I want to tell him that the representative of the riding of South Renfrew drew his sessional indemnity up to the 31st day of December, and I presume that during that period the county may have been fairly regarded as being represented.
Does the hon. gentleman deny that the member for South Renfrew drew his sessional indemnity up to the 31st day of December? Now, my non. friend has used some strong expressions in the course of his remarks. He has told us that the riding of South Renfrew has been gagged, and he has posed as the champion of common decency and right. Does he know that his own leader sat for a whole session in parliament, when the government he supported denied this city the right to be represented here? Does he know that he sat in parliament during .aill * that time and never lifted up his voice 'against what he now describes ias ian outrage ? My hon.
friend will perhaps remember that. He has expressed the aspiration that this government shall be an improvement upon its predecessor. I am sure that we would deserve to be turned out of office instantly if we do not come up to that standard; and I venture to think we will improve on it to such an extent that the people of this country will realize the distinction without any mental effort whatever.
It will be interesting, as my hon. friend has provoked this discussion, to go into the record of the late government with regard to this matter. It would take up too much time to go into all the instances in which the time during which constituencies were not represented in this House was greater than it is at present, but I may give a few of the constituencies in which the time that elapsed between the issue of the Speaker's warrant and the election was twice as long as in this case. I will begin with just a few illustrations and ask my hon. friend, as I go on, what he thinks of the efforts at gagging allowed by his leader to take place on those occasions. My hon. friend has spoken of my hon. colleague the Minister of Customs (Mr. Reid) sitting dumb in his seat. May I ask my hon. friend a very pertinent question? Why did he sit dumb in his seat when those outrages, to which I am going to allude, occurred?
Let me tell my hon. friend. There was the case of Beauce in which the Speaker's warrant was issued
on the 30th of August, 1911, and the writ on the 10th December, 1911, leaving the representation vacant during a period of 111 days. Then there was St. James division, Montreal, where the warrant was issued on the 30th August, 1901, and the writ on the 19th December, 1901, leaving the representation of that constituency vacant during 111 days. There was also the riding of Addington, for which the warrant issued the 30th August and the writ on the 19th December, 1901-a period of 111 days. In the constituency of L'Islet the warrant was issued on the 30th August, 1901, and the writ on the 19th December, 1901-a period of 111 days. For the election in the county of Mont-magny the warrant was issued on the 27th May, 1908, and no writ was issued before dissolution. Take the case of Saskatchewan, where Mr. Lament resigned on the 5th September, 1905, the warrant was issued the 20th December, 1905. and the writ on the 16th January, 1905-a period of 118 days. Then there was the constituency of Assiniboia West. Mr. Scott resigned on the 29th August, 1905, the Speaker's warrant was issued on the 7th September,
1905, and the writ on the 16th January,
1906, a period of 119 days. I did not hear the eloquent voice of my hon. friend raised in any of these cases to denounce the government for the outrage of delaying the issue of the writs such a protracted period.
Perhaps then my hon. friend will tell us now wn-at he thinks of these delays, I would like to state here that from the 7th of December last until the 10th of January this House was not in session as the session was adjourned during that interval. That is a point my.hon. friend seems unfortunately to have overlooked. Therefore, if his logic is to' be accepted, there has only been a vacancy since the 10th of January last. I do not know whether I make the point clear to my hon. friend. Take another case, that of Vancouver, in which Mr. Mclnnes resigned on the 12th of May, 1900. The Speaker's warrant was issued on the 21st of May, 1900, and no writ was issued before dissolution. Thus in this case a period of 141 days elapsed during which that constituency was not represented. In the case of North Grey, Mr. Horsey, its former representative died in July, 1902, the Speaker's warrant was issued the 6th September, 1902, and the writ on the 31st January, 1902-a period of 147 days. There is fur-Mr. BORDEN. -
ther the case of the city ol London. Mr. Hyman, its former representative, resigned on the 11th of April, 1907, the Speaker's warrant was issued on the 20th of April, 1907, and the writ on the 29th of October, 1907-a period of 157 days. My hon. friend (Mr. Clarke, Essex) was in the House on that occasion and the House was in session. Perhaps he will be kind enough to tell us what he thinks of that long delay. In York, New Brunswick, the election was voided on the 11th of June, 1901, the warrant was issued on the 21st of June, 1901, and the writ on the 5th of December, 1901 -a period of 167 days. In North Simcoe, its former representative (Mr. McCarthy) died on the 11th of May, 1898, the Speaker's warrant was issued on the 4th of June, 1898, and the writ on the 19th of November, 1898, a period of 168 days. In the case of Lisgar, in which the election of Mr. Richardson was declared void, the writ was issued on the 20th of July, 1901, the Speaker's warrant on the 7th of August,
1901, and the writ on the 27th of January,
1902, a period of 173 days. In Durham West, in which the election of Mr. Thornton was annulled, the Speaker's warrant was issued on the 21st of June, 1901, and the writ on the 19th of December, 1901, a period of 181 days. Take the case of Bagot county, its former representative, Mr. Dupont, died the 12th of March, 1898, the Speaker's warrant was issued on 'the 20th of April, 1898, and his writ on the 22nd of November 1898, a period of 216 days. In West Huron, its representative, Mr. Cameron, was appointed Lieutenant Governor on the 30th of May, 1898, the Speaker's warrant was issued on the 4th of June, 1898, and his writ on the 31st of January, 1899, a period of 241 days. In West Hastings, Mr. Corby resigned the 1st of April, 1901, the Speaker's warrant was issued on the 3rd of April, 1901, and the writ on the 19th of December, 1901, a period of 260 days. In the case of Winnipeg, Mr. Jamieson died the 21st of February, 1899, the Speaker's warrant was issued on the 29th of March, 1899, and his writ on the 2nd of January, 1900, a period of 279 days. In the -case of St. James Division of Montreal, the election of Mr. Brunet was annulled on the 11th of March, 1903, the Speaker's warrant was issued the 3rd of April, 1903, and his writ the 27th of January, 1904, a period of 299 days.
