June 3, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)


That is exactly the
meaning that the hon. member conveyed to the House at about half-past twelve this morning. Under these cireum-
12 noon, stances, can any hon. gentleman tell this House and this country that there is in this whole affair anything but a pitiable tale of woe and distress that should be dealt with and relieved? I have letters in my possession from hon. gentlemen opposite. I have . one from the right hon, the leader of the Opposition, but I do not wish to put it on record. I have copies of letters from the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. Graham), the hon. member for Russell (Mr. Murphy) and other hon. members opposite, expressing their deep sorrow and regret at this great loss, and promising to do their best, and wanting to see this Government do its best, in the matter. There is nothing in the opposition to this Bill except perversity. There are hon. gentlemen opposite who are anxious to vote for this Bill. It is not a political question; it is a great financial disaster to a great many worthy and deserving people, of all political stripes, who come to this Parliament, not as a matter of right, not as a matter of law, but as a matter of grace, supplicating this Parliament to relieve them, many of them in their declining
years, from the poverty and despair which have visited their homes. We have always been generous in giving in case of need to people in foreign countries where we have neither kith nor kin; and it would be a fitting tribute to the generosity of this House and of the Upper Chamber to say that, under all these circumstances, especially owing to the fact that there was negligence on the part of the late Government, we should come to the aid of these people. No hon. member on this side desires to attack the personality of any one who was on the Treasury Board at that time. We put this question upon the high plane that all men are human, that a mistake was made, -and that people suffered by that mistake. If men suffer for their own negligence, their own lack of care, so must governments. Let us put the matter on an equitable basis, without any legal hairsplitting. Let us come together, and not have any talk about Conservatives in the Senate lobbying to kill this Bill. I repudiate that; I throw it back with scorn to the hon. gentleman that there ever was a lobby in the Senate bj Conservatives. 'There are gentlemen in the Senate who have their individual feelings, and it is their right to act as they like. It was reported in the Liberal press that there was such a lobby, and I investigated the matter, and found that there is not one jot or tittle of truth in it. As far as I know, speaking generally for this side of the House, we are practically unanimous upon this measure. There may be some opposed to it; if so, that is a tribute to the freedom of opinion in this House. And I would ask hon. gentlemen opposite to side with their colleagues from Middlesex (Mr. Ross) and North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt) and rise above partisan feelings, which too often actuate parties in this House, and let us get together and put it through unanimously.
As to precedents, let them take care of themselves. Somebody says that similar failures have happened heretofore. If so, I would be magnanimous enough to say that those losses should be paid too. But I do not think that anything that has happened in this country has been quite of the same kind. There may have been other cases. If there have been, the country ought to be big enough to right the wrong done by its own officers for lack of care. We can pour out millions for the Canadian Northern; we can lose $7,000,000 in the Quebec bridge; we can waste millions on the transcontinental. But, with our growing and expanding rev-

enues, let us do something for the farmers and other people of this country; let them have a little show on this particular Bill, to which I have great pleasure indeed in giving my warmest and most conscientious support.

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