March 31, 1905

ORDERS OF THE DAY.

ABSENCE OF MINISTERS AND CABINET VACANCY.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Carleton, Ont.).

Before the Orders of the Day are called, I wish once more to call to the attention of the House the quite unprecedented condition of affairs which exists at the present time. During many months we have not had in this House the presence of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Sutherland). That gentleman is one of my personal friends, although we are opposed in politics, and no one regrets more than I do the unfortunate circumstance that illness prevents him from taking his place among us, and any remarks which I have to make with regard to violation of constitutional usage by the government are, of course, not connected in any way with that gentleman, because I would be very glad indeed to have him restored to us, to once more have his assistance in the House and to have him back at work in his department again.

But my right hon. friend seems to take for granted that he is at liberty, so long as he may see tit, to deprive parliament and the country of the services of a Minister of Public Works possessing the authority and invested with the responsibility which that position gives to him. I have looked a little into this question, which has arisen more than once in Great Britain, and I find that the rule there acted upon is not at all in accordance with that Mr. LAKE.

suggested by the right hon. gentleman. To cite just one instance, in 1871, action was taken in both Houses of parliament in regard to the absence of Mr. Childers, the First Lord of the Admiralty, during the early part of the session, on account of the state of his health, and within a month after his resignation took place. It has been asserted in this House, I do not know with what truth, that the Minister of Public Works some time ago placed his resignation in the hands of the right lion, gentleman, or at all events told him that his portfolio was at his service whenever the interests of the country required it. However that may be, I wish courteously to place on record a remonstrance against the continuance of this condition of affairs. I do not think there is any warrant for it under the constitution. Indeed, I do not think there is any warrant for it under the terms of the Order in Council which was discussed somewhat last session, and under which one minister of the Crown may under certain circumstances act for another minister of the Crown.

On another occasion, which is referred to by Mr. Todd in his work on constitutional government, Lord John Russell had accepted the seals of the Colonial Office, at a time when he was absent on a diplomatic mission in Vienna. Within two weeks after he had accepted the seals of office, the matter was brought to the attention of parliament, and again on two or three occasions subsequently, and was made the occasion of a grave criticism of the administration, which only ceased when he took his place in parliament on the 28th of April. Now, so far as my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works is concerned, he has been absent from his duties in parliament and from his duties in the department for a very long time ; and if there be any foundation for the rumour that he is ready to surrender the seals of office at a moment's notice, I do not know for what reason the right hon. gentleman proposes to carry on the business of the country in -the way in which it is carried on at the present time.

We have not only the case of the Minister of Public Works, but we have what seems to me a much more serious violation of constitutional usage in the conduct of the government with respect to the vacant portfolio of the Interior. I do not want to repeat to-day what has already been said in this House. I have asked the Prime Minister more than once for an explanation oi his extraordinary conduct in passing over that gentleman in introducing a very important measure, a most momentous measure, into this parliament without even having submitted the terms of perhaps its most important clause to that gentleman, although his return was daily expected. My right hon. friend has treated that very

lightly. He has treated also very lightly the circumstance that he also withheld the terms of that clause from the knowledge of his Minister of Finance, who certainly of all ministers of the Crown, should have been acquainted with the provisions of the measure. I might almost venture to say that the conduct of the Prime Minister, in bringing that Bill down while withholding from parliament the knowledge that those gentlemen had not approved of it, amounted to an insult to this parliament ; I think I might even go further, and_say that the right hon. gentleman, in taking that course, demeaned himself ; and not one word of explanation with regard to that very peculiar circumstance has fallen from the right hon. gentleman's lips from that day to this. Instead of that, we have had mere flippant replies or absolute silence when any explanation has been courteously demanded across the floor of this House. Moreover, we have had rumours, I do not know with what truth, but it is right that they should be stated and some answer made-we have had rumours from the press of the province of Quebec in close touch with this administration, and even direct statements, that the cause assigned to this parliament for the resignation of the Minister of the Interior was not the true cause. Further than that, a certain journal published in the province of Quebec with which a very devoted champion and warm and intimate personal friend of the Prime Minister is connected, has seen fit to make that statement in the form of a cartoon, which most of us have seen, but to which I will not make any further reference by way of description.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

What paper ?

