The minister made a general statement, but we are not going to accept general statements from the Minister of Public Works or any other minister. The taxpayers demand that we be given specific statements.
I am not interested in what the Minister of Finance has done; in fact the Minister of Finance has made a splendid budget statement under the deplorable circumstances. But the Minister of Public Works is directly responsible for the expenditure in his department and I am asking him, not the Minister of Finance, who does not happen to be here. It is not fair for the Minister of Public Works to throw this on the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance is from Nova Scotia and I will not allow the Minister of Public Works to throw anything on him. I am asking the hon. gentleman how this $2,500,000 voted last year was spent. In addition to that $2,500,000 blanket vote, which was in the $40,000,000 last year, we voted a number of other items. Let me tell you what they were. Will somebody please get a pencil and add them up; I am busy. I can understand my hon. friend from North Huron (Mr. Spotton) laughing; he is a jolly soul and appreciates what I am saying, and if there were a secret ballot taken in the house he would vote with me. In addition to the $2,500,000 under this blanket vote of $40,000,000 you will find that we voted for harbours and rivers generally, in 1934, in addition to 1935, for Nova Scotia, $50,000; for New Brunswick, $75,000; for Quebec, $300,000; for Ontario, $100,000; for Manitoba $40,000; for Saskatchewan and Alberta, $10,000; for British Columbia, $75,000. We voted nearly $1,000,000 in the last session of
Public Works Program
1934. We voted another 82,500,000 and we voted $1,140,000 two months ago for harbours and rivers generally. And now we are asked to vote another 82,500,000. These are very large amounts, and the ordinary taxpayer is wondering what this government is doing with all this money. And the end is not yet. That is only part of the expenditure which the Minister of Public Works is trying to put over.
Now let me take your memory back to the year 1929-30, when the present Minister of Public Works was a humble member of the opposition and when, for instance, the Post Office vote was under consideration. Perhaps virtue has received its reward or otherwise, but you will remember that in 1929-30 the Minister of Public Works kept this house for three weeks, associated of course with my hon. friend from Port William and some other hon. members-my hon. friend from Digby-Annapolis (Mr. Short), who I hope is going to the Senate soon. I wish to God I were going there myself. But those hon. gentlemen helped the present Minister of Public Works to hold up the Post Office estimates in 1929 and 1930. We did not then hear the present Minister of Railways in stentorian red blooded Canadian tones talk about the Liberal party or any party holding up a vote. That was all right in 1929 and 1930 when the present Minister of Railways tried to make capital against the Liberal party at that time; but a similar situation is a terrible one now. It does not make any difference whether we spend 830,000.000 or $70,000,000, the joke is that the situation is like that of a man who is bankrupt, because that is what this government is. It has almost brought the country to bankruptcy and it does not care how much it spends-
No, it is not like a drunken sailor. A drunken sailor wakes up the next morning with a headache, but the government does not know whether it has & headache or not. The present government will not have to deal with the situation; it is the Liberal party that will be elected in July or September or whenever the time comes. When we came into power in 1921 we had almost the same static condition we have now, and when this party came in, what did they do?
Worse for Toronto, because ten or fifteen Tories were elected in Toronto, and that is the reason why we are voting against Toronto to-day, because of a Tory Toronto.
We are for Canada. My hon. friend talks about what we did. I say that when we were in power and the present government were in opposition in 1930, the latter blocked every estimate, and the Tory members from Toronto were the ringleaders. They criticized the government of that day, and we have a perfect right to criticize the government of this day when they want to spend money and when they cannot explain to us what they are going to spend it for. Before this estimate goes through, the Minister of Public Works should tell us what he is going to do with most of the money. I understand that he can have a few hundred thousand dollars for extraordinary repairs, but he should tell the committee exactly what he is going to do with most of the money before he asks us to vote it.
I desire to read to the Minister of Public Works just a word or two of his on April 16 when this bill was before the house. As reported on page 2812 of Hansard, he had this to say:
Mr. Stewart (Leeds): My hon. friend complains about information not being given. In the estimates of the department for years no details are given-just specific amounts. If hon. members desire information in regard to these items it will be cheerfully given, but we ask to have an opportunity of giving it before we are condemned for not giving it.
Further on he said:
Mr. Stewart (Leeds): With regard to any of these items upon which information is desired 1 can only say that so far as they come under the control of the Department of Public Works we are prepared to give information.
And further on, on the same page, he said:
We are prepared to give all the information that the committee desires, and as much as we give in connection with the regular estimates when they are submitted to the house.
That is only what we are asking my hon. friend to do to-night, and I submit very respectfully even to the Minister of Railways that we deserve no abuse for doing that.