December 14, 1909

L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

The minister to that extent believes in the national policy of the Conservative party?

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Subtopic:   NET DEBT PER CAPITA.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Probably it is time that somebody believed in it, because I believe that the Conservative organs are repudiating it. '

We have no tariff changes to propose on this occasion. It is not because we have entered a claim that the tariff is perfect. I have no doubt that wherever you have a customs tariff necessarily as full and intricate as ours has to be, there will be room for criticism, and certainly always room tor demands for changes. But we are of the opinion that it is not in the best interests of the business of the country that there should be frequent changes. We believed that frequent tariff changes must have a disturbing influence on the business of the country and we wished to have it generally understood that wdrere there has been a general revision of the tariff, as we had only two years ago, the government would not" be disposed to make changes unless the need for them was very urgent indeed.

There is in our Tariff Act a provision which is alluded to in His Excellency's speech from the Throne;

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.

Are the treasury bills issued in London or here?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

In London. I have endeavoured, Mr. Speaker, to present concisely what I regard as the chief facts and figures necessary to the consideration of our financial position. I cannot hope that all I have said will be received with universal approval in this House, because I know that we look at some of these matters from different points of view; but as we 47

have all the same good purpose in view, that of promoting the welfare of Canada, I am sure that we shall unite in expressing our satisfaction with the happy and prosperous condition of affairs in Canada today. It must be a gratification to every good citizen to see so many favourable signs in the outlook of our country. The check which came upon us a year or two ago may have served a good purpose. Happily it has proved but temporary; happily it has not remained with us; and already there is a rapid recovery. We have, as we all know, a country of magnificent resources. We have known it long; but we have needed two things-population and capital. Both of these things are now coming to Canada. Population is coming from all quarters of the earth. It is coming in a very large degree from the neighbouring republic, and we rejoice in the character of the immigrants that country is sending back to Canada. Population is coming also from the old world. We can well rejoice that this long desired growth of population is coming to us. We have also desired capital, and that is coming to us too. There never was a time when there was more interest in Canadian affairs throughout the, world than there is to-day, or a greater willingness on the part of capitalists to invest in Canada. This is Canada's growing time. We have had growth in population, growth in wealth, growth in Canadian unity, growth in national status in the eyes of the world, growth in our sense of responsibility as citizens of a great empire. In all this growth we have reason to rejoice. But, what is better than all, we feel that this is but the beginning of greater things to come. To us as trustees of the Canadian people has been given the duty of moulding the _ destinies of the Canadian Dominion at a time when it has a formative character. Let us see to it, in the midst of our party strife, that at all times there rises above all the dominant note of a patriotic desire to do whatever is possible to promote the progress, prosperity and happiness of the Canadian people.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. GEORGE E. FOSTER (North Toronto).

Mr. Speaker: With the concluding remarks of the Finance Minister (Mr. Fielding), I find myself, as I am sure do all hon. members on this side, in complete accord. It is a fact that sometimes party differences are exaggerated and party spirit leads to a one-sided and even unfair presentation of matters before the House. But when, apart from these things, we come to contemplate the larger questions of country and of empire, I hope that we may always be in a position to reciprocate the sentiment that has fallen from the lips of the Minister of Finance. I notice that the hon. Minister of Finance appeared a little more cheerful when he rose to present his bud-

shouldered into this House with great pride and pomp, when he appealed to the farmers of this country as to what the French treaty would do for them, the bur den of fat cattle has been dumped, the stockers are the only ones that are left, and they will have a jolly time geting into the French market, over a tariff of anywhere from $15 to $20 per head, and the uncertainty as to what interpretation of the tariff may be made by those who have the sole regulating power as to the entrance of our cattle into French ports. So we have not got very much from that. But we have loaded ourselves with $200,000 a year for a steamship subsidy to be paid to vessels running between this country and France; [DOT] that is in ten years $2,000,000 which my hon. friend the Finance Minister did not take into account, and which has to be provided for.