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

' Le Nationaliste.'

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon. It is not a paper friendly to the government. It is opposed to the government every Sunday.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I accept at once the superior knowledge of my hon. friend the Solicitor General. I do not profess to be an expert in regard to the opinions of that paper ; but my hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa), who is a warm champion of the government with regard to this measure with which the resignation of the late Minister of the Interior is closely associated, has a very close connection with that paper, if I am rightly informed.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

If the hon. member for Labelle were here, I am sure he would dissent from my hon. friend's statement. The hon. member for Labelle has repeatedly declared before this House and before the public that he had nothing to do with the ' Le Nationaliste.'

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I accept the statement of my hon. friend as I would accept

the statement of the hon. member if he were here ; but I have been imformed, perhaps incorrectly, that the hon. member for Labelle has been one of the regular contributors to that journal, and I myself have seen contributions in that journal which purported to be signed by that hon. gentleman. I do not think my hon. friend will deny that.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

I can say to my hon. friend that when the paper was started about two years ago the hon. member for Labelle wrote two or three articles which he signed ' Henri Bourassa ; ' but since then he has declared over and over again that he has nothing to do with the paper.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I accept whatever my hon. friend states about it without the slightest reserve, either parliamentary or otherwise, and I will leave that for the gentlemen from the province of Quebec to settle. I do not pretend to know anything about it. There is another little interesting rumour which has come to us from time to time, and I observe that in former days my right hou. friend \ras very much interested in these rumours and used always to bring them to the attention of parliament in order that they might be contradicted. I have looked up his record in that regard and find that.I have good precedent for what I am about to mention. There is a very strong rumour, said to have emanated from a certain member of the administration, who lately received a pretty severe little stab in this House from the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton), that the ex-minister was not so absolutely ignorant of the terms of this measure, in the first instance, as had been suggested in this House. I do not know about that, but my right hon. friend can perhaps give us information and set at rest at once that disquieting rumour.

But what is the position to-day. so far as the Department of the Interior is concerned? We have a statute which says that there shall be a Department of the Interior and there shall be a Minister of the Interior. We start with that in the first instance. That statute goes on to say : ' The Minister of the Interior shall have the control and management of the affairs of the Northwest Territories.' Those are the exact words of the statute, and that statute has been in force during every one of the thirty-one days which have elapsed since the ex-Minister of the Interior has resigned. What was my right hon. friend's view with regard to this constitutional question not long ago ? 1

have already brought it to the attention of the House, but it is not out of place that I shall repeat his own words again :

In the practical working out of responsible government in a country of such vast extent as Canada, it is found necessary to attach a special responsibility to each minister for the public affairs of the province, or district with which he has close political connection, and

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

He is proposing to give to these Territories a constitution which at no time in the future will a Canadian parliament be able to change, and, forgetting the great constitutional rule which he laid down in days gone by, he Is proposing to do this in the absence of any representative of those Territories in the cabinet. He is proposing that parliament should finally deal with a measure vitally affecting the Northwest Territories while these Territories are absolutely unrepresented in the cabinet. For what purpose was that statute passed creating the portfolio of Minister of the Interior ? Why, if not that there shall he in the cabinet a minister representing that country who would be thoroughly competent to safeguard its interests especially in matters of such importance as the one now before us? Why, in those days my right hon. friend was so anxious in this regard, that upon the mere rumour of the resignation of ministers from Quebec, he moved the adjournment of the House and discussed the question at length. Later on, upon full explanation being given, when he had been assured that those gentlemen had not resigned and were at one with their colleagues, he was so much interested in the constiutional aspect of the case that he again moved the adjournment. Bui today when we inquire whether or not the vacant portfolio of the interior will be filled, my right hon. friend seems to emerge temporarily from a condition of forgetfulness. He is as one who would say : ' Why, bless my soul, then there is a Department of the Interior ; I must look after it one of these days. There are Northwest Territories, but I had almost forgotten their existence. One of these days we will take the question up when there is nothing else to do ; but in the meantime we will go on and deal with most important questions affecting these Territories without any regard whatever to the statute.' In those days he was a stickler for constitutional usage hut to-day he displays a complete change of front. Let me read one more brief extract from a speech of the right hon. gentleman of those days :

