New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly (21 May 1867)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 55-60.
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TUESDAY, MAY 21.
Mr. Smith asked the Provincial Secretary, whether, in accordance with the statement put forth the other day, that the proclamation of Union would issue on the 20th instant. the Government had received any intimation of the fact from England.
Hon. Mr. Tilley said the Government had not received any communication from England on the subject yet. He had promised to reply to the hon. member for Kent (Mr. Cale) with regard to the Fisheries on the North Shore, and would not say, that there were a number of vessels on our coasts—one of which had lately gone from Saint John to Grand Manan—under the direction of the Admiral, which were authorized to see that our Fisheries were protected. He was not informed as to their number, but His Excellency the Administrator of the Government was now in communication with the Admiral of the Station on the subject, and he had no doubt that they would attend to their duty thoroughly.
Mr. Smith enquired if the same arrangement with regard to the licences to American fishermen would be entered into this year as last?
Hon. Mr. Tilley thought that probably the same principle would be continued, but that it was contemplated to advance the rate till measures were taken by the General Parliament.
Mr. Caie asked what privileges the licences conferred upon American fishermen, and if they were allowed to cast their bait close in short.
Hon. Mr. Tilley believed that the taking out of licences put them on the same footing as our own fishermen, but he was not quite sure of the exact privileges conferred.
Mr. Smith said he understood that the licence gave them exactly the same privileges as they enjoyed under the Reciprocity Treaty, and he thought that on examination this would be found to be correct.
SPECIAL DAY FOR ELECTIONS.
Mr. Young moved the House into Committee on a Bill relating to the election of members to serve in the General Assembly, so far as relates to the County of Gloucester.
Mr. Quinton in the Chair.
Mr. Young explained that this Bill had been before a Special Committee, who had reported favorable upon it. It was simply to make it binding on the Sheriff to cause elections to take place on Monday, instead of leaving it to his discretion. Great inconvenience was felt from the course usually pursued and Monday being the day which would interfere less than any other with the duties of the fishermen, it was considered important the change should be made. The Bill provided that elections should take place on the Monday following the day of nomination, but three whole days must intervene between that day and the day for polling.
Hon. Mr. Tilley thought that this was interfering with the privilege of the Sheriff. It had been found very satisfactory to leave the appointment of the day entirely in the Sheriff’s hands, and to deprive him of power which was conferred upon those of every other County might lead to difficulties. Moreover, the Sheriff might appoint Saturday as the day for nomination and then three days notice could not be given, and this would be contrary to the General Election Law.
Mr. Smith said this difficulty could not occur, for the Bill specially provided that three whole days must elapse, consequently the Sheriff could not appoint Saturday for nomination, but must make it Friday. The people of Gloucester were largely fishermen, and it was in their interest the Bill was brought in. They return from their duties on Saturday to go to Church Sunday, and are at home ready for an election on Monday, but if appointed for any other day they have to leave their occupation and return specially for the purpose of voting. So far as the principle was concerned, he thought it quite fair, but he would again ask the Attorney General, as he had asked two or three times before, how far the provisions of the Imperial Act of Union was in force, and if we had the power to legislate upon such questions as these?
Hon. Mr. Fisher had told the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Young) when the Bill was submitted that if it only contemplated the fixing of a certain day, and did not interfere with the other provisions of the Election Law, he would support it. With regard to the question of the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Smith) as to how far the Imperial Act of Union was in force, he could, of course, express his private opinion, and he would say that he thought this Bill did not in any way interfere or conflict with the provisions of that Act. He had now expressed his private opinion on the matter, but the hon. member must know that he ought not to ask any such question. It was evidently done only to bother and annoy him.
Mr. Smith was quite sincere in asking the question, and he was surprised at the remark of the Attorney General. He (Mr. Fisher) had given his private opinion, but it was certainly his duty to give a public and official opinion upon this question. If the Attorney General had not looked into the matter, he should have done so, and been in a position to tell the House when they met just how far that Act extended to our legislation at the present Session. The Attorney General had said that the House could make the change in the law asked for in the Bill, but he (Mr. S) had grave doubts on the matter, for the Imperial Act was based upon our laws as they were at the passage of that Act, and was therefore binding upon up, so far as making an alteration in our laws was concerned. He should not, however, oppose the passing of the Bill, for he believed the change would prove beneficial to the people of Gloucester.
