February 11, 1915

LIB

Michael Clark

Liberal

Mr. M. CLARK:

Might I ask my right hon. friend a question? I am sorry he should have made a remark like that in the course of this debate. If he is going to make that class of remark I should like to ask him to substantiate the statement he has made, that my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley) ever expressed a willingness to spend $100,000,000 now on naval aid. I should like to ask another question, whether he or we wanted the Pacific defended two years ago?

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

In any observations I make on these questions I shall be governed very largely by the attitude of hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House, and I want them to understand that if there is going to be a fight and recriminations on these questions it will not be a one-sided fight. As far as the Pacific is concerned, I suppose that if the British Navy were increased by a number of useful and serviceable ships there would be a better opportunity to have the Pacific coast or any other part of His Majesty's defences adequately defended by naval force. That is what I would say in reply to my hon. friend from Red Deer. As far as the whole matter is concerned, the debate has been brought on unnecessarily and with provocation by my hon. friend the member for St. John.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The tone which he adopted in the debate from the first was one which was intended to provoke and apparently intended to induce exactly the kind of debate that has ensued. We are perfectly prepared to conduct this session on the lines laid down by my hon. friend from Red Deer the other day, but if there is going to be attack upon us from the other side of the House, we are quite ready and prepared to carry the war into the enemy s camp.

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CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. H. BARNARD (Victoria, B.C.):

I regret that I was not in the House before 6 o'clock when the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley) opened the debate upon this question. I have, however, had an opportunity of perusing the " Hansard " notes of what he said with reference to the purchase of the submarines in question. As far as I recollect he made two objections to that purchase: the first as to quality, the second as to price. I should not have intervened in this debate had it not been for the fact that I may possibly give my hon. friend some information in regard to the purchase of these boats which will not be found in the papers-possibly information that he does not want to get. Before doing so I just wish to say to him that I do not think his friends on the Pacific coast will feel grateful to him for the motion he has made to-day and his remarks in support of it. The burden of his complaint is that the submarines are no good; that they were rejected by the Chilian Government because they were obsolete; that one of them-I am speaking from my recollection of the " Hansard " notes-has been in dry dock ever since it was purchased and has been absolutely useless.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I did not say that one had been in dry dock ever since it was purchased. I said, almost ever since.

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CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARNARD:

I accept the correction. I want to tell the hon. gentleman that in

both particulars his information is absolutely wrong. From personal knowledge I know that'those ships have, ever since the 4th of August, been constantly patrolling the straits of Juan de Fuca and protecting the entrance waters to Victoria and Vancouver-two cities which, I may say in passing, are, at least in my opinion, finer than any he has in his native province.

Now in regard to the quality of those ships. The hon. gentleman says they are obsolete. I want to tell my hon. friend the facts as they have been given to me. We were extremely fortunate on the Pacific coast in that we had residing amongst us a number of retired Royal Naval officers. One in particular who is to-day in command of the two submarines and of the parent ship, the Shearwater, is a lieutenant who happened to have had six years' experience in submarines on the North Sea. He had only retired from the Royal Navy twelve months ago; in fact so recent was his service in the Royal Navy that he was not even on the retired list. He *was on what is called the active leave list. Directly war was impending and before it was declared, he was ordered to report to the nearest naval station which happened to be at Esquimalt. The senior naval officer in command there, Lieut. Pilcher, immediately told him that he wished him to stay for the present as he needed his services. That was before he had any knowledge that there was any possibility of obtaining the submarines at all. Lieut. Bertram Jones is the gentleman's name. When it was decided to purchase these ships Lieut. Jones went out and brought the ships in. Lieut. Jones overlooked these ships and he told me himself, personally, that they were better and more modern submarines that any he had ever served on, and he had left the Royal Navy only twelve months ago. The day before I left Victoria to come to Ottawa to attend the present session I had the pleasure of going on board the submarines. I may inform my hon. friend that neither of these submarines was in the dry dock. They were lying in Esquimalt harbour beside the parent ship. Lieut. Jones, the officer in command-and I want my hon. friend to realize that he is the man who goes out sailing these ships, who dives them and who risks his life in them-said to me when he took me over them: I want you, when you go to Ottawa, to tell the admiralty authorities at Ottawa in what fine condition these vessels are. He pointed to the torpedo tubes and said: These tubes are loaded with war heads ready to go to

sea at any moment, we are prepared to do our be^t to account for anything that may come, and we can handle these vessels and handle them satisfactorily. That officer has not been allowed to leave these ships, or at least he had been allowed no shore leave for the past three or four weeks prior to when I left Victoria on account of some apprehension that occasion for the use of these vessels might arise.

In regard to the statement that these vessels have been placed in the dry-dock, I will venture to say without fear of contradiction, that with the exception of painting or cleaning, neither one of these vessels has been in the dry dock since they were purchased, and excepting also, as the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries has told us, during a couple of weeks back m November or the beginning of December when information was received by the local authorities that there was the possibility of a filibustering expedition or a bomb-dropping attack of some kind. As to the efficiency, the working and quality of these Ships, I say they are good and modern vessels, and vessels that will give a good account of themselves if they get the opportunity.

