March 9, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)


George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. H. BRADBURY (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, when the House rose on Friday night I was drawing attention to the criticisms offered by the hon. junior member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) and the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley). I had remarked upon the temerity of the hon. junior member for Halifax for having challenged this side of the House in the matter of implementing its pre-election pledges. I think that a party with such an unsavory reputation as far as its preelection pledges are concerned ought to hesitate before making any such statement as that which was uttered by the hon. junior member for Halifax. I also criticised the attitude taken by the hon. junior member for Halifax regarding the cutting down of the Estimates for public works; and I wish to quote his words now, and when I do, perhaps what I said on Friday night will be better understood. Speaking of the Estimates of the Public Works Department, the hon. junior member for Halifax said:
Can the Minister of Public Works himself submit to the House any fair defence for his request to Parliament to vote practically $20,000,000 for public works expenditure in 1914-15? I do submit, and in fairness, I think, having: in view the circumstances prevailing- throughout Canada this year, and throughout the world for that matter, that instead of the Governm.nt's asking for an expenditure of $20,000,000 for public works, they
[Mr. Sneaker.1

might have asked for $10,000,000 or less, and, if need be, they might have wiped out altogether expenditures for public works for the next fiscal year. I do not believe that the people of any province of Canada would have objected to the most drastic measures on the part of the Minister of Public Works during the present year and during the next fiscal year in connection with public works expenditure. Many of these projected works were without justification, the necessity for others have at least temporarily passed away by reason of the declining business of the country. Expenditures for these purposes should have been reduced to the minimum this year and next year.
The hon. member for St. John, taking the lead from the hon. junior member for Halifax, follQwed along the same lines. He had been advising my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) to cut down the expenditure on public works. The minister asked him across the floor of the House if he would be willing to have the Estimates cut down for his own county, and his reply was:
I would not be worthy of my position as a member of this House if I did not answer " Yes " to that question. I would not be worthy of the confidence of the people of. my constituency if I were so cowardly that I would. not dare to stand up in my place and give an answer to that question in the affirmative. Therefore I say that in these times of stress and trouble the amount proposed for St. John harbour of $1,500,000 might very well be cut down during this year to $750,000. The work could go on, and a 'great deal of work could be done for that money.
When he was making these observations, I interjected a question across the floor of the House, asking him if it was not wise for the Government of this country to spend money when times were hard to provide work for the working people of this country. His answer was:
That is right, if you have the money in the Treasury. But is this the time to tax the people of this country, when, as I have said every dollar, every cent, they can spare is being given to charity'.
Right here I want to emphasize what I said on Friday night. The artisans and working people of this country are a selfreliant, independent class of people. They are not looking for charity, they do not wish to be pauperized, they want to be provided with work, and it would be an unpatriotic act of this Government, or of any provincial government, or of the authorities in any city in Canada, to follow the advice given by the hon. member for St. John, to reduce their expenditure on public works at this time, if they could possibly secure the money to go on with these works. A more unpatriotic position could
not be taken by hon. gentlemen representing great cities, such as Halifax and St. John, which cities must have thousands of men out of employment, than to ask the Government not only to cut the Estimates, but if necessary to eliminate them altogether and to stop all public works. What position do these hon. gentlemen occupy in connection with. the great organs that represent them in this country? I find on looking over the files that the Toronto Globe discusses this matter. The Globe is the mouthpiece of hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House; in fact, its editor is looked upon as the outside leader. When there is any trouble in this House, we generally find the editor of the Globe-

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Full View