April 2, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)

LIB

Paul-Arthur Séguin

Liberal

Mr. P. A. SEGUIN (L'Assomption).

(Translation.) I do not intend giving a silent vote on the amendment which is now before the House; but I shall be short. I wonder why the hon. member for St. Anne's has introduced a motion on those lines. He proposes that an inquiry be carried on concerning all the departments, because the inquiry relating to the Marine Department has brought to light certain frauds, certain extortions already condemned by the Liberal party.
I do not wish to fritter away the time of the House; however, as a young member, I must say that I was really surprised to hear old members, who have occupied seats in this House for several years, or even members who have been entrusted in years past with the administration of justice, suggest into the various departments, inquiries entailing heavy expenditures, without having any idea of the outcome of such inquiries.
I am perfectly satisfied that the policy adopted by the Minister of Marine is absolutely correct. He has thought fit as a result of the Cassels inquiry to dismiss some of the men and to superannuate others. I must say that some of his followers have possibly disapproved that jxdicy to a certain extent. We were of opinion, especially if yielding to the impulse of youth, that some of the officers who have been superannuated, might have been dismissed purely and simply. We considered that some of the worse cases of extortion were attributable to officers who have been kept on through condescension, through the good-heartedness of the Liberal ministers, and among others the Minister of Marine and Fisheries who Mr. EDWARDS.
wished in that way to give fair play to the appointees of the old regime.
Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to detain the House very long. I am bound to say that the Minister of Marine has acted with all the earnestness that might_ have been expected in starting this inquiry, that he has followed it up with unrelenting zeal, and has meted out punishment to the guilty men. I shall vote against the motion of the hon. member for St. Anne's, because it strikes me rather as a pretext for empty talk, as a means of making political capital, as an attempt at slandering our government. We are interested in maintaining in power the honest government which we have since 1896. I shall not detain the House any longer at this late hour of the night. However, I must add that the carrying on of an inquiry into any of the departments would not satisfy the opposition, and particularly those who, while holding here a mandate as members of the House of Commons, are at the same time pensioners of the state.
We have a duty to fulfil here, it is to administer the public funds in such a way that every dollar expended may accrue to the benefit of the state. Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied that if further inquiries were granted, the net result would be the condemnation of friends of hon. gentlemen on the other side, who were appointed while these gentlemen were in power. Those who are in favour of a general inquiry have not shown that we would be justifiable in spending such a large sum of money as an inquiry of the kind would entail. _
I know moreover that the inquiry which has been carried through will cause the ministers to keep their eyes open, and that some day or other we shall witness the disappearance from the service of those people who are there only for the purpose of intriguing in the interest of persons oc-cuping seats on the opposition side.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE MARINE AND FISHERIES DEPARTMENT.
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