Ottawa's Orgy of Extravagance

The third article dealing with governmental flounderings in the slough of extravagance.

GRATTAN O’LEARY February 15 1924

Ottawa's Orgy of Extravagance

The third article dealing with governmental flounderings in the slough of extravagance.

GRATTAN O’LEARY February 15 1924

Ottawa's Orgy of Extravagance

The third article dealing with governmental flounderings in the slough of extravagance.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, master of the vivid phrase, called patronage (the “Pork Barrel”) a “cootie on the body politic.” He did not overshoot the mark. For the “Pork Barrel,” dispensed with equal rapacity by all parties and governments since Confederation, has been the worst penalty of our Canadian democracy.

It has been the chief source of whatever of corruption has degraded our public life during the1 past fifty years. It has sinned more than all other agencies combined against efficiency and honesty in politics. And it stands to-day as one of the chief reasons for the extravagance and waste that father taxation and debt.

How does the “Pork Barrel” operate?

Briefly, it is simply a system, or practice, by which parties in office use public moneys to bribe or debauch constituencies, to the end that they may continue in power. It is a system by which a Government dispenses rich favors to constituencies and groups that are friendly—or subservient—and neglects or starves constituencies and groups that are hostile. It is. a system that exalts the creed that “to the victors belong the spoils”

—the spoils being public offices, or public moneys, or the public domain.

It is. seen at its best, or worst, in the supplementary estimates— when the “faithful” are rewarded —or when a ministry becomes fearful of a by-election verdict.

Let me give an illustration. And just to impeach the accusation that these articles are but an attack upon the present Liberal ministry, let me take the illustration from a Conservative regime. In 1920 there was a by-election in Victoria, B.C. It was necessitated by the appointment of Dr.

Tolmie as Minister of Agriculture in succession to Mr.

Crerar, who had resigned. That by-election had not been in progress a day when the Government announced .that it would build a dry-dock in Victoria costing five millions of dollars.

A “High and Dry” Dock

'"THERE were ports in Canada in worse need of a ^ dry-dock than Victoria. There was, for example, Vancouver. Vancouver boasted a tonnage four millions greater than the tonnage of Victoria. As against a dry-dock of 450 feet in length which Victoria already possessed, Vancouver had no dry-dock at all. And while 1 ictoria was and is largely a port of call, Vancouver was and is a port of discharge—-with dry-dock facilities vital. By every law of logic, shipping needs, efficiency and common-sense, Vancouver should have been favored; but it was not. As between making certain of the election of Dr. Tolmie, and the proper disposition of docking facilities on the Pacific Coast, the Government never hesitated. The consequence was that in due time Dr. Tolmie’s post-dated cheque was honored —Victoria got its $5,000,000 dock. That is the “Pork Barrel.”

Last year there was a by-election in North Essex.

The King Government’s candidate was a very excellent gentleman known as Mr. “Tim” Healy. In the course of the contest it became evident that Mr. Healy was encountering rough going; and the Government, hearing the news, was disturbed. Accordingly, and in due time, there appeared a poster, with this literary effort on Mr. Healy’s behalf;

“The Pork Barrel”

GRATTAN O’LEARY

Describes that “Cootie on the Body Politic”—

VOTE FOR HEALY and get

$86,000 Gov. Docks and Breakwater;

$25,000 Waterworks

Free gift from James Cooper.

$75,000 Brick and Tile yard to employ thirty hands the year round.

Vote for Robinson and get nothing but hot air.

King needs Tim; so do you.

TIM AND KING—THAT’S THE THING.

That would be amusing—if the country didn’t pay. Unfortunately, however, the country paid. The note matured toward the end of last session. The vote was brought down in the Supplementaries and jammed through the House almost at the eleventh hour, beforeo prorogation; and thousands of dollars were added to our tax bfils because—because “King needs Tim.”

Halifax provides the most shocking evidence of the Pork Barrel at its worst. Go down to that city, go over its great terminal works, see where millions have been sunk in deserted and unused terminals— and you will see a pathetic monument to Government patronage and waste. But let that pass. A few months ago there was a by-election in Halifax. It was a hard contest, and the Government, its majority at zero, was desperate. Looking around for a lifebuoy, it discovered that Halifax needed another elevator. Now if there was one thing in the wide world that Halifax didn’t need, that thing was a new elevator. It had more elevator space than it had ever used or was likely to use for several years to come. Out amidst the rest of its unused terminals stood an elevator, capable of

handling twelve million bushels of grain—yet deserted. For three years scarcely a bushel of wheat had passed through it into the holds of ships.

