The right hon. gentleman has stated what was done with the last contract. I am asking the right hon. gentleman to give the committee a statement of the different negotiations, correspondence, &c., that were engaged in by this government since they came into office in 1890 up to the present time-just briefly ; I do not ask for a detailed statement. I would
like the right hpn. minister to give us a statement as to the amount of money that has been expended for negotiating the differ-, ent services that have not matured since they came into office.
I may answer the last question first by saying that I do not think any amount of money has been expended in negotiating for the fast service. The only amount of money that has been brought into question in regard to the matter has been the $50,000 which was deposited by Messrs. Petersen, Tate & Company and afterwards returned, or to be returned by vote of this House. As to the progress of these negotiations it has been briefly this : A couple of propositions were made in 1896 to the late government, but neither of them came within the form of a regular tender. After that Mr. Petersen, as the committee is aware, proposed to give the service required for $750,000, $500,000 to be paid by us and $250,000 by the imperial government. The negotiations were spread over a period of three years, and as hon. gentlemen are aware the Boer war took place and the cost of the construction of shipping went up to such a figure as to render it practically impossible to make any bargain at all. Since that there have been no negotiations except those witli which the House is acquainted and which are contained in the papers that were laid on the Table the other day, and having reference to the two tenders submitted by the Messrs. Allan and by another company.
Steam service between Halifax, St. John's, Newfoundland and Liverpool, from July 1, 1903 to June 30. 1904, $20,000.
This is for ten round trips during the winter between St. John and Glasgow. This is performed by the Messrs. Donaldson, of Gla'sgow, represented by the Robert Reford Company, of Montreal. We pay them only $750 a trip and they give a fortnightly service. Representations have been made from the merchants and the people using this service to the effect that this is a growing trade and they are very anxious to obtain a weekly service in place of a fortnightly service during the winter. Probably we will have to submit a further sum in the supplementary estimates for doubling the service, but I am at present only asking the regular vote which has been
given every year, amounting to $7,500 for ten round trips.
Steam service between St. John, Dublin and Belfast during the winter of 1903-4, $7,500.
This is a similar service to the last, and is performed by what is known as the Head line. Of course, they are only paid per trip. If they fail in making the number of trips the price is proportionately reduced.
No, they do not. One year they failed in giving a complete service and the sum was reduced. They are paid simply for the work actually done. The object, of course, is to put ourselves in communication with the important centres of population in England and Ireland.
If it were a large subsidy there might be a good deal of force in the hon. gentleman's remark, but, where the sum granted is so small, I do not think we could hope to increase the service without increasing the vote proportionately, and it would certainly lengthen the voyage very considerably.