January 26, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Arthur Bliss Copp



I am reading from the Ottawa Evening Journal of January 26:
Hon. P. E. Blondin, through his lieutenant, Felix Durocher, has issued a reply to an affidavit, which purported to give a report of his remarks at Ste. Rose during a Dorchester county by-election speech on Wednesday night. The affidavit credited Mr. Blondin with contending that the Allison scandal was of no importance to Ste. Rose because it is English money that was stolen, while those who desired to escape conscription could do so by crossing the United States border. Mr. Blondin's explanation follows :
" The statement which has been sworn to by certain Liberals with regard to my utterances are a distortion of my words. I never by any means intented to convey the meaning which they have attached to my speech. Mr. Cannon had been stating in his speeches that the Conservative party had been grafting from the Canadian treasury in connection with munition contracts.
" In my speech at Ste. Rose I explained that, it was not true that the Allison scandal had to do with Canadian money pointing out that the money paid for the shells was the money of the British Government. I did not imply that Allison had done a worthy act, but simply corrected Mr. Cannon's mis-statement. In regard to the conscription matter I told the people of Ste-Rose that I did not believe conscription would be necessary because so many Canadians were eager to go and fight for the cause of liberty and humanity. I added that if any of them were afraid of conscription, if conscription

should be passed and they did not want to go to the war, they had a remedy left. They could go across the United States line which is near Ste. Rose and escape military service."
What an exhibition on the part of a minister of the Crown, that when our friends are asking the people throughout
5 p.m. Canada to assist them in having the National Service cards properly signed and returned, he should go into a county where an election is to be held to-morrow and intimate to these people in that county that if they do not want to go to war, and if they fear that these cards will lead to conscription, they can easily step across the border to the United States and thus escape it.
I can well imagine the headlines that we should see in the Journal to-night if the right hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) had made a statement like that, or if such a statement had been made by my hon. friend from Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil), or my hon. friend from Rouville (Mr. Lemieux). Hon. gentlemen opposite would have raised their hands in holy horror, and would have gnashed their teeth in an effort to rouse and inflame race prejudice. But the Postmaster General (Mr. Blondin) is the man who makes these statements in the county of Dorchester. Frankly and honestly, I had hoped that in reading the paper this morning I should find that the hon. gentleman had cleared his skirts by making such a denial as the Minister of Public Works stated he had received by telephone. That denial may appear in this evening's papers; I sincerely trust it may.

Full View