June 17, 1904

LIB

William Mulock (Minister of Labour; Postmaster General)

Liberal

Sir WILLIAM MULOCK.

I hope the hon. gentleman (Mr. Clancy) will not omit the proof. He was going to give the proof of his statment. Will he not make good his word ?

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

If the hon. gentleman (Sir William Mulock) will allow me a little time, I will call the witnesses-including himself. Now, returning to this pamphlet,

let me review some of its features. It purports to give a * comparative statement of total expenditure for the fiscal years 1896 and 1903. ' This includes items for ocean and river service, lighthouse and coast service, scientific institutions-was there any complaint about that ? Marine hospitals, steamboat inspection-was there a controversy about that so keen that people were crying out for information about it for the year 1896 especially ?-and civil government salaries.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGHAM.

What has all that got to do w'ith the improvement of the St. Lawrence route ?

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

Perhaps the Minister of Marine and Fisheries will tell us that. How much are the people of the old country concerned about civil government salaries ? Were they thirsting for information with regard to steamboat inspection ? Did they demand to be informed about our scientific institutions ? Then we have a comparative statement of the expenditure for lighthouse and coast service for the years 1896 and 1993. The first item is for salaries and allowances. I am sure the people abroad were anxious about that. And so it goes through with the other items. It is, no doubt, a very complete campaign document. I congratulate the hon. gentleman on the efficiency of the work from that point of view. Let me read the italics on page 5, put there, no doubt, by direction of the hon. minister himself-for I will venture to say he took great care in the preparation of this pamphlet :

Since the year 1896 one hundred and fifty-six towers and inclosed lighthouses have been built and fifty pole lights have been erected, making a total of two hundred and six new lights put in operation.

Why was that put in italics ? I will sit down and await the hon. gentleman's explanation.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

To call the attention of the reader to the statement, I suppose.

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CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OLANOY.

The reader would not have taken notice of it, if it had not been put In italics, I suppose. Had they put in the name of the hon. gentleman himself, it would have been a more direct way of accomplishing his purpose. The public are not so dull as to require the italicizing of important statements by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. Here is another statement in special type : Will the hon. gentleman say that the public were so much interested in this that he needed to call special attention to it ?

Lighthouses to be put in operation next spring and others for which tenders have been invited.

Was that given prominence so that people might come to the hon. gentleman and

look for contracts ? The hon. gentleman assents to that. I am glad he is so frank. Then there is a comparison of the number of lights in the Dominion of Canada for the years 1896 and 1903. I shall not trouble the committee to go more in detail through this interesting volume of thirty-two pages, including index, of campaign literature. I would advise the hon. gentleman, however, as a fitting frontispiece to put on the front of the cover his own photograph looking as wise as he now tries to look after having issued this splendid campaign sheet.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

I shall carefully consider that advice.

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CON

Thomas Inkerman Thomson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. I. THOMSON.

It seems strange that the hon. member for Bothwell (Mr. Clancy) should have any doubt concerning the motives of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries in choosing the year 1896 as the year with which comparisons are to be made in this pamphlet. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) looking after the interests of the Militia Department and Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Prefontaine) looking after his own department go back to 1896 for comparison, and prepare campaign documents to be circulated as public reports. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Prefontaine) had a reputation before he came here, and this is simply what we expected from him. A dozen of these pamphlets were sent to each member of the House, and every member was invited to send for as many as he pleased for distribution. But, owing to the nature of the pamphlet, I did not send out so many as I would have been glad to do otherwise. The fact that the comparisons are made with the year 1896 shows that it was intended to be a campaign document and so I did not care to send them out.

iMr. TAYLOR. I would like to ask the minister why he requires in his department all these dictionaries that I find charged in the Auditor General's Report : Bescherelle French Dictionary, $20, Century Dictionary, $65.65, Webster's Dictionary, $8.95, totai about $100 for dictionaries.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

A larger sum than that has been spent in the department for books. A certain amount is voted every year for the purchase of books.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

They have always been included in the amount for printing and stationery. I would like to know why he requires three dictionaries in his department.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

When I took office I found the library almost depleted, and as I thought I was entitled to have a few books to consult when necessary, whether in English or French, I purchased these books.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

If the hon. gentleman placed a sum in the estimates for the purchase of a dictionary, no doubt the opposi-

tlon would make no objection. But here we vote a certain amount of money and we don't know how it is expended. I find on the same page a charge for Larousse Petit Dic-tionnaire, $2.25 ; Lewes Acetylene, 3, $18.15.

I presume that is in connection with acetylene gas for lighting lighthouses over the country, and favouring some gentlemen who have an interest in manufacturing acetylene products. Then 1 find 'Men of Canada,' $15. Why is this necessary for the hon. gentleman's library ? The vote of parliament is only for printing and stationery, but this is neither printing nor stationery. Why are these books necessary for running the Marine and Fisheries Department ?