Hon. Mr. Fisher said that if the Bill merely required the Sheriff to appoint a
particular day for the elections, it could certainly pass, without being affected by the Imperial Act. He was not going into a discussion upon the action of the Imperial Act, but he would again say the hon. member ought not to put the question to him. It was his duty as Attorney General, after the Act had passed, to sit down and bring to bear upon it all the past and present knowledge he possessed, and see if according to the Act of Union we at this time have the power to legislate upon it. It was not his duty to express an opinion before the passage of the Bill, but afterwords.
Mr. Smith said this was a most extraordinary proposition. It was certainly the duty of the Crown Officers to advise the House of their opinions upon all legal matters that came before them of an important public character, and not to wait till Bills had passed before expressing that opinion.
The Bill was then agreed to without further discussion.
EXPORT DUTY ON LUMBER
Hon. Mr. Fisher moved the House into Committee on a Bill relating to the Export Duty on Lumber.
Mr. Botsford in the Chair.
Hon. Mr. Fisher.—This is a Bill which is intended to apply after the consummation of Union. It provides that the Export Duty on Lumber, which we retain as a source of special revenue, shall be collected by the officers of Canada, the Government paying them commission on the amounts they collect. If this can be arranged, it will prevent the necessity of appointing local officers for the purpose; but should difficulties arise by their requiring too large a sum for the collection of the duties, then the Government may appoint other officers for the purpose.
Mr. Hibbard.—Do I understand that the amount of Export Duty collected is to be paid into the general revenues of Canada?
Hon. Mr. Fisher.—Oh, no; but that the Deputy Treasures of Canada be employed to collect the amounts at the various ports
Mr. Hibbard.—I am afraid that the employment of these men, all over the country, will consume almost all the duty that is collected. I think that the work should be done with as little expense as possible, and for this purpose one man would be quite able to attend to the whole work.
Hon. Mr. Tilley,—One man could not go all over the country to collect the duties. The deputy Treasurers, when the vessels are cleared, can very well collect the amounts from the parties.
Mr. Hibbard.—If that is the intention I shall not oppose the Bill, but I do think that now we should try every means of cutting down our expenses, instead of adding to them, and I hope the Government will see that the work is done at as small a cost as possible.
Mr. Smith.—I am very happy to say, Mr. Chairman, that I can support the Government on this Bill. I have looked through it, though not very carefully, but sufficiently to see that it will be best to pay a commission to the officers of Canada to collect the duties on Lumber, and pay them over to the proper local officer. That is, we say to the revenue officers appointed by Canada, You now get so much for your duties, which do not occupy the whole of your time; we will give you so much upon the duties you collect, if you will devote say one eighth of your time to our service. And if this arrangement cannot be entered into at a satisfactory rate, then the Government have power to proceed any appoint other officers for the purpose. There is one point, however, to which I wish to call the attention of the Attorney General, and that is, that I think the Bill should show upon its face the title of the Act by which the duties are at present collected.
Hon. Mr. Fisher,—I have no objection to the insertion of the title of the Act, although I do not think it is at all material.
The Bill was then agreed to.
EXPENSES OF DELEGATES.
Mr. Caie.—It is with reluctance I occupy the time of the House in speaking, as I know the anxiety all experience to get through the business and return home, and I am sorry that so much valuable time has been occupied with useless talk already. Still, I consider it a duty I owe myself and my constituents to see, as far as I am able, that the revenues of the Provinces are expended judiciously and economically. Large amounts have been expended since our last Session in delegations, and I now wish to ask the Hon. Provincial Secretary if it is the intention of the Government to submit the papers, showing the amounts paid for this purpose, without the time and formality of an Address
Mr. Smith.—The papers have already been asked for by my colleague, Mr. McQueen
Mr. Caie.—If that is the case, of course I have nothing more to say.