Well, there are some other things that have not been done. The state of trade between the United States and Great Britain and Canada, remains unrectified. That condition of things was very severely censured by my right hon. friend the Prime Minister and his coadjutors in the olden times. They told us that it was neither patriotic nor loyal that we should be buying more from the United States than we were buying from Great Britain, and selling less to the United States than we bought from the United States. They loudly called for a tariff which would rectify that and put us in a better position. How do we stand to-day? In 1908 we bought from the United States $204,000,000 worth. They bought from us $90,000,000 worth, wherein the balance of trade aggregated the sum total of $114,000,000. In 1909 the unfavourable balance was reduced to $85,000,000, but the trade is now going up, and, as it goes up, the adverse balance with the United States will also increase. On the other hand, Great Britain bought from us a much larger amount than she sold to us, and gave us last year a favourable balance of trade of $55,500,000. Any one sees that the balance of trade which is favourable in the case of Great Britain, has to go to the extent of $55,500,000 to pay the adverse balance of trade against us from the United States, and it will still leave from $50,000,000 to $60,000,000 to be paid for in some other way. The point I wish to make is that these hon. gentlemen have not rectified that grave condition of things which they censured in our time, but that under their. administration it has been enlarged and aggravated to the degree which I have stated. To-day there is an adverse balance of trade with France of $5,000,000, with Germany of $4,500,000, with South America of $1,000,000, and with the West Indies of $3,500,000. The total balance of trade against us in Mr. FOSTER.

1908 was $104,000,000. It was reduced last year, because there were less imports, to $45,500,000. Now, though I am not going to say that Canada ought to be and that it is imperatively necessary mat she should be always in a position of having a favourable trade balance, I say that when, under any administration and its policy, you have an adverse balance continually increasing, something is wrong in connection with that trade policy and it ought to be the duty and endeavour of the government to so arrange its policy that this adverse balance should be made as small as possible, that it should be reduced instead of constantly advancing.

My hon. friend said that they had not raised the rate of duties. His favourite response always is: Oh, you are the party of high duties; we are the party of low duties. With the preachment of the Minister of Finance to-day in advocacy of bounties, the highest form of protection, the hon. Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) who still, I think, believes that we have a revenue tariff in this country-at least, he takes occasion to reiterate it each year-will find it very difficult indeed to persuade his constituents that under the leadership of the Finance Minister the day of free trade has not for ever passed away in this country. Well, what about that immense reduction of duties? Here are just some facts taken from the reports of the ministers themselves. From 1879, when the protective tariff was introduced, until 1896, when the Liberal-Conservative government went out of power, the average rate of duty on dutiable goods coming into this country was 28-35 per cent. In 1909 the average rate was 27-46 per cent. So it is a fact that in the last year of grace, under the administration of these hon. gentlemen who have so lowered the duties -to listen to themselves-their duty is 27 -46 per cent, as against an average of 28-35 per cent from 1879 to 1896. But taking into account, as I have a right to do, the bounty which is a special form of protection and which they take out of the treasury of the country, I find that in 1909 they have a rate of 28-72 per cent, and so they have actually reduced the rate of duty exactly 89-100t.hs of one per cent from the average of 1879-1896. . .

Now, I agree with my hon. friend in his statement with reference to the nature of the message which was sent to Congress a little while ago by President Taft. It was a reasonable message, it was a statesmanlike message, it was a message which gave, I think, to all countries the right to believe that whilst President Taft and his cabinet remain in power there will be no seeking for trouble with reference to the matter of discriminatory and compensating duties. I do not think a message could

have been fairer than his was on that point, and I quite agree with the Finance Minister in his characterization of what we may conclude from a perusal of it. At least, we will hope that it shall not be made an instrument of even menace to us in Canada. It remains, however, that the United States tariff, outside of President Taft entirely, has already penalized Canada with reference to her exports of both pulp and paper and has done that because of the conserving policy of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec which are looking to the preservation of their forests. So much then in reference to the United States, although this fact remains, and we might just as well state it, that the tariff of the United States, as compared with the tariff of Canada, does not give to Canada that fair trade to which she is entitled.

There is another situation in the trade point of view which is extremely interesting at the present time. That is the situation in Great Britain. I am not going to discuss British party politics for a single moment, but I think it is well for us to keep a few facts in mind. It is not more than five years ago, certainly not more than six years ago, that the right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain first promulgated his view, and a view not entirely and completely formed at that time, of what he thought might be or ought to be the fiscal relations of the mother country with the different parts of the empire and of the different parts of the empire with each other. Not more than five or six years ago did that idea receive the countenance and support of a first rate British statesman. Five or six years ago a first rate British statesman promulgated that idea in the face of a free trade England which had been free trade for forty or fifty years, and there did not then seem to be any great probability that such an idea would prevail. But five or six years have passed and what do we find. So rapid has been the change in public opinion, so rapid the progress of events, so strongly has the question" of empire and the treatment due to the different parts of the empire taken hold of the people of Great Britain and the empire, that to-day the South African colonies give a preference to the mother country, New Zealand gives a preference to the mother country, Australia gives a preference to the mother country, Canada gives a preference to the mother country, and we have at the present time in the mother country itself, one of the great historic political parties entering into an electoral contest in which the first plank in their platform is tariff reform, with the avowed purpose of using it to give to the colonies preferential treatment. That marks a rapidity of movement and change in the fiscal ideas of the mother country and the empire which one would

