March 27, 1915

LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

It is an AuCoin anyway.

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LIB

Alexander William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. CHISHOLM:

I suppose there are five hundred of them down there. I may tell the hon. gentleman it was Alexander AuCoin. What system did the minister follow in giving an expenditure of $450 to one individual without tender and con-contract.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

It was an arrangement that was made, I understand, by Admiral Kingsmill, who Went down there >and decided upon the ground. That probably was the cheapest way of doing it. The land was secured from the man who put up the building. As I understand it, he gave the land and put up the building for $425. I think Admiral Kingsmill came to the conclusion that that was the cheapest way out of the matter, because if he had not given the man the job of putting up the building, the land would have cost a great deal more. Putting the two together, Ad-

miral Kingsmill thought he was making a good bargain. The matter never came to my attention before to-night. I have just picked up the information about it here.

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

It is a double-boarded house with a stone foundation, and is large enough to serve as a living place for a crew of eight or ten men. I cannot tell the size.

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

I certainly never had it called to my attention, and my officials here say that they never heard of it.

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LIB

Alexander William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. CHISHOLM:

I have taken particular interest in this station. In fact, I give myself credit for having initiated the idea of having it put there. The late Government made provision for the erection of a istation. I recognized that there was a great necessity for a life-saving station in that particular part of the county, inasmuch as the people are exclusively fishermen, ana rne coast is very rough. At the time the engineer went down there first to select a site for the station, I recommended to him a man by the name of Mr. Doucett for coxswain, or captain of the boat, as they name it 'down there. The change of Government came afterwards, and the friends of my hon. friend the minister made the .recommendation that this man be dismissed and another man be appointed in his stead, a gentleman by the name of Mr. Maillet. Mr. Maillet, I must say, was a very suitable man.

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LIB
LIB

Alexander William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. CHISHOLM:

Yes. I have nothing at all to say against him. Shortly afterwards trouble arose between Mr. Maillet and one of the crew, Mr. Cormier. Mr. Cormier was dismissed by one of the officers of the department, I think Commander Thompson. An investigation was asked for, and Mr. Nickerson, who is also an officer of the department, was sent down to investigate thi matter. He made certain recommendations. At the investigation, however, counter charges were made hy Cormier against Maillet, who was captain. Mr. Nickerson investigated the charges and the counter charges. His report I find in t1 return I have here. He exonerates both parties from any very serious guilt. He says:

In my opinion, the complaint against Cormier as contained in the coxswain's letter to you is by no means sustained in all its gravity, while the counter charge is a trifling matter indeed, a sort of trumpery accusation quite easily accounted for.

That is the opinion of Mr. Nickerson with regard to Mr. Maillet. I moved for this return 'some time ago, and looking over it from cover to cover, I find that there is nothing against Mr. Maillet. I propose, however, following the various pages here. The next thing I^find is that Mr. Cormier was reinstated, and that my opponent, Mr. Gallant a thorough gentleman, I must say, but of course a very strong Tory, recommended the dismissal of Mr. Maillet forthwith. The minister in reply to him stated that, in his judgment, the was no justification for the dismissal of Mr. Mail-let. The hon. minister said what was Tight, that one of his officers, who went down there and investigated the case, stated that there was nothing to justify his dismissal such a short time after his appointment. In that the minister was thoroughly correct. He had the interest of the station at' heart then; and had he continued to occupy that position with respect to this case, it would have been better for the station and for all concerned. Another officer, however, was sent down, namely, Admiral Kingsmill. He also made a report. I am going to put his report upon Hansard. He addressed the report to the department:

With reference to your memorandum of 31st August, I beg to report that I visited this station on the 15th of October and found that Mr. Gallant, who makes the charges against the coxswain was not there, but I interviewed several people and found that there is a feeling that the coxswain is not loyal to the Government who gave him his appointment.

I would hardly think that a man in the position that Admiral Kingsmill occupies would be sent down there to determine the politics of this man. He would be' sent down for technical purposes, to find out whether the station was satisfactory, and so forth. The report continues:

I would submit that there is no reason for retaining him in the appointment; he is not able to manage his boat's crew, and the station is most untidy and ill-kept. When the station is closed down at the close of navigation, I would suggest that some one be nominated to take charge, make an inventory and lock the boathouse up until the re-opening of navigation, when the new coxswain and crew should be appointed. None of the crew made any complaint to me against the coxswain, and he himself spoke such indifferent English that I could

not gather from him any reason for the trouble which had taken place.

Mr. Maillet is a Frenchman and speaks French very well. I do not know whether Admiral Kingsmill .speaks French or not.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

What is the hon. gentleman reading from?