When these vessels came they were manned by men of the Royal Naval Volunteer Force, a force composed of citizen sailors of the town of Esquimalt and the city of Victoria, and I want to pay a well-deserved tribute to the valour and patriotism of the men who were prepared to go on board and undertake work of the most perilous kind in naval warfare-that is submarine work. They are entitled to the highest credit for the work they have done.

In regard to the facts concerning the purchase of these vessels, I know that my hon. friend from St. John is not nearly so much interested in the question of the efficiency of the ships as in the possibility of finding something wrong about the purchase. I can assure him that there was absolutely nothing that either he or anybody else could find any fault with in connection with the purchase of these vessels. On the 1st of August, which was a Saturday, the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Burrell) happened to be in the city of Victoria. He was in my office about eleven o'clock in the morning when I received a telephone message from Sir Richard McBride. Sir Richard McBride told me that Captain Logan, who is the agent on the whole of the Pacific coast for Lloyds

underwriting agency, a very responsible citizen and a very upright man, was particularly anxious to see Mr. Burrell. Sir Richard McBride did not even say what he wanted to see him for, but he asked me if I would see that Captain Logan should get immediate access to Mr. Burrell if he came to my office. Of course I acceded to the request; Captain Logan came over, he saw Mr. Burrell and myself and he told us that there were these two submarines at Seattle that were available for purchase. Mr. Burrell and I, with Captain Logan, at once went to the naval yards at Esquimalt, where we found Lieutenant Pilcher in command. We told him about these submarines and asked him if they would be of advantage and if he thought it would be advisable to try and purchase them. He said that he thought it would. Thereupon the telegram which my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries has read to the House was seht. Mr. Burrell happened to be staying in my house, and next morning at half past three he and I were called to the naval yards with Captain Loga,n for a further conference with Lieutenant Pilcher on the question of the purchase of these submarines. It was arranged that Captain Logan should go over to Seattle that day and see what could be done. At the very first interview between Captain Logan, Mr. Burrell, myself and Mr. Pilcher, Captain Logan told us verbally that he thought the price would be about $375,000. In our presence he telephoned to Seattle, got Mr. Patterson, the man who had the control of the sale of these vessels in Seattle, and at that time Mr. Patterson told him over the telephone that the price would be $575,000 apiece or $1,150,000 for the two.

The price was stated in the presence of Mr. Burrell, Lieutenant Pilcher and myself. There was never any question as to what the price was to be; it was absolutely settled at that time. A telegram was sent to Ottawa-

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

When he thought the

price would be about $375,000 each, did he state on what he based that?

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CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mi. BARNARD:

Not to my recollection. That was his first statement, before we went down to see Mr. Pilcher at all. What happened was this: He rang up long distance, -and got Seattle on the telephone. He said: "Your price is $575,000?" Then I

heard " What? $575,000?" And the man said " Yes."

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LIB
CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARNARD:

Saturday, the first of

August. On Monday Mr. Burrell had to leave for the East. Monday was the third and war was declared on the night of the fourth. Ottawa was communicated with and did not reply very promptly. The naval yard had information that war would probably be declared at any moment. The consequence was that delay was dangerous. Had, of course, Sir Richard McBride or the Dominion Government followed the policy of our friends opposite, the policy which is so enthusiastically supported by the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugs-ley) when he delayed for eighteen months in letting his contract after he had all his tenders-

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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Six months.

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CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARNARD:

Well, six months, it is all the same. It was just as bad, as it turned out for my hon. friends opposite. Had they followed the policy of my hon. friends opposite, the chances are that the vessels would never have been obtained No definite reply having come on August 4, in the afternoon Sir Richard McBride said:

' I am going to take these submarines and I think Ottawa will back me up.' Accordingly he authorized the purchase and issued a provincial Government cheque. Lieutenant Jones went out; looked over the submarines; passed them; handed over the cheque and brought the submarines in. On the morning of August 5, the United States cruiser Milwaukee came out from the harbour of Bemerton into the strait of Juan de Fuca looking for these submarines with the idea of taking them back, but the cruiser was about two hours too late.

My hon. friend seems to think there is something wrong in regard to the question of price. This Mr. Patterson to whom I refer is the general manager of Moran's shipyard at Seattle. I do not know that the question of responsibility particularly interests the hon. gentleman, because, of course, when he begins to cast insinuations, the responsibility of the person .against whom he casts them does not seem to worry him very much. I would like, however, to state for the benefit of other hon. members that Mr. Patterson is a responsible man, a man of high honour and standing in the city of Seattle. In the corres-

pondence on the subject matter of this purchase, I find a letter from oir Richard McBride in which he speaks as follows in regard to Captain Logan:

His connection with the purchase of the submarines at Seattle is quite easily explained. Through his business relations with ship owners and builders on the coast he ascertained that there were two completed submarines in the shipyard of the Seattle Construction and Dry-dock Company, built for the Chilean Government but for which that Government could not pay. He reported to me and X took upon myself the responsibility of asking him to examine them to undertake the negotiations for their purchase. War was about to be declared and there was not a moment to lose and not another qualified man available. The moral effect of the quick action necessary was in itself sufficient to justify what X did. I turned over to the construction company a certified cheque of the Government for over a million dollars, confident that the federal authorities would recognize the wisdom of the transaction and reimburse the provincial treasury, which they very readily did.