scarcely have ventured to prophesy^ a few years ago. And whether the Unionists or the Liberals are successful in the coming election-and I do not suppose any one wishes to hazard an opinion as to^ which it will be-I do not think it is going too far to say that the time is appreciably near when the policy of Great Britain will be cne which will enable her to give to the colonies a measure of preferential treatment in return for the measure of prefer sntial treatment which the colonies have given to her. Now, while I have every sympathy with the Minister of Finance in his endeavour, if he makes an honest endeavour, to advance the trade of Canada with other countries, I think it will be wise to be very careful in these different negotiations that we do not tie our hands .unnecessarily so as to make it more difficult for us to enter into that kind of partnership with the mother country, which, when the change comes in her fiscal policy which will enable her to do so, she will offer to us. Have we not everything to gain locally by an entrance into the markets of Great Britain on a preferred basis. It is not necessary for me to more than ask that question; no one will dissent. Not onlv have we locally much to gain but as believers in and lovers of the empire we know that the empire has much to gain by uniting its scattered Dominions more closely together.

In the way of evoking greater sympathy and greater practical interest, in the way of uniting more closely all the members of the empire one to the other and each to all we have very much to gain. Therefore I say that it is well that the Minister of Finance and the government should go slowly in making any entangling alliances for trade with other countries until at least we get more light upon what may take place in the future in Great Britain. Of course it may be said that we make these treaties subject to abrogation on certain notice, but it is equally true that it is more difficult to give notice of abrogation than it is to enter into a commercial treaty in the first place. Now, some people ask the question: Do you mean to sav that any power exists which can make a tariff for Canada outside of the parliament of Canada itself, and are you willing to go into any arrangement of that kind. The question may be fairly answered in this way: There is no

body which can make a tariff for Canada outside of the parliament of Canada itself, but that did not bar the parliament of Canada itself from giving preferential treatment to Great Britain, and to Australia, and to the West Indies, and to New Zealand, and neither will it bar the parliament of the United Kingdom, from giving to Canada or Australia or New Zealand or any other of the over-seas Dominions a preferential entrance into her market. There-

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SECOND READINGS.


Bill -(No. 61) respecting the Canadian Northern Railway Company.-Mr. Cash. Bill (No. 62) respecting the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Company.-Mr. R. Smith. Bill (No. 63) respecting the Manitoba and Northwestern^ Railway Company of Canada. -Mr. Cash. ' Bill (No. 64) respecting the Ottawa Valley Railway Company.-Mr. Ethier.


WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.

CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I wish now to make a few remarks, Mr. Speaker, on the subject of expenditures, a matter in which, probably more than in any other, this government has made dangerous progress and has shown a disposition to completely go back upon all the professions its party made in their days of opposition with lfcgard to principles, methods and conditions of expenditure. In making these remarks on the expenditures of the government, one cannot go so much into particulars as he would like; therefore 1 will confine myself to some general points. What first strikes us is the startling increase in expenditures from 1897 up. The Minister of Finance, this afternoon, in comparing the two administrations in relation to expenditure went on to show that _ the percentage of general expenditures provided for out of current revenue by the present government was greater than that provided for by the preceding government during their terms of office. It ought not to have