No matter. The Government would build a new elevator. It would cost $1,200,000; there would be rich contracts for somebody; there would be lots of work for the “boys.” And so the Ministerial press, and Mr. E. M. Macdonald, and the Prime Minister himself, spoke eloquently of the Government’s generous gift. The money was nothing; the contracts were ready to be let; all that was necessary was to—vote for the Liberal candidate.

Halifax—to its credit— was not bribed. It did not vote for the Government candidate. And what happened? Well, the Government lost all of its ardor for that Halifax elevator. Where a few weeks before it had the money and everything ready to go on with the work, and was about to let the contract for it, it suddenly discovered that the plans were all wrong, that they called for something it didn’t have in mind, and that the tenders were too high.

And there will be no elevator built. Halifax not having come across with votes, the Pork Barrel will not come across with an elevator.

From Halifax to Kent. At first it looked easy. Kent was almost traditionally Liberal, and it is three-fourths Acadian; the Ministry was confident. Then things darkened. Stories came to Ottawa of a Maritime revolt; and so shock troops and the Pork Barrel were sent into action. For what subsequently happened, and as a delightful illustration of how Ministers love to use public moneys to buy up a riding’s votes, let me quote this despatch from the public press:

“Santa Claus ‘ came to Richibucto this evening, bringing gifts for the people of Kent; some prospective, it is true, but ali alluring. One of the number, Hon. Ernest Lapointe, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, brought his gift in his hand, something definite. He announced that commencing on the fifteenth of this month the fisheries’ inspectors of this province would not have to report to the chief inspector at Halifax.

“Another gift-bearer was the Hon. A. B. Copp, Secretary of State, and representative of New Brunswick in the King Government. He far outbid his colleague of the Fisheries Department for he intimated that the return of the Liberal candidate, Alfred Bourgeois, would mean the extension of the Moncton-Buctouche branch line to Richibucto, a distance of some eighteen miles.

“The third gift-bearer was Hon. P. J. Venoit, Prime Minister of New Brunswick. Premier Venoit said that only recently a delegation from Richibucto had waited on the Provincial Government in the hope of having the provincial system take over the system which Richibucto and its neighboring town has on the Kouchibouguac river. Immediately he had issued orders that the engineers of the Hydro system make a survey and see if it was possible for the Government to acquire the civic power system and link it up with the hydro system, and thereby give the people of Kent good service.” Mr. Copp, on a later occasion, was particularly clear in pointing out the material benefits that would come to Kent if it voted for the Government candidate. He said:

“Now, I want to ask you in all fairness, who will be your representative? Who will be the more apt to get a more reasonable and fair consideration for you, Doucett, the Conservative, or Bourgeois? It is to your very great advantage—...if you want better railway facilities for this part of Kent to elect Mr. Bourgeois. . .” Kent, like Halifax, declined to be bought. But if it had not so declined the money public would have been used to redeem such talk. And it is because constituencies don’t often decline, it is because ridings succumb to this shameless use of the Pork Barrel that the public’s money is poured out in waste and Canada is confronted year after year with the spectacle of red ink deficits.

Your House of Commons

BUT how, it may be asked, do such votes get through Parliament? What of the Opposition? What of those watchdogs of the treasury who murmur incantations about economy? Where are those alert Progressives who were to take us all from the boglands to the eternal summits of righteousness? For answer let me try to picture one of the dying days of the session. It is a hot sultry day in June. The end of the session is in sight; members who have orated about everything and anything for months sit like rows of exhausted volcanoes. Some, their indemnity cheques in their pockets, have already gone home; others are preparing to go. Only long rows of empty seats confront the Government: even the Press Gallery is deserted. In a low monotone voice the committee chairman reads out item after item of supplementary estimates— thousands, tens of thousands, millions—the Ministers and a few parrot supporters call “Carried! carried!” There is hardly a voice to object. Thousands for this, tens of thousands for that, millions for here, there and everywhere; and barely a word of discussion, not an attempt at ' intelligent scrutiny. Wharves for Nova Scotia, breakwaters for Quebec, public buildings for New Brunswick, other things for Ontario and the West, until millions upon millions are spent. It ig the Pork Barrel at its deadliest and best.

