Mr. STEWART (Leeds):
I should like to say just a word in answer to my hon. friend as to why the $15,000 is adopted instead of the $5 000. It may be interesting to the committee to know that up to some little time ago the number of orders in council passed under the Public Works Construction Act of last year was 566 and that the number of orders in council for amounts between $5 000 and $15,000 was no less than 166. We have been criticized both in and out of this house for not getting on more rapidly with the expenditure of this money. I think my hon. friend will appreciate that it makes very little difference whether the amount is $6 000 or $15,000. If it is safe to entrust the minister of a department with responsibility of dealing with an expenditure of $5,000 it ought to be safe to entrust him with the responsibility in connection with an expenditure of $15 000. Surely you cannot measure his capacity up to $5 000 and say it stops there. But the main object in making this change is to enable us to get on with the work more rapidly. There were 166 times when we had to go to council for these little works costing between $5,000 and $15,000. My hon. friend knows that very often that involves unexpected delay. Much of this work is seasonal in its character, particularly in connection with small works in harbours and rivers, and the result is that in many cases the work has run into bad weather and we have not been able to complete it during the current season. Some of the work has had to be carried over, resulting in inconvenience and added expense to the contractor. That is why we are asking that the amount be $15 000 instead of $5,000.
Subtopic: WORKS, 'UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OP RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT