I can give them in detail, I can show the Minister of Finance how much time he wasted. Now take some of the larger questions. I find that on the address, the Prime Minister used up twenty-five columns of ' Hansard I find that the Minister of Finance used thirty.
Yes, he was the worst offender on the address. Now on the address the opposition used up more columns of the ' Hansard ' than did the government, the government spoke 176 columns, while the opposition spoke 275. But in the debate on the immigration question, the Postmaster General was the worst offender, for he spoke 28 columns. The Minister of the Interior, in that debate, spoke 17 columns; total, 54 columns to the government and only 24 to the opposition, a debit of 30 against the government. Then on the motion for the appointment of a fishery commissioner introduced by the hon. mem-/ ber for Guysborough (Mr. Sinclair), the government spoke 27 columns to the opposition 12, making 15 against the government. On the British Columbia legislation, the government spoke 22 columns to the opposition one. On the original documents discussion, the opposition spoke 35 columns and the government 11. On the Franco-Can-adian trade treaty, the government spoke) 63 columns and the opposition 44, nineteen against the government. On the seed grain question, the government spoke 22 columns to the opposition 13. On the constitution of the Senate, the government spoke 53 columns to the opposition 50. On the motion of the hon. member for Nanaimo (Air. Ralph Smith) on oriental immigration, the government spoke 57 columns and the opposition none; that debate was confined entirely to the members from British Columbia. On the motion of the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Air. Alonk) respecting the FrancojCanadian trade treaty, the opposition spoke ten columns and the government one. Concerning original documents there were two debates; in the one on the motion of the hon. member for St. Antoine (Mr. Ames), the opposition spoke 41 and the government 22. On all these different resolutions there is a total against the government of 38 columns of ' Hansard,' and yet we are charged with obstruction. Now what is true of that time is also true of the balance of the time, and even in greater measure. It is natural that the opposition should occupy more time than the government. because we are here to criticise, to ask questions with respect to these various matters. But in these cases the government apparently desired that Supply should Air. FOWLER.
not pass,_ there can be no other conclusion. The ministers in giving their explanations, have given them very fully, in many cases more fully perhaps than was absolutely necessary, and in this way time has been wasted. But what I object to, Air. Speaker, is misrepresentation on the part of the responsible minister of a department, when that minister knows very well that he has never asked for any appropriation from this House to pay the employees in his department.
In regard to the number of columns of ' Hansard ' that might be occupied by the respective parties, I have not taken the trouble to make any analysis, but I would suggest to the hon. gentleman that if he wished to go further into the question be should reduce the whole time to the basis of so much per column for th'e average member, and he will discover that inasmuch as our numbers are two to one, roughly speaking, as compared with hon. gentlemen opposite, I have no doubt he will find that the proportion of time occupied by the average member of the opposition is vastly greater than the proportion of time occupied by the average member on the government side of the House.
Yes, if there is any thing in the argument at all that is the only way to examine it. But I confess that I do not attach very much importance to that form of argument. It is not to discuss it that I rise to take exception again, and I do it with regret-I think my hon. friend from Kings and Albert (Air. Fowler) must have been out when the discussion came up on a previous occasion-but I am obliged again to take exception to the statement he made as to applications for Supply. The hon. gentleman says the Alinister of Railways never sought the co-operation of the opposition to obtain Supplies. I state again that the Minister of Railways through me, acting for him officially and for all my colleagues, made application to bon. gentlemen opposite for a further vote on account. We received one vote on account, an eighth, and we desired to obtain a quarter. Hon. gentlemen opposite thought it was better to confine it to an eighth. If we had taken a quarter, as we asked, we should have had money in hand to fully meet the needs of the various branches of the public service. At a later stage we asked for a further vote on account. No particular figure was mentioned. Hon. gentlemen opposite-I am not quarrelling with them on the matter or finding fault, but merely stating the facts- when^we made that application in a proper wav. informed us that they were not prepared to co-operate with us and grant it.
the question of obstruction. The hon gentleman (Mr. Fielding) who has just spoken said it is not a question of the measure of time occupied, and that, 1 think, is true to a large extent, for surely any person who considers the matter at ail carefully will realize that the opposition must necessarily occupy more time, if they are to adequately discharge their duty, than is occupied by the government and their supporters. I entirely dissent from the suggestion that in this matter we are to be measured by numbers. If there were only ten men in opposition here, the duty would rest upon them, with even greater responsibility, perhaps, than if there were a hundred. The opposition, whether few or many are bound to reasonably scrutinize and criticise the propositions advanced by the government from time to time, and it is altogether immaterial whether this work is done by many or by few, and it is really immaterial how much time is occupied, so that the time is usefully employed. I, for one, will not hesitate at any time to take up whatever time may seem necessary to discuss any question that may arise in order that I may fairly place my views before that House or the committee as the case may be. I may say, in passing, that from a hasty and somewhat incomplete analysis of the proceedings of this House during the last six months,
I am led to the conclusion that the government have, as a matter of fact, occupied quite as much time as have the opposition. But that is not so material to my mind, as the fact which forces itself upon attention, that, on very many occasions, the government have manifestly put up their supporters for the purpose of marking time, for the reason, evidently, that they had not ready the legislation necessary to bring before the House. It requires no elaborate research to discover that this government, this session, have been notably remiss in bringing down legislation, and that the long time to which this session has been drawn out is attributable mainly to the fact that the government have not put themselves in a position to supply the House with the matters which have to be dealt with before we can prorogue. However I more particularly desire to call your attention to a statement made and repeated in this House in somewhat varied form- insultingly repeated, I may say-by some distinguished members of this House (not always by members of the government), to the effect that the opposition have been delaying the progress of the House and blocking the Supply by the introduction of ridiculous resolutions supported by ridiculous arguments. Now, Sir, I venture to say that it is our duty to place before the people in a succinct, definite form what these resolutions are-or, at least, the main 3181
onesi-and let the public judge whether they are ridiculous or not;-and I think that during the progress of debates the public have judged whether the arguments of the opposition are ridiculous or not.
