June 17, 1904

CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

Before the vote is taken on this question I desire to say that there is a principle involved in this extending far beyond the amount that is named by my hon. friend from South Leeds (Mr. Taylor) who has just moved the reduction of the item. The principle is far reaching because what would apply to this department would apply to all the departments of government, and there is no doubt that this practice of charging up to the country Items of personal expense by ministers which to my mind have no connection whatever with the department is a growing evil and is becoming a somewhat cumbersome matter to the country. I think it is time we had some understanding and that if the government desire to continue this practice which in bygone years they denounced as being wrong they ought to place some law on the statute book authorizing it and making it clear that they have the right to take this money out of the public treasury and apply it for their personal benefit. The hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries has offered, to my mind, a very flimsy excuse indeed. He savs that because it was allowed to the late Sir John Macdonald it ought to be allowed to all the ministers who have succeeded him. Sir John Macdonald said that he was old, that he could not afford to keep a horse, and that so long as the country required his services he thought they would be obliged to pay his cab-hire. I do not think the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries will come down and make any such confession as that. He cannot say that he is too old to walk. I do not think that after the successful career he had in the municipal council of the city of Montreal and with the reputation he achieved, he will claim that he is too poor, and I think therefore that some better excuse should be offered

than that which the hon. gentleman has offered for the charge that is here made. It you can apply it to cab-hire of course you can apply it to street car fare. We find that this is a growing item. More than that, you can apply it to the use of private cars, which, by the way, is becoming rather a serious charge. Although it is indirectly that the country pays for them there is no doubt that all these private cars, whether they go to Mexico, or wherever they go, are all paid for by the people of this country. It is done by exchange, an exchange which this country has to make good to the American roads when they desire it so that practically we are paying for all these junketing expeditions of the government whether on street cars, in cabs, or in private cars.

I think it is time that some principle was laid down and that the people should know whether or not ministers have the right more than any other member of parliament to place their hands upon the public funds without the authority of law and appropriate them to their own personal benefit. I do not think it is a healthy state of affairs and it seems to me that it leads step by step along the line which eventually will bring about a very much more serious condition. I hope the hon. minister for his own sake will be able to offer some better justification for the taking of this money and applying it to his own private purposes than he has yet offered. I desire to say in reference to this pamphlet as it has been printed by the order of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries that the same courtesy should have been extended to every member of parliament and that it should have been sent to every member.

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LIB
CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I have not received a copy of it. I made careful inquiry in the post office and there was nothing there. I do not see why it should be given to one and not the other.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

I persist in affirming that instructions were given when the pamphlet was issued in January, 1904, that copies should be sent to every member of parliament. I have no reason to doubt that the instructions were followed but I will inquire.

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CON
LIB
CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I would like very much if the hon. minister would send me a copy.

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CON

Alfred Alexander Lefurgey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LEFURGEY.

time. They take particular care that the comparison shall be between the years 1895 and 1903. They point things out just the same as they do in the campaign sheets which they issue and which are numbered 1, 2 and so forth, although they do not number this. There are a great many statistics in this pamphlet regarding the lighthouse service but I would like to point out to the hon. minister that we have a lighthouse down in Summerside which is a disgrace to any department or to any government. The foundation has been falling into decay for a number of years and at the present time it will hardly support the structure. It looks dingy. There have been a number of complaints sent to the department in regard to this lighthouse, or at least the press has been filled with pleas to the department to have this lighthouse attended to. On this occasion I would beg that the hon. minister will have his officers down on the island look into this matter and have the necessary repairs made.

I want the minister to tell me why it is that the fishing bounties have fallen off considerable since 1895 and 1896? I put a question on the order paper the other day, asking why the bounty was not paid to the lobster fishermen, and in the usual manner I was put off by being referred to the law on the question. That answer was neither a sufficient nor a fair answer, when I asked for the reason why the lobster fishermen did not share in the bounties the same as other fishermen. Let the minister now tell me why the policy is followed, by which the lobster fishermen are not included in the bounty. ?

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LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Mr. WILLIAM BOSS (Victoria).

From the Auditor General's Report of 1896 I find that the Hon. Geo. E. Foster was paid $120.75 for cab-hire. What is the use of saying that cab-hire was only paid to the Prime Min ister of the Conservative government, when we find that the other ministers drew cab-hire just the same ?

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CON
LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Mr. WM. ROSS (Victoria).

Never mind what my friends said. Speaking about campaign literature ; gentlemen opposite had better turn their attention to the kind of campaign literature they are circulating throughout the country. It reflects no credit upon themselves or on anybody else.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

That is a question of judgment, and I cannot commend the hon. gen tleman's judgment. I want to get from the Minister of Marine and Fisheries an explanation as to what extent his department has been enlarged by the recent changes.

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LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Mr. WM. ROSS (Victoria).

I find that one year J. Thompson drew $251.25 and C. H. Tupper $119.25 for cab-hire. This shows that the other Conservative ministers drew cab-hire as well as Sir John Macdonald.

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CON
L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

When the Liberals were in opposition they condemned Conservatives for drawing cab-hire ; and if they are consistent, why do they themselves now draw large amounts for cab-hire ? Surely the hon. member for Victoria is not so dense that he cannot see the difference.

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Mr. WM@

ROSiS (Victoria). I am not so dense as the hon. gentleman thinks, but I have shown here that other ministers of the Conservative government, as well as the Prime Minister, drew cab-hire.

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L-C
LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Mr. WM. ROSS (Victoria).

The hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) stated repeatedly that only Sir John Macdonald drew cab-hire, and not the other ministers.

Mr. SPROUiLE. What the member for Leeds said was that he would have no objection to the First Minister drawing cab-hire, but as the Liberals condemned it the other ministers should not draw cab-hire. The gravamen of the charge is that the highest authority in the Reform party, the Hon. David Mills, declared in ftiis House that there was no legal authority for the First Minister or anybody else drawing money for cab-hire. The hon. member from Victoria (Mr. Ross) was a member of the Mackenzie cabinet with the Hon. David Mills, and he must know very well that if it was wrong then to draw cab-hire it fs wrong now, because the law has not been changed since. The trouble with these gentlemen over there is that what they condemn in their opponents they justify when it is done by themselves.

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LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Mr. WM. ROSS (Victoria).

The cab-hire drawn by the Minister of Marine was objected to, and the statement was made that only Sir John Macdonald drew cab-hire when the Conservatives were in power.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

No.

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June 17, 1904