It is worthy the consideration of the Minister of Finance as to whether a proportion of the cost of such an armoury as this might not be included in the account for armouries. I will mention the matter to the Minister of Militia and the Minister of Finance, and see what they think about it.
I think I will have to decline to answer any questions when I am in the chair, but if it is the desire to have information which I only possess I shall leave the chair and ask another hon. member to take my place.
As the Chairman is the only one I thought able to give the information with accuracy, I thought I would refer to the matter in an undertone, which is different from addressing Mr. Chairman across the floor. I do not know the population of any of these towns from year to year, but my information is that Mitchell is quite a thriving place
The files in my department say that Mitchell is a progressive town surrounded by a thriving agricultural country, that it is a station on the Grand Trunks railway, has four churches, thirty stores, four hotels, five mills, two banks, two newspaper offices.
I am now quite prepared to give any information that may be asked with regard to Mitchell, which is in the riding I represent. When the item was last before the committee I told the committee that Mitchell is a thriving town like I think every other town in western Ontario. It is improving in its general appearance, in the wealth of its people, in the buildings it possesses, rather than in population. Mitchell is in the centre of an excellent agricultural country as are all the towns in Ontario, west of Toronto. It supplies an unusually large district with its mail matter, as I know from having sent to my constituents letters in much larger numbers to that town than to other towns in proportion to its size. The- present post office is in a small crumbling building. I have had occasion to go into it on some wet days about the time of the distribution of the mail, and I can assure you I left as rapidly as possible. The town has needed a new post office very badly for some time. At the time the town itself requested a post office, there was no available building, as the shops were all filled in the business street. The desire for a public building was manifested by the people themselves. It is usually thought that the request for a public building comes from the member
for the riding, but in this case I will be telling you the absolute truth when I say that when I was informed that the board of trade and the council of that town were moving in the matter, and had requested a public building, I regretted the fact. Not that I thought Mitchell was not entitled to a public building, when taken in comparison with very many such towns that had such buildings, but I realized that just such a situation as this would arise, when it is not very pleasant to have to explain the particular demands of your own place and have it compared with others that perhaps feel just as keenly they should have a public building, and may perhaps be able to show on the face of it better reason for having a public building. I realize that Mitchell is no larger than some other towns that have not public buildings, but when I consider that the present office is quite inadequate and even unwholesome for the officials who have to be there, and that it was not possible for the department or the postmaster to find a suitable building, and that the town was so interested as to offer a portion of its market square for the new building, I think I was justified in doing what I did, not on my own initiative or that of the town, but in reply to a letter from the department asking what my opinion was-expressing the opinion, as I did, that under the circumstances the town of Mitchell was entitled to a new building at a reasonable cost.
be misinterpreted, I wish to say that I was anxious that the accuracy of the minister's information as to all these towns should be put to any test that I was able to bring to bear. I have no doubt that what the hon. member who represents South Perth says is correct, in so far as it is a presentation of the facts. I make no statement as to the relative merits of Mitchell and other places; I do not know enough about it for that; but I think I do know enough about it to say, what the hon. member refrained from contradicting, that Mitchell, instead of growing and on that account deserving consideration, is on the down grade so far as population is concerned. I only wish, if the minister's inspiration has been the member for the riding, that he could in every other case rely on it as well as he could on that of the hon. member for South Perth.