January 19, 1916

LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN :

The hon. gentleman is mistaken. I never had anything to do with fixing the prices. Mr. Jones did come to see me. I thought my

i

duty was fulfilled by at once arranging over the telephone an interview between Mr. Jones and Mr. Thomas who represented the British Minister of Munitions, and that interview took place at once.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Then, I was giving to my right hon. friend a little too much credit. What I sought to do was to co'nvey the impression I had, that the Prime Minister did assist Mr. Jones by getting the Shell Committee to give him a contract at a reduced price.

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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:

I wiieto to make the matter plain. Mr. Thomas was here fully representing the British Minister of Munitions. I thought that information on the subject should !be conveyed at once to him. During the time that he was here, as 'I understood the matter, he regulated the price.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

tions of war. It may therefore come as a surprise to many, to learn that, despite many natural difficulties not known in Great Britain nor in Canada, the Federal Government of Australia has grappled energetically and successfully with the problem and that the resources of the Island Continent are being worked to their utmost in order to .render the maximum of aid to the Mother Country. When the call for shells cam'e from Great Britain in the early summer of 1915, the Federal Government immediately appointed a Federal Munitions Committee, and co-operation with the different states of the Commonwealth resulted in each of these forming State Munitions Committees which at once got actively to work. Munition Bills were passed by the Federal Parliament, giving the Government the power to manufacture and contract for the manufacture of munitions, and the different states also passed similar regulations giving them similar powers. The work was thus entered upon in a public anil official and thoroughly systematic manner.

Serious Difficulties Overcome.

The great difficulty encountered from the first lay in the fact that Australia, unlike Canada and unlike the United Kingdom, is not a mechanical manufacturing country. The necessary tools and machinery did not exist in that country and the tremendous distances from countries where these necessary supplies could be secured caused much vexatious delay. While this problem was being solved, however, active preparatory steps were taken in all other possible directions.

The leading engineers of the Commonwealth were called into conference to canvass the situation and supply all possible information on which actual progress could be based.

A Metal Exchange was established by the Federal Government to arrange for the control of metals produced In the country, so that all supplies would be readily available as required.

The Munitions Committee was instructed and proceeded with the formation and enrollment of a Munitions Workers Corps, to include all men of military age who are indispensable for the manufacture of munitions, and these men were given certificates to indicate that they have performed their full share of work in defence of their country. *

Steel Supply Quickly Found.

The Federal Defence Department early made arrangements for the first supplies of steel for shells, contracting for the necessary quantity at the lowest price from the Broken Hill Proprietary at its Newcastle works.

Early in November, 1915, the first steel, after exhaustive Government tests, was shipped to the different states. Samples were also sent to England with a view to supplying Great Britain and her Allies, and arrangements were also -made for shipment to New Zealand, where there is no steel available.

After due inquiry and consultation with the British War Office, the Federal Munitions Committee decided that the Dominion of Australia could best serve the needs of the Empire by the manufacture of 18-pound high-explosive shell bodies. A price of $5.05 per shell. Including the cost of the steel, was set, and all contractors willing to accept this price were given open contracts to supply all the shells they could manufacture up to June 30, 1916, with the provision, that this price might he revised, if so decided by the Government, on or after March 31,

1916. It was also undertaken that the British Government should give three months' notice when no more shells were required.

I pause to ask why this Government did not, at the very outset, make an arrangement of that kind with the manufacturers of Canada? Why is it that my hon. friend the Minister of Militia, when he is seeking to excuse these high prices, says that the orders from the British Government were spasmodic, and that they acted as if they thought-and some of their officials did think-that the war would end in three months; and that it was that which caused these enormously high prices to be paid. If this Government had gone about the matter in the right way why could they not have made the same arrangement as was made by the Australian Government? That arangement was that these contracts should run until March of the present year, and that while the Australian Government had the right to revise the figures at any time, still the contract would run, and if the British Government decided to terminate the contract the contractors must receive three months' notice.

