February 11, 1915

CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

The hon. gentleman might state the source of his information.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

It comes from a very

reliable gentleman in British Columbia, let me say with all due respect to my hon. friend from Victoria, not less respectable, not less truthful, not less honourable, than my hon. friend, and that is saying a great deal, for I would believe my hon. friend as to any fact of which he has knowledge. The difficulty about what my hon. friend has said is this, that he has no expert knowledge of these submarines, but nevertheless he has given us to-night very valuable information; That information is that when the expert, Lieutenant Jones, was asked to advise with regard to these submarines, he stated that in his opinion they could be bought for $375,000 each.

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CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARNARD:

Lieutenant Jones had

absolutely nothing to do with the price and knew nothing about it. He was the man who went out and examined-

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Yes, I beg pardon; it

was Captain Logan. I thank the hon. gentleman for the correction; it would have been unpardonaDie if I had not got the name right. It "was Captain Logan, the agent for Lloyds than whom, as my hon. friend for Victoria said, there would be no better judge in these matters-

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CON

George Henry Barnard

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BARNARD:

I did not say that. He does not know anything about submarines; he is a mercantile marine captain.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

At all events he was

asked what he thought the price should be, and die gave the figure I named. As hon. gentlemen know, Seattle is not far from Victoria, and there is a daily steamer running back and forth. The people_of the two cities keep close in touch with one another and their business relations are very intimate. Captain Logan, who would have information on the subject, thought these submarines could be bought for $375,000 each. The correctness of that statement is confirmed by the statement which the hon. member for Victoria has kindly furnished us this evening. Remember, this was the 3rd of August. My information is that this was not the first occasion when Mr. Patterson came to Victoria to consult Sir Richard McBride with regard to the purchase of these vessels. He came over on the 27th of July, the day after the tests were made at Seattle and the inspector of the Chilian government had stated that he would not recommend their purchase by his Government. A telephone message was sent to Seattle somewhere between the 26th of July,

when the adverse report was made by the Chilian naval inspector, and the 3rd of August. Whether Mr. Patterson had it understood with anybody as to the price which he would name or not, I do not know, but certainly it is a singular fact that the price ascertained by telephone was about $400,000 greater than Captain Logan stated would be, in his judgment, a fair price for these submarines. If there was wanting any circumstance to cause the Government to investigate this matter, it is the statement of my hon. friend as to the valuation put upon the submarines by this expert, Captain Logan, who was called in for consultation with reference to the matter.

I should like to know when I made any insinuation that Sir Richard McBride had received this $250,000? I did not do so. I have great respect for the intelligence of Sir Richard McBride, and I would not for a single moment suggest that, having paid out $1,150,000 of the money of the people of British Columbia, he would be guilty of taking back this large amount of $250,000 and putting it in his own pocket or using it for an election fund. We all admit that my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works knows how to run elections, but who for a single moment would suggest that the Minister of Public Works would besmirch himself with the handling of election funds? Who would imagine that Sir Richard McBride would do so? But Sir Richard McBride and this Government have their friends in British Columbia, and if any one were disposed to take advantage of it, here was a magnificent opportunity. Here were two submarines, valued by Mr. Logan at $375,000 each, the price of which according to the original contract to build was only $387,000 each. They had been rejected by the expert of the government of Chili. War was on, and public opinion in British Columbia demanded that these boats should be purchased at any price. Oh, Sir, what a temptation tnere was for those in the Conservative party who would like to wipe the Grits off the face of the earth, and who know so well how to use campaign funds in order to do so. What a temptation there was to take advantage of the situation. I do not, upon the information which has come to me, charge the minister with wrongdoing, nor did I do so from the beginning to the end of my address. I do not charge Sir Richard McBride with wrong-doing; I

did not do so from the beginning to the end of my address.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Did the hon. gentleman not distinctly say that Sir Richard McBride had pulled the leg of the Minister of Naval Affairs? What other meaning can be attached to that, if the hon. gentleman is correct, than that Sir Richard McBride is party to a conspiracy to defraud the country?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I am glad my hon.

