Has the minister any knowledge as to a comparison of the work done by dredges owned by the government and the work done by contractors' dredges paid by the hour ? Which is the cheapest? Is it profitable for the government to use their own dredges ?
The information I gather from my officials is that it is a great deal cheaper to own our dredges and work them ourselves. We do better work with our own dredges, and do it cheaper. Naval engineers and men of experience from every country have visited the works going on this year, and they admit that we have one of the finest plants in the world, and that we are doing the work very successfully indeed.
I am glad to hear the minister make that statement, and I hope the government will increase the number of their dredges so as to dispense entirely with the necessity of engaging the dredges of private contractors by the hour. In my experience, and I have seen them at work, the government is being imposed upon by private contractors, and are losing a great deal of money.
In my department I have not a single contractor's dredge at present working by the hour. Last summer when the work was not going on as fast as we desired, and some one spoke about hiring other dredges, my engineer said that it would be better to do the work more slowly by our own dredges than to hire any contractor's dredges.