Let me speak also of the price. Large quantities of these 18-pound high explosives have been manufactured in Canada. That was the shell which the Australian Government decided it would be best to manufacture. I believe it was regarded as about the most useful all-round munition which could be produced. What was the price that they paid? It was $5.05 per shell, and that was away off in Australia where the manufacturing industries are not at all in the advanced stage that they are in Canada; in Australia where the difficulty of obtaining steel is very much greater than in Canada. Australia is not like Canada, situated side by side with a great manufacturing country like the United States, where all the materials which could not be obtained in Canada might very easily be obtained. And yet, Sir, the Australian Government fixed the price for these 18-pound high explosives at 21 shillings sterling, which is equal to $5.05. That included the machining of the shell and the steel billets which would be used for the shell. What was the price fixed by this Shell Committee in Canada? It was $5.70 for the mere machining, and the steel billets were supplied by the Shell Committee free of cost to the manufacturer; and the steel for . those shells would cost an average of pretty close to $2 apiece or perbaips $1.40 or $1.50, or somewhere between $1 and $2. At all

events, it made the price of these 18-pound high explosives nearly $2 apiece greater in Canada than in Australia. That was the price fixed, as I said, by the Shell Committee, and fixed, evidently, out of all proportion to the cost of manufacture. Sir,' no man who looks at this subject dis^-passionately can come to any other conclusion than that some of the gentlemen on the Shell iCommittee, engaged as they were in large manufacturing concerns themselves, being directing heads of largo manufacturing concerns to which they themselves gave the making of vast quantities of steel shells, were quite content that the 'country (Should pay these enormous prices (and that they made no honest effort to get low prices because- and this is a hard thing to say of any gentleman who wias considered of sufficient importance to he appointed on this committee-because, of every excess dollar paid for the shells, a certain portion was going into their own pockets and into the treasuries of the companies of which they were the executive heads. A pretty situation for this Government to place the people of Great Britain and of Canada in, that this Commission, whom they appointed,-this Commission whose work they should have kept under their eyes from day to day, because the Imperial Government were trusting this Government to safeguard their interests as the people of Canada have trusted them to safeguard their interests-a pretty situa-. tion this, that these sixteen gentlemen who sit upon the Treasury Benches and whose duty it was under those circumstances to guard the interests of the Empire, including the interests of Canada, should have allowed this thing to go on from month to month, knowing that these gentlemen on the Shell Committee were buying shells from themselves and buying them at these exorbitant prices. I say it is a lamentable situation that they should allow this to go on for months and months, and that it was only after dissatisfaction had reached, apparently, to the Mother Country and after Mr. Lloyd George's representative, Mr. Thomas, had been sent out to this country to investigate, that these things were discovered, which nearly all men in Canada knew, and of which every honest Canadian was ashamed; and that it should have remained to Mr. Thomas to put an end to these scandals which ought long before that to have been put an end to by this Government.

Then this article proceeds as follows:

On this basis 31 tenders had been received-[DOT]

That is, at the price of $5.06.

-up to November 1, of which 19 had been formally accepted, the balance being- still under consideration.

Shell-making at actual cost.

These tenders revealed one very significant difference between shell-making in Canada, which is apparently inseparable from huge and unreasonable profit-making, and shell-making in Australia, where national service and the good of the Empire is apparently the first consideration.

Four of the tenders were from the State Governments of New South Wales, South Australia, .Victoria and Queensland, the contract for the latter state being undertaken by the State Government Railways Department. In each of these cases the larger part of the work was to be done at actual cost in Government owned and Government operated shops, most of which are pert of the equipment of the Railways Departments and other government departments. As all the railways of Australia are owned and operated by the state, the extent of the work undertaken in government shops can be readily understood.

