April 23, 1901

PRIVATE BILL-SUSPENSION OF TIME.

LIB

Thomas Barnard Flint

Liberal

Mr. FLINT moved :

That that portion of the 49th rule which limits the time for presenting private Bills be suspended in reference to the Bill respecting the city of St. John, N.B.; and also that the time for posting said Bill under rule 60, be reduced to three days, in accordance with the recommendation contained in the 13th report of the Select Standing Committee on Standing Orders.

He said : I may explain that owing to the illness of the hon. member for Westmoreland (Mr. Emmerson) the Bill did not get before the Standing Orders Committee so soon as it otherwise would. The notice and the advertisements were all right, but the illness of the hon. member himself interrupted the progress of the Bill that he had in charge.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILL-SUSPENSION OF TIME.
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


FIRST READING.


Bill (No. 126) to vest certain foreshores in the city of St. John, and for other purposes. -Mr. Tucker.


COLD STORAGE ON STEAMSHIPS.

?

The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE (Hon. Sydney Fisher) moved :

That an Order of the House do issue for copies of an agreement with certain steamship comPanies respecting cold storage during the year

Topic:   COLD STORAGE ON STEAMSHIPS.
Permalink

Motion agreed to. 24th OF MAY.


IND
LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER.

The hon. gentleman cannot enter into any discussion, but simply put the question.

Topic:   COLD STORAGE ON STEAMSHIPS.
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I am merely showing why the question is urgent, and why the First Minister should tell the public.

Topic:   COLD STORAGE ON STEAMSHIPS.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

On Monday.

Topic:   COLD STORAGE ON STEAMSHIPS.
Permalink

SUPPLY.


House again in Committee of Supply. Intercolonial Railway-Steel rails and fastenings, $500,000.


?

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS (Hon. A. G. Blair).

The committee. when it last had the railway estimates under consideration, had reached the first item on page 43, providing an appropriation for steel rails and fastenings. Just before the committee separated for recess on the day when I was last presenting my estimates, some statements were " made by hon. gentlemen opposite, the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) and the hon. leader of the opposition, to which, I think, it would be well I should make a reference before going into the particulars, or what I may call the merits of the vote. The committee will recollect that when this vote was first mentioned earlier in the debate, I explained quite fully the conditions which were attached to

the arrangement that the government had entered into. Some hon. gentlemen at the time suggested that I should bring down the contract; I said at once I would do so, and my deputy, who was here, took a minute of it, and had instructions to bring it down at the next meeting of the committee. When the committee met the next afternoon, which was the last time I was able to be present before the committee, my deputy brought the contract with him, or a copy thereof, and I immediately handed it over to the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Haggart), who desired to see it. I want the committee to note that I made my statement almost simultaneously with the assurance that I would have these papers furnished to the committee; and I felt that the gentlemen to whom I have reference would have been somewhat reluctant, at all events, in making any harsh references to what they supposed to have been misleading statements until they were assured beyond all doubt that there had been some mistake in the matter ; for if there had been a mistake you would suppose they would have been ready to assume that any member of the government would have common sense enough not to make any inaccurate statement when he was on the very eve of handing to the committee the documents and papers which would show that his statement was incorrect.

I want to refer to that statement now and I want to call the attention of the committee to the nature of the explanation I made in this regard. I said that the contract that was made with the Lake Superior Power Company was to supply rails for one year. I wished fully to apprise the committee of the facts, and I said that we had an understanding with them under which we engaged to continue the arrangement for a further term of years, the price being governed by the rate in the English market at the time when we were proposing that the arrangement should be renewed. I made that statement, Mr. Chairman, speaking from memory ; I did not refer to any papers at tlio time. I made it with the view of giving the committee all the information and without the slightest thought of withholding anything that I thought would be at all pertinent to the question, or which would be desired by the committee. I am going to ask the committee to follow me through the facts of the matter and I will leave it to the judgment of the committee as to wiie-ther the statement which I made was entirely accurate and was not absolutely full in every particular, and just such a statement as would have been proper for me to have made under the circumstances. Early in June, 1900, we had a written communication from the manager of the Lake Superior Power Company. This written communication followed upon a con-

