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


John Howard Sinclair



I presume it was delivered at Shelburne on the 27th. It was taken to the dockyard by a messenger of the telegraph company about 8.30 on the morning of the 23rd. The point I wish to make is this. Some one in the department of my hon. friend, either in order to conceal the real facts or by mistake, informed the minister that Mrs. Richard's telegram was dated August 27 and not August 23. The minister produced in the House a copy of the telegram, which he stated was a correct copy. It will be found on page 5334 of Hansard of last year, and reads as follows:

August 27, 1913.
The Captain Canada,
Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
If Government will forward J. Leblanc's body Mulgrave free of charge it will be met there, otherwise please have buried Montreal.
Mrs. Richard.
I want to point out to the minister that this telegram must have been partly manufactured by some officer in his department, and I was surprised that any officer should change a telegram just to fit the story that was put up by somebody in regard to this matter. In the first place the telegram produced by the minister last year is addressed to the captain of the Canada at Shelburne, N.S., whereas the actual telegram sent by Mrs. Richard was addressed to the captain of the Canada at Halifax. In the second place the date of the telegram produced by the minister last year is dated August 27, whereas the telegram sent by Mrs. Richard was dated August 23. The minister was very positive about it. He says on the same page of Hansard from which I have already quoted: " she did not send it until the 27th of August." It was further stated that, if Mrs. Richard had replied to Dr. Ower, at Montreal, LeBlanc's body would have been sent on to port Felix. I want to point out that Mrs. Richard did reply to Dr. Ower at Montreal, on the same day that she replied to Captain Stewart. Here is her message to Dr. Ower:
Port Felix, August 23, 1913. Manager, Montreal General Hospital,
Have you instructions from Marine Department to send Joseph LeBlanc's body home or bury there. Reply.
Mrs. Benjamin Richard.
That telegram was not produced with the file of last year. It was said that Mrs. Richard sent no communication whatever to Dr. Ower at Montreal in regard to her brother's body. On August 25 Dr. Ower replies to the telegram sent to him on the 23rd. It was received at Whitehead on August 25th and it is as follows:
To Mrs. Benjamin Richard, Whitehead.
Marine Department has given instructions for body to be buried here.
That telegram was not produced at all. It was either taken from the file or it never was received by the minister. I understand that the Canada has wireless machinery on board and that she could have received the message if the officers at the dockyard at Halifax had wished to communicate with her. Evidently they did not regard this matter as of sufficient importance to forward the message to the captain of the Can-

ada which they might have done. It cannot be said that it was Mrs. Richard's fault that the message did not reach its proper destination because it was the fault of some one in the Marine Department. It looks as if the real reason for it was to be found in the instructions of Captain Stewart, who says: .
You must pay the expenses ; otherwise Government will bury in Montreal.
That was not stated in the discussion which took place last year.
So much for that phase of the question. Then, the relatives of this deceased sailor thinking that they were badly treated, made application to the minister for some compensation to the orphan child that was adopted by the sailor and left helpless at Port Felix. Some consideration was due to these people. The sailor was an unmarried man and it is rather an unusual thing for a man under these circumstances to adopt a child. But he did adopt a child and when he died the child was without any help or support. The sailor's sister applied to the minister for some small compensation owing to the fact that the sailor had died in the services of the Government of Canada. Here is what the minister said in reply to that request:
My hon. friend (Mr. Sinclair) has referred to the fact that perhaps something should be done in the way of assistance for a child which the hon. member says Leblanc adopted. Leblanc had only been a few months in the service of the Marine and Fisheries Department as a sailor on board the Canada, and our information is that this chold who was living with him was a nephew, and that the father of the child is living and is well able to provide for it.
That statement also turns out to be untrue. The child is not a nephew of Mrs. Richard or of her brother. The minister says that the father is well able to take care of the child but I want to tell my hon. friend that it is not known who the father of the child is. The fact is that the child is an illegitimate child and his father is not known. The story of this child is told by Mrs. Richard herself in the following letter:
East Port Felix, June 22, 1914. My dear Gentlemen:
Just a few lines to tell you that I have received your book and the letter-
That refers to a copy of Hansard.
-but my letter was gone, I think you got it now, and also I have read the question over and over again, and I see all the mistakes they have, say even to tell that the child was a nephew to poor Joe and to us, what a lie as I must say, nothing else but a lie, and another
thing to say that the J. Bond on board of the D.G.S. Canada was a cousin of the deceased, that is another fraud, and even to say the child's father was well able to provide for it, they know more than I do about its father. I know its mother, and that is all I know, and nobody else in this place know who is the child's father's name. I will tell you the whole thing about this boy. The first one that took the boy was our brother Remie Leblanc. You have heard about him before. He was married and they had no family of their own, so they heard about this young girl having an infant that she was wanting to give him away to somebody. She was alone, no one to work for her, and she was crippled, no one to earn her living, so she gave her child to poor Remie before the magistrate and a couple of witnesses, then after a while Remie and his wife both took sick, the wife took sick in May and she died in November, and eight months after Remie died, and this brother of ours, Joe, took the child and looked after him the same as a father to his own child, and they both came and stayed with me, and they had no one, no woman to wash and bake for them, after they stayed with me, Joe was going away to earn for both of them, he was taking everything to the house, and I was taking everything to Sinclair, I am writing to Mr. Hazen, telling him all the matter again. See if he will answer my letter. I know he won't answer it.

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