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2 find also that we have been committed to a great series of projects, of which, whether they arewell or ill conceived, I shall onlysayat present thattheyareofanatureto taxthe resources ofthiscountry totheutmost. (Hear, hear.) TheGovernmentarequite preparedto assumeresponsibilitytotheMlestextentforanyactoftheirown but ; they are not disposed toassume, norwill theyassume, norwill their supporters or the country at large expect them to assume, any res- ponsibility for acts of their predecessors against which they pio- tested to the utmost, which they opposed ftt every stage from their inception onwai-d, and for the results of which they have now to provide. For the measures we may have to bring down for the purpose ofrepairing these previous eiTors, (iferrore they are,) we are undoubtedly responsible but I repeat that for the measures ; themselves, and for the results of those measures, with which the — House is now, I may say for the first time, fairly confronted ^for thesemeasures,Isay,we admitnoresponsibility. (Hear,hear.) Ido not, however, wish it to be at all understood that the Government, while they contend that they are not morally responsible for the results ofthese measures, thereby mean to imply that they are not bound to carry out to the utmost any pledge made by their pre- decessors. It is our desire, Sir, to fully respectthose pledges; but I must put one reservation on this statement, and that is that res- pecting pledgesmade by others, wemust not ourselves be expected to make promises which we do not see our way to perform. All we can do we will do, but we will not imperil the whole future of this Dominion. We will be contentto go as far in these matters as the finances ofthe country willjustify, but, we must not be asked to go ftirther. (Hear,hear.) Oneword more. TheHouseisaWare only four or five months have elapsed since the present Govern- ment took office, and I may add, that ofthese four or fivd months, we have scarcely been able to give at the outside more than two months to the special measures with which we fbund oui'selves charged, owing to the double election towhich most ofus weresub- jected. Therefore, it is not possible that on minor points, I should beabletospeakasconfidentlyasIwouldhopetohavedone,hadafew my weeks more been placed at disposal. It is obvious that the cii'-.
8 cumstances at which I havejustglanced willimposeonustheduty, jrojeots, iyBayat on thisoccasion, of reviewing the position of the country a little country more minutely than we have been in the habit ofdoing. We must paredto understand distinctly, and the public at largemustalso understand, iwn but notonlywhatisthepresentfinancial conditionofthecountry,butwe ; must comprehendsomethingofthepresentresourcesofthecountry, ill their my andoftheengagementswe have incurred, andthenconsiderhowwe res- tiey pio- can best and mosteasilymeetthem. I mustadmitthat thereis veiy )m their considerablediflficultyinourwayindoingthis. Whateverthecause now to may be, there is no doubt the statistics ofCanada are not so com- for the plate and perfect as we would desire. There are many things we I ire,) we ought to know, ofwhich these statistics do not inform us; therefore leasures any calculation which I may venture upon this occasion, for which lich the I have not official statistics, I desire to be regarded as approximate ted—for only, thoughIventureto think theywill be foundtobenot farfrom Eir.) Ido being substantially correct. I am not able to make pretension in >rnment, all cases to minute accuracy, but still there are certain broad facts, 3 for the well understood and well established, which will suffice to load us are not to tolerably correct conclusions, both as to our general resources, leir pre- and as to the nature if not the fVill extent of the various engage- res but ments with which we have to grapple. Now, sir, I propose, in the ; at res- first place, to review the financial position ofthis country during :pected the year which terminated on 30th June last. I have caused to be All prepared, for the convenience ofthe Committee, a statement of the Lture of severalyearlyreceipts and expenditures since we entered uponCon- tters as federation. I may remark of this statement that it does asked not include the receipts or expenditure for Prince Edwaixl awai'e Island, with the exception of the sum of$100,000, which was in- overn- cluded in the supplementary estimates for the purpose ofdefraying lOnths, the cost of organization, so called. I am not going to delay the an two Committee very long with respect to the year 1872-3. There is not selves a gi'eat deal in respect to that year to call for comment at this — iresub- moment, exceptit be this I am aft'aid 1872-3will beknownforsome — should time to come as the last year of plenty ^I was going to say of afew heedless plenty. Ifthe Committee look at the comparative state- iheeil*- ment of receipts and expenditure, they will see that while the 39770.
