June 1, 1904 (9th Parliament, 4th Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to 'ask the government whether or not any counsel are being employed on the investigation which Is now proceeding before Judge Winchester ? I have only a knowledge of the character of the proceedings by what I see in the dally press, and I would gather from this that while the people are not represented by counsel the corporation particularly Interested is represented by counsel in some of the proceedings at least. I would not think that an investigation of that' kind would probably be very effective or that we would get at the bottom of the facts which we desire to be made public unless counsel are employed to assist the judge. A man in the judicial position of Judge Winchester, because he is assuming a judicial position in this investigation, could not very well be expected to properly cross-examine the witnesses called before him. I do not know what the character of the examination is except from what 1 observe in the dally press, but if the examination of these witnesses is of the character reported, then I would venture to say that the investigation will not amount to very much, and the facts will not be elicited. It is absolutely impossible for the government to establish the facts as they should be established if they simply have Important witnesses summoned before Judge Winchester and have that judge administer to these witnesses interrogatories of the somewhat mild and not very far-reaching character which are reported in the press. It may be that the press is not doing him justice, but the investigation is hardly worthy of the name if' it is going on as reported in the press. If the investigation is designed to be thorough, I would suppose that the facts would be put into possession of counsel, and that these witnesses would be subject to cross-examination, so that we may have a report In which parliament might afterwards place some confidence as having been thorough and exhaustive. It may he that counsel are employed, but the report In the press does not indicate that.

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