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LIB

Alexander William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. CHISHOLM:

From sessional papers, No. 159, page 41. I want to point out particularly with respect to Admiral Kingsmill's report that, in my judgment, he would have done much better had he got some further information than he seems to have secured down there. He says he met several of the people there; but what strikes me very forcibly is that, notwithstanding the fact that there is previous to this report a statement by the crew of the life-saving station setting forth the charges against this man Maillet, at the time when one of the officers of the department went down to investigate the case, those men had no complaint to make. I would think that if they had made a complaint-and I doubt it very much- against Mr. Maillet, when the officers of the department went down there, they should have been able to substantiate the charges. I find from the report of Admiral Kingsmill that they made no charges at all in his presence.

I find a report here from the Deputy Minister of Naval Affairs covering a communication which is addressed to Mr. Gallant. It points out again that the officers of the life-saving station, when called upon to give evidence, had no evidence to give.

I infer from the correspondence that the dismissal is the result of nothing more or less than a desire on the part of Mr. Gallant to dismiss the man whom he himself had appointed only a few months before. As to the politics of Mr. Maillet I know nothing. I had assumed that he was a strong Conservative and a supporter of Mr. Gallant. Evidently Mr. Gallant had suspicions, and the investigation of Admiral Kingsmill was to determine what the politics of this man were and not what his efficiency was.

I find a report by Admiral Kingsmill in which he says that he interviewed a certain gentleman down there, who, he says is the leading man in the community, and this gentleman told him that so far as he knew Mr. Maillet was as good a man as they were likely to get, but the opinion in this ease was that he was not loyal to the Government from whom he received his appointment. Here is another reference to this

man's politics. My only reason for bringing this before the committee is that I fear the virus of politics has been injected into this institution. I fear that there is very little prospect that this life-saving station can give the service which I hoped it would give. It is true, there was a little disturbance between these two men. But I can assure the minister that if he were down in Cheticamp, he would find an equally great disturbance between two other men; and I suppose the next thing will be the dismissal of more men because of this little difference that could have been settled simply by not listening to either party but insisting that each should do his duty in his position. I hope the minister will not give heed too readily to these representations made by men who are actuated, in my judgment, by no other desire than to give way to their political feelings. This is evident from the first page of the report to the last. I have taken up the time of the committee believing that the service may be benefited by the minister being placed in possession of the facts.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

I do not wish to take up time unnecessarily; but my hon friend from Inverness (Mr. A. W. Chisholm) seems to think that this man was dismissed because of his politics. That question did not enter into it at all. This man was recommended for this position by Mr. Gallant, who was the Conservative candidate for Inverness in 1911, and appointed to the position largely on his recommendation. So far as I know the man was a Conservative, and there was no charge against him that he had interfered in politics. There was trouble at the station; discipline did not seem to be enforced by Mr. Maillet; and he made a charge against Mr. Cormier, one of his crew, and Mr. Cormier retaliated by making charges against him. Mr. Nickerson, an official of the Fisheries Department in Nova Scotia, was asked to make a report. He visited the place, and reported that in his opinion the complaint against Mr. Cormier contained in the coxswain's letter to Commander Thompson was by no means sustained in all its gravity, while the counter-charge was " a trifling matter indeed-a sort of trumpery accusation quite easily accounted for"-meaning, I suppose, that the coxswain had made a charge that was not sustained against this man, and the man retaliated by making charges against the coxswain. Mr. Nickerson proceeds to praise both men:

16J6

Maillet is no doubt a capable boatman. Cormier, I believe, is a trustworthy watchman. A slight personal pique was the beginning of the trouble which has been wretchedly augmented by outside interference into which it was not judicious for me to inquire, but which

was obvious enough______Much has been doneto place this Cheticamp station on a high plane of usefulness. The location is correct, the outposts are properly chosen, the equipment is good and the men well qualified. Order and discipline can be introduced and maintained here if the crew are more fully instructed as to the nature of their duties in every part ot the service. They are as yet new to the work.

Still, discipline did not prevail at this station; the coxswain did not enforce the authority he had, and constant bickering and trouble existed between himself and the crew. Representations were made about the matter, and I instructed Admiral Kingsmill, whose duty it is, to look into the matter and report what should be done. Admiral Kingsmill, I am sure, did not have any thought of politics. Being a civil servant, I suppose he has no politics, but if he had any, I presume they would lead him to sympathize with hon. gentlemen opposite. He went to this station and investigated, and he reports:

With reference to your memo, of 31st of August; I beg to report that I visited this station on the 15th October and found that Mr. Gallant, who makes the charges against the coxswain, was not there, but I interviewed several people and found that there is a feeling that the coxswain is not loyal to the Government who gave him his appointment.

