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I may say, Sir, in making this mo- | Minister of Finance had made the statetion, that I desire to occupy the atten- ment I have just read, I put a notice on tion of the House for a few moments the paper, and as soon as possible with relation to the position in which moved for the production of the papers the question stands at this moment. and correspondence in this relation. My notice having been drawn to an They were brought down at a late period item in the Public Accounts, stating of the Session, and owing to some misthat $67,000 of customs duties understanding, it appears they were not had been refunded, I investigated printed. I have, however, had oppor the matter and found that it referred tunity to peruse them; and I find that to a return of duties by the Govern- they disclose a very extraordinary and ment to the Great Western Railway; a very improper method of procedure. small additional sum, some $2,000 or I made a motion for specific papers, for $3,000, was paid to another railway all correspondence and all Orders in ¡Canada company-the Southern. Council relating to the subject; and The Hon. Minister of Finance, those who heard the First Minister in when I ventured to challenge the his place express his disapproval of propriety of this refun, stated to the having the opinion of subordinate House, that it was under an Order in officers of the Government brought into Council passed by the late Adminis- discussion on the floor of this House; tration. In order that I may not be and a few days ago hon. gentlemen who accused of misquoting the hon. saw the First Minister, with his own gentleman's words he spoke very hand, change a motion made by the hon. briefly-I will ask the indulgence of member for South Waterloo, striking. tne House, and read from the Hansard. out a reference to remarks desired from He said :the Commissioner of Customs, and substituting the responsible officer, the Minister of Customs will see why I complain.
"I will now refer to the Customs' refunds, amounting to $7,000, these refunds were charged on a plan laid down while he himself was Minister of Customs, and established by an Order in Council, so far from the present Government desiring to maintain that rule, the very first thing we did after getting into power was to put a stop to this in the tariff brought down last year; we did that because we thought these railway companies were receiving more than they should in the matter of exemptions, and no portion of those funds were given except on the Report of the Minister of Customs, and also of the Minister of Justice, that the Law required these refunds to be paid."
Now, Sir, I may remind the House of the system under which these duties were paid Parliament for the purpose of promoting the manufacture of locomotives in this country, passed a law providing that certain portions of them, which could be easily made here, should be subject to a duty of 15 per cent.; the remaining portions, which Canadians could not readily manufacture, to be entered free; but the law required that every locomotive imported should pay 15 per cent. duty. Before proceeding to discuss the question itself, I desire to draw the attention of the House for a moment.-I regret very much that the First Minister is not in his place-to the character of the returns brought down. Immediately after my hon. friend the
I took the first paper I found on the list, and what did I observe? That instead of the Government complying with the Order of the House, and bringing down the correspondence that existed, they commenced to manufacture correspondence. I do not think, Sir, that they could have given to the House a much stronger evidence of the weak and untenable position they occupied, than they did when they felt it was necessary to open this correspondence with a long communication from the Commissioner of Customs, dated the 5th of April, the day before it was brought down. Now Sir, I say that this gentleman was my officer yesterday; he is the officer of the present Minister of Customs to-day, and he may be my officer again to-morrow.
Hon. Gentlemen-No, no.
Hon. Mr. TUPPER-It is extremely inconvenient, as hon. gentlemen will see, that when there is an issue between Government, subordinate officers, who the Opposition of this House and the directly, but to the Ministers, should be are not responsible to the House pushed into the gap. I do not intend, Sir, therefore, to take any notice
whatever of the statement in this |
"DEAR SIR,-The correspondence between the Grand Trunk Railway and yourself relative to the importation of locomotive engines in
parts, having been brought under the consider
ation of the Minister o Customs and the Min
ister of Finance. I am desired to instruct you to admit to a free entry those parts of the locomotives which are declared to be free by the tariff, it being considered that the parts in question do not lose their claim to exemption under the law by having been put together in Glasgow, with the other dutiable parts of the engine; such engine being taken to pieces afterwards, and imported into Canada in parts as represented."
I want to know what other order could have been given while such a law was on the Statute Book, and that is all the authority the hon. gentleman had for the statement he made. I may state, however, Sir, that not only did the Government consider it necessary to manufacture correspondence in relation to this matter, but the correspondence brought down is garbled. A letter was addressed by the Manager of the Great Western Railway to myself on the 29th of September, 1873-that is given, and a letter written by the manager of this railway on the 16th of October, is also given, given, acknowledging reply to that letter, but the letter so acknowledged is not forthcoming. Now, I want the Government to supply the missing link. I want not only this correspondence, but the whole of the documents, in order that we may know the authority for the course that has been pursued.
