May 23, 1919 (13th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)


Even if it were, I entirely agree with the suggestion of my hon. friend that it is a pretty risky business to go into it. I think I ought to take this occasion to remark that it is astounding the demands that have been made upon the Federal Government, since the armistice was signed, for the expenditure of public money on all sorts of schemes. I sometimes admire the ingenuity of the men who conceive these projects. I believe I have been asked during the last four or five months to spend one hundred million dollars in all sorts of undertakings. Every day sees its quota. I think to-day is one of the small days, but the amount is pretty nearly a million. We are being asked to-day to spend money for works that would not have
fMr. Fielding.] *
been thought of five or six years ago. The only explanation I can offer is that in the last four and-a-half years the Government has been spending tremendous sums and has been practically the paymaster for the country. People have been selling goods to the Government and receiving cheques and have not had to look after anything, and they have got the idea that the Government ought to act as paymaster. I do think that the people must have a notion that in some way we turn a crank at Ottawa and grind out notes, or that we have an inexhaustible vault filled with gold and all we have to do is to dig down with a dipper dredge and scoop it up. There must be some such conception on the part of the people or they would not make the demands they make on the Government. I am getting away from the subject of interprovincial bridges, however. I do not know where we are going to land if some one does not apply the brakes and if we do not get down to sound business principles and declare that we will not expend money except on certain really necessary public works.

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