March 26, 1909

LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

No, during the latter part of the winter we were receiving communications at the head office here from different parts of the west, stating there was need for some assistance, and at the same time the commissioner was receiving applications in Winnipeg.

i Mr. R. L. BORDEN. Does the district

(extend to both provinces ?

I Mr. OLIVER. Yes, but more largely in Saskatchewan than in Alberta.

Further amount required for engraving, lithographing and printing maps of the Dominion and Northwest Territories, $9,600.

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CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

No, they are the homestead maps which are drafted in the offices here and printed in Toronto.

Legal and other expenses incurred in connection with the arrest of certain Chinese in Sydney, Nova Scotia, $880.62.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

This is for the payment of legal and other expenses connected with the arrest of 17 Chinamen alleged to have been smuggled into Canada from Newfoundland. They were fined $100 each, but through a flaw in the Act which has since been corrected, they could not be deported.

To cover unprovided items, 1907-8, as per Auditor General's Report, page C-4, $238,876.

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY.

I want to protest against an item of this kind. It is very strange that we should have an item now with regard to the year ending March 31, 1908. The government brings down its estimates and then its supplementaries for the same year before the session is closed, and then further supplementary estimates in the the following session at the end of the year. The supplementary estimates to March 31, 1908, were not passed until long after that date, because business did not proceed with as much expedition then as this year. It is very extraordinary that the government should expend over $300,000 for the year ending March 31, 1908, in certain items in excess of the amount provided for in the previous estimates they brought down. The various departments ought to be able to get more closely to what they require.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

For very many years an item of this character has been brought forward. It is a bookkeeping entry which the Auditor General desires for the closing up of his accounts. In some branches of the departments, it will be found that the grants have been greater than the expenditure, but in some other branches the expenditure is somewhat greater than the grant. In most instances the items are quite small, but occasionally they are quite considerable. The Auditor General desires to have this as bookkeeping entry. When we consider the vast current expenditure of the Dominion, this over expenditure of $200,000 or $300,000, scattered over all the departments, cannot be considered very large. With the best we can do, there will be occasionally some over expenditure.

34P>7

When an expenditure is current, you cannot always tell what it will amount to. If the excess is large, the Auditor General will refuse to pass it, but if small he lets it pass and asks that an indemnity be given in this way. $300,000 may seem very large, but distributed over the total business of Canada in a year, it is not excessive.

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY.

I understand very well that it is impossible for the government to get the amounts exactly right at first. As I remember, the supplementary estimates for the year ending March 31, 1908, were not passed until last May or June. How can there be any possible reason why these items, at least for last year, should not have been passed in the supplementaries for last year?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Of course the government are responsible for everything, but as a matter of fact this is a book-keeping matter which the Auditor General sends in. The Auditor General asks for this whenever his accounts are finally adjusted. The current year is practically at an end and yet you cannot adjust these accounts for some weeks. Before they are adjusted it will be discovered that here and there are some large over-expenditures, but the amount in this case is not unusually large.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I see $162,000 in one department.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

There is difficulty there; in the working of the Intercolonial Railway there may be quite large overexpenditures, but when you take a large service like the Intercolonial Railway the amount is not excessive.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

This must have been known last year.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

It is the Auditor General who makes it known when he balances his accounts. It is his item particularly.

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CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

That is a large item, I have not the details here. My officials are not present.

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY.

That item was brought to the attention of the Auditor General later on when the accounts were being closed, but when the supplementaries were up the officers of the department must have known that this amount was going to be required to pay the Civil Service up to the 31st of March, last; but the estimates were not passed until May or June. Does the minister not think they should have had this in the supplementaries for last year?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

That is that the departmental estimates should have been made more closely ?

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LIB
CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

In the Finance Department this is not an over-expenditure, the law has provided for it by a permanent statute.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

It seems to me the whole proceeding is illegal.

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March 26, 1909