March 2, 1915

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I dare say that from time to time communications have come forward to persons in this country with regard to matters such as those to which the hon. member alludes. My own understanding is that any such communications are of a private and confidential character; and, further than that, I would like to remind my hon. friend that these troops, after they leave the country, having enlisted as Imperial troops, are necessarily subject to military dispositions under the control of the War Office, and that we do not make demands nor initiate anything at all in connection with such matters. It would be obviously impossible that there should be a dual control under such circumstances. We might, of course, in any case where the circumstances seemed to make it desirable, do something by way of suggestion. I am sure my hon. friend will be the first to realize that any attempt to establish a dual control over a portion of the troops at the front would probably, and indeed necessarily, have a most unfortunate result.

Topic:   COL. McLEOD'S BATTALION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

My idea is exactly the

same as that of my right hon. friend, namely, that dual control would be very objectionable; but a copy of the communication to which I have referred was sent to me and was not marked confidential. It was not in the nature of a complaint against the commanding officer; but it referred to certain dispositions in regard to which the Minister of Militia was asked to intervene, and I am sure that my hon. friend the Minister of Militia will not forget that, since the troops went to the O'ld Country, he has attempted to have certain things done to add to their comfort and to meet the wishes of officers and men generally 'in the Canadian contingent. That would not be exercising dual control, but would merely be bringing to bear that knowledge of affairs which the Minister of Militia has, and which he might utilize to very great advantage in the interest and for the comfort of the Canadian soldiers. As the House is aware, the Minister of Militia went to England-

Topic:   COL. McLEOD'S BATTALION.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member must

not forget that it is not permissible to enter into a discussion when asking a question.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The Prime Minister

rather provoked me to do that when he

stated his views as to the course he thought I ought to take as a member of this House in regard to matters of this kind. I see the Minister of Militia is anxious to reply, and so I shall sit down.

Topic:   COL. McLEOD'S BATTALION.
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?

Major General HUGHES:

The gerieral

question of details-the name given to those who are not sent to the front, but who are kept behind to fill up vacancies arising from various causes in the brigades at the front- is left entirely in the hands of the British War Office, as has been explained by the Prime Minister.

I have not the slightest doubt that the officers, non-commissioned officers and men who were left on the details felt it very keenly. Each man is anxious to get to the front, and naturally each man would wish to get to the front with his own corps. But there must be some details. They all knew that. We have nothing to do with the selection of these details, and, whether the men are satisfied or not, these are matters over which we have not attempted to exercise any control, whatever else we may have done.

Topic:   COL. McLEOD'S BATTALION.
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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

In recent press despatches it was stated that a complete list of the officers and men at Salisbury had been prepared and forwarded to the Government. Has that list been received?

Topic:   COL. McLEOD'S BATTALION.
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Major General HUGHES:

That is being prepared, and I hope it will be printed in a very short time. _

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THE BUDGET.

PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.


Consideration of the proposed motion of Hon. W. T. White (Minister of Finance) for Committee of Ways and Means resumed from February 25.


LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Hon. WILLIAM PUGSLEY (St. John City):

Mr. Speaker, in resuming this debate, let me first express appreciation of the courtesy shown by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) on Thursday evening last in consenting to the adjournment of this debate until to-day. It has been a matter of very considerable convenience to me. I suppose the only way in which I can show my gratitude in a practical way is by shortening my remarks as much as possible, and this I shall endeavour to do.

Before continuing the remarks I was making in reference to the proposed, and I think wholly unnecessary, expenditure provided for in the Estimates, I should like to call attention to an article appearing in the

Montreal Gazette, a prominent Conservative paper, under yesterday's date, criticising my hon. friend the junior member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) and other hon. gentlemen who have spoken from this side of the House for the attitude we have taken with regard to the proposed increased taxation and rather expressing the. view that we are not discharging our duty to the country when we venture to criticise the Government with respect to these matters. I would like to read this, so that the nature of the criticism may go upon "Hansard." For this criticism is not peculiar to the Gazette; we find the same line taken in many prominent newspapers in many sections of the country. I have not observed that any prominent Liberal or Independent newspaper has criticised our course in this respect. The article to which I refer is not an editorial, but is contained in a parliamentary despatch or letter from Ottawa:

In one of the most uncompromisingly partisan speeches which the usually moderate junior member for Halifax has ever been heard to deliver, Mr. A. K. Maclean on Tuesday attacked the Government for that Recline in revenue, disturbance in trade and unsettling of financial conditions which has been experienced in Canada, as it has in a generally greater degree been experienced universally since the war began. In the course of his utterances he blamed the Government not only for the method of taxation which it proposed to adopt, but for the necessity of that taxation. It was, in many ways, an amazing deliverance, in that it arraigned the Government for a condition of affairs in Canada which has been general throughout the whole world since the first outbreak of hostilities, which in the United States alone has caused a revenue loss of over a hundred million dollars, and which has led even that neutral country to the necessity of imposing extraordinary taxation. In the face of such a fact, Mr. Maclean allowed himself to go on record as declaring that to the war alone could be laid no greater loss of revenue than five millions. It was, too, a singularly provocative utterance in view of the so-called political truce to which the Opposition has lost no opportunity of declaring its intention to adhere while Canada was in the throes of world war. As far as the method of taxation proposed by the Government was concerned, it was purely destructive criticism.

With that remark I entirely agree. It was destructive criticism-criticism of the most destructive character it would be possible for any critic to make of this Government.

There were appeals not to increase the tariff, not to touch the British preference, not to impose stamp taxes; but in all this no suggestion of any other method of securing the ends at which all these measures aim. And as regards the general question of financing, the only remedy Mr. Maclean had to propose for war conditions was the cessation of all public works and the consequent dismissal of hundreds of civil servants. It was a fighting speech and 36$

an indication that, truce or no truce, war or no war, the Pugsley-Clark spirit-

My genial and unwarlike friend from Red Deer (Mr. Clark) must be astonished to find such a statement as this in a newspaper:

-in the Liberal party has predominated and the Opposition, with no adequate measures of its own to propose, will fight those introduced by the Government.

Ye Gods! Think of an Opposition that would venture to fight the measures introduced by a Government. That is conduct which this newspaper and other newspapers cannot for a moment tolerate, especially at the present time. Mr. Speaker, I think the fact that a statement of that kind appears in such a prominent Conservative paper as the Montreal Gazette, such a thoroughly respectable and influential paper, calls for some remark from me. With regard to my hon. friend the junior member for Halifax, I think he made a fair and just criticism of the proposed measure of taxation. He argued that it was not necessary at the present time to impose this additional taxation on the people of Canadh. He contended that it was very impolitic, very unfair to the people to unduly burden them as proposed by the Minister of Finance. At the same time he showed that this Government, in the three years it has been in power, had increased the ordinary expenditure from $89,000,000 to $140,000,000-or, if you like to put it more accurately, looking at the Estimates of the present year, $147,000,000, the added $7,000,000 or thereabouts being necessary to pay interest on the money which it is proposed to borrow from the Imperial 'Government for war purposes. The hon. gentleman contended that that increase of expenditure was unjustifiable. He showed that whereas the expenditure on public works chargeable to ordinary revenue When this Government came into power, ranged about eleven or twelve millions, it was proposed this year to expend the enormous sum of twenty-two millions. And he charged, and I think properly charged, that there was nothing in connection with the public works, the immigration or the progress of the country to justify that enormous increase within three short years. He contended that if even now the Government would exercise that ordinary prudence which the average businessman in this country is exercising, and which every city, town and municipality in Canada is exercising; if they would apply the pruning hook and proceed to carry on only those public works the necessity of

which is recognized by all; it would not be long before the ordinary revenue would overtake the expenditure of the country, and it would not be necessary to resort to these extraordinary taxes and to impose these extraordinary heavy burdens upon the people of Canada.

It has been asserted that the hon. menu ber for Halifax said that all publio works should cease. My hon. friend said nothing of the kind. What he said was that in respect of harbour improvements, the deepening of rivers, the dredging of waterways and the erection of public buildings it would be possible to reduce the expenditure during this year, perhaps by one-half. In that way the public works would go on with reasonable rapidity and the people would be far better satisfied than if these works were carried out at full speed by means of this proposed extra taxation, That was the argument of the hon. junior member for Halifax; that was a part of the criticism which he made of the policy of the Government, and I for one say that the j unior member - for Halifax was entirely justified in the remarks, hev made in that respect.

I have had an opportunity of being among my own constituents for a couple of days since I addressed the House last week. When I first arrived I met a number of people who said: You are charged with desiring to stop the public works in St. John; surely that is not a proper thing to do. But I explained that while it was proposed to spend a considerable sum of money at St. John, and while we desired that there should be retrenchment and economy, yet we proposed not that these works should be stopped, but that they should 'be carried on with all reasonable rapidity, subject to the due exercise of proper economy. When I pointed out that these taxes are going to impose upon the 350,000 people of New Brunswick the payment of the enormous sum of 31,500,000 a year, they realized that I as a representative from that province was justified in standing up with my Liberal friends in the House and appealing to the Government not to resort to these extraordinary measures of taxation, but to proceed to exercise that economy which they might fairly exercise without any detriment to the public interest. Hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House talk about the necessity for going on with public works. They know-but they conceal it from the

people-that public works in any locality benefit but a small portion of the community. During the year which will close March 31, there will have been expended some 33,000,000 upon the harbour of St. John, but out of that total amount there has not been paid for labour more than $300,000. Many thousands of dollars have gone to the southern states to buy southern pine for the construction of wharves; vast sums of money have gone outside of St. John to purchase cement to be used in the making of concrete; vast sums of money have gone to pay contractors' profits and interest on the plant. I would say too, if it would not offend my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, that a large amount possibly went towards the nourishment and support of those newspapers in New Bruns-vick which so violently attack members of the Opposition for venturing to criticise the Government. .

