March 15, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Shelburne and Queen's) :

I should like to draw the
attention of the Government, and particularly of the Minister of Militia and Defence, to a despatch in the Montreal Gazette of yesterday, upon which I shall put a question to the hon. gentleman. The despatch is concerning an incident at Windsor, Ontario, where an official of the Canadian Government is reported to have made

a statement which may be regarded as an interference with freedom of speech and a just cause of offence to a neighbouring people. I shall not read the whole speech, but very briefly it is to the effect that the Ontario Referendum Committee had arranged to hold a meeting in a Government building, the armouries, that it was contemplated that among the speakers at that meeting would be an American gentleman sometimes known as "Pussyfoot" Johnson, and that the Commanding Officer of the Militia who was in charge of the building refused to issue a permit on the ground that this gentleman was coming. The Commanding Officer is reported to have said:
The Referendum Committee is welcome to use the armouries for meetings, as it has in the past, but} I will not countenance bringing foreign agitators from the United States to Canada. We have trouble enough without that. England did not want Johnson, and Canada does not want him. Canadian or English speakers will be welcome.
Without comment, I desire to ask my hon. friend the Minister of Militia and Defence whether he is aware of the facts of the case, and whether it is the intention of the Government to uphold this official in his refusal to allow a public meeting to be held in the armouries.

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