April 24, 1901

CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

Will the price at which the Dominion Iron and Steel Company can produce these rails have any effect on the price which the government will pay the Clergue Company in the succeeding four years ?

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

The arrangement is based on the price of rails in England which is a reasonably steady market, and a market which will give us a guarantee that we shall not pay more than a fair and proper price. I am not prepared to say what elements would enter into the consideration of the Governor in Council in settling the price. If the Dominion Steel Company were manufacturing rails,' I am not sure but that might be a very proper matter to consider. I do not want, however, to make any statement on that subject at this time.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The hon. gentleman has not yet answered my hon. friend from South Lanark (Hon. Mr. Hag-

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I have stated over and over again that the contract to be drawn up will give effect to and be in accordance with the order in council.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I understand that, but my hon. friend has brought down a contract which he told the House was in terms of the order in council, and after a considerable amount of criticism

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

The hon. member does not want that all gone over again, does he ? I stated how it came here. Surely, a little fair-play is not an unreasonable expectation.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The hon. gentleman is speaking a little too hurriedly. I was about to state that criticism may show that the contract which the hon. gentleman will eventually draw up will not be in terms of the order in council.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

That is a matter which we as a government would be responsible to parliament and the country for.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

And it is a matter on -which the opposition has a right to criticise the government if it is not drawn in terms of the order in council. I pointed out yesterday to the hon. gentleman that the present practice in England is that all contracts of this kind should be made with the stipulation that they should not be binding until parliament has approved of them. The hon. gentleman made a contract in October last, but the formal contract has not yet been drawn up, and he asks the House to vote the supply for that contract. The House, I think, is reasonably entitled to see the form of the contract at least, under the peculiar circumstances ot this case. I expressed some doubt yesterday as to whether we had all the facts. It turns out now that we had not all the facts yesterday, because the hon. gentleman certainly led the House to believe yesterday that this contract had not been executed by the company at all.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

That is not the statement I intended to make to the committee, because the contract was sent some time ago.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I want to show the hon. gentleman how easily misapprehensions arise. This contract has been lying in the hon. gentleman's department executed by the company sipce the 17th day of this month. Yet the hon. gentleman told us yesterday : * It has not been executed, and down to this moment it has not been executed.'

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I did not mean to state that.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Well, I want to point out to the hon. gentleman how easy it is for misapprehensions to arise, because when I referred later on in the debate to what might happen if the company should execute the contract, the hon. gentleman did not do me the favour of mentioning then that the contract had been executed by the company. Under these circumstances, I think we are not asking an unreasonable thing in demanding that this contract in the terms in which the government intend to enter into it, shall be laid on the Table of the House. I shall be satisfied if that will be done before this item comes up on concurrence.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

The hon. gentleman knows that if the contract was drawn in a manner which is not in accord with the order in council, it would be a clerical error, and we are bound to have tlie contract drawn exactly in the terms of the order in council.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

But what is the objection ?

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The PRIME MINISTER.

There is no objection.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

It is not usual to bring down a draft contract.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I do not desire to be unreasonable, but it can not be a matter involving any great difficulty to draw this contract in accord with the terms of the order in council. All we ask is that before concurrence it should be laid on the Table of the House.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. HAGGART.

There is an item in the supplementary estimates and it could be laid on the Table when that item is voted.

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April 24, 1901