September 15, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)


This is the first time I have seen the Minister of Finance get a little angry, and when he gets angry he takes our position seriously. Last evening he brushed aside the leader of the opposition for having offered some amendments, and the same with the hon. member for Hamilton (Mr. Barker). Those hon. gentlemen were serious enough, but the acting Minister of Railways brushed them aside as if they were so much trash. But to-day he seems to be more serious because he is getting angry. I will tell my right hon. friend this, that the position I take, and which I think has been taken by other members of this committee, is perfectly clear. We object to paying $100,000 to a commission of men who will be entirely dependent on the government. I say if the government are going to do the work that way through the commission, they might as well do it themselves.

But if they will give to that commission a character of independence, a character which is given in England to the judges, and which is held here by our Auditor General, a character of permanency during good conduct, and subject to dismissal only upon an address of both Houses of parliament, then I will vote for that large expenditure. Their tenure of office will then be totally different, and I will be prepared to agree to that expenditure, because the myth which the right hon. gentleman held up at the commencement of our examination of this Bill, that this project was only going to cost $13,000,000, has disappeared, we do not hear of it any more. It is going to cost $100,000,000. That is one-third of the present debt of the country ; but if it costs us $50,000,000 or $60,000,000, and that expenditure is put in charge of three independent men in the service of the government, revocable at will, then I think the money we pay them will be well spent. Now, what is the use of moving an amendment ? If the opposition were to make a motion of the nature mentioned by the right hon. gentleman, it would be brushed aside by the acting Minister of Railways and Canals, who has now recovered his good humour.

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