The application of the railway company was for a remission of duties on locomotives brought in by steam, and in running order. They were manufactured in the United States, run into Canada and paid, of course, the duty of 15 per cent., because the late Government had no power, nor did the company venture to ask, so far as I am aware, for the remission of duties they had thus to pay. They asked this remission from the hon. gentlemen opposite, and on the recommendation of the Hon. Minister of Finance, acting for the Minister of Customs, the Government passed an order in Council granting their request. Now, here is a case in which duties had been paid three years previously under a law that taxed the articles brought into the country. It is impossible to conceive any pretext upon which any Government could go back and make a calculation on the parts of the locomotives which, if they had been imported separately, would
have bear mitted free. It is impossible that a great company like this was ignorant of the tariff. If they had imported and entered the parts which are free of duty separately, no Government could have exacted the payment.
Another feature of the case is the first demand was $41,000, but when they found the Finance Minister was so generous they increased it and succeeded in squeezing $69,000 out of my hon. and good-natured friend. This was unconstitutional, and a violation of Parliamentary Law. What is Parliament for if not to be consulted previously to paying money out of the consolidated revenue fund. It establishes a precedent by which all the manufacturers of boots and shoes could demand a refund of duties on importations of such goods, because certain parts of them, if imported separately would be admitted free. It has been the policy of this country to encourage manufacturing by allowing raw materials to come in untaxed, but this establishes a precedent for remitting duties on manufactured goods.
This occurred just before the meeting of Parliament, and there was no reason why this sum of $69,000 should not have been placed in the estimates and legitimately decided upon. I say legitimately because it was a violation of the Statute Law which provides that no remission shall be made unless recommended by the Treasury Board, and this was never before the Board.
In discussing this question in another place with my hon. friend the First Minister he said: "What did the late "Government do? Did they not remit a “considerable sum of money to Gooder"ham & Worts for duties on whiskey "consumed by fire?" The case stood The case stood on a different footing. The duty was levied in the distillery at the tail of the first still, and exacted from the proprietors before the manufacture had been completed. While the property was still in the hands of the officer of the Government the fire occurred, and made a case which presented a fair and legitimate case for compensation.
Hon. Mr. TUPPER-I only mentioned it to know what steps should be taken.
Mr. SPEAKER-The hon. gentleman made the motion last Session after the Committee had presented their final report
Hon. Mr. BURPEE-I did not know until this moment there was any garbled correspondence of the Commissioner of Customs. Any correspondence in the possession of the Department will be brought down. The remission to the Great Western was made on a principle that has been The Grand recognized since 1868. Trunk Company had received in exactly the same way on their locomotives $80,000, the free parts being attached. The per-centage allowed for remission of duties to the Great Western Company was 331; to the Grand Trunk in 1868 it was 45 per cent. This matter was before the Treasury Board, and it was on their report the Finance Minister acted. The hon. gentleman refers to an Order in Council for $43,000. The remission was made by two Orders in Council.
Mr. WORKMAN-Many enquiries have been made of me in Montreal on this question, and I am glad it has been brought up. I understood there was no remission of duties on engines coming into the country, and I stated so; I now find I am mistaken. It is not for me to say the Government has made a mistake, but I think they have been guilty of an error in making this large reduction of duty on articles subject to it by law. I don't think this House would approve of the action of the Government in handing $60,000 to one railroad company and $80,000 to another, while an honest merchant who imports his goods has to pay duty in full. If I applied to the Minister of Customs for rebate of duty, he would be pursuing a proper course to refuse it. It is a great injury to our own manufacturing industries. We have establishments in this country for manufacturing locomotive engines. They have a great deal to compete against, and where this unjust remission of duty
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE-My hon. friend is entirely mistaken. It is not unjust. This duty is remitted according to law.
Mr. WORKMAN-If I am wrong— Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE-My hon. friend is entirely wrong. He is wrong
in this respect.