Mr. McQueen.—I gave notice the other day that I should move an Address for a detailed statement of the expenditure for these delegations. I will not ask if it will be given without my pressing the Address?
Hon. Mr. Tilley.—Yes, I have seen the notice on the Order Book, and the papers will be laid before the House.
Mr. Smith.—I wish we could get the items; some of them would be quite amusing.
Hon. Mr. Tilley.—Yes, not doubt of it; and I suppose the hon. member speaks from his experience of delegations.—(Laughter.)
Hon. Mr. Fisher moved the House into Committee on a Bill relating to the Office of Receiver General.
Mr. Botsford in the Chair.
Hon. Mr. Fisher.—The Bill explains itself, but it may be necessary for me to say a few words. After the Union is begun, it will be necessary that we should have some person appointed to receive the Revenues which will be paid to the Province by the General Government of Canada, as well as those collected here, and to pay them out for the purposes required. He will also require an office and a clerk. But as yet it is hard to say exactly what his duties will be, and what emolument he should receive. In six or eight months the House will meet
again; by that time it will be known exactly what is required. and for this purpose the Bill is only intended to be of a temporary character. It may be found necessary to make the office political, but that could be better determined after a short experience. Some have suggested that the name of Treasurer, which we already have would be just as good as this, but as the other Provinces have adopted the title of Receiver General for this officer, we have thought it best to adopt it also. lt was thought best not to make the salary too high at first, and we have therefore put it down not to exceed two thousand dollars a year. It in this respect we may be found to have erred, it can easily be remedied at the end of six months or so. We have put down the Clerk’s salary at (not to exceed) one thousand or twelve hundred dollars.
As I said before, this Bill is only intended to be temporary. and to make provision for the carrying out of the necessary measures at the commencement of the Union, and at the next meeting of the House. When the wants of the country are known in this respect, and what the officer should be, any change can be made. All we now ask is that the House put confidence in the Government for that time with regard to this matter. As to the manner in which the accounts shall be kept, I find that in Nova Scotia, where they have established a similar office. they require that there should be one cash book kept, which is open for the inspection of the members of the Government and Legislature, and that I think is a good arrangement.
The Government is not wedded to the plan which they have here laid down, but are willing to hear any suggestions which hon. members may please to suggest on the subject. The office is here made non-political, and is to be held during the pleasure of the Government. This, I think, is all that is necessary for me to say on the Bill. We only want to have a law so operative that none of the monîes coming to us may be lost, and this Bill is so drawn as to run with the Bill of Union.
Mr. McQueen.—At first I thought this office was intended to be political, but l now find that it is only permissive. If the first intention had been carried out, I should most certainly have opposed it, for we have so many ” Generals” now, that the funds coming to us out of the Union will not be sufficient to satisfy them all. As it is not intended to make the office of Receiver General political, however, I shall offer it no opposition, as it is evident that such an office will be required under the Union.
Mr. Kerr.—I am glad to see the Bill which is in your hand, Mr. Chairman. At first it was intended that the office should be political, and I think it would be very wrong to place all our funds in the hands of a man who at any day is liable to go out of office. For many years our finances have in the hands of a man, who has had the confidence of the whole country, and now that we’ are in a transition state, they should be as far removed from political trials and influences as possible.
The officer to be appointed by this Bill will have to receive the funds remitted from Canadn twice a year, the revenues from our Crown Lands and Export Duty on Lumber, and to pay them out for Bye Road and other appropriations. His duties will be less onerous than those of our present Treasurer, which have been well attended to, and accompanied by heavy responsibilities. That officer has never received more than £500 a year, and with the heavy sureties he has had to provide this sum was not too much. But now I think it might be reduced somewhat. In this connexion, too, I may say that as the number of members in the House will be considerably lessened, we shall he able to get rid of some of the heads of Departments.
