David Arthur LAFORTUNE

LAFORTUNE, David Arthur, K.C., B.C.L.

Personal Data

Jacques Cartier (Quebec)
Birth Date
October 4, 1848
Deceased Date
October 19, 1922

Parliamentary Career

September 25, 1909 - July 29, 1911
  Montcalm (Quebec)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
  Montcalm (Quebec)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
  Jacques Cartier (Quebec)
December 6, 1921 - October 19, 1922
  Jacques Cartier (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 66 of 67)

April 26, 1910

Mr. D. A. LAFORTUNE (Montcalm).

(Translation). Mr. Speaker, I desire to make a few remarks on this question, the county which I have the honour to represent being highly interested in _ all that pertains to the subject under discussion. I find that about ten years ago a powerful company called the American Tobacco Company began its operations in the province of Quebec. Later on they assigned all their rights to another very powerful company, the Imperial Tobacco Company. They bought all the tobacco factories established in the counties of Joliette, Montcalm and L'Assomption, to the great prejudice of the farmers interested in the growing of tobacco. These companies stipulated that the vendors would be precluded, during the space of twenty years, from engaging in the manufacture of tobacco and from having any interest whatsoever in that industry, thus inserting a clause which was utterly prohibitory.

The law which permits the prohibitory clause, as between sellers and buyers, requires three conditions; 1st, that the object should be fullv determined; 2nd. that the place should be accurately specified, and 3rd, that the duration of the contract should be determined. In the case of the companies who bought the factories of the counties in question, they stipulated, in

order to evade the law, that the vendor would have the right to engage in that industry in Alaska or on the banks of the Yukon river. Such a clause clearly indicates that the object in view was simply to evade the law. Indeed, had not this exception been made, the contract would have been radically null and void. But in order to escape the law, it was specified that the vendor would have the right to engage in the manufacture of tobacco in what is known as the Yukon district.

The people who thus sold their manufactures obtained rather high prices from that company who own millions. These sales have caused great damages to the farmers by drawing away from these counties quite a number of factories. Moreover, the Imperial Tobacco Company, being the only buyers of the tobacco crop, controlled the prices and gave the farmers just what they pleased to give them. As a matter of fact, the company regulates the prices and the conditions which they see fit to impose on the producers.

I desire to know from the hon. Minister of Labour whether this Bill can reach such contracts as these. I see by sections 22 and 23 of the present Bill that whoever shall buy out, or prevent competition, or even shall unduly restrict the manufacture or production of any commercial commodity, shall be liable to rather a heavy fine or even to imprisonment.

This is all very well, but there is one point on which I desire to be informed by the minister. I desire to know whether this law shall be retroactive in its effects, or in other words, whether it shall apply to those who have in the past bought these factories with the restrictions which I have pointed out. Because my constituency is very much interested in being able to obtain the power to reopen the factories which have been closed after having been bought by the powerful corporation, ' The Imperial Tobacco Company.'

In my opinion this law is very important from the standpoint of those who are engaged in agricultural pursuits, and especially in the growing of tobacco like the people of the county of Montcalm.

If it is possible to annul or at least to modify the existing contracts; if it is possible to bring before the Board of Control mentioned in this Bill such cases as these, so that the people who sold opt their establishment could reopen their old manufactures, the hon. minister shall deserve the heartfelt gratitude of that part of the country where people are engaged in the tobacco industry, and in particular of that part of the country which I have the honour to represent in this House.

It is my desire that the minister should tell me whether this law will effect that kind of existing contracts.

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April 15, 1910

Mr. D. A. LAFORTUNE (Motcalm).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, in connection with item 60 of the estimates, I would like to know how it is proposed to distribute that amount of $50,000? For over twenty years past, no exhibition has been held in Montreal, to the great detriment of manufacturers, business men, the farming community and trade generally.

This year the Quebec legislature has guaranteed the payment of the interest on $600,000, as a grant towards the great fair which is to be held In Montreal shortly. Besides, the Quebec legislature has subscribed $10,000 yearly towards the same object. The city of Montreal has voted a grant of $10,000 per year as an encouragement. I would like to know whether that company has applied to the Dominion parliament for a grant on behalf of the fair.

As one of those interested, intending as I do to be an exhibitor, I am desirous of getting that information. It is most unfortunate that the metropolis of Canada should have failed for the last twenty years having an exhibition for the benefit of the farmers and manufacturers of Canada. It is unfortunate that Montreal should be without its fair, while such fairs are being held in Ontario and the other provinces or parts of the province, such as Three Rivers, Sherbrooke and Guelph, Montreal in the meantime being left in the cold. For almost twenty years past the manufacturing, commercial and farming classes, have complained bitterly that Mr. STAPLES.

Montreal has thus been left in the background. It has just been decided that something must be done.

We are without an experimental farm in the province of Quebec; we have only small stations, while in Ontario and the other provinces such farms have been established. At the opening of this session I heard the minister make an important statement to the effect that he proposed establishing illustration stations throughout the Dominion. Well, I trust he will not forget the finest section of the province of Quebec, and that he will start an illustration station in the district of Montreal.

Farmers of that district, who have to undergo expenses to visit the Ottawa experimental farm, start in the morning and reach here about half past eleven; they return in the afternoon after rapidly going over the farm without seeing all there is to see. They do not get from such a trip as much benefit as might be expected. Should the hon. minister carry out his plan and establish such stations or sub-experimental farms within the reach of the farmers, specially of those residing in the district of Montreal, great benefits would be reaped in that way. I hope the hon. minister will not forget carrying out the promise he made at the opening of this session; I hope also that parliament will find its way clear to assist toward the holding of that Montreal fair, which is so eagerly desired and so greatly needed.