Down to the adjournment for Christmas, the time occupied by the sitting of the House was very fairly distributed. There seemed to be no effort on either side, as
JW 1 cai!. see' to so very deeply into difficult questions. We had, of course, the address ; and on that address three resolutions were moved by members of the opposition, resolutions which were voted down by the government, but which, I think, will commend themselves to the public. These resolutions I will not read. The first was that of the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) calling attention to absence from the address of certain matters of great importance as to the enormous expenditure and-what I think is evident to every one-the very serious mismanagement of the government on many important questions. Perhaps we could hardly expect that the government, at that early stage, would adopt that resolution. They did not adopt it. Then came the amendment of the hon. member for East Lamb-ton (Mr. Armstrong) in reference to rural mail derivery, a question which the government will have to face, a question on which,
I think, many hon. members will find it difficult to explain to their constituents why they took part in voting down that resolution by a straight party vote. Then came the amendment of the hon. member for Hamilton (Mr. Barker) in reference to the Quebec bridge, a matter which the government will have to explain and answer for, but which I will not discuss here further than to say that, on this question also, some hon. members will find it difficult to explain the votes they gave. There were certain other matters under discussion before the House rose for the Christmas recess. We had the very interesting resolution moved by the hon. member for South Renfrew (Mr. A. A. Wright) in reference to the hours for adjournment. We had the motion of the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) in reference to the Anglo-Japanese convention, with a necessary, but short, discussion. Then came the resolution of the hon. member for Glengarry (Mr. J. T. Schell), a supporter of the government, in reference to the Transcontinental railway. Then we had the very full, interesting and useful debate intro-troduced by the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Ralph Smith) occupying-and quite properly, I think-a very considerable time and confined, 1 believe, entirely to supporters of the government-of that I make no complaint. Then we had, concluding the part of the session before the Christmas vacation, the question on the
motion of the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) in reference to Japanese immigration, in which the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and a number of others took part.
Now as to the resolutions brought forward after we reassembled on January 8, which have been characterized as being ridiculous. The first was very concise-not at all ridiculous in wording-and the government met it and resisted it. This was the motion of the hon. member for St. Antoine which was as follows :
That an order of the House do issue to the proper officer for a return laying upon the table of this House the original applications and tenders in respect of timber berths 1107, 1108 and 1171.
That invoked a short but very decisive discussion. The government took a definite position on the subject, mainly at the instance, I take it-and compelled to it very probably-by the attitude of the Minister of the Interior. And the government's supporters, to a man, by a straight party vote, voted down that resolution and affirmed the principle that the members of the opposition have no right to have access to the public documents of this country. That motion was followed on the 21st by a motion of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) in these words on going into Supply :
And the question being proposed; Mr Borden moved in amendment thereto, that all the words after the word 1 that ' be omitted ana the following substituted therefor: subject
to such consideration of public policy as can be validly urged in any case it is the undoubted right of the people's representatives, in parliament assembled, to be informed ot everything necessary to explain the policy and proceedings of the government and for that purpose to have an opportunity of seeing and examining all documents connected with the transaction of public business; and the denial of such right by the government justifies the refusal by this House of further supplies to the Crown.'
That followed very closely upon the resolution I previously read, but, strange to say, this government then, as on many occasions, pursuing a peculiarly vaccilating policy, came down and accepted it. You would have thought that would end the matter, that the matter would have been definitely settled, but not so, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, is the hon. gentleman in order in referring to
record of the 21st, but every supporter fell into line. The resolution upon that occasion was moved by my hon. friend from Bast Hastings (Mr. Northrup) in amendment to the motion to go into Committee of Supply, and was :
That all the words after the word * that ' in the proposed motion be omitted and the following substituted therefor: ' subject to such considerations of public policy as oan be validly urged in any case members of parliament have the right to have access to all the records of the government and to all archives.'
It is pretty difficult to see in principle what the difference is between that resolution and the resolution of the 21st, but it does not always seem to be necessary to find a difference in order to justify hon. gentlemen opposite in taking a different position. Therefore, we find them voting down that resolution and thereby swallowing themselves on the position which they had previously taken.
If there was any difference there ought to be the difference of the additional merit which it might possess in the eyes of hon. gentlemen opposite by reason of the fact that it was a literal transcript of the words of the right hon. Prime Minister.