Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture) moved that the house go into committee at the next sitting to consider the following resolution:
That it is expedient to introduce a bill to amend the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act by empowering the minister, subject to the advice and representations of the advisory committees, to undertake certain minor rehabilitation projects and Schemes and enter into agreements with respect thereto, provided that if the total amount to be expended under any such single
project or scheme exceeds five thousand dollars in any fiscal year the approval of the governor in council shall be required; also to authorize the minister to pay administrative expenses and travelling and living expenses of officials and employees.
He said: Mr. Speaker, the amendments which are to be contained in the bill which will be based upon this resolution give the minister authority in respect of schemes and projects involving expenditures of less than $5,000; and beyond that amount the authority of the governor in council is required. This procedure is similar to that already provided in section 12 (1) of the act, with respect to the purchase or rental of equipment. Similarly the minister is given authority to pay administrative and travelling expenses, which were not hitherto provided for. Those travelling expenses and administrative costs have been paid, but it is contended by the auditor general that the act does not contain specific authority for such payments, and this amendment is designed to place that specific authority in the act.
Further, at present the act requires the approval of council for all agreements. In order that council may not be burdened with a multitude of minor agreements, such as those entered into with pasture patrons, illustration station operators, and tenants on irrigation projects, the amendment provides that the authority of council shall not be required unless the expenditure under an agreement is to exceed 35,000 in any one fiscal year. The procedure made possible under these amendments is similar to the practice now followed in respect to all ordinary departmental activities.
His Excellency the Governor General, having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the consideration of the house.
Motion agreed to.