And my hon. friend says that something was spent before he came into office. That may be true, and I sup 3311
pose it is. The point I wish to object to is that members on this side of the House during the past two or three years have been making constant complaint against the government because of this kind of a policy. Ministers come forward with an estimate and ask the committee to vote a certain amount. In this case it is $20,000, and even while the committee is considering the question, even before the amount is voted, the hon. Minister of Agriculture stands up in his place and says that it will not be sufficient. He says that he will have to ask for a supplementary estimate to be added to this. Does my hon. friend think that is a fair policy V
My hon. friend thinks it is a very honest policy. I rather disagree with him on that point. I think it would be a still better policy for the hon. gentleman to enter into a consideration of this question before he brings down his estimates at all, to make a thorough and complete examination into the whole matter and bring down to the committee a report showing that the old vessel is insufficient for the service, and then make a statement to the committee as to how much we are likely to get for her if she is sold. What does my hon. friend say
We have been dealing in old vessels before, and the results have been rather unsatisfactory to the House, but we will not charge the hon. minister with that just now. I enter my protest against this kind of a policy. It is the duty of the hon. minister to bring down a fair statement of the amount that is required for this service. The hon. minister asks for $20,000, and while he is asking for it he makes a further statement that it will be insufficient and that he will have to ask for a supplementary estimate. That is not a business proposition, and coining from what was regarded once as a business government, we are not quite willing to accept that kind of a policy. 1 think the hon. gentleman should ask that this item stand and bring down at some future date a fair statement of the amount which will be sufficient to complete this work, and not ask us to vote $20,000 now and in a week or two, or a few weeks, come forward and ask for $20,000 more. 1 am quite sure that the hon. gentleman does not think this is a business policy, and I am surprised that the hon. gentleman would attempt to introduce into his department a policy that the opposition have been complaining of and which has been very gen-
erally adopted in other departments of this government.
I appreciate the compliment paid me by the hon. gentleman when he says that this has not been the policy of my department, and I can assure him that he has not found me out to-day in this either. When I put in the item of $20,000, I based the estimate on procuring a vessel of about the same class and character as the vessel that we now have, which, if she were a new vessel, or in first rate order, would be very nearly able to do the work. I believed, from the information I received, that with $20,000 I would be able to secure such a vessel as that. I have since had representations from my officer there asking for a larger vessel. My hon. friend from Victoria (Mr. Earle) has suggested here to-night another scheme which would require a still larger vessel and a still greater expenditure. When such a matter as this has to be discussed and decided upon, and when the whole question has to be considered, including the suggestion of my hon. friend from Victoria, it would be quite impossible for me at this date, but perhaps within a few weeks, and I hope the session will be over by that time, I shall be able to get an item prepared which will definitely and clearly show to the House exactly, and even approximately, what such a vessel would cost. I think my hon. friend will justify me in having supposed, when these items were brought in, as they were some three months ago now, that this was sufficient, and I expected it to be sufficient. I have now found that from the requests which have been made to me for something more than that which was made to me before from Victoria-requests which I did not have before me when these estimates were made-that I will require something more, and therefore it is that I expect, as I stated to my hon. friend a little while ago, that, while I expected to do with this sum of $20,000 when I prepared 'these estimates because of the information and requests that have reached me since, which in fact seem to be so reasonable that I will have to accede to them, I will have to ask for a supplementary vote to enable me to get a larger steamer. I think that is very honest and perfectly clear, and I do not think it justifies the reflection which the hon. gentleman has cast on the preparation of my estimates.
That is an explanation which 1 think is not at all satisfactory to the committee. The hon. gentleman says that he proposes to purchase a new vessel in the west, a vessel to do work in and around Victoria and Vancouver.
I intended to purchase this vessel upon facts which I knew, and which I did not require any representatives to tell me. I know that the ' Earle,' the vessel there now in the service, is no longer fit for her work, and that she must be replaced as soon as possible. On that ground alone, simply as a matter of administration in my department, finding a vessel which was used a great deal and which cost a great deal for repairs and was no longer worth repairing, the estimate was prepared. That information was at my command, and other requests in regard to further and larger vessels had not been received when these estimates were prepared.
That simply emphasizes the weakness of the policy adopted by the hon. gentleman. He has stated that without consultation with the representatives of the government in the west, he has put in an item of $20,000 for the purchase of a vessel. As soon as that item is put in the estimates a further request comes from the officers in the west whom he should have consulted and from whom he should have obtained full information before putting the item in at all. Now my hon. friend says that after the $20,000 have been placed in the estimates a request comes from, the district where the vessel is to be used. The hon. gentleman should have received these representations before he attempted to deal with the matter at all. He should have consulted these people and should have bad full information before the item was put in. Then the hon. gentleman would have been able to put in an amount that would cover the total cost and the committee would be satisfied. I am sure he will see that his explanation rather weakens his case.
I would say to the minister that before he brings down his supplementary estimates. I trust he will consult the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Prefontaine) with regard to the matter I brought up.
I am entirely satisfied that $20,000 would not build a boat able to do the quarantine work. In the instance I speak of. all of these lives were sacrificed because there was no boat there able to go out. The ' Earle ' was called for but they
declined to send her out as she was utterly unfit for such a sea and the people were drowned right in sight of land because of the want of a boat fit to go out in storms such as we sometimes have there. A good boat is required.
I was not aware that we had a boat to dispose of in the west. Two vessels have been disposed of by the government in the town in which I live and in both cases they have been, sold for very much less than what the officer of the government said they were worth. The last of these steamers was sold for very- much less than one-half what the officer of the government said it was worth. The officer estimated its value at $8,000 but it was sold by private sale for $3,250. 1 do not think any one in
the business was aware that the vessel was for sale. A notice in one of the local papers costing a dollar would have brought $6,000 or $7,030 for the boat. I have been talking to some captains and they said they would have given $5,000 for the hull. This boat was sold by the government at private sale, without tender or notice for $3,250. I hope the Minister of Agriculture will not repeat that.