Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly (12 April 1867)
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly, 23rd Parl, 4th Sess, 1867 at 121-128.
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DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF NOVA SCOTIA. 1867.
FRIDAY, April 12.
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Hon. Financial Secretary moved that the house go into Committee of Supply.
Mr. Annand said that with the exception of last year, when an unusual delay had taken place in the preparation of the accounts, he had never known the estimates moved until they had been four or five days on the table. It was only fair that time should be given to members for examination, and it would be a great advantage, before discussing the estimates, to have the report of the Committee on Public Accounts. He had asked for a return which would show the exact financial condition of the Province up to the present time, and this would afford information which would be necessary before the house voted nearly a million of dollars in addition to the expenditure authorized by law.
Hon. Financial Secretary said he would be indisposed to press the estimates at a time inconvenient for any gentleman, but he had ne disposition to postpone the order of the day to afford the hon. member for East Halifax an opportunity of attacking the Government.
Mr. Annand said that the Government need not expect to avoid the attack to which they were open in connection with their financial policy.
Mr. McLelan thought the House would be better prepared for the estimates when the return alluded to was presented. The House would otherwise have to vote the money on the faith of the Financial Secretary’s statement that the treasury would be able to meet the demand.
Hon. Financial Secretary said that the returns alluded to would be laid on the table as soon as possible, but that could not be before several days. He did not feel inclined to postpone the order of the day when it was admitted that the object of delay was to initiate an attack on the Government. The Government would be responsible for the estimates presented, and it was important that they should be passed so that members might prepare their road scales.
Mr. S Campbell thought the hon. gentleman would consult the dignity of his position and of the Government in allowing the matter to remain over for the present. The road scales could not be prepared until the proposed subdivision was submitted by the Government.
Mr. Locke urged that the estimates he allowed to lie over for consideration.
Hon. Financial Secretary said that if objections were made to any of the votes, those objected to would b. allowed to lie over; in the meantime the ordinary votes could be passed.
The House thon. went into Committee of Supply.
The vote for the Civil List passed.
On the resolution for the agricultural grant being moved
Mr. Annand said that he desired to see agriculture encouraged, but he wished to ascertain before the vote passed whether the money to meet it was available.
Hon. Provincial Secretary said that the same objection might be urged with equal force to every item of the estimate, and it was apparent that the motive he had attributed to the hon. member was the true one. The hon. gentleman knew well that the Government were responsible for the estimate they had brought down, and no one ever hard of the administration being asked to show on what their calculations were based. If the votes had been exaggerated, taking into consideration the state of the public finances, it could be shewn by the figures under the hon. member’s hand. The government must be exceedingly incompetent if they were unable to estimate the revenue for the three remaining months on which the estimate was based.
Mr. Annand said that the Financial Secretaryretary evidently misunderstood his position, for the moment […]
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[…] the Legislature was prorogued the political responsibility of the Government was at an end in consequence of the change which was about to take place. The house should know whether the money for these votes could be obtained without involving those who, under the Local Constitution, would afterwards come in charge of the public affairs with a heavy debt, which would be a first charge on the very limited revenue at their disposal. The arguments of the Financial Secretary would be correct as applied to last year, but had no force under existing circumstances. tic did not wish to he reproached hereafter with voting away large sums of money, and saddling those who came after us with liabilities they would be ill able to bear.
Hon. Attorney General said that the estimate was not so intricate that the hon. member for East Halifax, who bad himself been Financial Secretary, could not ascertain whether the votes bad been extravagant or not. As to the vote for agriculture, there were a great many societies in operation, which it was most desirable to maintain. The subject of agriculture would hereafter be under the charge of both Parliaments, and if these societies were allowed to go out of existence the exertions of years would be lost. If the vote asked for was to build a canal or railway, the hesitation shown by the hon. member might be reasonable, but the agricultural interests should be sustained in any case.—The duty of the Financial Secretary, as regards the estimate, had been very simple, he had merely to calculate the probable revenue for the comparatively short unexpired period, and to see that the votes were kept within the necessary limits. It was for the government to see that the funds were forthcoming.
