The Minister of Customs brought down the information which he promised on the second night and he then got through live items and the sixth item he was asked to allow to stand so 'Rat the member for Brantford might be present. The Minister of Customs stated that under ordinary circumstances it *would be reasonable to let that item stand, but he pleaded with us as a matter of courtesy to pass the item and let him go because he had made an arrangement to be out of the city next day, and he went with the consent of the opposition who according to his own admission had the right to keep him here. The Minister of Customs went to Brantford and made his speech, and when it is brought to the attention of the House by the hon. member for East Northumberland, the Minister of Finance gets excited and undertakes to read my hon. friend (Mr. Owen) a lecture about bringing up the matter in the absence of the Minister of Customs. But what was the Minister of Customs doing in Brantford? He was talking to the electors who did not know what was taking place in this chamber about what had taken place here, and he was talking to them behind the backs of every member of the opposition, who had they been present would have shown where he was wrong. The Minister of Customs was talking behind the backs of the members of this House who were absent at Ottawa attending to their duties while he was neglecting his.
My total absence from this House has been 12 days since last November. Has any one got a better record than that? Let the Minister of Finance look at his own supporters ; let him look at the member for Welland (Mr. German). How many days has the member for Welland been here to look after the interests of the Niagara district? Before the Minister of Finance undertakes to talk to people on this side of the House he had better know the facts. We all know the Minister of Customs is absent in the provincial election, campaign.
That statement is not correct because I have seen the member for Welland in court half a dozen times this session. I have known the hon. member for Welland to be attending to his private business every month except the last month. I understand he was ill during the last part of May, but he was attending to his own private business up to that day to my certain knowledge. What is the use of the hon. member for Hamilton trying to mislead the House about that matter? But my difficulty is with the Minister Of Finance who, because he is not satisfied with the way in which the people of Canada view the actions of the government-*
He knows the people of Canada do not approve of the actions of the government and so he gets excited and finds fault with the opposition. If the Minister of Customs made that statement at Brantford as reported in the ' Globe,' he made a misleading statement.
I do not say that the statement is wilfully untrue, but I do say it is not a fact and the member for East Northumberland was-only discharging his duty when he brought the question to the attention of the House, and the Minister of Finance blames the hon. gentleman for talking behind the back of the Minister of Customs. But the Minister of Customs is talking behind the back of every member on this side of the House and talking what is not correct. Now, these supplies have been voted by the Committee of the House, but the Minister of
9909 JUNE 5, 1908 9910
Finance complains that no Supply Bill has passed. Does he expect the leader of the opposition to draw up his Supply Bill for him? Mr. FIELDING. When we asked the leader of the opposition to consent to a vote on account the leader of the opposition refused. Mr. R. L. BORDEN. So far as the appropriations for the Department of Customs are concerned, and it is with them we are dealing, no Supply Bill has ever been asked for. The Minister of Finance did ask to have the rules of the House suspended in order that one-eighth or one-fourth of the total Supply Bill might be passed at once and without discussion. That was assented to last March ; it was not assented to later. Mr. FIELDING. If the rules of the House require to be suspended for that purpose why should they not be suspended? But it is implied whenever you attempt to facilitate business in this way that the rules of the House will be suspended and all that I asked hon. gentlemen opposite to do was to give us a vote on account for the customs and for every other department, and that was refused. If that vote had been granted as we asked it, or had the opposition given us the vote of one-fourth which we originally asked for, today the departments would have money to pay the public service. ' Mr. R. L. BORDEN. It was not refused in the way in which the hon. gentleman states. Mr. FIELDING. I did not say in what way it was refused. I say it was refused. Mr. R. L. BORDEN. We asked, before we should consent to the suspension of any rules of the House, that we should come to an understanding about a certain very controversial measure which had been brought on for discussion in this House nearly five months and a half after the opening of the session, and brought on with the full knowledge that it was an extremely controversial measure which would produce great discussion. Mr. FIELDING. The fact that my hon. friend differs from us regarding a certain Bill respecting the province of Manitoba is no possible excuse for failing to give supplies to pay the postmaster down in St. John. Mr. R. L. BORDEN. As far as the postmaster in St. John is concerned, the supplies for him have already been voted in this House. Mr. FIELDING. My hon. friend is incorrect again; the supplies have not been voted by this House. Mr. R. L. BORDEN. So far as I am concerned all have been voted that have been asked for. Mr. FIELDING. My hon. friend is wrong; they have not been voted by this House. Mr. LANCASTER. I was anxious to let the Minister of Finance go on because he is proving my case every time he opens his mouth. He admits now he did not ask Mr. FIELDING. Would my hon. friend permit me Mr. LANCASTER. Let me finish my sentence. Mr. FIELDING. I ask my hon. friend to permit me Mr. LANCASTER. I am not going to be interrupted by the Minister of Finance when I am in the middle of a sentence. I am perfectly willing to let him get as excited as he can when I have finished, but I am not going to be interrupted in the middle of a sentence, because it does not do justice to the people who sent me here and who know that I can frame a sentence correctly. The Minister of Finance knows that too, and he does not want the sentence finished. He knows the Minister of Customs has not asked for any Supply BUI to pay these customs salaries. Mr. FIELDING. I said that on behalf of the Minister of Customs and on behalf of every minister of this government I applied" to the hon. members opposite through the proper channel to ask them to consent to a Supply Bill, first for one-fourth of the estimates. The hon. gentlemen refused, but agreed to vote one-eighth. That was done. Whatever credit they are entitled to for it I frankly give to them. When that was exhausted, I called for a further vote on account of customs, the Post Ofiice and every other service of the government, and hon. gentlemen opposite -I do not debate their reason, that is their business-refused. Mr. LANCASTER. The Minister of Customs did not say what the Minister of Finance has just stated, but the very opposite. He said that in his department there were 1,S00 men who could not get their pay because the Tory obstructionists would not vote the Supply. He knows that that is not correct; he knows that the supplies for those 1,800 men were voted the very night before he left here to go and interfere in the provincial elections. He must have had that fact in mind when he went to Brantford, and it is no wonder that the Minister of Finance cannot find any other way of getting around it than by getting angry.
