It is not possible, to my
mind, for an hon. minister of the Crown to be James Murdock at one moment, in one part of the conversation, and to be the Minister of Labour in the other; it is impossible for him to entirely dissociate himself from one character or the other on the spur of the moment just as he might see fit to do. That, Mr. Speaker, is not possible. The rule goes this far, and it has been cited over and over again: It is if he gets information as a
minister of the Crown; and he was acting there, with Mr. Gordon present, as a minister of the Crown, on official business, and he got information in that conversation. He is there well within the rule, and if that was the only defence that he was setting up, that he got his information from Mr. Gordon, there would be ample and sufficient in that to have him convicted of what I have charged him with, namely, of making use of information that he received as a cabinet minister to his own advantage. In the exact words in which I have charged him, it has been admitted and proved by both Mr. Gordon and the minister that he got that information on that occasion.
Now, the oath goes considerably further than the chairman of the committee would have the House understand. In the very first clause of the oath I read:
You will serve His Majesty truly and faithfully in the Place of His Council in this His Majesty's Dominion of Canada, you will keep close and secret all such matters as shall be treated, debated and resolved on in Privy Council, without publishing or disclosing the same or any part thereof, by Word, Writing, or any otherwise-
It is not necessary for the Minister of Labour to use words in order to violate his oath. It is not necessary for him to disclose these matters in writing, but if his acts and conduct, as have been shown in this case, disclose the fact that he got his information in that way, and acted upon it, it is just as much a violation of his oath of office as if he had disclosed it by word or by writing. He must not do it in "any otherwise", and I submit that after I have dealt with the offence more fully, this House will come to the conclusion-it cannot well come to any other conclusion-that by his acts and by his conduct, apart altogether from anything he has said, he has disclosed the source of his information, and that he has acted upon that information.
It is singular and worthy of remark that after all the attempts at defence that the hon. minister made on the various occasions in the House and committee, he never mentioned, and the committee never heard, of a conversation with Mr. Gordon, the Deputy Speaker, or of the minister acting upon any conversation with him, until the morning after Mr. Daly, the man from Toronto, died. You could not call Mr. Daly. It never was mentioned before, but the next morning after Mr. Daly was dead this evidence was given. It is rather a remarkable feature, to say the least.
Now then, let me come down to the question of the facts, and I want the House to see that the question of fact is proven, as I have said before, right up to the hilt. At the risk of being somewhat tedious, I shall have to take the members of the committee through the various stages, but I shall do it as hurriedly as I can. If hon. members will look at Hansard of May 22nd, they will see what these statements of fact were.
Fact No. 1. That the Home Bank on the 14th day of August, 1923 held a meeting of its directors in Toronto, when it was made evident that the bank must fail unless it received assistance, and this position apparently was known for some time before.
Now if hon. gentlemen will refer to the evidence that was given in this case, they will find on pages 33, 34, 47, 48, 49, and on following pages, that the directors, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Gough, and Mr. Wood all three of them, swore positively and distinctly that on the 10th of August and for some days prior to their visit to Ottawa they knew the condition of the bank. They knew that it had to have help or it would go to the wall, and they had received a written report to that effect, advising them to bring the matter before the government. That is fact No. 1. Now can anybody say that that fact is not proven? I need not argue that further.
Fact No. 2. On the same day, about ten or eleven o'clock at night, certain directors of the Home Bank having proceeded to Ottawa by order of its directorate, to consult the government with regard to obtaining assistance, one or more of the directors met the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) and other members of the cabinet at the
Mr. Murdock and Home Bank
Prime Minister's house, when the disclosure of the bank's affairs was made in such a manner and to such a fearful purpose as to leave the Prime Minister aghast, and under the impression that if demands were made upon the bank within the next few days the bank could not meet them; and assistance was positively and absolutely refused'-on which date the government became fully aware of the serious financial condition of the bank, and on that date the members of the government became aware by the statement of the directors themselves as to what the financial condition of the bank was. There was no pleading want of knowledge after that.
I need only add that that statement of fact is entirely borne out by the evidence of the Prime Minister himself. I can read his evidence, if anybody desires it read. In his evidence the Prime Minister stated that, by arrangement made with the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham), he met Mr. Stewart, the bank director, with the hon. Minister of Railways and the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) at the Prime Minister's house, and there they discussed the affairs of the bank, and to use the Prime Minister's own words, the disclosure "left him aghast," and under the impression that if demands were made upon the bank within the next day or two it must fail. Now is that fact proven? I undertook to prove fact No. 2. Can anybody say that it has not been proven-for that is what somebody must say in order to arrive at what they are asked to arrive at here.
(3) On the following day, the 15th of August, the cabinet held a meeting having all this knowledge before it, which was doubtless fully discussed. I do not think I need even to state that undoubtedly such an important matter ,is this would be fully discussed. That the cabinet meeting was held there is no doubt whatever. It is sworn to by the Prime Minister himself, sworn to by Mr. Graham, sworn to by Mr. Robb, and is admitted by Mr. Murdock himself. Now, there is the fact proven, as I said before, right up to the hilt.
(4) Not obtaining assistance from the government the directors and the Acting Minister of Finance proceeded to Montreal on the evening of the same day, the 15th August, and consulted financial interests there for the purpose of obtaining help. The interests consulted in Montreal could not give answer until the following morning, the 16th of August, and when they did so, no help being forthcoming, the directors returned to Toronto, and I presume the Acting Minister of Finance returned to Ottawa. Is there any controversy about that?
Mj\ MACKENZIE KING: In the inference which my hon. friend is seeking to draw, does he allege that the cabinet meeting was the result of the meeting held at my house the night before or in any way related to it?