June 5, 1908

CON

Charles Lewis Owen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OWEN.

Why, it was only about a week ago that the Minister of Customs brought down his estimates. We held him up a week and were justified iu so doing, because he was asking for $100,000 more this year than last and could not give any satisfactory explanation what he was going to do with it. He said that a lot of men had worked overtime but he could not tell who they were or what they were doing. All he could say was that they had sent in affidavits. What kind of an explanation was that to give ? Then he wanted $50,000 more but could not say what that was for. He said it would be nice to have that amount on hand. But we do not approve of that way of voting money and the people will uphold us. Before voting money we want to know how it is going to be spent. I submit that the fault lies with the government in not having brought down its Supply Bill. How can we concur in a Supply Bill before It is submitted to us ?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance).

I regret that my hon. friend did not deem it expedient to wait until my hon. colleague the Minister of Customs returned and was in his place.

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CON

Charles Lewis Owen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OWEN.

I was hoping he would be in his place this morning.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

No doubt my hon. friend hoped that the minister would withdraw his valuable voice from the political campaign. But if, in the exercise of his judgment as a citizen, my hon. colleague sees fit to absent himself, as other hon. members are doing, in the exercise of his rights as a citizen, that is no reason for attacking him in his absence. It is no reason why, if the hon. gentleman has anything to say Mr. OWEN.

against the minister, he should not wait until my hon. colleague is in his place. I can assure him that he will have difficulty in persuading the country that the Minister of Customs would make a statement before any public audience which was not made in good faith and could not be substantiated. He is too well known for any one who knows him to assume that he would do anything of the kind. I repeat that not a dollar of supply has been voted for the Customs or Post Office Departments.

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Mr. OWEN .@

Have not all the supplies that have been asked for been voted ?

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Mr FIELDING.

They have not been voted at all.

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CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

They have not. I again say that they have not been voted. Not one dollar of supply has passed this House.

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CON

Charles Lewis Owen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OWEN.

Did they not pass this House in Committee of the Whole ?

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LIB
CON

Charles Lewis Owen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OWEN.

Then the fault lies with the government in not having brought down a Supply Bill.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Does my hon. friend contend that every time we pass an item in the Committee of Supply we must immediately bring down a Supply Bill ? Last night we passed a couple of hundred thousand dollars for the Department of the Interior, and according to my hon. friend's view we should immediately bring down a Supply Bill converging these items.

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CON

Charles Lewis Owen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OWEN.

Are you sure you have not used that money for any other purpose ?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

We have not. There is no power under Heaven could get a dollar of that money until the votes pass through their several stages in this parliament-not only of this House but the Senate as well. When my hon. friend says that we did not bring down a Supply Bill, he is mistaken. We did some time ago. and after the usual procedure it became-law; but surely he will not seriously say that every time we pass an item we must bring down a new Supply Bill ? Such a contention is preposterous. The Supply Bill is usually brought down after we have passed all the estimates. The estimates are then consolidated into a Supply Bill which is duly presented. But the hon. gentleman assumes that the moment the Post Office items were passed we should bring down a Supply Bill, then later on bring down another Supply Bill when the Customs estimates are voted, and so on with each department. My hon. friend must see that the argument lie advances is entirely unwarranted.

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CON

Charles Lewis Owen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OWEN.

I notice that we passed last month over $11,000,000 of Supply through Committee of the Whole. Was it not worth while to bring down a Supply Bill covering these items and thus enable the employees to obtain their wages ?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I am not disposed to discriminate. I am not disposed to make fish of one and flesh of another. The public officials and others who have claims against the government in the different departments and provinces have all equal rights and I do not propose to discriminate among them. I do not propose that the employees in one branch shall be paid for their services and the others not.

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CON

Charles Lewis Owen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OWEN.

I have not forgotten that the Minister of Finance did say a few months ago that we have no rights in this House.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

That phrase for a time seemed to do my hon. friends opposite some good. I will be glad to repeat the same statement and give my hon. friends the benefit of it once more. Every member of this House and every group of members has just as much right as the majority accord to them, and no more. That is true to-day as it was true then. But the trouble is my hon. friends opposite have abused their rights. The trouble is that we have got iuto the habit of permitting an easy going method of procedure whereby hon. gentlemen opposite are permitted to delay the business of the House to an extent that would not be allowed in any civilized country outside of Canada.

Some bon. MEMBERS. Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

It was just such difficulty that compelled the mother of parliaments to adopt a procedure which allows the majority to rule. But it is difficult to bring some people to understand why the majority of this parliament should not rule. Let it be uuderstood that if men on both sides would realize their responsibility, if they would realize their obligations to the State as well as their party interests, they would admit that this parliament has allowed a latitude and freedom of discussion which enables any half dozen men in this House to hold up any one measure the whole session. It was never supposed that any member would abuse that privilege the way hon. gentlemen opposite are doing.

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CON

Charles Lewis Owen

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OWEN.

I would like to ask the Minister of Finance if he remembers the holdup in 1896 ?

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June 5, 1908