I do not think the hon. gentleman should accuse me of getting angry. I am not angry.
. Mr. LANCASTER. Appearances are very deceptive, then. The hon. gentleman should take a stage manager with him, so that we would not think he was angry when he was not. We must be judged more or less by our actions in this House, and the Minister of Finance must expect to be judged by the tones he uses. If the Minister of Customs wanted to make a statement to the Brantford audience in good faith, why did he not say what the Minister of Finance has just said ? What he should have stated was that the supplies for those 1,800 men and every thing he had asked for had been voted the night before he left, and that it only needed the Supply Bill to put it into full effect, and that the government had not yet asked for the Supply Bill. I shall be curious to hear what the hon. Minister of Customs will say when he returns to this House. He is a gentleman for whom we have always had the highest respect, and I do not think that he will be willing to live under the imputation of having made a statement so absolutely deceptive. The Minister of Finance says you cannot bring down a Supply Bill every day. If he will look through the statutes of this parliament during the last seven sessions, since I have been here, I venture to say that he will find that there has not been one year in-which there has not been more than one Supply Bill, and in some years there have been three or four. If the hon gentleman wanted a Supply Bill in order to get the money for these 1,800 employees, why did he not ask us if we would pass a Supply Bill ? He knows very well that we wrould. He knows that as soon as an item goes through the Committee of Supply , our opposition to it ceases, and we always allow a Supply Bill to go through in five minutes, whenever it is brought in. 1 he Minister of Finance must not try to deceive the people of this country ; they are too intelligent to be deceived by that sort of thing. We have passed, as has been pointed out, between eleven and twelve million dollars. Why, then, has the Minister of Finance not asked for a Supply Bill, if he wants this money ? The hon. member for East Kent (Mr. Gordon) had the temerity to refer to the fact that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries was not able to get his estimates through for two or three days. He forgets entire]}7 that the whole trouble was that the Minister of Marine and Fisheries wanted us to take his word instead of bringing down some original papers which we wanted to see. If the Minister of Marine and Fisheries had exercised any common sense, he Mr. LANCASTER.
would have withdrawn his item and said that it -was not reasonable that he should ask this House to vote it when the original papers were asked for and were not produced. The hon. member for East Kent intimated that the department were making up the papers as fast as they could, and that the clerks were overworked. The hon. gentleman knows that we were not asking for any copies, or for one minute's work to be done by any clerk in the department, but that it was the original papers we wanted to see, the papers on which the minister was relying for the statements lie was making, before we allowed that large and very contentious item to pass. The hon. member for East Kent also, following the Minister of Finance, undertakes to give us some advice as to what we ought to do in discussing the business of this country, and he quotes an authority who is dead against what the Minister of Finance said about the rights of minorities. Let us settle this matter if we can, seeing that the hon. member for East Kent, for some reason, does not want the Minister of the Interior to get through any supplies this morning. The hon. gentleman got up at 11.30 o'clock and stopped supply by making a speeeh about amending the rules of the House with regard to matters which should have been attended to a year or two ago when the rules were being amended. The hon. gentleman says the rights of the opposition should be curtailed but does not propose any amendment defining in what respect they should be restricted. We had from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) over and over again the statement that the minority in this House have no rights except what the majority give them.
Are these hon. gentlemen who interrupt not satisfied with that declaration of the Minister of Finance or are they convinced that he is talking nonsense when he says the majority have no rights in this House?