April 18, 1916

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Personally.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

-personally, he did not know of anything that would justify him in saying that I should require to remain here longer. None of the other prominent members of the Opposition could conceive, of anything that might arise. It was known that I was going away. Needless to say, I did not "go duck-hunting with a brass band;" I did not placard the

fact that I was crossing the ocean; a statement was given out that I was going South, which was perfectly true.

A day or so before I went away, the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell) spoke.

I think I intimated to that gentleman also that I was going away. Those hon. members who will recall the night of his speech will recollect how his eye wandered to the clock, praying "for night ot Blucher." They will recollect that he repeated himself; and, if Hansard correctly reports him, he repeated himself over and over and over again. I thought-I was unkind enough to think-that he was killing time, for it was known that I was leaving the next day at noon, and that was the only chance I should have to get at him. I asked him that night to continue and finish his speech, and indicated that I would be only too delighted to take up the few minutes that were necessary in reply-it would not take very long-before I left. But he pleaded weariness, and the sympathy of Mr. Speaker and the House was accorded him, and he got an opportunity to finish his speech next day. I do not know that much harm was done, however.

I shall not refer to my visit to England, and the splendid work the boys are doing, both in England and at the front, although so many of them are going down, I am sorry to say.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

But when I received the message that startling statements had been made in the House involving the honour of the Shell Committee, and, indirectly and to that extent, my own honour, I returned on the first and fastest steamer.

I rather enjoyed the trip. I was glad and I am glad at the Chance to dear the atmosphere.

In this connection, I wish to thank the hon. member for East Toronto (Hon. A. E. Kemp) for his kindness in acting so splendidly as Minister of Militia during my absence. I found everything in a very satisfactory condition in the department when I arrived. I have also to state that during my attendance at the sessions of this Royal Commission-and I intend looking after it fairly well-I shall do myself the honour, as has always been my custom when temporarily absent, to ask the Prime Minister to look after tanything that may be necessary in connection with the Militia Department.

However, on my return, I have no hesitation in saying, I was surprised at the

[DOT] character of the statements made by the hon. member for Richmond (Mr. Kyte). I had expected something really important. It is no part of a member's duty, nor is it right, to impugn the motives of another man, and I do not do so. But I had a perfect right to inquire for my own satisfaction what was the moving spirit behind the hon. gentleman's speech. Was it to ascertain the truth concerning this matter? If so, all he had to do was to communicate with Colonel David Carnegie or General Bertram of the Shell Committee, and he would have his questions answered in five minutes- answered truthfully, and answered to anybody's satisfaction. Was it to obtain notoriety? If so, he has had it, but it will be short-lived. Was it to injure the Tories? -those horrible Tories! If so, I have every reason to believe that he will fail in his object. Was it to assist the cause of human liberty? I want to point out to that hon. member that only truth and right directing a powerful attack can win for that cause. Or is it merely petty party parochial politics? I leave the public to come to their own conclusion on that subject. I cannot conceive of his object in trying to take advantage-of the high-strung nervousness of the Canadian public,' whose gallant sons are fighting and dying for the great cause. However, he is responsible to his own conscience and to his constituents.

Now, what are the conditions surrounding the shell contracts? At first no one could be induced to touch them. The horde of self-seekers, who afterwards came to the front, would not for love or money come out and help on the cause at the beginning. Bankers interfered who subsequently kept pestering General Bertram and the Shell Committee in order to bolster up little side-shows here and there all through the country who wanted contracts for shells. Prominent business men who had capital invested jn factories and the machinery all ready could not be induced for love or money to go into the manufacture of shells and similar commodities at the beginning of the war. They were all poverty-stricken, nervous, and afraid to step in and help the Empire, though they would not take any risk in doing so. There was want of confidence on the part of capital; there was uncertainty as to the duration of the war; -there was lack of proper equipment; there was a necessity for procuring the raw material; there was an absence of skilled labour; there were haTd times; there were nervous people who suffered from lack of 188*

confidence; and there was a great need to remove all these depressing influences that were abroad throughout the country. But there were men who were not afraid. A few stepped into the breach; the manufacture of shells was begun; the money commenced to circulate; and it was found that Canadians could rise to the situation and play their part as well as the inhabitants of any other country in the upbuilding of the Empire and the development and protection of human liberty.

