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


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative


The right hon. gentleman is taunting me to-day with upholding Liberal doctrines and it seems to me that I am the only one in this House who stands up for wliat was preached years ago by lion, gentlemen opposite. If there is any
doctrine that they preached it was the doctrine of responsible government. Why have two instruments to carry out responsible government in this country ? If we have a responsible government why an irresponsible commission ? Why this unnecessary expenditure ? I stand up -to-day for responsible government. I stand up for holding a minister and the entire government responsible for the administration of this money and for the building of this road. We will have the work better carried out if we have good ministers. If we charge the Minister of Railways and Canals with the duty of directing the expenditure of this money we will then be able to hold the minister responsible and he will not he able to shelter himself behind a commission as be will be in this case. He will not say that this was done under a commission, a commission that can receive instructions, to use a popular phrase, on the side from the government. It will not be a commission that will have power to act independently of the government. It will be a creature of the government. Why have a commission in this case ? I justify the commission that has been established to carry out the administration of the railway law in this country and to regulate the roads. I say the government have done a good thing in bringing in the Bill providing for the creation of that commission this session, but, this is not a similar -commission. This is the creation of a commission to expend public money. If this is to be done in this case why not have a commission to take charge of the expenditure upon canals ? There is to be a large expenditure proposed this session and there will be a large expenditure proposed in the future in connection with the improvements of canals and harbours and if there is any expenditure made by Ibis parliament that cannot he justified it is the expenditure voted this session for certain river and harbour improvements. If we bad a commission above political influence that would administer an expenditure of that kind it would be justified, but it has not been proposed to appoint a commission to supervise this wasteful expenditure that is going on in connection with the harbour and river improvements. The government ought to give us a clear cut declaration whether it is their intention to enlarge tlie expenditure of money by commission. Why do we want all these ministers ? We could do with a less number of ministers if tlie expenditure were entrusted to commissioners. Is it the intention of the government to extend this principle into every department of public expenditure and if so why do they extend it to the expenditure upon canals and harbour improvements where there is to be even as large an expenditure as is proposed in connection with this railway ? Surely we are entitled to have a statement from the government upon that I point.

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