Mr. Killam said that the louse was situated differently this year from last. The principal supply to the revenue would shortly cease, and it therefore was necessary to exercise more than usual care, and it should be borne in mind that the responsibility of the Government would soon be at an end. He did not wish to see any of the grants curtailed, but wanted to see that the country was not being involved in debt.
The resolution for the vote for agriculture passed.
The resolution for the vote to the Board of Statistics was then moved.
Mr. S Campbell called attention to a difference between the proposed vote and that of last year. In 1866 the vote for the Board to 30th Sept. was $4000, whereas the present vote was $5000 to 30th June.
Hon. Financial Secretary said that it was estimated that an additional $1000 would be required. but if it were not found necessary it would not be drawn. He did not think that there was any department in which so large an amount of work was done so economically as in this department.
Mr. Annand enquired who was the head of the Board.
Hon. Financial Secretary replied that he was the chairman and Mr. Costley the secretary.
Mr. Annand said that the gentleman last named received a salary of $1000, and figured in the Civil List to the extent of $250, drawn previous to 1866, and $142.46 for 1866. Considering that the Administration was an economical one he thought that the services of this officer, who was also engaged in the government service outside, had been well appreciated. The Government had come into office by raising the cry of retrenchment from end to end of the country, and had piled up salary after salary and created new offices until the conviction was forced upon the minds of persons considering the position of public affairs, that the time had come when this legislature should be swept away, so extravagant and corrupt had the men who governed the country become, he had turned his attention to two or three services in which this extravagance was apparent. The amount of money expended in Delegations during the last three years was astounding. It amounted to $29,197.
The Provincial Secretary might be congratulated for his disinterestedness-he appeared to have received only $1100 for his trip to Canada and England, while his colleagues were down for $2900 for the same service. He would be glad to find that the balance had not subsequently been drawn. That gentleman had received for delegations altogether $3400, and taking into consideration his salary and his pay as member, he will have drawn on the 30th June next the handsome sum of $17,547, assuming that he received his full pay for delegation to England. That sum, equal to $4500 a year, had gone into the pocket of a gentleman who had preached, not Confederation, but Retrenchment at every polling place in the province, immediately preceding the last general election. Then there was the Attorney-General, although not in the receipt of so large a yearly salary, as he did not succeed to his present office until some time after the formation of the present Administration. That officer, between delegations, salary, and members pay, will have pocketed the snug sum of $13,000. The Financial Secretary, too, who wished to force these estimates through in such a hurry, had drawn for a single delegation to the West Indies, requiring a little over three months service, the sum of $4,200 although he was carried in one of Her Majesty’s ships for a great part of the journey tree of expense, and all this while he drew his salary of $2400 a year. As railway Commissioner, Financial Secretary, delegate and member, that gentleman will have drawn on the 30th June next the pretty little sum of $14,326, equal to $3,581 a year. These three leaders of the Government divided among them $44,945. That was the way in which the public monies had been disposed of. That was the way in which the retrenchment pledges upon which they rode into power in 1863, have been carried out. The Financial Secretary had taken credit to himself for the way in which the accounts had been made up and had stated the balance in the treasury at $67,355; but be (Mr. Annand) denied that any such sum was to be realized from the assets unless the government took credit for the Provincial notes which had been issued. The moneys received from the Savings Bank appeared by the Receiver General’s account, to be $33,000,—the new treasury notes issued amounted to $95,000. This gave $188,000. […]
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[…] The amount paid on account of the Savings’ Bank was $62,800, making together $95,706; paid for Hare’s building and lot $32,906, leaving a balance of about $37,294 of treasury notes, which had improperly gone to swell the balance of assets The reason why he desired to have the accounts he had asked for before discussing the estimates was, that these matters would be more fully tested than could be done under existing circumstances, and that the country might learn the true condition of our financial affairs.
