June 5, 1905

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Hear, hear.

Some resolutions reported.

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LIB

SUPPLY-CONCURRENCE.


House proceeded to consider resolutions reported from Committee of Supply. Civil government-Department of the Interior -salaries, including J. J. McArthur and C. A. Bigger, at $2,300 each, notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act, $166,254. Mr. FOSTER, Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure whether the subject to which 1 desire to draw attention comes under the Department of the Interior or the Department of Indian Affairs, but to make sure, I will take it up on this item. The right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) will remember that when he was putting through these estimates, the Minister of the Interior at that time being absent, he took some items for promotions in the Indian Department-I think it was-named the person to whom the promotion was to be given and laid down the policy that if he had arrived at the maximum of his salary promotion was his due. This sum was named in order to provide for that promotion. The principle was that the person should have arrived at the maximum, and the statement was made that in this case he had arrived at the maximum. That was information which I think was not correct. The gentleman who was mentioned by the Prime Minister as having arrived at the maximum has not arrived at the maximum by quite a considerable amount, but there are gentlemen who are senior in point of service who have arrived at the maximum, and I imagine this was a case of mistake and that another name should be substituted for the one that was mentioned. Clearly the Prime Minister was explicit in the fact that it was amongst other things length of service and having arrived at the maximum which rendered one eligible for promotion, and the circumstances being equal, the man who had arrived at the maximum should have the promotion rather than the man who had not. I ask the Prime Minister to make a note of it, so that nothing shall be done in the premises until it is looked into to see that a mistake is not being made. Just at the moment I cannot think of the gentleman's name who has come to the maximum of his class and who is older in service than the one whose name is mentioned.


LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER :

This is in the Indian Department, and I was acting minister at the time and received the instructions given to me. Since there has been a Minister of the Interior I have not looked into the matter. This vote can stand and I will get the information in the meantime.

Steamboat service between Canada and Mexico, $50,000.

IMr. FOSTER. Does any one know what the condition of the Canada-Mexico service is now ? It has been an appearing and vanishing quantity for some time ; I do not know in which category it is now.

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LIB

Joseph Raymond Fournier Préfontaine (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. PREFONTAINE.

That matter is still under consideration. Tenders were first asked for a service with Cuba and Mexico ; but the government of Mexico refused to subsidize any line which would call at Cuba. Therefore the question had to be considered as to whether there should be two different services, one for Cuba and one for Mexico. We have not yet received the last answer from the republic of Mexico as to what it intends to do in the matter.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

The minister's explanation was that there were two services contemplated, one on the Pacific coast and one on the Atlantic coast. I did not hear him say anything with reference to Cuba. I think my hon. friend has got the children a little mixed.

Mr. PREFONTAIN in. No. It is a fact that two services were proposed, one for the Atlantic coast and one for the Pacific coast; but there was nothing completed as regards a Pacific coast service.

National Transcontinental Railway-surveys, construction and other expenses, $290,500.

IMr. FOSTER. Perhaps the Prime Minister now would give some information as to what results have been reached by this National Transcontinental Railway Commission in its surveys. The Prime Minister will remember that on several occasions we recounted for his information what we gathered from the newspapers, but could not get from official sources. My hon. friend used to discount these sources of information somewhat, but they were all we could rely on. By this time I should think that we might expect the officers to give us a pretty good idea of the grades, length of line, curves, and what kind of working railway line could be constructed over the parts that had been surveyed.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

No, Mr. Chairman, I am sorry to say I cannot to-day give any more information than I have myself. The Minister of Railways, I think, Inis laid one or two reports of the commission on the table of the House. I do not know if my hon. friend has had an opportunity of reading them. I have not, but I think they are merely technical and do not go into that class of information which my hon. friend desires to have, at least as to the character of the country. As to the location of the line I think they are very minute and circumstantial and give a good account of the country, but I must say frankly to my hon. friend that I have not myself read the reports, I have only casual information as to their contents and I would not like to give information except what I have read myself. My hon. friend will, agree that that is the proper course to follow.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

If a man has not information he cannot give it. We will live in hope.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

No, my hon. friend will get it in print by and by.

Cattle quarantine-further amount required, $40,000.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

With reference to cattle quarantine an extra expenditure has already been made of some .$29,000. The right hon. Prime Minister will recollect that ever since this parliament has been a parliament and we have had quarantine established and have looked a little after the health of animals the point has been pressed upon the government of paying for animals ordered to be slaughtered by veteri-naries under the direction of the government. My right hon. friend will remember too that we have always been very cautious as to how far that principle was admitted, because, if it were fully admitted, no one could tell to what extent the expenditure could go, and it is also open to very great abuse as my right hon. friend will very readily see. Parliament had never sanctioned and no government had ever undertaken the policy of paying for the slaughter, or horses and cattle afflicted with certain diseases. It is a fact, I think, that the non. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) takes a vote for cattle quarantine, and I think he feels that he is authorized to make certain .payments by Order in Council, but I think the right hon. Prime Minister will agree with me that no new po-hcy should be inaugurated in the way or the extension of those payments to such a degree that may entail paying out such enormous sums of money. By an extension made by Order in Council such as never was contemplated by parliament-and amongst all the discussion never received the assent of parliament-an Order V?. Council has been passed and the hon. Minister of Agriculture has already, he tells us, paid out about $29,000 and he has admitted that if it went on at the same rate as it probably would, a year would see $100,000 expended. He agreed with me when I said that if we carried out that policy in that way we would very soon be au expenditure of $500,000, or $1,000,000, or more. The point I raised was that it should not have been done without the previous authority of parliament after having the extension of such a policy discussed in parliament ana getting the consent of the people's representatives. Otherwise it must be a somewhat strenuous and, I think, unauthorized stretch of cabinet authority to involve the country in so much expense as that would cost simply by Order m Council. The reply to it is' a ready reply, but it is not at all satisfactory, that if parliament does not conclude to vote it then we will have to go back. That is put-tmg the cart before the horse. You have Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