versatlou which had taken place betweeu different members of the government and Mr. Olergne and between myself and Mr. Clergue in which the general policy of doing something to ensure, if possible, the construction of steel rails in our own country was very well considered. We were led to hope that so desirable an object could be attained if the company which Mr. Clergue represented could be encouraged to a sufficient extent to establish their plant by any action that the government would take. The committee will remember that we were somewhat sanguine about it, and we were led to incorporate in the Subsidy Bill of last year a clause which provided that if steel rails were manufactured in Canada and could be produced at a price and of a quality which would compare favourably with the price and quality of rails that were to be obtained elsewhere we would insist that the railway companies that we were proposing to subsidize should obtain their rails within the Dominion. I think that suggestion, when it was first mentioned to the House, met with general approval. There were one or two discordant voices, it is true, but that proposition met with general approval, and I would assume, that, having regard to the enormous expenditure which takes place in Canada year after year, the enormous outlay which is made by railway companies and by the governments for the purchase of steel rails outside of Canada, we would consider it a very desirable object indeed and one which we would be justified in making some sacrifices to accomplish if it were possible to accomplish it on business terms. This may not be present in the minds of hon. gentlemen, but 1 think X am speaking safely within bounds when I say that half of the iron import into Canada is in the form of steel rails and this will continue to increase and grow from year to year. We felt that we could not adopt a wiser policy, that we could not pursue a course which would be more promotive of the well-being of the Dominion, or tend to the establishment of a greater and more beneficial industry than this industry that we had in our minds. On .Tune 8th we received a written proposition from Mi-. Clergue and the subject was discussed in council and otherwise, discussed with Mi-. Clergue and discussed with various members of the government to see if we could arrive at anything like a satisfactory understanding with him upon such terms as would be just and fall- in the public interest. and which, at the same time, would lead to the establishment of this industry in Canada. These discussions continued from time to time. We had letters from him on various dates and we had verbal communications with him at various dates. In the month of August, as you will see later on when I read the document that 1 hold in my hand, we came to a very well-Mr. BLAIR.

understood agreement with him. Although the order was not distinctly formulated at that time, in August, we determined in council that we would give Mr. Clergue the encouragement we had decided upon, and upon which he was prepared to embark in this enterprise. I have in my hand a copy of an order in council which passed on the 9th of October and which I will read to the committee. Hon. gentlemen will note, when I read this order, that it has reference to a report, or a memorandum, which was placed by me before council on the 26th of September, which report, or memorandum, had reference to a conclusion that was arrived at by council in the month of August.

X will read the order as it passed council :

(Copy No. 89970.)

