Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called I promised my bon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax) that I would, to-day, give him some information in regard to the two commissions that the government has organized. the first upon the transportation question, and the second on the hydraulic concessions granted in the Yukon. In regard to the first of these commissions the House is already aware that our intention was that it should be composed of Sir William Van Horne, Mr. John Bertram and Mr. Harry Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy has signified that it is impossible for him to attend to the duties of the commission and therefore we have selected in his place Mr. Fry of Quebec. Mr. John Bertram has accepted without any qualification. When Sir Wm. Van Horne was first approached upon the subject be expressed his willingness to give his valuable services to this commission.
Since that time Sir Wm. Van Horne intimated to my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Sutherland) that owing to other duties and some family matters he doubted whether he would be able to accept the labour of the commission and rather asked the hon. Minister of Public Works to be relieved of the duties and the qualified consent that he had given. We would not accept this implied suggestion from Sir Wm. Van Harne that he should be relieved and we still hope that we will be able to secure to the country the valuable services he can render upon such a commission as that.
In regard to the second commission, that is the commission on the Treadgold and other concessions in the Yukon, Mr. Justice Britton has been appointed a commissioner and has accepted. We had thought of appointing another gentleman but on account of differences of opinion and the fact that probably he could hardly serve for the term which we proposed to give him we have thought it proper to ask the services of Chief Justice Killam of the Supreme Court of Manitoba, whose consent we have not yet received.