May 7, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain



The Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) is a director of the City and District Savings Bank, in which he takes a great deal of interest. I know that he is a great philanthropist. Perhaps he could tell me why, with all his philanthropy and good intentions, that bank has not seen fit up to the present to raise the rate of interest on deposits. I am sure that his answer will be the argument which I have just advanced, that the bank is prohibited from doing so by the Canadian Bankers Association. All the money deposited in such institutions as the City and District Savings Bank comes from the poor, the working woman as well as the working man, and it is not the small trader or the small manufacturer who benefits thereby, but the financiers, directors and managers, who are in the ring of big banks and corporations.
Now, about investments. I believe it is a fact that in England and France it has been forbidden to invest in outside securities, while here in Canada there are many [DOT]people deriving hundreds of thousands of dollars as interest on stocks and bonds from corporations in the United States. If we refer to the lists of shareholders of different companies in the United States, we find that a large number of Canadians, probably patriotic Canadians, have invested huge amounts of money in that country. We know also that the large Canadian insurance companies own a great deal of securities, in some cases seventy-five or eighty per cent of the stock of certain railways in the United States. I am not far from the truth in asserting that at present nearly $250,000,000 is invested by individual Canadians, companies and trusts in United States securities. Would it not be better if a law were passed, or, as it is so easy under this Government, an Order in Council, prohibiting investments in any other but Canadian securities?
Another source from which the Government could obtain a large amount of revenue would be by taxing the foreign insurance companies, life, fire and accident, who are draining this country yearly of millions of dollars in premiums, which money is taken to the United States and invested in their own undertakings and for their own benefit. There is no reason why a tax should not be imposed on such premiums.
So far as.the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar is concerned, it is not by getting a credit of about $40,000,000 in the United States, as our ministers obtained recently, which will make our credit better. That amount will be only a drop in

the bucket after all, and our trade balance surely cannot be re-established with that small amount of money. It may improve the situation for a short period, for the spring or the summer, but if no further arrangements are made I predict, Mr. Speaker, that our dollar will be nearer the 90-cemt mark than the dollar mark. We must not close our eyes also to the fact that the financiers in the United States are very well aware of our situation, and as some members in this House said recently, they know that we are only banking on paper, as the gold and the silver which we have to meet the Canadian notes which are being printed by the Dominion Government represent only 45 cents on the dollar, and if this policy keeps up a year longer our currency will be worth 75 cents on the dollar at the most. We are told by the Acting Minister of Finance that we should not worry, that business is splendid, that we are doing business with the Mother Country, and that we are even lending her money. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, is that not misleading the public, as, after all, these loans are being repaid by contra account for the upkeep of our army overseas? I would ask the minister to tell us if it is not true that these loans made to England since the wai began have been repaid by contra account? Probably there is not more than $25,000,000 to $40,000,000 outstanding at present, but when the war ends we will be in debt to England instead of England owing us; we will still have a huge bill to pay her.
The Acting Minister of Finance has told us that he needs at present about $280,000,000 for the purpose of carrying on the war. Why not, as has been done in England and other European countries, requisition or commandeer all foreign securities? There are millions of dollars' worth of these held by different people and institutions in this country. We know that holders of capital and the big trust companies and banks have' a great number of these securities on hand invested in railway stocks and bonds in the United States. Why not, as a war measure, requisition the stocks of the Canadian Pacific railway, as was done in England at the beginning of the war? And why not ask all the insurance companies who are bound according to law to deposit with the Treasury a certain amount of securities to guarantee their policies, to substitute for their securities Canadian war bonds?
Another point I desire to touch is that, some fifteen years ago or thereabouts, the