I think there is only one conclusion at which this House can arrive and that is that my hon. friend must have sat in this House during the period in which these delays in the representation of these constituencies took place without knowing anything -about them, because otherwise his voice would have been raised, as the champion of decency and right to prevent
these constituencies being gagged as he now declares they were.
Let us take one other little illustration for the benefit of my hon. friend. He -might be good enough perhaps to convey it to the gentleman who is the Liberal candidate in South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) because that gentleman was responsible for the very delay to which I am going to refer as he was a member of the Ontario government at that very time. I will give him some -dates, if his nervous system will stand it, although, I am sure, it will produce a most profound shock.
The Ontario general election took place on the 29th May, 1902. Mr. Thomas W. Munroe was elected for North Renfrew-the adjoining riding to the one under discussion-by a majority of 459. He died two days afterwards, on the 31st of May, 1902. The Speaker informed the legislature on the 23rd of March, 1903, that a warrant for the writ had issued. But the Prime Minister of the government of Ontario-Mr. Graham being a member of that government-would not permit the writ to issue, and rejected Mr. Matheson's motion for a writ on the 31st March, 1903. There was a letter from Mr.-now Sir James-Whitney, to the Premier on the 6th November, 1903, and the election took place on the 26th December, 1903, exactly 18 months and 26 days after the vacancy occurred.
If the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Borden) will allow me, I think he is mistaken in saying that hon. Mr. Graham was a member of the Ontario government at that time. I think the right hon. gentleman ought to point out, too, that all this occurred during the moribund days of a thirty-year old government, and also that the electors severely censured them.
Some of these instances to which I am referring occurred when the late Dominion administration was moribund;-I am bound to admit that they have that excuse, whatever it may be worth. I was under the impression that Mr. Graham was a member of the government; but I withdraw that. But, I take it, he was a member of the House, and of course his voice was heard in indignant protest at the delay caused by the government. I suppose the hon. gentleman (Mr. Clarke, Essex) can give me that assurance. Cannot he? (after a pause) I am awaiting assurance from my hon. friend that Mr. Graham's voice was heard in indignant protest against this.
I do not give the hon. gentleman credit for either omnipotence or 714
omniscience-certainly not for omniscience in view of some of the statements he has made this afternoon. Let us look for a moment at the actual facts of the case. My hon. friend seems inclined to challenge the statements I made with regard to the matter. I will give him the information that has been furnished me from official sources. The following is a statement showing when the lists for the several townships, etc., came into force:-
Brougham township Sept. 30, 1911.
MoNab township Sept. 30,1911.
Bagot and Blythfield township ..Oct. 31, 1911.
Adamston township Nov. 7, 1911.
Griffith and Matawatchan townships Nov. 10, 1911.Horton township
The lists for Sherwood township were irregular, and, if I understand it, will have to be sent back to the judge; and it is a little difficult at present to say at what date they can be regarded as being in force. From the list I have given the hon. gentleman the House will see that, with the exception of two or three of the townships of South Renfrew, new lists were ready to be used if a little delay could be had. It was expected that all the lists could be used but, on account of the unfortunate error made in one township to which I have alluded, it may not be possible to carry out' that purpose in its entirety. A further consideration is that many of the men in the riding are absent and are working in parts of the country that are very inaccessible at the present time; and it might be more desirable and convenient, so far as they are concerned, that the election should take place a little later in the winter. However that may be, I hope we shall be able, during the present week, to give consideration to the date at which this election should be held. I had not all the information on the former occasion of the discussion of this matter, but I think that I have all the information now [DOT]except in regard to the one township indicated. If it had been possible to hold a meeting of the council to-day, there might have been an opportunity to consider the matter then. I hope it may be considered before the end of the present week.