In Nova Scotia I find they have combined the offices of the Provincial and Financial Secretaries, and give a salary of £600. The office of Solicitor General is abolished, and the same thing can be done here, for there will be no necessity for two Crown officers. The salary of the Attorney-General can also be reduced. His duties will be much lighter than they have been—the only cases which will occupy his attention are trespasscs on the public domain, attending to crimes and criminals. and the recovery of debts due the Crown. His salary, therefore, can be greatly reduced. In Nova Scotia they have put it down to £400. I merely mention this in connexion with other matters, and shall be glad to see a Bill with this object brought in. There is one thing, however, I think should be inserted in this Bill, and that is. that the Receiver General be required to submit to the House a yearly statement of the funds passing through his hands. If the Bill had been intended to make this office political, it would have been a new feature to require him, as head of a department, to give security for the faithful performance of his duty.
Mr. Lindsay.—I have a little suspicion of creating these new offices. It seems that the duties are to be decreased, but the officers increased, so that the less work there is to do, the more there will be to do it, and be paid for doing it. This morning we passed a Bill to appoint officers to collect our export duties, who are to get a commission for it, and then hand the amounts over to the Receiver, who is to be paid for receiving them. I think that a good many of these offices are more for ornament then use, for I have found that, as a general rule, the clerks do all the work, and the heads of the department get the pay. I don’t think there is any good in having so many men with ” General” after their names. The Treasurer in Saint John now receives the funds which are collected all over the Province, and why can’t he still do it in this case. Why not have all these money matters come into one man’s hands?
We have a Bill now before the House to reduce the representation all over the Province, but that will be useless if so many Generals are to remain on the floors of the House. We don’t know anything about the New Dominion yet, and I think it will be just as well to let the matter stand over, at least till the Imperial Act is placed before us. There is now no need of a Surveyor General, for the clerks in the office can do all the work, and give whatever information is required. We have a Postmaster General, but it is said that the next in command below him is now all astray with his accounts, and he says that it is the fault of the clerks. I don’t see why, when we have so many Generals, things should go so much astray if they were properly looked after.
We shall now want a very large sum of money to put our Roads and Bridges in good order, and the money taken out for the purpose of keeping up the office of Receiver General would materially assist for that purpose. We want to open up new roads and prepare the way for an increased immigration, but we shall not be able to do so unless the expenses are cut off in other directions. I was talking to a Canadian a short time ago, who was down here to buy up wilderness lands; he said that in Canada they could not be obtained under a cost of seven dollars an acre, and I advised him to go to the Crown Land Office and see if he could not buy what he wanted here. The trouble with us is that all our wilderness lands lie on the Eastern side of the river, and cannot be got at except by crossing in a canoe or ferry of some sory
A Member.—I suppose you want to get that bridge put across at Woodstock.
Mr. Lindsay.—Yes, and it cannot be done without money, which, if we go on increasing the public offices, will not be able to be obtained. I therefore think this Bill should be laid over, at least till we have the Imperial Act of Union laid before us.
Mr. Beckwith.—I think, Mr. Chairman, this is a most sensible Bill;
that this is a move in the right direction Perhaps it might have been well for us to have know a little more about the Ottawa matter, but as that is not the question now before us, we will waive all that. Some think that it is an uncalled for expense to create this office and have one man to receive all the provincial funds. But I have found that it is a bad thing to have too many pockets, for in the transferring the money from one to the other there is a great probability of its lessening every time, and hard to find some of it when it is wanted. And so if our revenues were left to be collected all over the Province by a number of officers, we should not be able to tell exactly how things were going on. But with this office everything come into one pocket, and can be got at whenever it is wanted. The office of the Receiver General should be in the neighborhood of the Crown Land Department, where it would be convenient to receive the sums paid in for our public domain. I really do think this is an absolutely necessary office.
I am glad that it is not to be political, for then the officer would have to be engaged in attending to the general business of the country, while his clerks would be left to do the work of the office. With regard to the salary, I am not one that thinks it profitable to cut down the salaries of public officers to the lowest point, for when work is poorly paid for it is frequently poorly done, but I think if the Receiver General receives about sixteen hundred dollars, and his clerk six hundred dollars, it would be about the right thing.