The next step was when confidence was 'regained. Every one wanted to get"into the game. People talked in millions instead of thousands, and there were agents and promoters everywhere. That matter, however, has been touched upon by me in this House already during the present session, and I will not repeat what I said before.

As I understand the statements of the hon. member for Richmond (Mr. Kyte) and those of the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell)-I trust that if I refer more to the hon. member for Richmond than to the hon. member for Carleton, the latter will not feel slighted-they are that a contract was made for time fuses with people who had no intention of producing fuses and who will never produce them; that $1,500,000 was paid to promoters who divided that sum amongst themselves; and that Great Britain will lose that money. The fact is- the details will follow later on- that the two companies with whom the contracts were made are now employing between them nearly 8,000 men, and that they have invested in plant, machinery, and materials fully $6,000,000. While they have undoubtedly met with great difficulties in the production of fuses, they have, with the exception of one other company, done better in that work than any other company on the continent of North America. So much so is that the case that the British Government, through Morgan and Company of New York, have recently given one of those firms a new contract for 4,000,000 additional time 'fuses and the other an order for 1,000,000 time fuses. Every dollar of the money advanced was protected by the guarantee of the strongest trust company on the continent of North America, namely, the Guaranty Trust Company of North America, and incidentally, I may say, by the fortunes of the" men behind those companies. When I state that the American Tobacco Company, the members of which are worth upwards of $500,000,000 on their own personal accounts, were behind one concern.

and that other gentlemen with personal fortunes aggregating very large sums away up in the millions and tens of millions were behind the other, you will understand, Sir, that it is no wonder that the Guaranty Trust Company of North America was only too ready to go as security for those companies. The money so advanced went for the purpose for which it was intended, namely, for the purchase of plant and material. That is the general situation. The details will be elaborated later. From the experience which has been gained, I think perhaps it would have been better to undertake the manufacture of fuses in Canada, as I understand that similar undertakings have since been started in England and also in France. As a further instance of the bona fides of those two firms, it may be noted that the above advance of money was only 15 per cent of the contract price, whereas the usual cash advance through Morgan and Company is 25 per cent.

I turn now to the Hansard report of the speech of the hon. member for Richmond, which will be found on page 2360 of the Unrevised Hansard, under date of March 28. The hon. member states:

The reason why Mr. Thomas did not have the opportunity of consulting with my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition was-

And so forth. I think it is rather a pity that my hon. friend did not consult with the leader of the Opposition, because, if he had done so, if my information is correct, he would have found that the right hon. the leader of the Opposition did have a conference with Mr. Thomas.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I had no conference with Mr. Thomas. He called on me socially; that was all.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I am not retailing

any confidential information imparted to me by Mr. Thomas. I have no hesitation in telling the House and this country and the British Empire that Mr. Thomas did not state that it was a private conference. He called on the right hon. the leader of the Opposition by request-so he informed him -of the Minister of Munitions of England, and had a conference. Whether it was long or short, public or private, good, bad or indifferent, I care not. .

On page 2362 of the Unrevised Hansard the hon. member for Richmond says:

With the exception of the Dominion Iron and Steel Company, there was no factory or plant in Canada manufacturing t.n.t.

I regret exceedingly to have to correct the hon. member ^ again. The Dominion Iron and Steel Company has never yet manufactured any t.n.t. This is another sin of the Shell Committee. When I was in England in 1914 I was asked by the War Office if t.n.t. could be manufactured in Canada. On my return to this country I sent for General Bertram, the then chairman of the Shell Committee. We talked the matter oyer, and the result was that the Dominion Iron and Steel Company received through the agency of the Shell Committee an advance of $90,000 to enable them to start the manufacture, not of t.n.t., but of toluol, a component part of t.n.t. Thus, through the instrumentality of the Shell Committee, the manufacture of toluol, which is subsequently manufactured into tri-nitro-toluene, was begun in the Dominion of Canada, and the credit for that is due to the Shell Committee and those who are associated with it. I merely make this remark as a passing correction. I have not yet found in the speech of the hon. member any statement that is correct, and I will just correct a few of hie misstatements en passant. . ,

The toluol manufactured by the Dominion Iron and Steel Company is taken to a place near Montreal and manufactured into t.n.t. The Toronto Chemical Company at the Sault, through the instrumentality of the Shell Committee and those associated with it, manufacture toluol, which is manufactured into t.n.t. The Curtis and Harvey Company and the Canadian Explosives Company are also manufacturing t.n.t.

