^ Mr. W. H. BENNETT (East Simcoe). This morning I communicated with the Department of Public Works my intention to ask this afternoon a question relative to tenders for the government dock in the town of Collingwood. Lately so many matters are brought up ini the House, which perhaps may be characterized as scandals, that one seems to get inundated with letters from different parts, particularly I speak of the province of Ontario, in reference to matters in which the general public apparently think there is not exactly fair dealing. Perhaps the minister who may be acting to-day for the Minister of Public Works in his absence, may be able to give a satisfactory explanation of the matter to which I wish to draw attention. In the Collingwood ' Bulletin ' of Thursday, May 25, I find the following :
Tendering too low for public works is evidently an unsatisfactory way of doing business, and judging by late developments Messrs. Conroy Brothers, whose tender here for the proposed wharf here was accepted by the Department of Public Works at Ottawa, have found this to be too true to their sorrow. Their tender is said to have been $25,000, but upon investigation they discovered that there would be no money in the contract at that figure, but what could be done ? The department had accepted their figure, but above this it had the firm's marked cheque for $4,000 which would be forfeited were they to get out. They considered and hesitated, but evidently got from under, a letter from L. G. McCarthy to the chairman of harbour and frontages stating that they had declined to sign the necessary documents. Mr. McCarthy also stated that it was expected that the contract would go to the Battle Estate of Thorold, the next lowest tenderers, and that he hoped to see the matter definitely settled within a few days. This firm's tender is in the neighbourhood of $30,000.
May I ask the member of the cabinet who js acting on behalf of the Minister of Public Works, as to who Conroy Bros, are, where they reside, and if the statement I have read is true, and the suggestion thrown out here that owing to their being the lowest tenderers, their $4,000 cheque was returned. I may have some further remarks to make after the minister has answered these questions.