Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) :
If in order at this time, I desire to make a statement with reference to some observations made yesterday by the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) with regard to commutation in certain cases in which persons in the western provinces, have been sentenced to death.
These observations of my right hon. friend were based upon statements in the report of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. As I had occasion to point out last year- when a motion was made for the production of papers in a case of application for clemency, the rule, in England, as I understand it, is, not to give the reasons which influenced the advice as to clemency. I am not unaware that there have been cases in this country, I understand, which have been treated as exceptions, and in which papers have been brought down. I have no desire, in making any statement at the present moment, to so make it as to preclude, if it should be desired, debate upon the question whether this is a proper matter for discussion upon the circumstances of the cases themselves. If such debate is not desired, and if the rules of the House, will permit, I should like to make my statement at the present moment.