Exaggerated, you say. Well, let us see. In 1921, when Mr. Meighen was Prime Minister, Parliament prorogued on the fourth of June. On the 31st of May— four days before—Supplementary Estimates were brought, down totalling $23,000,000. Nor was that all. Because Parliament had frittered away its time in peurile, futile talk for months, the Main Estimates had not bëen considered, and, as a consequence, the House passed the following votes on June 1 within two or three hours:

Railways and Canals—chargeable to income— Miscellaneous

Board of Railway Commissioners $ 206,000

Railways.................... 50,000,000

Loan to the Grand Trunk ...... 89,000,000

Loan to the Grand Trunk System. 26,000,000

To provide salaries and expenses in connection with the arbitration of the railways................ 1,000,000

Here we have the colossal sum of nearly two hundred million dollars actually voted within two or three hours, and with practically no discussion. Nor was that all. On this same day—Wednesday, June 1 — the following sums were also voted:

Canadian Government Railways and Canals, $7,000,000; Canals—staff and repairs, $2,270,000; Railways and Canals—to pay claims for right of way, $35,000; Miscellaneous railway equipment, $1,903,000; Hudson Bay Railway—Port Nelson terminals, $100,000.

Supplementary Estimates—Railways and Canals —chargeable to income, $20,500; To increase the amount of loan authorized by vote 478, $1,520,000.

Railways and Canals—chargeable to collection of revenue—Canadian Government Railways, $2,000,000.

Civil Government—Department of Railways and Canals, $1.800, $1,500.

Railways and Canals—chargeable to capital —various items for the railways as follows: $3,000, $1,400, $97,000, $4,500, $70,000, $50,000, $47,500, $50,000.

Railways and Canals—chargeable to income — Railways, $80,000, $50,000, $130,000.

Consider These Figures

DUT the worst is yet to come. For on Friday, June 3, _ the day before Parliament prorogued, money was voted with an abandon, a carelessness and a callousness that simply appalls. The actual number of items voted is wearyingly long, but they throw such a luminous light upon what takes place in Parliament in respect of the taxpayers’ money, that I am constrained to reproduce them in full. Here, then, is what was voted within five or six hours on Friday, June 3, 1921;

Main Estimates—Scientific Institutions—Department of Interior, $55,000, $14,000; Geodetic Survey, $325,000; International boundaries, $37,000; Government of the Northwest Territories, $125,000,

$70,000; Government of the Yukon Territory, $35,000, $45,000, $20,000, $20,000; Dominion

Lands and Parks—salaries—outside service, $515,000, $250,000, $600,000, $2,000; Protection of timber in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, $1,000,000; Other items, $4,000, $367,000, $15,000, $284,000,

THE 1923-24 supplementary estimates included, as in other years, enormous sums omitted from the main estimates. Some of the principal items were for the Civil Service Provisional Bonus Allowance, for public buildings, and for “harbors and rivers’’ improvement. Quebec received $564,865.50 under this last-named heading and Ontario, peculiarly enough, almost exactly the same sum, $564,171. As a typical instance—no different in the main from other provinces and other years—the details are given below of the $758,684.60 paid to the Maritime Prov-

