one item be passed, and then we could hold the whole open for discussion on any other item. I would like to see a full discussion of all these items-the fuller the better. I assure my hon. friend that he will be afforded ample opportunity for discussion on a later item.
has been tried before and has not been found satisfactory. For instance, there is a reduction in the staff, and in connection with that reduction there were a number of employees in the department engaged in connection with what were known as the Ottawa River works.
There is-no vote for the item I want to discuss. What I wish to refer to is the fact that a number of employees of the Public Works Department were let out last year without tany bonus or remuneration for the service they had rendered to the Government. If my hon. friend will turn to page 97 he will find reference to forty-three vacancies, and it is under that subject that I wish to discuss this question. I should like to know whether it is the minister's intention to pass this item to-night. I am sure that in connection with a number of the details, members of the committee would like to get some information.
Well, the matter of the disposition of the item is entirely in the hands of the committee, but I would like very much to make some progress. I am sure that the unfortunate experience my hon. friend has had on other occasions will not be repeated in reference to this department; he will have ample opportunity to discuss any matter he wishes to bring up on another item.
Unfortunately the minister is not chairman of the committee, and
while we might have no trouble with the minister we might have considerable difficulty with the Chairman if we tried to refer to an item after it had been passed. I think we would do well to report progress now and come back to this item again.
This is the first time that my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works has been before the committee with his Estimates, and I think the members on this side would deem it rather ungracious to criticise him with any degree of severity. But the request made is not, I submit, unreasonable in view of one circumstance to which I would like to direct the hon. gentleman's attention. At the end of the item we are considering, there are a number of positions under the title "National Gallery of Canada." Now, that National Gallery of Canada was created under the Government of which I was a member and since it was created it has been a haven for the special pets of Sir Byron Walker, and, not to put too fine a point upon it, it is a place where genteel graft is handed out under the protection of a vote of this House, a condition for which both sides must accept responsibility. A few weeks ago I observed that through some miraculous happening a collection of alleged very valuable prints had been secured for this country and purchased after most wonderful doings by the gentlemen who co-operate with Sir Byron Walker in connection with this National Art Gallery. The first sequel to that announcement was a circular that was sent around by the Civil Service Commission announcing that they were open to receive applications for a new position, if you please, designated as "Curator of Prints." The'second sequel to that announcement is this item in the Estimates providing a salary for the curator of prints. Now I want to be quite frank with the committee; I am sure that my hon. friend is in no way responsible for this; it is a little game that has been going on in Ottawa for years and with which we who belong to Ottawa are quite familiar. Among the irreverent in this city it is known, as I say, as genteel graft-only gentlemen take any part in it. In these days when the country is faced
1 a.m. with serious responsibilities it is rather asking us too much to increase the number of officials in this National Gallery of Canada from four to thirteen or fourteen, beginning with this curator of prints at a salary of $3,000, to justify the creation of which office we had
to buy a collection of prints. Then there are two museum helpers, two clerk-stenographers, one junior clerk and three art gallery attendants. Now, these are all new positions.
The sex is not defined. If ' my hon. friend could dissociate these new positions from the rest of the item there would not be much objection to allowing him to prefer again the suggestion that he would leave open for discussion any item in regard to which discussion should properly take place. But I do submit to my hon. friend that he should not ask the committee to pass a vote for these new positions at the National Gallery, which is a private preserve looked after by Sir Byron Walker and his friends, unless he is prepared to give the committee full particulars and thus enable it to judge whether or not these amounts should be voted. I would prefer that I had to offer this-I will not call it criticism-these suggestions to a minister who was not making his initial appearance before the committee with his Estimates.