March 31, 1932

LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I certainly did. That is not my function, Mr. Chairman. I submit that it is not the duty of a member of parliament to furnish the names of men who should be given employment. Had I done so I would have been challenged in this house for giving the names of Liberals. I told the engineer, "It

is your duty to go to the municipal authorities or to the municipal hall and find out what men are destitute and in need of employment."

I take pride in saying that I did not suggest one name to him. I am glad to see that the minister has had some report, because the facts are exactly as I have stated them.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

The facts are exactly as I have stated them, too. My hon. friend is now seeking to leave the impression that there was some political intrigue in connection with this work.

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LIB
CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

The officer who employed the men engaged on this work acted perfectly fairly when he asked my hon. friend to nominate men. Surely there can be no complaint as to that?

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

When I objected to the district engineer going to the local Conservative patronage committee to name men for the job I said to him, "You will hear more of this," and left his room. He ran out to me at the elevator and pleaded with me not to take any action.

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LIB
LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

Mr. Chairman, before this bill passes I wish to refer to certain remarks made by the right hon. Prime Minister. If I caught his words correctly, he said that accounts on finished work in conjunction with the provinces and the municipalities had not been paid up to date by reason of the fact that this bill had not yet gone through this house.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is so with respect to a large number of them.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

It is not true of the county of Gloucester, nor is it true entirely of the province of New Brunswick, because the auditor of the provincial accounts has shown that at the end1 of the fiscal year of the province, October 31, there was somewhere around

8170,000 of accounts submitted for payment with respect to work completed. The federal contribution of $7,500 for work done in the town of Bathurst had not been paid up to Easter, although the accounts were submitted some time ago. The information given the secretary treasurer of the town of Bathurst was to the effect that as soon as the order in council could be passed the Dominion government would forward the $7,500 to the provincial government, who in turn would forward it to the town of Bathurst. When I was home at

Unemployment Continuance Act

Easter I looked into this matter further and found that so far as they were aware in Bathurst no order in council had been passed authorizing payment of the $7,500, but the letter remains there stating that as soon as an order in council can be passed the account will be paid. That work was completed in the first week of December; the account was sent to the provincial authorities at Fredericton, who forwarded it to Ottawa, and the acknowledgment of its receipt is on file. But no payment has been made, so in connection with the county of Gloucester the statement made by the Prime Minister is not exactly correct.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I did not say it was

true in every instance.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is not what I said, either.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

The same thing applies

to the entire province of New Brunswick. A question was asked in the house as to how much was still due the province of New Brunswick on work accomplished in connection with projects which had been approved, and I think the answer was $171,000. That amount was due long before March 1. Those accounts were not paid, though they could have been paid before the bill lapsed.

Then the Prime Minister referred to the statement I made in reference to the $58,000 unexpended by the Department of Public Works in connection with the Shippigan island wharf, and he said that I wished to make political capital of it. I should like to direct his attention to the words I actually used:

I do not wish to imply that the approval of this work was made public for any effect it might have had in the by-election, but the fact is that this knowledge that it had been approved came up at the time.

I distinctly stated that I did not wish to leave the impression that politics was involved, and I said that because the matter came under the direction of the federal Department of Public Works and I felt, in view of the splendid treatment accorded me by the Minister of Public Works, that he would not allow Conservatives in the county of Gloucester to play politics in this regard.

Leaving aside the political point, the reason given as to why the work was not proceeded with was that the estimate was $30,000, the amount approved for the project was $15,000, and the work could not be completed before March 1, when chapter 58 lapsed. Let me ask the Prime Minister, as well as the Minister

of Public Works, if that is so, why the work at Negro Point was proceeded with, in the province of New Brunswick. The estimate was $22,000; only $12,772 was spent, and the work is noit completed. I direct attention to Burnt Church in Northumberland county; $20,000 was the estimate, $11,013 was spent to February 29, and the work has not been completed. Then there is North Sydney, where the estimate was $22,000, where $16,109 was spent, and where the work has not been completed. There is the immigration hospital in Quebec; the estimate was $12,000, the work has not been completed and $7,174 was expended. There is Hailevbury, in Ontario, where the estimate was $67,000, where only $17,809 was spent to February 29, and where the work is not one-fourth completed. There is the dredging at Port Hope; $35,000 was the estimate, the work is not completed and only $23,968 has been spent. Take the national research building in Ottawa; the estimate was $40,000, of which only $12,262 has been spent, and I have reason to believe that the work is not one-half or one-quarter finished. Take Point Tupper wharf; $24,000 was the estimate, $16,787 was expended and the work is not completed. If the government say that these works are completed, what must we say about the estimates of the cost? If, on the other hand, matters can be carried on in that way in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, why could not the work to which I referred be begun last fall? After referring to these other items the excuse that the estimate was $30,000 and the work could not be completed before March 1 does not hold water, and I think an injustice has been done the county of Gloucester. When I heard the right hon. the Prime Minister give that reason I thought to myself that it was different from or perhaps in addition to, the reason given by the Minister of Public Works.

The Prime Minister must have thought that the reason given by the Minister of Public Works was not sufficient, but when I examined the report of the dominion director of unemployment relief I found that my section of New Brunswick certainly had not been treated in a just and proper way. I am almost driven to believe that this work was stopped for other reasons which have not been given us.

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LIB
LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

No, I would not use that

expression; I would be told I was using unparliamentary language. There is enough shadiness in the atmosphere outside without bringing any into the house. I was surprised to hear the Minister of Labour heatedly make

Unemployment Continuance Act

the statement that not one concrete case of dissatisfaction with regard to the expenditure of relief money had been submitted to him.

I do not know whether or not any case has been submitted to him directly, but I do know that in one instance twenty-one concrete cases of complaints were submitted to the Department of Labour and I know those complaints were received by the department.

I hold in my hand five pages of closely typewritten foolscap containing complaints and charges. From my seat in this house, I say that I put my seat at stake to prove these charges.

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CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

Will the hon. gentleman say by what authority he makes that statement?

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LIB
CON
?

Clarence Joseph Veniot

Mr. YENIOT:

I make this statement with regard to the charges I have made in this house, that I am prepared to stand by them, at least to the extent of ninety per cent, and to put my seat at stake.

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CON

March 31, 1932