Moreover here are two seats vacant, vacant since yesterday, and although the hon. gentlemen who occupy these seats may not have tendered officially their resignations to His Excellency, it is quite evident that they are no longer in harmony with their colleagues, otherwise they would be in their places to discharge their share of the business of the country.

In view of the cynical disregard of the constitution which we see every day in this House, is not the reminiscence, brought up by the utterances I have just quoted, perfectly delicious ? Here are two-thirds of the cabinet not in harmony with the other one-third, if we apply the test which the right hon. gentleman himself applied ten years ago. How many of the colleagues of my right hon. friend are present in the House to-day ? There is a vacant seat next to him.

The one next to that is vacant There is another vacant on his left and another alongside of the Minister of Inland Revenue. There is also a vacant seat immediately behind the right hon. gentleman. But still there is an unusually large number of ministers in the House to-day, and I have taken,

1 must admit, an unfortunate occasion to exhibit an object lesson to the country. Usually we have only about three ministers present, and we must therefore, according to the test which the right hon. gentleman applied ten years ago, conclude that the other ten are on the eve of resignation. However that may be, let me say that I do not observe in anything which has been suggested by my right hon. friend any reason why the portfolio of the Interior should not be filled.

He has said nothing on the subject. Has he no material ? If he does not appoint my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) to be Chief Justice of the Northwest Territories, in view of the constitutional argument he gave us the other day, I imagine that that hon. gentleman would make a very good Minister of the Interior, and I am inclined to press his claims. He is a very good friend of mine personally, though we differ somewhat politically; and I stand here to urge the claims of my hon. friend from Edmonton to this position. He is a gentleman of ripe experience and great ability, and, as we all know a gentleman of absolute and perfect independence on all questions. But, if we cannot have my hon. friend from Edmonton, why should we not have the hon. member from West Assiniboia (Mr. Scott). Is not he capable ? Is there any apprehension on the part of the right hon. Prime Minister that there will be any difficulty about securing the election of either of these gentlemen ? Does he propose to let this matter stand until after the close of the present session, in defiance of all the high constitutional principles which he professed ten years ago ? If there is a lack of material among the members for the Northwest Territories, why not appoint some broad minded man like my hon. friend from Ottawa (Mr. Belcourt), who spoke last night, or my hon. friend from Labelle (Mr. Bourassa)? Could not one of these gentlemen be induced to go up and teach these men in the Northwest Territories, whom they described as so narrow and bigoted that they could not be trusted, some of these men whom my hon. friend from Ottawa (Mr. Belcourt) described as regenade Liberals?-why not send one of these broad-minded tolerant gentlemen to these men of the Northwest Territories to teach them what true Christian charity and toleration really are. I do not think there could be any objection to that, though, of course, my hon. friend from Labelle might be himself a candidate for the Chief Justiceship in oppositon to my hon. friend from Edmonton, for he has said that he is ready

to discuss the constitution with any man in this country or anywhere else.

