April 13, 1905

MEMBER INTRODUCED.


Edmund Bristol, Esq., member for the electoral district of Toronto Centre, introduced by Mr. R. L. Borden and Mr. E. B. Osier.


OFFICIAD REPORT OF THE DEBATES.

?

Mr. H.@

GERYAIS (St. James, Montreal) presented the second report of the Select Committee appointed to supervise the official report of the Debates of the House, as follows

Your committee recommend that each volume of the official report of the debates contain the same number of pages as those of last session, viz.. 1,000 pages, with the complete index tor the whole session at the end of each volume, m lieu of the index containing the contents of the volume only.

H. GERYAIS, Chairman.

Topic:   OFFICIAD REPORT OF THE DEBATES.
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QUESTIONS.

I.OGBERG PRINTING COMPANY.

CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE asked :

What is the total amount paid to the Logberg Printing Company, Winnipeg, during each year since January 1st, 1S98. to 1st January. 1905, by all departments of this government ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   I.OGBERG PRINTING COMPANY.
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Mr. H.@

The total amount paid to the Logberg Printing Company, tyinnipeg, during each year since the 1st of January, 1898. to the 1st of January, 1905, by the (Department of Indian Affairs is as fol-

1898.

1900.

1902

1904

$ 5 25 3 15 16 48 8 40 . 7 2S. 7 38. 7 00

$55 t)4

Sir V/ILFRID LAURIER. After having had the opinion taken on both sides, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps it will meet the wishes of hon. members generally if we should adjourn on Wednesday next to the following Tuesday.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   I.OGBERG PRINTING COMPANY.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

On Wednesday at six o'clock ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   I.OGBERG PRINTING COMPANY.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I have no objection.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   I.OGBERG PRINTING COMPANY.
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DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.


Mr. W- H. BENNETT. As I see the Acting Minister of Public Works in his place, I wish to question him concerning an advertisement calling for tenders to do a quantity of dredging at Port Arthur and Fort William, and to put myself in order shall move the adjournment. The date of the advertisement is the 7th of April and :t states that the tenders are to close on the 4th of April. Hals the time been extended, and if not will it be ?


LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Hon. C. S. HYMAN (Acting Minister of Public Works).

I understand that what the hon. gentleman says is correct as regards the date. I have had no request for an extension of time ; but if an extension will facilitate greater competition, i shall be very glad to have the time extended.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I am informed, whether correctly or not, that in the past two seasons a large amount of dredging was done at Port Arthur and Fort William, and that in each case tenders were not called for, but the contractor got the work at his own price and on his own terms, and the work was let to the firm of Conmee & Bowman. One of the firm is Mr. Conmee, I am informed, who is member for the riding of Thunder Bay and Rainy River. Whether my information be true or not, I am not in

a position to state, as I only have it on hearsay, but I am in a position to state that in the advertisement which appears in the Toronto ' Daily Star,' the most extraordinary terms for a large contract are imposed on those tendering. The hon. minister is asking for tenders for ail extensive amount of dredging at these two points. The advertisement is dated the 7th April. Will the House believe that the Department of Public Works-for reasons best known to the minister and which only can be known by him-asks that the tenders be all in by the 14th instant. Thousands of dollars are to be expended on this work at this harbour, yet the minister thinks that only seven days should be allowed the parties to come in and tender. That is not the worst feature. The most absurd- and if it were parliamentary, I would say that the advertisement would lead one to anticipate that there is to be some collusion with certain tenderers-the most absurd condition is that the work must be commenced within ten days after the acceptance of the tender. Just fancy, on the 14th the tenders are to be in, on the morning of the 15th the minister can intimate that he accepts a certain tender, and by the 25th April, the party will be required to have his plant on the ground. But the minister knows that the harbour will hardly be open at that time. It cannot be opeu at that date if we are to judge by past seasons. Yet he insists that the successful tenderer must have his plant right on hand to begin work on the 25th of April, before the ice is broken and before operations can be commenced. Worse than that, the advertisement states that the party must own on the 7th April the dredge which is to do the work. Now the plant of the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Conmee) is In the harbour of Port Arthur and Port William, and that is the only plant which can be there on the 25th or April. The minister may be innocent in the premises, but if he is he certainly deserves our sympathy, because he is. simply playing into the hands of Messrs. Conmee & Bowman. It is true that Mr. Conmee may have divested himself of any interest in this plant, aud it may uow be in the name of Mr. Whelan, who is a son-inlaw, but the House will expect some explanation. There are other items in the advertisement which are also somewhat strange. For instance, the mud which is dug in the ICaministiquia river at Fort William can be dumped into Thunder bay in six fathoms of water and in Port Arthur it must be dumped into eleven fathoms. Why this discrimination unless it be satisfactory to the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Conmee) or his son-in-law, Mr. Whelan, and his late partner Mr. Bowman ? It is due to the House that the hon. minister should state whether it be true or not that in the past two seasons the dredging at Port Ar-Mr. BENNETT.