'been difficult for the Finance Minister to give a very good reason therefor. His own accounts were before him and a mere glance at the columns would have shown him that the present government has taken from the people by means of taxation about twice as much as did the preceding government. This government, therefore, had nearly twice as much revenue at its disposal, and if they made just about the same proportionate charges to current revenue, the percentages which were mentioned by the Finance Minister would just about establish equality. In the twelve and three-quarter years during which this administration has been in power, it has taken $618,000,000 in taxation from the country. In the last twelve and three-quarter years of the preceding administration they took only $340,000,000. That is, the present administration has taken nearly double the amount in taxation that their predecessors did, and on the same principle and .rule, they would disburse a much larger amount for what the minister calls capital and special expenditure. But the Minister of Finance spoke also of the conditions of the debt, and I would like to recall his attention and that of the House to a point which I made in a preceding debate. During the incumbency of the 1 .iberai-Conservative government, ' $118,000, COO was added to the public debt. Of that. $10,000,000 was incurred in adding a very valuable asset to this Dominion in the form of 7,500,000 acres of land in the west at about $1.50 an acre. If you count the $118,000,000 of addition to the debt on the one *ide, you must look on the other side also and consider the assets. Now, the assets lhat represent debt in the Dominion of Canada are not, as a rule, productive. Many cf them, instead of being productive, are the very opposite; they are wasting assets; they are continually depreciating and requiring not only the payment of interest on the first investment, hut the cost of upkeep and maintenance. In this case, an asset of real value was added to the country in the form of 7,500,000 acres of land which, if it had been reserved to this day would, counted at the moderate price! of $8 per acre, represent a value of $60,000,000. That, when pointed out, any fair-minded man would take into consideration. And, in connection with that, let me ask what live asset of any similar Value has the present government added to the resources of this country by the addition of any similar, or even greater, amount to the public debt? They have been often in haste to get rid of the lands of this country by selling them at remarkably small prices to favountes of the government. Here was a case in which the land was bought for the_ Dominion, and has remained and remains to this day as an asset, an asset Mr. FOSTER.

vdiich has greatly increased in value, and it represents certainly at a moderate calculation the amount which I have named.

The expenditure of this country in 1896, for all purposes, was $41,000,000; in 1897 the expenditure was $43,000,000 a very slight addition; but in 1909 the expenditure has gone up to the enormous sum of $133,000,000, a little more than three times the expenditure of 1896. It is altogether-easy, and just as futile as easy,'to say that the expenditure increased because the country has grown. The country is growing, and the country's expenditure must grow. But here is a growth in expenditure which exceeds all corresponding growth in population, or in any other way that you may mention. It is an inordinate increase in expenditure. When you come to the column which represents the expenditures of the Liberal-Conservative party, you will find that in 1873, to commence with that date which was about the time the Liberal government came into power, the expenditure was $39,000,000. In 1880 when the Liberal Conservatives were again in power, the total expenditure was $34,000,000. Now from 1880 to 1896 were periods of growth, of expansion, of building large public works, and it takes in the beginning and the completion of the first transcontinental railway, namely, the Canadian Pacific railway. And yet if you run through the columns of figures, you will find that the total expenditure keeps along in the thirty and forty millions. In 1880, as I have said, it was" $34,000,000; in) 1887, $41,000,000, and from 1887 to 1896, the average total expenditure was only $42,000,000. The great works which had to be undertaken and carried out, in the way of the enlargement of the canals, in building the Canadian Pacific railway, in construction of the Soo canal, and in subsidizing and building other branch lines of railway, all that was undertaken and carried out, and yet the absolute total expenditure for all purposes only increased from $34,000,000 in 1880 to an average of $42,000,000 from 1887 to 1896.

Now there is no parallel between that and the expenditure by this government. The Finance Minister says, we are also building a transcontinental railway. So you are, and you have paid out to end of the financial year some $51,000,000 for it. But do not forget the fact that the Liberal-Conservative government built the Canadian Pacific railway, in so far as public aids were given, and that this increased the total expenditures by $62,500,000. but this government has increased the total disbursements from $43,000,000 to $133,000,000 in twelve and three-quarter years. Therefore, there is no possible parallel between the two.

Let me put it in another way. From confederation up to the present date the Do-

minion of Canada has expended 1,985 million dollars. All the previous governments un to 1897 expended 1,063 millions of that; this present government, in its twelve and three-quarter years, has expended 922 millions. That is to say, in twelve and three-quarter years this government has spent to within 70 millions an amount equal to what the whole Dominion of Canada spent in the preceding 29 years. Is not that going it some? It is a startling thing when you come toi look at the figures; 922 millions in twelve and three-quarter years, 1,063 millions in the 29 preceding years. But great expenditures necessitate great taxation, great income, or that combined with great borrowings. So what is the record to-day with regard to taxation? This, that as regards receipts, 1,672 millions have been gathered from the Canadian people since confederation, 828 millions of this have been gathered in twelve and three-quarter years by this government, 844 millions was gathered in 29 years by all the governments preceding this. So this present government has gathered from the country, taking out of the pockets and earnings of the people, within 8 million dollars as much as was taken out of the pockets of the people for the 29 preceding years.

