May 19, 1908

CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

There is a member of this House who has seen all the documents connected with that case and who is prepared to show that my statement is correct.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SASKATCHEWAN VALLEY
Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

In a former debate in this House there were certain members upon the opposite side of the House who had the effrontery to say that this limit went to Mr. Cowan, a Conservative.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SASKATCHEWAN VALLEY
Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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An hon. MEMBER.

So it did.

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Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

Mr. Cowan a Conservative -why, Mr. Cowan never would have got within 40 rows of apple trees of that limit if Mr. Burrows had not been behind him.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SASKATCHEWAN VALLEY
Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL.

Mr. Cowan would never have acquired that limit if it had not been for the force that drove it through in the person of the brother-in-law of the Minister of the Interior of that day, and Mr. Cowan and his associates, before they could become full owners of that limit, had to buy out that brother-in-law for $80,000. That is what the middleman cost in that job.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SASKATCHEWAN VALLEY
Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Great is the middleman.

Topic:   SUPPLY-SASKATCHEWAN VALLEY
Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

Now, I say that if these ten timber limits had been put up, 50 miles at a time, every one of them would have brought $5,000 or $6,000 to the government. And I say that it was a perfect outrage to put up 500 square miles (the whole reserve supply for the district of Prince Albert) at one time and under conditions which forced out every local bidder, in order that it might go where it went.

I have a little more evidence on that same matter; a little more evidence to show the value of that immense proposition, lying midway between that area and the city of Prince Albert there was a berth known as the Sturgeon Lake reserve. For the good of the country fortunately the putting up of that berth was in the hands of another section of the Interior Department, namely, the Department of Indian Affairs. The 35 square miles of timber in the neighbourhood of Sturgeon Lake were put uj) by the Department of Indian Affairs and they were well advertised. Very different indeed was the manner of their advertising from that of No. 1048 and No. 1049. They were advertised six times in the Manitoba ' Free Press,' three times in the * Weekly Times ' of Battleford, three times in the ' Weekly Phoenix' of Saskatoon, three times in the ' Weekly Advocate ' of Prince Albert, and two whole months were allowed for interested parties to go out and explore that limit, although it is only 35 miles in extent and close to Prince Albert and just this side of the limit of which I have just spoken. Well, you can see what happens when a limit is properly advertised and when sufficient time is allowed. There were three bids for that limit: $21,300, $27,609 and $28,000. In other words, that limit sold for $800 a square mile, although the adjacent limit had been sold for $12 per square mile. This Sturgeon lake limit sold for $1.25 per acre, or for $5.50 per thousand feet standing, whereas the other limit sold at $12 per mile, or 2 cents an acre, or half a cent per thousand feet standing. No more iniquitous transaction ever went through the books of the department, and it never would have gone through if it had not been for the motive power behind it.

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Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

Will the hon. gentleman allow me to ask him a question?

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CON
LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

The hon. gentleman should state that No. 1048 was on the north side of the height of land where there were no rivers flowing through the country and where timber had not got the same value as timber in a well settled area easy of access. If this limit is worth $1,000,000 does any one think that I as a business man would have sold out my interest and got Mr. Fraser to sell out his interest for $80,000.

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Subtopic:   J. G. TURRIFF.
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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

I did not say anything about

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LIB
CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

You might deal with the other part of the transaction.

Now, I come for a few moments to speak of the Imperial Pulp Company, that same mysterious corporation whose identity we have been trying to discover for three years, which lived in a post office box in Winnipeg, which had no sawmill, no officers so far as we could find except R. R. |P., and, when it is dug out in the Public Accounts Committee, the centre of which we find to be Mr. T. A. Burrows. That Imperial Pulp Company has limits on the North Saskatchewan river that are worth at least $750,000. It also has limits which their own agent has put on the market accompanied by a circular saying it was worth $500,000. Not a stick of timber has been cut on any of these limits, and yet the Minister of the Interior knows perfectly well that some of these limits have been held five or six years and nothing has been done to make the people cut on them.

