Get a man who does not understand his work and you will soon find yourself in trouble. The question was asked why, in the first instance, the contract was not let for the whole distance instead of for 111 miles, and the hon. Minister of Railways properly answered that after the 11J miles had been located, the government were undecided whether the road should continue by Vernon river or take a northerly course, and it could go no further until the location was determined.
I did not say that. I went over this road with the hon. Minis-
ter of Railways and Canals and liis engineer. We spent a whole day, from morning till night, travelling over it. The engineer of that road is a man, I think, above approach, and he has examined all the ground carefully, and no doubt reported to his superiors, and therefore when the 311 miles were let on the same schedule rates as the 111 miles, I do not think the government could have done better. And when that contractor had all his apparatus on the ground for building the 111 miles, we thought no other man could do the rest of the work as cheaply or as well. But of course prejudices are apt to be created by letting a contract without tender, and the minister is liable to be under a cloud so to speak until the facts are all fully known.
If these hon. gentlemen will wait a moment I will explain what I mean. This contract was not let after inviting tenders, but there are exceptions to every rule, and this is one of them.
I do not think that this country has lost a dollar by the transaction. I am satisfied that no good business man would have done otherwise than the Minister of Railways did. But prejudices are liable to be created when contracts are let without tender. If, however, hon. members opposite knew the circumstances as well as I do, I have no doubt that, as honest men, they would take the same view. The contract was a fair one and a good one and one in the interests of the people, and I am pleased to be able to congratulate the government and people, as a new member, that the opposition can find nothing greater to complain of duriug this session.
The hon. gentleman thinks that if we were honest men on this side we would concur in his view. Well, I do not want to proclaim that I am an honest man because whenever you see a man declaring to everybody that he is honest, you had better look out for him. The hon. gentleman said : We on this side could let the contract. I have not heard as yet that the hon. gentleman has become a member of the cabinet; but as there are great dissensions in the cabinet, it is quite on the cards that within a few days we may have the announcement that this hon. gentleman, who went up the hills and down the vales with the hon. Minister of Railways, in order to bring about the letting of this contract without tender, has become a member of the cabinet. He has told us the greatest lot of goody goody things I have heard from any hon. gentleman opposite. We had a good man he said, and if we get a good man we ought to keep him. Hon. gentlemen on that side ought to take that lesson to heart, because good men on that side are not any more plentiful than in the interests of the country, they ought to be. He says : We got a good man, a good contractor, a good engineer-and I have no
doubt he said also a good government. There was one thing he omitted to say. He did not say that they had a good contract. No doubt this man got an eminently good contract for himself out of the government on that occasion. The hon. gentleman tells us that honourable and honest men would not protest against this transaction. Well, I am responsible to my constituents, and I venture to protest, and I want to make that protest as distinct and emphatic as I can. What are the circumstances ? According to the statute the government are bound to call for tenders in every instance except in the case of an emergency. Was there any emergency in this ease ? I do not think that the hon. gentleman who has just spoken has shown us there was. I do not think that any hon. gentlemen on the government side can show us that there was. What does it all amount to ? It amounts to just this. If you can disregard the statutes in a case of this kind, the government or the Minister of Railways can let one mile of railway after calling for tenders, and then build 999 miles without tender. Is that the meaning of the statute ? Is that the meaning of responsible government in this country? It was not the meaning of responsible government when hon. gentlemen on this side were on the government benches, nor was it the meaning of responsible government when the Liberals of old were in power, but it is to a large extent the meaning of responsible government today, as enunciated and proclaimed by these hon. gentlemen who now administer the affairs of this country. If they can do what they have done, they can do something more. It happens, but it is only a coincidence, that these two pieces of railway, the lli miles and the 31i miles, are portions of the same railway. They might just as well have been portions of two different railways, and these hon. gentlemen might just as well have done this. They could have let the lli miles at the time when, according to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Farquharson), they did not know what the location of the balance of the railway would be or whether there would be any more constructed,-they could have let those lli miles after calling for tenders, and then let to the same contractor, say 300 miles of railway, in another province on the sarhe terms, and without tender.
This shows us just where we are at, and it emphasizes the point that was made so plain by my hon. friend from Hamilton that this is a distinct violation of the statute by the government. I understand that we are not going to divide the House on this question. But 1 want to say to the government that we do protest. We may not have the remedy now, but we do not want them to do this again. We have called their attention to it as we have called their attention to a great many former violations of the principle of constitutional and responsible government. In old times who
called so loud for responsible government as the old-time Liberals 7 But if these oldtime Liberals came to this parliament tonight, i venture to say that they would go back to the retirement from which they came rather than associate; themselves with the so-called Liberals of to-day.
Trent Canal-construction (revote), $300,000.
i-iou. Mr. HAGGART. We had some discussion in Committee of Supply on the claim of Messrs. Corry & Laverdure, contractors on this canal. That claim was dealt with under a reference of some kind. I do not know whether it was before the Exchequer Court, and, if so, whether .it was on a petition of right, and whether the government stood upon their extreme rights, or whether there was a special reference as in the case of Messrs. Mackenzie & Mann. But I understand from the Minister of Railways and Canals that these contractors succeeded in obtaining a decision in their favour of $12t>,00(>-i ana not very sure as to the amount. Is any portion of this vote to be appropriated towards the payment of that arbitration 7
I have explained the matter. 1 think, four times since the session opened; but as the hon. gentleman lias asked the question, 1 do not mind giving the explanation once more. The gentlemen selected as engineers, Messrs. Hobson, Surtees and Brophy, all examined into the claim for these extras, judging of the correctness and fairness of the prices, and made a report that, that of this claim, which was for over $400,000, the chief engineer might properly, in their opinion, certify to $120,000-1 think the hon. gentleman has given the correct amount. 1 think the report came in after parliament opened, and since then no further action has been taken. The matter is now awaiting the consideration of council, as, in the midst of our other pressing duties, we have not 'been able to deal with the matter Anally.