Now if you take the twelve and three-quarter years, what has been the average of population? Five and a half million people in twelve and three-quarter years has handed over to this government 828 million dollars, or an average of 65 millions per year. Now the Minister of Finance may make his divisions and calculations with regard to the net debt, and set forth how much it is per head. That proves nothing. The point is: What are you taking out of the individual taxpayer of this country? What are you taking out to-day? $11 to $12 per head, whereas in 1896 we took out a little less than $5.50 per head. This money you took out is money that comes from the man's earnings, it is so much abstracted from his capital. There ought to be no reason in the world for taking it except that it is absolutely necessary that the aggregate of the people of this country should be governed and, that they should pay for it. Yet you have taken this immense amount of money, $65,000,000 per year during the last twelve and three-quarter years, or a total of 922 millions, and in addition to that are the borrowings you have provided for.

Now when any man looks around, goes through the books, looks around this country and asks what we have got for the 922 millions of expenditure in twelve and three-quarter years, he finds it difficult to answer that question. What have we got that stands and is useful to this country, and is

either productive or stimulating? What have you? It is a debated question as to whether the Grand Trunk Pacific, as regards the portion from Lake Superior junction to Moncton, is a stimulant to this country, or will be productive within very many years. But even that represents to the end of the present financial year only $51,000,000. What have you to show for the $922,000,000 less the $51,000,000, that has been spent in the twelve and three-quarter years? We cannot escape from the conviction that millions of it have been worse spent than wasted. We are in no condition to absolutely prove this, thanks to the repressive system of the government. By a mistake the government- appointed a commission which -went a little beyond its contemplated duty and lifted the lid in one of the departments. It showed a department without business methods, with the grossest extravagance and with a lack of conscience. Arguing from that this side of the House pressed for an investigation in other departments. Why not? The other departments are the stewards of the people, managing the money of the people.- Was there any reason at all why the people should not know how that money had been used, how these stewards had managed? If they had managed wisely, if they had expended that money properly, the people would have seen that they had done so and would have praised them. What did the government fear? And yet with absolutely similar conditions, this side of the House and the people of the country were debarred entirely from auditing, in any kind of a fair way of examination by independent parties, the $922,000,000 which has been expended by this government in twelve and three-quarter years. Now, Sir, I wish to say a little more as to special expenditures. I take public works. The public works of this country, during the Liberal-Conservative administration, had expended upon them an average of $2,000,000 per year. When this government came into power, for a few years it made an expenditure of about $4,000,000 per year. Then a change took place and I am going to ask the House, in the first place, to listen to a table, which will be printed in ' Hansard,' as to the progress of expenditures on consolidated fund account in all of the departments and then make a few more extended remarks in reference to one or two of these departments. The table is as follows :

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CONSOLIDATED FUND EXPENDITURE.


- 1896. 1909. Increase.Miscellaneous. $ $ p. c.Administration of Jus- tice Agricultural and Sta- 758,270 1,240,364 63tistics 210,877 1,403,569 665Civil Government 1,396,628 3,283,265 135Fisheries 427,250 951,728 123Geological Survey 52,668 247,659 370Immigration 120,199 972,326 700Quarantine 95,247 121,665 30Indians .. 880,408 1,307,245 50Legislature 904,687 1,543,327 70Light Houses, &c Mail and Steamship 466,057 2,721,801 500Subsidies 534,916 1,684,683 200Militia 1,136,713 5,221,644 360Ocean & River {Service. 181,451 1,201,804 560Pensions 86,080 191,532 120Public Works 1,299,768 12,300,184 850Scientific Institutions.. 81,669 453,921 570Collection of Revenue. Customs 896,332 1,994,951 122Dominion Lands 119,908 548,607 357Inspection Staples 2,576 160,184 6.000Post Office 3,665,011 6,592,386 175Public Works 159,460 625,034 280Railways and Canals .. 3,725,609 10,780,125 190


PDBL1C WORKS EXPENDITURE, CONSOLIDATED FUND.


