He is down in the accounts for one hundred and fifty-nine days and the foreman is down for one hundred and twenty-two days. It would not take the^conductor one hundred and fifty-nine days to buy the materials.
The MINISTER OB' PUBLIC WORKS. He is time-keeper, and he has to purchase materials. There are a great many different kinds of materials required in these repairs, and the purchase of these, with time keeping and general charge and superintendence of the work should keep him pretty busy. He makes his report to the local engineer, who holds him responsible for the general condition of the works.
I should think the foreman, the practical man, would be held responsible for the conduct of the work. So, outside of the purchase of the material,
1 should think the foreman would have nothing to do but smoke or engage in some light occupation of that kind. Possibly there may be something else he has to do, but the minister seems to be as much puzzled to tell us what it is as we are to conjecture.
Seriously speaking, I think that probably the man put in charge of the work is a practical man, probably a carpenter. He could not be away from the work for the necessary time looking after men, and also purchasing the various materials required for these repairs, and, also act as foreman. Of course, if the local engineer resides there, he could do this. But the man in charge of a work like this could hardly be the foreman, unless he had also a business capacity, and then the work would probably suffer by his absence when buying material. I have had no experience, but the chief engineer tells me that it has been the practice of the department for many years to conduct these works in this way. I shall be pleased to look into this matter. If two men are unnecessary, there is no reason why one should not be dispensed with.