May 31, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)



The hon. gentleman
has made statements for which he has no justification at all in fact. I do not think they concern him at all. They are statements that, he thinks, will get him some applause from those immediately around him, but they are utterly foreign to everything in fact in relation to this Bill. No sooner had this Government and the Ontario Government agreed on this legislation and agreed to make it concurrent legislation, than, as the correspondence shows, Mr. Drury kept petitioning this Government to hold back the legislation. The hon. member knows that. Was Mr. Drury doing that at our instigation? Why does the hon. member make such insinuations as this? The correspondence that has been laid on the Table shows that, almost from the day that the Bill was introduced in the Senate, Mr. Drury besought this Government to stay its hand, to hold this legislation back, because, he said, interests who were concerned in it were petitioning against the legislation. Those are the reasons that he gave, and he persisted in that attitude right up to the time that he withdrew the legislation himself. It is true that he states in his letter -and I have no doubt that what he states there is a fact-that there were Conservatives who opposed the Bill; there were Liberals who opposed the Bill; but he also says that there were members of his own party who opposed it. Were they instigated by this Government? I spoke to only two members of the legislature; I besought both of them to support Mr. Drury in the stand that he took; and if my hon. friend asks either one, he will find that to be correct. It would become the hon. member to ascertain some of the facts before he rises to speak in this House. One of those gentlemen was the hon. member for Ottawa, Mr. Hill, whom I approached on the subject, and sought to argue with him to support Mr. Drury in his stand. I think I convinced him; I tried to do so at any rate; and if my hon. friend asks him, Mr. Hill will tell him what I did say. The only other gentleman to whom I spoke was the leader of the Opposition, and I spoke to him along exactly the same lines. With every one with whom I have spoken, I have spoken along the same lines. I should like to ask the hon. member: Upon what authority did he stand up in his place and intimate that we had played a game with the opposition in Ontario to get them to oppose this Bill.

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