April 10, 1928


On the orders of the day:


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

I hesitate to trouble the house

about a personal matter, but on March 29 last, during my absence from the house, in the course of a debate that arose on a motion of the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland), the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton) made certain observations which are reported in Hansard as follows:

Now is there no duty on the part of the government to See that the laws of this Dominion are carried out?

Whereupon the Solicitor General is reported to have remarked:

Before my hon. friend leaves Baldy Robb I would suggest, if he wants to know the reason, that he had better inquire of his own leader.

Whereupon the hon. member for West York replied:

That is a suggestion the hon. gentleman can safely make in the absence of my hon. leader.

The Solicitor General is then reported to have said:

I give you warning.

Subsequently, during a somewhat lengthy discussion towards the close of the debate, the Solicitor General stated that he withdrew nothing that he had said.

I regard these observations as very serious reflections upon myself. If I was in any shameful or discreditable manner associated with this convicted criminal, Baldy Robb, I

Privilege-Mr. Bennett

think I would merit the condemnation of the house. But the facts are these-and I ask my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) to follow me closely: Last summer, after the house had Tisen, I had occasion to visit the Minister of the Interior in his office at Ottawa in connection with a departmental matter. I do not charge my memory as to how exactly the circumstance arose, but during the course of the conversation something was said about Baldy Robb, and I thereupon observed that he had been released some time ago. The Minister of the Interior said that such was not the case-he had not been released-although as a matter -of fact a statement to that effect had appeared in the public press. It transpired that the minister was correct and we had some conversation touching the matter. My recollection is that I stated I would have nothing to do with it, pointing out, however, that I had recently been in Edmonton where I had learned that a large number of people there, who had been associated with the prosecution of Robb, were of the opinion that the ends of justice had been satisfied and the law vindicated by his conviction and imprisonment, and that, having regard to the fact that his wife and family were in poor circumstances, there was no reason why, if the government deemed it a proper course to pursue and such a recommendation should be made to His Excellency, Baldy Robb should not be released on ticket-of-leave. If I remember rightly the Minister of the Interior inquired whether I would have any objection to communicating that fact to the leader of the opposition. I told him I would not. I ascertained that the leader of the opposition was absent from Ottawa, as was also the Solicitor General, and I telephoned the Minister of the Interior to that effect.

I had no communication with the Solicitor General with respect to this matter. I made no recommendations of any kind regarding the release of this convicted criminal; I left the responsibility where it belonged. I did state, however, that I would not criticize any action that might be taken in the circumstances by the law officers of the crown. This view I intimated to the Minister of the Interior, the only minister with whom I had had any discussion with reference to the question. I desire to place this matter frankly before the House, without either comment or any endeavour to draw any inference from what transpired. I feel I owe this as a duty, primarily, not so much to myself as to those with whom I am associated in this house.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. BENNETT
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

I am sorry the Solicitor

General is not here; I know he would wish to say a word in reply to my hon. friend. But maj' I direct the hon. member's attention to a remark the Solicitor General made, which appears a little further on in Hansard, in which he makes it abundantly clear that he had no desire in any way, directly or indirectly, to imply that any action on the part of the hon. member was other than what everyone would wish and expect. The Solicitor General had been speaking of procedure in the remission of sentences and the propriety of discussing such matters on the floor of the house. But he made it perfectly clear that he imputed no improper motives to my hon. friend. Let me assure the hon. member, speaking not only for the Solicitor General but for every member of the government, that we all have that view and that view only.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. BENNETT
Permalink
LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior):

In connection with the release

of Baldy Robb I had received a very largely signed petition from the citizens of Edmonton and vicinity, inquiring whether, inasmuch as his wife was in delicate health and he himself was not in the best of health, and inasmuch also as all others who had participated in the wrongdoing had been released, it might not be possible to secure a remission of the sentence. Hence the discussion that took place between my hon. friend and myself. Apart from that discussion I know nothing about the matter. I conveyed the impression I received from the hon. member, which was that he would have no objection if the proper officers assumed the responsibility for releasing Baldy Robb.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE-MR. BENNETT
Permalink

GOLD AND SILVER MARKING ACT AMENDMENT


The house resumed from February 10, consideration ini committee of Bill No. 21, to amend the Gold and Silver Marking Act- Mr. Malcolm-Mr. Johnston in the chair. On section 12b-Trade mark of manufacturer to be applied.


LIB

John Frederick Johnston (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

When the bill was last before the house all its clauses had been carried with the exception of 12b. Shall 12b carry?

Topic:   GOLD AND SILVER MARKING ACT AMENDMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

Topic:   GOLD AND SILVER MARKING ACT AMENDMENT
Permalink

Section agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed.



National Battlefields Commission


NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION

AUTHORIZATION OP GRANT


Hon. J. A. ROBB (Minister of Finance) moved the second reading of Bill No. 34, to amend an act respecting the National Battlefields at Quebec. Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Johnston in the chair. On section 1-Payment of $750,000 authorized.


CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Will the minister kindly let us know first the sums we are now paying each year, and also what new work is proposed under the increased grant?

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP GRANT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Very well. This explanation was given when the resolution was moved on February 10, but I will give it to my hon. friend again. Last year we paid a total of $75,000; in 1912-13 the amount was $116,500; the following year it was $145,000, and then $143,000. During the war period it ran from $34,000 to $52,000, while in 1926-27 the amount was $48,000. The commission point out that they can make their plans better by having a fixed amount for a period of ten years. The members of that commission are Sir George Garneau, Hon. A. Turgeon, Robert Bicker-dike, Senator T. Chapais, N. A. Dussault, Hon. W. H. Price, Hon. L. A. Taschereau, and Dr. A. G. Doughty.

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP GRANT
Permalink
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

My hon. friend has not told us the work which it is intended to do.

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP GRANT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

There are numerous works and improvements contemplated; for instance, the Ross rifle factory is to be taken down and cleared away and other danger buildings around there are to be removed. That work ' is on capital account.

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP GRANT
Permalink
CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Are the Martello towers being looked after?

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP GRANT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I do not think they enter into this scheme.

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP GRANT
Permalink
CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

How much has been expended to date by this commission?

Topic:   NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
Subtopic:   AUTHORIZATION OP GRANT
Permalink

April 10, 1928