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink

P. C. 2303.


Extract from a report of the Committee of the hon. the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency on the 9th October, 1900. On a memorandum dated 26th September, 1900, from the Minister of Railways and Canals, representing that under date the 8th June, 1900, the Lake Superior Power Company submitted a proposal in connection with a project of great importance, and one affecting the interests of Canada in a direction so far undeveloped, namely, the establishment of an extensive rolling mill plant adjacent to their hydraulic power at Sault Ste. Marie. The minister states that the company represented that as the result of their mining and drilling operations on the Canadian side of Lake Superior, they had established the existence of many millions of tons of high grade Bessemer ore; that they had constructed a railway to bring this ore from tho mines to the lake, and had brought out a fleet of large ore-carrying ships, and were in readiness to commence, immediately, the erection of a steel plant for the production of rails, plate and bridge material, on the most modern principles, and on a scale of magnitude equal to any similar manufactories. In order, however, to justify the great cost which such works would entail, the company desired to obtain the assurance, to some extent, of a market before proceeding to incur further expenditure, and they submitted a proposal that the government should give them a contract for the supply to the government i ail ways of 50,000 tons of steel rails in the year 1901, and 25,000 tons annually for four years thereafter. The minister further states that owing to the pressure of other matters and his own absence from Canada, he has been unable to bring this proposition formally before Your Excellency in Council until now. It was, however, discussed informally by the council towards the close of August, 1900, being favourably considered, and it was understood that a recommendation wrould be made and submitted by the Minister of Railways and Canals on the basis of a contract for 25,000 tons to be supplied in 1901, at $32.60 a ton (the price then being paid by the Department of Railways and Canals under its rail contract for the current year), and for a similar quantity for the five years following. The minister, recognizing the benefits which the creation of an industry of such extent and importance in Canada would necessarily bring directly, in the employment of labour, the expansion of mining operations and the transportation of crude materials and finished products, and indirectly, in the development of numerous other industries by which this would be served considers that the project is one which should receive all encouragement at the hands of the government, and he recommends that authority be given for entry into an agreement with the company for the supply to the government railways of 25,000 tons (2,240 pounds to the ton) of first quality steel rails of eighty pounds to the yard, and of section prescribed by the Department of Railways and Canals, such supply to commence in the month of June, 1901, and to be completed in the month of September following; delivery to be made either at Levis or at Montreal (c.i.f), as the department may direct, and so far as practicable, in equal quantities monthly ; the price to be paid for j the said rails so delivered to be fixed, as agreed upon, at $32.60 per ton, which, as above stated, is the price now being paid by the Department of Railways and Canals. The minister further recommends that he be authorized to contract yearly hereafter for the supply of a similar quantity of such rails during each succeeding year, for a term of five years, to be delivered either at Halifax, Port Mulgrave, Levis or St. John, as may be required by the Department of Railways and Canals, the price for the said rails to be the price for the same quality of rails in the open market in Great Britain at the time when the order therefor is given by the Department of Railways and Canals. The committee submit the same for Your Excellency's approval. (Sgd.) J. J. McGEE, Clerk of the Privy Council. Now, the committee will observe that the recommendation to council was not a recommendation to enter into a five years' contract, but it was a recommendation to enter into a contract for one year, and to be followed according to the order by subsequent contracts year by year as the years would come around. The reason that this order was presented in that way was twofold ; in the first place the government did not desire to make it. They doubted the propriety of our passing an order in council for a contract for five years ; and, moreover, the objection or difficulty was pointed out to Mr. Clergue, and Mr. Clergue, to the knowledge of the members of the council, was willing that so far as the succeeding years were concerned, the understanding should exist that the government would make these contracts year by year, and that he did not require a contract, or would not expect that a contract, would be entered into more than for the term of one year. It was with that clear in my mind that I made the statement to the committee, that we had only contracted explicitly for one year and had not made any permanent or fixed arrangement for the following years, further than to have an understanding with him that we would do so, and he was content to accept the order in council as being a sufficient assurance that if everything was all right he would get his contract year by year, as the time would arrive, and upon the basis and terms which were mentioned here. Well, when the matter came up the other day, I was under the impression clearly and strongly that that was the nature of the contract. I thought in my own mind that the contract had been made, and t believed that it was of that nature, and I confess that when the contract, or the draft of the proposed contract, was read here, It was a surprise to me, because it was an express and clear contract for a term of five years. But the difficulty about that contract was this ; That it had never been executed and has not been executed to this day, and never came under my observation. My deputy thought the contract was made; I supposed in the course of the numerous documents presented to me that I had executed it. I did not suppose that it would have laid over all this time, but it happened to be drawn by the law officers of the department, was sent to Mr. Clergue. and it had not been returned by Mr. Clergue at the time the question came up the other day. So that when the document was handed in the following day by the deputy minister, I think gentlemen who had it in their hands observed it was an unsigned document, and the deputy minister made a memorandum on the statement to the effect that the agreement as drawn up was drawn up in this way, and that he found it was sent to the company, but he found it had not yet been returned by the company duly executed, and he had wired that it should be done. Now, the contract as it happened had never passed under my observation. I do not know that if it had been submitted to me for signature that I would have scrutinized it closely enough to have discovered the difference between the authority which the order in council gave us and what the contract proposed to do. It might have escaped my notice or I might have carefully read it ; perhaps I would have carefully read it. At all events it did not come under my observation, and it was not read and it has not been executed, and down to this moment it has not been executed. I am quite prepared to say that Mr. Clergue will be prepared to execute the contract-I have no doubt at all upon that point-will be prepared to execute the contract when I have had an opportunity of looking into it and preparing it in accordance with the order in council which authorized me to make a contract of this limited character. I have no doubt that so far as is in Mr. Clergue's power, he will be prepared to carry out the understanding that has been arrived at and the arrangement as we have detailed it here in our order in council. It' I had a fear or a doubt I would tell the committee frankly now, that possibly Mr. Clergue may not find-though he is quite confident even to



this moment lie would be able to do so-be may not find it practicable to get his plant into sufficient working shape in order to deliver the rails this year at the time agreed upon. I hope that he may not encounter any difficulty of that kind. He is quite sure, as he writes me, that he will have no difficulty of that kind. He says his buildings are pretty well up, and his plant is all ready to install, ibut that I apprehend will be a matter that will give our friends opposite no great pain, because they seem to be very much disposed to criticise the arrangement adversely. Now, one word and I will leave this branch of the subject. The committee will see, therefore, that the order in council which I had prepared myself, and which expressed my own intention in the matter, and which expressed the intention agreed upon by my colleagues, and which expressed the conclusion of the council after the matter bad been submitted to them ; that order contained an authority to enter into an explicit contract for one year and for one year only. It contemplates that which Mr. Clergue was well satisfied with : The understanding that we would year by year enter into a new contract with him for 25,000 tons per year at a price that should be fixed according to the terms of this order. The committee, I am sure, will recognize that when endeavouring to state the matter as fully as I did to the committee the other day, I stated it with absolute accuracy, as the order will show.


CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Has the report and the order in council passed upon it been laid upon the Table of the House ?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   P. C. 2303.
Permalink

April 23, 1901