Subtopic:   18, 1P10
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April 15, 1910

Mr. D. A. LAFORTUNE. (Montcalm).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I cannot forbear the pleasure of making a few remarks on the subject which is now before the House. The hon. gentleman from East Peterborough (Mr. Sexsmith) complained a moment #go of the manner in' wdiich the piggery is kept at the experimental farm. I may state to the hon. gentleman that to a certain extent I agree with him on that point; not that I would blame the department of the Minister of Agriculture on that account, but merely to call the latter's attention to the state of things in that connection, and request him, after improving, as he has done, all other departments of the farm, to take up in the near future the improvement of the piggery and deal with it in the same way.

I generally visit the experimental farm at least twice a year, partly through curiosity, and largely on account of the profit to be derived therefrom. The horse stables are very well kept; the horses are very well housed, in quarters which are kept clean and are up-to-date, as they say in English. The cow stable is such as none better could be desired. The cows are kept exceptionally clean, the herd is made up of fine animals, of superb appearance. In short, nothing better than this stable could be desired.

Now, on the day before yesterday, I visited the piggery. I saw there Yorkshires, Berkshires, White Chesters and Tamworths, the latter with a hide red almost beyond imagination. These are very fine animals, of excellent breeds. The only thing to do, in my' humble opinion, and in this I agree with the hon. member for East Peterborough, is to improve the buildings, which are not quite such as they should be. As for the stock, nothing better could be desired. However, if I was correctly informed by the men as late as the day before yesterday, it is the intention to rebuild part of the piggery. That is necessary, indeed, and I hope that the minister will include in the estimates the required vote.

The wrny things are managed a,t the experimental farm cannot be praised too hivhly. Those who, like myself, take an interest in agriculture, have observed the great strides which have been made as regards horses, cattle, sheep, poultry, and in a general way the stock kept at the experimental farm. Everything is really

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April 7, 1910

Mr. LAFORTUNE. (Translation).

I was not aware of that, and must apologize. I hope he will soon recover, and come back in good health and good disposition.

I was just saying, Mr. Speaker, that the Montreal Jockey Club has its grounds in the county of Jacques Cartier, within the limits of the finest parish in the province, that of St. Laurent, where I have my home. That association has spent up to date a million dollars on its race track. I was proud last autumn, when the opening took place under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor General, to witness the assembling there of more than one hundred thousand people. What a fine sight it was! The best and finest people in the province were in attendance, and in particular beautiful women. And everything went on without any unpleasantness whatever. Notice, Mr. Speaker, that as is always the case, perfect order reigned throughout. There are policemen on the grounds who have an eye on strangers coming and going; as regards the Montreal people, who are all good citizens, such measures are unnecessary; but in order to ensure greater safety, and lest some one might act improperly, the association have policemen on the grounds in sufficient numbers

to prevent or counteract any wrong doing.

It is a day of rejoicing for the farming community; it is a festival of agriculture. Before long, I shall request my leaders to set apart a day as the festival of agriculture, ' farmer's day.' No such day has yet been set apart. Professional men, labour men, have their day; the farming community alone is without a day set apart in honour of their calling, which is the finest under the sun. That request I shall not make just now, but at the next session, and mind you it will have to be granted. I let that stand as a notice of motion for next session.

The hon. gentleman's reference to public sentiment recalled to my memory certain utterances of our opponents on another question. They stateu that public opinion was entirely against us and would bnna about our downfall. As evidence, they pointed to petitions bearing a great many signatures and laid before the House.

I cannot say very much about the petitions in favour of this Bill. I do not know what signatures they bear, but what I do know is that very often such petitions are signed injudiciously, by routine without paying any attention at all, and more than anything else; to please the person who takes the petition around. Several of the petitions which were sent with reference to the Naval Bill had been forwarded from my constituency. On looking into them, I found that the signatures were all in the same handwriting. I made inquiries from several of my friends who answered, ' We never signed our names to that petition.'

' But,' I would say, * I saw your names on the document.' ' Well,' they would answer,

' it was put there by my son, my daughter or my wife.' Of late, when people made inquiries to me about the Miller Bill, they would ask: ' Mr. Lafortune, is that Mr. Miller who is circulating a Bill for the purpose of sending every body and soul to jail, the same man wanted to prevent trains from circulating on Sunday? '-' I do not know, but they read pretty much the same.' ' Is he the same man who wished to prevent us from going out on Sundays -' I do not know, but it looks like it; the principles involved are alike.'

If we were to insert in the criminal code provisions against all those who are guilty of wrong-doing, what great number of lawyers and judges would we not need! Even now it is a difficult matter to secure judges for the settlement of business and other lawsuits of importance. Indeed, many judges would be required to dispose of criminal cases, should we undertake to put a stop to all abuses, wrong-doing and to restrain all those who live beyond their means. That might give me a chance of being appointed a judge before long.

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April 7, 1910

Mr. LAFORTUNE. (Translation).

Certainly; every law should have a sanction. In case of a criminal offence, imprisonment is in order. Do you know of any criminal law that is not enacted under pain of imprisonment?

Subtopic:   G531 COMMONS
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