January 18, 1916

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I will do so; I should like to oblige my hon. friend. I think it was in Montreal that Mr. Thomas made the statement; if my hon. friend will allow me, I will give it to him before I get through with my remarks. In that statement Mr. Thomas says also that he is a politician himself, and he rather conveys the impression that he found a great deal of politics in Canada in connection with the Shell Committee. He says also that the prices are rather higher in Canada than in Great Britain or in the United States, and that orders will he given to Canada provided the prices are fair and reasonable.

Let me tell hon. gentlemen another thing that has come to my knowledge. I do this, Sir, because I believe it is in the interests of Canada that these matters should be cleared up. I am not making an attack upon the manufacturers of Canada; their

enterprise, their energy, their skill and ability are worthy of all praise. But they did not fix the price of the shells; the price was fixed by the creature of this Government, the Shell Committee. The manufacturers were not asked to tender; they took the price fixed by that committee. The matter which I am about to mention is a very important one, and should, I think, receive the very serious attention of this Government. As the Prime Minister said to-day, fuses are required in large quantities, and orders for fuses were given by the Shell Committee. I am told-these things get abroad; they are talked of in Toronto; they are talked of in Ottawa.-that something like $24,000,000 worth of orders were given by this Shell Committee in the United States. I have not the shadow of a doubt that this statement is correct; it will be found in a statement in Toronto Saturday Night. Included, I presume, in that $24,000,000 was an order for about 4,000,000 fuses. While that order was under consideration, so I am told, by the Shell Committee, a gentleman of large manufacturing experience, representing a thoroughly equipped company in Canada, went to the Shell Committee and said that he was prepared, by himself and his associate company, to make a bona fide offer to supply these fuses in Canada at about $4 each. While, as he supposed, this offer was being considered, the Shell Committee, through, I am told, Mr. J. Wesley Allison-I beg his pardon, Lieut.-Colonel J. Wesley Allison- placed an order in the United States for 4,000,000 fuses at prices of $4 and $4.50 per fuse-almost 4,000,000 fuses at the very high price of $4.50.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

You cannot get them foi any less to-day.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Let me tell my hon. friend that not long after that, so I am informed, the Canadian company which was seeking the larger order took from the Shell Committee a smaller order at prices ranging from $3 to $4 per fuse.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Have they produced any?

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Has the other company produced any?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Oh yes, they have produced some.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

At any rate, if my information is correct, $2,000,000 beyond what was a fair and reasonable price, was paid

to a company in the United States for these fuses. I will not say that Col. J. Wesley Allison got any part of that $2,000,000, because my hon. friend the Minister of Militia says that Mr. Allison is a true patriot, and that he worked absolutely without pay so far as the Canadian Government was concerned, expecting to receive nothing but due recognition for his services in purchasing these goods for the Allies, including the British Government. It would be most unjust, therefore, for me without having knowledge on the subject, to say that any part of this $2,000,000 of excessive price went to J. Wesley Allison, the middleman through whom, I am told, this order was placed.

I am suTe that a committee of investigation will be appointed by this Parliament to inquire into these matters, because the Government would not venture to refuse a commission to examine into a question of such importance, involving so many millions of dollars, and in which the people of Canada take such a great interest. If that commission is appointed I shall be [DOT]able to show that in a large establishment the reasonable and fair cost of machining an 18-pound high explosive shell is about $1.85, as against $5.70, which was the enormous price paid by this Government through the Shell Committtee for the supplying of shrapnel shells and high explosives to the soldier boys at the front.

The actions of the Shell Committee, Mr. Speaker-I make this statement with full knowledge of the responsibility that rests upon me as a membeT of this House appeared to have been animated by a desire to distribute favours to friends of the party in power and to give them the opportunity of making money out of the manufacture of these munitions.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I am afraid that is not correct.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I should like my hon. friend the hon. member for Picton to be here.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Who is he?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

My hon. friend from Picton, Ontario.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

You mean from Pictou, N.S.?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

No, I mean my hon. friend, Mr. Hepburn, who resides in Picton, and who represents Prince Edward County. Now, Mr. Hepburn, not un-

naturally, wanted to get his finger in the pie. He had been taught this fallacy, that the -Shell Committee was not the creature of this Government but that it was an Imperial committee appointed by the British Government and therefore it would be right-

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Quite right.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Hear, hear, does my

hon. friend say? I hope I will be able to convince him in a short time that -he cannot shelter himself or his Government behind the suggestion that this was an Imperial committee and that no matter what their wrong-doing or errors of judgment, sins of omission or sins of commission, might be, he can refuse to allow Parliament to investigate them.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

We are not looking for

shelter; let the hon. member not make any mistake about that.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Before we get through

with this discussion we will find that Parliament will demand an investigation, and that the gentlemen who sit behind my hon. friend, while they may not do it publicly will privately demand it as strongly as the members on this side of the House. If there is an investigation this will be shown: That there were enormous profits in the manufacture of shells. That was the discovery which was made, there is no question about it. People came here from all parts of Canada, politicians, canvassing agents, committee men, influential people from different sections of the country, all clamouring for orders for shells, and among others my good friend, the gentleman to whom I have referred, the member for Prince Edward county, obtained for his company a large order. His company is not engaged in the manufacture of steel. It owns a planing mill, I understand, and is engaged in the manufacture of wooden ware. I could understand if he had limited his application to shell boxes that would have been a worthy ambition which could have been fulfilled by the utilizing of his machinery. But he got an order for shells, and the people of Picton naturally supposed it would mean the creation of a local industry which might have justified him in pressing upon the Shell Committee and the Minister of Militia that he was right in using his influence to secure this order so as to enable a steel plant to be erected in my hon. friend's home town. But he got an order for shells and took it to Montreal, and the

shells are being made there now in the east end of Montreal by another concern, the member for Prince Edward county being simply the go-between or the middleman in connection with the transaction.

Then, again, I am told that another gentleman, a gentleman of my own profession, a lawyer in the city of Montreal, who contested the constituency of Richelieu at the last election, Mr. Morgan,-

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LIB
LIB
CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Pierpont's brother.

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January 18, 1916