August 1, 1931


Item agreed to. To provide for payment annually from the consolidated revenue fund of the sum of $2,000 to each minister of the crown charged with the administration of a department, the solicitor general, and the leader of the opposition, and the sum of $1,000 each to the speaker of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Commons, in lieu of motor cars and their maintenance, including chauffeurs, the acceptance of such sums not to vacate their respective seats in parliament: and to authorize the governor in council to appoint any person now employed in the public service as a chauffeur of a passenger automobile at Ottawa, whose position is abolished, to a vacant position in the public service, provided such chauffeur has been continuously employed as such for at least two years_ and that the appointment will be made at no higher remuneration than he is now receiving, $42,000.


IND

Joseph Henri Napoléon Bourassa

Independent

Mr. BOURASSA:

I do not want to delay the committee, but I do not think this estimate should have been imposed upon the house under the circumstances in which the country finds itself just now. It is perhaps a small matter in itself and I am not going to say that the ministers are sufficiently paid without receiving a further remuneration. But this matter has been commented upon in many quarters and it creates a very bad impression. The practice of ministers having automobiles of their own has grown up without special statute, and this is interpreted as simply a disguised increase in salary for ministers and the leader of the opposition; and in the present circumstances it is a very bad way of terminating the session.

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS LIGHT, HEAT AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED-RIGHT TO DIVERT WATER-WORKS FOR GENERAL ADVANTAGE OF CANADA
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I should hesitate to

speak about this, but it is desirable that a wrong impression should not be left on the minds of the committee. The cost of ministerial cars last year was $47,266.52; the cost of departmental cars was some $34,000, making a total of $81,267.26; with a net purchase price for ministers' cars and others of $106,748.04. Of the 36 cars, 20 have been turned over to the departmental garage, Department of National Defence, for storage and ultimate disposal.

Supply-Miscellaneous

I have no desire that at this time in the country's history additional salaries should be granted to ministers. On the other hand,

I can speak, perhaps, with a little more freedom than my colleagues, and I am not concerned whether or not this vote is allowed, so far as I am personally concerned. But I do say this, that while cars were allowed to ministers for a long time, a practice grew up the example of which was bad, and we determined to discontinue it. But it is unfair to ask men to leave their homes and their professions, in many instances their future, and come to the city of Ottawa and live here, maintaining that position which they are bound to maintain by virtue of their office, and then find themselves, at the end of a term of office, hopelessly bankrupt. That has happened in this city. It has happened during the last few years that one of the leading ministers of the crown found himself in that position, and when he departed this life his estate indicated that that was so.

Men in politics should not be compelled to rely upon the benefaction of friends or *otherwise, so far as the duty they owe the state is concerned; and when men serve Canada for the miserable pittance they get, as compared with what they would receive if they were practising their professions-they would get twice as much-to say that they should come here and find themselves, after a term of office, with their little savings gone, with their families on the threshold of life, without much opportunity to get an education because of the cost, and then to expect them to maintain the dignity of their office, entertaining, dispensing hospitality, treating visitors as they should treat them, moving to and fro, from one place to another, maintaining cars, I do not believe that anybody would suggest that this is at all reasonable. Least of all do the Canadian people expect it, and it cannot be done on the salary that is provided.

I did consult with the leader of the opposition with respect to the matter, and I am sorry he is not here at the moment. A sum was arrived at after consultation with automobile men and garages, and there is not a member of this house who does not appreciate just what is involved. I can only say that this item does not represent the cost of gasoline and service which I pay, without any question of loss or depreciation to the car; and I do not want my colleagues, nor does anyone in this house want them, to be placed in a different position because of the accident of our circumstances. Moreover, in the end it is a saving. I ask the committee to realize that this sum of money is 22110-286

here for a specific purpose and is used for that purpose. So far as I know, it is not adequate for the purpose, but it saves the country $40,000 or $50,000 a year or perhaps a good deal more than that in the end. At least it will save $5,000 a month.

