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

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Th MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I think I owe it to the hon. member for Jacques Cartier to tell him something that occurred during his temporary absence from the House, while the leader of the opposition and the hon. member for East York gave ns their views upon the necessity of carrying on the work by the government, and without any intervention of a commission. Their chief objection was that the government are going to shelter themselves behind this commission. What we wanted, they said, was not a commission at all; they wanted the government to do the work. Well, there is some degree of responsibility in this commission, because, as my hon. friend says, it will be appointed by the government and removable by the government. So there is government responsibility. But during the absence of my hon. friend- perhaps because he was absent-the hon. member for East York went on to explain that the attempt to carry cn the public expenditure through bodies which were not responsible to parliament, was a violation of all constitutional principles, and of the good old fashioned rule. Now, our commission will have a responsibility to government, and through the government to parliament. My hon. friend wants the commission-if he wants it at all, I am afraid he does not, at all events he says he won't move-he wants a commission which *will have all the independence of a judge. Let me tell him that -when he is teaching constitutional law' down there I am afraid, if he will permit me to advise him. that he will have to go a little further than the mere abstract theory, and he will have to Mr. MONK.
teach that this responsibility of judges to parliament is very largely a dream, because wTe know that practically there is no responsibility. There are judges who are neglecting their duties, there are judges who are too old, there are judges who are ill, and there are judges who are not performing their duties, and every man in this parliament knows it.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
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