Hon. Provincial Secretary said that having only just come into this house he had not beard all of the observations of the hon. member, but it was obvious that that hon. gentleman was considerably excited, for he had used his favorite term “corruption.” He did not intend answering at length the observations of the hon. member, but he did think that that hon. gentleman was not justified in making an electioneering speech in the very extravagant terms which he had ventured to use. The hon. member must not suppose because his position was a very unfortunate one—because, if he appealed to a constituency, he would do so under circumstances most disadvantageous—that the Government would permit him to make charges of extravagance and not meet them on the instant. The hon. gentleman had said a great deal about retrenchment. At the time the men now in office proposed to retrench the public expenses of the Legislature, the leader of the Government of which the hon. member was Financial Secretary had to come down and make the startling disclosure that the expenditure was thirty-eight thousand pounds in excess of the revenue, and that there was no other means of meeting the paltry pittance which they were giving to education and the roads and bridges than by the imposition of an additional tax upon the people of 2 1/2 per cent., thereby increasing the entire taxation by something like one-fourth, in order to carry on the ordinary services of the country. Did it not, then, require considerable powers of face on the part of the hon. member to rise and challenge the action of a Government who occupy so proud a position in regard to their financial management? Having given to the education of the country something like three times the amount these hon. gentlemen were able to grant—having more than doubled the amount to the road and bridge service—having largely increased the grant to navigation securities, yet they have been able to meet every charge upon the revenue, and leave a handsome balance in the treasury besides. All this, too, had been done under a tariff 2 1/2 per cent. lower than what the hon. member bad imposed upon the people of this country. Having on the floors of the Legislature fought against everything like retrenchment, the hon. member imposed those heavy burthens upon the people ln order to enable him to get money sufficient to meet the ordinary public services. In the hour of his country’s extremity, the hon. member stood forward the uncompromising opponent of retrenchment. Now, under a changed condition of things—under an Imperial Act, obtained by the present Government, aided by gentlemen on the opposite side, they were in a position to retrench—to save thirty or forty thousand dollars of the people’s money, and still grant all the money necessary for the great public services. This retrenchment was obtained by a reduction of salaries and of the expenses of the Legislature.
The hon. member had thought proper to address the house on the subject of delegations, and to ask him (Dr. T.) whether he was in a position to defend the amount of public money that he had taken as a delegate in connection with the most important public services. He told the hon. member that it did not lie in his mouth to raise an objection. He (Dr. T.) stood ln the proud position of saying to the house and country that one of the first acts of the Government of which he had been a member, was to reduce the amount of money drawn out of the treasury for delegations to something like one-half of what it was before. When the hon. member and his friends stood in a position of bankruptcy, plunging the Province into debt for the ordinary services of the country, at the same time they were drawing (if anybody turn to the Journals he would see the fact recorded there) enormous sums for delegations to Canada and England. For every delegation they received the sum of £500 sterling or £625 currency. The moment, however, he (Dr. T.) and his friends came into power, they reduced the amount to £300 sterling, although the delegations, as everybody knew, entailed a large expense upon those engaged in them. What more did the hon. member and his friends do? When Mr. Howe returned from a delegation ln connection with the railway, and had drawn his £625, in addition to his salary of £700 and his pay as a member, Mr. Annand declared that this house should vote £500 more, and he effected his object. It would be therefore seen that Mr. Howe actually received £1100 for a delegation which had occupied only a short time. These same gentlemen had year after year drawn these enormous sums for delegations which accomplished nothing, whilst the men now in power, at comparatively trifling expense to the country, had succeeded in effecting the great objects which they had gone to achieve.
He would ask the hon. member if, when he was drawing a salary of £600 as Financial Secretary and his pay as a member of the house, he did not get up a company which paid him £500 a year in addition. The hon. member had carried his official position into the market of England, and bargained it away, and succeeded in drawing £500 a year out of the poor people of England, who, under his management, lost their property. Let the hon. member talk about corruption, when he occupied a position very different from what he actually did. If he (Dr. T.) had stood ln the position of the hon. member, instead of venturing to open his mouth before the people, he would endeavor to go somewhere where he. could bide himself from the gaze of his countrymen for all time to come.
