Rufus Henry POPE

POPE, The Hon. Rufus Henry

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Compton (Quebec)
Birth Date
September 13, 1857
Deceased Date
May 16, 1944
breeder, farmer

Parliamentary Career

May 16, 1889 - February 3, 1891
  Compton (Quebec)
March 5, 1891 - April 24, 1896
  Compton (Quebec)
June 23, 1896 - October 9, 1900
  Compton (Quebec)
November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
  Compton (Quebec)
November 14, 1911 - September 29, 1904
  Compton (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 90)

July 21, 1904


Do you say that ?

Mr. OLIVER, No, I do not say that. I am not responsible for what this writer heard.

Subtopic:   '339 COMMONS
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July 21, 1904


Department of Agriculture,

Ministers's Office,

Ottawa, April 20th, 1901.

Subtopic:   SYDNEY FISHER.
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July 20, 1904


What do you pay for eggs ?

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July 13, 1904


May I be permitted to add a word to what has been so eloquently said by the leader of the govern-

ment, and by the leader of the opposition, on this sad occasion. The late Mr. McIntosh entered public life as the representative of the county which I now have the honour to represent in this House. I knew him personally for many years, and I can say that he wa's an honest and noble-hearted man, who possessed to a remarkable degree the confidence of all nationalities and of all political parties Jn the eastern townships. Beloved by those who knew him most intimately and respected by all in that section of the country, his public and private life will long be remembered as worthy of emulation by those who follow him.

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June 24, 1904

Mr. RUFUS POPE (Compton).

Mr. Speaker, I listened with some attention to the little member for Hants (Mr. Russell) in his valedictory to this House and I could not help but remember the many discussions that have taken place in this House and resolutions moved by the hon. Post-nfaster General in days gone by pointing out what a vicious sin it was that men should sit in this House with commissions in their pockets. I suppose this principle, like all the principles and professions of hon. gentlemen opposite, has gone to the great scrap pit. The little man from Hants referred to the fact that my hon. friend from North Victoria (Mr. Hughes) had a free pass to South Africa. As to that X do not know, tout I do know that the hon. gentleman, according to his own confession, anticipates that he has a free pass to a position for life in the province down by the sea. We sent down there a short time ago what we used to style the Goliath of this House, the member for Guysboro and now, in order that these two gentlemen may average up, we are sending the Banty Tim of this House. That hon. gentleman has been the faithful servant of the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and the party to which he belongs. He has never failed to do any work of a character that some legal men might hesitate in doing. We remember him during the election trials and since ' pettifogger ' is the proper word to use, I say that I do not think that any more miserable specimen of the breed whatever it is was ever exhibited either in parliament or the committees of this House than we had in the little member for Hants at that time. He has taken special pains to deal with the word ' foreigner.' What an endorsation for the right hon. Prime Minister and what weight it will have in the country when it is known that the use of that word has been justified by one of the members of this House with a commission in his pocket. The hon. gentleman spent half an hour in discussing the word ' foreigner.' He ceased, but 'Hansard ' remains just the same ; there is the word, the insult has been given, and though the right hon. Prime Minister down to the smallest follower on his side of the House might spend as many hours and days as they liked in trying to explain it, the word ' foreigner ' is on the record of ' Hansard ' untouched and there it remains as an evidenc. of the true heart feeling of the right hon. gentleman when he rose upon that occasion. Why Sir, the little man from Hants stated, as others have also stated that the proposal of Lord Dundonald involved an expend) ture of immense sums of money-the newspapers have stated so-and that consequently it could not be adopted by this country. It was said that the hon. Minister of Militia (Sir Frederick Borden) had intimated that there were some things in the report that could not be adopted by Canada. I think it is only just that the representatives of the people should see that report and judge for themselves. Business men and railway corporations have reports made by their managers, but they are not always accepted by any means. We see in England a war commission recently reporting in favour of conscription but the government do not adopt the report.