HARBOURS AND RIVERS NOVA SCOTIA

Advocate—Wharf repairs......................... 2,000 00

Abbott’s Harbour—Breakwater extension.......... 1,350 00

Barrington Passage—Wharf repairs................ 1,750 00

Bass River—Improvements....................... 1,500 00

Battery Point—Breakwater extension.............. 9,600 00

Briton Cove—Breakwater repairs................. 1,000 00

Broad Cove Marsh—Replacement, breakwater-wharf. 8,400 00

Burlington Centre—Wharf extension.............. 7,500 00

Canada Creek—Rebuilding shore end of breakwater . . 1,300 00

Cariboo Island—Breakwater reconstruction......... 6,000 00

Cheverie—Wharf repairs......................... 1,000 00

Chezzetcook Head —Wharf repairs................ 900 00

Culloden—Breakwater extension.................. 5,000 00

D’Escousse—Wharf repairs....................... 3,000 00

Dartmouth—Pier and dredging................... 75,000 00

Digby—Dredging................................ 15,100 00

East River—Repairs to lock...................... 4,000 00

Eastern Harbour—Improvements.................. 38,000 00

East Sandy Cove -Wharf........................ 9,350 00

Ecum Secum—Completing wharf and building road . . 6,100 00

Five Islands—Wharf extension.................... 5,000 00

Fruid’s Point—Wharf repairs..................... 4,900 00

Gillis Point—Wharf repairs....................... 1,100 00

Grand Narrows—Wharf extension................. 2,000 00

Half Island Cove—Rebuilding breakwater—Further

amount required........... 1,650 00

Hampton—Breakwater repairs.................... 8,500 00

Inverness—Repairs to piers....................... 4,400 00

Little Anse—In full and final settlement of T. D.

Morrison’s claim in connection with contract

for construction of a breakwater.............. 3,234 60

Little Harbour (Lower L’Ardoise)—Breakwater extension and repairs.......................... 2,000 00

Little Harbour—Breakwater repairs................ 1,500 00

Livingstone’s Cove—Wharf repairs................ 1,000 00

Lunenburg—Dredging............................ 40,000 00

Malagash—Dredging............................. 15,700 00

Margaree Harbour—Repairs to harbour works...... 9,700 00

Margaretville—Repairs to breakwaters............. 2,400 00

Meteghan—Wrharf extension...................... 7,600 00

New Harris—Wharf............................. 5,000 00

Nyanza—Wharf repairs.......................... 1,000 00

North Ingonish (McLeod’s)—Reconstruction of

breakwater and dredging..................... 34,700 00

North Sydney—Breakwater repairs................ 3,000 00

Parrsboro—Repairs to breakwater and shed on wharf 1,350 00

Pictou Light Beach—Repairs and reconstruction of

protection work............................. 1,200 00

Piper’s Cove—Wharf repairs...................... 1,100 00

Point Anconi—Breakwater....................... 10,000 00

Port Beckerton—Wharf repairs.................... 2,000 00

Port Greville—Further amount required for breakwater repairs and harbour improvements....... 18,000 00

Portuguese Cove—Breakwater.................... 5,000 00

Pictou—Dredging................................ 15,200 00

Pembroke—Wharf extension...................... 3,000 00

Port Lome—Breakwater extension................ 9,600 00

Riverport—Revetment wall for dredged spoil....... 20,000 00

Round Hill—Wharf repairs....................... 1,700 00

Sanford—Retaining wall......................... 1,800 00

Scott’s Bay—Rebuilding part of north breakwater . . 8,000 00

Scotch Cove (White Point)—Breakwater repairs.. .. 2,600 00

Shad Bay—Wharf repairs........................ 1,500 00

Sheet Harbour West—Rebuilding wharf........... 5,000 00

Shelburne—Wharf repairs....................... 4,500 00

Smith’s Cove —Breakwater extension and beach protection .................................. 2,400 00

Sonora—Purchase of wharf and rebuilding same. . 5,000 00

South Lake—Breakwater extension . . 5,000 00

Ship Harbour—Wharf repairs..................... 4,200 00

St. Francis Harbour—Breakwater................. 5,000 00

Summerville—Wharf repairs...................... 5,000 00

Tiverton—Breakwater extension................... 15,000 00

Watt Settlement —Wharf repairs and renewals...... 2,500 00

West Bacc^ro—Breakwater extension and repairs.. . 4,000 00

Windsor—Wharf ............................... 22,000 00

$533,884 60

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Beach Point—Wharf............................. 7,500 00

Belle River—Breakwater extension...... 9,000 00

Georgetown—To take over and repair C.N.’R. wharf 20,000 00

South Rustico (Oyster Bed Bridge)—Wharf reconstruction .................................. 4,000 00

$40,500 00

NEW BRUNSWICK

Black’s HarbourFloating slip............... 1,000 00

Cape Bald—Breakwater repairs............ « 6,500 00

Cocagne Cape —Wharf......................... 5,000 00

Grand Harbour—Purchase of Ingall’s wharf....... 3,500 00

Great Salmon River—Breakwater extension 8,000 00

Harbours and Rivers Generally—Repairs and improvements—Further amount required 25,000 00