I shall not trouble the House with the remainder of the. article, hut I may mention this very important matter: that the Government of Australia also undertook, early in the history of this war, the making of machine guns for the use of its soldiers at the front. And I would like to say just a word with regard to machine guns. I believe that this Government sent its boys to the front supplied with machine guns to a very small proportion as compared with the number in the hands of the Germans who stood in front of them upon the battlefield. I have been told that men have written from the front, that by reason of the want of machine guns they were mowed down as wheat is mowed down by the harvesting machines. My hon. friend the Minister of Militia went across to Europe and was said to have gone to the front, and when he came back he reported that all was well upon the front,

when he ought to have known, and this Government ought to have known from week to week, from the reports o-f their 'officers at the front, that the equipment of the Canadian troops was lamentably deficient, so far as machine guns were concerned.- No word of that came to the public's ears, and apparently the Government itself took no action to remedy the defect; and it was not until Col. Currie and Col. Meighen returned from France and addressed public meetings, and called attention to this lamentable state of affairs, that there appeared to be any waking np on the part of the Government to the'neces-sity for properly equipping with machine guns ouir soldiers who are fighting the

battles of the Empire. Then what happened, Sir? Whan the people of Canada were confronted wiith the fact thiat although this Parliament voted $100,000,000 tor the proper equipment of bur soldiers this Government had failed in their duty, all over the country there arose a wave of indignation, as well ias a wave of intense patroitiism, and from almost every hamlet and town, from allmost every municipality and every city, from almost every mam and every woman, came contributions for machine guns dim order that our soldiers might be properly equipped. My hon. friend the Acting Minister of Militia (Hon. J. A. Lougheed) made an announcement through the press that the Government would be glad to receive these contributions, and would see to it that the money was devoted to the proper purpose. Sir, I think that every thousand dollars which ' was contributed by the people of this country for machine guns constitutes a strong indictment against this Government for its neglect to provide proper equipment for the soldiers. My hon. friend the Minister of Militia and Defence may say that the officials of the British War Office did not think that any more machine guns were necessary. But, Sir, for what do we have such an experienced soldier as the hon. Minister of Militia, for what purpose has he been selected, for what purpose did he go to the front, if not to see to the equipment of our soldiers? Surely he knows as much as the ordinary official of the British War Office; surely it is no answer to the people of Canada, no answer to the mothers and fathers of the boys whose lives have been sacrificed on the European battlefields, to say that the Minister of Militia did not know, and that 'he ought to be excused for not knowing, because the officials of the War Office in England did not realize the necessity for greater equipment. I say it is no excuse. The Minister of Militia must have known, or he ought to have known, of that great deficiency, and steps ought to have been taken earlier in the war to provide the necessary equipment in the matter of machine guns. The people of Canada want to know what has been done ' with the $2,000,000 which they subscribed-whether it is not to be used for machine guns, whether the assurance of Hon. Mr. Lougheed that the Government would be glad to receive contributions for machine guns and would apply the money received to that purpose, is to be [Mr. Pugsley.J

carried out'. If the money is not to be used for that purpose, then some explanation should be given to the public and more especially to the donors. The only explanation I have seen was in a letter written by my right hon. friend the Prime Minister a few days ago, in which he said that the money could not be returned because several machine guns had already been purchased. I am told that the total subscriptions were $2,000,000, and that that ,sum would purchase 2,000 machine guns. The Prime Minister says that several guns have been purchased up to this time, and that consequently the money cannot be returned. Sir, I think we ought to know why that money was not devoted to its proper purpose; we ought to know how much of it is on hand; we ought to know what is intended to be done with what is on hand; and we ought to know whether our soldiers -are now properly equipped so far ias machine guns are concerned. We ought to be informed as to how they were equipped when they first went dnto the trenches. The people' of Canada, let me tell my hon. friend the Minister of Militia, are terribly keen to know that when our boys go to the front -they have every possible protection which men can have, that they are well equipped, and well armed, and that they are fully supplied with big guns, machine guns, high explosive shells, and other munitions of war.