That mysterious corporation the Imperial Pulp Company, which has provoked curiosity and baffled inquiry for more than five years, but which we now learn is controlled by the same Mr. Burrows, first entered the field as a competitive bidder on timber limits in December, 1902. It continued to operate with the department from 1902 to 1904. It never once applied in its own name for a limit. These bids always went in from Mr. A. W. Fraser, or some one of his coterie. Its cheques were usually managers' cheques on the Bank of Ottawa, which could not be identified, and everything the company did was shrouded in the deepest secrecy. But that company never once failed to get the limit it bid for. It only bid nine times, directly or indirectly, anil it never once missed. During these two years this company, under diverse names, observing the greatest secrecy, bid upon nine limits. It never asked to have a limit put up, but it never failed to secure a limit upon wh'ich it bid. The total of its bids amounted to $54,975, the total of the next highest bidders in the nine cases amounted to $51,771, a difference of only $.3,204. In other words this company secured its limits by an average excess bid of but 6 per cent above the next competitor. This mysterious company, that possessed no domicile, whose home was a Winnipeg post office box, whose communications had to pass through an Ottawa lawyer or banker, acquired, for less than $55,000, during these three years, 417 square miles of timber limits that have a value to-day exceeding $1,000,000.

I want to say something of the bids of the Imperial Pulp Company, and I shall do it as rapidly as I can. The first appearance of the Imperial Pulp Company on the records of the department is in reference to timber limit 1031. In the summer of 1902, a local Edmonton syndicate sent an exploration party to examine the timber along the upper waters of the North Saskatchewan river. In conformity with their report, application was made to the department to put up 118 square miles in eleven blocks. The applicants asked that there be no unnecessary delay, as they wished to construct a saw-mill and commence operations at once. In this case the government did not act as rapidly as they sometimes do. It only took them fourteen days to make up their minds about the great Prince Albert area, but they took a couple of months to decide whether they should open this Saskatchewan River section or not. In the meantime they instructed Mr. John Cameron, a homestead inspector, to investigate and send back a correct description of the timber to be found along the river. That was a praiseworthy thing to do and it is what the department should have done in other cases. In this case it had the additional recommendation of enabling the inner circle at Ottawa to know, from a reliable source of information, what timber there was along the river. Finally the department decided to put the berth up to tender.

On November 19, 1902. the notices were issued putting up the entire area for competition as a single proposition. Forty-two days were allowed from the issue of the notice to the date of opening bids. One advertisement appeared in the Edmonton ' Bulletin ' about December 1. This gave about four weeks to outsiders to acquire information on which to make competitive offers. That this length of time was wholly insufficient is shown by a letter on tile from W. S. Dwinnell, who represents wealthy Minneapolis capitalists and who has also a large interest in the Edmonton Lumber Company. Mtl. Dwinnell in his letter says :

I have been endeavouring to secure information which would enable me to act intelligently, but have not had sufficient time to do so. I would ask you to have this sale postponed for thirty or sixtv days preferably the latter, to the end that I may complete an examination and make a substantial bid for the property. I om s&tisfied that the interests of the Dominion government would be subserved thereby, and that a much larger

bid would be received than if the sale toot place at this time. This tract comprising, as it does, 118 square miles, is so extensive that the time given under the notice is altogether insufficient to permit any one to make proper examination thereof.

It is the same story disclosed in connection with other transactions 'insufficient time ' ' tract too large.' A further letter from Messrs. Crafts & Lee, of Edmonton, asks * must the fenders be on each block separately or on the whole ' intimating that ' if so large an area be put up at one time there were few possessed of sufficient capital to bid upon it. It meant shutting out the small Edmonton manufacturer and granting every advantage to the wealthy Ottawa speculator.

But the department did not postpone the sale as asked by Mr. Dwinnell. Presumably sufficient information xvas by this time in the possession of those in whose behalf information was desired. The bids were opened on December 31, 1902. They were as follows, omitting several smaller offerings :

a. T. A. Burrows $ 6,057b. James Ross, on behalf of Edmonton syndicate

17,010c. H. & K. McDonald & Frith.. .. 31,161d. The Imperial Pulp Company.. 31,575

The tender of the Imperial Pulp Company was a model of brevity. It read :

Toronto, December 29, 1902. lo the Secretary,

Department of the Interior, Ottawa.

, SlD-Inclosed please find tender for timber berth No. 1,031.

Yours truly,

(Sgd.) IMPERIAL PULP COMPANY,

Toronto.

That was all.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

It should have been ' yours surely.'