Government granted to the steel industry, then being started, .bounties to run for ten years, and which were afterwards renewed for a .further period of five years. This action was taken to' help to build up these industries. To-day the situation has changed. These industries are most prosperous; their directors are rich; they are paying large dividends to their shareholders and are even in a position to lend money. They are boasting that they have paid all their floating liabilities, and have vast sums to the good. It is differentiating between industries started with the help of the Government and others which got no bounties not to tax the former more than they are taxed at present.
Then why not get back from these companies these bounties in the shape of taxes special taxes, or super taxes, or other means which I have no doubt the Minister Finance can find out, because after all, as I said before, this money was well invested as it started all these industries, but did all the other industries of this country get such bounties and yet they are being taxed to the same extent. You have taxed the C.P.iR., why not tax these- companies and you would get back probably 50 million dollars?
I shall not say very much with regard to the matter of war expenditure. We all deplore the fact that at the beginning of the war certain mistakes were made, especially at Valcartier camp. Ice was brought from Ontario and transported to Valcartier; goods that could have 'been obtained in Quebec were purchased in various parts of the country at high prices and shipped to Valcartier, enormous freight and express charges being thereby incurred in order to help and promote the interests of that good friend of the Government, the Canadian Northern railway. The Government has paid huge amounts of money for motor cars and motor vehicles which have been placed at the disposal of the military authorities-so much so that in the big cities the ordinary pedestrian is in danger of being run over by these cars, because the majors, captains and lieutenant-colonels are in such a hurry to go about their supposed business that they do not care for the public. In England some* abuses have arisen . in that respect. Many colonels and generals have stayed there longer than they should and have drawn their salaries for doing nothing and not going to the front. It is true that many expenditures have to be made in time of war, and that they are very small when compared to the end that is had in view by the people who wish
to see the Allies triumph. But I impress on the Government the necessity of greater economy in the administration of military affairs and of the avoiding of such waste as has taken place on certain occasions.
The member for St. Hyacinthe-Rouville (Mr. Gauthier) made reference recently to the use of public moneys by the Department of Justice in submitting bail for a man who was employed by the Government to detect supposed criminals but who has been organizing riots and sedition in the province of Quebec. I refer to the case of the man Desjardins. In answer to a question which I put to him, the Minister of Justice said that Desjardins had been in the employ of his department. We heard during the recent troubles in Quebec that a hidden -hand might be visited upon certain people who had provoked or started these troubles, and that the Government might be at the back of it. We have proof of the astounding fact that in Montreal last year, when the Conscription Bill was ini course of preparation, persons paid by the Government were trying to organize in Montreal a clique, a certain gang, a certain number of men, a certain club or association, for the direct purpose of trying to violate the law, of trying to stand against the Government to defeat the law. A number of men were arrested in this connection, among them Wisintainer, Goyer, Cyr, Bolduc, Chagnon and Paquette. The judge of the preliminary enquete found that there was enough evidence to commit these men to trial. In the case of Lalumibre, who was the chief of the -gang, Judge St. Cyr, who presided at the trial, went so far as to say not only that Lalumiere and the others should be committed for trial, but that Desjardins, the chief witness of the Crown, should himself be arrested. The judge was surprised that this man had not already bpen taken into custody. An answer was given to a question put in the Senate some time ago which may be taken as indicative of the policy of the Government in this respect, that Desjardins was arrested " upon the instance of the other criminals who were connected with him in this plot, who, when they came to be indicted for their offences, accused Desjardins as a fellow-conspirator and he was indicted accordingly." I want to make a correction here. It is not true that these people had Desjardins arrested in order that they might try to save their own skins; on the contrary, they did not want him to be brought into the case at all, because they

