GERMAN, (Welland). Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to move that the third report of the Select Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections be now concurred in. Before submitting the motion, n is perhaps advisable that I should as
shortly as possible explain to the House mv views in regard to the evidence that was taken before that committee. The committee had several meetings, and examined a number of witnesses, and were aided in their investigations by counsel employed for the gentleman who made the charge, and for the gentleman against whom the charge was made. Speaking for myself, I wish to :say that the committee were very considerably aided by the intelligent manner in which those gentlemen conducted their respective sides of the case. They both showed themselves to be keen examiners, good lawyers, and very correct in their mode of conducting proceedings of this kind. The charge is a very serious one, in so far as a member of this House is concerned. That charge is as follows:
That in the course of the years 1908, 1909 and 1910, irregularities, abuses, frauds, malversations and robberies have been committed in the shops and stores of the government of Canada at St. Joseph de Sorel and in the city of Sorel, in the electoral district of Richelieu.
That barrels and tins of paint and other goods of this nature have been illegally and fraudulently taken and carried away from the said stores and shops and transported to the house of Mr. Adelard Lanctot, then and now a .member of the House of Commons of Canada, for the electoral district of Richelieu, which house was then being bnilt on George street, at Sorel above mentioned, and ready to be painted.
That with these goods and paint, paint works, decoration and varnish works, have been done by the employees of the government of Canada under the supervision of the painters' foreman employed by said government at the said place, at the government's expense and during the hours supposed to be devoted to the government and for which said employees were paid by the government, these men registering each day as if they had really worked for the government, and this during weeks and months; the materials and time, thus furnished, are valued at about one thousand or twelve hundred dollars.
That said goods were so fraudulently appropriated to, and said work so fraudulently done at the expense of the government of Canada for the benefit of the said Adelard Lanctot, then and now a member of the House as aforesaid, with his knowledge, assent and approval, the said Adelard Lanctot abusively and fraudulently profiting at the
public expense and to the public detriment by his position as member of the House.
Now, that appears to me to be a very serious charge made against an hon. member of this House, and before the tiouse comes to the conclusion that the hon. member for Richelieu is to be condemned on a charge so serious, it seems to me that the evidence, and all the evidence taken, should be very carefully weighed and very fairly considered. On the day the charge was given utterance to in the House, Mr. Lanc-tot, the member for Richelieu, made a statement in which he said that in 1910, in consequence of the serious illness of Mrs. Lanctot, his wife, who was away at a health resort, it was necessary for him to be considerably away from home, arid it was-I think he used the word ' impossible ' -at any rate, he was unable to get painters in Sorel to paint his house, and he, therefore, spoke to Mr. Jean Baptiste Page, who was foreman of the painters in the government yards at Sorel, to know if he could let him have the men to paint the house, and would look after the painting of the House. Mr. Page lived across the street from the building which Mr. Lanctot was having painted. Mr. Page told him that he would be glad to do it, the expression he used being ' with pleasure, if you can get the permission of Mr. Papineau ' who was the director or superintendent of the government shipyard at Sorel. The men were permitted to go and work on Mr. Lanctot's house. Mr. Lanctot said that he had on different occasions asked to have an account of the men's time and the paint that was supplied sent to him so that he could from time to time pay the men's wages, but Mr. Champagne who was the timekeeper at the government yards, and who kept the time of the men, told him to wait until the work was all completed, and then he would send in a full account of the whole work, and it could be paid in one lump sum. I apprehend, if that is the true condition of affairs, that no person inside or outside this House will condemn Mr. Lanctot for having fraudulently, or with intention of fraud, used the employees of the government, or government material for the painting of his house. It is simply a question as to whether that statement is true or untrue, as to whether or not the evidence which was adduced before the committee bears out the statement of Mr. Lanctot.
In the first place, it is alleged that he could have procured men in Sorel to do the work and that it was not necessary for him to go to the government yard to secure employees to do it. The evidence on that particular point is not voluminous. There were only three witnesses called, and the first witness called was Mr. Henry Proulx, a contractor in Sorel. He makes the state-Mr. GERMAN.
ment that there were four painting contractors in Sorel who could have done this work for Mr. Lanctot. His evidence will be found on page 48 of the printed evidence. But, he says this:
I do not know that they would have had the time to do the work.
So that his evidence as to that is more guesswork than anything else. He says that there are four painting contractors there who might have been got to do the work, but he does not know if they would have had the time. Of these four only two are called. A Mr. Georges Cartier, a painter is called, and Auguste Payette, a painter, is also called, two out of the four contractors whom Mr. Proulx said were able to do the work. Why the other two were not called I cannot understand because I may say that the committee gave every possible opportunity to the learned counsel, Mr. McDougall, who is a very able lawyer, evidently well accustomed to conduct a case of this nature, and well accustomed to conducting cases of any nature as he showed himself to be an expert cross-examiner, and an expert conductor of the case. But yet, he only calls two of these witnesses. What does Cartier say:
Subtopic: LANCTOT, M.P.