Mis- cellaneous. Collective Revenue. Total.§ i $1896 .. .. 1909 .... 1,299,768 12,300,184 159,460 625,054 1,459,228 12,925,218Increase.. 11,000,416 465,574 11,465,9901, p. c.. 850 280 785Average Expend iture 1873-1883 $m n 1883-1900 " it 1900-1904 H ii 1905 ii i, 1906 ii .. 1908 ii ii 1909 1.300.000 2,000,000 4,000,000 6.765.000 7,484,715 8,721,326 12,300,000 la eight and three-quarter years, $57,000,000 have been expended on miscellaneous public works alone. I say that this expenditure is inordinate. It is indefensible and you cannot point with your finger to the compensatory advantages, to the compensatory product of stimulus or of use to warrant the expenditure of this amount of money. Not only are we startled by the Mr. FOSTER. great increase in these expenditures, but, Sir, there are other things that might be said about this expenditure on public works. It applies to a great many expenditures but particularly to the expenditure on public works. In the first place there is no plan upon which these expenditures are made. There is no setting down by a competent authority, or competent board, and taking into account the amount of money it would be wise to spend, taking into account the needs of the services for which alone the money should be spent, taking into account the localities which are to be served and in the line of precedent. There is no such thing as that at all. No country in the world proceeds to its expenditure upon public works on the haphazard and secret plan on which this Dominion of Canada proceeds. There is absolutely no publicity in the matter. It is a matter between the candidate, or the person pressing for the expenditure and the minister who has charge of the expenditure. The expenditure is warranted by the government before the House or any body else outside of it has any knowledge of the thing at all. Once the government comes down with these estimates it is impossible in 99 cases out of 100 to change an estimate in the least. In the United States, where we think they have been pretty extravagant, no congressman can get an appropriation for public works by simply going to a minister and buttonholing him. He has to submit his resolution that it is wise to have a public building built in a certain place; he has to substantiate that before a responsible committee and that committee has the oversight of the whole amount that is to be expended during any one year. Congressman A or Congressman B does not get $20,000 for a post office by going to the minister and persuading him to put it in the estimates; he has to go before the committee, which has the examination into all the appropriations for all public buildings, and which considers the reasons for the expenditure and then decides what amount of money will be expended at any particular place. Then and not till then does it go into the estimates. But worse than all that, we had a singular instance in this House the other day; worse than I have ever known it before; we had a proposal which was well understood and heard by the Minister of Finance who to-day prided himself upon being a trustee for the people and of sitting here in that capacity. What was this proposal? It was to spend $20,000 or $25,000 of the people's money. What for? For a post office. What was the postal revenue of the place? $700 in the year all told. The question was asked of the Minister of Public Works: Has the Postmaster General asked for it? The answer was: No. The Minister of Public Works buttonholed by somebody puts in an appropriation of $20,000 or $25,000 for what he calls a post office in a place where to-day there is a postal revenue of $700 annually, and where the present postal accommodation is rented for exactly $38 a year. And when the Minister of Public Works is questioned he admits that no post office authority has told him that they need a post office in that place to carry on their business. Is not that a perfectly outrageous way of proceeding? Is there any other sane legislative body in the world that would do that kind of thing? Who should be the judge of the necessity for a post office? The post office authorities themselves and nobody else. The post office authority is absent in Europe, his officers are present here, but neither he there nor one of his officers here has ever signed a scrap of paper asking for the erection of a post office in that town. There was another proposition .brought into the House by the Minister of Public Works to build a new examining warehouse in the -city of Quebec. It was to cost about $500,- 000. He wanted a vote of $50,000, he thought it would be best to change off the old and get a new site and if so this $50,000 was to go towards the building. The Minister of Public Works proposed to get a vote of $50,000, which would authorize him to proceed to spend if he thought it was best, $500,000 for a customs building. The Minister of Customs came into the House and it was brought out in the course of the questioning that the Minister of Customs had never asked for this building, that he absolutely knew nothing about it, except that the old building had had a fire in it and that it must be repaired in order that his men could do their work. These are not isolated cases, they are pattern cases. Over and over again this session and last we have cornered the Minister of Public Works in his appropriations for buildings, and we have had him admit time and again that the Minister of Customs never asked for this and the Postmaster General never asked for that, and the departmental administrator knew nothing about it. And when he was brought to book the Minister of Public Works justified the action by saying that every country seat ought to have a building costing from $20,000 to $25,000. Well, the meaning of that plainly is that the government is not erecting public buildings for the use of the service but for patronage purposes, sticking up one in every county town whether it is necessary or not. That is the system upon which this immense expenditure in the Public Works has grown up chiefly, until it is to-day $12,000,000 under the administration of the present minister. Does not this House think that before a public building is erected the departmental head of the department which requires the use of it ought to express an opinion upon its necessity? Does not the House think there ought to be some board which would take all these matters into consideration and appropriate these moneys for publfc buildings? Look at the iniquity of putting up a $25,000 building somewhere in the country where there is a yearly revenue of not more than $700, and not asked for by the Postmaster General, and not required for the needs of the postal service. What does it mean? It means that the trustee Minister of Finance sitting yonder allows to be taken out from under his key where he has it in charge $25,000 of the people's money for a mere matter of paltry petty patronage; that is what it means, nothing more and nothing less. On the other hand you have a city like Lethbridge, which has a postal revenue of $20,000 and more, which has absolutely no decent place where people can get their mail matter, and yet there is no post office building there, good or bad, and there is no proposition to put one there. But, because the member representing Lethbridge happens to be on this side of the House he must go chasing around for ever looking for the just rights of his city. Well, neither the member for Lethbridge should have to chase around looking'"for suitable accommodation for the postal service in his city nor should the other man get a post office in his village for patronage purposes, but, when such buildings are necessary in the public interest the Minister of Public Works and the Postmaster General should consult together and decide first that the building was necessary, and in the second place, the kind of building suitable for the conditions of the public service in that particular place. Where are we to come out at if we keep going along in this way? One can learn much by keeping his eyes and his ears open in this House. I heard a minister state in the House the other day that $27,700 was expended for a piece of dredging and he believed there was more dredging to be done there which meant more cost. What are you getting? A channel from five to eight feet deep. Who is using it? One gasoline launch and one steam vessel- but there was a great paucity of information as to what particular amount of business that gasoline launch and that steam vessel were carrying on. There will be probably $40,000 or $50,000 of the people's money for which those gentlemen are trustees expended for what reason? Any broad purpose of commerce? No, I venture to say expended where no men of a corporation would dare to expend the money which was given to them by their shareholders



