January 25, 1916

REPORTS.


ernment suggested to him that there should he a public investigation of the manner m whch munitions contracts had been let; they wished that this should be done to satisfy the criticism which was heard in Toronto and MontrSMr. Thomas stated that when he left England he had been directed by Mr. Lloyd George to do nothing to stir up trouble in Canada, or to give publicity to any points of fiction Therefore, he declined the suggestions which were made to him. The Government in communicating with M . Lloyd George expects to receive an intimation from him that investigation at this Lme is no desired, and to settle in this way the agitation I desire to ask the Government if there is .any truth in the statement in the latter part of that article, and if any representations along that line have been received of recent date by the Government. Report of the Department of Labour for the year ended March 31, 1915.-Hon. T. W. Crothers. Report of the Registrar of Boards of Conciliation and Investigation, of proceedings under the Industrial Disputes Investigation Act, 1907, for the year ended March 31, 1915.


MUNITIONS CONTRACTS.


On the Orders of the Day:


LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. F. B. CARVELL (Carleton, N.B.):

I desire to ask the acting leader of the Government (Sir Thomas White) if the Government is prepared to lay on the table a statement of the contracts for shells in Canada, with names, dates, amounts, and places, as promised by the Minister of Marine (Mr. Hazen), yesterday afternoon.

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE (Minister of Finance):

May I ask my hon. friend to renew his question when the Minister of Marine is in his place?

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

I expect to discuss some of these matters this afternoon, and it would be convenient to have the information now.

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

Possibly the Minister of Marine is attending to this matter, which was presented for his consideration yesterday.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

Then, before the Orders of the Day are called, I call the attention of the Government to an article in the Ottawa Free Press of yesterday, headed, " Ask Lloyd George about Inquiry Over Shells." This article goes on to say:

It has been stated that when Mr. D. A.

Thomas came to Canada to represent Hon. Lloyd George in putting the munition basis on a new footing, several members of the Canadian Gov-

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I am sorry to be ibliged to ask my hon. friend to renew his question when the Prime Minister is n his place. The matter referred to is lot in any way within my knowledge.

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RECRUITING-THE COLOUR LINE

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Hon. WILLIAM PUGSLEY:

May I ask die attention of the Minister of Militia, x, in his absence, of the acting minister, to' a somewhat urgent matter. I h!*v* a Letter from a coloured citizen of St. John, stating that some twenty young men were anxious to enlist and that they were sent to Sussex, and thence back to St. John. While at one time they were told that their services might 'be required, they have not yet had an opportunity to enlist, as they are anxious to. My purpose in rising is to ask if there is any colour line drawn for service overseas, it is a matter of great importance that any young men in Canada who are anxious to Live the Empire in these days should not be prevented from so doing because of their odlour. I ask the leader of the Government what is the policy of the Government in this respect; and will he kindly have the matter looked into? I shall be glad to give him any information in my possession, and to show him the letter which I received from a veTy respectable citizen of St. John who speaks positively as to the facts I have mentioned.

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I shall be very glad to bring to the attention of the Minister of Militia the statements my hon. friend has made. Personally I have no knowledge of the facts mentioned by the hon. gentleman.

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THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.

ADDRESS IN REPLY.


Consideration of the motion of Mr. Alfred Thompson for an address to His Royal Highness the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, resumed from Monday, January 24.


LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. F. B. CARVELL (Carleton, N.B.):

Mr. Speaker, I hope you will allow me to join with many other gentlemen who have spoken in congratulating you on the distinguished position which you occupy. I do not need to express the hope, for I have the knowledge, that during the time you occupy this position the affairs of this House will be presided over with dignity and ability.

We meet this session under conditions very different from those which have characterized any other session of the Canadian Parliament. We are here when the Empire of which we form no inconsiderable part is not only in a world war, but in a war which practically means a life and death struggle; a struggle the outcome of which will decide whether civilization shall rule the world, or whether barbarism shall be its guiding influence for the next century, and perhaps longer. When we attempt to discuss public matters under such tragic conditions, our feelings and thoughts cannot but be greatly different from those which have animated us in former times. If, in the observations I shall make to the House to-day I shall feel compelled to make some plain statements, I wish it distinctly understood that every statement I make is one which in my judgment it is necessary to make in order to bring the peoeple of this country, and the Government as well, to a better realization of the terrible conditions which exist at the present time.

