March 11, 1902

IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

What is the total amount paid for rents in outside buildings in the city, approximately.? I am told to-day it exceeds $43,000. That would pay interest on $2,000,000 ; and if that is the case, we can get much better value for our money by borrowing that amount of capital cheaply, and putting up proper buildings.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

If I mistake not the amount paid for rents in Ottawa is about $15,000.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I think it is higher than that.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

I do not exactly recollect the amount.

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CON

Uriah Wilson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILSON.

It would be well for the Minister of Public Works to give a list of all the buildings he is renting, and the rent he pays for each.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

With pleasure. Does the hon. gentleman

ask for a list of all the public buildings all over the country ?

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CON
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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Geological Museum, Sussex Street, $600 ; French translators' office, $420. The French translators have been lately moved into the central block here, so that item will disappear. Workshops, Wellington Street, at $140, and taxes at $300 ; Examining Warehouse, Sparks Street, $850 ; Imperial building, Queen Street, $1,800 ; Central Basin, coal shed, Slater Estate, $400 ; Thistle Estate, Wellington Street, Gas Inspection, $500 ; Seybold building, $6,500. The House pronounced last year upon that. New methylated spirits warehouse and laboratory, corner of Queen and Lyon Streets, Department of Inland Revenue, $1,200 ; Marine storehouse, $300 ; Dominion Methodist Church, Queen Street, Militia and Defence, $500. This item will disappear hereafter, as we have a new store building erected. Customs Department, Wellington Street, $1,500 ;

' Molsons' Bank, Metcalfe Street, for Labour Department, $1,200 ; new building for Surveyor General's staff, corner Metcalfe and Slater Streets, $3,000 ; International Boundary Commission and Astronomical Branch, Interior Department, 26 Wellington Street, $800. That makes an approximate total of $21,000, although two items are to disappear. I do not like that state of affairs. At the same time, it would take a large amount of money to erect all the buildings that would be necessary to give the accommodation for which we now pay rent.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

But the hon. gentleman belongs to an economical government, and they are charged with the administration of tiie public affairs to the best interests of the country.. If it is wrong, as he confesses it is, to pay this large amount in rents and to have the public affairs administered in this extravagant way, he is guilty of maladministration. He is charged by the people to effect the best possible administration, and if it is necessary, to build new buildings and get better value for our money. We are paying him and we are paying the government for that purpose, and we expect them to conduct the public service in the best possible way for the smallest amount of money. I do not like to hear these confessions that are being repeatedly made by the ministers that they are doing something that is not in the public interest. They should bring forward a proposition that is in the public interest, and they should cease the extravagance under which public affairs are now being administered.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

I never intimated that we were doing this against the public interest, I said it was a state of affairs that I did not like. On the other hand, the Minister of Finance and the 31J

government must take care not to spend too much money. Now we are going to erect a museum, an observatory and a building for the mint, which will take a large amount of money. When the government have to borrow money as we have, it is necessary to be prudent and careful.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

Then what the minister is practically justifying is 'paying extravagant rents to their friends here in Ottawa, where a judicious administration would borrow the money necessary to put up the proper buildings, and get much better build ings for a much smaller rate of interest than the rents they are now paying. I ask him now whether he intends to continue that system. It is not in the public interest, it is not on the lines of econmy, and it is not on the lines of the professions that the hon. gentleman made in former days.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

The hon. gentleman is altogether mistaken when he says we are renting from our friends. The former government were paying a good many of these rentals when we took office.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

It would be good policy on the part of the government to buy this whole block on Wellington Street fronting the parliament buildings which would give us in future the additional accommodation that will have to be provided, before land increases any more in value in this part of the city.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Property is becoming scarcer in Ottawa. I would like very much to have some expression of opinion from the House on this proposition of my hon. friend, because it is a very important question indeed. On the other hand, the House must not forget that it will cost money to erect public buildings.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

As to buying very expensive property for public buildings, I do not quite approve of that. I would rather go in for the system that obtains in Washington where they scatter their public buildings over the city. If you attempt to expropriate this property in front of us on Wellington Street, you will have to pay $1,000 a foot. There are a number of properties that could be got In other portions of the city half a mile from here where you can probably get land for 50 or 75 dollars a foot frontage. But it is the duty of the government to come forward with some plan, and take the responsibility. The House should not find a plan for them.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

I have already been trying to buy property, and have looked over a number of properties, but I find land very dear.

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IND
L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Does the government own Nepean Point now ?

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The MINISTER OP FINANCE.

My hon. friend would not like to see that whole point occupied, I am inclined to think, with public buildings. Something can he said for keeping a portion of it free. It is proposed to erect the mint in that vicinity close by the Printing Bureau, but even that has been objected to by the military authorities. Speaking for myself, my sympathies run strongly in the direction of having more public buildings where we can accommodate the business of all the departments in buildings belonging to the government. But I am not prepared to admit that these rents are extravagant, as the hon. member for York (Mr. Maclean) contends. It is quite possible these rents may represent a reasonable return to the capitalists, and not an extravagant return. We have undertaken the erection of buildings in Ottawa, which, in round numbers will reach doubtless $1,000,000. I do not think I am wrong when I say that taking the proposed new museum, which, necessarily will be a large building, the mint and the observatory, you will find that we are undertaking to add to our buildings in Ottawa to the extent of about $1,000,000, which, I think, is a liberal allowance, and I think it would not be too much to wait a year or two before we add to our obligations for other buildings in Ottawa, although I quite admit it is better to have a number of good public buildings, even if they may be scattered somewhat through the city, than to be compelled to rent a lot of third floors and places of that kind.

Rents, repairs, fuel, lighting water service, janitors, watchmen, charwomen, &c.,-Yukon public buildings, $76,500.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

This is in connection with the Yukon Territory ?

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March 11, 1902