October 21, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)



I will accept the correction. It is not much larger than the statement I have made. I think our time is too precious at this stage of the session to think of having an inquiry of that kind. If, at the opening of next session it is thought advisable to have a proper distribution of the rooms of the House I am sure my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Sutherland) and his honour the Speaker who have charge of that matter will he only too glad to look into the matter and give as much room as possible to every member of this House. But all this trouble has arisen because of a condition of things which was brought to the attention of the House a few days ago. True it is for many years past, so long as parliament has been a parliament, members have distributed the literature of then-own party and so long as parliament will be a parliament they will continue to do so, but this procedure which has been normal for some years, has taken on proportions which involve an abuse if not a violation of the law. The whole trouble has come from the fact that a certain publisher in the city of Montreal to whom the privileges of the post office are extended and who gets certain bags for the distribution of his papers, instead of using the bags for the distribution of his papers, has used them to distribute the literature of the Conservative party. Since my hon. friend has brought this matter to the attention of the House let us see what the facts are. In order that the members of the opposition might distribute their literature not at their own cost but at the cost of the country they get this publisher in Montreal to send the literature which had been prepared by the Conservative party probably in this House and printed in'the city of Montreal, in the office of a certain newspaper, to the party whip, here, not to the parties for which it was intended them to be distributed by the party whip to parties outside. So, His Majesty's mails, instead of being abused once, have been abused twice. This literature was pre- i pared. I suppose, in Ottawa, printed in Montreal, sent back to the House of Commons in Ottawa and from the House of Commons scattered all over the country. This is an abuse of the privileges of this House; it is an abuse of the postal service. The publisher of that paper was within bis right when he used the bags to circulate his own newspaper, but when he used those bags to distribute the literature of the Conservative party, thereby incommoding everybody in this House, and other newspapers throughout Canada, it was an improper use of the mail bags. I understand that in order to have free circulation through the corridors, instructions have had to be given to dispose of these bags so that members may not tumble over them. If that is all that has been done. I am at a loss to know in what way, Sir, you have infringed on the

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