This seems to be a somewhat large increase in salary all at once. To increase a man's salary from by $400 to $2,000 is an increase of 25 per cent. It seems to me there should be some good reason for such a large increase at one time. The Premier has not given us a reason for it.
I have on a previous occasion given the reason for if. Last year there was an expression of opinion on both sides of the House that the police were insufficiently paid, and my impression is that even with this increase in salaries the police will not be too highly
paid. Everything has gone up in price as my hon. friend (Mr. Sproule) knows and in the west, where everything is growing very fast, the cost of living is far in excess of what it is in the east. For instance, the maximum pay of a superintendent is $100 less than that of a first-class clerk, and the maximum pay of an inspector is $100 less than that of a second-class clerk. Under these circumstances, I do not think the police are overpaid for the very important duties they perform, and in providing for them this very moderate increase I think we, are simply doing what the country would expect of us.
Notwithstanding that, I still contend that an explanation is necessary, and it seems to me that, coming from hon. gentlemen opposite, it is doubly necessary considering the doctrine they preached years ago when in opposition, that if they came to power they would make this a cheap country to live in. Now it is a dear country to live in, and the right hon. gentleman gives that as an excuse for these increases of salary. I am not complaining of the work done by the Mounted Police, because I think they do their work very well, and are entitled to as high pay as any similar class of men in the country. But it seems to me that when the increase is not a very moderate one, or is what some would regard as an immoderate one, some special reasons ought to be given for it. Last year we increased the salaries of the civil service in Ottawa, but I do not think that in any case the increase reached the proportion of the increase now proposed for the Mounted Police, an increase of 25 per cent at one jump.
I am afraid that the remarks of my hon. friend will make my modesty blush. It is true we said that we expected to make Canada a cheap country to live in, but we did not then anticipate that we would do as well as we have done, or that the country would be as prosperous as it is to-day, with immigrants going into the Northwest Territories at the rate of
150,000 a year. I am sure that my hon. friend will agree with me that the conditions are very different'from what they were in his time. I am surprised at the criticism of my hon. friend, and in future I shall have to resist the blandishments of hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House. Last year they asked for increases of salary. I yielded to their demands, and now I am criticised. In spite of that, I think I shall have to persist in my good intention. For instance, Colonel Perry, the commissioner of the force, who receives $2,600, is to receive $3,000, which is certainly not an exaggerated price for the services he renders to the country. An inspector, who ranks, say, with a captain, receives to-day $1,000. There are men who have been in that class for twenty years or more, and they are to receive at once $1,400, while officers appointed last year will receive an increase only of $50, while those who have been inspectors for over a year will receive $1,100, and so on until they reach the maximum of $1,400. If my hon. friend will look at the facts as they are, and forget the speeches of former years, he will agree with me that these increases are very, reasonable.
I hope for more than once, but on this occasion at any rate. The Northwest is at the present time an exceedingly expensive country to live in. It is found by those who have business there that the salaries of almost every class of men have been raised, and the Mounted Police are certainly deserving of the most generous treatment that can be meted out to them.
There are about 85 posts distributed all over the Territories, from the American frontier to the mouth of the Mackenzie river and from the Red river to the Macleod district. We have established some new posts along the route of the Canadian Northern Railway, and we have two or three posts on the Mackenzie river between Slave lake and the mouth of the river.
Is the force generally being diminished in the eastern portion of the country, which is the more settled and the more rapidly increasing in population, and is the augmentation of the force in the parts farther west and north? My'right hon. friend knows that in earlier times, in the eastern parts of the Northwest Territories, the number of Mounted Police at the different stations was large, and they gradually came to do almost all the duties done by constables and police in the more settled districts. Before we went out of office we were gradually withdrawing the Mounted Police from the more thickly settled districts towards the east and sending them further north and west without augmenting the total number of the force. Is this process still going on, or is the force in the eastern districts still doing what the muni-
cipalities do down here, and what the municipalities will have to do up there as population flows in ?
I am sorry to say that we have made very little progress in that direction, and, if I remember aright, I do not think that the progress made by the government of my hon. friend in that direction was very marked either. We have experienced the same difficulty that was experienced by our predecessors. When we have made attempts to discontinue posts in a district that is sufficiently well settled to enable the people to take care of their own protection, we have received from all parts of the district the most unanimous protests against the removal of the force. AVe have demonstrated to the people again and again that they must take charge of their own police, especially now. when settlement is going northward, particularly into the Saskatchewan valley, where we have been obliged to establish new posts. But I must confess that I am not satisfied with the progress that we have been able to make in that direction.
Instead of reducing the force, we shall have to increase it. According as the Territories become more settled along the American frontier, there are greater opportunities afforded for stealing horses and cattle and smuggling and in other respects violating the law. We intend increasing the pay of the force by 25 cents a day. The pay of a colour sergeant, which to-day is $1.50 will be made $1.75. The pay of the other sergeants, which is $1, will be made $1.25. The pay of a corporal will be raised from 85 cents to $1.10 a day, and of a constable from 50 cents to 75 cents. We propose to raise the pay gradually. One-third will receive an increase of 25 cents and two-thirds an increase of from 10 to 20 cents.
So far as the increase of pay is concerned I do not feel disposed to raise any objection. AVe have a splendid body of men out there, and the country has been well repaid by the services of the force for the money it has cost. I do not expect that for years to come the total of the force will be diminished. It will, on the contrary, rather be increased, at any rate until municipal institutions are firmly established and tiie population becomes sufficiently large to keep up these institutions. I venture to express the hope that this force will be, as it was under the late government, kept entirely free from the blight of political partisanship and administered with a sole eye to merit.