That was the position he occupied when he presented himself in England as the people’s delegate—claiming the support of the people, statesmen, and Press of England? Every paper in London, at that time, contained the statement of the winding up of the “Nova Scotia Gold Amalgamating Company,” and placed the damning fact before the world that the man who had been the Financial Secretary […]
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[…] of this Province had carried his office into the market of England and had drawn £56,000 from the people of England, and at the end of his operations had only $8000 to show as the assets of the company. Instead of making use of this fact he (Dr. T.) had been only too glad to bury it out of sight, for he felt it was degrading, not only to the hon. member, but to the Province he represented. It had been a matter of complaint that the “people’s delegates” had been treated with contempt—that they could not get the Parliament, the Government, or the people to shew them any respect. If such was the case, was it at all surprising when the self-constituted delegate of the people occupied so humiliating a position.
Instead of standing in the position of having made useless delegations to England, and having failed in accomplishing the work with which he was charged, he was able to show three millions of pounds sterling for the purpose of opening up this great highway in British America. As respects this delegation to Brazil, it was already beginning to bring forth fruits, and a far larger amount might have been well expended for the great object of opening up communication with the West Indies and countries of South America, and drawing attention to the capabilities of British America.
Mr. Annand replied that he was in the judgment of the House if, in the remarks he had made, he had not studiously avoided saying anything touching the private affairs of any member of the government. The Provincial Secretary, however, had ventured to pursue another course, and to bring up matters with which the House had nothing whatever to do, but he was not sorry that the hon. gentleman had done so. He could recollect the time when the same hon. member had risen in the House and endeavored to throw distrust upon the operations of an English company who had ventured to embark their capital in promoting an industrial enterprise in this country. He had it from English gentlemen that the Provincial Secretary did more, by his flagrant attack upon the company in question, to shake the confidence of capitalists in enterprises in this country than any public man ever did before or since. He (Mr. A.) would here take the opportunity of stating what his connection with that company was. The company was formed without his knowledge, and he was appointed a local director without ever his consent having been asked or obtained. No one could reproach him with having improperly made money out of the company. He owned stock in it to the amount of nearly a thousand pounds, which he might at one time have sold at a high premium; but having confidence in the undertaking, and anxious to sustain the credit of the concern he retained the shares until they become worthless. No one connected with the company had ever ventured to say a word against the mode in which its financial affairs had been managed, either by himself or another gentleman in this city who also was a director in the company and equally with himself was a sufferer by its failure. As far as he himself was concerned, he had barely escaped shipwreck in consequence of his connection with the company, which he had been obliged to wind up and pay its debts. The hon. gentleman had referred to his having received a double salary. He had enjoyed it for a short time, but what had the Provincial Secretary done? Was he not enjoying a large practice whilst in the government, earning, as was reported, from a thousand to two thousand pounds a year—employing the time which belonged to the people, and for which he was paid an ample salary, in visiting patients and in expensive delegations? More than that, he had the incomparable meanness—he, the Premier of Nova Scotia—to go upon his knees begging the City Council for the petty position of medical officer of the city, with a paltry salary of £60 a year; and had been, whilst acting in that capacity, ridiculed by one of his present bosom friends—the “Munchausen” of the past—as going down to the wharves to examine suspicious looking gull eggs, and smelling hams of an unmentionable character at the public markets.
