Let us see what a good thing this Mr. Curran had. He had a contract for 105,070 Princess pine at 29 and 30 cents ; 84,224 cedar at 2S cents ; and 1S5,819 spruce at 25 9-10 cents. Then he had 25.S93 hemlock, 3,380 tamarac, and 33S juniper. altogether his contract was for 408,724 ties, or nearly one-third of the whole quantity purchased that year, and he was paid $177,248. Thus Mr. M. Curran got in the election year $25,000 more than the total sum paid for ties on the Intercolonial Railway in the previous year. They did not require one of those spruce ties. They had more ties than they needed of a good class, yet they were so anxious that this Mr. Curran and a few others should get contracts that they purchased an enormous quantity which they did not want and got ties the road would have been better without. One hon. gentleman on the committee suggested to us that the real owner of these Curran ties was a Conservative. He seemed to think that that was an answer to the whole thing, that it was all right because a Conservative owned the ties. It struck me that it was the old question of the intermediary. The contract was given where it would do most good, and Mr. Curran, a friend of the government, got it. A Conservative probably could not have got it in any other way. It went where it would do most good, and among gentlemen no doubt who understood. as another minister has told us on one occasion, that ' business is business.' There is another extraordinary feature about this. In May of last year a complaint was made to the engineer of construction that a great many bad ties had been received. Mr. Pottinger was asked at the Public Accounts Committee about these bad ties, and he knew absolutely nothing about them in April of the following year. He had heard that complaints had been made and that there had been an investigation. but he did not know whether any report had been made. Several meetings later he heard that a report had been made in November last, and that nothing had been done since. That is all Mr. Pottinger could tell us. Well, Mr. McManus was called, but before I refer to his testimony I would like to read the result of the investigation or reinspection of these ties so far as it has gone. A Mr. Williams was detailed by the
engineer of construction to inspect these ties which Mr. McManus had passed. On the 4th November, Mr. Williams made a report. I have gone carefully through it, and I find that he inspected 300,000 ties, over about seventy or eighty miles of road, that is, up to November, 1901, he had inspected less than one-quarter of all the ties purchased in 1900-1.
They were inspected by Mr. McManus at the time of delivery and after his inspection of course they were paid for.
The following summer an investigation was ordered, and Mr. Williams was sent to inspect the work of Mr. McManus, and as so far has reported on 300,000 of the ties with these results :
The ties are of two classes-a tie eight or nine feet long, six inches thick, and seven inches face. Another class, six inches thick and six Inches face. Those would he classed as passable ties under the contract. Of the 6x7 there were 55,113 good ties. Of the 6x6 there were 54,941 good ties. That made 119,054 out of 306,000.
Let me tell you what the others were :
Ties, 6 in. x 5 in 41,760
Ties, 6 in x 4 in 19,605
Under 4-ins face 4,654
Ties less than six inches thick, and now mark what Mr. Williams means by ' less than six inches thick.' He says that ' under six inches thick,' means any tie under six inches and down to three. Of those there were 103,307. Rotten hearts, 4,954. And there is this note :
Except in cedar, rotten hearted or hollow headed ties mean bad ties. In cedar only ties with a very bad heart or hollow hearts are shown.
He passed to ones that were not very bad in cedar. Then were fir ties, which everybody agrees should not have been used as ties at all, 21,172 and poplar, 57. Or a total of 195,509 bad ties out of 306.000, and less than one-quarter of the whole inspected.
All paid for. The money all gone out. Then there were switch ties which are very much more costly than the ordinary ones, especially the ties for what are called three throw switches. Out of 59 three throw switches, not one came near the specification. They were utterly useless for switch ties, and Mr. Williams points this out. Of 194 two throw switch ties, only three were up to the standard. That is the result of this inspection up to date. I do not wonder that the inspection has not gone any further.