I api not going to detain the House any longer. I have already taken up longer time than I ought to have done, and I desire to express my thanks to the House for listening so patiently to what I have said. The subject seemed to me to be of the greatest possible importance. It seemed to me to be.a question affecting the honour of our country and the honour of this Parliament, and to be of the very greatest possible importance to the people, not only of Canada, but of Great Britain.

I have been careful to make no charge against the manufacturers of this country. Before I take my seat I desire to bear testimony to the fact that they stand in the very front rank of the manufacturers of the world. I believe that there is nothing which is turned out in any part of the world that cannot be turned out by the Canadian people. Hive them the contracts and they will supply the money, and the material, and the brains necessary to fill these contracts. But the Canadian manufacturers were not asked to fix prices for the shells, shrapnel, or high explosive, or any other munitions

of war which were under the control of the Canadian Shell Committee. Prices were fixed entirely by that committee, and if anybody is responsible for any wrong-doing which may have taken place it is the Shell Committee, it is this Government through the She1! Committee, which they appointed, and for whose actions they are responsible.

All that I ask, Sir, is that there be a full and complete investigation by a committee of this Parliament in order to determine whether excessive prices have been paid, and if they have been paid to fix the blame upon the right shoulders. I have been careful not to say anything because I do not know as to the extent of the responsibility; but I do say, and I repeat it most emphatically, that, so far as my information goes, that blame does not rest upon the shoulders of the manufacturers, but upon the shoulders of those who fixed the prices. It rests upon the shoulders of the members of the Shell Committee, who were paying themselves these excessive prices, who stood in the position of both buyers and sellers, and who could not reduce the prices to outside manufacturers without reducing the prices to themselves. The whole business was of the most objectionable character, and one that demands the fullest and most complete investigation by a committee of this Parliament.

Mr. OLIVER J. WILCOX (North Essex): Mr. Speaker, you will allow me to extend to you, Sir, my congratulations upon your promotion to the dignified position which you now occupy. If I toad been guilty of the tirade of unwarranted accusations, insinuations, and statements which have been made by my hon. friend the member for St. John (Mr. Pugs-ley) I would have at least convinced myself that I was more anxious to undermine the Government of this country than to undermine the Kaiser. I cannot conceive of a speech that has been delivered in this House since the great world crisis has faced the people of Canada that has been so unbecoming, so out of place, as that which has been delivered by the hon, member for St. John. It had for its basis purely political motives and its object was to weaken the position of the Government which is to-day sustaining a responsibility the like of which no government has had to bear before in. Canada. I regret the attempt of the hon. gentleman to lay a charge where there is no charge, bolstered and Backed up by a lot of old newspaper clippings which are not admitted within the confines of Parliament

as proof in support of any contention, in an effort to make out a case against a government whose skirts are clear and who are recognized by the people of Canada as being worthy of the position which they occupy.

It does seem to me to be a peculiar thing -yes, a wonderful thing-in this young country in which we live, and which has made such vast strides along all avenues of human activity in the past forty years, that in every great crisis the country has seen it has been guided by the representatives of the great political party with which I am to-day affiliated.

We are always delighted to hear from my hon. friend from Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark). Oh, how I wish that the sentiments which animated the hon. member for St. John this afternoon had been as high and as noble as the sentiments that animated the hon. member for Red Deer the other evening, a man who has the proper idea of what it means to be a British subject and to live under British institutions, whose son is at the front doing his duty-

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L-C
CON

Oliver James Wilcox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILCOX:

-and who has another

son, I am informed, going to the front. Contrast that speech of the hon. member for Red Deer with the heckling, with the wanderings, with the meanderings of the hon. member for St. John. He landed once or twice in Vancouver, jumped from there to an elevator in Halifax, got over into St. John and landed in the Shell Committee in Montreal. -

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An hon. MEMBER:

High explosives.

