Mr. W. S. LOGGIE (Northumberland, N.B.):
Mr. Speaker, before addressing myself to the subject matter before the House, perhaps it would not be out of order if I referred Ho an incident that happened when I last addressed you. It was my pleasure on that occasion to congratulate you (Mr. Rhodes) on your elevation to the
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position of Deputy Speaker, and I regret that I have not the pleasure on this occasion of addressing the Speaker of the House, because I have not addressed the House when that gentleman was in the Chair, and I would like to tender my compliments to him.
I want to say, with reference to the circumstance that I have already referred to, that when I was addressing the House a voice came from my left saying that there was a bad fire. I cast my eye To the left and I could see a reflection in the hall. The rapidity with which the fire seemed to surround the chamber was marvellous. Within a few moments I rushed across the House, but I was not able to find an exit. I, with six other hon. members, made two attempts to find an exit, but failed. A short time afterwards we got through the same door as that at which we had prev-ously failed. It is regrettable that on that occasion some persons unfortunately lost their lives, and especially in this connection I would refer to our late colleague, the hon. member for Yarmouth (Mr. Law), and I desire publicly to express my heartfelt sympathy with his wife and daughter in their bereavement. I think I should also congratulate the members of the House and those who were in the Parliament buildings at the time upon their 'wonderful escape under the circumstances.
Now, allow me to make a few remarks on the subject matter before the House. We are told by those in authority that we require half a million men from Canada to go to the front in order to win this war. The hon. Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) tells us that we need $250,000,000 for war purposes this year. I am sure we are all impressed with the fact that men and money are needed to maintain the rights and privileges that we at present enjoy. My son, who has been in the trenches in France, and who was wounded in October of last year, said to me in a letter recently that it would take money to win this war. What we are able to offer, whether it be men or money, we shall offer, I am sure not grudgingly. We have volunteered to raise half a million men, and we are endeavouring to devise means by which we can raise $250,000,000 to pay the cost of what we have so laudably undertaken in our desire to aid the Empire at this time.
The question comes to me: what is our urgent duty on the present occasion? That brings me to the statement which has been
made to the House by the Minister of Finance. That hon. gentleman intimated [DOT]that there were in the Estimates votes to the amount of about $30,000,000 that the . Government does not propose to expend this year. In these critical times, in these days- when we have extended the life of this Parliament-our own parliamentary life, if you like-we might depart from the procedure of the past and eliminate votes that we are told it is not intended to expend during the coming fiscal year. I commend this suggestion to the Minister of Finance. It seems to me that under the present circumstances it would be a move in the right direction. Another suggestion I would make to the Government is that we, as a people, and as a House of Commons, should rise to the dignity of the occasion and adopt the attitude towards public affairs which was so ably presented to us by the hon. junior member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean), and by the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), who spoke with particular reference to what I might describe as the patronage system disease. This disease is working into the very vitals of our country and undermining our best interests. I agree with the Minister of Trade and Commerce in the statement that really no good comes from it to any party, but that in the end nothing comes from it but evil. In every town, as I understand it, where soldiers are billeted, orders for supplies are given out by a patronage committee. A patronage committee tells whom to ask for prices for supplies, and notwithstanding that a firm may have the necessary stock, is doing a legitimate wholesale business, and could supply the goods at reasonable prices, it is passed over, and firms named by the the patronage committee are asked to supply the necessary food for the soldiers.