What was the cost of the site; who recommended its purchase, and is it not a fact that an area of ground on the opposite corner, fully as large, if not a little larger, with a splendid building on it, was purchased about the same time for less than the cost of that vacant lot?
It comprises part of lots 15 and 16. It has a frontage on Barclay street of 55 feet with a depth on Dun-das street of 150 feet, and the amount paid was $5,000. We had it examined and it was reported very suitable. It would appear from the notes I have that the site was recommended by the Whitby Board of Trade. I have here a resolution of the board of trade which recites that a suitable site is available, and no doubt this is the site.
I may tell the minister that a corresponding site on the opposite corner, better located than this one, and not a vancant lot, but having a three-story brick building upon it, was sold at about the same time for about half the money that this site cost; but it had not the same motive power behind it that this had.
Purchase price of site-Sons of >Scotland Benevolent Society, $5,000.
I wish to endorse what the hon. member for Victoria has said. There was an adjoining property, with a brick building on it, which was sold for less than half the amount this vacant property was purchased for. The department was certainly very extravagant in the price they paid for this lot. You could purchase nearly half the sites in the whole village for that price. It certainly was a most extravagant price to pay, and met with the condemnation of all reasonable men in that vicinity.
The hon. member comes from North Ontario, and is not in a position to know what the value of this site in the town of Whitby is. It is a matter of which I know something, as it is in the county town of the county from which I CGme; and I wish to say that it is the most eligible site in the town of Whitby, that it is a corner lot on the main thoroughfare of the town, that practically every business man in Mr. PUGSLEY.
the town was consulted by myself in relation to the value of that property and its eligibility for the purpose to which it was to be devoted, and that Conservatives and Liberals alike said that if it were in their possession they would not part with it for the price which the government paid for it. I have this to say in addition, that the town council and the board of trade of the town of Whitby joined in affirming that opinion as being correct, and in declaring the site to be a proper site for the purpose, and said it was cheap at the price the government were paying for it.
I venture to say that the hon. member cannot produce one man in the town of Whitby, much less the board of trade, who will state that that was not too high a price. He cannot produce one honest man in the town of Whitby who will say that it was a proper price. We are not condemning the site, but we are condemning the exorbitant price which my friend engineered for it. He knows that the opposite lot on the same thoroughfare, with a three-story brick building on it was sold about the same time for about half the sum that the government paid for this site. My hon. friend is an adept at engineering prices. We shall have something to say later on of the Oshawa harbour deal, which was engineered by my hon. friend in connection with this same riding.
My hon. friend says that no honest man in the town of Whitby can be got to say that that was a proper price. I have only to say that perhaps the honesty of men there is not of the same quality as that of the hon. gentleman who has just spoken. They are plain, blunt, honest men in the town of Whitby, who say what they mean and mean what they say. I went to them for information as to what would be a proper price in the circumstances, and I took them at their word. I took the board of trade at its word, and the town council as well; and I had the co-operation of private individuals and public bodies in saying that the government would be warranted in paying $5,000 for the site. The hon. gentleman who has just spoken came into my riding and made himself very industrious in opposition to my candidature, and no doubt made very good use on the public platform there of the representations which ho has made here to-night, and the people expressed their estimate of his judgment and his opposition to myself by returning me with the largest majority given to any candidate in South Ontario since confederation.
I would like to ask the hon. minister by what authority the hon. member for South Ontario was parading around the constituency looking for lots for post offices and other public buildings for the department? It is only in accord-
ance with the policy generally pursued by hon. gentlemen opposite, who took every opportunity to promise public buildings to the constituencies in order to secure a majority in this House; and it ill becomes the hon. member from South Ontario to show that assiduity in regard to corner lots in Whitby in order to put himself right with the electors of South Ontario. I would say, for the information of the Minister of Public Works, that the name of the gentleman from whom this lot was purchased does net appear in the Public Accounts at all. It is stated there that it was purchased from the Sons of Scotland. Why was not the name of the man from whom it was really purchased placed there? The reason was that he was an active political supporter of the hon. member for South Ontario, who busies himself with the voters' lists. In view of this fact, we can see why the government paid such an outrageous price for this vacant lot.
The hon. member for South Ontario has referred to the honour of the people of Whitby. I again make the statement that I spoke to a great many of the prominent men in Whitby, and while they were delighted to get a post office, they one and all laughed at the price, and said that it was the result of a deal with my hon. friend from South Ontario, similar to the deal that had been made with him with regard to the Oshawa harbour, when the government were induced, by misrepresentations-