July 21, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

I do not know whether the right hon. gentleman is joking or in earnest in putting forward some of the reasons that he has just mentioned. I suppose one of the reasons was a joke, and the other one apparently was intended as a real reason. A writ was moved for in this House and it passed unanimously. That was on the 3rd of April, and three months and a half have elapsed. It would have been possible to have a member elected for that constituency by the middle of May. But during two months and a half and well on to three months that constituency has been unrepresented because the right hon. gentleman did not know the condition in which the iists were. With all the powers at his disposal, with all the resources of this government at his disposal, he was not able to ascertain the condition of the lists in St. James division, Montreal, to know whether he should bring on an election. He Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
is inclined to blame my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) for the fact that this election has not been brought on. I suppose the next thing we shall hear from tlie right hon. gentleman is that my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier is to blame for the fact that the government's railway policy has not been brought down after the session has been going on four and a half months. Such a reason would be about as good in the one case as in the other. Now, this constituency has a right to be represented, unless the government decide, and they say they have not decided, that is should be disfranchised on account of the corruption which prevailed in the last election, and which was wholly due, I am glad to say, to the efforts of some persons in that constituency whose aid has been very much relied upon by the government. From the 10th of May up to the present time, as I am informed, the lists have been ready, and that division has been in a position to have an election properly and regularly conducted. During the whole of that time until near the end of July, the hon. gentleman and ins government have not been able to ascertain that they are in a position at any moment to bring on an election in that constituency. I think we shall lie more inclined to rely upon the reasons which have been suggested by my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier, and to believe that certain difficulties which are said to have arisen in that constituency with regard to the selection of a candidate are the real reasons for this delay, rather than those which the right hon. gentleman has advanced in the House to-day. There were certain difficulties, we are reminded, in that division just before the last election, and I suppose it is to avoid a repetition of those difficulties, and to arrange the claims of friends who are aspirants for this position, that the constituency of St. James has been without representation in this House of Commons for the last two and a half or three months.

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