Bank of Canada that we are still without any information upon the table of the House, such as he suggested we might have. The hon. gentleman will no doubt remember that on March 15 a motion was made in this House by the hon. member for Balton (Mr. Henderson) that a royal commission should be appointed for the purpose of investigating and reporting on certain matters in connection with the affairs of that bank. The Minister of Finance, answering for the government upon that motion, referred in the first place to an answer which he had given some time previously and in which he had said that:
The proceedings now engaging the attention of the courts of justice in Toronto, will lead to a full investigation into and disclosure of all the affairs of the bank, and that, therefore, there is no need of the appointment of a royal commission.
The minister also added that if anything should arise later to indicate that the investigation was insufficient the question would be further considered. He also said that the machinery of the courts had been involved, and the case had been occupying a great deal of attention in the courts of Ontario, and that he saw no reason to doubt that the investigation would be thorough. He, therefore, concluded that there was no need of a royal commission to investigate matters which were already being fully investigated in the courts.
The difficulty of the situation is this: If we had a royal commission, if evidence had been taken and a report laid on the table of the House, the House would be seized of the evidence and of the report itself and would be enabled to form conclusions thereon. We have not that, and further, we have not anything of the kind at all because the government has not, up to the present, laid on the table of the House the result of any investigation by the curator or by the liquidator or copies of any evidence taken in the courts. I would therefore, suggest that inasmuch as a royal commission has been denied, upon the ground that there would be an investigation toy the liquidator and in the courts, it would be a proper and reasonable thing for the government to procure certified copies of all evidence taken by the curator or liquidator, if any such evidence has been taken, and of all reports made by the curator and liquidator and copies of all proceedings in the courts, which, in the judgment of the Minister of Finance, would serve the purpose that would otherwise have been served so far as the information of this House is concerned, by the appointment of a royal com-Mr. EMMERSON.
mission and by the investigation and report of that commission.
I would, therefore, ask whether any steps have been taken to lay that information on the table of the House. If no such steps have been taken I would ask whether the government propose to assist the House in respect to this matter by procuring official copies of all such proceedings and evidence and having them laid on the table of the House. This seems to me a reasonable request.

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