I suppose my hon. friend understands that a member cannot always be in the House. In the absence of those who were known to have charge of this matter this item should not have been passed, and if it has been passed by mistake it should be reopened now.
The minister will remember that the hon. leader of the opposition was not in the House when the item passed. He came in just as we finished the discussion of the Galops, and the discussion was that if we allowed that item to go through we could discuss it on the supplementaries to-morrow.
They were coupled together in my remarks. My hon. friend knows that all the papers he asked for were brought down. Very recently he made a request for some other papers and they are being prepared and will be ready for him in the morning.
If my hon.. friends' intention was to have a discussion might I suggest that we have an opportunity for that in the item of the later supplementa-ries touching the Cornwall canal. If the intention is to have a motion to strike out the item I realize that my suggestion would not meet his view.
It does not meet my view because in the discussion of the Davis contract we should be absolutely at large and at liberty to take whatever course we choose. Of course I am now speaking subject to whatever decision the leader of the opposition who I am glad to see has entered the chamber, may take and I shall be glad to concur in any suggestion he makes, but I myself think that we should be left absolutely at large in regard to that item and not confined to any particular course.
The minister suggested that the file was an enormous file, that it would be a great expense and waste of time to print all the papers, and he asked me to name three gentlemen to look over them. I did so, and these gentlemen spent a good deal of time going over the papers, collecting at least a few of them to be printed. I suppose they are being printed now.
I suppose that it was by inadvertence that the item was passed, and 1 think it should be re-opened.
I knew it was the desire to have these papers ; and, in order to expedite the business, I made the suggestion that these items of the main estimates be allowed to go through, and that the discussion would come up under the supplementary estimates of this year, which contain an item relating to the Cornwall canal. If there has been any misunderstanding, I am willing to let the item relating to the Cornwall canal stand.