- Surplus. Deficit.
$ cts. $ cts.
1890-7 519,981 44
1897-8 1,722,712 33
1898-9 4,837,749 00
1899-1900 8,054,714 51
1900-1 5,648,333 29
1901-2 7,291,398 06
1902-3 14,345,166 17
1903-4 (estimated) 16,500,000 00
Total for eight years.. 58,400,073 36 519,981 44
Less deficit for 1890-7. 519,981 44
Total net surplus for
eight years 57,880,091 92
Average surplus per
year 7,235,011 49
It was the good fortune of our predecessors in the eighteen years during which they managed the affairs of the country to have some surpluses and some deficits. Taking them together and striking the average, we find that during the eighteen years of their administration they had an average surplus of $544,539.61. while during our eight years we have had an average surplus of $7,235,011.49.
The question of the public debt is always an important one. In a country like Canada, a comparatively new and young country, it would not be surprising if we had to show large increases of the public debt. I have on several occasions, in referring to decreases which we have been able to show, pointed out that no finance minister in a country like Canada need be ashamed if he has to come before parliament and acknowledge that he is increasing the public debt. That ought to be the normal condition in a young country like ours, with vast resources to develop, with improvements all around us waiting to be done, and with courageous men ready to do them ; but happily we are relieved from any such necessity. The following shows the net debt of the Dominion, beginning with the year 1896, and continuing down to the present date :
- Net Debt. Increase. Decrease..Tune 30 $ cts. $ cts. § cts.1896 258,497,432 77 1897 261,538,596 46 3,041,163 69 1898 263,956,898 91 2,417,802 45 1899 266,273.446 60 2,317,047 69 1900 265,493,806 89 779,639 711901 268,480,003 69 2,986,196 80 1902. 271,829,089 62 3,349,085 93 1903. ... 264,912,439 11 6.916,650 511904 (Est.). 257,412,439 11 7,500,000 0014,111,296 56 15,196,290 2214,111,296 56Redu ction in eight y ears 1,084,993 66Average reduction per year 135,624 20
Thus we shall have this happy statement to present to the public, that we have carried on the public affairs of this Dominion for a period of eight years, during which we have engaged in large ventures and great improvements ; we have spent money liberally, our hon. friends opposite sometimes say lavishly ; we have generously provided for all demands for the public improvement of the country ; and we shall be able at the close of the eight years to say that we have not added one dollar to the debt of Canada. On the contrary, from these figures we shall probably be able to show that there has been a reduction in the net debt during the eight years of $1,084,993.66, or an average yearly reduction in our eight years of $135,624.20, against an average yearly increase in the net debt in the preceding eighteen years of $6,563,075.
In these statements respecting the public debt, I am confining myself entirely to the actual operations of the government, and the affairs with which we have had ourselves to do-those for which we are responsible and for which we may take credit, if credit there be, or blame, if the reverse be the case. There is however an item in relation to the public debt which I have ignored here. It will be remembered that at an early stage of the session a question arose as to the relation of the adjustment of the accounts of the provinces with the Dominion to the public debt, and I asked the House to suspend judgment on that point, because I had formed the impression that the method of treating that account in its relation to the public debt was not correct. After fuller inquiry, I am satisfied that an erroneous view was taken as to the effect of that settlement on the public debt. I do not wish to enter fully into that matter to-day. Later, however, I shall bring down a memorandum