May 31, 1939

SC
LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

I do not think so, as far as this department is concerned.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

Does it now include those working at prevailing rates?

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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

As far as the Department of Public Works is concerned.

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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

In the case of

employees of private railway telegraph companies, the principle of seniority is closely adhered to, as it is in all branches of the [Mr. Church.1

railway service. What is the position as it concerns employees in the government telegraph service? Is it always a question of closely following seniority, or is a preference shown for meritorious service? Is it a matter of merit rather than of seniority?

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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

It would be a matter of merit. They are in the same position as the other employees of the department.

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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

So that in the telegraph branch of the government service the factor of seniority is not the one which is considered; a telegraph operator may be advanced to a higher position or transferred to some preferable position simply because of merit and not because of seniority?

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LIB

Item agreed to. Chief architect's branch. Construction, repairs and improvements of public buildings. 528. Nova Scotia. Bridgewater public building-addition (revote $16,500), $21,500. Chester-public building, $20,000. Halifax old post office building-alterations and improvements, $25,000. Halifax public building-repairs, $6,000. Liverpool public building-addition and alterations, $12,500. Lockeport-public building, $20,000. Port Hawkesbury-public building (revote $20,600), $21,500. Springhill public building-alterations and improvements (revote), $13,500. Tatamagouehe-public building, $12,000. Truro-public building, $20,000.


CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Upon looking over this series of items, which covers quite a number of pages, I must say that the minister has my sympathy; notwithstanding the fact that he has consented to such a long list of works and buildings, I am sure he has had to turn down a list about twice the size. I notice that there are 73 projects for Nova Scotia, costing about $1,700,000; 12 for Prince Edward Island, costing somewhat over $400,000; 36 for New Brunswick, totalling over $1,000,000; 153 for Quebec, costing over $5,750,000 ; 94 for Ontario, costing over $6,500,000; 14 for

Manitoba, valued at $225,000; 15 for Saskatchewan, costing $2,098,000. Alberta has the least number of any province, namely 9 projects costing $278,000; and British Columbia has 50, involving over $1,500,000. If the minister had not been on the defensive, the number might have been twice as great, in view of the approaching general election. I am led to inquire how these projects get into the list of works which are to be constructed iby the federal government. In an ordinary township or village council the

Supply-Public IFor&s-Buildings

councillors will sit around a table and discuss whether this or that project is required; if it i3 not necessary they strike it out. It is for that reason, that all over Canada you will find townships which have no debt; on the contrary, they have bonds from which they receive an annual revenue. I have often thought that if we could bring into this House of Commons about twenty-five or thirty township councils and let them run the business, we would reduce the expenditure to about three-fourths of the usual amount. I am not finding any fault with the minister. For a very special reason I have a warm feeling for him and hold him in high regard. Perhaps he is not doing differently from what other ministers of public works did in past years. It has been the system, but I hope the time will come when the estimates of the public works department will be carefully scrutinized by an inter-party committee somewhat after the manner in which these things are done in the old country. In Great Britain there is no such tabling of estimates for public works as we have here. All projects are looked into, and if any are not essential they are not brought into the house at all. But here, I suppose, the minister is compelled almost to stand at his office with a Bren machine gun to keep off the raid which is made from this, that, and the other quarter. One wants a wharf repaired at ten times what the wharf itself is worth; another one wants a building on the wharf; another wants this or that ditch dug or this or that public building erected. I have been in this house for ten sessions, and I have never asked that a dollar be spent in my riding, and I never intend to ask for anything. I do not feel that I am here to ask the government to waste public money on buildings of one kind and another, such as these, the costs for which fill page after page of these estimates. I suppose what has happened at Tweed may have been the result of just being compelled to arrange to spend money in Tweed, in spite of the fact that the town council does not want a new post office; they say that the present post office is all right; they met and passed resolutions against building a new post office. I recognize that it is pretty hard for any minister in charge of a spending department like this one to withstand the onslaught made upon him to spend public money in almost every manner, shape and form. I believe that altogether the estimates contain nineteen pages of appropriations for new public buildings and works.

This is all 1 have to say in that regard. At the present time, in my judgment, the way we handle the estimates of a spending department like this-through no fault of the

minister, I exonerate him

is nothing but a farce. Here we are, voting to-night estimates amounting to I do not know how many millions. Why? We cannot change one. We cannot wipe one out. Many of them should have been eliminated before they came here; all of them should have been carefully scrutinized by an inter-party or independent committee that would thoroughly discuss whether this or that project was necessary. Under our present system the minister is not to blame; as I have said, perhaps he is to be complimented upon the estimates not being twice as numerous as they are.

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Item agreed to. Chief architect's branch. 5SI. Quebec. Armstrong-building for customs and immigration purposes, $20,000. Cabano-public building, $12,000, Disraeli-public building, $15,000. Donnacona-public building, $25,000. Gatineau-public .building, $15,000. Lacolle-customs and immigration building- addition, $8,600. Lennoxville-public building (revote $25,000), $30,000. Louiseville-public building-addition, alterations and improvements (revote $10,000), $15,500. Maisonneuve-public building, $125,000. Montreal, Craig St. drill hall-repairs to walls (revote $75,000), $175,000. Montreal, old post office building-alterations and improvements, $32,000. Montreal-building for Delorimier postal station, $70,000. Mont Laurier public building-addition,



Mont Joli-public building-(revote $12,800), $19,500. Phillipsburg-building for customs and immigration purposes, $30,000. Port Alfred-public building, $15,000. Princeville-public building. $10,000. Pointe au Pic-public building (revote), $10,500. Quebec-postal terminal building-(revote $252,000) (estimated cost $1,108,000), $700,000. Quebec - immigration building - alterations and improvements, $7,500. Quebec Savard park hospital-improvements, $5,700. Rock Island customs and immigration building-addition to site, $20,000. Rosemount-public building (revote $19,500), $39,000. Ste. Eustache-public building, $15,000. St. George de Beauce-public building (revote), $23,500. St. Henri de Lauzon-public building, $12,500. St. Jerome public building-improvements, $6,400. St. Jovite-public building, $12,000. St. Johns-customs building (revote $36,500), $65,000. St. Ours-public building, $15,000. St. Raymond-public building (revote), $9,000. ... . Ste. Scholastique-public building (revote), $13,000. Sayabec-public building, $20,000.



