(Translation.) Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the hon. minister how it happens that we do not find this year in the estimates several items concerning my own riding that were in last year's estimates?
(Translation.* I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon, but I must urge that he should confine himself to the item under consideration. It is a new rule that is rather frequently violated, but I must tell the hon. member that I am compelled to have it observed.
(Translation..) Mr. Chairman, I simply want to ask the minister some information relating to the item under consideration. My intention is not to raise any discussion, but I wish to remind him that there were in the estimates for 1912 certain items for works in my county that are omitted this year. I would like to know why they have been omitted and if there will be provision made for those works in the supplementary estimates?
(Translation.) I may tell the hon. member (Mr. Fortier) that our finances did not allow us to put that item in the estimates for next year. We have considered it more prudent and necessary to have some other works performed. As to whether such items will be put in the supplementary estimates, I cannot say this evening as these estimates are still under consideration.
I think we ought not to be too closely bound by your ruling, Mr. Chairman, because it would hamper discussion if we were to adhere to the view which you have presented. I take it that discussion is absolutely relevant to any item in these estimates when a member seeks to compare the utility of a work that is provided for by an item in the estimates with other works of equal, or greater importance, which have been omitted. That is what my hon. friend from Anti-Mr. MONK.
gonish (Mr. Chisholm), was proposing to ao, and what my hon. friend on my night (Mr. Lafortune), was proposing to do. We have the right to say that this committee ought not to be asked to vote an item of $40,000, say, for a work, because, in the same county or province, there are works which are more urgently needed than the item that is asked, and to urge upon the minister that he ought to drop the item that is in the estimates provided he cannot take care of both works and make provision for the other work. Does not my hon. friend remember how, in previous years, he condemned me for putting in items similar to this for wharfs and the improvement of harbours throughout the country? Does not my hon. friend remember the eloquent speeches he made in Committee of Supply urging that the government ought to make provision for starting such works as the Georgian Bay canal, pay more attention to the harbour of Montreal, spend money in nationalizing the harbours, and that it ought not, to use his language, to waste money in the construction of these useless, small wharfs and other works throughout the country? This is the same thing. My hon. friend from Antigonish was seeking to impress upon the committee that works of a more urgent character than those for which he had asked a vote of money had been omitted. It seems to me that this is entirely relevant to the item under discussion. I do not think it should be carried too far or the argument extended too widely, but, it seems to me that it is entirely relevant, and that a member is not discharging his duty unless he calls attention to an injustice to the portion of the province from which he comes.
My hon. friend, I am sure, will appreciate the desire of the Chairman, by his ruling, to keep the discussion down to the item under consideration. I perfectly understand that an hon. member might argue against the adoption of an item, and contend that other works are more urgent and necessary, but my hon. friend, I think, will do me the justice to admit that we have expended several hours on this point as to why the government had omitted from these estimates this year, items which had appeared in last year's estimates for works that were not begun or under contract. That was explained several times, and I think we cannot enter into a full discussion of that point without going beyond the limits which ordinarily should apply under the circumstances.
I was going to suggest to the Minister oi Public Works
that this rule should be leniently enforced even if the Chairman puts the correct interpretation upon it. Of course, the ruling could be avoided by moving an amendment to the motion in each case covering each item. I would like to suggest to the minister that we have allowed him to get along pretty rapidly with his estimates during the session. All the items for harbours and rivers in Quebec have gone through and nearly $1,000,000 have been voted in less than ten minutes. He should allow members from the province of Quebec to discuss any one item in a general way.
I understand the minister has recently had' an opportunity of inspecting the work at the western channel of Toronto harbour, which is about completed. Will he state in what condition he found the work?
Air. AlONK. I visited the work and I found it in excellent condition. There is a very fine breakwater there and the improvements generally seem of the very best quality. There is still very considerable to be done. If we continue that breakwater and the other improvements as they have been going on so far we will be satisfied.
The late government made provision for improvements at Sarnia and entered into an agreement with the Grand Trunk railway with respect to some
necessary property there and it was contemplated to afford facilities urgently required for shipping at that place. The item has been dropped from these estimates and my hon. friend (Mr. Pardee) who represents the constituency, feels very strongly about that, and as to the necessity for this work going on. I would like the minister to bring down the papers before these items are concluded, and to be prepared to tell my hon. friend (Mr. Pardee) why the item has been dropped, and as to what may be hoped in the near future, as to the prosecution of that work.
Mr. AlONK. I will get the information. I believe there was a tender for that work but it was altogether too high.
Some resolutions reported.
On motion of Mr. Monk, House adjourned at 11.17 p.m.