April 25, 1938

SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I think there is a simple explanation. The Department of Transport, my hon. friend will recall, is made up of two full departments and some offshoots from a third. As far as the inventory filed by the auditor general is concerned, it represents the cost of various properties. No depreciation is charged in the government books. If a dredge was bought in 1900-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

Just one second-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I am not sure of the explanation, but I think it is this, that the auditor general in earlier years had an appraisal of one branch of the department. Of course, the department of railways had almost as much floating equipment as the department of marine, and the civil aviation branch of the Department of National Defence also has a considerable inventory of equipment. I assume the explanation is that the revised inventory of the Department of Transport was furnished to the auditor general in time for the statement. It could not have been filed much earlier because the department was put together not much over a year ago.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

The minister says that he does not know or that possibly he cannot give a satisfactory explanation. Perhaps I can help him-. The explanation is that there never was any inventory made of this particular equipment on hand prior to 1936. That is why I say that the taxpayers' money is permitted to lie about in property and equipment at the Sorel shipyards without a proper inventory being supplied to the auditor general, who is responsible for accounting to parliament for all of the goods on hand which belong to the Canadian people.

The minister also said that it was a question of making an inventory based on the original cost, and then deducting the depreciation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I said the government did not depreciate its equipment.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

I am glad of the correction.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

That is not a correction. That is what he said.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink
SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

I am glad the minister repeated his statement because it makes my point all the stronger. If that is the case, the

2250 COMMONS

Supply-Transport-St. Lawrence Dredging

true valuation was placed on the equipment at the Sorel shipyards in 1936 because, as the minister says, it was the first inventory that had ever been reported to the auditor general. He accounted for $7,872,007.01 of this increase in the inventory I am talking about. The same thing happened in the Quebec agency, with the result that altogther there has been a vast increase in the amount of money represented in the holdings at the Sorel shipyards, the Quebec agency and the St. Lawrence ship channel.

But the question of valuation is only one part of the item under discussion this evening. The minister maintains that the true valuation is the one given to him by the Canadian Appraisal Company, and I say that just five months prior to that his own officers in his department for the first time made a valuation of certain properties which exceeded the valuation placed upon them by the Canadian Appraisal Company by something like ten million dollars. Inasmuch as this was the first time an inventory was taken, I would like the minister to explain just how that difference occurred. Surely it cannot be said that that amount of depreciation took place over a period of four months. Certainly that is hard to believe.

In order to show quite clearly that the Canadian Appraisal Company's valuation is not a true one, let me take simply the industrial site covered by the Sorel shipyards. I have under my hand a copy of the valuation placed on that particular property by the Canadian Appraisal Company, and I find that they appraise the land, including wharves, railway sidings, paving, fences and drainage at $60,000, and buildings and other structures at $125,789. In the town of Sorel we find that that property, though it does not produce any revenue, is carried on the assessment rolls at 81,000,000. Yet the Canadian Appraisal Company submitted an appraisal of something like $215,000 for property assessed approximately at $1,000,000.

Furthermore, let us consider the cost to the government of this land, in order to try to ascertain its true value. The Canadian government has purchased this land from various individuals and the records show how much has been paid for this land per square foot. It is almost eleven o'clock, Mr. Chairman, and I have a good deal more to say.

Item stands.

Progress reported.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Permalink

At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Tuesday, April 26, 1938


April 25, 1938