August 21, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Jacques Bureau


Mr. JACQUES BUREAU (Three Rivers and St. Maurice):

Mr. Speaker, I rise
to a question of privilege. On my return to Ottawa yesterday my attention was called to an alleged report of a speech by me which appeared in the Montreal Gazette of August 20, and which is headed:
Declare Laurier will save country.
On page 4, column 6, there is a report purporting to give what was said by me at a meeting at Joliette on Sunday, the 19th August. Among other things, it is stated:
Particular stress was laid upon the crisis which the province of Quebec is facing to-day by Hon. Jacques Bureau, M.P. for Three Rivers.

Here are the words to which I take exception :
He declared emphatically that, without Sir Wilfrid Laurier at its head; the French Canadian race would he extinct in a few years.
I declare emphatically that I never said any. such thing. Mr. Speaker, it never has entered my mind that the French Canadian race would ever be extinct; I am a firm believer in the survival of my race. Further, it is stated in this report in quotation marks, as if it were the ipsissima verba of what I said:
The English are trying to provoke us in order to exterminate us.
I deny emphatically ever having used that language or any other language which would justify or even suggest any such interpretation. Further, this newspaper reports me as saying: ;
They will not be content with killing us; they will violate our wives and daughters; they will treat us as the Germans did the Belgians and the inhabitants of Northern France.
I never uttered those words nor any words that would carry such a meaning. I used no language which could be construed in any such sense. Not only did I not use such language, but I can sincerely say that no such idea was ever in my mind. I characterize this report as malicious and false, and as attempting to convey the impression that I insulted my fellow Canadians of English origin, and tried to stir up strife and disunion. What I did say was absolutely the contrary of what is represented in this report. In every word I uttered, I counselled, insisted, and prayed that the sentiments that should prevail ought to be sentiments of tolerance, of peace, and of moderation. That was the tenor of my remarks when I spoke about conscription, and that was the idea in my mind. I again qualify that report in the Montreal Gazette as being absolutely malicious and false.

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