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LIB
CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

Then here is another item that I would like the minister to explain.

I find accounts for travelling expenses : Hon. J. R. F. Frefontaine, $437 ; Hon. J. Sutherland, $42.90. Then later on : cab-hire Hon. J. R. F. PrSfontaine, $53.50 ; Hon. J. Sutherland, $8.50. I want to tell my hon. friend that when his friends were on this side of the House they condemned the government for paying the cab-hire, not alone of the junior ministers and of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, but of the Prime Minister himself, the late lamented Sir John A. Macdonald. Because he spent a few dollars for cab-hire the opposition criticised the vote for half a day. Mr. Wilson, who is now in the Senate, opened the ball by saying : '

Then there Is an item here which perhaps the hon. First Minister will be able to explain, as the Auditor General's Report does not explain it sastisfactorily. We find charged here, travelling expenses of Sir John A. Macdonald, $364.59. Then comes cab-hire at Ottawa-Sir John A. Macdonald, $734.50 Sir John A. Macdonald, from May to June, $214.

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?

Sir J@

Macdonald replied:

I am afraid the hon. gentleman will have to wait until the Committee on Public Accounts sends for the vouchers, or gets an explanation why there are no vouchers. I certainly do not come here charged with explanations for vouchers for the employment of every cabman. All I can say about that is that I cannot afford to keep a horse, I am too old to walk, and as long as I hold my position, I think the hon. gentleman will have to submit to paying my cab fare.

'Now the late Minister of Justice, the Hon. David Mills, had this to say about it :

I cannot say that I agree with the hon. gentleman that there should be no objection to cab-hire for the First Minister simply because he is the First Minister. That is wholly a new doctrine. 1 always supposed there was a sessional allowance granted to every member of this House, granted to the Prime Minister as well as to others, and he may use a portion of that sessional allowance to pay for his Mr. TAYLOR.

cab-hire precisely as he may use it for any other matter. If the House is of opinion that a different rule should be applied to the First Minister, the House ought to proceed regularly. There is no authority for the premier, any more than for any other member of this House, to come to the House in a cab and charge the cab-hire in the public accounts. He has no special position in that respect.

Mr. Mills is an authority for the doctrine that no cabinet minister has a right, any more than any private member of this House, to charge for cab-hire. This was the charge against Sir John A. Macdonald, and he was the only man of the government! against whom Mr. Mills could bring a charge of making the country pay for his cab-hire. But look at the list now. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries has in this account before us, for a portion of last year, a charge for cab-hire of $53.50, and for travelling expenses of $437. Why does not the same rule apply to him that Mr. Mills laid down for Sir John A. Macdonald? The Minister of Marine and Fisheries has his sessional indemnity, and he should put his hand in his own pocket and pay for his cab-hire. There is no law allowing him to charge these accounts to the country. Here is the highest authority stating that the Prime Minister, the late Sir John A. Macdonald, had no business to charge for cab-hire. In the ' Hansard ' of 1889 you will find that the opposition spent hours criticising the late Sir John A. Macdonald with having misappropriated the funds of this country in charging for cab-hire. My hon. friend who has just stepped into the government cannot go down the street without calling a cab and sending the bill to the government. I certainly think that this ought to be put a stop to some way. If each of the cabinet ministers is going to have a bill of from $400 to $600 every year for cab-hire the government should introduce a bill authorizing them to do so legally because we have the statement of the late Mr. Mills, who was the Minister of Justice in this government, that it is contrary to law, that no cabinet minister has any more right to do this than any other member of the House. I would like the hon. gentleman to show me what authority he has for placing in the public accounts cab-hire to the amount of $53.50 for a portion of the year 1903-4 ?

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

The same authority that existed in the time of Sir John Macdonald.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

Mr. Mills says there is no authority for it.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

It appears that the bon. gentleman sustained the position taken by Sir John Macdonald.

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CON

George Taylor (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR.

By the First Minister only. Some hon. gentlemen say there should be

an exception in favour of the First Minister and so there should be. I will never by act or voice object to any charge made by the First Minister for cab-hire or for travelling expenses. With the exception of the hon. Minister of Customs every one of the ministers is guilty. This never was done by the late Conservative government as it is being done by this government notwithstanding the fact that the late Mr. Mills said it was contrary to law. I want the hon. gentleman to explain where he finds the authority, either by law or practice for any such charge being made except by the Prime Minister of Canada.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

No doubt if it had been illegal the Auditor General would not have passed it.

Mr. TAYLOR, I submit that is an unsatisfactory explanation. I beg to move :

That the Item he reduced by the sum of $53.50, being the cab-hire charged by the Minister of Marine and Fisheries as shown in the Auditor General's Report of last year.

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June 17, 1904