January 17, 1911

CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OROTHERS.

I understand that the minister has at last confessed that he is not putting up these public buildings in these little places in the interests of the public, because the last reason he gave my hon. friend from Leeds (Mr. Taylor) was that a former government had erected public buildings in similar small places in New Brunswick, and I take it that if he had any better reasons for erecting them in these little places now he would have given them to us. It is really charming to listen to the fascinating manner in which the minister explains each appropriation by itself. The request now is for money to put up a public building in a little village in Quebec of 800 inhabitants. He lays great stress upon the fact that it is a shire town, and he says in his most fascinating manner that where a number of leading gentlemen from a constituencv come to him and represent to him that there is no public building in the constituency, and that the town is a shire town, it really appeals very strongly to him, and it is almost impossible for him to resist the request. Then the member for Halton (Mr. Henderson) tells us he represents a shire town in Halton, that he has been representing it for a great many years, that for a great many years he has been endeavouring to induce the Minister of Public Works to erect a public building in that town of 1,800 inhabitants, a town which meets all the conditions which the minister says ought to appeal to him very strongly. There is no other public building in the county, it is a shire town, it is surrounded by a prosperous district, it furnishes a large revenue, it possesses all the qualifications for a public building except the essential one of being represented by a Liberal member in this House.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

If it were represented by a Liberal member and I had an amount in the estimates for it, would my hon. friend condemn it?

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
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CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

I may condemn, before I sit down, as I did the other; day, the utter want of system in the manner in which the Minister of Public Works is distributing his favours. Here is a shire' town meeting all the conditions my hon. friend presents in favour of erecting a public building in Napierville, but .with a population of 1,800 instead of 800, and he has refused year after year to put up such a building. A few days ago in the case of the little village of Hartland, in New Brunswick, the minister advanced exactly opposite arguments, just as fascinating as these. In a great many of these cases we are revoting sums that were placed in the estimates in 1907-8, just before an election, and nothing has been done towards erecting buildings. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were thus put in the estimates in

1907-8 which have not been spent. The revenue was falling off or there were other reasons for not spending the money, and I predict that many of these will be revoted until the next general election. Then the people will be told in each province that the government are going to build a public building here, a breakwater there and to buy a harbour in another constituency. As I said the other day, this is a corrupt and degrading system, which has a demoralizing effect upon the whole population of the country.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

That does not speak well for the country.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

Every man is beginning to say: They are squandering millions at Ottawa, get all you can while you are there, why don't you get $7,000? We should at once adopt a system establishing definite rules and conditions upon which public buildings will b.e erected, conditions as to population, revenue, &c., with the understanding that when these conditions are met a building will necessarily go up if the finances of the country will permit. That would do away with all the log-rolling we see to-day. Under the present system rather an utter want of system, members are almost forced to go to the Minister of Public Works on their knees and beg of him to spend $15,000 or $20,000 in their particular constituencies. Looking over these little places I think that without exception the little places which are receiving $10,000 and $20,000 and $25,000 buildings are represented by supporters of the hon. minister. It is very strange that it happens so in practically all these cases. Why is it? There must be some reason. Is it because these constituencies send supporters of this government? It is said 'that a very prominent gentleman on that side of the House made a declaration to that effect in Lethbridge some time ago: ' You are very much in need of a proper building, but I want to say that you will never get a public building so long as you elect a supporter of the opposition.'

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

That statement having been expressly denied by the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald), I think it is not within the rules of this parliament to repeat the statement.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

If the hon. member for Pictou were here and denied that he had made that statement, I would accept his denial at once; I would be bound to; but I am not bound to accept it coming to me second-hand.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

It appears in 'Hansard.'

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

I think it would perhaps be better for the hon. member not to insist on the statement, as it has been denied.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
CON

Glenlyon Campbell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAMPBELL.

I am in a position to say that I have heard it at first-hand from many who heard the hon. member for Pictou make the statement.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

The hon. member is not in order in repeating the statement.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

It would be just as well for the hon. minister to save the time of the House by admitting openly and frankly, as he has impliedly, in answer to the hon. member for Leeds, that these buildings are not put up in the interest of the public, but that public moneys are being so expended in the interest, of the party.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

James Robert Stratton

Liberal

Mr. STRATTON.

Hon. gentlemen opposite have evidently one code of ethics when in power and another when in opposition.

I can remember when the late member for North Oxford, the late Hon. Mr. Sutherland, for years asked for an appropriation for a post office in the town of Woodstock, and when the member for Lambton asked for a custom house for the town of Sarnia, and the gentlemen who were in power for 18 years did not for a moment consider the interests of these important towns, but small places like Walkerton represented by a Conservative could get a public building costing $45,000.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROTHERS.

Assuming that all that my hon. friend says is true as to what occurred 15 or 20 years ago, is it any justification for a continuation of that now?

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

James Robert Stratton

Liberal

Mr. STRATTON.

I do not say that it is any justification for a policy of that description; but hon. gentlemen opposite all seem to be of the same opinion, that if an application is for a constituency represented by one of themselves, it is a proper expenditure, but if it happens to be for a constituency represented by a Liberal, it is a corrupt expenditure made from base motives, the public interest not being considered. I think hon. gentlemen ought to adopt a different policy. I can quite understand that the Minister of Public Works has applications from various towns and cities throughout this broad Dominion, and I can understand that when the government requires a site for a public building, just as in the case of a bank, the price goes up.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHURS.

I think the hon. member is mistaken as to the attitude of the opposition. Our objections are largely on the ground that the towns favoured with public buildings will not compare with other towns which are left out and which have the misfortune or the good fortune to be represented by members of the opposition. In this connection I would like to call the attention of the Minister of Public Works to a case even stronger than that brought to his attention by the hon. member for Hal-

ton. I have in previous sessions presented the claims of Parry Sound. It is a shire town, thus fulfilling one condition laid down by the minister, it has a population of 4,000 or 5,000, an annual postal revenue of $8,000 or $10,000, an annual customs revenue of $53,000, and a money order business _ of $243,000, and there is no other public building in the constituency. The opposition are only asking for simple justice. We are asking that towns having a larger population and ten times the postal revenue and which in every way comply with the conditions laid down by the minister, should be treated as well as towns in other provinces even though they have the misfortune or good fortune to be represented by a supporter of the opposition. The Postmaster General has a fixed rule for determining what places shall have free delivery; they must have a population of, I think.

10,000, their streets must be numbered in a certain way, and so on. The conditions are fixed, and any town that possesses these conditions, whether represented by a Liberal or a Conservative, is entitled to free delivery. I think we could very well come together and adopt some fixed conditions which would determine what places should have public buildings without having to beg for them as favours from any minister.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I may say with regard to Parry Sound, that I had the pleasure of visiting that very charming town during the last season.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHURS.

Does it fulfil all the conditions?

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I think it does, but we cannot do all these things at once. I have had a communication from the town clerk, on behalf of the town council, asking for a public building. They make out a very strong claim, which will have my consideration when we come to deal with the additional public buildings beyond those for which provision has already been made.

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink
LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS.

I would like to ask the minister this question: is he not asking for appropriations for places which do not fulfil those conditions?

Topic:   SUPPLY.-THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
Subtopic:   BUILDING PUBLIC WORKS.
Permalink

January 17, 1911