and justify it to their shareholders "when they met them. I could go on and give examples of that kind of thing for hours upon hours. Examples of this are in our estimates through and through, they are in our public accounts and have been for years. I think this thing ought to he mended, that the 'government itself, for very shame's sake, ought to provide some business-like method of constructing its public works and ought to at least have a consultation of the heads of the departments that are nominally and in practice to be served by the construction of these works. As an example we may take a little item for dredging for which some $42,000 or $45,000 have been paid. This is for a little place down in New Brunswick, a portion of a small lake. I believe they got five feet of navigation, perhaps more. I know ' the place well, and no business man will go there and tell you that you should have spent one red cent upon dredging in that locality, it is absolutely thrown away, given to a friend of the government-and to a friend of the government who puts his money in large quantities into the support of the government and the support of organs which support the government. I am willing to make this challenge to the Prime Minister, to pick out any three business men, add to them an expert, send them down there and let them report to him; and I am willing to stake my reputation that their report will be that no trustees or the people's money who have a proper regard for their duties would have allowed a single dollar of that kind of expenditure. Will the government take the challenge? But I turn off from that very fertile subject, I hope we shall hear more about it before this session is over, and I come to anotner point. If there is one thing that these hon. gentlemen pride themselves on more than another it is their business management of the affairs of this country. I have heard them boast that their management is a business management, and I have heard their supporters boast, sometimes, thinking it to be true, that their course of administration in a business point of view was a marvel of business ability and of business methods. I want to adduce just a few examples of what these gentlemen have undertaken and of what they have done and what they have failed to do-just one out of maybe a hundred pertinent examples that might very well be called to mind. First let me take their management of the Yukon Territory and ask whether it has been a very brilliant phase of their administration? These gentlemen came into the possession of an awakened and partly explored Yukon. They entered upon its administration and declared in this House Mr. FOSTER. over and over again, that they were going to make the Yukon pay for the Yukon, dollar for dollar, and would make it even a source of revenue. Let us go to the record and see what happened. In 1901 this government had a revenue of $1,993,982 from the Yukon and made an expenditure of $1,254,156, leaving a surplus for that year of $739,826. From 1894 to 1900 there had accumulated a surplus in the Yukon management of $940,769. That is, at the end of 1901 this government had a surplus of $1,680,595 in their hands as a result of the previous management and previous conduct of the Yukon. What happened afterwards? Come down to this present year, take the whole of the operations from 1894 to 1909 and you find that the total net deficit amounts to $2,236,367. Taking all that came in and all that went out they have expended in the Yukon $2,236,367 more than they received since 1902. But in 1901, they had a surplus of $1,680,000. From 1901 to 1909 they got rid of that surplus and they landed in a deficit such as I have named so that they get away with $4,916,962 in their management of the Yukon in eight years. Is that brilliant management? You had about 30,000 or 38,000 people there in 1901. How many have you to-day? Eight thousand-I think I would be nearer if I said 5,000. You had an income in gold of $22,700,000. What have you now? Two and a half millions or two and three-quarter millions, something like that. Yet the very last year of your administration there, whilst you got a revenue of $572,650, you took care to spend $837,015 and made a deficit that last year of $264,365. Is that brilliant business management? It costs to-day, according to the figures I have read, nearly $170 per head of the people of the Yukon to administer it for a single year. Let us take another instance. There was the Stickeen-Teslin railway arrangement. This government entered into a straight and fast contract just on tne eve of the assembling of parliament. Parliament looked intp that contract, parliament did not approve of it and held it up. Force was strong enough to put it through this House, but force was not strong enough to put it through the Senate. As a result it did not go through parliament, and after the government got their majority in the Senate they did not attempt to put it through. What happened? They had to pay $282,323 to Mackenzie & Mann for breach of contract or for damages. That money went out from the hands of these trustees and what good ever came to the country from it? Wouldn't it have been better if they had brought the proposition