Adam Carr BELL

BELL, The Hon. Adam Carr

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Pictou (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
November 11, 1847
Deceased Date
October 30, 1912
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Carr_Bell
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=59ffa06f-4177-4aef-8f3c-df8d6c63bf2a&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
author, merchant

Parliamentary Career

June 23, 1896 - October 9, 1900
CON
  Pictou (Nova Scotia)
November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
CON
  Pictou (Nova Scotia)
October 23, 1911 - September 29, 1904
CON
  Pictou (Nova Scotia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 81)


July 20, 1904

Mr. BELL.

And his statement is endorsed by my clever friend from South Essex (Mr. Cowan)

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTER-IMPERIAL PREFERENTIAL TRADE-DISMISSAL OF LORD DUNDONALD.
Full View Permalink

July 20, 1904

Mr. BELL.

He will be welcomed in Ottawa in a few days by members of both political parties and the men who will come together to do honour to Lord Dundonald will, in so doing, do honour to themselves. He is now no longer an official of this government ; he is simply a resident in this country who is entitled to honour and distinction because he is one of the brightest and bravest fighters in the British

service and one of those who have done most to add honour and lustre to the British arms. He is a man whom our young men would do well to copy and if he had rem lined in Canada he might have been an inspiration to young Canadians, and might have influenced many of them to rival the deeds of arms that have made Dundonald and his race famous. Lord Dundonald need not feel sad because he has been turned down and gored by the Liberal party. Have Ithey ever treated, any one even in their own ranks any better? What treatment did they accord to the ex-Minister of Public Works (Mr. Tarte) a short time ago ? What treatment did they accord to the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Blair).

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTER-IMPERIAL PREFERENTIAL TRADE-DISMISSAL OF LORD DUNDONALD.
Full View Permalink

July 20, 1904

Mr. BELL.

I point out that every utterance of every hon. member opposite, of every official or quasi official, on the other side of the Atlantic, who could obtain access to the columns of the British press, is directed towards the effort to injure the Conservative party in connection with this matter. Is the Conservative party responsible for Preston ? Is the Conservative party responsible for Lemieux ? Is the Conservative party responsible for Tas-chereau ? Is the Conservative party responsible for Sir Frederick Borden, who gets up here and sneers at the title of Lord Dundonald ? In every respect, in every point of this inatter in which anything like an attempt has been made to arouse feeling, the charge can be successfully made against the Liberal party and its leaders in this House.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTER-IMPERIAL PREFERENTIAL TRADE-DISMISSAL OF LORD DUNDONALD.
Full View Permalink

July 13, 1904

Mr. A. C. BELL.

While there is not much disposition on the part of the government to treat this matter as one of sufficient importance to discuss it on this occasion, still there can be no doubt that in the opinion of the people of the country generally the Auditor General is the most useful official of the country. He is the gentleman who was spoken of as a very important official in the years when the Conservatives were in power, when this matter was discussed by leading and prominent members of the Liberal party, then in opposition. They said that he had an onerous duty to perform when he had the supervision of expenditure of probably $40,000,000. The importance of this proposition was emphasized by Liberal speakers at that time on account of the large amount of money in question. If that was a good argument previous to 1S96, it is manifestly much stronger to-day because now the expenditure of the country is almost double that expenditure of $40,000,000, and while it is true that the members of the administration to-day are disposed not to treat this discussion very seriously, but simply to pass it over, following apparently the line taken by the Minister of Finance in connection with it, that party did treat it seriously during the years when they were in opposition. I find that in 1895 the Hon. David Mills devoted a large part of a day in parliament to a resolution moved on a motion to go into supply, to a discussion of this matter.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   J. L. McDOUGALL,
Full View Permalink

July 13, 1904

Mr. BELL.

It does not seem to be included in the discussion in ' Hansard.' The discussion occurs at page 240S of the ' Hansard ' of 1895. On that occasion, I am bound to say, a different phase of the subject was treated. The point at issue then was an application of the Auditor General to the government and to parliament for assistance and relief. On that occasion, as nearly as I can gather from the speeches, the Auditor General was rather pleading for increased remuneration for his officials and increased power of control over the officials of his department. Therefore the discussion on that occasion was not by any means on all fours with this, but still it is evident from Mr. Mills's speech that he regarded this -official as being one of the [DOT]most important appointed by the govern-