Supply-Public Works-Buildings Sherbrooke-public building (estimated cost $240,000), $75,000. Stanhope-purchase of property for customs purposes, $500. Sutton-public building, $10,000. Thetford Mines-public building (revote $25,000), $75,000. Thurso-public building (revote), $14,500. Trout River customs building-improvements to roadway, $4,500. Warwick-public building, $15,000. Wotton-public building, $16,000.


CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

Why is this amount for a drill hall not placed in the estimates of the Department of National Defence instead of Public Works, and dealt with under the new system of presenting estimates for the defence department?

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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

For a number of years armouries and drill halls were built by the Department of National Defence, but lately, I should say in the last five years, a certain number of drill halls and armouries have been built by the Department of Public Works, while the Department of National Defence would build some others. In the last two years it has been decided that all these buildings should come under the public works department, and last year they were all so dealt with. This year the same course is being followed. The policy was changed a few years ago.

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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacNEIL:

In the national defence

estimates this year a new system was adopted. Certain items were charged to ordinary account and other items to capital account. In what way will the buildings not brought under the public works department be dealt with? Will they be charged to the national defence department?

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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

No. They will be in the same position as the ordinary buildings put up and maintained by the public works department.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I wish to ask the minister one or two questions with reference to item 531. The Postmaster General was asked the other night whose duty it was to decide upon the need for public buildings, and what coordination there was between the Department of Public Works and the Post Office Department. Of course, the same question applies to other buildings for various uses-customs, immigration and certain municipal institutions. The Postmaster General said he had nothing to do with that policy. He intimated that the Minister of Public Works laid down the general policy as to where buildings should be erected, and that this was his duty under section 91 of the British North America Act.

I am not objecting to expenditures in Mont-

real-that city contributes largely to the revenues of the country-but what is the policy of the government with respect to requisitions submitted to the public works department for various buildings? That is my first question. Second, does the - policy of the department recognize necessity from the commercial point of view? Third, what are the revenues derived from these buildings? Fourth, I notice in the estimates for the province of Quebec provision for certain hospital improvements. Again, I am not particularly objecting to these expenditures, but I would point out that in the estimates of the Department of Labour I find similar provision in relation to unemployment. How does it come about that hospitals in Ontario are obliged to depend upon the municipalities for work of this description, while in Quebec and in some other places there is evidently favouritism, on the face of it?

I should like to know what the general policy of the government is in the matter of coordination of programs as between various departments and the Department of Public Works. Does the minister receive recommendations from the chief engineer in Montreal, say, with respect to item 531? If so, would he be good enough to let us know what those requisitions are? Did he receive any applications from federal members? It is quite apparent that Ontario is treated in a different way. Although it contributes enormously to the revenues of the country, we cannot get a nickel for hospitals. We have to depend upon other sources than the government for any work done in connection with these institutions. We have not even a decent post office. The work of the department in Toronto is scattered over a number of buildings. Again, I would ask whether the need for these buildings is carefully considered and whether any attention is paid to the commercial aspect, the revenue derived from the buildings, and so on. It is no wonder we have over-government and over-taxation.

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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

In the particular instances mentioned by the hon. gentleman, requisitions have come to the Department of Public Works from the various departments concerned. The requisition with regard to the postal terminal in Toronto came from the Post Office Department. They contended that the building that had been provided was not large enough to take care of the service in that city. So far as the architecture is concerned, that is a matter for the Department of Public Works, but the necessity must be established by the Post Office Department. The same thing applies to Montreal; the requisition came from the postal authorities in that locality. In the

Supply-Public Works-Buildings

estimates put through a few days ago for the Department of Trade and Commerce, provision was made for a public building for research purposes. That building is required by the Department of Trade and Commerce, but we do not initiate anything. As I say, the need has to be established in a general way by the departments concerned. The Postmaster General was right when he said he had nothing to do with the buildings, meaning the erection of the buildings. As regards the hospital provided for in the province of Quebec, that is an immigration hospital in which immigrants are examined before being admitted into the country. It is not by any means a hospital in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a federal institution for immigration purposes. We have also military hospitals in which returned soldiers are taken care of. The federal government has nothing to do with the maintenance of ordinary hospitals in any locality. As to the main question of the policy of the department in Toronto, Montreal and other places, I repeat, the requisitions come to us from the different departments, and to a certain extent the public works department is the contractor.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

One further question: At the next session will the minister please indicate the revenues from public buildings? I notice an item of $10,500 for a new building. I speak subject to correction, but according to what I read in the blue-book the revenue from that building is only $950. I suggest that next year the minister indicate in brackets after the item the revenue received. Fancy a bank or an insurance company putting up a building to cost $25,000 or $50,000 and producing only $300 to $350 revenue! The Department of Public Works should be run with a commercial aspect, and set the rest of Canada an example. The minister should show- in brackets the revenue expected from each of these buildings. Reading the report of the Postmaster General or of the immigration branch I can find little or no revenue.

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May 31, 1939