thought they might be adversely affected. The person who swore the warrant against Desjardins was present when Lalumifere was committed for trial; he is a gentleman who sat as representative of the constituency of Nieolet, if I am not mistaken, in the last Parliament. He writes to me saying that after reading the evidence he was absolutely convinced that Desjardins was just as guilty as the others, if not more so, because he had urged them to commit criminal acts which should not be tolerated by any Government, and for which he should be punished. He violated articles 523, 510, 847, 457 and 69 of the Criminal Code. What took place after that? Desjardins was indicted and was let out on bail for a time, by an official of the Government, Mr. Giroux, who supplied bail for him. Afterwards, when the trial started in November last, all the accused were to be tried together, but the trial could not be concluded because One of the jurors took sick and subsequently died. All the accused, with the exception of Desjardins, were let free on personal bail or certain securities being deposited on their behalf according to the judgment of Mr. Justice Pelletier, who said that they could go free. But Desjardins was kept in jail, Mr. Justice Pelletier did not want to allow any bail for him, because he considered his case worse than any of the other cases. I may say that Mr. Desjardins had many lawyers, Mr. Peers Davidson, Mr. Pelissier, Mr. St. Pierre Pruneau, Mr. Normandeau and other criminal lawyers in Montreal; because after a lawyer had defended him for a couple of days, he found the suit was too hot and he could not, as a gentleman of the Bar, defend .Desjardins any longer. Finally, after certain investigations and pourparlers between the attorneys of the Government and the judge, bail was fixed at a certain amount, I think, about thirty thousand dollars, twenty thousand dollars being secured upon real estate and the balance in cash. As Desjardins could not obtain bail, the party who put up the bail, as we were told the other day, was the Department of Justice, the cheque being signed by Mr. Newcombe and countersigned by Mr. Narraway, accountant of the department. What happened then? The trial started some time ago in Montreal. If was presided over by the same- judge, Mr. Justice Pelletier. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Justice Pelletier is a former friend, and, I think, he is still a friend of. this Government. He was appointed by the Government to his present position. Not I Mr. Casarain.j
long ago he held a seat on the Treasury benches along with my bon. friends opposite. In this second trial, strange to say, the attorneys of the Government were new attorneys. They were Mr. Dagenais and Mr. Maurice Alexander. As I said before, Mr. Desjardins could not keep his attorneys very well. He had to change them every month, or every week, or sometimes oftener. After the evidence was all in, the judge reviewed the facts, and we find certain comments which are very important. The judge for instance says, in a certain part of his charge, speaking about Desjardins:
In other words, a spotter or a spy. He tells us, in answer to one of ray questions, that he induced those boys into error, and that was his object. He told them he was one of them against conscription. It was a lie, according to what he says now, it was a lie. He deceived them, and led1 them into a trap.
Further on the judge says:
If a man acts in that way and is a spotter or an informer, or a spy, he has the right to do all that, and to go and inform the people who have hired Mm about all that took place, and that is the law too, (but a man like that has no right in law, and the law is based on common sense here, he has no right to induce these people to do something wrong. Not even a policeman has the right to advise any one to do a thing which is forbidden, because he is the very man who ought to prevent it, and who ought to advise that it should not he done. Now if a man, clothed with the authority of thie law, assumes the right to advise people to do things which are wrong, that man becomes guilty from the moment he has adopted that course, and, I give you that under >my responsibility as good law, whatever may be thought of it in any quarter.
Further on he says:
Let us consider the stajnd1 that Desjardins is the only one of them ail who tells the truth- even saying that Banger, this young, honest boy, has taken a false oath-that all the others have taken a false oath. Desjardins tells us here of seven different heinous crimes which have been organized and premeditated at the meeting of the 27th of July. Killing public men; killing the Prime Minister of this country; killing General Wilson. He tells us there was a question of setting fire to a city and robbing and blowing up the bank. Be tells us there was a secret committee of fifteen to he formed

and mind you, .gentlemen of the jury, that all that is taken from his evidence as extended by the stenographer-and' which I have taken great care to read as it is-the idea or suggestion of blowing up the properties where newspapers were published, or blowing up the owners of newspapers ; the kidnapping of one of
the ministers, the Hon. Mr. Sevigny
Desjardins also states that there were revolvers there. There were black-jacks there. There were instruments of torture, and assassination. Now, he comes and reports, and I am giving him all the credit to which he Is entitled in saying that toe reports one part of what has taken place, but he leaves out things in his * reports-leaves out some very important information about things which he himself says

