Friday, January 16, 2015

The Scandal

It has taken a little searching but I am closing in on the case of Premier John Oliver versus R.T. Elliott, K.C., lawyer for the Dolly Varden Mines. It all stems from two telegraphs sent from the lawyer to the politician.

The first telegram from Elliott, which Premier Oliver read to the Legislature charged that the government "had been corruptly Influenced to pass the Dolly Varden Mines legislation, and by means of secret lobbying to (?) a measure, depriving the Dolly Varden Mines interests of property which' was handed over to the Taylor Engineering Company."

When the second telegram arrived, there was some discussion between Oliver and other politicians. It was first thought R.T. Elliott K.C. of Vancouver should be hauled before the Bar of the House to explain his statements and prove his assertions. Premier Oliver felt it would be better served is the matter of Elliott's allegations were left to public opinion.

There was some disagreement among the politicians. There were those who felt Elliott should have to answer for his libel statements. After all, he wasn't only insulting the premier but also the entire Government of BC.

Premier Oliver agreed it was an attack on the entire legislature and if anyone felt there was a grain of truth to the matter, then he would leave it in the hands of the House.

As premier, Oliver was always getting letters and such accusing him of vile deeds and he was tired of defending his honesty and integrity. Getting such communication from someone as noted as R. T. Elliott was disturbing. But they had found cases where the mental capacity of brilliant men declined and that's what may have happened here.

Elliott was accusing Oliver of land speculation and Oliver had enough. He sued the Vancouver lawyer for libel.

Oliver requested $50,000 in damages. After all, Elliot's accusations were read in the Legislature, causing Oliver undue embarrassment and the premier's honesty and credibility were called into question.

The Premier eventually won the case but was awarded a lot less than he sued for. The courts decided he had neither lost his reputation nor had he suffered from this accusation.

I would like to thank The Daily Colonist newspaper, April 18, 1920 edition for some of the above information and the Dictionary of Canadian Biography website for other facts.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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