That Mr. Augustin Bourbonnais be transferred from the Committee on Miscellaneous Private Bills to the Committee on Standing Orders.
SELECT STANDING COMMITTEES.
Demers be transferred from the Committee on Standing Orders to the Committee on Miscellaneous Private Bills.
That Mr. Thomas Greenway be transferred . from the Committee on Banking and Commerce to the Committee on Agriculture.
That Mr. Hugh Guthrie be transferred from the Committee on Agriculture to the Committee on Banking and Commerce.
Motion agreed to.
INSTRUCTIONS TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL.
Mr. W. F. MACLEAN.
Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to ask the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) if he will tell the House whether there are any and substantial changes in the instructions of the new Governor General-changes from the ordinary instructions ?
Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
I am not* aware of any.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC RAILWAY SURVEYS.
Hon. GEO. E. FOSTER.
Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would like to ask the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Emmerson) whether he has any information which can be communicated to the House with reference to the Grand Trunk Pacific surveys of the route between Quebec and Moncton ? I noticed in the papers some semi-authoritative statements as to what had been found as a result of these surveys, and in some eases the statements were definite. If there is any information that the House could have, I would like very much to get it. If he has not got it at his hand, would he just intimate whether, in answer to a request of an order of the House, there are any.papers that he could bring down at present with reference to those surveys ?
Hon. H. R. EMMERSON (Minister of Railways and Canals).
I may say in reply to my hon. friend that there are no reports in the Department of Railways and Canals with respect to the surveys. The Act provides, if I remember correctly, for reports to be furnished annually by the Commissioners to the Department of Railways and Canals. The surveys already made, as I understand, are preliminary. I know there has been no report from the construction commission to the Department of Railways and Canals with respect to these surveys. There is no information In the department which I could bring down to the House.
Do I understand the minister to say that the procedure would be something like this : That those engineering parties, through their chief, would report to the commission, and that the commission would then include these in their annual report ? Does the minister mean to say that parliament should sit here and not have the benefit of the results of those engineers' reports until they came a year afterwards through the medium of tiie commission ? Surely my hon. friend will not contend that we are to sit here and wait eighteen months for reports to be digested, or pigeon-holed, or whatever is done with them, by the commission, whilst we, representing the country, are kept without the information. Surely that cannot be the course of procedure which will be followed.
I suppose my hon. friend will have to exercise the same patience that I will have to exercise until those reports are given to the Department of Railways and Canals according to law. Then, of course, the department will be jn a position to furnish the information. It is a question of the construction of the law. My hon. friend can refer to it for himself.
Hon. JOHN HAGGART.
Mr. Speaker, what department is the commission under ?
Surely we have a right to the reports made to the commission, if they are completed ; and there is no necessity for us to wait until the commission reports to the Minister of Railways and Canals. Under what department is that commission ?
I presume that the commission would be associated with the Department of Railways and Canals.
How intimate would the association be ?
It is not particularly under that department ; it is a body by itself, an independent body, under the provisions of the Act which created it.
Well, perhaps we are not in a position to discuss the matter under this order
Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
But if the rendering of the Minister of Railways and Canals is correct on that point, something will have to be done by the House, because I do not imagine that members on either side of the House would be willing to wait a year and a half for the commission to digest the information, when they want it themselves.