Inkerman—Wharf........................ . 3,000 00

Lord’s Cove—Wharf repairs................ 1,200 00

Negro Point—Breakwater extension...... . 100,000 00

New Mills (Benjamin River)—Wharf repairs..... 1,200 00

Robichaud’s (Savoy’s) Landing—Wharf. 14,000 00

Shippigan Harbour—Improvements.. 7,500 00

St. Nicholas River—Wharf repairs....... 1,500 00

Village Bay —Wharf and dredging . 6,900 00

$184.300 00

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$300,000, $1,000, $800,000, $60,000, $105,000, $10,000, $1,500, $1,000, $500,000, $325,000.

Supplementary Estimates—Civil Government—• Department of Interior, $57,000; Government of the Northwest Territories, $30,000; Dominion Lands and Parks, $40,000, $3,000, $65,000.

Supplementary Estimates—Mines and Geological Survey, $140,000, $140,000.

Main Estimates—Indians, $23,000.

Supplementary Estimates—Indians, $200, $300 $19,000, $8,000, $19,000, $6,000,$1,000,$5,000,$5,OOo’ $9,000, $5,000, $12,000, $4,000, $9,000; Agriculture— for purchase of seed grain, $1,500,000; Agriculture— other items, $100,000, $100,000, $100,000, $25,000 $10,000, $300,000, $20,000; Civil GovernmentDepartment of Agriculture, $3,900, $1,000, $1,900 $2,000, $2,000.

Main Estimates—charges of management, $100,000, $15,000, $400,000, $100,000, $100,000, $6,000, $3,000, $80,000; Civil government—Governor General, $33,600, $66,600; Privy Council, $38,000, $10,000; Secretary of State, $190,000, $33,500; Mounted Police, $31,500, $9,000; Auditor General, $218,500, $22,000; Finance, $416,000, $50,000; Insurance, $58,000, $50000, Public Archives, $66,000, $12,000; Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment, $61,000, $10,000; Civil Service Commission, $192,000, $160,000.

Main Estimates—Legislation. Senate, $142,500; House of Commons, $238,800, $77,600, $46,800, $60,000, $141,000; Library of Parliament, $41,900, $18,000, $1,000, $12,500; General, $125,000, $16,000.

Main Estimates—Pensions, $1,200, $1,000, $1,000, $30,000, $7,000; Pensions—European War and active militia, $30,500,000; Board of Pension Commissioners, $625,000.

Main Estimates—Superannuation, $90,000; the Naval Service, $2,500,000; Labour, $50,000; Civil government, $1,200,000, $156,000; Post Office— outside service, $13,600,000, $10,100,000, $1,000,000, $195,000.

Supplementary Estimates—Civil Government— Post Office Department, $1,000, $9,000, $5,000, $9,000; Mail Subsidies and Steamship Subventions, $19,000; Post Office—outside service, $365,000; Post Office—miscellaneous, $25,000, $235,000,

$3,000, $2,000; Civil Government—Administration of Justice, $10,000; Penitentiaries, $200,000; Civil Government—Post Office Department $15,000; Post Office—Outside Service, $86,000;—Mail Service by railway, $4,380,000.

Supplementary Estimates—Administration of Justice, $2,500, $3,000; Penitentiaries, $10,000; Miscellaneous, $30,000, $5,000, $20,000, $1,000; Demobilization, $6,000.

Main Estimates—Royal Canadian Mounted Police—Pay, $1,718,000, Subsistence, $1,800,000, Contingencies, $5,000; Soldiers’ Land Settlement, $17,000; Advances to soldiers settling on land, $35,000,000; Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment: Capital, $200,000; Care of patients, $5,250,000; Vocational expense, $325,000; Salaries, $6,000,000; Pay and allowance (treatment), $3,750,000, (vocational), $2,000,000; Vocational Loans, $150,000; Interest on war service gratuity balances, $10,000; Operating expenses and working capital, $1,500,000; Miscellaneous—Canada Gazette, $51,000; Printing Bureau, $20,000; Distribution of parliamentary documents, $40,000; Miscellaneous printing, $100,000; Contribution towards publication of international catalogue of scientific literature, $600; Expenses under Canada Temperance Act, $500,000; Other items under Miscellaneous, $31,000, $40,000, $68,000, $25,000, $2,000, $6,000, $35,000, $10,000, $50,000, $8,000; to provide for the administration of the Business Profits War Tax Act, $2,000,000; Other items, $5,000, $5,000 $5,000, $2,000, $8,000, $2,500, $905,316, $3,000, $15,000, $80,442, $15,000, $5,000, $1,000, $15,000, $50,000, $15,640, $2,000, $12,000; Demobilization— Dominion Bureau of Statistics (including census 1921), $1,860,000; Trade and Commerce— Secretary of State, $50,000.

