I did not lay down any general proposition. The hon. gentleman asked whether the combination of the Department of the Interior, the Department of Indian Affairs and the Geological Survey under one minister had worked satisfactorily. I said that so far as I knew it worked satisfactorily last year. I did not say that other departments could be grouped together. There are departments and departments.
I have this to say to the hon. gentleman, who I am sorry to say has not as good temper as he might have, that I thought the whole discussion was in the nature of banter. But if he wants to have an answer from the government on this great question of policy as to what ought to be the constitution of the cabinet, I think he will agree with me that the present occasion is not well suited to a discussion of that kind where we are only discussing the estimates of the Department of the Interior. If he desires, however, to ascertain the views of the government with relation to the constitution of the cabinet, which might be a very proper and important question to discuss, if he will give us proper notice we will be glad to gratify him.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
I am glad to find that the right hon. gentleman is willing to deal with this matter in a fairer tone. It may be that some notice should be given to the government, and I am willing to accept that suggestion. In view of what he has said, I will take a further opportunity during the session, after proper notice, of
asking the right hon. gentleman to state his policy on this question.
I should imagine that the Prime Minister had been reading very carefully the Gamey debate in the local House, for I notice that that little story of his has been given down there. I thought that the late Joseph Rymal had patented that story, but since he has died, I suppose the Prime Minister thought there could be no objection to him using it after it had been used in Toronto. But, what I rose more particularly to draw attention to was the fact that the right hon. leader of the House speaks of not being held accountable for rumour. The present government have surely something more than rumour to work upon ; they have the resolution which was moved in this House and supported by the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce at the time when it was proposed to establish the Commissioner of Customs and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, which, they said, was increasing the number of the departments and they thought it their duty to protest strenuously against it. Then, we have the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce and his colleagues enlarging these two commissionerships into full fledged ministerial departments and he took one of them himself. That was much more than rumour and not only that but they made it retroactive so as to enable themselves to collect a salary for the year which was past and gone. That was not rumour. That was dealing with facts which took place in this House and therefore is ample justification for referring to the matter and especially in view of the fact that the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce has occupied the position ever since and must have assented to it before Council or otherwise it could not have come before the House notwithstanding the views he held in regard to it before he became a cabinet minister in the present government.
Before you declare that item carried, Mr. Chairman, if we are discussing the question of cabinet ministers, I want to say one word for the province of Prince Edward Island. Almost since the time of confederation, we have had a member of the cabinet representing that province. A short time ago, when Sir Louis Davies was removed from this House to a higher position, a gentleman contested the constituency which he had represented in his stead. A good deal1 has been said here about rumour. The right hon. leader of the government has said that he cannot be held accountable for rumour. I can assure him that I attended meetings during the contest and it was held up to the electors of West Queen's that if they elected the gentleman who now represents that riding he would be a cabinet minister. There is
no province that requires more to be represented by a cabinet minister that Prince Edward Island owing to its isolated position, and owing to the fact that we are shut out for a long time in the year from communication with the mainland. There is no province that has a greater right or is more deserving to be represented in the cabinet than the province of Prince Edward Island. We have suffered this year for the want of representation in the cabinet and we are likely to suffer longer. I see that the hon. member for West Queen's (Mr. Farquharson) sitting now at the left of the right hon. leader of the government, he has not yet been appointed to the cabinet, and I would urge upon the right hon. gentleman that if he wishes to do justice to the province of Prince Edward Island he should see that hon. gentleman is elevated to the proud position of a member of the cabinet, the promise of which induced many electors to vote for him.
Some resolutions reported.
On motion of the Prime Minister, House adjourned at six o'clock p.m.
Monday, March 23, 1903.