ment of Canada. Ho presses particularly upon the attention of the House the fact referred to over and over again that the Auditor General is not at all an official of the government of Canada, but an official of the parliament and of the people of Canada. Mr. Mills in this discussion called attention to the fact that the duties of the Auditor General are twofold ; first, that he conducts an administrative audit in the interests of the people. That is to say, not only does he see that the various appropriations are so expended and accounted for and justified by voucher as to protect the administration, but he also sees that the government of the day uses these appropriations for the purposes for which they are voted by parliament so that there can be no question at all that on that occasion the Liberal party, as represented by Mr. Mills, gave a great deal of prominence to this feature of the case, that the Auditor General is to a certain extent exercising a supervision and control over the administration and for that reason it is urged in the course of that speech and elsewhere that that official should receive the most thorough and unlimited support from the parliament of Canada. In so far as this matter has been treated by the government on this occasion they have apparently made up their minds not to consider it very fully at this time. They have urged in the fitst place through the Finance Minister, as a reason for not considering it, that the time is not opportune, that the matter is brought to the notice of the House at a time when parliament has practically reached the conclusion of its business for this year. To my mind that cannot possibly be the reason why the government has decided not to come to the assistance of the Auditor General in this matter. If it were, it would involve our assenting to the proposition that they had no knowledge of this application of "the Auditor General until this matter was brought to their attention by the opposition. That, this House and the country know, is not the case. The Auditor General during every year, as is set forth at great length in the pages of his report, has been engaged in constant controversy with the government of the day, and so far as my reading has gone I must say, uniformly, in every case in which the Auditor General has felt it his duty to differ in opinion as to the appropriations made to the government, the government, relying on and using the authority of the Treasury Board, has overruled the Auditor General. I do not believe that any one in this House, particularly on this side of the House, is disposed to differ from the view laid down by the Finance Minister in so far as they will not consent for one moment to allow the Auditor General to assume the function of deciding the policy of this country. We are not disposed to part with one jot or title or particle of

that system which we have inherited, adopted and developed in this country under which every portion of the expenditure made by Canada must be made upon the authority of the government of the day. We do not for one moment contemplate nor see how it would be possible, or how any reasonable man for a moment could consider, that the functions of the government of Canada should be devolved upon any official, Auditor General or any one else, and therefore we, I think, are entirely at one with the government in insisting that nothing should be done to deprive the government of the day of any of its constitutional rights or powers. We look upon the responsibility of ministers to parliament and through them to the people as the basis of the system which we have inherited, which we have worked under in the past and which we must continue to work under. We do not -want any suggestions to come from the government side of the House that we are endeavouring in any way to interfere with constitutional practice. I do not think it would be possible for the minister to make it appear plain that the Auditor General, in the request he is making of the people of Canada-for he is appealing to the whole people of Canada-is asking them to give him the power of taking the government by the throat when he might see fit to do so, or to make him a final court of appeal to say when the government is doing right and when it is doing wrong. I do not think that the Auditor General has any such idea in his mind and if he had he would find no support for it on this side of the House.

I believe that the desire of the Auditor General would be to a large extent gratified by some such measure as that which has been outlined by the leader of the opposition today. The Auditor General thinks that under certain circumstances which come under his cognizance in a way to lead him to believe there has been an improvident bargain, he should be fortified to the extent that he could bring to his assistance a mode of investigation by which he could prepare himself to submit to the administration through the Minister of Finance, reasons which might induce the government to correct the defects in any contract. I do not think anything could be more appropriate for that "purpose than a reference to the Exchequer Court or to some other court in which information of a conclusive character could be derived from the examination of witnesses. There is at present in our system no means by which, if the administration of the day is disposed to be careless or prejudiced in favour of a contract, the Auditor General can make such an inquisition as would be necessary to bring before the government such information as might induce them to change their minds. We know that the people of this

country cannot have any first hand knowledge of such disputed questions, and that indeed it is hard for members of parliament to make discoveries in reference to such, because the report of the Auditor General is only in their hands twelve months or more after the transactions have been discovered. It seems to me that it would not at all be adverse to the principle of constitutional government and it would not be prejudicial to honest and economic administration in this country, if some provision were made by which the Auditor General might for a short time suspend the operation of a contract or the payment of an account until he could ascertain by some judicial process such information as would enable him to submit to the government a complete statement of his views, and of the grounds which might induce the administration to change their minds. While it may not have been intended, yet there is something disingenuous in the argument of the Minister of Finance, who does not consider the question at all, but who at once appeals to that strong sentiment in the House and in the country, which is opposed to any change which would deprive us of that system of ministerial responsibility upon which *we rest, and.must rest in this country. The Minister of Finance was simply begging the question. While I do not wish to pursue him into a detailed consideration of the Davis contract, out of the consideration of which probably this question has come to the surface, still, even in that case I would almost seem inclined to think that the Minister of Finance might find that there were some reasons which would make it advantageous to the administration to have the Auditor General, who stands between them and these persons to whom the money of the country is being paid, strengthened in his position. I should think that might be done not only in the public interest, but also for the comfort and convenience of the government itself. No harm could result by any extension of the powers of the Auditor General which stop short of confiding in him any authority superior to that of parliament, or of the ministry which parliament for the time being sustains in power. It would seem that the government would lia\ e done well if they liad copied the example of preceding administrations which have over and over again amended the Audit Act, and which have shown a disposition to strengthen the hands of the Auditor General in every constitutional manner. I would advise that this matter be treated not too lightly, because it is absolutely important for this administration and for succeeding administrations, that the people of Canada should know that the administration desires to have as sweeping an investigation as possible into the public accounts which any properly authorized ofll-cial like the Auditor General may insti-Mr. BELL.

tute. I was sorry to hear in the course of the discussion reference made to the suspicious character of the negotiations and contracts between Mr. Davis and succeeding governments in Canada. If such insinuations were made in the report of the Auditor General it was very unfortunate. It is most important that we should always extend to administrations in this country that generous treatment which we are disposed to extend even to criminals, and to believe them innocent until they are proven guilty.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE AUDITOR GENERAL.
Subtopic:   J. L. McDOUGALL,
Full View Permalink