It was useless for the hon. Provincial Secretary to try and divert attention from the fact that he had deceived the country in respect to retrenchment. Owing to the American war the revenue in 1862 did show a deficit, and the Government of the day added a small amount to the ad valorem duties, but for one year only. Immediately that the revenue came up again, the tariff was reduced from 12 ½ to 10 per cent. But what are the gentlemen opposite doing now? By confederating with Canada our ad valorem duties will be increased, not 2 ½ but 5 per cent, and not for one year but for all time to come. He boasted, too, of the large revenue since the change of administration, but under what tariff and what regulations did they collect it? These increased revenues arose from the tariff and regulations, not prepared by themselves but by their predecessors, and the revenue would have been equally large if the leading members of the Government had been all their time instead of a portion of it absent from the country. The delegation to the Tropics was referred to. What was that delegation for? To secure free trade with the West Indies and countries of South America? Yet the first thing the Government did when the Financial Secretary returned was to increase the duty on the very articles that he had told the people whom he had been visiting he intended reducing. The hon. Provincial Secretary had declared that we had retrenchment at last—The country would not forget that when these gentleman were fairly ensconced in their offices the doctrine that did for the hustings was declared to be unnecessary in the changed position in which they found themselves, and it is only now when they are done with the offices, and they are soon to be filled by others, that the pruning knife is applied. The Provincial Secretary might not have been able to touch the salary of the Lieutenant Governor or those of the judges, but there was nothing to prevent him […]
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[…] reducing the salaries of himself, the Attorney General the Financial Secretary, and Receiver General.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—The House could not legislate on the subject of the Provincial Secretary’s salary. It was guaranteed by the Civil List.
Mr. Annand—What had been done in other countries could be done here. If the hon. gentleman and his friends had approached the Queen in a humble address from both branches et the Legislature, requesting that the salaries be reduced, who can doubt of their success?
Hon. Provincial Secretary—The late Government approached the Sovereign, and obtained the declaration that such an application could not be considered.
Mr. Annand—Not then, because the Local Government were opposed to the reduction, the very reverse of what would have happened if they were in favour, as far as the departmental officers were concerned But admitting that he was right in his view, if the hon. gentleman had been sincere he could have left a portion of his salary in the treasury, and se could his colleagues. The other members of the Government—not forgetting the Railway Commissioner, who expressed such strong opinions on the subject of the salary of that officer—might have followed the sane course. Se desirous were these gentlemen to retrench that they not only proposed to cut down the salaries in all the departments, even to the clerks, but to take away $20,000 from the postal service—a service of vital importance to the country at large, and which could only be done by sweeping away many of the post rides, and reducing the number of post and way offices. Again, they proposed to reduce the military service. The Government of which he (Mr. A.) was a member, when there was no money in the treasury, had the manliness to come down to the House with a militia vote of $20 000—an increase of $12,000. The Provincial Secretary moved to strike off the additional sum altogether, so far was his zeal for retrenchment ahead of his loyalty and his patriotism. He remembered the Provincial Secretary assailing him for having exceeded the estimate by £10,000 or £15,000. It was a mortal sin then to expend a few thousand dollars without the sanction of law. But what was seen now? That hon. gentleman and his Government had exceeded the estimate by a sum nearly equal to one-third of the entire revenue.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—Is it just to make such a statement when he must know that a large portion of it was in connection with the Militia Department, and that the House had placed the entire revenue at the disposal of the Executive
Mr. Annand said he admitted the fact, but the over-expenditure on that service was only $60 553 out of over $300 000. The Board of Works had expended $250,000, when $160,000 only had been authorized.
Hon. Provincial Secretary—Was that without the authority of the House? No less than $40,000 was added by a report of the committee for the protection of the fisheries and adopted by a unanimous vote of the House?
Hon. Financial Secretary—Then there is $80,000 for St Peter’s Canal.
Mr. Annand took the items precisely as he found them in the returns, published by the Financial Secretary, and the amounts he refers red to were not authorized by the estimate adopted by the House. The railway expenses were put down at $150,000, whilst the sum of $205.000 was expended.
Hon. Financial Secretary—The hon. gentleman should remember that the amount was swelled by the transfer of $60,000 or $70,000 chargeable to Pictou extension from the revenue account, whence it had been paid during the year for lumber, and other services for rolling stock for the Pictou road.
Mr. Annand said it was unnecessary tor the hon. member to get so excited. He was not a witness in the box to be browbeaten by that gentleman, whom he was quite prepared to meet in that or any other discussion. He would leave his hon. friend from North Colchester (Mr. McLelan) to show how the taxes of this country were to be increased by the new scheme of government which was about being initiated. It was well known that the tariff of Canada, on the same articles of goods on which we charge 10 per cent. duty, had been 20 per cent; it was recently lowered to 15 per cent., but how long it would remain at that rate it was not difficult to say, But even if the rate was 15 per cent., then fifty per cent. would be added to our present duty on the ad valorem goods. It would be remembered by the House that on a former occasion the hon. member for South Colchester (Mr. Archibald) had proved that during their former administration of public affairs these gentlemen had taken £100,000 of railway funds and appropriated it to carry on the ordinary business of the country; and when he (Mr. A,) and his friends came into power there was a considerable balance which they had to pay, and which formed a portion of the deficiency which occurred in 1862.