took place there. That is a fact which cannot be denied, and which no impassioned speech will brush to one side. He gives us the reason for leaving that out by saying that he made a verbal report to Colonel Sherwood. After, or, may be, even before the Cartierville outrages, these people did not trust Desjardins any more, and it would also be to his credit if these people did not trust him. They continued their organization and their bad actions without him. There is an outstanding salient fact to which I now want to call your attention, which may be an act of virtue, but which I consider a very disgraceful thing. On the 27th of July, in the year of our Lord, 1917, all these bad things, theft, murder, destruction of property- are prepared and talked about and are, to a certain extent, organized. On the 28th of July, the following day-twenty-four hours afterwards-Charles Desjardins, who knows all that, goes to this crowd and gives them the sum of twenty-five dollars. How it has been said or it has been insinuated here that the Government of Canada approves of that.
And /this, I may say, was referred to as being approved by the Government, by the attorney who defended Desjardins, and who said at the trial that he was defending Desjardins at the request of the Government of Canada. Judge Pelletier goes on to say:
I do not believe it. It would be shameful all the same, if a hundred Governments had approved it. It is so shameful that I do not believe any Government, Liberal or Conservative, would approve of it. This was so disgraceful that Inspector Giroux himself has felt it his duty to enter into this box and tell you what he thought of that. I shall not repeat his words, you still have them ringing in your ears. Now, Desjardins did that. Was that putting money into the hands of these people whom he knew, and he must have known, were not rich men', but where young men just beginning life. They have received this contribution of twenty-five dollars, and they had plotted all these things. Would you have done that? There is the true test. Would you have gone to those people knowing they were going to do these dastardly things, and opened your purses to them? I have too much faith in your honesty and your common sense to think that you would even have thought of doing this. He said he did this "in order to be friendly with them, in order to have their confidence/'
This is what this creature of the Government says. Judge Pelletier continues:
Did you ever hear of anyone gaining the confidence of a gang of blackguards and criminals by opening your purse to them? You would perhaps have to give it up if he were holding a revolver to your head and saying: "Your purse or your life," you might have had to give it up, but you men do not volunteer your money to him. I do not think so.
Further on, at page 40, the same judge in the same charge, says:
There again I find fault, and serious fault, against Desjardins, 'because this is the third time he has given money for unlawful purposes .... I want to make a distinction here which is perhaps necessary for the interests of the impartial administration of justice. I want
to tell you that it is not wrong in law to pay to become a member of a society, bad though it may be, in order to know what is going on there. It is not wrong in law, but it is wrong in law to give money to dangerous people when you have not to give it, when you are not obliged to give it, and when you know that that money helps or will likely help for the commission of a crime-of a crime which you know is going to he committed.
Further on he says:
I shall not discuss that at length, because Desjardins admits that they were not complete. They were far from being complete. For instance the blowing-up or intended blowing-up of the Gazette, the Star, La Patrie and La Presse is mot mentioned in the report. This is a most serious thing. If Desjardins heard of these things, and he admits that he did, and did not report it, he was not only wrong in that, but he was absolutely derelict in his duty. He understands that, because he takes great care to tell us that "What I did not put in my report I told verbally to Sir Percy Sherwood." If he did not do that, it was a very serious matter for him, because when you know of anything of that kind and hide it knowingly, you become an accomplice."
The same judge, in the same trial, says, page 43:
Why was not Sir Percy Sherwood .brought down here? We have the unsupported1 evidence of this boy that he told Sir Percy 'Sherwood, and he is trying to-day (and he is supported by a lawyer who claims he represents the Government) to blacken Sir Percy Sherwood's fair name. That is one of the things 'which I do not understand in this case. It is either one of two things; either Desjardins told Sir Percy Sherwood about this Three Rivers outrage, and then Sir Percy Sherwood should not have waited until the fourth of August, but would on the twenty-eighth of July, the same evening, have informed Chief of Police Berthiaume or Sir Percy Sherwood1 dosed1 his eyes and allowed *this gang to go to Three Rivers if they wished. Now, I am not here to defend Sir Percy 'Sherwood, hut I am here to tell you that in order to save this fellow Desjardins, Mr. Alexander has no right to put Sir Percy Sherwood in the awful position in which he (has tried to put him in this case.
Further on he says:
AV'hat do we see next? It is on the twenty-eighth of July that he goes to Ottawa. He has sent in his report on the twenty-seventh: he writes on the twenty-seventh another letter which must have ben received on the twenty-eighth, and who does he write to? Does he write to Sir Percy Sherwood? He knows that Giroux is not in Ottawa. No; toe writes to a man whom he knows is not there, about a crime which is going to he committed1.
On the twenty-ninth of July, another letter in which pretty serious matters are mentioned is written-to Giroux again.
The judge says further on, at page 46:
Desjardins has told us that he gave a revolver to this man Paquin, a worthless thing, not much more perhaps than junk; an old thing; valueless. The revolver is found', and it works. A very bad position-a very bad

While we should strive to do our utmost to win the war, we should not lose sight of the conditions which will need to be dealt with when the war is over. The Government should be prepared to avail themselves of any advantages that will then present themselves for the development of commercial intercourse with other countries, as well as in our internal trade, and now is the time to prepare ourselves with that object in view. We were given to understand1 that many public works had been stopped, the reason assigned being that we were not able to obtain the necessary money to carry them' on and that the works in question, were not urgent. For- example, work on the St. Charles River improvements was brought to a standstill. But, Mr. Speaker, if that work was deemed necessary a few years ago for the improvement of existing conditions' (in that part of the country the necessity surely is. as great to-day. The few million dollars of outlay involved will not render our financial condition very much worse, and if the undertaking was ia necessary one before the war broke out, it is just as necessary to-day and should not be discontinued.
There has also been a stoppage of work in the harbours of Montreal .and Quebec. .Although it is necessary for us to practice -economy, we must also be keenly alert so that we may take advantage of the opportunities which will present themselves when tthe war is over. lit is very necessary to provide proper harbour facilities for our overseas trade and to maintain adequate transportation facilities, between the different parts of Canada. With the completion of the improvements contemplated at these harbours we should be in a far better position to handle a greatly enhanced volume of trade, at those places.
Some years ago, the project for the construction of the Georgian Bay canal was inaugurated and was strongly supported by several members of Parliament. At that time the Government deeming the enterprise too big, did not feel themselves aible to recommend the appropriations necessary to bring it to a successful completion. Had the Georgian Bay canal been commenced at that time it would by now have been well under way, and although perhaps not completed it might be available later for trade purposes. That canal would have af-fordedvery important transportation facilities for our trade and commerce, and would have been regarded for all time as a great achievement for Canada. We have been

