May 22, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)


Byron Moffatt Britton



The proper question for discussion is, whether this government acted rightly in submitting this matter to arbitrators. There was a contract between the Dominion government and the province of Nova Scotia, and if disputes arose in reference to this contract, surely that is a proper subject for arbitration. I rise in order to dissent, and to put on record my dissent, to the propositions laid down, not very strongly indeed, but rather intimated, by the leader of the opposition. He stated that the door is opened to municipalities to claim from the government because of subsidies they have granted. Well, there is no contract between these municipalities and the Dominion government, and, therefore, there is no ground on which they can make a claim against the Dominion government. The leader of the opposition also stated that there is an open door left for a claim for interest, but he rather withdrew' that, although it was repeated by his first lieutenant (Mr. Wallace) and sometimes leader, who sits to his right. I dissent from that proposition as strongly as I can. The whole claim of the province, whatever it may be, wTas referred to the arbitrators, and they have decided on that whole claim. There is a finality in reference to these awards, and in some respects they are even stronger than the decisions of the courts. It seems to me altogether wrong to intimate that there is any chance of Nova Scotia coming back here and claiming interest, Of course, it goes without saying.

that if the Dominion government agreed of Its own accord to refer anew a claim for interest, arbitrators might have the power to deal with it, but no one supposes that when governments have submitted a matter for arbitration and an award has been made, that they are going to make another reference of a claim for interest. It is rather amusing to hear these gentlemen opposite say that they are not opposing this on party grounds, and especially so in the case of the member for Toronto (Mr. Brock). Why, every question is a party question with him.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Full View