But there was no reason why it should not be made public, and, Sir, we ought to know what was in these reports. We had an expert here, a man of high character, a soldier, a commander who had the endorsation of the Minister of Militia himself, until this difficulty arose. Only a year ago the Minister of Militia stated that we had an officer equal if not superior to any who had preceded him. Under these circumstances I say that we, the people of Canada having a servant-as they chose to call him.- and that servant making a report to the Minister of Militia upon the public defence of Canada, that report should be placed upon the table of this House. Whatever our deficiencies are we should know them and as a nation always be prepared to strengthen any weakness in our defences, let the cost be what it may. I can readily understand that Lord Dundonald in making plans for the defence of a country 4,000 miles long, with all its sea coast and rivers and long line of protection against the United States a foreign nation, would advise measures that would be covered not by the expenditure of a year, or two years or three years but of many years, and I say we, the representatives of the people of Canada, have a right to see and understand what he was proposing. The Minister of Militia last night took special pains to take a very wide scope. He took special pains also to offer very little support to the Minister of Agriculture in the position he had taken. It is quite true that speaking the other day he endorsed the minister. A man often does things on the impulse of the moment which he afterwards regrets, and as I listened to the Minister of Militia last night, I came to the conclusion that he regretted the action he had taken a few days ago, in endorsing body and soul the Minister of Agriculture for his action. He went so far as to tell us that he thought that if he had been at home instead of being away from home, this difficulty would not have arisen. There was only, one man to interfere when he was away and to create difficulty, the Minister of Agriculture who was acting in his stead. No severer castigation has been offered to the Minister of Agriculture than was administered by the Minister of Militia in that very short statement. These difficulties commenced with the advent of this govern-

ment to power. The right hon. the Prime Minister was warned by many of us, and I can remember on two or three occasions, doing my best to impress him with the trouble that would ensue if he followed out the spoils system by dismissing good servants to make places for political friends and driving the political knife into every one for that purpose. To-day we find the smallest Minister of the Crown, coming I regret to say from the section of country from which I come, carrying out the same system. We have had militia affairs in that country as long as in any portion of Canada but this is the first we have ever heard about the interference of politicians in regard to the formation of our militia. Last year the forces in Compton were reorganized and converted in Mounted. Rifles, just as they were in Missisquoi, Brome and Shefford. There was no interference there because there was no member who felt that lie had a mandate from his electors to select particular officers. The appointments went through the proper channels, and the result was that when the regiment went into camp in June every officer was in his place, the regiment was up to the full establishment permitted by law and there has been no trouble. Two-thirds of the militia men of the eastern townships and two-thirds of the officers are Conservatives. That is the history of the militia there, and history stands behind that statement. The country was originally settled by elements that came in from the United States-; some of them empire loyalists, and others American traders who came there to better their position. In 1849 the question of annexation arose, and we had two parties, the Loyalists on one side and the American trailers on the other. Following that we had Confederation and the Conservative party were the loyal party of the eastern townships, who contended for the preservation of British rights and the flag of Great Britain, on the northern half of this hemisphere at that time. Consequently when the militia was established shortly after Confederation this militia force was composed very largely of Conservative officers and men. I do not say there has not been some change but it has been a very small change, because in our section of the country the French Canadian element has not gone largely into the militia, and the overflow from the other parts of the province of Quebec have settled the back regions of those counties and you have to-day but a small proportion of English and the remnants of the same people who came there years ago and fought that battle and are still fighting it out.

When the hon. gentleman ' refers to Mr. Baker and his family his reasons for doing it are well understood. Mr. Speaker, you have not heard anybody refer to the Fisher family in the eastern townships as being great soldiers. Oh no, they prefer to keep behind a fortress which they themselves own Mr. POPE.

and control by a servile following which cannot be penetrated. The Minister of Agriculture has made his choice and has taken a family from which to select officers. He has selected the family' of Milti-mores, and we find Miltimore No. 1, Milti-more No. 2, and Miltimore No. 3. He has a right to take these men if he sees fit, and to call them his proper representatives as an eastern township family. We find Clifford Miltimore put forward as a fit and proper person for a position of command. I find this record in regard to him :

I, undersigned, John J. Barker, of the village of Cowansville, in the district of Bedford, printer and publisher, do hereby solemnly declare :

1. That I am a resident of Cowansville, in the county of Missisquoi, in the district of Bedford, and a duly qualified elector of said county.