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CON

Oliver James Wilcox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILCOX:

All high explosives and the biggest explosion that has taken place in this House is the speech of the hon. member for St. John. This was all done with the object of trying to figure out if he could not by some hook or crook convince the people that this Government are not worthy of the trust that has been committed to their care in this time of stress and trial. I have commended the hon. member for Red Deer and from my place -in this House I want to say, because I believe it, that a proper spirit animates my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier). If I take his words to mean that which they appear to mean, I believe that I can put him, whatever transgressions he may have committed in past years in regard to loyalty and adhesion to

the policy of Imperial defence, amongst those Canadians who desire to pursue a patriotic course in this great crisis. I trust that the principles contained in the speech which he delivered here the other day will be acceptable to patriotic Canadians. But the party of hon. gentlemen opposite at this moment is at the parting of the ways on this question. Who is going to be the leader-the hon. member for St. John with his measley politics and who is .always playing the game? You would think we were living in times of the most glorious peace and not in times of war. We do not mind that from the hon. member from St. John; we expect it; we know that politics permeate his very being. I hope my hon. friend from St. John will not imagine I am casting any reflections upon the great ability

4 p.m. which we all recognize he possesses. But in this time of stress and trial it might have been expected that he would have employed that great ability in proper channels and that he would have given to the country that assistance which I believe every patriotic Canadian desires it should receive, thereby strengthening the hands of those who are endeavouring to uphold the British cause.

After the outbreak of war, when Sir Robert Borden, the distinguished Canadian who leads the destinies of this country at this hour, called the war session of Parliament, my right hpn. friend the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) made a speech from his place in this House, and in clear and distinct terms laid down the policy of the party which he leads. On page 8 of Hansard of the special session of Parliament of 1914, my right hon. friend had this to say:

This session has been called for the purpose of giving the authority of Parliament and the sanction of law to such measures as have already been taken by the Government, and any further measures that may be needed, to insure the defence of Canada and to give what aid may be in our power to the mother country in the stupendous struggle which now confronts her. Speaking for those who sit around me, speaking for the wide constituencies which we represent in this House, I hasten to say that to all these measures we are prepared to give immediate ' assent. If in what has been done or in what remains to be done there may be anything which in our judgment should not be done-

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LIB
CON
LIB
CON

Oliver James Wilcox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILCOX:

-We raise no question.

Let my hon. friend say "hear, hear," now.

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LIB
CON

Oliver James Wilcox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILCOX:

We take no exception, we offer no criticism. Let him say it now.

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LIB
CON

Oliver James Wilcox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILCOX:

And we shall not offer any criticism as long as there is danger at the front.

We took those 'words as coming from the leader of a great party, and we believed what he said.

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LIB
CON

Oliver James Wilcox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WILCOX:

My right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition has not transgressed to any great extent; but, Sir, there is an hon. gentleman on his right whom I would advise my right hon. friend, if he would take my advice, to take into his inner counsel, into that private office where he has put up so many political games in the past, where he devises those schemes to put it over us bad Tories. Let him take him in there and have a talk with him; and in the interest of the cause, and of the liberty and freedom of our institutions of which my right hon. friend spoke the other day, let us cut out this haggling and making political capital, which is nothing but political buncombe for the back concessions of the country.

In my constituency, when a man gets up and speaks a lot of what I eall "hot air," we call it up our way "bull talk." Some ingenious business institution up there has got out a barometer as an advertising scheme. I have one in my hand. It has an indicator, and the first point on it is "blarney." Then, as the indicator rises a few degrees higher, the next point is called "hot air." If it reaches up a few degrees higher, it is called "stable talk," and if it goes to the top it is called "bull talk"; and I am inclined to think that if I had applied this test to my hon.' friend, the indicator would have been at the top now.

As I listened to the words of the hon. gentleman, I thought of the words of Richard the Second:

Of comfort no man speak:

Let's talk of graves, and worms, and epitaphs ; Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.

