March 27, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)

LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I referred some time ago to the circumstances .surrounding the death of Joseph Le Blanc, of Point Felix. There is a feeling of unfairness among the relatives of this sailor who think that the truth was not told during the discussion which took place in the House last session in regard to this matter. I wish the minister to bear with me until I point out to him that there were some unintentional errors made in the statement which he gave last session. This sailor was in the employ of the (Government and on board the steamship Canada. He fell ill and was put in the hospital in Montreal. He died there on the 22nd of August, 1913, pnd on that date a telegram was sent to his nearest relative, Mrs. Margaret Richard, of Point Felix, announcing his death. The dispute was as to the date of the answer. On the 22nd August, 1913, the telegram was sent to Mrs. Benjamin Richard telling her that her brother Joseph had died in hospital at Montreal. It was stated by the minister in the discussion that took place that Mrs. Richard did not reply to this telegram until the 27th of August, and that it became necessary in the intervening period to bury her brother in Montreal, instead of sending the body to Port Felix as the relatives desired. I pointed out to the minister that Mrs. Richard informed me that she replied to the minister on the following morning, the 23rd August. The minister stated positively that he was instructed by his officers that such was not the case, and that Mrs. Richard's telegram was sent to the ship on the 27th of August, not the 23rd. During the summer and autumn I took the trouble to investigate this matter, and I got copies of the telegrams. I find that some officer in the department of my hon. friend must have misled him as to the dates. The first telegram [DOT] received by Mrs. Richard is the following:
Halifax, N.S., August 22, 1913. To Mrs. Benjamin Richard,
West Port Felix, N.S.
Joseph LeBlane died Montreal General Hospital. If you want body buried Port Felix you will have to pay expenses. Otherwise Government will bury him Montreal. Reply Canada, Halifax.
(Sgd.) Jim Bond.
Jim Bond was a sailor on board the Canada, and apparently the captain of the Canada asked him to send the message to
Mrs. Richard. The minister told us last year that the captain authorized Bond to send a message, and that it was sent in Bond's name. But this telegram stating that the Government would require the relatives of Joseph LeBlane to pay the funeral expenses did not appear on the file last year, although we thought we had a complete file of the telegrams. Now this is Mrs. Richard's answer:
White Head, August 23, 1913.
To Captain Stewart,
D.G.S. Canada, Halifax.
If Government will forward Joseph LeBlanc's body to Mulgrave free of charge we will meet it there. Otherwise please have buried Montreal. Advise answer.
Mrs. Benjamin Richard.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Full View