receipts for 18*72-3 were $20,818,469, the expenditure for the same year was 119,174.647, leaving a net surplus of something aver $1,600,000—a very satis&otory result it must be admitted on that year's proceedings. Moreover, although the apparent increase in the receipts of 1872-3 was not much in excess of 1871*2, it is fair to state that owing to the reduction on the tea duties the real increase was more than the apparent increase, and the progressofthe countrywas still substantiallyincreasing during that period. There were, indeed, one ortwo factswhich mightrea- sonably have attracted more attention than they did. Ifhon. gen- tlemen will cast their eyes down the column of expenditure they will see there hasbeen an enormous increase in the charges forcol- lection ofrevenue on public works, while the receipts, as they will find by the other side of the statement, have not been nearly veiiar tively so great. They will see, also, that public works chargeable to income have almost exactly doubled, as compai'ed with 1871-2, and Au*ther, that the p7:oportionate increase in oui* expenditure was greater than the increase in the revenue, even taking into account the loss on the tea duties, to which I have alluded. Nevertheless, up to the 30th June, 1873, we still continued, asI have said, inthepossessionofaconsiderablesur- plus butafterthat datethe policyofthe late G-ovemment began to ; come into play. Ifthe Committee will glance at the estimates for 1873-4, which,be itremembered,weremadewithout reference tothe Island of Prince Edwaixl, they will see that the excess of the pre.
— for the fourmillionsofdollarsintoadeficit of nearlyonemillion. Andthis, )methiiig Ishallshow, isactuallyamuch more favourable statementforthose admitted gentlemen than the real state of the case would warrant, without apparent mentioning that this occurred in the face of a steadily increasing a excess revenue. (Hear, hear.) I do not knowthatin thewholecourseof — — m. the tea myreading ^notveryextensive, perhaps ^I say I do not knowof ease, and an instance inwhich a Government, having had sucha windfallof ig daring prosperity, succeeded, in four yeai's, in turning a surplus of four lightrea- millions into a deficit of one million in the face ofa progressive — — hon. gen- revenue (hear, hear) and I must also add that that increase bare they meant a great deal more than the Committee mightreadilysuppose es forcol- from the bare figures. Ifthe Committee will look at the expendi- they will ture for the yeai* 1869-70, they will see that deducting what is — arly velar known as the fixed charges that is to say, the interest on the iiargeable debt with the contingent charges, the subsidies and the charges — fed with pertaining co the collection of revenue it was rather under four in oui* millions of dollars. Consequently, the increase of income which ) revenue, took place between 1869-70 and 1870-71 represented more than luties, to double the then total expenditure for oixiinary purposes, ISIS, we and nearly double the actual net revenue, or in short >rablesiuv by the mai*vellous expansion of trade which then occurred, began to they had the benefit of a bonus of five millions a yeai*, not mates for to speak offurther large additions. I desire to add, Sir, in addi- nee tothe tion to this, that they contracted engagements which, if pushed to the pre. the legitimate legal limit, would involve us in a debt of nearly theCJom- two hundi'ed millions of dollars, all told. That is to ywillsee say that these gentlemen, besides more than doubling — lad takeu oui" usual ordinary expenditm'e, ^apai't from fixed charges, tappeal's had made provision for trebling the national debt of y had the Canada. (Hear, hear.) I must say that what om' honour- ording to ablepredecessora did they did quickly. (Hear, hear,andlaughter.) made for I will add this, that their only nvals were themselves, for never — policy of in the history ofCanada, except when they were in power ^never according exceptabouttwi)ntyyearaago when certainofthosehon.gentlemen ley wei*e were concerned ina similai* pix>ces8,were anything like such large iurplusof result^ obtained in bo short a time. (Cheers.) Kowj Siri there is.
— — oiieconsolation, andsofkr as I know, it is the only one ^that exces- siVe folly is sometimes its best cure. It is safer to dealwith those enormous errors than ones ofa more moderate character, because I think every reasonable man must seethat there are some of these engagements which it is morally and physically impossible for us to fulfil, at all events under the conditions stated. (Hear, hear.) I doriot wish it to be understood thatIcondemn alltheirexpenditure orallthdprojects towhichtheycommitted thecountry. Farfromit, biit still, I say thattheexpenditure was in many respects excessive aridneedlesslyexaggerated. Thelegislationoflastsessionaddedover one and a half million of dollars to the fixed charges of this I I country^" in full view of the fact that we were pledged to one of the most gigantic schemes any country ever undertook, in proi)ortion to its resources, and I say it was most repre- hensible to allow of charges being inouiTed which prac- tically involved a disregai-d of sacred treaty obligations biit in othiBr pai-ticulars, I admit that a large portion of their ex|)enditure was unavoidable, and that a large portion was ex- p6dient. Itis noton the score of the expenditureitself, asmuch as becatisethey undeilookthisexpenditure,while atthesametimethey committedthecouritlyto obligatioiiswhichnone ofus seeourwayto redeem, that I th^nk they shouldbe held censurable. (Hear,hear).