When the great war was declared in August, 1914 the Parliament of Canada was called, and in a four-day session we voted $50,000,000 to help to defray Canada's war expenses for the remainder of the fiscal year. That money was voted without a dissenting voice, without argument, without discussion. We said to the Government at that time: take this $50,000,000 and use it in the conduct of the war. We leave the matter entirely in your hands; all we ask is that you use it honestly and properly. When the next session of Parliament was called, in January, 1915, the Government asked for an appropriation of $100,000,000, which was voted just as readily

and just as gladly as was the $50,000,000 in the preceding year. I assume that the Minister of Finance will, in a few days, ask Parliament for an enormous sum of money -I do not know how much, but in all probability it will not be less than a quarter of a billion dollars. I should not be surprised if the amount to be asked in order to carry on the warlike operations of this country during the next twelve months should run up to $400,000,000 or $500,000,000. In view of this enormous outlay I do not think that any man in this House ought to be called disloyal, or ought to be charged with exciting party animosity, or with conducting himself in an improper manner if he discusses financial matters, and asks the Government to give an account of their stewardship in respect of the $150,000,000 that we have already voted, and of the three, four, or five hundred million dollars, which, in all probability, we shall vote during the present session.

I am anxious to hear what my hon. friend the Minister of Finance will say with regard to the financial situation of the country. I am willing to confess, Mr. Speaker, that I ake a very pessimistic view of this matter. In the month of August, 1914, our public debt was something around $350,000,000. According to the latest announcement, our public debt to-day is something over $500,000,000, and, in view of the enormous current expense, I believe that by the close of the present fiscal year, on March 31 next, the public debt will be nearer $600,000,000 than 500,000,000. In any case, it will be somewhere between these two figures. If my belief as to what may take place in the next fiscal year is well founded, then, at the end of March, 1917, this little country-little in point of population-will be' saddled with a debt of about $1,000,000,000. This is such an enormous sum of money that possibly no person in the country can realize its extent. I imagine that the Finance Minister, who gives a great deal of attention to these things, has tried to picture in his mind what a billion [DOT]dollars means. I confess that it is almost beyond my comprehension. But, Mr. Speaker, I do know what the interest on that $1,000,000,000 will be. To-day we are paying 5J per cent for our money; probably by the end of the next fiscal year our interest rate will be 5f or 6 per cent. While it is true that, in respect of a part of our debt, the interest is at a low rate, I think I am safe in saying that it will average

5 per cent, which will mean an annual interest charge of $50,000,000.

In addition to that, we have an obligation-an obligation which must be met- to care for the maimed and wounded soldiers, and for the wives and families of those who have laid down their lives on the battlefields of France, and Flanders, and other parts of Europe. This is a duty which, no .matter who may be Finance Minister,, no matter which party may be in power, must be carried out bravely and manfully. I wish to congratulate the Minister of Marine and Fisheries for the frank manner in which he dealt with the subject of pensions yesterday afternoon. Supposing we should have half a million men, which is very doubtful, but suppose we have even 400,000 men in the army at the close of the war, I do not believe that we can possibly get along with a pension list of less than $30,000,000 a year, and it is more likely to run up to $40,000,000 or $50,000,000. In order to provide for interest and pensions, you will have to take every dollar of the unappropriated revenue, and you will have to look elsewhere for the money to carry on the business affairs of the country. Or, to put it in another way, in order to carry on the affairs of the country you will have to raise pretty nearly $100,000,000 in addition to the revenue we are raising at the present time. As I have said, I am willing to admit that I am somewhat pessimistic in regard to these financial matters. I realize that this is a new country; I realize that there are tremendous possibilities in our natural resources, and that we have a bright and active population; I realize that there may be some immigration at the close of the war-although I am not as optimistic on the subject of immigration as some hon. gentlemen opposite, and as some editors throughout Canada who are writing on this subject-and in view of this serious prospect of affairs, have we not a right to discuss financial matters in connection with the conduct of the war? Have we not a right to call the Government to strictest account, not only for every dollar they are handling as trustees for the British people, but also for every dollar they are handling as administrators for the Canadian people? The nature of the attacks made upon the hon. member for the city of St. John (Mr. Pugsley), because of his having brought some of these matters to the attention of Parliament, would seem to indicate that there is something behind the indignation of hon. gentlemen opposite, and

that there must be fear as well as indignation on their part. Otherwise, I think we would not find the Solicitor General splitting hairs, bringing up the narrowest possible points of police court law, and telling that because the Liberals in 1902 did not give an investigation into a few tons of hay, the present Government are not going to grant an investigation into the expenditure of $400,000,000 or $500,000,000. I do not believe that the people of this country will stand for that. I do not believe that gentlemen on this side, including the hon. member for St. John city, will be censured by the people of Canada for bringing these matters to the attention of Parliament, and, through this medium, to the attention of the whole people.