None of my colleagues will engage in this discussion and I want to be fair to them. I think most of us know that there is not a single occasion on which a charity list or some other subscription list is opened when every minister is not asked to subscribe. And if we are to have that probity in public life which has been spoken of in the house so frequently we must ait least put men in positions that will be self-sustaining, positions in which they can support themselves and their families and maintain that dignity which by virtue of the offices they hold they are bound to maintain, not because they want to but because they have to. It is not a matter of choice but of necessity. I ask the committee to pass this item as offering to the country an indication of the fact that the people do not expect their servants to serve them without being at least placed in a position that will not leave them the poorer for the services they render. The labourer is worthy of his hire, whatever may be his position. In every walk of life I know of men receive compensations in keeping with the services they give. If anyone has any doubt about that, let him look at the lawyers' bills which we pass in the estimates, or at those bills entailed in connection with the recent committee. I speak strongly about this, although I have no personal interest in it; but I believe it is the fair thing to do by men who serve the state on either side of the house, giving of their best to the country. And it is better than the indiscriminate use of automobiles in the manner that grew up out of the war. This is in the interests of the country. It represents a saving to the people and is a fair recognition of the fact that you do not expect people who serve you to be poorer in consequence of that service.

Topic:   BEAUHARNOIS LIGHT, HEAT AND POWER COMPANY, LIMITED-RIGHT TO DIVERT WATER-WORKS FOR GENERAL ADVANTAGE OF CANADA
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Item agreed to.


DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR


Salaries-further amount required pending the final adjustment of staffs by the department and the Civil Service Commission, owing to the transfer of natural resources, such sum to cover allowances to those retired and salaries of those retained, $100,000.


?

Lionel Chevrier

Mr. OHEVRIER:

Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to delay the committee at this late stage, but I am very sorry to see that the administration has not seen fit to include in

Supply-Miscellaneous

the supplementary estimates something in the way of relief for those who have been let out from the Department of the Interior. I thought at one time that this matter was being favourably considered, especially the suggestion that five years should be added to the length of service of those who had not reached thirty-five years of service. To have done this would have served a very useful purpose. I had other observations to make on this item, but I will defer them until next session.

The Prime Minister is very much concerned, as it is his duty to be, about unemployment, and I hope that he will find some way of using some of the money which has been appropriated to-day in an endeavour to relieve the situation in Ottawa. Six hundred employees have been let out, and when their families are considered the total number affected would amount to probably 2,500. This has caused a tremendous disturbance of ecenomic conditions in this city, as a large number of merchants, dealers and others have thereby also been affected. These employees have been let out without notice and I trust the administration will give their case favourable consideration.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The observations of the hon. gentleman have been noted and his representations have not been overlooked. However, it is impossible to deal with this matter until such time as we have ascertained to what extent the other departments of the service will be able to absorb these employees. If the hon. gentleman sees fit between now and next session to make such representations as he may be advised to make on behalf of those for whom he speaks, they will be looked into and if possible consideration will be given.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

I thank the Prime Minister for his very considerate reply.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
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Item agreed to.


DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS


Salaries-to provide hereby for the continuance in office of G. W. Dawson as departmental purchasing agent, grade 5, from February 13, 1931 to March 31, 1932, $1.


CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

This is a case where the gentleman involved is beyond the age of seventy. As he is continuing in the service, the vote of $1 is to indicate that no order in council is being passed. This vote is being put in the estimates in order to*show that parliament is giving its approval of this action.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
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Item agreed to.


IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

There are a number of works urgently required throughout the province, and I hope that advantage will be taken of the sum voted for unemployment in order to complete some of these requirements. Much of this work would be in the nature of a stitch in time; if it is not done to-day it may prove to be very costly in the future. This work would supply employment to the local people as well as to make much needed repairs of wharves, floats and so on.

To provide for payments to the railways in connection with movements of coal under conditions prescribed by the governor general in council and for the cost of administration thereof, $1,428,000.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

This is superseded, because of its wording, by a new item which appears in the estimates which were submitted this morning.

Item dropped.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
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DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE


To provide for the administration of the Income War Tax Act, 1917, and amendments thereof, and authority for this purpose to create positions and make appointments, notwithstanding anything contained in the Civil Service Act, and the said positions and staff so appointed are hereby wholly excluded from the operation of the said act-further amount required, $350,000. To provide for expenses of maintenance of revenue cruisers and for preventive service- further amount required, $150,000.-Total,


LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He is not in very good

health to-day and he has retired, but I am familiar with the matter.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL REVENUE
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August 1, 1931