June 6, 1919

UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

I have no knowledge of the particular transaction my hon. friend refers to. But I do know the commission has been at great pains to ascertain that the tenders accepted represented good value for the prices paid. Of course, it cannot make tenders come in; all it can do is to require that tenders shall be presented, and it proceeds on the basis of accepting the lowest tender. There may have been some cases where the commission called for further tenders or endeavoured to get lower prices by reason of the first tender being excessive. I am sure that any member who looks into the work of the commission will be satisfied that it has rendered a very conspicuous piece of public service ever since it was inaugurated.

Topic:   PURCHASING OF DEPARTMENTAL AND OTHER SUPPLIES.
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UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. W. F. COCKSHUTT (Brantford):

Is it the intention that local buying in all the towns and cities of Canada is to be entirely cut out? For instance, if half a dozen brooms are required in Peterborough, Brantford and Hamilton, are those to be shipped from Ottawa, or are they to be bought on the spot, where no freight charges will be payable and no time lost in getting them? It appears to me the Bill is not very clear in that regard.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The Bill does not affect

that question at all. It provides for the purchasing through one central commission.

Mr! COCKSHUTT: By tender?

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

And the principal of tender will apply. Does my hon. friend object to that principle?

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UNION
UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

To whom is this

commission to be responsible?

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

Just a moment while

I answer one question at a time. -

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UNION

William Foster Cockshutt

Unionist

Mr. COCKSHUTT:

I think tenders for a small number of brooms or anything of that kind is entirely unnecessary.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

I have already explained that. Under the powers given by this Bill there is authority in the commission to authorize-and the War Purchasing Commission has authorized in the past, and the new commission will undoubtedly authorize in the future-the purchase of small quantities of local supplies by the person in charge, just as any purchasing agent in any organization would do.

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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

Will the minister compare this system with the old system? Because if that is all there is in it we will be able to understand it better.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The great bulk of the purchasing for the various departments is not covered by the small local purchases to which my hon. friend refers; that is a very small percentage of the total purchases. The main difference will toe that instead of the purchasing being done by all the departments, it will be done by this one central commission. My hon. friend from Victoria (Sir Sam Hughes) asked who was responsible. The commission reports direct to the Prime Minister.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

They will be directly under the Prime Minister?

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

They will report direct to the Prime Minister.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

They will not be

under the control of any minister of the Crown?

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

No, only so far as they must report to the Prime Minister.

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UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

How far would the minister of a department have authority to deal with this commission?

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I must remind the House that we are not in Committee. This is a debate on a second reading, on which - it is competent for each hon. member to speak but once in discussing the principle of the Bill. It is not in order to go into details at this stage in the same manner as in Committee.

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UNION

Alfred Ernest Fripp

Unionist

Mr. A. E. FRIPP (Ottawa):

Has the minister made any investigation of the working of the commission which has been in operation during the last three or four years as compared with the purchasing by the departments separately through their purchasing agents?

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UNION
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. If the hon. gentleman wishes to ask a question he may do so; but if he purposes to make a speech, that is quite another matter.

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June 6, 1919