friend asked that question. Sir Richard was in favour of having sorpe naval defence on the Pacific coast. He had urged that repeatedly; in that respect he has been at one with us on this side of the House. He was most anxious to secure these vessels, because of the advantage that would accrue to him in his own province if he could have two war vessels-not so good as the Rainbow, but two additional war vessels- nevertheless, upon the Pacific coast. The Government here was hesitating; apparently they had hesitated for six months. According to the statement made by the Prime Minister at the August session, he and this Government had had reason to believe that war would soon take place between Great Britain and Germany. Hon. gentlemen will remember that at the August session he said that as early as January last he began to organize the different departments so that they would be ready to take action when war broke out, yet for six whole months Sir Richard McBride was obliged to look on and see this' Government apparently indifferent to naval protection upon the Pacific coast. Therefore he was most anxious that these vessels should be secured. He knew that if he wired the Prime Minister that the vessels had been rejected by the naval expert of the Chilian government, this Government would be guilty of additional delay before making the purchase. Therefore he did not convey that information and this Government was led to believe that for some reason or other the Chilian government could not pay for the vessels. I ask my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries if he honestly believes today that they were rejected because the Chilian government was not able to pay for them?

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

It certainly is my belief, and it is the belief of the officials of the Naval Department.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Then, my hon. friend and his department had better study the wealth and resources of Chili. It is one of the wealthiest countries upon the American continent; a country with great resources; a country with a large revenue; a country which is amply able to pay not merely for two submarines, but for twenty or for fifty if they want to do so.

I repeat that immediately after these submarines were got out of the way the Chilian government gave an order to a shipbuilding firm in the United States for the construction of two submarines of a modern, up-to-date type, which would be serviceable in case of war. Upon reflection, does my hon. friend not think that he ought to have been informed that these submarines were rejected by the Chilian government? Oh, he says, we telegraphed the British Admiralty, and, after Sir Richard McBride had committed us to this purchase by paying over the money, we got a favourable answer from the British Admiralty, who are constantly in touch with war vessels in all parts of the world, and would know about these particular vessels. Does my hon. friend think that he is acting fairly by this House when he seeks to make hon. gentlemen believe that? Would the British Government or the British Admiralty have any knowledge of the testing of these vessels at Seattle on July 26? Would they be likely to have any such knowledge? Not at all. See the position in which my hon. friend was placed by reason of the fact that the report of the expert of the Chilian government was withheld from him. He did not inform the British Government of that circumstance; he informed them-and I take it for granted that he believed it to be true-that for some reason or other the Chilian government were not able to pay for these submarines, and that here was a chance to get two splendid boats which had stood the test. Under these circumstances he asked the British Admiralty if they would recommend the purchase of the submarines.

My hon. friend says that I am very much to blame for making it known that these submarines had not stood the test required by the Chilian government. He says that my statement will give great comfort to Germans in the United States and that it will cause alarm on the Pacific coast; that cannot be so, because I merely stated what was published by a newspaper of very large circulation, 8 .

printed in Seattle on July 26 last and what was telegraphed by theAssoeiated Press all over the United States. If Ger-man-Americans are interested in the fact that these submarines failed to pass the test of the naval expert of the Chilian government, let my hon. friend not imagine for a single moment that that fact is not well known all over the United States. No words of mine in this Parliament could spread more broadly the news of that inspection which took place, as I said, at Seattle on the 26th of July. But if there were anything at all to be said about the subject of my bringing the matter before the House it would rather seem that if this statement is incorrect, if this test did not take place, if the naval representatives of the Chilian government did not reject these submarines, then let the truth be known and it will reassure the people of British Columbia, and let me say to my hon. friend that it is due to himself and due to this House that we should make inquiry of his friends in,British Columbia as to whether this test did take place on the 26th of July and whether Captain Plaza, Chairman of the Naval Commission of the Chilian government, had reported recommending that they be not taken over as not being up to the specifications. Further than that it is due to my hon. friend that he should have himself put right because he assured His Royal Highness that it was for financial reasons apparently that the Chilian government did not take these submarines, and he withheld from the British Admiralty the fact that these submarines had been rejected by the naval experts of the Chilian government as early as the 26th of July. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries states that this money was paid to Captain Pilcher. True, it was, but he paid it over to Mr. Patterson, who on the 27th of July had the interview with Sir Richard McBride in Victoria and Mr. Patterson, my information is, as is well known in Victoria, divided the cheque and gave two, one for $900,000 for the amount of the contract price, and I have no knowledge of what he did with the other $250,000.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

