We will reduce the mileage where it is not necessary, but where settlement requires it, we will construct in all probability, as we have been doing in the department for years. During the last year we did cut out a very considerable mileage, especially in northern Saskatchewan, but
there will be some reductions and some additions from time to time.
Accounts Branch-salaries of agents and clerks, travelling and contingent expenses of outside service $21,000.
for salaries of agents, paymasters and clerks of the Accounts branch, outside service, exelusive of travelling and contingent expenses. We have at- the Westminster agency an accountant a clerk-bookkeeper and a senior clerk-bookkeeper. At the Edmonton agency we have three officials, at St. John, and in Manitoba we have an arrangement with the bank.
I wonder if my hon. friend has ever been able to find out just exactly what it costs to run the department, having regard to salaries and the cost of civil servants. We have often discussed this before, and I have pointed out time and again to my hon. friend and other ministers that I think it is advisable to get all our salary costs together so that we can know what they are. At the present time we have our salary costs for the inside and outside service, our costs under civil government, and further salary and clerical costs under various odd items. Could my hon. friend tell me what the whole cost of his department is in salaries of agents, employees and the like?
say I have not the memorandum which I had prepared a year or two ago. At that time we did make a compilation of the total cost of the service, showing the percentages and if my memory serves me right, the showing was not bad. Unfortunately that statement is not here, and it would be impossible for me to give an estimate of the cost. I will have it looked up and brought up to date and will be pleased to submit it to the committee later.
I just want the committee to realize how unfair it is to expect the minister to carry on business intelligently under such a system. He himself cannot tell whether he is economizing or anything else. He does not even know what his staff are costing him, and he says it will take him some time to calculate. A great effort was made two or three yeans ago to ascertain, and now he does not know. We ought to have something before us so that any member of the House would know at
once what it is costing to run this department or that department. There is absolutely nothing in the accounts to tell us today. I do not wonder at the minister not knowing anything about his department.
could never tell what the cost of the Finance department would be, and that would not be difficult to estimate. But that statement was properly prepared and sent to the House two years ago, and I will also say that the statement at that time, if carried out to date, would show an improvement and a decrease in cost, and I will produce that statement.
I think the suggestion of my hon. friend that the minister should carry these things around in his head is not really what he intends or what he would do himself. I do not intend to do it. It is a large department, and it would be absurd to burden oneself with all these things. We have an idea oif the expenditure, but to estimate offhand and put on Hansard a statement as to the cost is something I do not intend to do and could not possibly remember.
I am not expecting my hon. friend to remember, but I am expecting that he would have it under his hand where he could get at it, and that he would have statements carried out in such a way that he would know something about it.