A good deal has been said about shells, shell boxes, and all sorts of military contracts. We have heard two defences of the action of the Government, one by the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and the other by the Solicitor General. Perhaps you will pardon me, Sir, if I deal with these in a very cursory manner, and in opposite order to that in which they were given to the House. My hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries always talks very glibly. His sentences are well rounded; he usually reads his speeches, and, therefore, he makes no mistake in diction. I must say that he did not depart from his usual custom yesterday afternoon.' I have no doubt that a copy of that speech was sent down to his personal newspaper in the city of St. John, and if we could see that newspaper to-day we would see a front page of vermilion with a twelve-inch square photograph of my hon. friend in the centre. Of course, he made exactly the same speech that he always makes every time he speaks in this House. Pie berates the hon. memoer for St. John city, and tells the people of St. John what wonderful things he is doing for them. For the next month the Standard newspaper will not cease telling what the hon. gentleman told them yesterday; the whole burden of their story will be what the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries is doing for the port of St.. John. I congratulate the hon. gentleman on a number of things. I congratulate him that in his discussion of the remarks of the hon. member for St. John he did not get as far as the mud of Courtenay bay. We fully expected that he would land there, but, fortunately, he kept out of it. Neither did he get as far as the tumble-down wharves on the other side of the harbour; possibly he

may reach them before the session closes. Neither did he tell the reason why the only fighting ship Canada has on the Atlantic coast has been dismantled; a most remarkable thing which was mentioned by the hon. member for Pictou last evening. That announcement must have horrified this House and the country to a gxeater degree than any other announcement made public in Canada for the last twelve months. What object could there be in dismantling the Niobe? Indeed I do not have to ask. We know the object of dismantling her before the war. The assertion was that the Niobe was no good; that she was only a tinpot vessel, that she was a death trap for Canadian sailors, and they dismantled her in pursuance of their pre-election contract with Bourassa and the Nationalists in Quebec. They kept the Niobe dismantled until the war commenced, and, then four or five weeks after, they sent the Niobe to sea, when she should have been at sea the day before the declaration of war. We who live on the Atlantic coast know that if she had been at sea and in her proper place, more prizes would have been taken from the Germans in the first forty-eight hours of the war than would have paid for a dozen Niobes. But why in the world she has again been dismantled at this late -stage, is something I cannot understand. My hon. friends are not in a position to fall back on their argument of four or five years ago, that it was only a tinpot vessel and a death trap, because if you read the history of this war you will find that the first naval engagement off the bight of Heligoland was conducted by Admiral Beatty in a ship the exact counterpart or sister ship of the Nio.be. I am not going into the discussion of naval affairs here; I do not think this is the place. But I want to tell my hon. friends opposite that so far as I am concerned-and I am speaking now for my party-we will welcome a full discussion of naval affairs at any time hon. gentlemen opposite want to bring it on, either in this uouse, in the press, or anywhere else in Canada. If ever the Liberal party or any party was justified in its attitude by the course of events, the Liberal party has been justified in the attitude it maintained- on the navy in the years 1909 to 1911. The policy of that party was the building of ships of war, the manning of ships of war, the paying for them; having a navy in the biggest sense of the word, instead of being mere -hangers on of the Mother Country.

The remarkable part of the speech of the Minister of Marine, as I understand it,

was a defence, or a reply, to the gentle intimation made by the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley) that political considerations entered into -the contracts for the manufacture of shells in Canada. Hon. gentlemen opposite say that these shells were being purchased by an entirely independent Imperial Commission for the Imperial Government. My hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries called attention to what has taken place in our own province. I do not purpose following him through all that tortuous course, but I shall refer to one or two matters, and, perhaps, the House will then see that everything is not as well as the Minister of Marine would try to make us believe. My hon. friend referred to the fact that the M-cAvity's got a contract. So they did

and I am not going to discuss the details of it, and I think the Minister of Marine knows why I am not. I can tell the House that the Minister of Marine knows how and why the Messrs. McAvity got a contract. If he wished to enlighten the House yesterday he had every opportunity in the world to do so.