Mr. Speaker, it is recognized as an indication of a poor defence in any case when resort has to be had to abuse of the plaintiff's
attorney. That is exactly what my right hon. friend (Mr. Borden) has been doing. Nor is it any better to appeal to the tu quo-que argument, but that is the only defence that he has been able to bring forward on the present occasion except in one thing to which I will refer in a moment. He has stated that the late government were very much to blame in not holding the election as soon as the warrant of the Speaker was issued. But in any of the cases which he has mentioned, with the exception of perhaps one or two, I do not remember that any complaint was made by any member of the then opposition that the writ, was not issued. My hon. friend knows sometimes vacancies have taken place at times when neither one side nor the other is anxious to have an election. He has cited the case of the vacancy that took place last session. The election did not take place; and for good reasons. The hon. gentleman did not complain at that time, because we were all under the impression that there *would be a general election, and so a by-election was unnecessary. He referred to my own case. I sat here for one whole session as the representative of two constituencies. That is quite true. In 1908 I was elected both for Quebec East and for the city of Ottawa. 1 sat during the session after the election without making my election of one constituency to represent. But I am not aware that my action was challenged toy my friends or by anybody else.
It was challenged the following session. And immediately that was done, I made my choice of one constituency and an election was held in the other. More than that, we were under the impression that the rules of the House of Commons required a member in such circumstances to make his election. But the Speaker ruled that no such rule was in force. And when we undertook to revise the rules of the House, I being then Prime Minister and Chairman of the Committee on Rules, we put in a rule whereby a member elected for two constituencies should be bound to select one of them within a given time after the election. That is the situation so far as my personal record goes. But what is the record of my hon. friend who now occupies the position that I occupied as Prime Minister in carrying out reforms which he advocated wdien sitting on this side of the House? He introduced a Bill while he was leader of the opposition to provide that there should be an automatic issue of the writ the moment the warrant of the Speaker had been issued. He has the opportunity now to bring into effect what he preached in opposition. The lists nave been amended. The issue of the writ is not automatic, but it was up to the right hon. gentleman on the 8th of Decem-Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
ber to issue the writ in order to carry out the rule he .preached wdien on this side. Seven weeks have elapsed and not a thing has been done nor has the writ been issued.
So the tu quoque argument can be turned against my hon. friend.
I say that if I did wrong, I have been castigated for it. But my hon. friend said a moment ago that he would not deserve to be here if he did not do better than we did. Not only has he_ not done better than we did, but he is doing far worse. I will say, however, to his credit, I say frankly to my hon. friend, I believe that if he were to follow his own inclinations, his own better judgment, the writ for South Renfrew would have been issued long ago. I believe that he has received his inspiration from behind, that inspiration he has followed, and followed it not at all to his credit. I believe, nay I know, that if he were to follow the advice, the wish and the pressure of his friends in the riding of South Renfrew, the writ would have been issued before today. But there is some sinister influence at work upon my hon. friend, and up to this day he has not had the courage to resist that evil influence. He has listened to the voice of the serpent, he has not listened to the voice of the true men of South Renfrew. This is not the first time that such an occurrence as we have to-day has taken place. My hon. friend has referred to vacancies which have taken place, in regard to which the government have been dilatory in issuing writs for an election. But there is all the difference in the world between the causes which have been cited by my hon. friend, and the case in hand. The case in hand is quite different. Mr. Low was elected on the 21st of September to be the member for South Renfrew. Mr. Graham, a member of the old government, was defeated. Mr. Low resigned for the well known and avowed object of giving a chance to Mr. Graham to be elected, under those circumstances. This has happened before. Important members of the cabinet have been defeated, members that belonged to a government have lost their seats. But it never happened until this day that, under similar circumstances, the government of the day refused to pave the way for an opponent to come into the House. It has been stated in the press which supports the right hon. gentleman that the government owes us no favour. We ask for no favour in this matter. If the government want to oppose the election of Mr. Graham, they can do so. All we ask is fair play, play the game fair. Let us give a chance to the electors of South Renfrew to elect a representative. If it be the will of the government to oppose Mr. JANUARY 31, 1912
Graham, they can do so. Now I submit to my hon. friend, is that fair? Is it right? Is it playing the game to refuse to issue a writ to fill a vacancy there, in order to prevent Mr. Graham from becoming a member of this House?
I have been in this House a longer time than my right hon. friend, I have sat opposite to Sir John A. Macdonald, and I say to my right hon. friend that when he acts in this way he does not follow the example that wa&.set by Sir John A. Macdonald. In the election of 1882 Sir Richard Cartwright was defeated. Mr. John McMillan was elected for the riding of South Huron. In the month of November, 1883, Mr. John McMillan resigned his seat for the purpose of giving Sir Richard Cartwright an opportunity of entering this House. He resigned on the 23rd of November. On the 30th of November, the House not being in session, the Speaker issued his warrant. The government of that day, presided over by Sir John A. Macdonald, issued a warrant for an election in South Huron, so as to give Sir Richard Cartwright an opportunity to become a member of this House. The writ was issued on the 10th of December, ten days after Mr. Speaker had issued his warrant. The election took place on the 27th of December, and Sir Richard Cartwright was elected by acclamation. There was no opposition offered to him by the government of Sir John A. Miacdoniailid. Sir, times have changed. Sir John A. Macdonald is no longer at the head of the Liberal-Conservative party. I am afraid that his traditions are gone also. If the traditions of fair play which actuated Sir John A Macdonald were still in the minds and hearts of the men who guide his party, this delay would not have taken place, there would have been an election, and Mr. Graham would now be in this House.