The House in committee of Supply, Mr. Duff in the chair.
Salaries and contingent expenses of the several ports in the Dominion, including pay for overtime of officers, notwithstanding anything in the Civil Service Act, and temporary Sbuiidnngs and rentals, $6,723,815.
Hon. GEORGE H. BOIVIN (Minister of Customs and Excise): Mr. Chairman, while the entire estimate for the outside service of the Department of Customs and Excise is included in vote 349, amounting to $10,884;,390, I think it would be better, if the committee would agree, to take up the different items separately, discuss them as they are reached, and after each separate item has been approved, have one formal vote adopting the whole resolution. I really do not understand why it has always been the custom to have all the items of the Department of Customs and Excise estimates embodied in one vote, but we have followed the usual custom this year making it much easier to make comparisons with the items required in previous years.
Before going into the details I desire to say that it is not through any spirit of bravado that I happen to be the first minister to present his estimates. I at once ask the committee to grant me thq indulgence which is usually given to a new minister submitting his estimates to the House for the first time. That does not mean, however, that I am not prepared with the aid of my officers to give to the members all possible information, and if there is any information that I do not have available at the moment, the members of the committee may rest assured that I will do my best to get it for them. If they insist on the information, there will be no attempt on my part to press the item until such information has been brought down. It is true that an inquiry into the administration of the Department of Customs and Excise is being carried on and there is a rule of the House that provides that matters pertaining to a committee cannot be discussed in the House until that committee has made its final report. I think, [DOT] however, it will be possible for hon. members to ask such questions and for me to give such answers in connection with the estimates as will give this committee all the information required, without in any way referring to what is going on at present before the customs investigating committee. The only information, perhaps, that I cannot give definitely will be concerning the organization of the preventive service staff of the Department of Customs and Excise. I want to say very frankly to the committee that the preventive service staff, organized under the vote of $350,000 which was included in the supplementary estimates of last year, has not been entirely satisfactory. Hon. members will ascertain that only about $35,000, or one-