Mr. Hibbard.—I have sat here for some days and heard the murmurings about the Government not doing anything, but I am glad they are now going to work in earnest. I think this Bill is very necessary, and am very happy to give it my support. It is of great importance that there would be one officer to receive all the funds that are coming to us. I do not know whether it is intended that the Receiver General should be a member of the Executive Council or not.
Hon. Mr. Fisher.—No.
Mr. Hibbard.—I am glad of that, for the officer would then be political, and he should be a member of this House, and I think it best that he should stand aside. I think, however, that the office might be combined with that of the Provincial Secretary, for that officer will now have far less duties to perform than heretofore, and if this could be done it would save a good deal of the £400 required for a separate officer. In the State of Maine I think the whole thing is done at a less sum than two thousand dollars, and we have many very efficient men who would be glad to do it for £400, if it is found impractical to merge it in the Provincial Secretary’s office. I think the Government are now working right, and that the Bill is good, and if we can get the work as faithfully performed for £400 it would be a saving of £200 towards some other object.
I do not think the Government are careless of the position in which they leave us, and I fully believe that if we husband our resources under the New Dominion, that there is not a Province of the British Empire that will have more money for local purposes than New Brunswick. But if we go to work and create a lot of offices at large salaries, we shall embarrass ourselves completely for it must be borne in mind that we have nothing to fall back upon, but what we get from Canada and our public domain, and I am sure that, with proper management, our Crown Lands would pay into the general revenues at least three times what they do now, and then be not oppressive to the people of this country. It is evident to my mind that it will be impossible for us to get along without this office, but at the same time let it be as inexpensive as possible, consistent with efficiency.
I hope the Deputy Treasurer at the various ports will be willing to collect our Export Duties at a very small commission, for if we have to appoint other officers all over the Province to attend to that duty, we shall find that it will use up all the receipts from that source. I hope also that the Government will put the salary of this new office down to £400, for there are many good and reliable men who will be willing to faithfully perform the duties of that office for that sum. A clerk can plainly be found for £200, and only one will be required. Under these circumstances I hope the Government will consider the matter and do the very best they can.
Mr. Smith.—That this officer is required, Mr. Chairman, there can be no kind of doubt; but I hope it will satisfy the people of the fact the idea which has continually been put forth that the number of public officers would be reduced , is all a delusion, but that it will rather be increased. If all the Bills about to be introduced, according to the intimations of the Attorney General, are carried, we shall have a great many new officers. We are told that we shall have District Court Judges, Chancellors, and all that, so that, even though many of the officers at present existing may be abolished, we shall have just as many as before. The Postmaster General is to be displaced, but this new office is to be established, so that as fast as they are reduced in one direction they spring up in another.
I perfectly agree with the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Hibbard) that it will be a pity if it cannot be united with some other office, and if it is non-policial I think it might very well be added to the Provincial Secretary’s duties, for the work will be comparatively light. All he will have to do will be to receive the sixty thousand dollars or so for our export Duty, the amounts accruing from our Casual and Territorial Revenue, which will not be large, and the sum we are to receive from Canada under the Act, which I think will be very small indeed. For all the debts contracted and the three million pounds sterling, is a first charge, taking precedence of all others, and must be liquidated before we can get what is promised under the Act; and if there is nothing left we can of course get nothing, for the amounts to come to us are only secondary charges upon the General Government. I agree with my hon. friend from Charlotte too in the opinion that £400 is amply abundant to pay the Receiver General.
The idea at first was to make the office political, and the head of a department, but I find that a great organic change has been effected since it was introduced. I don’t know that it is quite right to take the Bill off the files of the House and later it to suit the changes in the feelings of the Government. That Bill, Mr. Chairman, has never been introduced to the Speaker, in reality, but I am not going to oppose it on that account. I do not believe the Receiver General will require a clerk at all. I know that when I am attending to my own business I work a great deal harder than I ever did in a Government.