down and threshed it out in the House before they made the hard and fast contract which bound them in the end to pay these dam- ages? Was that brilliant management on the part of a board of trustees? Then there was the Drummond Counties railway. Their own minister came to this House with the sanction of his colleagues, and told this House: 'I can buy the Drummond Counties railway for $2,100,000 or a little more.' This House questioned the justice of the payment; the other House not only questioned it, but examined into it, and held it up for a year. The next year their own minister, with their sanction, bought the same property under better conditions for $800,000 less than he wished us to pay for it the year before. Was that brilliant trusteeship? If the shareholders had not got in on that transaction we would have been out from $800,000 to $1,000,000 more than we are. Then there comes the Quebec bridge. This is fresh in the minds of all. The Quebec bridge, from the very moment of its inception, was known to be on a great line of traffic, a most important link between the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence, between the great west and the farther east. What happened? To the company which never put in more than $200,000 of stock, which only paid up a fraction of that, until and aLer it was forced to years later by the government, they made advances and loans of nearly $7,000,000. They omitted the slightest precautions of having proper supervising en-gineership. The bridge fell down one fine day, and some 75 people were drowned. The government woke up. They woke up in two ways. In the first place," they paid to this company, which gambled on the prospect of making a lot of money out of the transaction, by controlling a line that was necessary, and terminals which were to be added to it. They paid them back in full all the stock they had subscribed for. They paid them five per cent for the time they subscribed for the stock until they got their money.. They then added ten per cent of a bonus, so that they would not have any wounded feelings, pocketing the $7,000,000 of loss. They then brushed up and looked into the matter in a businesslike way, and since then they have spent $100,000 on examination and engineering, owing to the loss occasioned bv their failure to supervise and provide proper engineering ability at an earlier stage. They now have found out that what their company had passed as sufficient foundations for the Quebec bridge are not sufficient, and a $2,000,000 contract is invoked for better piers, new abutments and better foundations. There is $9,000,000 gone before you commence your superstructure. What that will cost I do not know; but putting it at $5,000,000, that makes up an expenditure of $14,000,000, of which over $7,000,000 is an absolute loss-why? Because the work was begun and carried out in a fashion that no trustees for any estate or corporation would have descended to for a single moment. Then there was the Newmarket canal, which is a euphemism for the Aylesworth ditch. There are the trustees-they face me now. The trustees are taking a million and a quarter of the moneys of the estate for which they are trustees and are putting it into the Aylesworth ditch. No water, little population, no traffic-an absolute waste, and the worst kind of a waste, because it lies in plain, open sight. If they wanted to make a spectacle like that, why didn't they do it away from the settled portions of the country, where it would not have been seen every day by people who travel? In the bottom of his heart the Minister of Railways is ashamed of it. The Prime Minister, who is the head trustee, has never deigned to show what is to be carried on that canal when a million and a quarter of money is to be put into it. They have been challenged over and over again, and yet none of them has the backbone to stand up now, before more than $300,000 has been spent, and say: ' we made a mistake, we have sunk $300,000, but, by George, we will not sink the other $900,000.' Whilst in the west, I took an automobile trip down the Red river to see a very notable, noted, or notorious work, called the St. Andrew's lock. There you have a very fine work. The total cost of it, I believe, is to be over $600,000.


CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

A million and a half.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PDBL1C WORKS EXPENDITURE, CONSOLIDATED FUND.
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?

Mr. POSTER@

Six hundred thousand dollars has been spent now.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PDBL1C WORKS EXPENDITURE, CONSOLIDATED FUND.
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CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY.

Over a million.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PDBL1C WORKS EXPENDITURE, CONSOLIDATED FUND.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

It is worse than I thought it was. Supposing we put it at a million or a million and a quarter. Has the Prime Minister ever seen it?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PDBL1C WORKS EXPENDITURE, CONSOLIDATED FUND.
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December 14, 1909