March 24, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)


isters should be here to answer questions put to them. At present, two important ministers are absent. The other is the Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton). It may be true that he is away on an important mission; but it seems to me that, either some abler man might have been sent in his place, or he might have chosen some other time to go, and take pains to attend during the session. We ought to break up this custom of ministers being absent when parliament is in session. They should be here to give us the information necessary to enable us to discuss intelligently questions which are brought before the House. But, when we ask questions, we are told : In the absence of the minister, the information cannot be given, but it will be given when the minister comes back. But by the time the minister gets back the session is over, and the opportunity to bring out the information for the benefit of the public is gone. For the reasons I have given, I think I am justified in supporting the motion of the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Bell). And I hold that the government should not put forward the pretext that this is a want of confidence motion. They could accept it if they liked. But this plea is only a pretext on the part of the government. When they have no other way of bringing their supporters solidly together they call upon them to vote the motion down on the ground that it is a want of confidence motion.

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