He was glad to find that the revenues of the country now enabled us to grant such large sums to education, to road and bridges and the other public services; but what would be the case hereafter? It would be impossible to sustain the public services as they should be, with our revenues handed over to Canada, and only a paltry pittance given back in return
Hon. Attorney General said that as the hon. member for East Halifax no doubt made the assertion that under Confederation our taxation would be more heavy, for the purpose of influencing the public mind against the Union he would ask him for the proof of the assertion that under Confederation our people would pay fifteen per cent as had been stated. Before the general government could be formed the hon. member had undertaken to state what their measures would be and what taxes they would levy. By talking of the Canadian tariff Mr. Annand was evidently attempting to make the people believe that Canadians were more heavily taxed than Nova Scotians. He was willing to go into the discussion of that point and taking […]
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[…] the two tariffs to prove that man for man the people of Nova Scotia were paying a higher rate of taxation on imported goods than the people of Canada. The country was getting used to such statements as the hon. member had made and would soon find how little value was to be attached to them. That gentleman had also claimed the credit of originating the existing tariff, but the fact was that his government had gone out of office before the act originating the ten per cents was passed, and his statement in this as in other particulars was therefore unreliable It could hardly be expected that any one knowing any thing of the facts would place reliance on the assertion that the party now in power lad supported a government that took £100,000 of railway money from the treasury and applied it to other service. The facts as they had been proved over and over again were these: The Provincial Rail of the Province and not by monies taken from roads were directed to be built upon the credit the treasury, but before the bonds could be sold £100,000 of the revenue was appropriated for the construction. During one period of the administration of the Government that came in in 1859, the revenue did not realize sufficient after providing for the ordinary services, to provide for the road and bridge service, and the Government, therefore, took part of the money back by the sale of railway bonds It was not correct to say that this was railway money—it was money derived from bonds sold to repay money which the railway owed He would not take up time by referring at length to the statements about the delegations, but where was the hon. member’s friend, Mr. Howe? Did he adopt the principle of making a deduction from his salary to pay his expenses? And when the hon. member himself went as a delegate during the period in which he held office, did he not act precisely as those of whom he was complaining? Again, at a period when the hon. gentleman was not in office, he had not scrupled to receive pay for his services, and if a majority of the people would not be better satisfied at the end of twelve months to pay the expenses of the authorized delegates on Confederation than those gentlemen would be who paid the hon. member for East Halifax and his colleagues, he would be satisfied to listen to the complaint. From the official delegates the people had received value for their money—they had received accurate information; but those who paid the so-called people’s delegates bad not that gratification. The conclusion that the people would probably come to was that those out of office would not have acted very differently from gentlemen in power if the positions had been reversed. It was immaterial whether a delegate had to give up pub. lie or private business. If, when he was in office, a gentleman was expected to pay his expenses out of his salary, he would have nothing left on which to support his family. The people bad never shown an indisposition to pay for there [sic] services at a reasonable rate, and it was well known the hon. member would have done precisely what ha complained of, if circumstances bad placed him in the position.