the government pledged to such a policy and then you have the party behind the government, ready, as they always are, to carry out the government's policy in this respect; so that virtually, you force it on parliament. It seems to me that the better way is to come first to parliament, discuss it, give us the information as to what it will all amount to, and then, if parliament thinks fit to authorize the vote, the hon. minister has the right to expend under that vote. In this respect it was just the opposite, and I made the point-I think it is a good point and I did not raise it faetiously -that I did not think that ought to be done until parliament had authorized it either by specially assenting to a vote, which is one way, or by a particular enactment. It certainly will lead to a tremendous expenditure of money, but what is almost as bad it will also open the way to a great deal of improper practice unless yon can have sleuth hounds in almost every section of the country.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Mr. Speaker, I agree to a very great extent with what my hon. friend (Mr. Foster) has said, and I want to assure him that the action-in this particular respect was taken after very careful consideration and in consequence of the discovery of a state of affairs which seemed to call for some prompt action. I do not say, and I would not like to accept the theory that compensation should not be paid unless parliament has been warned of it. The theory and the practice of compensation are thoroughly understood when the vote for animal quarantine is passed. The Animal Contagious Diseases Act lays down the restrictions under which compensation for the slaughter of animals must be paid, and I think when that Act is passed and when the general vote for this purpose is passed by parliament, parliament does these things with its eyes fully open. I accept what my hon. friend says in this particular case about a new policy which had not been foreshadowed or debated and in such cases, if the circumstances will allow us to wait until parliament may be warned and the sense of parliament taken, I think it will be very much better. I would like to pursue that course, but at the same time I can quite understand cases arising, and I think in this particular instance such a case did arise, when it would be not in the public interest that action should be delayed until the meeting of parliament.

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Mr. HAG CART@

Do I understand the hon. minister to say that there was a vote for this particular purpose ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Not for this particular purpose. There is a general vote for the health of animals and out of that vote compensation for the slaughter of animals is paid. We have for many years paid compensation for hogs slaughtered for hog cholera and we have paid compensation for

cattle slaughtered for what is known as Pictou cattle disease. This is the general policy and it has been for many years. We have never paid for slaughtering horses for glanders except in a few eases. We have never adopted the policy of paying for horses which are affected with glanders. We took the action to which my hon. friend refers, because we found that this disease, which is a very dangerous and a very treacherous disease, had been spreading and the condition of affairs had come to the point where drastic action seemed to be required. It was only because of what appeared to be the necessity for this drastic action that the government'took the course which my hon. friend has properly described and they did it by Order in Council as the law authorizes them to do. In regard to the question which my hon. friend raises and in which I sympathize with him as to whether a new departure should be made which is going to involve such a large expenditure of public money and about which he thinks-I think rightly- that it is rightly-that it is advisable parliament ought to be consulted, I am quite willing to accept my hon. friend's suggestion, but I do it with the condition that where a condition of affairs arises which requires prompt action the authority of the Act which gives that power to the Council may be used in the public interest on such occasions and only on such occasions. I think that in this particular case such a state of affairs arose. We found, after trying for a long time to reduce the extent of glanders throughout the country without paying compensation and after the urgency of the case had been represented to us, that we had to do something to stop the spread of this disease. It was undoubtedly coming more prominently before us and we found a condition of danger existing that we had not appreciated or expected during the last session of parliament. For that reason we felt that it was our duty to act and act promptly in regard to it.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

To what extent was that a sudden, abnormal development, or a matter of great urgency ?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

When I say ' sudden ' it was just this : We had been for some time slaughtering horses that were afflicted with glanders without compensation. We found a great many more cases than we had any expectation of finding or than we had any suspicion existed. We carried on the practice of slaughtering horses. Very urgent representations were made that we ought not to slaughter these horses without compensation being granted. If we did not slaughter them disease would spread more and more, and on one or two occasions my officers reported that they were in danger of their lives almost if they carried out our instructions because the people resisted, and protested against the slaughter

of their horses if they were not paid compensation. They held that if we paid compensation for hogs and cattle we should pay compensation for horses. I had either to cease to apply the regulations or I had to recommend that we should pay compensation, and an Order in Council was passed to a limited extent at first and afterwards applying to all cases. My

chief veterinary who has just come back from the g. Northwest tells me

that' as a result of the work we are doing, he hopes and believes this expenditure will decrease in the very near future. Last month it was heavy, it probably will be heavy for the current month, but after that we expect there will be a decrease. I trust that before two or three months we will find a material decrease in this expenditure per month, but I warn the House that I will have to ask a considerable supplementary estimate for the fiscal year so as to make sure that I will be in a good position to carry out this policy. I am advised that it will probably be necessary to pay compensation for horses in the Northwest Territories suffering from maladie du colt. We first discovered the existence of this disease a little over a year ago. It is a very insidious disease, and it has spread more extensively than we had expected. If we neglect it, it may attain the same proportions as tuberculosis in cattle or glanders in horses, but if we endeavour to suppress it now we hope to be able to stamp it out very soon. It is in the public interest that in the case of horses running at large in the Northwest this disease should be suppressed at once.

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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

If I understand the minister, there is an Act of parliament at present which authorizes him to do by Order in Council what he has done.

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LIB
CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART.

It seems extraordinary that the minister can make this expenditure without a vote of parliament.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Of course parliament has to vote the money.

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June 5, 1905