With regard to a gentleman of whom some of you may have heard, Colonel J. Wesley Allison, I may say that this officer was formerly associated with Vanderbilt and Dr. Webb in the New York Central railway. I understand that he was purchasing agent or something of that kind. He was respected and is respected by the manufacturing concerns of the United States and of the Dominion of Canada. At the outbreak of the war manufacturers and contractors in the United States were uncertain whether under the law they could 1 deliver their commodities to a foreign country in war time. It was uncertain whether the then Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, would not endeavour to prevent the exportation of these commodities. I challenge an instance where a contractor in the United States at that period undertook to deliver, outside of the

borders of the United States, any commodity in the war line, contracted for. Not one of them would do it. Then we were up against this proposition: That Britain, and Canada, and every other country contracting in the United States had to assume the responsibility of getting the goods out of the country. I was requested by the British Government to. look after this end of the transaction, I enlisted the sympathy and assistance of Colonel J. Wesley Allison, and so well was it done- I may point out that in the early stages these articles were brought over by ferry, but that procedure became almost unbearable and could not be kept up; .then whole trains were shipped right through in bond, and-I want this clearly understood, because I am told there has been some uncertainty about it-by arrangement with the Minister of Customs these war munitions were permitted to come in free of duty and were passed on to the Old Land. Later, through the instrumentality of this same officer, it was discovered that there was no need whatever of bringing these goods in a roundabout way from the manufacturing centres in the United States through Canada, so they were shipped direct from the port of New York and from other ports near the places of manufacture. So carefully was this managed that the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Harcourt, after these things had been going from New York for a year, still thought they were going by the old route through Canada. Let me point out further that when the Shell Committee had made inquiries in Canada from one end to the other, when I myself, assisting them, had asked at least fifty different concerns to undertake the manufacture of fuses in .Canada-because a shell without a fuse is useless-it was found that not one firm in Canada, with all due regard to Mr. Russell, could be induced by the Shell Committee to manufacture fuses in this country. I know that articles have been padded up and written in the newspapers in this connection. I repeat that not one factory in Canada-not Mr. Russell, not Mr. Lloyd Harris-could be induced to manufacture fuses in the Dominion of Canada. I did not give much time to this sort qf thing; I had other fish to fry. But I did devote an odd moment to it now and then in Ottawa at the Chateau Laurier, which does my right hon. friend the honour of commemorating him by its name. When 1 urged and begged some of these Canadian manufacturers to make

fuses I had been met with the statement that they could not possibly make them. I turned to Allison, who was there, and I asked him if he could get capital to come in from the United States. He did not know anything about it; that afternoon he came to me and asked me about the details. I said: " I do not know a confounded thing about it; go and see Bertram." He saw Bertram and came back to me that night and mentioned the men who are in these two companies that are making these fuses to-day, and making them successfully. He spoke of a gentleman named Rufus Paterson, whom I had never met, seen, or heard of, but who was spoken of as one of the most capable mechanical engineers in the world. He is,poke of Dr. Harris, well known to gentlemen on both sides of the House as a very capable man. He is a very wealthy man, living in. the city of New York. He epoke of others-I forget the names; at all events they were men in these two companies. He said that they were very wealthy men, and that he would see what could be done to have the fuses made in Canada. But there were no buildings in which to manufacture them; new buildings would have to be built absolutely from the foundation up. I do not know the details; I never inquired into it from that hour on. Finally, however, when it came to letting the contracts for fuses, they could not get the buildings in Canada, and as the British Government were in a great hurry for the fuses it was decided, I understand, on the part of Gen. Bertram and the Shell Committee, to have them made in the United States in the meantime. I know nothing about Colonel Allison's connection with these companies. I may say frankly here that I think Colonel Allison, if he did get anything, or does get anything, out of these concerns, is as much entitled to it, because he has delivered the goods, as gentlemen who sell sausages, boots, leather, breeches, and other commodities of that kind up and down the Dominion of Canada.