Mr. McLelan said that there was a material difference between the modes pursued In connection with the delegations. The late Government invariably came to the house, and asked its sanction to such advances as they had made; while the present Government merely drew whatever they chose, and placed the sums promiscuously among the payments for ‘he year. Nor was there any occasion on which such an army of delegates were sent as had been lately commissioned. When the Attorney General had stated that he could show that the Canadians paid less taxation per man than our own people, he must have arrived at the calculation by dividing the revenue by the whole population, but he should have stated at, the same time that in Lower Canada there were over a million of people paving comparatively nothing to the revenue. The great difficulty of Canadian finances arose from the fact that while these people contributed little or nothing, they claimed an equal share of the revenue. To show how heavily the Canadian tariff will bear upon the people of this Province, ha would take four articles, the necessaries of life to the poor man, and show what additional sum would have been paid under a Canadian tariff on the quantities entered bore for home consumption during the past year. The consumption of tea being 1,365 000 lbs., that article would yield, under the Canadian tariff, $160,087, while in Nova Scotia there was paid only $82,000 On sugar would be collected $135,000 against $90,000, as at present. On molasses there would be an excess of $28,000; and on flour, and on the meal imported last year from the United States, $139,165.
The difference in currency, taking the present Canadian standard for gold, would make an increase of $18,000 in the specific duties. Making on these four articles an increase under the Canadian tariff were concerned, it should be remembered that the duty on the packages, in which the goods are brought, which are free from us, would more than make up the difference. The Provincial Secretary had boasted of having effected a saving of $30 000, to be appropriated to the roads and bridges; but would any one believe that the increase he had alluded to in the taxation would be appropriated? That would go into the general revenue, and if the new Dominion were to follow the example of Canada in making provision for the local services they would be ill provided for. The road and bridge service of that country had been provided for by loans or direct taxation, while lavish expenditures were made in other departments. The Provincial Secretary’s office in Canada cost in 1865 for salaries and contingencies $26,000; the Receiver General’s, $26 205; the Minister of Finance, $25 026; the Minister of Agriculture, $26 028, while the grant for roads and bridges in that year was $170 000 or $100,000 less than the grant in Nova Scotia These facts were sufficient to show that the Provincial Secretary’s new retrenchment scheme would not contribute to the saving of the people’s money.
Hon. Financial Secretary said that from the tone of […]
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[…] the discussion ft might be fairly inferred that the cause of Confederation was taking a turn throughout the country unfavourable to the opposition. It had frequently been proclaimed in triumphant tones by these gentlemen that the people only wanted an opportunity to hurl the Government from power on this question all along, and reinstate gentlemen opposite, or if they believed those assertions where was the necessity for reverting to worn out arguments and false statements as these gentlemen had done? What had he or any member to do with the transactions of Governments ten or twelve years ago? It might have been better for some gentlemen who had spoken had they confined themselves to the question of Confederation, on which they could indulge in the vaguest generalities and declamation, but the hon. member for East Halifax had ventured to challenge the financial policy of the Administration, although it would have been more consistent with that gentleman’s knowledge of the business of the House if he had raised the question at a time when the discussion would not interfere with the matters in and. It was extraordinary that a man seeking the position to which that gentleman aspired, and being before the public for a long time, as he had been, could not address the House for five minutes without committing some glaring error. No wonder the hon. member had been told that the time had come when the value of any statement he made must be doubled. The first attack had been made upon the Secretary to the Board of Statistics, who was not only an attentive and laborious public officer, but had shewn an ability, acuteness and aptitude, that would do credit to any public servant. Any attack made upon that officer fell harmless, not only on him but on those whose servant he was, but even in respect to that gentleman, the hon. member had made a mistatement calculated to mislead the public mind, he had said that Mr. Costley was provided for in the Civil List, and when asked to shew where, he had pointed out an item in the statement of warrants drawn for last year Such a misstatement was unworthy of any public man; Mr. Costley was not provided for in the Civil List.
He would ask the hon. member whether he considered it consistent with the dignity that should belong to his position to be caught every moment making statements which could not be sustained, and of which a schoolboy would be heartily ashamed. The press under his command scattered broadcast the same declarations with the same reckless disregard for truth, and had been proclaiming to the country that the Government had plunged their Lands up to the elbows in the public treasury. The press supporting him throughout the Province had done all that maliguity could do to break down and crush the credit of the country, and if their statements had not been refuted by every warrant drawn on the treasury, the public credit would have been ruined in every market in the world. At the very hour when that portion of the press was charging the Government with such reckless expenditure as would make the country bankrupt, stating that the debts and expenditure of the Province were greater than the assets and receipts, and inviting the public creditors to comedown upon us, there was, as shown by the official documents which could not be challenged, a cash balance of $118,000 to the good, and not only so, but after deducting every liability In connection with the enormous expenditure of the year, the Government were able to meet the Louse with a surplus of 871,000. Knowing these facts, had not the hon. member added insult to injury in the attack which he had made on the financial position of the Government?
