Hon. RAYMOND PREFONTAINE (Minister of Marine and Fisheries).
The last time we were in committee this item, in which there is an increase of $3,500 was allowed to stand. It is explained in the following manner :
For civil government contingencies in 1904-5 the following amounts were spent: Clerical and other assistance including the pay- ment of $2.25 per day to M. Lamouche, and $650 to W. L. Cliar-bonneau, messenger, and $550 to Henry O'Brien, messenger, notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act $ 3,000 00
Printing and stationery. 7,000 00 Sundries 6,500 00
Total $16,500 00
The first of these items remains the same for 1905-6. There is an increase in the appropriation for printing and stationery of $3,000 making the vote $10,000 and in the item for sundries of $500 making the vote for this year $20,000 an increase of $3,500. The vote for 1903-4 was $14,500 and the [DOT]expenditure was as follows :
Clerical assistance $ 1,323 50
Printing and stationery. 8,029 22 Sundries 4,239 93
Overdraft from 1902-3. . 991 53
Less refunds. ... 18 22
The amounts charged for clerical assistance are made up as follows :
M. Lamouche, 1 year's
salary $823 50
L. Charbonneau, 1
year's salary 500 00
Mrs. Lamouche's salary is at the rate of $2.25 a day.
The department has been carrying an overdraft from year to year since 19001901. Carrying the overdraft in this way has crippled the department and in order to avoid this in the future we are asking for the amount which is now mentioned.
what I have been trying to explain. I will give a statement showing how this matter has been standing since 1901. Since that year there has always been an amount standing over to be charged to the following year. In 1901, there was an overdraft of $205.34. In 1902-3, for part of which I was responsible, there Sir WILFRID DAURIER.
was an overdraft of $1,074.47. In 1903-4, the overdraft amounted to $991.53. In 19045. to the 31st of January, 1905, there was an overdraft of $7,032.06. The amount spent in 1901-2, was $10,137.57, and only $10,000 voted. In 1902-3 the amount expended was $12,391.53. In 1903-4 it was $21,616.24, and in 1904-5 to the 31st January, 1905, it was $16,656.23, and only $14,000 voted. Next year we shall require $20,000 to carry on the work of the department. I might 'mention that the work has trebled since 1886. For instance, in 1886, 12,800
letters were received, in 1891, 15,300, and in 1904, 32,184. I could enumerate the different branches to show what have been the increases since 1886, but I do not think it is necessary to do so at present. According as each branch comes up, I can show-how much the work has increased. So that really the anlount of $3,500 is not excessive in view of these facts. It is necessary in order to put the books in such a condition that there will be no more overdrafts.
It is a good policy not to have overdrafts though it may not be the best argument for an increase of the vote. However, as the hon. minister promises better things for the future and to keep within his appropriation, I am not disposed to be very stringent in my remarks, but I would suggest that his officers should be a little more careful about the contingencies of his department. There is always a tendency, especially when a minister is good hearted, to stretch a point as regards contingencies. For instance the hon. gentleman might tell me why three copies of * Canadian Annual Review' should be required for the work of his department. I have not a sufficient fertile imagination to imagine what particularly useful service these works could be in the running of lighthouses and shipping buoys. Then I find that he has purchased several copies of ' Canadian politics.' What help will the officers of the department find in this work ? Not satisfied with that, he has purchased a whole set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. That is no doubt a fine standard work and a very good thing for a general library ; but one would think that what would be required in the hon, gentleman's department would be special works on special subjects. No doubt, it was as an admirer of old English Liberalism, that my hon. friend has bought a life or two of Gladstone. He has also acquired 'the Speaker's decisions of the House of Commons.' Perhaps these may be necessary in the work of his department, but I am at a loss to know how they can possibly be of any use there. Then, I find that the minister is lather costly in his travelling expenses. He and his secretary have spent a round thousand or a little more on those expenses.
Expenses, and cab-hire at Ottawa. My hon. friend has run up $150 on
cab-hires. But I should think that he is of that peculiar build which would benefit by walking exercise. Of course, subscriptions to newspapers are absolutely necessary. It would be impossible to run the ' Lady Lau-rier, the ' Neptune ' and those other vessels unless they had in the department the ' Athabaskaville Union' at $6 and the 'Charlottetown Patriot ' at $4 and the ' Canada ' at $4.50. No doubt these furnish motive power. AVith the subscription to ' The Sportman's Review,' I have no fault to find. Probably the minister takes that in lieu of exercise. If he cannot get exercise in his department, he can read about it. *
The travelling expenses in Ottawa can be very easily explained. I have to go to Montreal every Saturday and sometimes twice a week, which involves my taking my valise and my secretary doing the same. I suppose we are not bound to carry them ourselves and we drive to the station. But I must say that I have never made use in the city of Ottawa of a cab or sleigh at the expense of the government just for the pleasure of having a drive. Whenever I have had that pleasure I have paid for it. Whenever. I have had friends visiting Ottawa and we have driven about, I have always paid out of my own pocket. Whatever I have paid in cab-hire in Ottawa has been spent as I have described. Representing a large district in the city of Montreal, and having a marine agency in Montreal and many large corporations to meet, I am obliged to travel in the way I have stated. But I do not think I have ever been extravagant in that line. As to subscriptions to newspapers, of course, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Poster) has been a minister, and he knows that the officers of the departments must keep up with public events, and, to be able to do this, they must have the papers to consult. And you must have them in the department, where they will be at hand, for you cannot send for them to the reading room or the library. I do not think that account has increased in any extraordinary way. As regards the purchasing of books, I have not been very long in charge of the department, and when I became minister there vvas not even a copy of the statutes there. I found empty book-cases.
The hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) was himself minister of that department and knows the course of things perfectly well. I understand, from information given me by the deputy, that it has been the custom, when a minister changes from one department to another, that he takes whatever books he thinks proper to his new department. After there have been four or five changes of ministers, it will readily be understood, there are no more books and the latest comer must buy
what are needed. I invite the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) to visit my room in the department. I will receive him as politely as I can, and will show him that there is yet a great deal of room in that book-case. But, little by little, I am securing for the use of the department the books that I think necessary. Some of them will be more or less necessary. But the hon. gentleman understands that point perfectly well-he has been long enough in the business to understand.
That raises a very interesting question. In view of the minister's explanation, I think we have every reason to be glad that the book-cases were left; I almost wonder that they had not disappeared as well as the books. Has it become the fashion that an incoming minister finds only empty book-cases because the books have all been taken ? For instance, when a minister changes from one department to another, does he take ail the special books that he used in the administering of the department he is leaving. Really this is a significant statement that the minister has made. But I shall not go into it now. I imagine it extends much beyond this department. Where all the pins and needles go has long been an unanswered conundrum. And where the furniture and furnishings and books, for which immense sums of money are paid by all these departments from Government House to the Speaker's chamber-where they go at each migration is a thing that no one has yet been able to find out. But go they do-there is not the least shadow of a doubt about that ? But the minister has not told me what he wanted with $40 worth of ' The Siege of Quebec.' Was that for a private library ? Have we come to the point where a minister has a right to use the tax-payers' money in buying books that are not necessary for the administration of his department'? If the minister wants to stock a private library, that is his own business. He is paid a salary, and can use his own money for his own purposes. But he has no right to use the tax-payers' money to make a private library, and then run off with it when he leaves the department. I do not think that ought to be condoned as a practice, I care not which government may practice it. I can sympathize with the late Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton) if he has to carry around all the books that belonged to the library of the department he has just left. If he has taken them away, I am going to inquire about it. And when the next man comes in, if the government ever makes up its mind to put in another man, if that other man brings in a vote to furnish the empty bookshelves, I think it will be criticised in this House. I doubt very much if that is the rule, and I doubt if the ex-AIinister of the Interior has emptied the bookshelves of liis former office of the books that he used in
carrying on the work of his department.
I hope the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Prefontaine) will renounce the heresy he has formulated
It came to this : that I pitied the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) if he undertook to carry oft with him all the books of reference that were in his department while he was Minister of the Interior. That was the first point. The second was that I did not believe the hon. gentleman had done so. The third was that if the hon. gentleman had taken away these books and an item appeared in the estimates to refurnish the bookshelves I thought it would receive criticism in this committee. Well, it is not the universal practice. Even if it obtains in the Department of Marine and Fisheries, I take it that it does not in the Department of the Interior.
Yes, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Foster) was there. Fie took no books out of the Marine Department. And the hon. gentleman, I may say, should not have to replenish empty shelves when he went there. That was not one of the traditions of that department at that time. .
I understand that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries has a considerable amount charged to travelling expenses. I understand also that he made a trip to Cape Tormentine a year or two ago and has viewed the situation there. I would like to know, for the benefit'of my constituents, what his idea is as to the situation at Cape Tormentine. To-day we have between two thousand and three thousand bags of mail matter lying at Sackville ready to be taken to Prince Edward Island and no means of taking it across the Straits of Northumberland. I understand that the minister has viewed the situation and is satisfied that a ferry can be made there suitable for carrying mails and passengers.
I think that, as the minister has taken the money out of the public treasury to spend for a visit to the Capes Ferry, I have a right to ask him why it is that he has not furnished the needed means to carry mails and passengers ; for in doing this, he would confer a great boon upon the people of Prince Edward Island. I wish to remind the minister that the terms of confederation with Prince Edward Island distinctly declares that the Dominion shall provide continuous steam communication winter and summer for mails and passengers.
When the item for ferries in Prince Edward Island comes 1 Mr. FOSTER.
before the committee for consideration, I will be prepared to give the hon. gentleman all the information I possess. As it is now six o'clock, I may inform the committee that after recess I propose to take up the item concerning the ship canal, a very large item of $588,000.
