July 20, 1917

CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

On a question of privilege, the hon. member can only deny, as he has done so elaborately in this case, certain statements made by the right hon. the Prime Minister. The hon. member -should not try the case ex-parte, which is what he now purposes.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

In the first place, this

report was sent for 'by m-y hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who wrote to my hon. friefid the Minister of Marine and Fisheries-who was then Premier of New Brunswick-and asked him to hurry along these reports, telling him they proposed to get me before I could get a copy of the documents. The Minister of Marine knew there was accompanying this report, and had in his possession at that time, an official document from the counsel of the Provincial Government telling him that this report was false.

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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Does the hon. gentleman

say it was an official document?

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LIB
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

If it was not it was an informative document anyway, and it told the Prime Minister that the report was false. It told my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries that in regard to the $250,000 of bonds there was not a particle of evidence to support it. Whether it was official or unofficial, I care not. It gave the information to my hon. friend that the report was false, yet he sent it here to the present Minister of Trade and Commerce to act upon it, and the Minister of Labour was put up to act upon it and to thrust me from the Government upon a report which the Provincial Government's own counsel told him was false. Have I not the right to read that letter? I have it before me, certified under the hand of the Clerk of the House, and I wish to read it. The letter reads:

Powell & Harrison, St. John, N.B.,

Barrister, Solicitors, March 31/09.

Notaries, etc.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I think that my hon. friend has already far exceeded his right on a question of privilege. His complaint, as I understand it, was with regard to myself, in two respects: one, that I had' suggested that an inquiry had been denied, and the other that I had attributed to him language stronger than that which had been used by the Minister of Public Works with respect to Mr. Justice Galt. I must confess my own. belief that about two-thirds of what my hon. friend has already alleged is altogether outside the question of privilege upon which he undertook to address the House. If we are to have a debate upon the merits of Mr. Justice Landry's report, that is one thing; if we

are to have an explanation from my hon. friend on the matter of privilege which he desires to bring to the attention of the House, that is quite another thing. In the first case, my hon. friend is quite at liberty to go ahead and read letters or discuss the report to the greatest possible extent, with the understanding that the right of reply be admitted. In the other case, 1 submit that he has already gone much further than he has any right to go under the rules of this House.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I have no objection whatever to the fullest reply. I think it is only fair to public men that these matters should be dealt with.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

If we are to have a discussion of that, I suggest, with all deference to my hon. friend, that we appoint a day for that purpose. I will then move the House into Committee of Supply and we shall have a discussion on the subject. But it is not desirable to do that in contravention of the rules of the House upon a question of privilege that does not bring the matter into debate.

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LIB
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Does the hon. member say that the letter concerns his statement, that he had referred merely to the evidence and not to the commissioner? If so, there can be no objection to his reading the letter. The Prime Minister has pointed out the difficulty that I had in mind all the while. While I desire that on a question of privilege the hon. gentleman shall have the widest opportunity of making his defence, I do think that there must he some limitation,

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, what the letter will show. The letter will concern my statement that I was thoroughly justified in criticising Mr. Justice Landry, because the statement of the Commissioners that $250,000 had been guaranteed without legislative authority was absolutely false.

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Will the hon. member read that portion of the letter?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Yes. This is a letter

dated March 31, 1909, addressed by H. A. Powell, of Powell and Harrison, barristers, etc., to Hon. J. D. Hazen, Attorney-General, Fredericton.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Whether the letter does or does not concern what my hon.

friend hag stated, I cannot see that it has the slightest relevance. Whether Mr. Justice Landry's report is correct or incorrect is not the question of privilege that the hon. gentleman was raising. He raised the question of privilege that I, in characterizing his criticism of Mr. Justice Landry and his report, had gone further than the facts warranted when I compared his criticism against Mr. Justice Landry with the criticism of the Minister of Public Works against Mr. Justice Galt. My hon. friend is perfectly at liberty to go into that; he is also at liberty to show that what I said with regard to the inquiry on that occasion was not justified. These are the points to be brought to the attention of the House, and no others.

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The SPEAKER:

The Prime Minister has raised a point of order, which I have no doubt in my mind is well taken:

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I feel that I have been treated very unfairly; therefore I must insist upon reading the letter. Of course, I respect Your Honour's ruling, but I shall leave it to the good judgment of the House-

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CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

I rule that the hon. gentleman cannot read the letter. I do so as the point of order has been Taised.

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LIB
CON

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Quite so. I rule that the hon. member cannot proceed to read the letter.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Before the point is put to the House, I wtnt the House to understand clearly what the point is.

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July 20, 1917