I come next to the other firm to which he referred, namely, the Phoenix Foundry Company of St. John. The Minister of Marine told a very nice, plausible story, a story which was glossed over very nicely, a story which, if left there, might sound all right, and would give the impression that there was no middleman in the transaction. No man in Canada knows as well as the Minister of Marine the true story, no man knows as well as he who were the middlemen, no man knows as well as he how much money was paid for the contract. He had to admit yesterday that a contract was given to the York and Cornwall Cotton Company for 25,000 shrapnel shells. They have no facilities for manufacturing shells; they are running a cotton mill; they have no turning lathes, they have not room and space for the work, they have not operators, they have not machines.

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CON

John Stanfield (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANFIELD:

Does not my hon. friend know that all cotton or woollen mills of any size have lathes?

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CAEVELL:

Oh, my hon. friend runs a woollen mill and has a little machine shop, ten by ten, with a little lathe and possibly a twist drill. But neither he nor any other man with his little lathe and his twist drill could make shells; he knows that and he knows that the York and Cornwall Company could not make shells and never intended to do so. The manager of that com-

pa.ny-and I am not charging the directors of the company with any wrong-doing, I take the explanation that the minister gives- but the manager, through political influence

__and you would not have to go very far to

see where the influence came from if you knew who Mr. Cudlip and his friends are in St. John-Mr. Cudlip got a contract for 25,000 shrapnel ' shells and immediately went to James Flemming & Son, the Phoenix Foundry Co.-and just here I want to endorse every word stated hy my hon. friend when he said that there is no better manufacturing concern in Canada for its size. They are an old-established firm, established, I believe, by the grandfathers of the present owners, they do a lot of marine work, as must be the case in a port like St John, and they are men who know what they are doing. Mr. Cudlip promptly went to these men and handed over the contract. But it was not handed over as quietly as the Minister gave us to understand yesterday. The Flemming people had to pay a commission of 10 per cent, and there is no man in Canada who knows better than the Minister of Marine that Flemmings have already paid on that contract a commission of nearly $5,000 to the York and Cornwall Cotton Co. But the Minister of Marine did not mention that yesterday when he was explaining this thing away, and showing that there is no politics in the shell business in New Brunswick. My hon. friend did not tell something else that he knows, and that is that when Mr. Thomas, the representative of Mr. Lloyd George, came to Canada to investigate, he went to St. John; he went into the foundry of Flemming Bros., and said it was the finest equipped machine shop he had found in Canada. He found them doing business under better conditions than any other factory in Canada, at least so he stated. But when he found the stamp " Y & C " on these shells he began to ask questions, and then the whole story was unravelled. It is said that a shell with " Y & C " on it was on exhibition in the Union club, St. John, and it is also said that Mr. Thomas first saw the letters " Y & C " on a shell at that club. Be that as it may, he found them. Finally the story was uniavelled, and he found that instead of the Flemmings working directly under the Shell Committee, they were manufacturing on a contract on which they were paying a commission of 10 per cent to a Conservative middleman. He told the Flemmings that there was no necessity for men in Canada who had an institution such as they had, paying a commission to anybody, that so long as shells were manufactured in Canada, they

would have all the contracts they wanted, and that they would be kept going by the Imperial Government without even having occasion to say thank you or anything else to the Shell Committee or to the Conservative party of Canada. My hon. friend did not* tell you that. I told him yesterday that I would supplement the information which he gave, and I will tell you more. If he has any doubt about the accuracy of what I have said, let the Government give us a committee of Parliament, and we will prove it. Well, Sir, I do not want to follow the vagaries of my hon. friend any further; anyhow, that is all the defence he made of the conduct of the Government.

I come next to the defence put up by hon. the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen).