Now, just one more observation on this subject. The right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) was rather facetious ten years ago. He told us of those two ministers coming back and likened them to kittens coming back to their cream. Well, we have had a couple of kittens who were a little skittish on this occasion. One, it is true, did not leave the cream. It arched its back and curved its tail, but remained within a reasonable distance of the cream, and is still lapping. The other did leave the cream.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Shooed away.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

There is a disquieting rumour throughout the country, to which the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) might address himself, that, although the minister in question, like the kitten, has left the cream for the time being there is being prepared for him an exceedingly dainty dish of cream which will be served up in due season. We do not know whether that may be the case or not; but, perhaps it would be well for the right hon. gentleman, remembering the analogy which he gave to the House some time ago, to tell us whether or not there is anything in this rumour.

But, in all seriousness, Mr. Speaker, I do think it is due to the House and to the country that the Prime Minister should state what the intention of the government is in regard to the filling of the portfolio. The government, in defiance of all constitutional usages and of constitutional rules laid down by themselves on many occasions intend, apparently, to press this measure through parliament without having in the cabinet any minister who is more especially responsible for the Northwest Territories. We should be informed, in view of the delay in filling this position, what is the cause of that delay and also when the Prime Minister expects to fill this portfolio. Or, if he does not propose to fill it in the immediate future, may I not, respectfully, and with every right, ask him to announce to the House and to the country what the difficulties really are which prevent him, at the present time, from calling to his cabinet some gentleman from the Northwest Territories or elsewhere, who, in the cabinet, will particularly represent these Territories.

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Rt. H@

Mr. Speaker, I have no serious fault to find with my hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden) if he has chosen to have another little joke upon a subject which is evidently congenial to him. I have no fault to find if he has brought to the attention of the House the resignation of my hon. friend the member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) from the portfolio of the Interior and the

reason why he has not yet been replaced. Yet, I might have hoped that my hon. friend would abstain on this occasion from referring to another gentleman, a highly respected member of this House, who, unfortunately, is not in his seat, from a cause which, we might have hoped, would appeal to the hon. gentleman's sympathy as to the sympathy of every member of this House. My hon. friend, I think, was not well actuated, nor do I think his remarks were at all called for, in directing the attention of the House to the fact that the Minister of Public Works (Mr. James Sutherland! has not been in his place in this House during the present session. The fact is correctly stated, and, perhaps, under different circumstances, no fault could be found with the observations which my hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden) has made. But I was under the impression that the well known cause of the absence from the House of the Minister of rublic Works would warrant everybody in allowing that absence to pass without remark. The hon. gentleman (Mr. James Sutherland) has been absent from this House because of the state of his health. I am reminded that, some six or seven years ago, when another of my colleagues, the Minister of Militia (Sir Frederick Borden) having suffered a severe shock in a railway accident, was absent from this parliament for a whole session, not a word was ever uttered upon the subject. Everybody understood the circumstances and hoped that the hon. gentleman would resume his duties as we hope that the hon. Minister of Public Works will, in the near future, be able to resume his place. And that is the reason why the absence of the Minister of Public Works should not be commented upon. My hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden) has referred to a rumour that the Minister of Public Works has tendered his resignation to me. 1 would have preferred not to speak upon this subject. I do not know that the House expects me to speak upon it even after the reference to it made by my hon. friend. Still, X. may say that the Minster of Public Works has not jdaced his resignation in my hands. When he told me that he was in poor health and could not attend to the business of the session, I took it upon myself to say to him, ' My friend, you had better go away and stay away until you are better ; we will arrange to carry on the work of your department; and every member of the House will be glad to know that there is hope that you will soon come back again.'

Now, with regard to the resignation of my hon. friend the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton), I have only one observation to m.ake in answer to the numerous queries my hon. friend (Mr. R. L. Borden) has put to me. So far as I know, and I have no reason to believe to the contrary, the only difference that occurred between Sir WIT/FRID LAURIER.

myself and the late Minister of the Interior was that he resigned upon this educational question and for no other reason. I owe it to my hon. friend from Brandon to make this statement openly, widely, and, as I hope, for ever to set at rest any rumours to the contrary.