If my hon. friend were to travel to either the city of Victoria or the city of Vancouver, where both Captain Logan anu Sir Richard McBride are pretty well-known, and make the insinuations against them that has made in this House, he would find he would meet with more than a cold reception. For my own part, my connection with this transaction was very small; but small as it was, it has been and will be a matter of great gratification to me that I was able to be present when the transaction was entered into. When the hon. gentleman chooses to make such Insinuations against Sir Richard McBride, I simply wish to hurl them back in his face and to tell him if he ever, during the whole, course of his career, does such a patriotic action, he will stand a good deal higher in the estimation of the people of Canada than he does at the present time.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I suppose I ought to be very thankful to my right hon. friend the Prime Minister for letting us on this side of the House know that if we have the audacity to attack the Government, we must look out for ourselves. In other words, if we have reason to believe that some persons, not members of the Government, not members of this House, have made secret rake-offs in connection with the purchase of war vessels or of ammunition and we dare to breathe it in this House, our action will be resented by hon. gentlemen opposite. _ They will take it as showing that we are influenced by partisan spirit and they will endeavour to make the country

believe that in some way or other we are obstructing them in doing their part in connection with this war. They will not terrify me and I do not think they will terrify any other hon. member on this side of the House. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and the hon. member for Victoria (Mr. Barnard) have set the example of making partisan speeches. I have not done so. Has it come to this that, because Canada is engaged in war, we are not to bring to the notice of the House or of the Government any wrong-doings, as to which we have had notice, and which we believe ought to be investigated in the interest of the people of this country? If the people of Canada are prepared to spend their last dollar and to make every possible sacrifice in the interest of the Empire, we are not satisfied that there shall be any waste of public money. My hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries charged me with improper conduct this afternoon when I spoke of the purchase of ammunition in the United ' States. If the people of Canada will condemn the Government if they do not investigate any facts brought to their notice from which presumption of wrong-doing can be drawn, one hundred times stronger will be the condemnation of the people of Canada if through agents appointed by this Government-I care not whether with the knowledge of this Government or not the wrong-doing shall take place-there

has been money filched from the

treasury of the mother country. And Sir, would we be doing our duty, not merely as members of the Opposition but as members of this House, if we took any course but that which we are taking? I appeal to hon. gentlemen opposite-I appeal to the hon. gentleman opposite who, a few days ago, at a meeting of the Horse-breeders' Association, declared that there was graft in the purchase of horses, who stated that those who purchased horses might be good at playing marbles but they were not good in the purchase of horses. The atmosphere of this country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, is reeking with stories of corruption by people who have been buying supplies for the Government.

I can say that without making any charge or insinuation against a member of this Government or this House. We know very well that when these large expenditures are taking place it is difficult for the Government to watch every expenditure. They

have to appoint agents, not only for the purchase of horses, but for the purchase of ammunition, motor-trucks, blankets, shoes and all kinds of war material, both in this country and in the United States. They cannot he supposed to watch all the purchases. And when we bring to their notice the fact that we have evidence which leads us to believe that there is this wrong-doing and ask them to take action, is it to be charged against us that we thereby are guilty of partisanship? My hon. friend (Mr. Barnard), and the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and the Prime Minister also, have made the charge against me that I insinuated that Sir Richard McBride had been guilty of taking the difference between $900,000, paid to the Electric Boat Company, of New Jersey, for these submarines and the $1,150,000 which the Government paid. The minister has said that the Government of British Columbia actually paid out $1,150,000. Who denied it? I did not dispute that fact. With emphasis which was great even for him, my hon. friend said that the amount of $1,150,000 was actually paid to the British Columbia Government? Who denies it? But what became of the difference between $900,000 paid to the contractors for the construction of these submarines and the $1,150,000 which was paid first by the Government of British Columbia and afterwards paid to them by the Government of Canada?

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CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARNARD:

Did the hon. gentleman hear the Prime Minister read the cheque by which Sir Richard McBride paid over $1,150,000 direct to the contractors?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

No, it was paid by the British Columbia Government to Captain Pilcher. It is a matter of deep regret for me to know that Captain Pilcher is out of his mind.

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CON
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I am told he is. What are the facts as to this gentleman's state of health?

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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Does the hon. gentleman say that $900,000 was paid to the company in New Jersey, and that that included all the costs, including the assembling of these vessels on the Pacific coast?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

My information is that $900,000 was the entire contract.

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February 11, 1915