Supplementary Estimates—Provisional bonus, allowance for inside and outside service of the Civil Service, $9,375,000.

Supplementary Estimates—Charges of Management—Offices of the Assistant Receiver General, etc., $12,000; Printing Dominion notes, $75,000; other items, $60,000, $1,000, $66,000; Civil Government—Printing, etc., $1,700, $4,800, $10,000; Department of Labour—contingencies, $20,000; High Commissioner’s office, $7,000; Civil Service Commission, $4,800, $5,120, $10,000, $10,000, $25,000, $10,000; Legislation—Senate, $6,259, $7,800, $9,000, $4,700, $11,000, $8,800; Immigration and Colonization-contingencies in Canadian, British and Foreign agencies, and general immigration expenses, $150,000; Exhibitions, $5,000; Pensions—Salaries and contingent expenses of the Board of Pension Commissioner for Canada, $350,000; Militia and Defence—Royal Military College, $35,000.

Labour—Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, $5,000; Conciliation and Labor Act, $24,000; Emergency relief, $500,000; Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment—care of patients and limb factory operations, $1,600,000; Unemployment relief, $1,100,000; Miscellaneous—Printing Bureau, $13,000; Grant to Navy League of Canada, $5,000; Administration of the Business Profits War Tax, 1916, and the income War Tax Act, .1917, $600,000 ; Expenses under the Naturalization Act, $12,000; Trade and Commerce—

Canada Grain Act, Administration of,

$60,000; Trade Commissioners and commercial agents, $40,000; Weights and Measures, $10,000.

Civil Government—D epartment Secretary oí State.

High Commissioners’ Office, $7,000;

Dept, of External Affairs, $4,000;

Department of Public Archives, $5,500;

Civil Service Commission, $7,100;

Legislation—Senate, certain sessional indemnities, $3,000; House of Commons, contingencies, $17,000.

Immigration and Colonization,

$28,000; Pensions, $700; Militia and Defence, $10,000, $5,000, $20,000, $3,000; Royal Military College, $25,000;

Public Works—chargeable to capital, $100,000.

Public Works—Nova Scotia, $1,500, $6,000, $3,000, $3,000; Public Works, New Brunswick, $5,000, $1,500; Public Works, Quebec, $2,000,

$25,000, $1,400, $2,750; Montreal,

General Post Office, $30,000; Quebec,

Immigration building, $15,000; Quebec Post Office, $10,000; Quebec,

Savard Park Hospital, $10,000; Three Rivers, Public Building, $4,500.

Public Works, Ontario, $1,600, $2,600, $30,000, $2,000, $7,500, $1,000,

$1,131, $4,000, $25,000, $2,000, $8,500,

$2,000, $10,000, $13,000, $3,000, $5,400, $22,000, $9,000, $5,500, $100,000, $10,084, $2,500, $4,500, $350,000, $6,000, $7,500, $4,252.

Public Works, Manitoba, $1,300; Public Works, Saskatchewan, $7,500; $2,000; $4,500. Public Works, Alberta, $3,800, $1,000, $7,000, $2,400; Public Works, British Columbia, $14,000, $3,500, $2,175, $6,000, $4,000; Generally—Public Works, Armories, $87,000; Dominion Public Buildings, $30,000; Rents, repairs, furniture, heating, etc.—Ottawa public

buildings, $125,000; telephone service, $8,000; Dominion Public Buildings, $60,000.

All this is taken from the Official Journals of Parliament. It is the answer to the challenge: How does the Pork Barrel escape Parliament? And this was in the year 1921—when the National Debt increased by some $80,000,000.

