June 30, 1926

LIB

Georges Henri Boivin

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

Is my hon. friend seeking

to pass this estimate upon assurances that he has received from some official in his department, or does he verily believe that it is required?

Supply-Formation oj Ministry

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I have some familiarity with the department, but, speaking generally, I have not had time to examine the items. We are taking the items as prepared by the former government, of which my hon. friend was a member. In the short time I have had to examine this estimate I think the amount will be required.

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin

Liberal

Mr. BOTVIN:

It is all very well for the leader of the government to rise in his place and with a gesture to the gallery say, "Gentlemen, you will certainly piass these estimates, because they are yours." I have not had time to examine the supptementanies, but I take the hon. member's word that the same condition exists in connection with them. So far as the main estimates are concerned, there is no doubt we take full responsibility for their preparation, and we hope the country will give us credit for the estimates as they are presented to the House. I ask my hon. friend now and the other hon. members of the newly formed government sitting around him, whether or not they will undertake to spend the money that we are voting to them to-night? That is a question to which the people of Canada are entitled to have an affirmative or negative reply. Therefore I think before we proceed further in rushing these estimates through at the rate of millions of dollars per hour we should have some assurance that the government is going to use every reasonable effort to expend the money voted according to the wishes of this House. Without that assurance I do not think we should continue at this headlong pace passing estimates which may never be expended.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I certainly will not undertake that this amount is to be expended. I had no part in the preparation of the estimate, but I will undertake that so much of it as is absolutely essential and necessary shall be expended. If it is possible to make a saving on that amount I will undertake that it shall be made. But as the estimate has been prepared by careful officers of the department who have examined closely into the situation, I do not think the criticism is well taken by my hon. friend, who was a member of the government which prepared and submitted this, together -with the other estimates, to this House wih the approval of his Excellency.

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin

Liberal

Mr. BOTVIN:

My hon. friend is wrong.

There is no criticism of the estimate, nor of the official who prepared it.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I have given the undertaking.

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LIB

Georges Henri Boivin

Liberal

Mr. BOIVIN:

My hon. friend has given

an undertaking to spend just as little as possible of the estimates voted. I am not referring to this particular estimate; I realize that military training camps have existed for years. They existed under previous Conservative regimes and under Liberal regimes; there has been a laudable effort to reduce the amount expended in this way each year, but there are a great many other items in these estimates which the government considered absolutely necessary to the welfare of Canada. If they had not been absolutely essential they would not have been included. As my hon. friend says, they were recommended by responsible officers of the different departments, and every estimate in the blue book was approved of by the late government after that recommendation. I am not criticising the officers; I think they did their duty in preparing the estimates, but I would like to know whether the opinions of these responsible officers will be carried out or whether my hon. friends are merely voting these estimates in order to close parliament at the earliest possible opportunity and get back to their homes, leaving perhaps for another year the real expenditure of money required for the public service, in order that they may get the benefit of having placed the amounts in the estimates and in order that they may tell the people of Canada. "Oh, well, the Liberals prepared the estimates and we are not going to spend the money." I think my hon. friend was quite wrong when he criticized me for blaming any official, because that was not at all my intention. All I wanted was an assurance from this government that they would endeavour to carry out the wishes expressed by parliament in the voting of these estimates.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Minister of National Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Certainly, and those

wishes will be carried out as carefully and as economically as possible.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

We are now

voting large sums of public money to different hon. gentlemen opposite who are supposed to be administering several departments of the government. Before we proceed any further I would like to discover from those hon. gentlemen to w'hat extent they have complied with constitutional practice in the matter of assuming office. I would like to ask my hon. friend who is leading the House whether he has taken any oath of office of any kind since he undertook to lead the House, or even before doing so.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Each of the

different formalities prescribed in the office

Supply-Formation oj Ministry

of the Privy Council has been observed; I am quite frank in saying that I do not know how many there are.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I want this

information before we vote public money to hon. gentlemen who, in our opinion, are not entitled to spend one five-cent piece of the public money. I ask my hon. friend who is now leading the House whether he has taken any oath of office this year.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

No.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Will my hon. friend tell me what departments he is administering?

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I think this is somewhat irregular, Mr. Chairman, but I am quite willing to give my hon. friend the information.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

We are discussing supply at present. If my hon. friend hesitates to give an answer to any of the questions I am asking I will see to it that we do not proceed with supply. Supply, as my hon. friend knows, is the stage at which the people's representatives in parliament have a right to question the administration as to their right to administer public funds.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Absolutely; I am not making the slightest objection to it; I am not even throwing the slightest doubt upon the honesty and accuracy of the previous administration who prepared these very estimates. So far as this is concerned I have taken all the oaths which go with the administration and with the standing one has as a member of the king's Privy Council. In addition to that I have been regularly appointed by order in council as a member of the king's Privy Council to act in the present occasion in the Department of Finance and the Department of Railways and Canals.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Will my hon. friend tell me when that order in council was passed, and if he will lay a copy on the table?

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Yes, there is no trouble about it. One was sent me to-day.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I see the copy?

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Yes.

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June 30, 1926