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

There was no amount specified in the letter at all. We find, however, that there were two cheques, when we get the original documents. One was for $17,575 and the other for $14,000. We find that the cheques inclosed were managers' cheques on the Bank of Ottawa, given to Mr. Burrows in exchange for his own deposit. We find that the letter dated Toronto, December 29, was accompanied by cheques dated Ottawa and we assume that the element of union in this business was the same Mr. Burrows. Look at the way those cheques dovetailed in. The cheque whicli came in with the first tender was for $17,575, which slightly exceeds the bid of .Tames Ross and the Edmonton syndicate. The combined cheques exceed the McDonald tender by a narrow margin. Is it any wonder the question is asked: 'Was this coincidence or design '?

Edmonton advices show that the local syndicate was represented at Ottawa on the

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

day the tenders were opened by Frederick E. Moroney, who brought down the $17,010 Ross cheque. This gentleman told on his return of his experience and impressions. You will find his story, as repeated by Dr. H. L. Mclnnis, in the Edmonton ' Weekly Journal ' of February 28, 1908. After stating that the Edmonton syndicate sent a man to Ottawa with a marked cheque the citation reads :

When the man got there a tender had been submitted by Burrows for $6,610. The man was at the office a few minutes before the tenders were opened. The tender was taken inside and in the meantime a conference took place and a blank cheque signed by Burrows was filled out. . . . This made Burrows' total amount $31,110 and so he got the berth.

The figures may not be quite accurate, but it is plain that, rightly or wrongly, the Edmonton representative believed that his tender was tapped. Certainly the circumstantial evidence in regard to this transaction does not tend to remove that impression.

We will now for a moment examine the circumstances connected with the acquisition of two small berths on the Pembina and Brazeau rivers (1052 and 1058) by this same company. The bids were opened for the berth 1052 on the 11th March, 1903.

There were three tenders:

(a.) Grafts & Lee, Edmonton $110

(b.) John Walter, Edmonton 125

(c.) Imperial Pulp Co., Winnipeg.. .. 300

The tenders of the first two bidders are on the form of the department, properly filled out, with amounts stated and a single cheque enclosed. The tender of the Imperial Pulp Company is a typewritten letter as follows:

Enclosed please find tender for timber berth No. 1052.

Yours truly.

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IMPERIAL PULP CO.

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Per R. R. P.@

It will be noted that no amount offered as a bonus is stated in the letter and that the marginal note on the original is the only clue as to the denomination of cheque enclosed. The letter is typewritten, the number of the berth filled in afterwards in ink. The cheque was a manager's cheque drawn on the Bank of Ottawa. The identity of the bidder was entirely concealed. It must be admitted that a tender so drafted opens wide the door to collusion and fraud.

The next is berth 1058. In this case the tenders were opened on April 22, 1903. The tenderers were R. B. Ferguson, Edmonton, $310; Crafts & Lee, Edmonton, $350; Imperial Pulp Company, Winnipeg, $500. Ferguson and Crafts & Lee sent their bids in on the regular forms of the department; they stated the

amount and inclosed a single cheque. The Imperial Pulp Company sent in another small typewritten letter :

Box 614, Winnipeg, Manitoba, April, 18, 1903.

The Secretary, Department of Interior, Ottawa, Ontario.

Sir,-We hereby inclose for yearly license to cut timber on timber berth 1058 being two and a half square miles on Brazeau river and also inclose cheque for bonus for same.

Yours truly,

The Imperial Pulp Co., per R.R.P.

No amount stated, typewritten letter, two cheques again, one for $350 and one for $150. It will be noticed that Crafts & Lee were the principal competitors, that if Burrows had put in only the $350 cheque he would not have got the limit, it was the second cheque of $150, making the total $500, that got him the lease. Again I ask, is that by coincidence or by arrangement ?

I now come to berths 1097 and 1098 on the Brazeau river. These two limits had a combined area of sixty square miles. They were put up on November 11, 1903, after a postponment of one month for which no reason was assigned. The bids for 1097 were John Campbell, $10 ; Aylmer & Fea-therstonhaugh, $500 ; H. & K. McDonald & Firth, $930; Imperial Pulp Company, $1,000.

The tender of the Imperial Pulp Company is on their own paper and reads as follows:

Winnipeg, Man., Nov. 7, 1903. The Secretary,

Department of the Interior,

Ottawa, Ont.

Sir,-

Enclosed please find tender for timber berth No. 1097 and bonus for same, $1,000.00.

Yours truly,

Topic:   SUPPLY-SASKATCHEWAN VALLEY
Subtopic:   IMPERIAL PULP CO.
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THE IMPERIAL PULP CO.

May 19, 1908