May 30, 1930 (16th Parliament, 4th Session)

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. It will be observed that one of the evening papers has displayed in large letters a declaration that a member of the house alleges that his frank has been forged. I thought the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff) was in his place, but I see I am mistaken. That hon. member made a charge of the most serious character involving his opening a letter which had been placed in his post office box. At

my request the envelope in which the letter was enclosed was handed to the clerk. After seeing this letter, the hon. member for Inverness (Mr. Macdougall) was certain that the initials were those of Mr. Finlay MacDonald, the hon. member for South Cape Breton. A few minutes later the hon. member for South Cape Breton entered the house and at once recognized his initials. He then communicated with Your Honour, as it was necessary that he leave immediately in order to catch a train, and stated that his initials "F. MacD" were those appearing on the envelope in question. I had not the slightest difficulty in recognizing the initials.
I desire, speaking only as one member of this house-this is not a question of privilege which attaches to me alone, but one which concerns every hon. member of this house- to place this matter before the house in order that the charge made against one of our members, namely that of forgery, should be met immediately before it can be sent out through the country. It was suggested that the initials of the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough had been forged, but there was no difficulty in recognizing them as being the initials of the hon. member for South Cape Breton. This is a question of privilege which does not belong to any individual member of the house; it is a question of privilege which concerns the whole house, and I raise it because it touches the honour of every hon. member. An hon. member asserts on the closing day of the session that he opened the letter undeT the circumstances. The envelope is placed on the table of the house before the clerk and remains there in order that an opportunity may be afforded for a statement to be made by Your Honour in consequence of the hon. member for South Cape Breton being called away to catch his train.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. BENNETT
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