thur and Fort William was done without tender by the firm of Conmee & Bowman. He should also give some explanation why the tenders which are called on the 7th of April must be closed on the 14th, and why also this extraordinary condition that the party tendering must be the owner on the 7th of April of the dredge and the work must be commenced, if the department so desire, at a time when the harbour cannot be in shape for the work and that the party must be then on the ground with his plant. It looks as if, after the avalanche which occurred in the province of Ontario a little while ago, the hungry camp followers-Conmee & Bowman among others-being debarred from any possible chance of feeding at the public crib in Toronto, were turning their eyes to Ottawa. If one looks around the corridors of this building, he will see the familiar faces which for the past thirty years have haunted the legislative assembly of Toronto, and that may be some explanation why the minister called for these tenders on these extraordinary terms. I beg to move the adjournment.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

It seems to me that in the ordinary course, when matters of this kind are to be brought up, I should have been given some notice so that I might have been able to look into the particulars. So far as the advertisement is concerned, it was drawn up in the usual way by my chief engineer. There may be some technical conditions regarding the depth of water into which the soil is to be deposited, but that is a matter I know nothing about. As regards the limit of time, it is well known that there are only some three or four dredging-companies in Canada which are able to do this work. I was asked about the matter and gave instructions to the chief engineer that ten days should be allowed, and I presume that one or two days difference is due to the difference between the time I gave the instructions and the time the tenders were invited. So far as I am concerned, the insinuations thrown out by the hon. gentleman are entirely undeserved. I have no knowledge that Mr. Conmee is connected with the conlpany in any possible way. I think he stated in this House that he is not. I have not heard of any request for an extension of time. The advertisement has been published for some time, and there has not been one recommendation to me to extend the time, but if there should be any request to the department for an extension of time, I have no objection to granting it.

I can only say that if there are any persons or firms who desire to tender and who believe an extension of time will aid them to give us more competition there, I shall be very glad indeed to extend the time. In regard to the question as to whether there was any contract entered into for last year's dredging, I may say that matter was* very fully discussed during the time that the es-

timates for dredging were up. The matter was discussed in the House for some time. There was a good deal of play upon the word 'contract,' or what might be termed a contract. It is quite true, I believe, that there were no advertisements last year calling for tenders for this dredging, but at the same time it is quite untrue that no contract was made. There was an agreement entered into and the officers of the department certified in each case that the prices at which the work was done were fair, just and reasonable prices. I do not suppose that the House really understands the difficulty there is in calling for tenders for dredging. I think Port Arthur is about the only place where we can call for tenders by public advertisement and hope to get competition of any kind. If two or three men have dredges and you call for tenders for dredging at two or three places you do not get competition because no dredge can work at more than one place at a time and after getting the contract they bring over American dredges to do it. The department have had great difficulty in getting dredging work done in a businesslike manner. I need not answer certain in-siuations which have been made in regard to this matter. I can only say that the whole desire of the department is to have this dredging done in a proper manner, and I felt myself, after hearing the opinion of bon. members of the House when we were discussing the estimates for dredging, that I would try to see if we could not obtain tenders for this work. I have not seen the advertisement. I wish my bon. friend (Mr. Bennett) would send me across the advertisement. Is there anything in this notice about owning the plant ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hr. BENNETT.

Yes. there is something as to the ownership of the plant.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Will the hon. minister kindly read it?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

I do not want to read the whole advertisement. I did not, as a matter of fact, personally know that there was such a clause in the contract. The only clause I authorized to go into an advertisement of that character was that there should be no tender taken from American dredges which were not at the date of the contract, registered in Canada. That was the only clause I authorized to go in there in regard to that matter. I think this is a proper clause. I think it is a clause for the protection of Canadian dredgemen. If we expect to build up a fleet of dredges and get competition amongst the dredges in Canada this is the only possible way we can get it.

I did authorize a clause of that kind to go into the contract. In regard to the other clause to which my bon. friend has referred.

I am surprised to find it here. I do not think it is a proper clause and I shall be very glad to have it altered. I do not think it necessary that tenderers should own Canadian dredges at the time of entering into a contract.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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CON

Arthur Cyril Boyce

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYCE.

May I ask the hon. minister if that is a usual clause to be inserted in dredging contracts?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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LIB

Charles Smith Hyman (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

Mr. HYMAN.

I am endeavouring to explain to the House that it is very seldom that dredging contracts are called for by public advertisement, simply for the reason that it is almost impossible to have competition by Calling for tenders, and it is only when there is a large amount of work to be clone that the department can call for tenders in this way ? Without a clause of that kind two or three people can combine together, put in a tender for the work and if they get the work they can bring in American dredges and do the work. For that reason I put that clause in. I wish to assure the House that in so far as I am concerned my whole desire is that there shall be the fullest and freest competition in regard to the dredging at Port Arthur. I recognize that it is a large work.and if it is felt that the provision in regard to the owning of dredges is objectionable I should be very glad to have that altered and now that my attention has been called to the matter 1 shall be very glad to have the time extended. I can only say that there has been no protest made to the department and that I have not heard one single word in regard to the time which was allowed. There are so few' plants and the specifications are so ample that it was felt that a short time only would be necessary to allow full competition.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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April 13, 1905