If there is a man in Canada who can take up a bad case, argue from one corner to another, draw a line here, and put in a word there, and draw nice distinctions, it is the Solicitor General. I give him that credit; I give him the credit of being the lawyer par excellence in Canada who is able to perform that operation. Out of his ingenuity my hon. friend did his utmost to defend the Government in regard to the letting of those shell contracts. In order to be perfectly fair I desire to state what I understood were the two main propositions in his speech. The first was, that the Government of Canada had nothing whatever to do with the conduct of the affairs of the Shell Committee; that that committee was appointed entirely by the Imperial Government, or rather that it was appointed by the Canadian Government and handed over to the Imperial Government, that it is responsible only to the Imperial Government, and that it has nothing whatever to do with the Canadian Government. For fear that I might bt charged with not stating the case fairly and frankly, I am going to read a few extracts from the speech of my hon. friend, delivered in this House on the 20th Inst. You will find practically his whole statement of the case on page 131 of Hansard:

In the present case the Shell Committee, from its inception, has been answerable for its work to and has conducted its work under the guidance, jurisdiction, and superintendence of the Imperial Government. There is that distinction. . . . The committee, however constituted, and whatever its personnel, was, from the time of its institution, a committee acting under the authority of the Imperial Government.

Now, Sir, I do not know that any words of mine could make the case any plainer. I think I have rendered fairly the state-

ment made by my hon. friend the Solicitor General, but in case I have not given it fully I will read a quotation which will be found on page 125:

We divorced the Shell Committee from the Canadian Government in the matter of respond sibility; we made them a committee of the Imperial authority. I am not here to say whether they did wrong throughout or whether they did right throughout; they are answerable to the Imperial authorities for what they did. The Imperial authorities have so recognized ; they have acted upon it; they have conducted investigat:ons ; th*y have made reports; they have exercised their sovereignty over that committee; they have given their verdict.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, they gave their verdict; there is no doubt about that. This con-mittee was organized, as I understand, about the month of October, 1914, and immediately commenced to do business. I cheerfully admit that the manufacture of shells was an entirely new industry in Canada, but after all it is not a very serious proposition. There was not only one firm in Canada, but dozens, aye, hundreds, who were in a position at that time to manufacture shells, and who only needed the incentive of the business being given to them.

As to whether this committee is responsible to the Imperial Government or to this Government, it seems to me that that matter has been thoroughly settled by the statements made by my hon. friend from Richmond (Mr. Kyte), who cited the Prime Minister himself as having, from his place in this House, on the day of the prorogation of last session, made the statement that the committee was composed of eight gentlemen, the last four of whom represented the Minister of Militia and Defence of Canada. My right hon. friend admitted more than that; he had asked for and had received a report from this committee as to what they had done, and altogether it was a wonderful panegyric of the virtues of the Minister of Militia and Defence. If you want any more evidence that this committee is entirely amenable to the Government of Canada, you had it yesterday afternoon. I would like to know what right had the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, in order to bolster up a weak case, to bring here extracts from the records of that committee if that committee has nothing to do with the Government of Canada. The very fact that he produced those records, and that without hesitation he agreed to bring down a report and lay it on the table ol this House as to the work of that committee, as to the amounts paid, the dates, and

so forth, is the best evidence that in his heart of hearts he recognizes that this is a Canadian committee,/ and not an Imperial committee. It is only an Imperial committee in name. It is a Canadian committee, created by the Canadian Government, and under the control of the Canadian Government for all practical purposes. I go further and say that it is a political committee of the Conservative party of Canada, created in oriier to work out what they think best for the interests of the Conservative party of this country. If any man has any doubt about that, I think I can remove his doubt. I know that the reading of documents in the House is not a pleasant occupation, but in order to make this record clear, I must trespass in this respect to some little extent. They say that the Canadian Government had nothing whatever to do with those contracts. They say that those contracts were given out by the Shell Committee, when, how, and to whom seemed best to them, without interference and without hindrance on the part of the Government. We on this side have not the advantage of having the records of the Shell Committee in our hands; but we have a lot of data, and we have some degree of common sense. We know how ordinary mortals act under ordinary conditions, and, placing the facts together, I do not think there is any man in Canada, no matter what his politics may be, who will not come to the conclusion in his heart of hearts that this committee is nothing more nor less than a commission created by this Government, manipulated by this Government, and worked by this Government for the benefit of this Government and its political supporters in Canada.

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CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

This is a truce.

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January 25, 1916