I have been in office I have taken very great care to secure the services of a practical man in each case. I may have been deceived on some occasions, but I think I have not been. Every time that a clerk of works is to be appointed I inquire whether he is a practical man or not. When the contract for the Sussex armoury was awarded, the name of a gentleman was suggested to me, and before I apopinted him I wrote to Colonel Domville, ex-M.P. for the riding, who replied that the gentleman he recommended was a practical man. On the strength of Mr. Domville's letter, which is in my office and can be brought down if necessary, that this gentleman was well fitted to be foreman of works and a practical man, I appointed him. No complaint has been made so far as to his competency.
1 may say to the minister that the gentleman in question is a practical man in one sense, as he is a practical tailor, and a good tailor too. But so far as being a carpenter or builder, he is nothing of the sort, and has had no experience whatever along that line. He lives in the town in which I lived for a great many years, and I know whereof I speak when I say that he has no building experience whatever, except that he had a house built for him, and he may have superintended the erecting of that house. It is a very modest though respectable building, but it is not a very extensive one. That is his sole experience in the building line.
I am sorry that my hon. friend (Mr. Fowler) did not call my attention to this state of affairs before now. I express my deep regret that a practical tailor has been recommended to me as a practical builder of an armoury. I remember distinctly having written to Mr. Domville-I have a copy of my letter and his reply in which he states that the gentleman he recommended to me was a practical man in building-
What more could I do than appoint him. My hon. friend (Mr. Fowler) should have warned me before. He is guilty and not I. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Fowler) knew all about the practical tailor and he should have warned me. In future I suppose I will have to write Mr. Domville twice.
I will not make him a present of a suit; I think I shall certainly change him. Before making such appointments I have always taken the greatest care to insure that a practical man gets the position, and my officers have received most positive instructions on that point. I am sorry that I have Hon. Mr. TARTB.
been deceived by a man.from the maritime provinces from whom good things are always expected. My hon. friend (Mr. Fowler) should have warned me, and although he is not so much to blame as Mr. Domville, still lie is somewhat to blame.
But dredging is not made by the hand. I would hire a dredge from a medical man or a tailor provided the dredge does good work. That is different from a foreman of works. The profession of a man who owns a horse does not alter the colour of the horse.
The Minister of Public Works was to some extent not to blame in this matter. As a matter of fact, I know that the minister did write, Inquiring as to the occupation cf the person who had been Recommended to him as clerk of works. However, I am not to blame in the matter-, because I was so satisfied of the honesty and integrity of the contractors, that I knew they would not go wrong whether there was a clerk of works over them or not, and it was for that reason I did not interfere, because I knew that the public interests would be well protected by the contractors, even though the clerk of works knew absolutely nothing about the business for which he was selected. I beleive the minister did his duty in the premises, but he was deceived by the gentleman who made the recommendation. In order to relieve the maritime provinces from any blame in the matter, I may say that that gentleman is not a native of the maritime provinces.
I shall inquire further into the matter, and if the man is not competent I will dispense with his services, not because of any ill-will I have towards him, but a minister cannot stand being deceived in that way.