I take that to mean, not that he was not loyal to the Administration, but that he was not loyal to the Government of the country, and was not doing his duty in his position. Admiral Kingsmill had no instructions to inquire into the man s politics; there is no charge of political interference connected with the matter. He says:

1 would submit that there is no reason for retaining him in the appointment; he is not able to manage his boat's crew and the station is most untidy and ill-kept.

That is the report which induced me to take the action I did. That the coxswain was not able to manage his boat's crew is clear from the trouble that arose, each making charges against the other. Admiral Kingsmill further says:

When the station is closed down at the close of navigation, I would suggest some one be appointed to take charge of it, make an inventory and lock the boathouse up till the reopening of navigation, when the new coxswain and crew should be appointed. None of the crew made any complaint to me against the coxswain, and he himself spoke such indifferent

English that I could not gather from him any reason for the trouble which had taken place.

Perhaps that was one trouble, that he could not make his views and wishes well known to his crew. Or were they all people who understood French?

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

That is the report on which this man was relieved of his position. There was no politics in it so far as the department was concerned, and no charge made of political interference. This man was appointed largely on the recommendation of the man who was the Conservative candidate for Inverness.

Admiral Kingsmill is presumed to know his business; he is a trained and experienced officer. Doss my hon. friend think that it would be good business to keep in office as coxswain a man who cannot, enforce discipline with his crew and who allows his station to be ill-kept and dirty, as reported by Admiral Kingsmill? So far as I was concerned the question of the man's politics never entered into the matter.

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LIB

Alexander William Chisholm

Liberal

Mr. A. W. CHISHOLM:

The moment Mr. Maillet tried to enforce the regulations sent to him by my hon. friend's department, he incurred the enmity of the crew. The charges that were being made by the crew of the station were not laid before Admiral Kingsmill when he went down there, because the Admiral says that the crew had no charges to make. The same may be said in respect of Mr. Nicholson's visit. The crew of the station did not make their charges against the captain while the officers were there, showing conclusively that the whole thing was manufactured by politicians. My hon. friend's interpretation of Admiral Kingsmill's reference to politics does not correspond with mine. So long as the department refuses to help the captain of the life-saving station to carry out the regulations, so long will the station fail to produce the results I had

hoped that it would produce. This man Maillet made an honest effort to carry out the instructions sent to him by the department, and thereby made himself un popular with the crew. The crew and their friends sent representations here which were false, and which they dared , not make when my hon, friend's representatives were down there. The matter is in the minister's hands.

Mr. A. A. McLEAN; I shoulcl like to bring to the attention of the minister a report which was current in the Maritime Provinces last year. A very severe storm occurred in Northumberland strait, and the report reached Charlottetown that a vessel was in distress between cape Tormentine and cape Traverse. The marine agent at Charlottetown sent the lifeboat to relieve the distressed vessel. The lifeboat could not get there unaided, and was towed by a tug. On the way out in the height of the storm, the crew went on board the tug, and shortly afterwards the lifeboat upset. If the crew had been on board the lifeboat, they would have been drowned. What I want to bring to the attention of the minister is the fact that it is currently stated that the boats which are supplied are not suitable for the purposes of life-saving stations. There is no use in maintaining life-saving stations at great expense if the boats supplied are not of the proper type.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

The boat belonged to what live-saving station?

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CON

Angus Alexander McLean

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McLEAN:

Charlottetown. I took

occasion to ask some of the men who were on board the boat about this matter, and they told me-they are men who have been at sea for many years, and know something about these things-that in their opinion the boat was not of the proper type. I think that the department should take this matter up, because the material supplied to men who are engaged in saving life should be of the very highest quality in order that they may be able to render all possible assistance to vessels which may be in distress, without at the same time endangering their own lives. This is, perhaps, more important than any of the other matters that have been brought to the attention of the committee. I am not myself expressing any opinion as to the facts, because I am not' posted on the subject, but it is currently reported that the boats are not of the proper type and are not as good as those used in England or on the continent of Europe. If that is the case, I think the Government ought to take the matter up and see that it is adjusted.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

I entirely agree with my hon. friend that if you are going to have lifeboats you want to have boats that will do the work which they are intended to do. I will certainly make inquiry into the case of the lifeboat of the Charlottetown station, and if it is not suitable for the purposes for

which it is intended, I will take steps to have it replaced by a suitable boat.

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March 27, 1915