Nothing gives me greater pain than to dismiss men, but on the other hand, this is not a charitable institution. At times all Ministers of Public Works have had to yield to public pressure. The position of the Minister of Public Works is by no means a comfortable one. There is no department in which there is more trouble, and I wish that some abler man had taken hold of it when this government was formed.
How many did the hon. gentleman dismiss ?
About 45 or 50-15 mechanical, 25 labourers and 10 or 12 painters.
How came the hon. gentleman to make a raid on the mechanical department ? [DOT]
It had become too large. There was no special raid on that department. During the last three or four months I have dismissed 100. Mr. Ewart is chief architect. He asks the heads of the different branches to report the number of men they want and the number they can dispense with. On their reports I dismiss the men we do not require.
The chief of the mechanical department is Mr. King. It was on his report that 15 men were dismissed. The head of the painters is Mr. Cote and the head of the labouring men is Mr. Breton. It is on their report that those dismissals were made.
Do not the reports contain the names of the men ?
I called Mr. Ewart in and asked him how many men he wanted to keep. I said to him : Do not make any party politics, but keep the best men.
Public Works-Chargeable to Income-Miscellaneous-To cover balance of expenditures for works already authorized for which the appropriations may be insufficient, provided the amount for each work does not exceed 5100 (amounts shown opposite appropriations affected), $3,000.
I desire to make a short statement and an appeal to the Minister of Public Works with reference to a matter that has been hanging fire for a couple of years. I think the House will sanction the minister in paying the amount. Before the drill hall in Kingston was located, an architect of unquestionable repute and ability was asked by the district officer commanding there to look at the different sites owned by the government, and make some measurements, and be ready to assist in locating the site when the minister came from Ottawa.
Who was the district officer commanding.
Col. Montizambert. The minister made his visit, and, in company with several of the military men, and a number of other gentlemen in Kingston, visited the different properties owned by the government. The architect to whom I have referred made measurements and a rough plan. Afterwards, when it was decided to erect an armouries building, the plans were made by the architect in the minister's department in Ottawa. When the building was being erected, a superintendent of works was employed, but it was not the architect to whom I have referred. This gentleman has moved away from Kingston and is living in British Columbia. His wile still re'sides in Kingston. A bill was rendered by him for his services in making the rough plans, taking the measurements, &e. The bill is a moderate one in my opinion, and in the opinion of architects. But a difficulty has arisen like this-the minister says : I cannot recognize this account unless it is recommended by the Minister of Militia ; and the Minister of Militia says that he never authorized the work, and that his department knew nothing about the work done by Mr. Newlands-that is the gentleman's name-and so he cannot authorize the account to be paid. Here was a
work actually done. Some benefit was derived by the government from the work, because to build properly, it was necessary to have measurements of the sites and rough plans of the building that could be erected on one'or other of these different sites. I make this appeal in Committee of the Whole to the minister on behalf of Mr. Newlands. He is no longer in the province and cannot attend here in Ottawa to urge his claim. His family have not yet removed out of the province. Of course, it would be no argument to say that the person making the claim is in need of the money, and I do not know that I should be authorized to say that. But I say that knowing what he did it seems a just and fair claim, and I regret that I have not been able to get the Minister of Militia to recommend it or the Minister of Public Works to recognize it without that recommendation. All I can do is to say as I am saying now- and it cannot be fairly contradicted it seems to me-that this money has been earned by this architect, and ought to be paid. If there was no authorization, there was at least recognition by the minister going to these sites and doing what he did. The amount of the claim is $125. I think the sum is reasonable. But, if not. then some sum that is reasonable ought to be paid. I ask the hon. minister to look into this matter, and put in an item into the supplementary estimates to pay this claim.
I quite admit that it is a meritorious case. I have looked into the matter myself. There is evidence that Mr. Newlands was asked by Col. Montizambert to look over the sites and prepare plans. Col. Montizambert was in no way employed by the Department of Public Works, in no way connected with that department. Lacking that connection, I cannot see that I would be justified in putting the amount in the estimates. But if my hon. friend the lion. Minister of Militia (Hon. Mr. Borden) were in his seat, I think he would be convinced by the statement my hon. friend has just made. And I would invite him to go again to interview the Minister of Militia. 1 shall be ready to abide by the decision of my colleague.
Public Works-Chargeable to Collection of Revenue-Repairs and Working Expenses- Harbours, docks and slides, $96,400.
All these are votes that do not call for discussion.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
I was just about to suggest that as wo have voted $1,200,000 we had better stop.
These are mere routine votes.
Public Works-Chargeable to Collection of Revenue-Land and cable telegraph lines of the Mr. BRITTON.
sea coast and islands of the lower rivers and the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the maritime provinces, including working expenses of vessels required for cable service, $32,000.
Is the government extending this telegraph line ?
Yes. I have a vote from parliament of $7,500 to build a line to Belle Isle. They are building it now, and it will be completed by the beginning of August.
This is to defray working expenses ?
Yes, that only.
Some resolutions reported.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE moved the adjournment of the House.
What business will be taken up to-morrow ?
We shall probably take up the Election Bill in the afternoon, if found convenient. Following that, we shall proceed with the estimates of the Minister of Railways.