March 20, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)

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The MINISTER OF TRADE AND COMMERCE.

The hon. gentleman has not quoted me correctly. As a mere matter of personal opinion, I do not object to state that I have not altered my opinion which I have expressed several times to the effect- not that I think we should follow the American system-but that I greatly prefer the English system. Speaking academically, of course, I would rather have the number of cabinet ministers reduced and have a very much larger number of junior officials similar to the under secretaries of state. Theoretically considered, I think that that is a far better system than the one we have fallen into. It is scarcely worth while at this time of day to recall the reasons which compelled us to inaugurate the present system at the time of confederation. They were political rather than reasons of business. My experience has confirmed me in the view that if we were free to act-which unfortunately we were not-it would have been better for all of us if we had a number of under secretaries and a more moderate number of cabinet ministers. That is my individual opinion and the hon. gentleman is welcome to it.

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