My hon. friend quoted papers ad nauseam. I hold in my hand the Ottawa Free Press of to-day, January 19, which is the leading Liberal paper in the capital and one of the leading Liberal organs of the Dominion of Canada, and it laughs at the hon. gentleman and puts him in his proper place. 1 desire to place this editorial on Hansard. I do not usually read from newspapers, but I am sure that my hon. friends will bear with me on this occasion, because it . is such a complete answer to the arguments which my hon. friend tried to make in his speech of one hour last night and two hours to-day. The Free Press says:

The " Shame " that Mr. Pugsley Sees.

The Dominion Shell Commission, appointed by General Sam Hughes within six weeks of the outbreak of the war under the chairmanship of General Alex Bertram, practical mechanic, manufacturer and soldier, established in Canada an entirely new industry that has brought to and distributed throughout the Dominion, hundreds of millions of dollars.

Six weeks after the opening of the war, and six months before Britain compelled by her necessities decided to do the same thing, Canada proceeded to organize its privately-owned industrial resources for the manufacture of the shells that General Sam Hughes correctly predicted would be demanded in appalling quantities.

It was a tremendous task-one for which there was no precedent, one which meant generally and largely a groping in the dark. It was a task for practical men, for captains of industry particularly connected with the metal trades, for those familiar with the manufactories of the country and their equipment, for tactful and essentially honest leaders.

In Messrs. Bertram and his associates General Sam Hughes found men of extraordinary suitability. They were practical machinists and inventors, had captained huge industries, and wide knowledge of Canadian manufacturing conditions, and had the confidence and respect of all who knew them.

Remember this is what a Liberal newspaper says.

These men accepted what from the first seemed a thankless, if not impossible task; they served continuously night and day without a cent of remuneration ; they achieved against tremendous obstacles a wonderful thing-the organization, on a gigantic scale, of an industry entirely new to Canada, that has kept thousands of Canadians in employment, and that has driven away the distress that threatened our cities and towns.

That is the record which Hon. William Pugs-ley, from his place in the House of Commons, declares "will bring shame to the people of Canada," and which, he asserts, has "produced scandals which were reeking from the Atlantic to the Pacific." His condemnation will be printed in a hundred Canadian newspapers to-day, and in brief telegrams and cables people in the United States and Britain will be told of this horror that has come to the Dominion.

Why does Hon. William Pugsley make this startling statement?

The Commission had given large orders to firms in which its members were interested, for instance John Bertram and Sons, of which Sir Alex. Bertram was vice-president, and to a concern with which Mr. Carnegie was connected.

The Commission had fixed an unduly high price to be paid for shells.

A Canadian had quoted $4 for fuses that had been bought in the United States for from $4 to $4.50.

The Commission had been animated by a desire to distribute orders to friends of the Government.

Bernard Hepburn, M.P., had been given a contract which had been turned over to a Montreal firm.

E. A. D. Morgan, a Conservative candidate in Richelieu, had got an order at higher than an Ontario manufacturer, as having been told the rates recently paid, that he might expect to get an order, spent $15,000 in installing additional lathes, but was subsequently waited upon "by two gentlemen, one of them closely connected with the Chairman of the Shell Committee, who told him that he could not obtain a contract unless he paid a commission of 1J per cent to them;" declining to pay, he got no order.

Men without plants got orders for shell boxes, while others with plants did not.

We believe this is a fair summary of /Mr. Pugsley's charges, as reported in the newspapers.

.

Hon. Mr. Pugsley, so far as we can see, provides no evidence other than rumours that have been circulated by disappointed manufacturers, or distorted statements and half truths that have appeared in certain newspapers. But, supposing all his assertions are true, are they of a nature to make Canadians forget the real and wonderful achievements of the Shell Commission and bring shame, instead of pride, to the Canadian people?

