January 23, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


David Ovide L'Espérance

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. D. O. LESPERANCE (Montmagny):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. I read in the Ottawa Cidzen and in

the Montreal Gazette, both published this morning, an article which is as follows:
Motion to repeal Laurier Naval Act brought down in the House of Commons.
I), o. Lesperance, M.P., for Montmagny, gave notice last night of a Bill to repeal the Laurier Naval Act of 1910 establishing a Canadian navy. Mr. Lesperance is a Conservative, but in taking this action he is not in accord with the Government.
The notice he has given has caused somewhat of a flurry in the House, more especially among the members from Quebec, for in that province, at the general elections, the Act in question was a very big issue.
To Embarrass Minister.
It was rumoured about the House yesterday that a deal was in prospect whereby the Liberals would join with a section of the Quebec Conservatives and vote to repeal the Act on the ground that the Government is not carrying it out, and that while it remains on the statute-book an alternative permanent policy cannot be brought in. There is likely to be nothing in this, however, because, apart from the inconsistency of any such action on their part, the Liberal leaders have little in common with certain interests understood to be behind the move to repeal the Act. The bona tides of this action are also questioned, and allegations are made that it is aimed at a Quebec minister recognized generally as one of the ablest members of the Cabinet. With him certain people are not in accord, and an attempt to embarrass his position is hinted at.
This article contains two distinct accusations and insinuations which I consider as reflecting on my honour as a member of this House and a supporter of the present Government. I wish to give an absolute denial that, 1 at any time, either directly or indirectly, negotiated or attempted to negotiate with any leader, member, or representative of the Opposition in connection with this Bill. I also give an emphatic denial to the malicious charge that the aim of this Bill is to embarrass a member of this Government. In presenting this Bill I am actuated by a sense of personal honour and public duty, which this House will be in a position to appreciate when I move its second reading.

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