February 2, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)

CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

In referring to the expert employed in the case of the investigation in reference to telegraphs and telephones, my hon. friend is somewhat unfortunate. That was a case in which, it is true, we employed an expert, and a great deal of time of the members of this House was taken up in order to ascertain facts which were supposed to be useful to parliament and to the country. But unfortunately no use was made of that, the government remained absolutely idle for two or three years, and when the matter was brought up and discussed in the House, the government saw fit to put up one or two of their well known defenders to make statements which were not justified by the facts, and which were not justified by subsequent investigation. If the action of my hon. friend is on the same line of obtaining expert assistance, and then not availing himself of it, or rather perverting it to improper purposes, it would be unfortunate. For my part, I am of opinion, and have often expressed myself to that effect in the House, that we are far too prone to employ others to do work that we should do ourselves. That remark applies distinctly to this new department of the government, the Department of Labour. It is realized by members of this House, I think, and by the country generally, that this department, at all events, has not too much work to do. It is well understood in the country, and is emphasized by the press, that the peculiar functions assigned to the Minister of Labour have not been very efficiently discharged, in some respects, by that gentleman, and the prediction of the good results that would follow the constitution of a Department of Labour, have not been verified. I think it would be better for the departments to familiarize themselves with the work they have in hand, and to enable members of this House to familiarize themselves with the conditions of tne country, by appointing special committees to investigate these matters as far as possible at first hand, than to allow this system to creep in of employing experts, royal commissions, and so forth, to do the work which we could well do ourselves. I see the Prime Minister is in his place and an apt illustration of that will come up later on in the case of the appointment of the special Commission for the Conservation of our Natural Eesources. When that proposal was introduced into this House we were told that it would only cost a matter of 92
$20,000 a year or less. I find that the chairman of that commission is about to apply to parliament for a vote of $50,000 for the year's work of the commission. The matter of money is of little account, comparatively speaking, but I called it to the attention of the Prime Minister at the time that we were, by relegating these duties to outsiders, preventing ourselves from obtaining that familiarity with the resources of the country which we require in order to be in a position to prevent these resources from being raided.
I venture to make the statement that much of the information acquired by the commission will be utilized for the purpose of enabling those in close touch with the government to make raids upon the natural resources of this country and to utilize them to their own advantage. At the present moment we have some evidence that information which is being _ obtained by the commission is being exploited by members of this House, and i3 being turned to their own advantage. It will be a surprise to the country, or to me at all events, if it turns out that much of the money we are spending for the purpose of gathering information and collecting it with reference to our natural resources will not really be used for the purpose of enriching and aggrandizing certain persons. [DOT]

Topic:   HOURS OF LABOUR ON PUBLIC WORKS
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