In tlie seven years the bounties to be paid by the government of Canada to the Dominion Iron and Steel Company would amount in the aggregate to $8,095,000. It may not be fair for me to surmise, that taking into consideration the vast resources at the disposal of this company, and the tremendous increase in the iron trade probable in the next few years, that that bounty is likely to be double the amount indicated here. Now, Mr. Speaker, if we were confined to paying bounties even to this one company, in my opinion, the matter would be sufficiently serious, but I find that the Cramp Ontario Steel Company have also issued a prospectus, in which they give us an idea of their expectations with respect to this great industry.
They also are in a position to earn and will earn a very large bounty. Then there are other large industries In the Dominion, all of which come under this Act. What I wish to draw the attention of the government to is this, that the Dominion of Canada stands to pay out a very large amount of money in the way of bounties, and I would like to know whether it is too late for the government to take such steps as may, While not invading any vested rights, at the same time prevent further vested interests growing up under the Act. There is no doubt that the principle of granting bounties to industries under certain conditions is a proper one, and one which has been adopted by governments in all civilized countries in the world ; but at the same time it strikes me that in these cases there may be an invasion of that principle. For instance, we find by the prospectus of the Dominion Iron and Steel Co. that they have a capital of some $23,000,000, and they have on their directorate some of the leading financial people of Canada, the United States and Great Britain-men of whom in no sense can it be said that they are financially in dire need of any assistance in respect to any industry or concern to which they may attach themselves. At this juncture-and it is not too early-I think the government should take into their serious consideration this question of the bounty on iron and steel. It may be that the volume of business generated, and the amount of money expended in and about these industries may be commensurate with the amount of bounty the people of this Dominion are obliged to pay to these companies. It is not my intention, in directing the attention of the government to this matter, to advocate the invasion of any vested right that may have been established by this Act. Doubtless the Act was passed with a view to helping the struggling industries of this country ; but I do not think anybody would characterize the Dominion Iron and Steel Co. or the Ontario Cramp Steel Co. as struggling industries that would require such a large amount of tiie money of the taxpayers of Canada
to be given to them in order to earn their dividends.
I would like very much if the government would give us some assurance that the proper interests of the people will be safeguarded in this respect. I think it is a matter of very great importance, and one that interests every taxpayer in the Dominion. The amount of money which will be paid in bounties must be very large ; in the seven years it might amount to anywhere from $25,000,000 to $50,000,000. I am not an alarmist, but taking the statements of these companies themselves, and the tremendous output which is likely to attend the successful operation of their works, there is every indication that the amount of the bounty will at any rate exceed $15,000,000 within the seven years.