Here the Provincial Secretary has been away from his office for many months, but it was found that Mr. Fulton could run the machine just as well when he was away as when at home, and although it is generally thought the Secretary is a dreadfully hard-working man, yet I believe he has frequently to run down to Saint John just to make people think he has plenty to do. It is the same with the other departments; the chief trouble is for the heads to find something to do. In this case I think £400 quite enough, especially as it is not political, for we only pay £600 to the heads of departments, who have to go back to their constituents for election, and it costs that sum to do it—if not in money, at least in trouble and anxiety—and so £400 is infinitely better than £600 as the head of a department. I do not see the necessity of a clerk at all, for the amount we do receive from Canada will come in bulk and the other duties will be very light. I have often heard it said that the Government have too much influence on the floors of the HOuse, and as this Bill is opposed to that principle, and the office will be required, I shall give it my support, but I hope the Government will not
attempt to fill the blank with a larger sum than sixteen hundred dollars.
Mr. Babbit.—I quite agree with all that has been said with regard to the office of Receiver General not being political, and when I heard that it was intended to be so, I tried to get the Bill, but it could not be found. It seems however, that it was taken away to make this most beneficial change. I hope it will be so arranged that this officer will receive not only the amounts coming from Canada. but our own Export Duty. On referring to the Auditor’s Report, I see that large amounts are lying back in the hands of the Deputy Treasurers year after year. That is something I don’t believe in, and I hope this officer will see that the amounts received by them shall be promptly and fully paid up.
I am satisfied that £400 will be an ample salary to pay a man for the duties required of him, and that plenty of good men can be found who would gladly take it at that sum, and ask for no clerk. It is much better to put the sum as small as possible, for it is very easy to increase it if found insufficient; but if it is made large at first, it will be found very difficult to cut it down afterwards. It seems to me that in all these things we are inclined to commence too big. There is, however, one department that I consider is not sufficiently paid, and that is, the Postmasters at some of the larger offices, who, though their duties are much heavier than this officer’s will be, don’t get anywhere near £400, and I therefore think the Receiver General should not get over that sum.
Mr. Chandler.—It is admitted on every side that an office of this kind is necessary, and while the hon. members have been speaking. I have been turning in my mind what salary such an officer should receive. Does the duty require much thought or mental ability? No, sir, it is not an office like that of Attorney General, where large attainments are requisite, but merely one in which transactions of an ordinary kind are carried on, and under these circumstances I think that £400 will be amply sufficient. The country abounds with men who will gladly do the duty for that sum.
Hon. Mr. Fisher.—There is one element in the Bill that I wish to explain The Government do not. want to make a big salary, but the Bill is only of a temporary character, and that question will best be settled at the next Session, when it is known exactly what is required of this officer. After seven months or so the House can decide as to the permanency of the salary at the sum named. If the office were made political it would be worth double the amount than if nonpolitical. But hon. members are astray somewhat with regard to the salaries of United States officials. Why, a short time ago, General Banks was made President of a Railroad, owned by I private Company, with a salary of ten thousand dollars; and a man who had been engaged in I a public office all his life, died a short time ago worth seventy thousand dollars. A friend of mine asked a gentleman there how he had managed to save so much. “Oh,” he replied, “he was very economical.” It is apparent that if the salary they get is small, they are yet able to live well and become wealthy.
Hon. Mr. Wilmot.—I am one that believes the greatest economy should be practiced, with due regard to efficiency. The hon. member for Queen’s (Mr. Babbit has said that plenty of men can be got for £400 a year, and no clerk allowed. Now, even if the Province be reduced to a municipality, I do not think the Receiver General should be paid less than the Chamberlain of the City of Saint John. The Common Council pay Mr. Ruel £400, and he has an office and a clerk allowed him besides. I very much doubt if it would be desirable to have no clerk, for there are many times when persons would want to go to the office when the Receiver General could not be there. When it was proposed to decrease the salaries of the Deputy Treasurers, I opposed it, but it was carried, and what has been the result?
Why since that time there have been very heavy defalcations, which was not the case before. The Receiver General will be required to give very heavy bonds, and ought to be a good man, and when clerks in private business can get £300, I think this officer should not get less than £500. Hon. members have spoken about officials in the United States. Why, it is well know that the Government is the most expensive in the world. There they go in for the spoils, every man trying to get as much as he can while in office; the officials of the City of New York, it is well know, are paid the most extravagant amounts, and it is useless to draw a comparison between their system and ours.
