I can explain the item, but it will have to be pretty much from memory. This was a case in which the contract for the excavation of the Edmonton elevator was let at a fixed price, with a provision with respect to weather conditions. It was in the late fall when the work began, and very severe weather set in, but the architect, Mr. Howe, insisted that the contractor gc on with the excavation under very exceptional and severe weather conditions. This is to provide for an allowance that was given the contractor for having performed the service during a period when it cost him a great
deal more money than if he had been granted the advantages of the weather provision in the contract. As I recollect them, these are the circumstances.
A governor general's warrant for the expenditure of money can be issued only when the House is not in session, and only to meet urgent and necessary payments. This work, as I understand it, took place during the preceding winter, some time in January or February. Parliament was then in session, and the matter could have been brought to its attention and the necessary money voted. But the government allowed the session to conclude without, making provision for this money, and then seven or eight days after the dissolution of parliament, folowed by a general election, they resort to the process of a governor general's warrant to make a payment which has stood evidently from the preceding winter, and which could not be either urgent or necessary in view of the circumstance. I think we should offer a reasonable protest to the issue of governor general's warrant under such circumstances.
I should like the Minister of Finance to convey to the Minister of Trade and Commerce, when he returns, a request that he lay on the table of the House all correspondence in regard to this item, also a copy of the governor general's warrant and of the order in council on which it was based.
May I point out to the ministers concerned that questions asked when the estimates were last before the House, I think on December 15 last, have not been answered, at least there has been no answer in my own case. I was promised an answer at that time which, however, has not yet been given. I would ask that some recognition be accorded the rights of members and
that answers to questions be given by the minister from whom information has been sought.
Item agreed to.
Payment of compensation levied against employers by workmen's compensation boards in respect of pensioners who are engaged in industry (governor general's warrant of September 7, 1925), $45,000.
If the minister or his colleagues cannot explain it, it is rather difficult to expect us to appreciate why a governor general's warrant was necessary on September 7th, 1925, I think the very day of dissolution that year.