April 15, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

That is what he says at all events. If he was examined, then I withdraw what I said. But I said it in support of my contention that these investigations should be held in public and everybody should have an opportunity of being heard. Does the Solicitor General deny the proposition that these investigations should be held in public? Is he prepared to isay that mien cam have the justice to which they are .entitled if such investigations are held in secret, as this was ? Everybody who has an inmate sense of justice must agree with me that an investigation that is not made in the open light of day is not a proper investigation nor one upon which we can place reliance. It is an axiom of British justice that no person shall be condemned unless he has had an opportunity of being heard. If Mr. Cruise was heard in this investigation there are others who were not heard, who had no opportunity of being heard, and who were equally condemned. If we are to have investigations which will purify public life, as I hope we shall, then I insist as a condition absolutely essential that these investigations shall take place with open doors, and that every man whose name is brought before the commission shall have an opportunity to give his own version. When this is done we shall have something like justice.
We have been told .also that the Government is going to prosecute the offenders, and the resolution we are now considering states that restitution must be demanded from parties who are found in the wrong, and the Department of Justice is .entrusted with this duty. I have this to say to the Solicitor General, who represents the Department of Justice on this occasion, that if in these prosecutions the Department of Justice shows .no more diligence, no more justice and no more fair-play, than it has shown in the case of the land owners at Valcartier, who for the last six months have been claiming their money and have not got it, then the offenders will have a good chance to go scot free. Twice before, and now for the third time, I have called the attention of the Government to the claims of these land owners who in the months of August and September last were deprived of their property, being called upon to give way to the necessities of the occasion, but who up to this day have not received the money to which they are entitled. I first called attention to this matter in the latter part of February. I was then told by the Minister of Militia in the presence of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice that most of these cases had been settled and that those that had not been would be settled very .soon. I received a letter on the 25th of March from Mr. Cannon of the firm of Taschereau, Roy, Cannon, Parent & Fitzpatrick, who represents a number of these settlers, including Frank McLaughlin, Hugh Bowles, Madame Veuve Conway, Thomas Thompson, Michael Woodlock and Joseph Griffith, and I received a letter the following day from a widow, Mrs. Richard Smith, and up to that date these people had not received their money. I quoted letters going back to the month of November showing that they had refused to take what was offered them and had asked that the Government should at once proceed in the Exchequer .Court; and yet no relief has been granted.

Topic:   THE PURCHASE OF WAR SUPPLIES.
Subtopic:   REPORT OP PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE.
Full View