Mr. Kerr.—I think if £400 is found to be too low, it can very easily be raised The giving of large salaries does not always have the effect of making men do their work more thoroughly; nor is it among those that receive good, fair, remunerative salaries that defalcations so frequently occur as with those whose salaries are very large. There was the Postmaster of the United States, who received a very large salary, went off with some millions of dollars of the public funds, and the Collector of the City of New York, which is considered one of their best offices, did the same thing. Because the City of Saint John choose to pay their Chamberlain £400 is no reason why we should give our Receiver General £500.
We know that the duties of the Presidents of Banks are much more onerous than the Receiver Generalship will be, and yet they only received, till lately £400 a year. I think that sum quite sufficient to pay for the duties to be performed, but he should be provided with a clerk. It is not necessary that his salary should be large, but one will be required. I do not think the office should be united with that of the Provincial Secretary, for he as Provincial and Financial Secretary will have quite enough to do; but now that the Post Office is removed the Auditor will have much less to do—only the school an?? and bye road accounts to look after—and it might possibly be added to that. The bye road accounts, I think, should be audited in the various localities where the money is expended, as it can there be done much more efficiently than at a remote distance. On this matter, however, I think that £400 is quite adequate for an accomplished and efficient officer.
Hon. Mr. Fisher—I move the blank be filled with $2,000.
Mr. Beckwith.—I move, in amendment, that it be filled with $1,600. If we become wealthy, as the Provincial Secretary has predicted, it will be very easy to add another £100 to it. The duties require to be performed promptly and efficiently, but $1, 600 us quite sufficient and as much as we can now afford to pay. One clerk at about $600 salary will be plenty, and many will be glad to get the situation who are thoroughly capable of performing the duty. I do not think this office should be united with any other. The Auditor’s duties will be much lighter in the future, as they should be, for that officer has been very much over worked. I think the idea of’ the hon. member for Northumberland (Mr. Kerr) is good, respecting the auditing of the bye road accounts in the localities where the moneys are expended, for during the past year in the office frauds were known to have been practised, but it was so far off that they could not be well looked into. I think the Financial Secretary and Auditor might very well be now united in one individual, with one clerk to assist him.
Hon. Mr. McAdam—I want to ask the hon. member from Northumberland (Mr. Kerr) it he will accept the office of Receiver General, with a salary of £400? If he will, I am sure I will vote for him, for no one could he obtained who would perform the duties better, or give more satisfaction to the country.
Mr. Kerr—I am not in a position to talk about the salary I should require until I get the offer of the situation—(Laughter.)
Mr. Smith.—That is a new way to get support for the Government—(laughter). I think they could get all the require if they put such questions to other hon. members. The hon. member of the Government from Saint John (Mr. Wilmot) is very much opposed to small salaries. He wanted the salary of the Auditor General to be kept up, whereas now it is shown that the duties can be performed for two or three hundred dollars a year. I have no doubt that the hon. member is a Senator by this time, and I am very anxious to see whether, when the Proclamation comes,—if it does not break the other cable, for it is said the news was so weighty that it broke down the cable of 1866,—if he will resign his seat in this House. He is the most extravagant man I ever knew, and thinks officers can’t get too large salaries till they become rogueish. I shall second the motion for £400, but I do not think a clerk will be needed.
Hon. Mr. Wilmot.—I am sure I have nothing to gain by desiring the salary to be £500. I have brought in motions to have salaries reduced, but I say that after the salaries of the Deputy Treasurers were reduced there were large defalcations, and there were none before. I am sure I do not know in what I am extravagant, unless it be that I would rather have a good man in the office, and pay him well, than have a poor one at a low rate. With regard to the Senatorship and my seat in this House, the hon. member may rest assured that I shall not resign until I know more about that matter than he does now.
