I am sorry the discussion could not be allowed to go over until to-morrow, because it is a little awkward to give an answer on a technical subject, which is entirely in the hands of the military members of the Militia Council, without having the papers before me. I expected to have them here and they should be here.
I would like in this connection to remind my hon. friend that two or three years ago there was a reduction of the training establishment which was recommended by the then military adviser of the government.
For that year, and I wish to say with regard to this alleged reduction of the establishment, that it is simply a reduction in the training establishment for the year and as a mat-
ter of fact so far as the city establishment is concerned, there is no reduction this year, but authority for the training of even the number fixed must be obtained from year to year. That is to say authority must be given for the actual number to be trained each year before the training takes place.
Before the House goes into supply, I would like to ask the First Minister if the Minister of the Interior has informed him as to whether or not patents in respect of the half-breed claims, about which we have been talking on two or three occasions, are being issued or whether the minister took any steps to delay the issue until the papers were brought down ?
In view of the fact that we cannot possibly prorogue before the 1st of July,-there is no suggestion that we can do so-and of the fact that it has become expedient to provide for certain expenditures for the current year, I would propose, with the consent of the House, to take up the two items, 109 and 110, working expenses, Intercolonial Railway, $2,000,000 and working expenses Prince Edward Island Railway, $60,000. If the House would agree to facilitate matters we could have a Supply Bill passed in order to provide for current expenditure, the *whole of the supplementaries having now-been passed with the exception of these two items. I am sorry to say they are important items, and I am also sorry to say that the Minister of Railways Is not here to give such a full explanation as he should on a matter of this kind. He intended to do so before his departure, but he had to leave on a domestic errand of some importance to him and he cannot be here before Thursday of this week. In the meantime I may say to the hon. gentlemen that this first item requires $2,000,000 extra money for working expenses of the Intercolonial Railway. In the supplementary estimates of the current year, there will be a similar item of $1,200,000 so that upon this occasion the Minister of Railways proposes to make the statement which he has to make every year on the policy of the government with regard to the Intercolonial Railway and the management of the railway, so the House will be given ample opportunity to discuss not only the expenditure of the coming year, but the expenditure of the past year also. If this be agreeable to my hon. friends we will take up these items and I shall give what little information I have to-day on the subject.
This item was up me other day. and was allowed to stand at the request of the Minister of Railways who was not then ready to make a statement. Fie promised to be ready in a week or so and to make his statement. The great trouble about having the discussion on an item in the next supplementaries is that we have no knowledge at all as to when they will be down. If we are to judge from the general actions of the government they would leave it until about two days before prorogation and bring it down when the House is tired out, few members are here and it is almost useless to attempt to criticise it. If the Prime Minister could give some assurance that the supplementaries would be down in reasonable time and that the minister would take this up amongst the first items, so that on such an important matter as this we might have the House as fresh as possible for the discussion, I do not w-ant to interfere with the Governor General's arrangements.
The request of my hon. friend is perfectly reasonable and if he will take my word I will give him positive assurance that we will take the item in ample time to have full discussion. I cannot say to-day exactly when the supplementaries will be brought down, but it will be at an early day, probably in the course of two weeks. If my hon. friend will take my assurance I will give all opportunity for discussing it. I have in fact requested the Minister of Railways to cut short his visit although it is important, connected with a domestic occasion, and he will be back at the end of the week.
Under that state of circumstances I do not think we will trouble the Prime Minister to give a partial explanation. I am quite sure he would rather be out of the explaining which this requires. We will try and get the explanation much more fully from the Minister of Railways.