Firms with which the Commissioners were connected were given orders at the outset because they were included among the few willing to try the experiment of making shells; Sir Alex. Bertram has denied that he has any but a nominal connection with John Bertram and Sons; comparatively high prices had to be fixed in order to tempt Canadian manufacturers into the new industry, and at that the total we are assured, was $15,000,000 less than the amount allowed by the War Office; oftentimes date of delivery offset a lower offer in price; many Liberal firms have handled contracts from the Commission; it was not such a heinous offence for a member of Parliament, or for a candidate for Parliament, to bring the war facilities of certain firms to the attention of the Shell Committee ; many scores of firms who at first refused to have anything to do with the experiment flocked to Ottawa when they discovered that others had tried it and had succeeded .well.

How trivial is all this compared with the essential fact that the Shell Commission established in Canada an industry that has brought hundreds of millions of dollars to the Dominion, besides materially helping in the prosecution of the war.

The assertion that there are in the country men, politicians possibly, mean enough to sponge on manufacturers who have received

orders from the Shell Commission and hold enough to pretend that only upon payments to them could future orders he obtained, is quite believable after some of the revelations in connection with the horse purchases; but that men of the stamp of General Bertram, who, despite the rumours which Mr. Pugsley now gives voice to, was created a Sir Knight by his King a few weeks ago, would be a party to such contemptible tricks is unthinkable.

And. the editorial goes on all the way through condemning the hon. gentleman (Mr. Pugsley) for the attitude he has taken in this House with regard to this matter.

Owing to the extraordinary growth of the munitions business in Canada, which started with so small an order that the difficulties of its inception were added to, the work of the original shell commission may not have been conducted with the complete system that the great task demanded; but the fact remains that results have shown that the Bertram Commission was one of the most efficient that has ever been appointed by a government of this country.

The Free Press regrets to And itself in opposition to so clever and distinguished a member of the Liberal party as Hon. William Pugsley, but we cannot help thinking that he has been led astray by the atmosphere of the chamber which has been the scene of so many gallant party fights in which he has been a leading antagonist.

From the speeches of the men on both sides who had preceded him, from the speeches ol Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Dr. Clark, and Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, we had been led to expect that the element of petty partisanship was to be eliminated from this war session, and we had obtained visions of a real drawing together of the two political parties for the prosimt'on of the war, beside which everything pales into insignificance.

If Mr. Pugsley's lead is followed by other Liberals, our hopes are shattered and Canada, we believe, will suffer.

So I make allusion to the fact that to-day is the parting of the ways. Will hon. gentlemen opposite follow the lead of the hon. member for St. John city, or will they follow the lead of the right hon. leader of the Opposition, who said that there would be no criticism of the conduct of this Government so long as the war lasted, because the interests at the front were too great?

In connection with the development of an industry on the scale to which the munitions output has attained, it is too much to expect that there has been nothing deserving of condemnation, but to, deliberately and in a wholesale way, blackwash men like Bertram and his associates who have accomplished so much that counts in the successful carrying on of the war does not seem patriotic.

The. fishing expedition upon which Mr Pugsley would have Parliament embark might result in the exposure of some grafters; but it would probably be more prolific in valuable information for the enemy.

That, Mr. Speaker, is the view of the leading Liberal newspaper of the city ol

Ottawa with regard to the statements made by my hon. friend this afternoon. There is, however, one satisfaction: my hon.

friend, session after session, has brought charges against this Administration which have been proved to be absolutely groundless; consequently the people are beginning to know my hon. friend. Oh, they say, that is Pugsley-and there is a great deal in that. I want to say to my hon. friend- though in best of spirit, because I am in just - a good a temper as he was when he spoke-that he should consider the words which I have quoted. I think he has made a great- mistake, and I want to put him on the right path, if I can. Mr. Blaine a great statesman in the United States-

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An hon. MEMBER:

Here, too.

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January 19, 1916