April 18, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)


Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)



Mr. Speaker, may I interpose just for one moment on a question of privilege. I would like to correct a report which I find in the Winnipeg Telegram of the 13th inst. referring to me, and which, under the circumstances, is a gross and mischievous misrepresentation. The Ottawa correspondent of the Winnipeg Telegram, whom I do not know at all, writes to his paper on the 13th of April as follows:
Ottawa, Ont., April 13.-Long- after midnight Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, Hon. Jacques Bureau, and Ernest Lapointe! M.P., who have been chosen by the Liberals to introduce a bilingual resolution in Parliament were in conference in the Liberal leader's office. Previous to this conference Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Senator David, and Senator Choquette had met and discussed the question. Senator Choquette, following his speech in the Senate on Ontario volunteers, went with Senator
David to the Liberal leader, and, it is believed, Sir Wilfrid Laurier conveyed their views to his supporters in the Commons.
This correspondent refers to the close relationship of Senator Choquette with Sir Wilfrid Laur-ier. I refer to this, under the circumstances, because the atmosphere being rather charged with electricity, there is an insinuation-net an insinuation, but a positive statement for which there is no foundation of fact whatever. The relations between Senator Choquette and myself are not close; they, are the reverse of close; they are very strained politically, as was admitted by Senator Choquette himself on that very day. I have never seen Senator Choquette during this session except once, and not to discuss the bilingual question. The only thing that was discussed between us was a railway question of which we may hear further during the present session. As to my relations with Senator Choquette,
I call the attention of the House to the explanation which he himself gave in the Senate the day after he made his antirecruiting speech. Everybody knows that my views and the views of Senator 1 Choquette upon this question are the very antipodes. I need not say what has been my attitude on the subject of the war, and of Canada's participation in the war, during this session and during all previous sessions. Senator Choquette made a statement on the subject because he had seen in the newspapers that my name had been connected with his. On the 13th of April Senator Choquette, on the floor of the Senate spoke as follows:
I take on myself the whole responsibility of my words in this House and outside, and I protest most strongly against the report connecting my words with the name of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the great leader of the Liberal party, in order by insinuation to represent him as being responsible for what I said.' I advocated Liberal principles for thirty years under Sir Wilfrid Laurier in the other House, but we all know -I grieve to say it but must do so in order that the responsibility for my actions and words may be properly fixed-that over ten years ago I had some difference with Sir Wilfrid Laurier about what he should do. I have the greatest

respect for Sir Wilfrid, and I hope he has friendship for me, but we differed ten years ago when I had to take part against the Premier of Quebec at the time. Again, not more than five years ago I opposed Sir Wilfrid on his Naval Bill [DOT] I took the responsibility of my stand on that occasion, and I know the Tories were very glad to use my speech and my views against Sir Wilfrid Laurier at that time, to serve their purpose.
This is the total refutation of the imputation that is conveyed by the correspondent of the Winnipeg Telegram, and I hope he will take the opportunity of correcting that impression.

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