Mr. WORKMAN-I think in any remission of this kind the Government ought to be very particular and see the law is carried out in its entirety.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD-The Hon. Premier says that the action of the late Government was a farce, a mere pretence, and it made no practical
difference whether a machine was brought in in pieces or in bulk. Whether it was a farce or not, the action of the late Government was legal; the action of the present Government was illegal. There was no option for the late Government, they could not refuse the application of the Grand Trunk Company when they had complied with the law; the present Government in granting the request of the Great Western Company broke the
into the free list in order that they might be imported free, and in order to enable manufacturers to construct the rest of the locomotives and put them up in this country. Well, the Grand Trunk, taking advantage of that law, it seems, got some locomotives built, some in Scotland and some in the United States, had them taken to pieces, and imported those new por tions separately which were by law free. The consequence was that an Order in Council was passed that all the portions brought into this country were free.
The object of the tariff was obvious. It was to encourage manufactures in this country. We were anxious to encourage the construction of railroad locomotives in Canada. It was represented by the manufacturing interest that certain portions of them could not be made here, and that such portions should be admitted free of duty as partially raw materials. Therefore, if Ï recollect rightly, by the unanimous voice
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE-Will my right hon. friend answer this question? If he acted under the law, where was the necessity for the Order in Council?
That was the Order in Council which
the Minister of Customs, Mr. Tilley,
of Parliament, these articles were puting to $69,000 altogether, which was
contrary to law, which was a breach of the law, which the Government had no right to do, and for which personally and pecuniarily they are responsible. It was a wilful breach, and the country loses $69,000.
Hon. Mr. TUPPER-It is this; that instead of confining himself to the correspondence moved for, he is bringing forward a letter manufactured to orderthe day before this correspondence was brought down.
Hon. Mr. CARTWRIGHT—The right hon. gentleman's points, as I understood them, are two; first, that this Government, in making the refund, did something which was illegal, and second, that his Government did a similar act which was legal. The Grand Trunk tried to successfully avoid the law, and the Great Western was not so fortunate. The hon. gentleman is perfectly aware that the Government has power, where hardship or injustice has been suffered, to make remission, and the action of the Government
Hon. Mr. CARTWRIGHT--I put it in as a simple statement of fact, with which it was right the House should be fully acquainted, and which it would have been disingenuous on my part to 26, 1868, the Grand Trunk and other Under the Order of May suppress. railways regularly entered their locomotives for duty at a rate representing the value of the finished machine, less the value of those portious in the freelist, and entitled to fiee entry. That,. of Customs, was the fact, and such on the authority of the Commissioner late Government.. practice of the late Now, Sir, the actual fact in the matter received a remission of $75,000 out of was this: --The Grand Trunk Railway $1,123,000 worth of locomotives im
would be perfectly justifiable when
remission had been made. In the case
of the Grand Trunk the Government were perfectly justified in acting under that discretionary power, but the other railroads should be put on a similar footing. But if the Commissioner of the Customs is received as a witness,
and his testimony may be fairly receiv-ported, being at the rate of 45 per cent.. of the value of those articles. Great Western received only $47,246 out of a total value of $2,012,000, or at the rate of 25 per cent. is necessary for us to say anything further on this subject.
ed in this respect, it would appear to be the fact that the Grand Trunk and other companies had been in the habit ----in regard to the importation of complete locomotives----of deducting from the duty paid on them a certain proportion equivalent to the amount of the article which might have been imported free of duty.
I don't think it
Hon. Mr. TUPPER----I rise to a question of order. I drew the attention of the House at the commencement to the fact that I would not refer to the Commissioner of Customs, for the very sufficient reason-the reason endorsed
by the Hon. Prime Minister only to-day
that the opinions of subordinate officers should be left out of a debate. I have moved for all the Orders in Council and all correspondence in the archives of the Department, and the Hon. Minister of Customs had it in his power to bring, if he could, any authority from the late Government for this act. It is treating this House with disrespect to manufacture new correspondence and pretend that it is an authority.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE—What is the question of order?
Mr. SPEAKER-I believe the hon. gentleman is in order; he is merely replying to a statement.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD--That statement of the Minister of Customs may or may not have been acted upon; but one thing is clear, there was no authority for it from the Government. The instructions were these:
'The correspondence between the Grand Trunk Railway and yourself, relative to the having been brought under the consideration in part, of the Minister of Finance, I am desired to instruct you to remit these parts of the locomotives decla ed to be free by the tariff," &c.
My hon. friend represented in his speech that it was an ingenuous means by which the Grand Trunk evaded the law; but they had the right to do so if the engines or parts thereof were brought in separately under the Act. These separated parts were free of duty; there was no law under which they could be charged. As regards the statute, I say it did not warrant a remission of this sum to the Great