I have had architects asking 4 and 5 per cent in some cases, and we are trying to make the best possible bargain we can in every case. The scale of wages prepared by the Department of Labour for the building at Nelson is $6 a day for foremen, and we are simply paying $1 more to the architect. It is not our fault that wages are high there.
The hon. gentleman must not forget that Rossland and Nelson are in a new part of the country, whereas Vancouver is a large city, and the conditions are more settled there. The contractors are bound to complete the work within a specified time and the chief architect who knows his business will not grant them any more time than is necessary.
These architects who are paid $7 a day or $3 a day do not give their whole time to the work. The minister must not forget that. In my own city the architect goes to the building in the morning and he attends to his private business just the same as if he had not that work at all.
I am objecting to the principle the minister follows, and I do not care whether it is in my own city or in any other place if I believe the system is wrong. I am not accusing the minister of doing something that has not been done in the past. I believe the policy has been pursued by both parties, and I am objecting to it on principle. It is not a personal matter with me.
I observe the hon. member for Algoma (Mr. Dyment) is not in his place, and I regret it very much, when this vote is being considered. The minister must know the circumstances of this case very well, and I think he will admit that the town of Sault Ste. Marie has very great reason to complain that this public building has not been erected. I use language none too strong when I say, that the accommodation provided in Sault Ste. Marie for the post office is a disgrace to that enterprising town. I would not go so far as to say that it is a disgace to the government, but I do say that it reflects very much on the government of the day that they have not provided better accommodation there. I do not know what the reason can be. They have the money because it was voted last year, and why has it not been Mr. INGRAM.
spent ? Why has the money not been spent 7 Why has nothing been done 7 Why has a site not been secured 7 Surely there must be some reason, and the people of Sault Ste. Marie are wondering why they are neglected when other places are being accommodated with public buildings, especially as the parliament of Canada has voted money for the purpose.
I altogether share the view which has been stated to the House by my hon. friend, that Sault Ste. Marie has a right to a public building. To all the ' whys ' which he has asked, my answer is that we have moved on. The site has been bought, plans are prepared, and tenders will be asked for within a month. I am glad on this occasion to be backed by my hon. friend, who has the same confidence that I have in that thriving town.
I do not think that the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie are aware that a site has been purchased. It is not known by the public men there, and I confess it is a matter of surprise to me to hear it. May I ask what the cost of the site will be 7
Not will be, but has been. It has already been bought and paid for. The site has been bought by an order in council of the 10th of January, 1902, for the sum of $9,600, from Messrs. J. Dawson and W. H. Plummer. It is situated at the corner of Queen and East streets. Its selection has been approved by all the business men whom I met when I was in the town about two months ago to see it, and it certainly is the best that could be secured.
I understand the present vote of $10,000 is practically a revote; and if the site is costing in that neighbourhood, where is the money to come from for erecting the superstructure. It seems to me that the minister is simply putting the matter off again, and that the people of Sault Ste. Marie will find themselves twelve months hence in just about the same position they are in at present. If I am wrong in that, I would be very glad if the minister would put me right.
When these estimates were prepared, the site was not purchased, and that is the reason we have only a re-vote, but in the supplementary estimates we shall have to provide for an additional sum of money.
I would like to inquire of the Minister of Public Works what the policy of the government is in regard to the Tor-
onto post office. It is well known that the facilities are altogether inadequate for the business done. It is the largest post office in revenue in the Dominion, and the building is not a credit to the country or to the government.
I fully recognize that the post office of Toronto is not what it should be. I was there a short time ago, and was not pleased with the state of affairs. The building is in a bad condition and should have been changed long ago. The Postmaster General, who is my ' boss ' in matters of this kind, has under consideration a plan for sub-stations. He has already one in King street, and he intends building another in the western part of the city. If his plans succeed, and I think they will, it may not be necessary to enlarge very much the main building. Of course, we shall have to put it in better shape, and I will certainly ask my colleagues to place a sum in the supplementary estimates for that purpose. The sub-stations will be main post offices to which mail matter will be directed, and from which it will be distributed. The same system, I suppose, will be adopted in Montreal. When the supplementary estimates come down, we shall be in a position to make a definite statement as to the policy of the government in this respect in Toronto and elsewhere.