Perhaps the hon. gentleman would state what the total cost of the building will be. I do not mean the fittings I mean the cost of the building without the fittings. I understand the contract price is $260,000. That is $60,000 more than the hon. Finance Minister said it would cost. Then there is a considerable amount in addition as mentioned this afternoon by the hon. acting minister.
I have no doubt in the world that this very building which now costs by contract, $203,000, could have been built for about the sum that the Minister of Finance mentioned. Everyone knows that there has been a large increase in the price of building in the last three or four years, probably 25 to 30 per cent ; that I
am sure will be accepted by the House as an explanation. Considering that the Minister of Finance made his statement without having all the details, and the plans before him. I thin he was wonderfully close in the estimate he gave, taking into consideration the difference in the cost of building. The hon. gentleman laughs. I am perfectly serious, and I am speaking of my own knowledge. In the last two years I have let contracts for buildings that cost 20 per cent more than they would have cost the year before. I do think that any member in the House with experience in building knows that the cost of building is not less than 20 per cent higher than in 1902.
I might ask if the banking interests in this Dominion have been consulted ? Probably they could- give some light on this subject. It is certainly a large undertaking involving large expenditures and it seems doubtful whether due consideration has been given to tjie undertaking. The banking interests are probably best able to inform the House on questions of this kind and I would like to know if they have been consulted.
There is a Bankers' Association, and on several occasions at their annual meeting according to newspaper reports which I have read, they discussed this question. I recollect now one prominent banker who was president of the Bankers' Association who expressed himself very strongly. I refer to Sir. D. R. Wilkie, manager of the Imperial bank. I think he was very strong in favour of it. Of course in all questions of this kind, as in all large questions, you will find differences of opinion, but the project is not without its advocates in tlie banking world.
This question was up before and it was then said that this was not to be a purely Canadian mint, but a branch of the Royal mint. Now, as it is costing so much money, perhaps it would be interest-
ing if the first minister could tell us just what the distinction is. The gentleman from British Columbia (Mr. Macpherson) seems to think it is to be a Canadian affair, something that is to be of immense good to Vancouver, and to buy all the gold that will be produced in this country. When we find it is costing us nearly $400,000 we might know what the difference is between a branch of the Royal Mint and a purely Canadian mint.
The explanation is this : The mint is to be a Canadian mint of course, to coin Canadian gold, Canadian live dollar pieces, which as my hon. freinds know are not now coined. At the present time as my hon. friends know Canadian silver, 25 cent pieces, 50 cent pieces, &c., are all coined in England.
If we have gold coined, we get it coined in England Now we are going to do the reverse. Up to the present time the Royal Mint has coined British coins and Canadian coins ; the Royal Mint in Canada will coin Canadian coins and also English coins, the English sovereign, &c. In order to do this, the mint has to be a branch of the Royal mint; that is the way it has to be done. This it: what the Minister of Finance says. The advantage is this : We may not require for ourselves all the gold that we produce in Canada and that gold will be coined in Canada into British sovereigns and sent over for circulation to Great Britain, and in order to have this done the Canadian mint will be made by Royal proclamation a branch of the Royal Mint.