The contract price did not include the sending out and the assembling on the Pacific coast, did it?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Yes, according to my information that was all to be done by the Electric Company, the Seattle

Construction and Dry Dock Company assembling for the Electric Boat Company of New Jersey. It may be -that this 5250.000 was properly expended. I am only stating the facts. But the remarkable thing about it, from the standpoint of my hon. friend, is that he thinks the statement of facts which I have made and which has not been controverted necessarily leads to an inference of suspicion against certain gentlemen in British Columbia. I cannot help that; I have simply stated the facts, and it is because my hon. friend and my hon. friend from Victoria feel that these facts lead any sensible and reasonable man, accustomed to weighing evidence and drawing inferences to believe that there has been something wrong,' that both of these gentlemen have become so angry and have rushed to the defence of Sir Richard McBride as if I had made a violent attack on him as being a boodler and one unworthy of the confidence of his province, when I did nothing of the kind.

My hon. friend says that one of the submarines in being taken over to Victoria unfortunately struck the bottom. It is very curious that I have a statement made by a gentleman, an expert submarine operator, who states that this is not the first time she struck the bottom. You know one of the essential things for a successful submarine is that when she is scaled for sinking to a level of thirty feet she must not go down to sixty feet. They sometimes do. Possibly that is why they were rejected by the naval experts of the Chilian government. This expert submarine operator says:

That the main trouble connected with the submarines was due to the fact that no definite plan was put through to formulate a system regulating- the resistance brought about by the submergence of the vessel. At one time the Chilean crew were scared nearly to death when the mark for sinking was set at thirty feet and the boat sank sixty feet or more. On another occasion, due to lack of standard, the submarine came up under a big raft of logs, breaking the raft and causing considerable trouble, the periscope being damaged.

And the same gentleman puts the value of these submarines at $250,000 each, $100,000 less than Captain Logan's estimate.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Who is the gentleman?

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Where does he live?

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

What place?

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Is there no date on the

letter?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

It is in a statement

which I have from him. When the papers come down, if the Government see fit to have it investigated, I have no doubt that Mr. Martinson can be brought here to give his expert knowledge before the committee.

Then there is a marine engineer who states that the engines in the two boats are all right and that the whole trouble is with the hull which being overweighted detracts from the buoyancy of the ship. He says:

The only way we could overcome this was by having about one-half the specified amount of liquid in the tanks; then the ship behaved very well but of course was not up to the specifications.

With regard to the question of the purchase of the submarines, I am not condemning that at all, I am in favour of submarines for the Canadian Government; what 1 say is that we ought not to pay too high a price, we ought not to pay for a second-class submarine, one which is not of modern construction and thoroughly up to date, the same high price which first-class submarines can be obtained for; and we do know that first-class modern submarines can be obtained for about $550,000, which would be less than the amount paid for these. Neither should extravagant commissions be paid.

Now, with regard to the submarines being in the dry dock. The Minister of Marine and Fisheries, with that ingenuity for which he is remarkable, states that the only time they were in the dry-dock was when the people out in Victoria became afraid of bombs being dropped on them and, instead of leaving them out in the ocean they were brought in and put in the dry-dock; and in order to thoroughly guard them against the dropping of bombs, lights were lighted all around them.

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February 11, 1915