Now, it is true that my hon. friend has not been replaced yet. How many days have elapsed since he resigned his portfolio? Just thirty-one days. But, before I come to that, let me say that I do not think there is any anology whatever between the resignation of my hon. friend the late Minister of the Interior and what took place some ten years ago, in 1895. Then we saw a very different spectacle-members coming in and members going out, members resigning one day and taking back their resignation the following day, or the following week, members absent from parliament, not because they were called away a few days for any reason, but members not in their seats because they were neither in nor out of the government, and because they did not appear to know what position they occupied. There is nothing of the kind here, we know where we are, at all events. But when there are disagreements amongst ministers, the honourable course is for the dissenting minister to proffer his resignation, and to say to the Prime Minister : I do not agree with your policy. This is what has taken place ; and therefore there is no analogy whatever between what took place in 1895 and what is taking place to-day. It is true, as I say, that the hon. member for Brandon has not been replaced in the cabinet. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition asks, for what cause ? Is it any lack of material ? Perhaps it may be for an opposite cause, perhaps it is too abundant material. There is such a thing as an em-barras de richesse, although my hon. friend appears to be suffering from the reverse, he is suffering from penury, while we on this side are suffering from abundance and that may be just as good a reason as the reason suggested by my hon. friend.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Make two ministers then.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIEB.

I do not know but that would be a good reason, I will think of it. It might be well to have two ministers instead of one ; but I am sure that if I were to ask parliament for an appropriation for another minister my hon. friend would be one of the first to object, he would not allow us to do it. However, we will have to be content with one Minister of the Interior, that is all we are called upon to appoint. I do not think my hon. friend can charge the government with negligence because it has not appointed another minister to a portfolio which has been vacant only thirty-one days. I do not think there has been any negligence whatever, on the contrary I think the government has done right

to deliberate, to consider what position they are going to take, who they are going to call upon to fill the very important place left vacant by the late minister.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The right hon. gentleman appreciates of course the fact that in this connection I called attention to the peculiar condition, namely, that we are about to pass a very important Bill with regard to those Territories.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LATJRIER.

Yes, and this is a reason why, in my estimation, instead of pressing the matter, we should exercise a little delay. This Bill cannot be postponed if we intend to have these provinces begin operations on the 1st of July next. There are many reasons why this should be done, the people expect it, and therefore we cannot delay the prosecution of the Bill. But the hon. gentleman wants us at the same time to proceed with the Bill and to proceed with an election in the Northwest Territories, or somewhere else. I do not think, under the circumstances, we can do anything else than to proceed, as governments have always proceeded in these matters, and to take time to consider who is the best man to seek to fill this position. There are numerous precedents, of which I will refer to a few. There has been a vacancy before in the portfolio on the Interior. For instance, the Department of the Interior had been filled by a very able man. the Hon. Thomas White, from the 5th of August, 1885, to the 21st April, 1888, and then a vacancy occurred through the death of that gentleman. That vacancy remained from the 21st April to the 3rd August, 1S88, not one month, not two months, not three months, but more than three months elapsed before the vacancy was filled. This occurred during a session of parliament, and I do not remember that any word of criticism was made against the government because they did not proceed immediately to fill that portfolio. But that is not all. I would call attention to another important department of the government, the Department of Railways. That department was created on the 20th of May, 1879, it was filled by Sir Charles Tupper, who occupied the position until the 23rd of May, 1SS4, *when the position became vacant and remained vacant-how long ? To the 25th of September, 1884 ? No, but until the 25th of September, 1885, nearly a year and four months. But that is not all. The Hon. John Henry Pope occupied the portfolio from September 25, 1885, to April 1, 1889, when a vacancy again occurred by the death of Mr. Pope, and the portfolio remained vacant until the 28th of November. 1889, when it was filled by Sir John A. Macdonald. He occupied the post of Minister of Railways until the 6th of June, 1891, when the portfolio became vacant and remained so until thd 11th of January, 1892, when it was filled by the hon. member for Lanark

(Mr. Haggart). Yet there was not. so far as I remember, much criticism on the fact of these vacancies remaining so long, one of them for a year and four months. On the present occasion, a vacancy has occurred in the portfolio of the Interior, but it will not remain vacant for one year and four months, not even for four months, not even for three months, but in due time, and before long, I shall give my hon. friend the fullest satisfaction that he desires to have on this question.