Proceeding to the consideration of some items of expenditure that had been challenged, the Hon. Financial Secretary said that while a Government should, as far as possible, limit their outlay to the amount authorized by the legislature, it was impossible not to exceed the estimate for some services, and it was only when a reckless disregard of the public interests was exhibited that their conduct in that particular should be called in question. The first Item which had been challenged was the charge for delegation expenses He would not pause here to vindicate the propriety of these delegations; that on which he was detailed had vindicated itself,—it had borne fruits already, and in Canada it was admitted that the results would have justified ten times the outlay. But in reference to that item every dollar of expenditure was authorized by the House.
The delegates proceeded to England under a resolution of the Legislature,—was it intended that they should go at their own cost? Had the hon. member acted on that principle himself? He felt it necessary now to meet these charges of extravagance, though he would not go back to the question touched upon by the Provincial Secretary, and shew that the member for East Halifax was the last man to make these taunts. The position he desired to take was, that a government with a tariff se low as ours could not be extravagant except by expending more money than the treasury contained, or by expending it for their own benefit. Every government was bound to expend the moneys coming from the people and if, instead of having a moderate margin o $60,000 in the treasury, there was a balance in band of half a million with a revenue of two millions, they might very properly have been questioned as to their right to have that sum in hand, and been told that they had committed a crime in keeping in the chest those moneys of the people which should have been circulated for the development of the interests of the country. In reference to the expenditure of the past year, lie could safely ask, was it expended for the good of the people, or recklessly squandered to suit the interests of the administration? During the year there had been collected S20,000 more than in 1865, and the collection of this large increase had cost the Province not a dollar more in the shape of revenue expenses. The next item was agriculture, and for the over-expenditure there Le was willing to stand his trial in any county in the Province. The next item was the Board of Works, and, the over-expenditure there had been explained by shewing that services had been transferred to this department to the extent of $90,000 or $100,000, and it was well known to be Impossible to estimate to the dollar what was required for this department. Would any man say that when the funds voted had been expended. the […]
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[…] contractors on the Lunatic Asylum and St. Peter’s Canal should be told that they must cease operations, when there was an abundance of money in the public chest? Such a course would be utterly destructive of the public interests.
The over-expenditure of $27,000 for Education no one could object to, and who could have raised a voice as to the outlay in the Militia Department if it had been $500,000, when it was made under a resolution which placed the entire revenue at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief? Having gone through these figures he would proceed to contrast the expenditure of the Government that of their predecessors in three or four important items, and would ask the country which administration they preferred. The late Government had only spent on the roads and bridges in four years $464,000, while the present Government had appropriated $1,1015,665 or two thirds more,—for education their votes were $266,915; those of the present Administration $550,305 or nearly double. In Navigation Securities they had given $20,000, while in the last four years $194,629, or even nine times as much as had been voted. That was all the late Government had done when their vote to the Militia was but $56,000, while the present Government were obliged to withdraw for that service $300,000. The hon. member might call this extravagance as the country needed and approved of an the Government were at the same time sufficiently conversant with their duties to enable them to meet all demands upon them and to maintain the credit of the country.
The vote to the Board of Statistics passed. Also all the other votes excepting that for miscellaneous services, which was allowed to lie over.
The Committee adjourned.
Hon. Provincial Secretary laid on the table a communication from the Superintendent of Education in reference to the purchase of meteorological instruments for the use of academies. Referred to Committee on Education.
Hon. Financial Secretary laid on the table two petitions asking for return of duties on goods destroyed by fire. Referred to Committee on Trade and Manufactures.
The Provincial Secretary laid on the table the Report of the Adjutant General of Militia.
The house adjourned.