A few years ago, when Mr. Fielding sat upon the Cross Benches, and was not shackled by partysim,

he voiced a solemn protest against expenditures being rushed through the House. .1 have not his words before me, but I have a vivid recollection of the deep impression which his protest made at the time. Alas for political professions and practices! For last session, sitting in the seats of the mighty, Mr. Fielding sinned grievously against his pre-office creed. In his Budget speech he had pleaded for economy. He had painted a sombre picture of taxation and debt, and he had warned the House that only through retrenchment, only through rigid elimination of waste, could the country be rescued from peril. But the power of the Pork Barrel, the rapacity of his followers, was too strong. And so three or four days before prorogation the House saw him forced into the humiliating surrender of bringing down $15,000,000 of Supplementary Estimates, estimates which, for their stark allegiance to the principle of pure party patronage at the treasury’s expense, were hard to surpass. Wharves, breakwaters, post offices, customs buildings—political manna for the “solid sixteen” of Nova Scotia and the “solid sixtythree” of Quebec—such were the Supplementaries of last year. Yet people ask why we plunge into debt and why taxes grow increasingly high!

The Pork Barrel’s Versatility

ONE of the characteristics of the Pork Barrel is its versatility. It works in countless ways. Take, as an illustration, the Government’s purchase of supplies. In the old days, a new Government simply supplied all departments with a list of its friends. This was the list of the chosen people, the victors to whom the spoils of office must go in the form of all Government contracts and in the purchase of Government supplies. No need to worry about tenders, or quality, or price; the plums must go to the fortunates who voted for the party in power. During the war there was a change. Sir Robert Borden-to his eternal credit-tore up these patronage lists. He made merit, tender and compe tition, not campaign contributions, the key to Government contracts and pur chases; and a little later on, when party ism was submerged into a War Adminis tration, a War Purchasing Commission was brought into being. That War Purchas ing Commission, continued after the war, and saving the country millions, no longer exists. It was driven into extinction this summer, and we were informed that hereafter purchase of supplies, and letting of con tracts, would be a function of a "commit tee of the Cabinet." Few more sinister announcements have come from Parlia ment Hill for many a long day.

Continued on page 46

Continued from page 21

Pork Barrel on a National Scale

ÎHAVE left for the last the most costly extravagance of all—the Pork Barrel on a national scale. It is the practice by which Governments or parties try to bribe not only a single or a number of ridings, but attempt to indirectly buy up the country as a whole. It was this motive which, as much as anything else, fathered the crime of a transcontinental railway from Winnipeg to Moncton, a project prohibited by common sense, and which now hangs like a mill-stone around the neck of this country. It was this motive which in days gone by made the old Intercolonial a political football, the sport of politicians, and a drain on the national treasury. It was this motive which incubated that fantastic and ruinous undertaking, the Hudson Bay Railway. The promise of the Hudson Bay Railway, with the subsequent hare-brained attempt to give it effect, was a pure bribe to the West. It was a bribe in which both the old parties played an equally dishonorable role. And the mere fact that ghastly

failure of the project has brought neither courage nor wisdom to either party, so far as continuation of the scheme is concerned, impeaches the mushroom professions of economy now being thundered from Parliament Hill. In the thirteen years that I have been watching Parliament from the Press Gallery I have never met a politician who would privately defend the Hudson Bay Railway. Yet just because it is considered good molasses to catch political flies on the plains, the parties are all for it. All for it; and to-day some twenty-five millions of the taxpayers’ money are represented by rusting rails and by Hudson Bay ports whose chief noises are the barkings of wolves.

The cold truth is that the average politician is for economy only so long as it is a cry. He will talk of retrenchment in the abstract, but he will raid the Treasury with the rapacity of Captain Kidd when it is his own riding or his own pet project that needs to be buttressed by dollars. Thus, we have seen even Mr. Meighen himself appear before Ministers of the present Government to plead expenditures for his riding of Kemptville. And that is why taxation is high. That is why we flounder into a morass of debt. That is why depressed industry and mounting living costs send our best brains to rear higher the prosperity of a foreign land. That, in a word, is the thing which lies at the basis of our economic ills—a system of waste and squander which, unless this country destroys it, may well destroy this country.

Note:—In his fourth article Mr. O'Leary will delve into other forms of waste, backing up his assertions with startling illustrations of extravagance, and will conclude with a number of specific and constructive suggestions for the achievement of economy.