The hon. member is not observing the rules of the house. We are not in committee of public accounts. We cannot spend the time of the house in questions and cross-questions of that kind. The hon. member fully knows the rules of the house. He may put questions and he certainly has a right to criticize all the expenditure of the department and its administration; however, it is not the spirit of the committee of the whole, of the finance committee to put cross-questions of that kind; the place for that is the public accounts committee. Let the hon. member criticize, let him request certain information, but I cannot allow such a cross-examination.
I have but one observation to make to the chairman: The minister who has his estimates voted with the least difficulty is the Minister of Public Works. We follow the same routine when he brings down his estimates; we put questions to him and he always answers.
Would you kindly inform me, sir, under what rule I am debarred from questioning the minister when he submits his estimates? Am I obliged to make a 40-minute speech or am I free to question him on matters relating to his department?
The hon. member has been long enough in the house to know that a cross-examination like he has just made cannot be directed against ministers. He may criticize; however, the examination of accounts is discussed in the public accounts committee.