told that public works have been stopped because the cost of material and labour is growing dearer all the time. In answer to that I would say that the Government has been able to find the material, the money and the men necessary to reconstruct the Parliament buildings. I do not criticise their action in that regard, but I would ask if these works' were absolutely necessary in connection with the carrying on of the industries of this country. The Government has emphasized the necessity of making sacrifices now that we are at war. Would it not have been better to have made the sacrifice of remaining in the present building until after the conclusion of the war, and have devoted the money which is now being expended on the Parliament buildings to other public undertakings, which would be of greater assistance in developing our commercial position when the present great world conflict is at an end?
My reason for bringing forward these suggestions now is that the Government and Parliament might take up and deal with the situation before it is too late and provide for the conditions which will arise when the war comes to an end. The hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) stated to-day that there exists in Canada a certain association whose object is to promote the reconstruction of this country after the war. That organization is called the Canadian, Industrial Reconstruction Association, and the hon. gentleman gave the names of certain prominent members of the provisional executive committee. These gentlemen, who are Tories, or Unionists, and are friendly to the Government, and cannot be taxed with being opposed to the war, and at their meeting in Toronto, as well as at their meeting in Montreal recently, they advocated the present as being a most opportune time to provide measures for the improvement of trade and commerce, and to meet industrial conditions of Canada after the war is over, and they suggested that we should get into touch with the people of other countries in order to take snch steps as may be necessary to that end. It is held that the war will certainly bring new forms of taxation, although the customs duties will continue to
be the chief source of revenue. Butifc is doubtful if all the forms oftaxation that can be devised will
meet the interest upon the war debt, to say nothing of providing for the pensions and other war obligations that will have been incurred during the present war. In under-

taking their reorganization programme, the members of this association have not been accused of being unpatriotic and not being good supporters of the cause of the Allies, so the accusation cannot in justice be levelled against them with others who came forward with similar suggestions.
Then, a few months ago, the Imperial Government appointed an Empire Resources Committee to consider a resolution adopted by the Imperial War Conference of 1917, which declared that the time had arrived when all possible encouragement should be given to the development of Imperial resources, and especially to making the Empire independent Of other countries in respect of food supplies, raw materials and essential industries. It is important, they say, to any such inquiry that the interest of the Dominion should not be prejudiced by neglect or want of knowledge. There -is no necessary conflict between Canadian and Imperial interests if the situation is clearly understood. Each portion of the Empire must maintain the industrial policy which its conditions demand, and the more clearly that is recognized, the stronger will be the bonds of sympathy which hold the parts together. Beyond legitimate protection of local interests there may he Imperial preferences in control over raw materials, in direction of immigration, and in charge of transportation, which will tend greatly to unify the Empire, enhance its strength and security and increase the general average of prosperity alike in the Mother Country and the Dominions.
This Government has announced its purpose in aiding in bringing the war to a successful issue and looking after the interest of our soldiers who are returning-which two objects we on this side of the House would like to see carried out. But as I have already said, the Government should do its utmost so that the resources and the trade and commerce of Canada may be developed -to the fullest extent when the war is over.
To these, Mr. Speaker, to other'immediate problems, and to new problems that will arise during the war and the period of reconstruction, the Government should give its immediate attention with the single desire to assist in their wise solution, to assure equitable dealing with all classes and interests, and particularly to develop the natural resources of Canada for the national advantage, and maintain in strength and efficiency the industries of the country upon which labour and agriculture, town and township, so greatly depend.
Mr. DESI,AURIERS (St. Mary's, Montreal) (translation): Mr. Speaker, seeing
the hour is so late and that we must sit again to-morrow, I have the honour to move the adjournment of the debate.

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