Will the minister state to the committee how much is paid for each service ?
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.
Mr. Richard is paid $1,400, Mr. Pennington, the binder, $804, Miss McKay, who is described as a stitcher, $400, and Miss Casey, a clerk, $600, making $3,204. The amount required for the London office is $4,000. That includes the expenditure in Paris, which goes through the High Commissioner's office. The purchase of periodicals and newspapers, binding, and some travelling expenses, make up $796. These items make up the $8,000.
It is entirely for copying, which is paid for as it is done at a certain rate per folio. There are four or five people in London and several in Paris. I have not the details of the amount paid to each. The items are brought in monthly from the High Commissioner's office, the money is sent over there, and the details are managed there.
Mr. LaRIVIERE. Is this copying done by Canadians appointed by the government here ?
It is done by people who have been copying in the libraries for years. In London it is done chiefly by women, and in Paris chiefly by men. I cannot give the names of the people employed in London, but they are people of London who are engaged there. Ill
I do not know whether they are Canadians, or English, or what they are.
I think it is just as well that we should not hasten too rapidly over this item. It is a very interesting one, as is anything connected with the history of our country. I would like to learn from the minister how far down the copying of these records has proceeded-whether it has reached the beginning of the last century, or the middle of it. For my part, I have always regarded the archives as rather dry reading, and have spent very little time over them. I do not doubt the desirability of a proper and sufficient record of interesting historical facts being made and preserved in our vaults. I do not suppose it is the intention of the minister to continue the work from year to year down to the present time, because it seems to me that when you reach a certain period, the records which we have will be amply sufficient for the purpose ; or is it the purpose to continue this work from year to year in order to give persons employment and to spend a little more of the money of the tax-payers of this country ?
The MINISTER OB' AGRICULTURE. I can assure the hon. gentleman that this work is not going on for any such purpose, but for the purpose of obtaining information which Dr. Brymner, the Dominion archivist, who has been at the head of this branch since its inception and, whose reputation is very high both inside and outside of Canada because of the work he has done, thinks it necessary to obtain. These documents are not available to Canadians ordinarily. I may refer to my annual report which states :
The state papers for Lower Canada published in this report, including the years 1836 and 1837, contain the correspondence of the Earl of Gosford, who was sent out as the head of the commission to investigate grievances. Those for Upper Canada contain the final correspondence of Sir John Colborne, afterwards Lord Seaton, and the appointment of Sir F. B. Head, who succeeded him, with copies of dispatches addressed to him in 1835 and 1836.
The House will see, therefore, that the work which is covered by the report of this year deals chiefly with the troublous times of 1835-6-7, a time sufficiently removed to be called historic in the young life of this nation.
But there is very slight reference to these documents in the report, and members of the House and others can have but little idea of what those documents show. Would it not be better to have more extended account of these documents given in the report ? It would make a more bulky volume but it would give Information in a form more satisfactory to the public.
Perhaps the minister could tell us what the instructions were that Dr. Brymner sent to the high commissioners to have these papers copied, or might, possibly, give us a copy of those instructions. As my hon. friend from East Elgin (Mr. Ingram) points out the report is so meagre that the reader cannot draw intelligent conclusions from it. Perhaps the hon. gentleman will be able to give that information and, if he has it, a copy of that report, that we may see what work is being done there. There is now in the neighbourhood of $4,000 spent on the London office; but, so far as anything disclosed in the report is concerned, there seems to be little explanation of it.
Of course, the report of my department does not contain this information; it is to be found in the report of the archivist, which is a supplement to the report of the department. Dr. Brymner's instructions to the people in London are of the ordinary nature of departmental instructions from the head of a branch to those under him. I might bring down the letters Dr. Brymner has written to the London office in the course of the year, but I fancy they would not be very instructive or ,interesting to the House. I know I would not care to read them myself. The hon. member for East Elgin (Mr. Ingram) speaks of the report of the archivist not being a summary of the documents, but I think, perhaps he did not apprehend what I tried to explain. The copying is not done for the report of the archivist. The documents are put upon the shelves of the archivist's office, and there they can be consulted by students. The report comprises a list of the documents and also, generally, papers on some particular subject-I mean articles taking up some particular phases or periods of our history. This conveys a great deal of information for the public; but students wlfo wish to consult the documents are expected to visit the archivist's office and consult them there. It would be Impossible to print all the papers that are copied; or, at least, it would make a large addition to the report each year and would greatly increase the cost of printing.
I have been spoken to on this subject by members of historical societies. It is of no particular advantage to many of the members of such societies to know that they can come here and consult the documents. Nor can these students obtain such information by consulting the reports as they are now compiled. But whether it would be wise to extend the report so as to cover, more or less the information I suggest, is a matter, it seems to me, worthy of consideration by the minister. It certainly would add to the practical value to the public of the report.
The hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Fisher) has stated that there has been a considerable increase since 1896. The expenses were about $6,000 in 1896, and they are about $8,000 now. I think the committee would like to know the reason of that increase-what portion of the service has been increased and what additional work is done.
In reply to the hon. member for South Leeds (Mr. Taylor), I pointed out a few minutes ago-the hon. member for Bothwell (Mr. Clancy) could not have heard me-that, before 1896, the salary of one officer in Paris, then $1,500 a year, was paid out of civil government through my department, but it is now paid out of this vote. The salary now is $1,400, but paying it out of this vote, accounts for by far the greater part of the increase of $2,000. The rest is due to the fact that more work is done and a larger number of documents are being copied year by year.
Mr. LaRIVIERE. Though I have been asking for information about the archivist's branch, it must not be supposed that I am opposed to the expenditure made with the object of securing information bearing upon the history of our country. I read every report made by Dr. Brymner, and I regard the compilation that is brought down every year as a very important one. I approve of the efforts that are made to get at the documents lying at the archives both at London and at Paris, because they throw light upon the general history of our country, and also because they form part of our political history. These are most important documents and we read them with interest when they come to us. I can readily understand that they cannot all be published because they would be too voluminous and some are of much less importance than others. Still they are so classified that we can readily refer to them and get copies, if required for any special purposes. I would ask the hon. minister if the allowance of $1,400 to Mr. Edouard Richard in Paris is all he gets for his expenses and salary 1
Mr. LaRIVIERE. Mr. Richard is certainly a very good ma,n and very well qualified for the position, but he is not paid commensurately with the services he renders. I cannot understand how a man of his ability will l'emain in Paris for the paltry salary of $1,400 a year. I can speak more freely with regard to Mr. Richard perhaps than any other member of this House because he was the first opponent I had when
I presented myself for election to the House of Commons, and X, therefore, cannot he charged with being biased in his favour by my political opinions. I believe him to be thoroughly qualified for the position and to be very poorly paid.
Is it the intention of the government to amend the Patent Act this session? Every session we are called on to pass legislation renewing patents that have lapsed, and if the government would amend the Patent Act we might be relieved from that work entirely.