In connection with this inspection Mr. McManus was brought up and examined. He, it appears, had been sent for by Mr. Burpee, when he got his report in Novem-
Now, Mr. Pottinger tried to excuse this enormous purchase by saying that they were threatened with a strike ; they were afraid of a strike in the coal mines in Nova Scotia, and he produced a bundle of papers to the committee to show that a strike was imminent. Well, he read letter after letter until he came to one from the manager of a coal mine down there who conveyed the information to him, and as he went on reading it turned out that the manager of that mine was telling Mr. Pottinger that they expected some trouble with their men, and there might be an interruption in the delivery of coal for a day or two. Mr. Pottinger having read that far read no further. I think that is about the extent of the threatened strike. But after all, what possible excuse was there for buying this 128,935 tons more than the manager wanted ? Was it because it was convenient to rush off to St. John and give a contract of $46,000 to Thompson & Co. for freight of coal from the United States ? That was a nice little contract by itself. They bought 60.000 tons from the States at high prices. It seems that in the excitement of buying the hon. gentleman in that year wanted to purchase everything that he could lay his hands on, cars, locomotives, an enormous quantity of supplies, enormous quantities of bolsters from Chicago, $67,000 worth, bolsters from Moncton, or neighbourhood-everything on a most gigantic scale, until he ran his purchases up to $3,000,000 odd in that year, double what lie had ever purchased before. Yet the hon. gentleman comes here to-night and speaks as if the fact that he bought so much and paid so much for the materials was an excuse for his high expenses. No doubt it had a great deal to do with it, but I do not think it is much of an excuse for the hon. gentleman. An ordinary business man, when he found prices for ties were high, would have curtailed the quantity in every possible way. When he found the price of coal was high he would have done the same
thing. But the hon. gentleman does the opposite, he seems to think the way to bring the price of ties and coal down is to order all you can. I do not know whether there is any other explanation of it. But I would like to show how the hon. minister is getting on, as he grows older as Railway Minister. His stocks carried in 'store at the end of the year 1897-98 were $108,402. That is a pretty good quantity. The next year, 189890. the .stocks remaining in store amounted to 553.177 : in 1900 the stocks) carried were $971,054, that is the surplus at the end of the year. This last year, this wonderful purchasing year, the stocks carried were $1,824,977, four times what they were in 1898. That is good administration, that is successful administration. It is very successful for the dealer, the people who want to sell ties and all that sort of thing, and probably for the coal dealers and other merchants down there. But I think that even the people of New Brunswick, notwithstanding the enormous purchases that are made along the line, would prefer to see this railway economically managed and to see its business done in a proper manner. The people down east have just as much interest in the economical management of the road as we, in this part of the country, who have to share in paying the cost. I do not think that there is one man in New Brunswick but would stamp out this thing to-day if he could, and the sooner they stamp out these things, such as the letter to McManus, and these extravagant purchases the better it will be for New Brunswick and this Dominion.
Now, I have only a very few words more. I have a little regard for hon. gentlemen opposite and I am sorry that I have taken so much time. If any hon. gentleman wants to understand and appreciate the extent of purchases let him take the Auditor General's report and give half an hour to wading through that and he will see the most marvellous state of things that has ever existed upon any railway. Just one word as to what lias led to this. The hon. Minister of Railways and Canals a few years ago made up his mind that he would enter into competition and have a fight with the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was determined to be the railway king. He was going to show all these railway magnates at Montreal a thing or two about the working of railways. He was determined to centre business in St. John. He built an elevator there, enormous expenditures were made for heavy rails, heavy locomotives and a large quantity of cars. Millions upon millions have been spent upon that project and the hon. gentleman was going to fight the Canadian Pacific Railway. Well, Sir, he has practically abandoned the fight. It is very like the King of France who, with 30,000 men, marched up the hill and then marched down again. The hon. gentleman has spent his Mr. BARKER.
millions and we are no farther advanced from a railway point of view than we were before. In fact, we are worse off. There is an enormous expenditure of capital which we cannot get back and the expenditure of that money might as well have been distributed over five or ten years instead of taking place in one or two years. What was the hon. gentleman intending to do ? He was proposing, while working the Intercolonial Railway at 110 per cent, to enter into a fight with a company that work at 60J per'cent. He attempted to compete with a company whose line to St. Jo fin was 481 miles while his line was 50 per cent longer, or 740 miles, so that the hon. gentleman was going to carry the traffic 259 miles for nothing and fight the Canadian Pacific Railway. That was the contest he entered into. I think it is very fortunate that It is nearly stopped. It is a good thing for the country. I ask again was there anything in all this to justify the congratulations of the hon. Minister of Finance. That hon. gentleman must have known all this. He must have been familiar with all this expenditure every ten days throughout the year, because he gets the returns of the Railway Department and publishes them in his ten day statement; yet, In the face of the knowledge of these enormous expenditures, the hon. gentleman congratulates the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals on what he termed the success of the Intercolonial Railway. I do not know whether it is necessary to say anything more upon that. What can the hon. Minister of Finance possibly condemn if he congratulates anyone upon results of this kind ? I am sorry that I have had to occupy so much time. There is a great deal more which I could have said but I have taken so much time to-night that I will not further presume upon the indulgence of the committee. I can only say that I have been very careful in extracting these figures from the various documents and I doubt whether the lion. Minister of Railways and Canals can find one error in them. If there is an error it is a very small one and I shall be the first to acknowledge it if he points it out.