April 14, 1909

CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

This is a question with regard to which we have had a good deal of experience in this House. It has been said that a charge to be made against a member of parliament, must be such as to affect the seat of the member in the House, that if he is convicted of it he is to be turned out of the House and that it is a sufficient objection to a charge against a member to say that it does not affect his seat. Any charge made must be made on the personal responsibility of a member. We hear a good deal about personal responsibility. It is a thing of the past. There is no penalty imposed upon a member of parliament for making a charge against another, none except a feeling in the House against a party making a charge which he cannot prove. He is put into what, in the old country, is called Coventry. No member of the House associates with him for making a false charge, but there is no penalty. Look at the position in a case of this kind. There is no charge in the affidavit, which, even if it were 1907, would affect the party's seat in the House

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

If this took place in 1907 I could not sit in the House.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

You were acting i as an attorney in 1905?

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LIB
LIB
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

Suppose it is | proven up to the hilt that you made an ar' rangement with this contractor and with ' the government of the country by which he 1 was to get an extra price and you divide the money; you were not a member of the House at that time. Had you not a right to make that arrangement with the contractor?

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LIB
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

It might have been wrong or anything else, but it is nothing upon which a charge might be made against a member of parliament which might affect his seat in the House. The charge, if the other part of the affidavit is true, is something that we have the right to inquire into and which we ought to have the right to inquire if any one, solicitor or contractor, made an arrangement by which a certain sum of money was filched out of the public treasury for what purpose we know not. We have the right to inquire into it, and we have the right to inquire who the individuals were who benefited by it, even if one of those individuals at the present time is the Minister of Public Works. If he was not the Minister of Public Works at the time

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LIB
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

In 1905; have we not the right to inquire into it? Are we going to abridge and restrict the rights of this parliament because it may be said that something is offensive to a member of parliament? The idea of urging rule 19 against the introduction of an affidavit of this kind is absurd. The rule says:

Nor use offensive words against either House, or against any member thereof.

It is not an offensive word against a member of the House. Even if everything is true that is in the affidavit it does not come within the description of language contained in the rule. ' Offensive words ' means statements made in the House reflecting upon the character or honour of a member of parliament. This does not come within that category at all. This is a childish objection to the introduction of the affidavit which has been repeated in the House again and again. The minister says that the affidavit which was read in the city of St. John bore the date 1907, and that it was a reflection on him as a minister at the time because he was then the minister. The correction has been made again and again. It is childsh; it is boyish; it is babyish! The affidavit has been corrected.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

It may sound all right to my hon. friend, but I would not think it all right.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

But the affidavit has been corrected. It was corrected on the floor of the House in which it was read.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

No, Sir, and it was published broadcast throughout Canada.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

I will take the statement of the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Daniel), who says he was there, and on his honour states that it was 1905 that was mentioned.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Does the hon. gentleman state that he was there?

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CON
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

He has said that he was there over and over again.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I have the statement of half a dozen people who were there and it was read 1907.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHN HAGGART.

Talk about the rules of the House! My hon. friend gets up and says that he was "there and the Minister of Public Works gets up and questions the accuracy of his statement.

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LIB

James Kirkpatrick Kerr (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

The statement of the hon. gentleman from St. John will have to be accepted.

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April 14, 1909