March 19, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Adam Carr Bell

Conservative (1867-1942)


We are inquiring into the working of the road at the present time and not in the past. But I say that if, at any time under Conservative rule, hon. gentlemen opposite had chosen to pursue such an inquiry as we have proposed, I cannot believe that they would have been met at the very first step by a refusal in the part of the late government to allow the attendance of a competent witness. In fact, the record of the commissions held during the existence of the late government go to show that the government was most anxious that every possible witness should be had.
I do not think it necessary to go further than this. I hope I have made it plain to the House that here is a matter which suggests the necessity for very careful and thorough inquiry. The minority of the committee charged with the duty of inquiring into such matters have asked for a witness whom they described as one having the fullest knowledge and one of the highest competence. They are refused the presence and assistance of that witness, apparently upon grounds which are absolutely without precedent in this country. I can discover no precedent, and I am satisfied that none exists, that would justify the minister, or the government if the government chooses to support him, in the course that has been taken in this matter. I therefore move, without speaking further on the subject:
That the third report of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts, presented to this House on Thursday, March 13th, be referred back to the committee with instructions that Mr. P. S. Archibald, C. E., of Moncton, be summoned to give evidence before the said committee.

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