Robert Hamilton BUTTS

BUTTS, Robert Hamilton, K.C., B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Cape Breton South and Richmond (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
August 4, 1871
Deceased Date
November 29, 1943
barrister, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
  Cape Breton South and Richmond (Nova Scotia)
December 6, 1921 - October 4, 1921
  Cape Breton South and Richmond (Nova Scotia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 44)

June 1, 1921



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May 28, 1921


Is it not true that, under

the government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Macleod's breakwater was allowed to fall into decay, and a new one was erected a couple of hundred yards away for Mr. Burke, who was a strong supporter of that government?

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May 26, 1921


Perhaps I had better not mention them, but if my hon. friend wants to know, the third sentence was for an attempt to commit rape. In spite of his four sentences, politics kept this young man walking the street.

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May 26, 1921


I have always been very much opposed to this idea of leaving it in the power of the judge to pass a sentence with his right hand, and to suspend that sentence with his left. I know of a case right down in my own part of the country, in the constituency of my hon. friend across the harbour, the hon. member for North Cape Breton and Victoria (Mr. McKenzie), where a young man was walking abroad in the streets of North Sydney with four suspended sentences upon his shoulders at the one time. One sentence was for stealing an automobile, another was for shooting his own brother through the lungs so severely that four doctors were required to save him. In spite of the four sentences that were on his shoulders at the one time, he was walking abroad just the same as any law-abiding citizen.

Topic:   S912 COMMONS
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May 17, 1921


They are going to let

that part of it remain in abeyance until the general election. But my hon. friend could not pass over that election without besmirching himself a little more than the man he intended to besmirch. He had to fan as much as he could the smouldering embers of bigotry and race

that have on many occasions, I have no doubt, done yeoman service for gentlemen opposite. He attempted to lead his followers to drink at the polluted stream of religious and racial bigotry and fanaticism; and he would be pleased, I have no doubt, to see them drink at that polluted stream with the same avidity that a buzzard pounces upon his carrion prey.

But, Sir, let me say that he is not altogether alone in that respect, although I had hoped there were none in this House to descend to such arguments. Yet I read in the Montreal Gazette this quotation taken from the nomination day speech at St. Francois du Lac of my hon. friend from Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux). He said:

' When on the 2:8 th you mark your cross, mark it like Laurier would mark his cross if he were voting that day. His shadow is over this assembly, as it hovers over Parliament. He follows our deliberations from the skies and is asking if his compatriots and Canadians of all languages will renew the present regime.

My hon. friend- seems to take on some of Mr. Stead's theories. He is a little spiritualistic-more spiritualistic, I think, than spiritual. But according to the Montreal Star-and, Sir, this is a very delicate subject which I am going to approach, and I wish to deal with it in all reverence and in all respect-my hon. friend from Maisonneuve is reported as having said:

"Meighen is the father of conscription," went on Mr. Lemieux. , "We cannot talk conscription without some emotion. While the Hon. Mr. Ballantyne was trailing his sword in London and Paris, my only son was in the trenches. He is gone; and it seems that I should pay testimony to his memory by working to punish those who brought the atrocity of conscription on our country."

Now, Mr. Speaker, if that is not partisanship gone mad I do not know what is. It is not often, that we find a man who deliberately uses the memory of his departed and lamented offspring to attempt to gain political aggrandizement by playing upon the feelings of an excited nomination day audience and making his departed son the object of commiseration. How much more he would have been admired even by that excited audience had he said to them: "My son was no conscript; he was a volunteer. When his country needed him he sprang to her assistance. He drew his sword in her defence; he bared his breast to the enemies of his country; he in the end made the supreme sacrifice that his country might live." The hon. gentleman might have said to the youngi men of Quebec: "Had you followed his example,

conscription in this country would have been unnecessary. Had that course been taken by my hon. friend it would have been an honourable course; the memory of his son would be doubly revered and he himself would be doubly respected.

I regret, Mr. Speaker, that the leader of the Opposition is not in the House, for I feel compelled to pay a small amount of attention to him for a few moments. In a previous debate in the session the hon. member for North Cape Breton and Victoria made use of some such expression as this: that one of the many weaknesses of this Government was that it was at war with labour. Well, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that this Government is so very bellicose as to be at war with labour, or vice versa. If labour is at war with this Government it is doubly bellicose, for certain it is that it has been at war with the leader of the Opposition for many years. Down in our county, some years ago, and also about the same time in Cumberland county, Nova Scotia, while my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition was Minister of Labour, we had a strike in which about 5,000 men were involved. On the morning that the strike broke out the leader of the Opposition, then the Minister of Labour received from M. J. Gillies, M.P.P., of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, a supporter of the Murray Government at that time, a telegram in which he said:

Five thousand employees Dominion Coal Company on strike here. Situation looks serious. Important that you get here immediately and try to effect a settlement.

How Mr. Macdonald, then the member for Pictou county in this House in the Liberal interest, found out about that is more than I can tell. Suffice it to say that on the same date he wrote a letter to the then Minister of Labour, the present leader of the Opposition, in which he said:

Let me congratulate you upon the fact that you were not troubled with an election and that you have got into the saddle without very much trouble.

It was hinted at that time that the congratulation was not altogether sincere; Mr. Macdonald was very much disappointed, I understand, that he did not get that portfolio. However, the letter went on to say .

I have just teen talking on the phone with our mutual friend Alex. Johnston, and our joint opinion with regard to the situation in Sydney is that at the present stage it iis not wise or prudent for you to come down or take part in the situation. There was a rumour in Sydney that you were to be asked to come

down, and I am writing as a result of my interview with Johnston, to say that I think for the present that you should not come down. We will advise you a little later in the matter.

Now, that appears to me, offhand, to be a little bit mure on the side of Liberalism than on the siue of the labouring men; it was the Liberal party's interests, not the labourihg men's interests, that were being considered, ivir. Alex. Johnston, then the member for South Cape Breton, and Mr. E. M. Macdonald, then the Liberal representative for Pictou county, who at the same time held a retainer from the Dominion Coal Company-these gentlemen went into solemn c.nclave and advised the Minister of Labour as to what it was wise for him to do-no doubt from a political viewpoint. Matters went on; letters passed to and fro, until finally Mr. Macdonald wrote along somewhat-

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