At the adjournment last Thursday evening I was endeavouring to show that there are in the Estimates for the coming year items providing for ^orks of various kinds -h'arbour and river improvements, erection of public buildings-in respect of which I believe the Government does not seriously intend to make any progress during the coming year. In a great majority of cases the amounts voted for next year are simply re-votes; if the Minister of Marine and Fisheries will take the trouble to look at the estimates for New Brunswick, he will find that the items in respect of a large number of public buildings are exactly the same as the amounts voted for the same purposes at the last regular session of Parliament. This shows positively that no work has been done, and I presume that in a large number of cases no contracts have been let and no plans prepared.

As evidence of the fact that unnecessary, items of expenditure are placed in the Estimates

I shall not say proposed to be made -in connection with the Department of Public Works, the Department of Railways and Canals and the Department of Marine and Fisheries, let me call attention to the fact that $5,000,000 has been struck out of the Estimates of the Department of Militia and Defence. In other words, the Estimates for the coming year are $5,000,000 and upwards less than they were last year. But that does not mean that the money is not to be spent; it means that the money is to be spent, but it is to be borrowed from the British Government to form part of the war expenditure. My hon. friend (Mr. Hazen) shakes his head, but-

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

If my hon. friend will

1 Jok at the Militia Estimates he will observe that those items which were voted last year and which do not appear in the Estimates this year were expenses of camps of instruction, training of cadets, annual drill, and items of that nature which, in view of tue war, were not considered necessary during the present year. Not one dollar for these purposes would be used out of the vote for war expenditure.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I was not calling attention to that at all; what I had in mind was annual drill. Last year $2,000,000 wore voted for annual drill; there will be no annual drill this year because the soldiers are being drilled preparatory to their going to the war. Therefore the item is cut out, but it is charged to war expenditure.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

No, annual drill is not

charged to war expenditure.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

But what takes the

place of annual drill is paid for with money borrowed from the British Government. The item for ordnance and arms, amounting to $1,900,000, is also struck out. Ordnance and arms will be required for the militia for the coming year, or would be required if it were not for the war and if the militia men of Canada were not preparing to take part in the defence of the Empire. I do not know just how long my hon. friend was acting Minister of Militia and Defence; one of his organs in New Brunswick said that he was acting Minister of Militia during the absence of the minister, but when the minister returned he referred to the Prime Minister as having been the acting Minister of Militia during his absence. But if my hon. friend the Ministerof Marine and Fisheries was acting Minister of Militia and Defence, he ought to know that this Government has ordered vast

quantities of ammunition for the militia of Canada. Of course, it is for the purposes of war.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

Oliver James Wilcox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILCOX:

Did my hon. friend expect us to shoot blank cartridges?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Therefore that whole amount for ordnance, arms and ammunition has been struck out from the Estimates of the Department of Militia; $1,900,000 has been struck out. As I have said, it does not mean that the money is not to be expended, but that it is to be excluded from the Militia Estimates, while an equivalent or a greater amount, perhaps a far greater amount, is to be included in

the sums which are to be borrowed from the Imperial Government for the purposes of the war. And there are stores. It will be necessary to have stores just the same, but I presume these stores which are to be purchased now and next year will all be charged to the expenses of the war. All this money taken out of current Militia expenditure, and which is to be included in the money borrowed from England for the. purpose of the war should be available for the necessary expenditure of the other-Departments of the Government.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Might I interrupt my hon. friend? He said that the hon. junior member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) did not suggest giving up public works altogether this year. I would ask the hon. gentleman what meaning he attaches to these words of the hon. member for Halifax at page 387:

I do submit, and in fairness, I think, having in view the circumstances prevailing throughout Canada this year, and throughout the world for that matter, that instead of the Government's asking for an expenditure of $20,000,000 for public works, they might have asked , for $10,000,000 or less, and, if need be, they might have wiped out altogether expenditures for public works for the next fiscal year.

The hon. gentleman adds:

I do not believe that the people of any province of Canada would have objected to the most drastic measures on the part of the Minister of Public Works during the present year and during the next fiscal year in connection with public works expenditure.

I would ask my hon. friend if that does not convey the suggestion that there should be no expenditure for public works during the present fiscal year.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I do not so read it. Let me read the whole passage:

I do submit, and in fairness, I think, having in view the circumstances prevailing throughout Canada this year, and throughout the world for that matter, that instead of the Government's asking for an expenditure of $20,000,000 for public works, they might have asked for $10,000,000 less.

It is important to consider this suggestion by itself. I think that my hon. friend the junior member for Halifax was speaking of the ordinary expenditure, not the expenditure upon capital account.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

March 2, 1915