2. I was present at the meeting of the municipal council of Cowansville when the preparation of the voters' lists was in progress, and I made application to the said council to have the name of Clifford Miltimore struck therefrom, as I believed he had not the legal qualifications required by the law. He had previously been a tenant within the corporation but had ceased to occupy the premises which had been leased by him.

He resisted the application to have his name struck off and asserted that he was otherwise qualified as having his domicile within the munieipa.! iTy, and in support of that pretension made oath that he was so qualified and therefore entitled tb have his name retained.

The Council being guided by the statement so made by him under oath retained his name upon the list.

Knowing the circumstances, X was impelled to petition one of ittae judges of the Superior Court to strike his name off. The petition was resisted 'and after proof his name was struck off the voters' list by the judge.

Here is the judgment of the judge, striking his name off that list, showing conclusively that this man took an oath that was false. That is his first recommendation. I presume, for preferment. I know Mr. Pic-kel very well, and I have no fear of his reputation, handled as it may be by the Minister of Agriculture, being tarnished. He stands in his community respected and admired by' every one. The official positions he fills as mayor of his town and warden of his county are a sufficient endorsation of the man without any statement on my part. We can well understand that a man of that character was not very ambitious, as Colonel Smart's letters and others here show, or very anxious to join the militia. But the young men of that community said, if you can get L>r. Pickel to head this squadron, it will be a great success. Consequently Colonel Smart tried to get Dr. Pickel, and with what result we will see. Now, Sir. I find the Minister of Agriculture on page 5391 of the revised 1 Hansard ' saying : . I took no exception to this. But I found a recommendation in regard to the neighbour-

hood of Sweetsburg, which, I .confess, surprised me, and to which I did-take exception.

I must premise my explanation in regard to this matter by saying that Senator Baker of Sweetsburg, is the acknowledged and active leader of the Conservatives of that district. .

Certainly, Mr. Speaker, Senator Baker Is an active leader, as the Minister of Agriculture chooses to describe him, of that district, an old and respected citizen of that district, and also a lawyer ; and he had the suit against Mr. MeCorkill. the pet of the Minister of Agriculture, who was the provincial treasurer at Quebec and brought that suit to a conclusion; and Mr. Mc-Corkili is ready to throw up the sponge and declare the corruption took place in his election. That is where the sore spot is. The history of the election of Mr. MeCorkill shows that everything known to chicanery in elections was used in it. It was one of the most corrupt, I am told by the very best authority, and the very best proof that that authority is good is the fact that Mr. MeCorkill has thrown up the sponge. That is the sore spot in regard to the Baker family. We all understand why the Minister of Agriculture feels so tender and waxes so furious when he thinks of the town of Sweetsburg and even of Cowans-ville, which is only a couple of miles from it. That district haunts him night and day, ever since the time of the Quebec election. It will haunt him more and more in the future. It will be,a nightmare for bim so long as he remains in public life. He goes on to say :

I found this list of proposed names for the staff of the neighbourhood of Sweetsburg. First, Mr. John M. Gibson, a nephew of Senator Baker, and talked of as a possible Conservative candidate in the constituency of Missisquoi, to be third in command of that Tegiment.

Well, Sir, that is not a bad endorsation for this man.

Dr. Pickel, one of the strongest Conservative workers of the neighbourhood and a family connection of Senator Baker

This, I suppose, is nearer the truth than the hon. gentleman has been for a long time, because Dr. Pickel is a cousin of a boy who married Senator Baker's daughter. There is a semblance of truth in that statement, and I congratulate the lion. Minister of Agriculture before this House and before the press of Canada on having made one statement that has a grain of truth in it:

Dr. Pickel, one of the strongest Conservative workers of the neighbourhood and a family connection of Senator Baker, to be major in command of the squadron which, though gazetted for Adamsville, was to be changed to Sweetsburg to suit his convenience. Mr. G. H. Baker, son of Senator Baker, to be senior captain of the said squadron. Mr. Thomas R. Pickel. son-in-law of Senator Baker, to he the junior captain of the said

squadron. Then there were the names of two gentlemen, Messrs. Steacie and Reynolds of Montreal to be lieutenants. And down at the bottom of the list Mr. Thomas F. Cotton, * Liberal, son-in-law of the above-mentioned John M. Gibson, and grand nephew of Senator Baker.

