that have been entrusted with our affairs that they come down to us and ask for* an expenditure of $38,000,000 a year for federal purposes. Sir, the thing is utterly unjustifiable.
I could go on reading pledge after pledge made by these hon. gentlemen to reduce the public expenditures of this country. I hold, Mr. Speaker, that a public pledge given by party leaders to the people of this country on the verge of an election is just as sacred and should be lived up to just as carefully and as scrupulously as a promise or pledge given in any business transaction.
But what has been the record of hon. gentlemen opposite on this question? In 1897, the first year in which the right hon. gentleman who to-day leads the Opposition, was responsible to the people in this country, the current expenditure was $38,349,760. That is the amount at which the right hon. gentleman found the expenditures of the country when he took office. The capital expenditure was $3,523,000, which makes'a total of $41,872,760. In 1902, five years afterwards, the Liberal Administration, with its promise to the people to reduce expenditures still warm on its lips, had increased the current expenditure to $50,759,392, and the capital expenditure to $10,078,638 or the total to $60,838,030. The expenditures still kept going up until 1911. It was a growing time, and the Liberal party was spending the people's money like a drunken sailor throwing away his money recklessly. In 1911 the current expenditure had risen to $87,000,000, and the capital expenditure to $35,000,000, or to a total of $122,000,000. But in 1912, the current expenditure for which the late Government was responsible, had risen to $109,000,000, and the capital expenditure to $46,000,000, or to the total of $155,000,000. Yet hon. gentlemen opposite criticise Conservative ministers for having brought down an estimated current expenditure for this year of $140,000,000. This is the record of the Liberal party as to the manner in which it has implemented its pledge to reduce the expenditures of this country.
I would like for a moment to draw the attention of the House to the percentage of increase in expenditure. The total disbursements under the late Government increased by 178 per cent in the fifteen years it was in office. The increase per head was 85 per cent. Let me give a ten-year record, which is worth placing on Hansard. The ten-year record of expenditure under the Conservative party previous to 1896 shows that it had expended on public works in this country $423,358,000; whereas the late
Government, pledged to reduce the expenditures, during the ten years after it had. come into office, had spent $919,748,517, or an increase of $496,390,517. The per capita expenditure in 1896 was $8.80, and in 1911, $16.40, just double what they found it on assuming office-
This is the record of the Liberal party, showing how it implemented its pledge that if returned to office it would reduce the public expenditures. I do not know that I should have taken up even ia moment of the time of the House in reviewing tbjs question-for the people are thoroughly conversant with it-had it not been for the taunt thrown across the floor, the charge made that the party now in power deserves censure for not having implemented its pre-election pledges. -
Subtopic: PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.