May 23, 1901

?

The PRIME MINISTER.

For the time being, our action has been suspended.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

That was one of the subjects referred to the commission ?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

The commission adjourned, and it was expected, as the Prime Minister says, that an 'arrangement might be made before the commission should meet again. That arrangement would be made by. whom ? By diplomatic action, I suppose.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

That is, by the British government direct ?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

That is, the commission had struck it off the list of subjects to be dealt with by them 1

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Not at all. For the time being it was not within the purview of the commission. The commission was not sitting. It was hoped that the question might be settled by diplomatic action. If it is settled, we shall have nothing to say about it when we meet; but if it is not settled, it will be resumed by the commission.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

It was in a different position from all the other subjects that were before the commission ?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Yes.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Has a commissioner been appointed in the place of the late Lord Russell of Killowen ?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Lord Russell was not appointed on this commission but on the Venezuela commission.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Has anybody been appointed in place of Lord Herschell ?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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?

The PRIME MINISTER.

No.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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LIB

William Forsythe McCreary

Liberal

Mr. W. F. McCREARY (Selkirk).

There is one matter, that, as a new member, I would like to refer to. The members on the back benches on either side of this House have a grievous complaint that should be considered during the recess. Sitting in my place, I cannot hear one quarter of the discussion that takes place. No member on the back benches on this side can hear what is said by the leaders on the ministerial side. We can hear a few of the leading members of the opposition side ; but I am informed by members on the back benches of the opposition that they cannot hear their leader. This is getting to be a very serious matter. Matters in which I was deeply interested have passed through this House during the present session and, although I was in my place and listening intently, I could not hear

what was said. If we as Liberals are going to sit here and hear no arguments but those of the leaders of the other side, the effect may be disastrous-we may all turn Tories. I certainly would urge this as a very serious matter upon the Prime Minister. It is not much wonder if the back benches are sparsely filled at times, when those who occupy them cannot hear the discussion. If one goes to a public meeting and cannot hear the speeches, of course he does not remain-and that is our case. Sometimes we are able to find one of the front benches vacant and by taking the vacant place we have a chance to hear what is said; but the seats are generally pretty well filled, and we have to sit here and hear very little of the discussion. This is a serious matter both to ourselves and to our constituents.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. JOHN HAGGART (South Lanark).

I was not in my seat when the right hon. Prime Minister commenced his remarks ; but from what I could learn, he was entering a defence for his Minister of Railways in the position he took the other evening, justifying him by reason of the action that I had taken in the matter. The Minister of Railways is expected, in introducing his estimates, to make a statement in reference to the works under his control. But on this occasion the hon. minister (Hon. Mr. Blair) made no such statement. Again and again I said that I supposed the hon. gentleman would make a general statement concerning the government railways, but no such statement was ever made. There was nothing left for me to do but to tell him that I was going to bring up the matter on going into Committee of Supply. I took up the matter as soon as I possibly could after the information was given me. The right hon. gentleman says that the Minister of Railways was waiting for me to make my statement in order that he might reply to the attack I should make upon the management of his department. Is that the position for a minister to assume ? Should not he come to the House and state frankly what his policy is ? Should not he take the House and the country into his confidence by showing what he is doing with respect to the works under his charge ? But the 'hon. minister was -dumb as to the management of the Intercolonial Railway, dumb as to his policy with regard to it. We were forced to draw out the hon. gentleman and to get from him such information as we could on the subject. Surely the right of reply belongs to the opposition. We have a right to a statement from the hon. gentleman, and surely the opposition have the one little right of having the last word upon a debate of that kind. That is one of our privileges. But again and again the government have shown a determination to have the last word. Under the circumstances the attack of the opposition was perfectly justifiable. And it was a lamentable exhibition that was offered by the Min-

ister -of Railways anil Canals. After tlie able speech made by the hon. member for Hamilton (Mr. Barker) and the changes made against his department, the Minister of Railways and Canals sat dumb-he had not a word to utter in his own defence. Charges were made showing his utter incapacity and the mismanagement for which he is responsible. Particularly noteworthy was the statement with respect to capital expenditure on the Intercolonial Railway and the Prince Edward Island Railway. That expenditure under the present administration amounts to about $19,000,000. As I said to the Finance Minister the other day, the total of his surpluses from 1896 up to the present day has not been expended on the capital account of the Intercolonial Railway. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Barker) did not paint the position in as black terms as he might have done, me did not give the amount spent in the acquisition of the Drummond County Railway or the amount given to the Grand Trunk Railway. The figures show such an era of extravagance and mismanagement as has never been known in connection with these railways. When a minister, without asking for tenders. without consulting his colleagues, and on the eve of an election, makes a contract for nearly $1,000,000, it is no wonder that such charges are hurled against him as those made by my hon. friend from Compton (Mr. Pope) when he said that this led at least to suspicion of corruption. Where a man will purchase a thousand cars, and expend in one year $800,000. without asking for tenders, without competition, and gives the contract a couple of days before an election, his action is open to the charges and suspicions which my hon. friend from Compton (Mr. Pope) charged against the Minister of Railways and Canals. Those are the reasons why I was waiting for the Minister of Railway and Canals to make his statement. As the opportunity occurs to me now, I may take up the rest of the time before one o'clock in explaining

Mi-. SPEAKER. I would draw the attention of the'hon. gentleman to the fact that the discussion which he is now raising is not at all regular.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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?

The PRIME MINISTER.

We do not object.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

If it is entirely irregular, I will not go on with it.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

I call the hon. gentleman's attention to the fact that a motion has been made that the House do adjourn in order to allow an hon. member to bring up the question of the length of speeches during this session.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   DEBATES IN THE HOUSE.
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May 23, 1901