I knew you would not find a Liberal very nearly related to Senator Baker. The Minister of Agriculture says : But I have

included some Conservatives and I have included some Liberals. Mr. Speaker, what is the principle upon which our militia force should be governed ? Is it the principle of selecting some Conservatives and some Liberals ? No, Sir, it is the principle of taking men irrespective of party. That is no defence on the floor of parliament. It may perhaps be satisfactory on the hustings ; but it is no argument for a minister of the Crown to come here and tell us that cheap sort of thing, that the fact that there were some Liberals and, some Conservatives vindicates him for interfering politically with the formation of this regiment. The moment he conveys that knowledge, that moment he confesses judgment on the resolution of the hon. leader of the opposition. There Is no avoiding it. Sir, In any court of justice, he would have received such sentence as the crime demanded.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we will proceed. We find the Minister of Agriculture saying this :

The position which I took then, and which I take to-day, is this : Colonel Smart was a


Not a foreigner, Mr. Speaker, only a stranger-

-going into the district of Bedford to organize this regiment. He appears to have got into the hands of certain people out there.

Any one going to Sweetsburg and Cowans-ville will get into the hands of certain people if he wants to meet the best people of that district ; and that gentleman got into these same hands.

He told mer himself that he had no political intentions. I fully accept that statement.

There is where the difficulty is, Mr. Speaker. If he had had some political intentions, and these .had squared with the ideas of the Minister of Agriculture, we would never have heard one word about this question.

I believe Colonel Smart, in making the statement that he had no political intentions, made a statement which was absolutely accurate and truthful.

Now, Sir, what more does anybody want for a colonel going into that district to form a militia corps, than that he went there free from political intentions ? If that is not the very best reason why the hon. Minister of Agriculture should have his nose out of the matter and gone on plant-


5527 COMMONS ' 5528

ing tux-nips, lxoeing corn and spreading manure and keeping strictly to the management of his own affairs, I do not know what is. He says again :

Hon. gentlemen opposite are very solicitous against political interference. They do not condemn me at all, Sir, because I asked that Mr. Russell, a well-known Liberal, should he removed from the place of major of another squadron and that he should be replaced by a well-known Conservative.

Well, I do object. I object just as much against the removal of Mr. Bussell as against The removal of Dr. Picket It is a great principle we are fighting for. If the integrity of the militia is to amount to anything, if it is to have any strength as a fighting force in the defence of the country, it must be non-political and its officers must be selected from the very best men available.

I said a few moments ago that the hon. gentleman said Colonel Smart's action was nonpolitical. I acquit Colonel Smart, hut, as I said a few .moments ago, I cannot refrain from saying again that although Colonel Smart's intentions were not political, his actions were intensely political.

Sir, either Colonel Smart went there as a politician or he was not. If he went there, not as a politician, but purely and simply to organize the regiment regardless of politics, then the statement of the Minister of Agriculture is one unworthy of a gentleman occupying his position. The position taken by the govex-nment and the minister opens the door wide to every politician in Canada to interfere in our militia. The minister says :

In suggesting the name of Mr. Adams, under the circumstances, was I interfering politically ?

I think he was.

No, I was interfering simply in a common-sense way.

Mr. Speaker, that thing is unknown to the hon. gentleman. It is foreign to him.

I was interfering simply in a common-sense way in the organization of the new regiment. I grant fully, and no man is more prepared to admit it ^ than I am, that on purely military qualifications the military experts at the command of the government ought to rule.

I want to know, Sir, what higher duty can a military expert have to perform than the selection of the officers, upon whose intelligence the lives of the men under him must depend. You may make a mistake in the construction of a fort, but the first basis of a military force is the intelligence of its officers, and the hon. gentleman has pleaded guilty a dozen times over to his interfering politically in their selection. Then the minister went on :

When it comes to matters connected with the affairs of this country ; when it comes to matters involving local knowledge of local conditions and knowledge of the people of Canada-

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