Mr. Smith.—The hon. member says there were no defalcations under the high salary arrangement, but I remember the case of a man named BAiley, who was Surveyor General, and got a salary of I don’t know how much—£1200, I believe,—who embezzled the public money to the extent of thousands of pounds, and who was after all granted a pension of £500 a year; so that there is nothing in the principle he lays down, at all.
Hon. Mr. Fisher.—This arrangement, as I have said, is only for a few months, and then it must be revised to suit the requirements of the Province under Union, and the difference for that time will be very small. I am in favor of the larger sum, but am not particular, as it will not be binding to those who come after us.
Mr. Lindsay.—There was a man who held the position of Surveyor General, who said that the salary was so large he did not know how to spend it, and wanted £100 taken off, but it could not be done. (Laughter). The Attorney General was, I think, in the government at the time. I would like to ask the hon. member of the Government (Mr. Wilmot) what his idea of the salary of the Auditor General is now? There was Surveyor General Bailey, who got so great a salary that he had to keep horses and carriages, and men to look after them, to spend it; and when any one wanted to see him he was always just going for a drive, and they had to wait for him. The clerks have to do all the work in that office now, and I think the head of the department won’t be wanted any more.
As to the work of the Receiver General, it will be very light, and he won’t need a clerk. He will only have to be in his office from 9 o’clock till 3, or so, and he certainly won’t want to go out much during that time. I think the bonds he is required to give ($10,000) are too large, but it does not make much difference as they will never be collected. It is well known that directly a man has embezzled money and gone off, a sympathy is got up for the bondsmen, and after a time the bonds are cancelled. That has always been the case, and it will be so. Plenty of good men can be found to take the office at £400, but it seems that directly “General” is put on to a name, some hon. members think the salary should be raised.
The Amendment being put was carried in the affirmative, and the blank was filled with “sixteen hundred dollars.”
The section referring to the appointment of a Clerk was then read.
Mr. Smith.—I move that the section you have just read, Mr. Chairman, relating to the Clerk be struck out. The Attorney General says the Bill is only intended to be temporary, and will run but a few months, so that the duties of the office can be carried on. If so, then it will be best to leave to our successors the details of the matter, and they can supply a Clerk, if one is found to be needed.
Hon. Mr. Tilley.—I think on the salary of the Receiver General it made very little difference whether the sum were put at £400 or £500, but with the heavy bonds which he will be required to give, it may not be so easy to find a man to fill the place. It has been said that the duties will be very light, but with regard to the Crown Lands alone, he will have to be in his office every hour in the day to receive the amounts as they are paid in, and pay out what may be required. Under these circumstances he will require a clerk, the salary need not be large, as in the case of illness or other absence from the office, there must still be some one there to attend to the public business. Although the Receiver General may not be constantly engaged yet he will have to be constantly there, and a clerk will consequently be necessary to fill his place during forced absence. And one of probity and intelligence should be appointed as well as one able to obtain the necessary securities for the faithful performance of his duty.
Mr. Smith.—That is a sharp idea to put forth, that because a man may be taken sick, therefore he should have a clerk. In the same way the Registrars, the Deputy Treasurers and everybody else would want a clerk, but in such a case it is very easy to appoint a Deputy for the time being. I think all the duties can very well be performed by one man, but if it is found necessary a clerk can be appointed afterwards, say at the next Session. If the Government now put in a man as clerk, even though he may not be required, it is not probable that those who are left here at the next Session would displace him. It is exactly the same as if the salary had been placed at a high figure, for it would have been found very difficult to cut it down. It is for this reason that I move the section be struck out.
On putting the motion a division was called, when there appeared—
YEAS—Messrs. Kerr, Sutton, Hibbard, Landry, McInerney, Caie, McQueen, Smith, Young, Thompson, DesBrisay, Ryan, Lindsay, J. Flewwelling and Babbit. 15
NAYS—Messrs. Mcchan, McClelan, Beveridge, Dow, Beckwith, Queinton, Tillery, Connell, Wilmot, Williston, Fisher, McAdam, and W.P. Flewelling. 13
It was therefore carried in the affirmative.
The other sections passed without discussion.
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