Might I add a word of comment on the first part of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen)? He said that it is an affront to parliament and the Canadian people to bring down estimates of this character at this late stage. I wonder if the word "effrontery" is a matter of parliamentary privilege. I am afraid it is not, and therefore I shall have to substitute a more moderate word. If I were not so familiar with the methods of my right hon. friend in dealing with public questions in this House, I would be amazed at the audacity of the statement he made to-day. The right hon. gentleman waxed indignant in the words he uttered to-day, and he repeated what he said a few days before in the evening when these estimates came down. 'He said "I
Supply-Harbours and Rivers
would like the minister to tell where in the history of Canada"-a pretty large story- "estimates of that magnitude were ever brought down in the last week of the session." If my right hon. friend had been here last night, he would have had the information which he apparently had neglected to obtain. He is indignant because we in these last days of the session have brought down estimates of $15,000,000. In the last session of the government of my right hon. friend, the session of 1921, and in the last week of that session, to use the very words he used, they brought down estimates of $23,000,000. At that time the Main Estimates were not all through the House, but that point is not important. According to the records, the message was brought down on a Monday, but, as a matter of fact, it was brought down in the email hours of Tuesday morning, according to my information, and the House prorogued on Saturday. They used all the machinery to Growd those estimates through the House. What can the country think of the right hon. gentleman who, in parliament, is virtuously indignant because we bring down estimates amounting to $15,000,000, and who challenges anybody to show anything of the kind in the history of Canada, when the record shows that he brought down in the last week of the session of 1921 estimates amounting to $23,000,000. It is things like this which prevent the public from having confidence in the statements of the right hon. gentleman. It is his utterly reckless manner of discussing public affairs which has tended to discredit him and to put him in the position which he now occupies.
Let me again repeat what the Prime Minister (Mr. Makenzie King) said the other day. There is no desire to rush these estimates through. If this House desires time to consider them, time shall be given, so far as the government is concerned. There will be no closure to crowd these estimates through, there will 'be no coercion-nothing that is not consistent with the principles of sound parliamentary government and free discussion. But when the right hon. gentleman indignantly challenges anyone to show when, in the history of all Canada, a government had brought down estimates of this magnitude in the last week of a session, and I point out the fact that, in the last week of the session of 1921, he brought down estimates amounting to $23,000,000, I think the right hon. gentleman will come to the conclusion that, perhaps, he had better think before he speaks.
Topic: HARBOURS AND RIVERS