Well, he is the only one in the House who thinks that. There is no evidence that there was any damage done to the province of Nova Scotia, and the arbitrators do not say anything of the kind in their award. We complain that there was no rule to guide the arbitrators and so they adopted the rule of thumb. Under the same principle it is set out in this reference, every municipality in the country would be entitled to recover under a similar claim. The member for Bothwell touched the pit of the argument when he pointed out that not one member of parliament, from the Prime Minister down, attempted to say that there was the least damage done to the province. The fact is, that the province entered into a contract to build a railroad, and the railroad was taken over by the Dominion, much to the delight of the province, because they got the road better equipped and the rates lower than if the province operated the road. The hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Britton) said there was a finality to this, and that there could be no further claim for interest. Why the very next item is an award for interest just under similar circumstances to this one. He is making an excellent argument against the next item. The Finance Minister threw the taunt across the floor of the House that the opposition did not challenge a vote on any of the items in the estimates except one.
That is the sort of argument which might be used on the stump. Has the hon. gentleman ever had the pleasure of an intimate acquaintance with the proceedings of the British House of Commons ? Did he ever 'listen to the remark of the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain when a gentleman in his constituency challenged him for having allowed certain votes to pass without dividing the House upon them ? In the British House of Comons, as in the parliament of nearly every country, it is sufficient for the opposition to protest without dividing the House ; and a first-class statesman, a man who occupies a prominent position in any parliament, never divides the House in committee. If the matter is of sufficient importance, he makes his motion before going into committee, and divides the House then. But for these items the responsibility is entirely on the government, and it is sufficient for the opposition to protest against them, without dividing the House. Such an argument as the hon. Finance Minister has used is only wliat he might use when he is stumping Queen's and Shelburne, but it is not consonant with the dignity of a Finance Minister addressing the House.
I can tell the hon. gentleman that it is sufficient in our province for the people to know that we have protested all we could against this expenditure. The hon. member for Kingston says that this decision is a finality. But when he comes to the next vote, for New Brunswick, he will find that there is no finality to anything. He will be astonished at his own argument in this case, for he will find that we not only pay the award, but that a long time afterwards a demand is made upon us to pay the interest on the amount that we thought was a finality at the time. There is nothing to prevent the province of Nova Scotia, now that the governmefit acknowledges its claim, coming back in the future and demanding interest on the ground that we had already admitted the principle. That is the result of all these little deals. It is extraordinary that three of them should crop up at one time, just before an election-one in Nova Scotia, one in New Brunswick, and one in Prince Edward Island. Prince Edward Island seems to have got far the best of the bargain-$070,000 for Nova Scotia : $280,000 for New Brunswick, but $1,000,000 for the tight little Island of Prince Edward. Where does the rest of the Dominion come in ? That is what we are objecting to. If you are going to have rearrangement of the subsidies, there ought to be a fair share all round ; and you cannot expect gentlemen from other provinces to look with anything but jealousy on these arrangements with Nova Scotia. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. We have had brilliant surpluses for the last few years -nearly $20,000,000 raised from the people of the country, and expended where ? Part
of it to the Intercolonial Railway, and the balance, I suppose, as additional subsidies to these two or three provinces, and my poor native province without anything at all. I see that British Columbia is getting jealous. It is sticking its oar in if there is to be a distribution. But I am afraid that if there is a fair distribution Ontario will prefer to drop its portion of the plunder and leave the matter where it is.
I wish to make a few remarks on this subject notwithstanding the lateness of the evening and the dying hours of the session ; and I propose to do it now, especially in view of the taunts thrown across the floor of the House so often that we have not entered our protest against any of the proposed items of expenditure. This Is, in my judgment, another raid on the treasury in the dying hours of the session, when less than half the members of this House are here to consider the question, the other half having gone home to attend to their duties, supposing the work of the session was over. By actual count a few minutes ago I found that there were exactly 65 members in this Chamber. That represents one-third of the House.
The MINISTER OP MARINE -AND FISHERIES. There were 151 here a short time ago.
In the first place, I think the practice is wrong of submitting these items for our consideration at this late stage of the session. In the next place these items are evidence to us that there has been a concerted action in the maritime provinces to make another raid on the treasury of the country. We have heard rumours for some years past, and have seen them frequently denied by friends of hon. gentlemen opposite in the press, but now they have culminated in these appropriations. The arbitration on this transaction I regard as an arbitration voiced from one side and not from the other. It suggests to us this question : Will there ever be a finality in the financial arrangements between the provinces and the Dominion V We were assured in 1S84 that we had then reached a finality, when the Hon. Mr. Blake said : ' If there is not a finality on these claims on the Dominion, the result must be to break up confederation.'
The rearrangement of the subsidies based on the claims being made, with the possibility of other claims being made in the future. A rearrangement was made at that time, and amounts were voted that were thought to be sufficient. But it seems that we have not reached that finality yet ; and from what has occurred this session, there seems no reason to hope Mr. HAGGART.
that it will be reached in the near future ; for there is just as much reason for other provinces to apply for additional subsidies as the provinces which are now being recouped.
We have not a word of protest from the Ontario members supporting the government. The only one among them who opened his mouth on this vote is the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Britton), and he volunteered a defence that was neither legal nor equitable, but political. I do not propose taking up time by going into the merits or demerits of this claim, but only wish to draw attention to the fact that the supporters of the government from Ontario. Manitoba, the North-west Territories, and British Columbia, instead of being here doing their duty on behalf of their respective provinces, are absent, witli the exception of a few who are prepared to allow the Minister of Finance to go it blind. The great province of Ontario, which is the milch cow of confederation, is being milked again, and there is not a member from that province supporting the government independent enough to enter liis protest. As soon as the item was called, I noticed these hon. gentlemen clearing out from the House, as they always do whenever there is a critical vote about to be submitted, so that they may afterwards plead as an excuse: I did not happen to be present when this expenditure was brought down.
We have this item of $671,836 for Nova Scotia, and that is to be immediately followed by another one of $280,692 for New Brunswick, and we have given practically a million dollars to Prince Edward Island. These three provinces ought to be satisfied. What guarantee have we that Quebec will not come next and that Manitoba and the North-west Territories and British Columbia and Ontario will not each follow in turn with a claim of a similar nature ? If there is one thing more than another calculated to break up confederation, it is these perpetual demands on the Dominion treasury.
Certainly he has, and if the hon. gentleman had been in his place, as he should have been, he would have heard what the leader of the opposition said. Have any of his friends from Ontario said a word against it ? Not one.
They are willing to vote it without examination or inquiry. The item was hardly read before they all began Co cry out carried.
I am taking objection to the item proposed to be voted now. Does the hon. gentleman know what it is ? He ought to have been in his place and knqwn what was being submitted to the House. I rose to enter my protest, and I say the principle is wrong. The arbitration was largely a one-sided one. These repeated demands from the provinces will lead to trouble in the future as they are doing now. These hon. gentlemen went to the people of the maritime provinces, upon the strength of what they could get from the government, and they are now delivering the goods to the best of their ability.