February 13, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)


I shall certainly be
pleased to give my hon. friend a very civil answer indeed, and it is this: I .certainly
would not at any time, in this House or elsewhere, undertake to make any assertion were I not conscious that it was absolutely correct and in accordance with the facts. When asked the other day, when I was making this statement, for the authority upon which I based it, I did not then have in mind its exact source, and I was unable to give it to my hon. friend. But on looking the matter up I find that I was simply repeating words which have already been placed upon ' Hansard.' As far back as the year 1906, when this matter was discussed in the House by the right hon. the Prime Minister of to-day, then leader of the Opposition, the question arose, of' the interference of the staff under the Administration of my hon. friend, then Minister of the Interior, in elections in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Prime Minister of to-day, in dealing with that matter, first of all, quoted the unanimous resolution that was agreed to by the House in respect of the action of officials in connection with elections. After quoting this, resolution he went on to say:
That resolution, accepted by both political parties, accepted by the Prime Minister, was passed by this House-much to the regret as I observed at the time, of the Minister of the Interior. This is what the Minister of the Interior said: * They have the power of speech, and
therefore they are entitled to express their political opinions. They are entitled to express them to homesteaders; they are entitled to express them to men under their control; they are entitled to go upon public platforms and express them; they are entitled to express them as presidents and officers of Liberal organizations.'
That is the idea of the Minister of the Interior as to the way in which a solemn resolution of this House, unanimously passed, should be observed by himself and by his officers in the West, and these officers felt very much encouraged. We do not know how many feats of daring they performed; we do not know to what extent their efforts along certain lines have prevailed in the West. But we know that the curtain has been lifted just a little in one or two places, and we have a slight idea of the wonderful things which the officers of the Interior have accomplished in bringing about that endorsement.

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