October 20, 1903

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

It is not a power that a public officer would abuse, at least we could not presume that he would abuse it. While it can do no harm, there might possibly be a case where it could do good to give him that power, which would be of benefit to the country. I think we gave some power to the Auditor General in the Act relating to the transcontinental railway, which was somewhat analogous to the power I am asking for now.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I have no doubt that if the Auditor General were to say that he wished to get access to the books of a company for the purpose of examining into a claim, the Minister of Railways, I think, would be bound to give him authority to do so ; I have no doubt he would. There has not been any difficulty of that kind that I know of. This provides that the Minister of Railways or any other person appointed by him may examine all the books. If the Auditor General were to say that in consequence of information he had he wished a person appointed to examine the books, I am sure that any Minister of Railways would authorize that person to represent him for that purpose. I do not think it needs any amendment.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I think I had incidentally brought to my notice during the present session, that the Auditor General did suggest something like that and that the minister, without mentioning who it was, took a very different view, and if it depended upon authorizing an examination of the books under such circumstances no examination would be made. It would be weil to make it clear that it was the duty of the Auditor General to make such a demand, and the duty of the minister to accede to the demand.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

I am afraid I could not agree with my hon. friend as to the theory of the matter. I think responsibility in all these things is on the minister and not on the Auditor General. Theoretically I differ with my hon. friend ; but there is no practical difference, because no difficulty on that score has occurred. I do not think the Auditor General complains that he could not get information.

I think we all know he is pretty thorough in these things. So far as I am aware, he has always got all the information he desires.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

I have had occasion to hold different views from the hon. gentleman as to what constitutes ministerial responsibility. Ministerial responsibility cannot go so far as to be of any advantage or security to the public in repairing harm after harm is done, or loss has occurred. I think I have stated before that ministerial responsibility does not always make restitution. The better way is to provide by statute against loss to the country through an officer whose duty it is to look after these things. To say that the minister is responsible is not enough. We might just as well say, and it would be carrying the argument to its legitimate conclusion, that each department over which a minister presides should take the responsibility therefor, and that there was no need of an auditor. A minister has a right to say, I am responsible for that, and I do not think an officer should interfere. I think, on the other hand, a safe anrl healthy course to take is to secure a scrutiny by an officer whose business it is to do that work.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Mr. Chairman, before you report these resolutions I want to remind the committee that in connection with one of the items for a subsidy in British Columbia an error occurred and that we have a separate resolution to add to the item. We have dealt with the matter and discussed it, but we must correct the error. In order to do that we will have to formally report these other resolutions ; I shall then ask the committee to sit again. This is in connection with the item for the Kootenay Central road.

Resolutions reported, read the first and second time and agreed to.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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KOOTENAY CENTRAL RAILWAY-SUBSIDY.


On motion of the Minister of Finance House went into committee to consider the following proposed resolution : That it is expedient to provide as follows That the Governor in Council may, in addition to the mileage of railway proposed to he subsidized by item 66 of the resolutions respecting railway subsidies now 'before this House, grant a further subsidy to the Kootenay Central Railway Company, for the line of railway in the said item mentioned, not exceeding eighty miles, making the whole length not exceeding 186 miles, instead of 106 miles. (Correction of clerical error).


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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

This is to correct the error to which attention has been called. As we have fully discussed the matter I move that this resolution be formally agreed to.

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Resolution agreed to, reported, read the first and second time, and agreed to. The MINISTER OF FINANCE moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 270) an Act to authorize the granting of subsidies in_aid of the construction of the lines of railway therein mentioned. Motion agreed to. and Bill vend the first time.


RAILWAY ACT-SENATE AMENDMENTS.


Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER informed the House that he had received a message from the Senate respecting amendments made by them to Bill (No. 21) an Act to consolidate and ameuu the laws respecting railways as follows Tuesday, October 20, 1903. Resolved, that a message be sent to tlhe House of Commons by one of the Masters in Chancery, to inform that House, that the Senate doth accept the amendments made by the House of Commons to the Senate amendment No. 51 to Bill No. 21, intituled : ' An Act to amend and consolidate the law respecting railways,' and that the Senate doth not insist upon their amendments Nos. 6, 33, 45, 46 and 60 to the said Bill ; but doth insist upon their amendments Nos. 2, 3 and 4, for the reason that the clauses 5, 6 and 7 of the said Bill were an Interference with provincial and municipal rights which the Senate amendments minimized, while giving ait the same time jurisdiction to the board on all subject matters essential to the satisfactory working of the purposes set forth in the original sections 5, .6 and 7 of the said Bill, The Senate doth also insist on its amendment No. 11, for the reason that in all tribunals there should be an appeal on points of law. It is equally in the interests of the individual and the company, especially when the appeal qan only be granted by leave of the board or of two judges of the Appellate Court. The Senate doth insist upon its amendment No. 31, for the reason that the clause In its original form involves an interference with municipal rights.


LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. FIELDING.

The Senate doth also insist upon its amendment No. 40, for tlhe reason that cases may arise where the agreement was fair and just to the employee. The Senate suggests as an alternative to the words proposed to be inserted by the following amendment :-

' Unless such agreement is conformable to the law of the province in which it is made and is authorized by the board.'

The Senate doth also insist upon its amendment No. 70, for the reasons set forth in the objections to Nos. 2, 3 and 4.

Attest.

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SA'M'L E. ST. O. CHAPLEAU,


Clerk of the Senate. The MINISTER OF FINANCE moved that: A select committee composed of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Hon. Mr. Fielding, Hon. Mr. Fitzpatrick and Hon. Mr. Blair, be appointed to draw up reasons to be offered at a conference with the Senate for disagreeing to certain amendments made by the Senate to Bill (No. 21) entitled an Act to amend and consolidate the law respecting railways.


CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I presume the desire of the government is to confine that committee to the members of the Privy Council in order that it may have the greater authority. I observe that all of the (members of the committee are members of the Privy Council except the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

He is a member of the Privy Council.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I would suggest the name of the hon. senior member for Hamilton (Mr. Barker).

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The MINISTER OF JUSTICE.

There can be no objection to this.

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CON

October 20, 1903