Personally I cannot allow this item to go without a very strong protest. I can see no pressing necessity for a public building of this kind when hundreds of buildings are required all through Canada that are not provided for in the estimates. In North Ontario, for instance, the minister, the day after the issue of the writ, sent an officer of the department to Uxbridge to get options on lots for a post office to cost $8,000. The options were for sixty days and the urgent public necessity for a building of that kind was strongly urged. The people there are in need of that building far more than this gentleman is of a residence; that post office will serve from 3,000 to 5,000 people while this serves only one, and I would suggest that this appropriation should be dropped and one for the Uxbridge post office substituted. I must strongly protest against this large item when there are other more urgent and pressing claims.
There was a vote for additional buildings in connection with the observatory and I explained to the House that it was contemplated to errect a coelo-stat house and other buildings and a residence for the chief astronomer.
I could suggest a use for this money, which, I think, would be much more in the public interest than building a handsome residence in Ottawa for this already well-treated official. I desire to present the claims of the city of Chilliwack, in the constituency I have the honour to represent. I have been looking through these estimates to see what provision was made for the public building in Chilliwack promised by a minister of the Crown, who has disappeared for the time being, but who did us the honour to visit us during the election. He promised that, if the government was sustained, we should have a handsome public building for post office and customs purposes erected in Chilliwack. Now we are told that an era of economy has set in, and we cannot have the buiiding that was promised. But when we examine the estimates, we find that economy is only in spots, and the high spots struck by this era of economy are those that have the good fortune to be represented by members of the opposition who will stand up for the rights of the people, and that the expenditures to provide the comforts of civilization are centred around the seat of government in Ottawa. As an hon. friend near me remarks, we all had to buck these promises. It is time to register our protest in the most solemn way. I think it is due to this House that we should have some explanation from the government as to why they have gone back in this most heartless manner upon the promise made by their defeated colleague to the people of Chilliwack.
The question the hon. member (Mr. J. D. Taylor) has asked is a very proper one. It was a matter of very great regret to me to be obliged to postpone for the time the consideration of a post office building at Chilliwack. An appropriation was made last session and the necessary steps were taken towards securing a site, but tenders were not called for because Mr. PUGSLEY.
there was delay in acquiring a site. But I would say this, in justice to myself and as an explanation to our friends on both sides, that when the time arrived when, by reason of declining revenues, we had to make a reduction, in the public interest as we thought, in the expenditures, we found there would be great difficulty In discriminating amongst the public works which had been provided for last session, for all seemed to have very considerable merit. I could say to my own conscience that I have not asked for a vote for a single public work in any part of Canada which could not be justified on public grounds. What we did was this : We drew the line sharply between public works in respect of which tenders had been called, or which had been undertaken by day's work and those in regard to which no tenders had been called. In doing this an enormous reduction was made in my estimates, something over $8,000,000. I desire to say to our friends on this side of the House that nothing has occurred in my public life that has given me greater regret than to be obliged to postpone the building of wharfs, public buildings and other public works in the various constituencies throughout Canada to which parliament was pledged last session. I wish to express, in the most sincere manner, thanks to our friends in parliament who have yielded to our views and have acquiesced cheerfully in the determination, upon grounds of economy, to postpone-I trust for only a short time
the construction of these public works. I may say to my hon. friend from New Westminster (Mr. J. D. Taylor) that Chilliwack does not stand in a different position from many other places throughout the Dominion. We have not discriminated between our supporters and opponents, but have treated all alike, acting upon one principle, and postponing the construction of these public works. We have also felt it necessary to postpone some for which tenders had been called.
. Mr. GEO. TAYLOR. What about the minister's promise ? We do not mind a promise made by an ordinary candidate, but, when a minister makes a promise, that pledges the government.