The hon. minister has misstated the facts about there being so many locomotives. It he will refresh his memory he will know that there was only one. and that was at a time yhen there were no locomotives built in Canada.
My hon. friend stated that afterwards. The fact was that my hon. friend got the locomotive or locomotives-the numbers of which were given as appears in the evidence of the committee-in the United States. Now,+iny hon. friend can say that it was sufficient justification for him getting locomotives in the United States that he could not get them in Canada. But is he willing to acknowledge that that is a sufficient excuse for me. Has he ever been willing to acknowledge it ? I have not heard a whisper from hon. gentlemen on the other side suggesting any acknowledgment of the fact that if we could not get the locomotives from Kingston we had an excuse for going outside to get them. As ex-Minister of Railways, I supose the hon. gentleman hopes that when a change of government may come, if it ever does come during his lifetime, he may by my successor. So I suppose he is foreshadowing his future action when he says that there Is justification for a minister to get locomotives in another country if he cannot buy them in his own.
Then I stand on that. But what becomes of the statement of the hon. gentleman alongside of him ? Of what value are his strictures ? What justification for the contemptuous reference he made to my administration within a recent period when the hon. gentleman (Mr. Haggart) has informed us that two years before he went out of office he went to the United States and bought locomotives there. Will not this same fact justify the purchasing of locomotives outside by this government, and has there not been abundant evidence of that ? Were not the works actually shut up ? And had they not orders on hand from me when we begged and entreated them to fill and to try to keep their staff together for that purpose ? When they closed the establishment, they left those orders unexecuted, and we were obliged to go to the United States or suspend altogether the increase of the equipment of the road. So, I have brought myself within the exception announced by my predecessor in his place in this House. That being the case, let us ask these hon. gentlemen for ever after this to hold their peace.
Why, the last locomotives got by the late government were got without
tender from the Kingston Locomotive Works. But what I am saying is that these lion, gentlemen should hereafter hold their peace as to the whereabouts of purchase of these locomotives. And let their press understand that all this ado that they have been making from one end of Canada to the other about the enormity of the conduct of this government is wholly without reason, because that conduct has been justified and approved by the leading members of their own party. My hon. friend (Mr. Monk) asked me a question a moment ago. I did not choose to stop at the moment to answer it but said that I would refer to it later. I will do so now. He said that the locomotive works of Kingston were closed down and the late gvernment could not get locomotives in Canada later than 1893. His excuse is a futile one. The hon. gentleman's memory is at fault. I have in my possession at the present moment, and I will bring here before this debate is concluded, correspondence between the hon. gentleman (Mr. Hag-gart) himself and the Kingston Locomotive Works in 1893 in which they begged and entreated him to take locomotives from them and the government declined to do so.
The evidence the hon. gentleman has is that taken before the committee, which is that of a witness who stated that a certain locomotive, bought in 1891 or 1893, I have forgotten which, was from the United States. I asked him whether the locomotive works of Kingston were open at the time and he said he thought not. My hon. friend (Mr. Blair) can refer to the sworn evidence.
My hon. friend (Mr. Hag-gart) is entirely in error. This shows how utterly unreliable his recollection is even in a matter which transpired a few days ago. He was told by Mr. Muhlfield that he did not know anything about it, and, if the evidence has been recorded, a reference to the minutes of the committee will show that that is the case. Now, I will go further and say that when the hon. gentleman tells us that the locomotive works were not in operation at the time and gives that as an excuse for what he did, he is stating what he could not know. Because, it is contrary to the fact. In 1893, the Kingston works were in full operation and turning out locomotives. And in 1892 and also in 1894 they were in full operation and only too anxious to sell locomotives to the government.
Does my hon, friend (Mr. Ingram) want to know my private opinion as to a subject that is not at all material to this discussion ? How can that possibly affect the question whether the locomotives were properly bought in the United States or not ?
When the hon. gentleman asserts that I imported Mr. Russell from the United States he asserts that for which he has no warrant. Mr. Russell as a Canadian, born down in the county of Charlotte, in the province of New Brunswick, and has many relatives and friends there. Mr. Russell commenced to learn railroading on the Intercolonial Railway, and remained in the service until he was grown up, went off to the United States, and rose degree by degree until he got into a high position on railroads in that country. We were only too glad, from all the representations that were made to us with regard to him, from the statements that we received from the men in whose employ he has been, to ask him to return to his own country and give us the benefit of the experience and ability he had acquired. Why does my hon. friend interpolate the remark about importing him from the United States ?