Without public tender or competition. Is the Solicitor General
aware that the head of this firm is George McAvity, the gentleman who got away with a rake-off of $35,900 in connection with the Mayes contract ? If that firm has any account against the government^ it might be well to set it off, so far as it will go, against that rake-off, seeing that the department is unwilling to take proceedings to recover back the $35,900. In connection with McAvity & Sons, I find that they received $2.45 per barrel for 120 barrels of Portland cement, but I notice that cement was purchased for the St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary at $1.85. It might be interesting to the Department of Justice to know that the Public Accounts Committee of New Brunswick had occasion to investigate the accounts of McAvity & Sons some years ago when the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Pugsley) was in the government of that province, and it was found that they were charging two prices in many instances.
The penitentiary at St. Vincent de Paul is right close to the market where they deal in cement, which may account for its being cheaper there. I do not know if there are any cement factories in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, and the difference in freight may explain the discrepancy. If you buy from Hull, you will have to pay more freight.
I find on page L-22 of the Auditor General's Report that the government purchased from T. Prefontaine & Co., Montreal, lumber commencing at $20 and running up to $75 per 1,000 feet. Unless this lumber was made into mahogany chairs or things of that kind, the price seems a fabulous one.