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Hon. GEO E.@

FOSTER (North Toronto) The right hon. gentleman has, as usual, risen to the occasion in his own way ; whether that way is satisfactory to the House and to the country is another matter.' He has, as often happens recently, not treated the matter seriously. He seems to think that, as the responsible head of a government, he is not bound to give any sufficient reasons for violations of constitutional practice, violations of precedent and violations of the canons of good government. He read my hon. friend, the leader of the opposition, a lecture upon propriety, which I think was altogether uncalled for. It seems to me that the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. R. L. Borden) introduced his reference to the Department of Public Works in the most kindly and most courteous way. He attempted to find no fault with the minister personally. But what did strike him, and what, I think he expressed to the House very properly and very reasonably, was the fact that one of the most important departments of the government is now, not for one month, or two months, or three months, or four months, but for many, many months more than that, practically without a head. Well, whilst disposed in every way to have a kindly feeling to the hon. gentleman who has the misfortune by illness to be away from his department, I think it is very well understood that there is not a probability of that hon. gentleman again administering that department. He has been out of it for a long series of months. It has been practically taken over by another gentleman who is not responsible in the way that a minister is. I am not at all saying that he would not make a very good responsible minister, but no man can in a lay position, so to speak, administer a department with the same power and with the same sense of responsibility as one .who is specially appointed under the law. So that, in reference to that the maxim which has been so often mentioned here of late that the King's government must go on applies. The King's government must go on. It will not wait even for illness or for death or for any of these circumstances. The affairs of the country are over and superior to all these and there is not the least doubt in the world that the department suffers from the lack of a responsible head.

Saying no more about that, if this department is, for the reasons that the right hon. First Minister stated, vacant and has been vacant for ever so long it ought to be an additional reason and a very strong additional reason why other departments which are vacant or virtually vacant in this House should be filled up. For instance, take the Department of the Interior. The minister himself of that department for a long time, by reason of illness, was unable to be at the department. I suppose there is no department of this government which has so varied a range of interests and requires so much a constant, steady and firm head as the Department of the Interior. The hon. gentleman who was the minister has been away from that department for a considerable length of time. Changes took place whilst he was away, changes which have never been explained to this House. The deputy minister retired or was forced to retire, I do not know which, and a new man was placed in the department. There is an additional reason why there should be some responsible head of the department. With its varied interests, with its multiplied avenues of approach-approach for all kinds of influences extending from the administration of the gold regions in Ihe far north down all through an immense range of territory in Canada itself, with its branches all over the United States of America and all over Europe as well there is not a department which lends itself so much to abuse and to results which inevitably arise from the want of careful and firm handling than that very same department. There have been things said against that department and they are said against that department now. The right hon. gentleman has not read the newspapers and moved up and down Canada without knowing all these things. For that reason then, and when a new deputy minister takes hold, nominally, there should be a strong, firm and responsible man at the head of the department. During the whole session we have not been able to get any information from the Interior Department such as we should have got. There has not been a question of moment brought up because there has been no person in the House representing the department to answer for the department. The right hon. gentleman who leads the government says : I am nominally the head of the department. ' Nominally ' that is the correct word. It is absolutely impossible for him to master the details of that department with the multiplied duties that he has as premier-absolutely impossible and still that portfolio remains open? Why ? Because of lack of material ? The Prime Minister will not say that. In his easy way he has rather attributed it to an embarrassment of riches. Well, the right hon, gentleman cannot delay for ever. He can make up his mind quickly enough if he wishes to. He

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March 31, 1905