February 23, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)


William Price

Conservative (1867-1942)


I really feel very sorry for the Minister of Public Works, because last Friday he informed us that he was not satisfied with this expenditure himself, but that he could not help it because the estimates had evidently been made under his predecessor. This discussion is rather hard on the Minister of Public Works, because we know from the speech he has made in this House, that he takes the greatest care of the money of this country. Not long ago there was a resolution before this House, introduced by the hon. member for Grenville (Mr. J. D. Reid) in regard to the opening of tenders, and the Minister of Public Works told us then how carefully he would supervise the opening of tenders and what his subordinates would do. Here is one of those cases. These tenders may have been opened quite properly, but it appears to me that there is an appearance of collusion on the part of the tenderers. Here are sixteen houses built in two terraces, each house, without heating or lighting, costing roughly $5,000. Anybody who knows anything about the building of houses knows-he need not be a contractor-that $5,000 for that kind of house is simply absurd. Moreover, the cost of heating and electric lighting for these houses practically amounts to $2,000 per house. In other words, these houses are costing $7,000 apiece, and I believe we have not heard the end of them. I believe that next year we shall have a further item in the estimates, one for extras. It seems to me that estimates and tenders do not really amount to much, because there are always extras, and under the present regime what do extras mean? They mean a great addition to the cost, from the little I have seen. I want to say strongly here that the expenditure of $7,000 each for these houses, making up a total expenditure of $112,000, is a disgrace. It is something the govern-Mr. CROSBY.
ment ought to be ashamed of. I think that in future they should look better after the expenditure of the people's money. We do not want to obstruct or impede these estimates, and if we felt that the people's money were being properly expended, there would be very little opposition to them. Nearly all the opposition to the government is due to the fact that we feel that the money of the people of Canada is not being properly expended. It is time for a change in this respect, and, by Jove, if there is not, you will see that your party will be out the next time.

Full View