At six o'clock, committee took recess. After Eecess.
Committee resumed at eight o'clock.
Harbours and rivers, Quebec-River St. Lawrence channel '(Marine Department), $588,000.
This item of $588,000 is the same amount as was voted last year to continue the work of improving the ship channel between Montreal and Quebec. In 1899 a general plan was made of the improvements which were contemplated in the channel between Montreal and Quebec, which plan was laid before the House. This work has been going on according to this plan during a number of years preceding my tenure of office. By Order in Council of March 11th, 1904, on a report from the right hon. the President of the Privy Council, with a view to systematizing and facilitating the work, the hydrographic surveys, the management and control of the river St. Lawrence ship channel, together with the dredging and ship building jilant, wfere transferred at the close of the fiscal year to the Department of Marine and Fisheries, so as to place the supervision of the improvements to navigation on the St. Lawrence route under the department directly responsible for the pilotage and aids to navigation. This vote of $588,000 is to make provision for the following in accordance with the subjoined detailed estimate transmitted by the superintending engineer of the St. Lawrence ship channel:
1. Working expenses of a dredging fleet of six elevator dredges and one hydraulic or suction, dredge, with their necessary plants, which it is proposed to keep at work at various points on the St. Lawrence below Montreal, deepening and otherwise improving the channel, including the sweeping and general supervision.
2. Maintenance of Sorel shipyard establishment, inclusive of supplies, charges of management, office expenses, stores, buildings, shops and machinery.
3. Towards construction of additional dredging plant at Sorel, improvement of shipyard facilities, including wharf and dock accommodation.
4. For the completion of the construction of a powerful ice-breaking and sweeping tug.
Detailed estimate of requirements for 1905-6 :
1. Dredging operations-
Working expenses of six elevator dredges, operating day and night, with their accessory plants of tugs, scows, &c., including fuel, wages, board, stores, repairs and office expenses as well as the supervision and sweeping of the
ship channel, for a season of about eight months.
Six elevator dredges at $40,000 each.. ..$240,000 "Working expenses of one hydraulic dredge, operating day and night, including plant and superintendence for a
season of about six months 60,000
Working expenses of two stone lifters 10,000
2. Shipyard supplies, buildings and new plant
Coal for shipyard, 2,200 tons at $4.50$9,90P
Smith coal, S00 tons at $6 4,804
New' sawmill and woodworking shop, including machinery for
Tools for new' woodworking shop 4,000 Tools for new machine shop.. .. 15,000 Sterilizing chamber and other
Slip-way in yard 10,000
Furnishing wharf No. 4 5,000
Purchase of land on which shipyard
tow stands 25,000
Installing galvanizing apparatus 5,000 New plant and machinery 7,300
3. New' dredging plant and improvements to fleet of ship channel-
Two new dump scow's of 200 cubic
yards capacity each $30,000
Tug to replace St. Francis.. .. 17,000 Equipment of floating machine
Flat scow 6,000
To finish new sieit of buckets for
dredge ' Lafontaine ' 10,000
4. Ice-breaking and sweeping tug for above and below Quebec-
For the completion of the construction of a new powerful ice-breaking and sw'eeping tug designed for prolonging navigation, sweeping above and below Quebec, aiding belated vessels from Montreal to Quebec and general towing of dredging plant, especially for Cap a la Roche 100,000
Total estimate of requirements for fiscal year 1905-6 588,000
This is a resume of the whole amount
which we are asking the House to appropriate for the next season. I must state at once that the amount is not included in the main estimates for erecting certain Iiiers on Lake >St. Peter in order to aid navigation during the latter part of the season. It is an impossibility to maintain the ordinary floating lights on Lake St. Peter after the ice begins to form, so that in order to make this part of the channel perfectly safe it has been decided to erect a series of piers. Four or five of them will be constructed in due time as far as our appropriation goes, so as to make this part of the channel perfectly safe even after the ice is formed and after the floating buoys are taken away. We think that by erecting these piers and having fixed lights we can maintain navigation on the St. Lawrence later than the 25th November, the time at which the insurance risks expire. This work is not new. It is following out the
plan of improvement which vas adopted at the demand of the Shipping Federation, the Board of Trade of Montreal and the Boards of Trade at Quebec and elsewhere, in order to make the bed of the St. Lawrence as safe and as advantageous as it is possible to make it. This plan is not mine at all. It is a plan which was laid before the House in 1899 by a former Minister of Public Works who had studied the question specially, and who had this plan sanctioned by the House as far back as the year I have mentioned. The work is under the same engineer.
Last year, in this vote of $588,000 was included $60,000 on account of the construction of a new, powerful ice breaking and sweeping tug designed for prolonging navigation. What success has been obtained by the expenditure of this money, and what has been the record of the ss. ' Montcalm ' as an ice breaker in the vicinity of Quebec?