Sir HENRY DRAYTON:
My hon. friend is partly right and .partly wrong in connection with the difficulty here. The initial difficulty, as I remember and as I have been able to gather after hastily looking at the file which my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior sent over to me, grew out of the fact that an arrangement had been made for a water supply for the city of New Westminster. This property formed part of the watershed for that supply, and under the usual arrangement as to preserving the purity of water supplies in municipalities, nothing was ever done in regard to this lease. There was a further application in the matter. I think the mis. take my hon. friend refers to in connection with the department lay in the fact that some time in 1910 an order in council was passed setting aside the whole of that territory, overlooking entirely the fact that this particular berth had been leased. There also appears to have been an arrangement in the first instance entered into between the Hon. Frank Oliver, when he was Minister of the Interior, and the municipal authorities in connection with the water supply, which was later amplified, confirmed and carried perhaps a little further. As to that I do not know, because I have not been able to find the original papers, but I gather from the file that it was confirmed and adopted by Dr. Roche when he was Minister of the Interior. My difficulty to-day is that I cannot say now whether or not this vote should pass. It is impossible for the members of the House or for the minister really to acquaint themselves with the story of this whole transaction in the dying days of the session. It is another instance of one of those things which ought not to be done-the resurrection of old claims and their presentation in the dying days of the session. Two sessions ago we had some pretty good examples of this, and we had considerable discussion in cases where old claims were presented which were without legal authority, and settled without any proper investigation. My protest in the first instance is against the continued practice of
bringing down claims of this character under circumstances that give po proper opportunity fcr consideration and discussion. My hon. friend himself, in the way in which he introduced it, has not covered the case at all. He has given us no more than a bird's eye view of a long, complicated situation. He has given us a small sketch of the memorandum he had in front of him, and this memorandum is only fragmentary as compared with what the files show. In the first place I point out that this matter starts in 1907. In 1907 this particular berth, No. 507, was put up for sale by tender and it was acquired for the sum of $43,344. The matter rests there until in May 1909 the berth is assigned to the present claimants, Messrs Irwin and Hall. The file disclosed different things in connection with the berth. It discloses for example that the deal was an unfortunate one, that the ground was of such a character, so broken up and so rough, that the timber was not worth anything on account of the expense which would be entailed in lumbering operations. I do not know of course whether those statements are correct or not.