Apart from the city of Vancouver, where some work was done on the parks under the last agreement, to my knowledge there is no federal contribution to any municipal work in British Columbia. That is, there is no direct contribution under the joint works program. It is conceivable that some municipalities are requiring relief recipients to work out their relief, and from that point of view it might be considered that the dominion is contributing indirectly. So far as wages are concerned, any control would be limited to works being done under the terms of our joint works agreements with the provinces. These agreements contain a clause to the effect that the wages paid shall be fair wages, and the interpretation of "fair wages" is the prevailing rate in the locality where the work is being done.
projects been completed to which the federal government contributed $750,000 last year, or will they be continued under agreements for the present year? How much of the $750,000 allocated to these fifteen projects was expended last year?
Answering the several questions in order, first, I may say to my hon. friend that where works which were definitely set out in the schedule to the agreement with a province are not completed during the period of the agreement, it has been the practice to provide a revote to cover the continuation of the actual projects if the province requests that this be done. In answer to the second question, I have here a statement of the actual expenditures made by the dominion under the joint agreement with the province of British Columbia up to March 31, 1937. The total is $520,275.57, In addition there are accounts, now being examined, to an amount of $75,000. This makes a total of accounts payable to the amount of $595,275.57.
Will consideration be given, when the minister makes the agreement with the province of Ontario, to the program laid before the government by the mayor and board of control of Toronto for the expenditure of $4,000,000?
I assure my hon. friend that consideration will be given to certain 31111-1781
items of that program. As he is aware, some of them do not relate directly to the Department of Labour. There was, for example, as I recall, a request that there should be a contribution to an airport in Toronto, and that would be dealt with by the Department of Transport.
I recall that deputation from Toronto expressed interest in the improvement of parks and recreational facilities. I have already advised hon. members that it seemed to me there was much to be said in support of the allocation of a certain sum to our larger cities for the purpose of improving parks and recreational facilities. That will b|e done, however, through the provincial governments. I do not contemplate a break in the established practice of dealing with these matters through the provincial governments.
May I ask whether or not in these proposed agreements the matter will be put on thie basis of fifty per cent contribution by the province and fifty per cent contribution by the federal government? I notice that some municipalities are asked to put up one-third, in conjunction with provincial and federal authorities, which seems to be a fair principle. So far the city of Toronto has got nothing out of these agreements of last year, not a five cent piece, and I hope that it will now receive consideration.
I do not think it possible to indicate at this time any precise basis of allocation of funds of the dominion government to works done within a municipality. That would have to be a matter of negotiation with the provincial government concerned. For example my hon. friend referred to the agreement of the past year with the province of Quebec. It is true that certain municipal works were undertaken under the terms of that agreement. At the same time there was no provision in that agreement for contributions by the municipalities concerned. That is, the Quebec government assumed fifty per cent of the cost of the works included in that agreement.
In view of the minister's reply, may I ask him if any new agreements will be entered into so far as British Columbia is concerned for the current year, and
[DOT]what amount will be allocated towards those new projects? If nothing is to be done, it seems to me there remains approximately only $150,000 to complete the grants of last year. Will all that money be allocated to British Columbia, or if not, how much will be made available out of this grant?
There is an amount of $5,500,000 for new projects. It will have to be divided among the various provinces upon a basis of joint contribution for new works. The precise means by which that allocation will be made can hardly be stated at this time. We are very anxious to avoid too great a concentration of dominion contributions in one province as against another. Other departments of government contemplate expenditures during the coming year dealing [DOT]with one aspect or another of relief, so that in making our allocations for the various provinces we shall try to keep it in view that there should be an equitable distribution having regard to the needs of the situation. That will depend also upon our further negotiations with the provincial governments.
Mr. Chairman, with $150,000 remaining from last year's grant, and with Innumerable people along the line of the highway from Banff into West Kootenay and over the summit to the coast, does it not mean that somebody was derelict in not carrying on these operations and continuing these projects, and does British Columbia practically not forfeit the expenditure of that $150,000 on these highways simply because it did not expend the money when so many men were waiting for work and urging that they be employed?
I sought a moment ago to point out that the total of $595,275.57, being payments made to British Columbia to date, included disbursements on accounts received up to March 31, 1937 and the total of accounts being examined and for which payment is asked by April 30 of this year. That does not mean that further accounts may not be receivable for work already done. But where the work has not been completed it has been the practice to revote an amount sufficient for that purpose. I would also point out that weather conditions in the winter will often prevent the completion of a particular project, so that failure of a province to get in its accounts for the entire amount payable by the dominion government does not suggest any laxity of administration.
I have been accustomed to receive proposals for projects from hon. members from all the provinces, and so far as possible consideration is given to those proposals as received. It must be remembered, however, that what we have here is the joint works program. It is necessary that the two governments concerned shall agree; therefore we are to some extent in the hands of the provincial governments which submit to us their highway programs. I am sure the hon. member will understand that there is much to be said in support of that view where expenditures are made on highways. The dominion government has not the knowledge necessary to decide where a particular highway should be placed; the construction of highways has always been a matter under provincial jurisdiction.
I fear the minister has not understood my question. I asked, if the government allocates money to British Columbia for expenditure during the present fiscal year, and an hon. member for British Columbia writes to the Department of Labour and asks what expenditures are being or are to be made, must that member wait until the next session of parliament to be informed? Because that was precisely the situation last year.