January 19, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)


Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Before the House proceeds with this debate, I want to refer to an incident which happened last night between the hon. Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) and the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley). Rule 19 of the House of Commons says that " no member shall use offensive words against any member." I see in Hansard, on page 79, that last night the hon. Solicitor General used the following words:
Mr. Meighen: I am satisfied of one thing only, and that is that the hon. gentleman is absolutely unfair and has deliberately misstated the facts.
Some hon. Members: Order, order.
Mr. Speaker: I-
Mr. Pugsley: Mr. Speaker, do not ask the hon. gentleman to take it back.

Mr. Speaker: If the hon. gentleman is satisfied-*
Mr. Pugsley: Perfectly [DOT] satisfied. If the
hon. gentleman forgets himself and ceases to act as a gentleman, I forgive him.
According to the rule which I have just read, every member of this House - will understand that the words used last night by the hon. Solicitor General were offensive, and at the same time I must say that the words used by the hon. member for St. John were also offensive. I see that the hon. Solicitor General is not in his seat; otherwise I would ask him to withdraw the words used, and I would ask the same thing of the hon. member for St. John. Both these two hon. gentlemen have the respect of this House, and no doubt in the future no such words will be used by them, nor by any other member.
Hon. WM. PUGSLEY (St. John City); Mr. Speaker, I am very glad that you have called the attention of the House to what was said last evening. I regret it very much myself, but I thought my hon. friend the Solicitor General had used the words which he did in the excitement of the moment, tho' I think he is not quite correctly reported in Hansard. I think he used the words, " and I fear that the hon. gentleman has done it deliberately." His language was not quite as strong as it appeared in Hansard. I thought that the Solicitor General was very much excited, greatly worried, and I was disposed to forgive him for what I thought was a lapse on his part. However, Mr. Speaker, I desire to say most sincerely that I regret the incident. So far as I am concerned, I am very desirous that all discussions in Parliament should be carried on with due regard to that courtesy which members are always anxious to show to each other, and I shall be glad to act upon your suggestion, Sir, and withdraw the words which I used.
I regret for another reason that my hon. friend the Solicitor General is not present because last evening, when I called attention to the fact that Mr. Thomas had come out to Canada as the personal representative of Mr. Lloyd George to look into the question of the furnishing of shrapnel and high explosive shells in 'Canada, he made a careful investigation into conditions, and upon one occasion, in making a speech in the city of Montreal, he used the words, "If I raise the veil a little." The Solicitor General at once challenged me to produce a newspaper report of that remark of Mr. Thomas. I now, Sir, produce the newspaper, which is the Montreal Gazette [Mr. Speaker.)
of, I think, October 9, 1915, and those are the very words Mr. Thomas used as a preliminary to some other observations he made. I will read the whole of the paragraph containing those words. He said:
If I raise the veil a little, It will be on my own personal responsibility, and do not take It as coming from the Minister of Munitions ; but naturally from my official position I must have considerable inside knowledge of what is going on in Canada in the manufacture of munitions.
Those words are very significant as coming from a gentleman in the position of Mr. Thomas. You will bear in mind that he came to Canada at a critical time, when there were vast orders being placed. He came to consider a question of enormous importance to Canada and to the Empire. He would necessarily be very diplomatic, very careful; he would take his time to look into matters, and it is significant that when he made his speech at Montreal he used those words, " If I raise the veil a little, it will b.e on my own personal responsibility." Mr. Thomas said more than that. In the same paper he is reported to have made the statement to wliich I called the attention of the House last night with regard to economy. He said:
That must be considered, and I may tell you that the cost of shells ip Canada has been higher than in competitive countries. It is complained that fat orders have gone to the United States, but I can assure you that a big slice will be reserved for Canada as long as the price is fairly satisfactory. The prices so far have been higher than in the United States or in Great Britain, where any extra profits have been commandeered by the Government.
In another place Mr. Thomas is reported to have said that up to the preceding June the deliveries from Canada were behind, and that only about two per cent of the orders had been filled.

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