Later, when it came to purchasing revolvers, pistols, rifle ammunition and other war material, and when I found that the price asked for rifle ammunition for the British Government at that time was $42.50 I again enlisted the services, or the sympathy and assistance, of Colonel Allison. In the intervening days I got the ammunition reduced to $37.50; I have the offer yet. We met these gentlemen through the instrumentality of Colonel Allison. I am not permitted to go into further details con-

rainbow-chasing affairs which are to be found in every street, in every city in the Dominibn, or on the North American continent, or in the world. First, they would be asked five cents a rifle, then they would be asked ten cents, then there would be another advance, and the agents of the German interests who were holding those rifles were simply taking all the money they could get out of the various people who were anxious to get them; but they had no intention, so far as I could ascertain, of delivering up those rifles. Without going into the whole story, the rifles were never obtained and they are there yet. So that, when my hon. friend says that this was agreed to he does not say that they got them.

Then he speaks of another deal concerning 140,000 rifles, known as the Allison Southern rifle deal. It will be found that this was even more visionary than the first one. I objected to these rifle deals; I reported directly against them; and, if it is true that Allison was in them-and I do not know whether he was or not- I reported directly against -his best interests and accordingly took away the amount that it is stated Allison was to get. If Allison, as it is stated, was to get $1.25 o-ut of each rifle, I robbed him of $1.25 each on 600,000 rifles in one case and on 140,000 rifles in an-othdr.

Then, the hon. gentleman says that there were negotiations pending with the Providence Chemical Company, of St. Louis, for the sale of 5,000,000 pounds of picric acid. It might as well be understood first as last that whenever any man, I care not whether he was black or white, French or British, or of any other race-o-r German Canadian- appealed to- the Department of Militia and Defence, representing a firm that was straightforward and competent to do the work, I -had no hesitation, nor had the Prime Minister-I think I am justified in using his name in that regard-in (backing that concern to bring trade to Canada from any part of the Empire or the world. Therefore, not only did we do that, but when I found that exorbitant prices were being charged the British Government or the Canadian Government, I used my best endeavours to have these prices reduced to what was fair and -reasonable. At the time I am speaking of, the prices being paid for picric acid, as I was informed, were exorbitant, and an effort was made in England by members of the British Government to have those prices reduced by bringing in other competitors. The re-

[Sir Sam Hughes.!

suit was, not that this gentleman sold anything, but that he forced the parties who had been negotiating with the British Government to reduce their prices down to lower and proper figures. That is what I had in my mind when I stated that through the instrumentality of this gentleman millions upon millions had been saved to the British Government; because it is well known in this House that I have been asserting from the beginning of this war, that if the war is

going to be won, it is going to be won by dollars and cents and munitions. Flesh and blood cannot run up against steel and shrapnel shell and high explosives with any hope of winning the war. Therefore I have maintained from the start, I maintained it long years ago

and I in consequence incurred odium and the enmity of certain gentlemen in Canada-that this war was coming on, and that it was our duty to get ready when commodities were cheap. I realized that Germany had every warehouse, within her borders filled from cellar to garret with rifles and munitions of war, and that is borne out by the facts, for they have not yet caught up to those supplies which they had made before the beginning of th6 war. I pointed out that they had these munitions made cheaply, -and that 'the nations that fought them would have to produce their supplies in a hurry, with unskilled labour, and under very adverse conditions, and that the prices which would be paid by the British, the French, and the colonies, would of necessity be abnormal, being those of war-time. I declared then that every dollar that could be husbanded should be husbanded in order that the final result of victory for liberty might be assured. I had therefore no hesitation in endorsing our saddlery men, our shirt manufacturers, our boot manufacturers, our clothing manufacturers, our producers of every kind in Canada, who had commodities to sell and who could provide these commodities for the British Government at fair prices.

The hon. member for Richmond in the course of his speech was asked some questions :

Sir Robert Borden: Is the hon. gentleman reading from an agreement or from a brief?

Mr. Kyte: I am reading from a statement I have prepared.

Sir Robert Borden: Would he be good enough to send over any of the agreements he may have read as he finishes with them?

Mr. Kyte: I will send over everything that the right hon. gentleman is entitled to have from

me. The Munitions Board is not very ready to give us information; I do not think we should hesitate to stand upon our rights in regard to this matter.

Sir Robert Borden: I was not asking the hon. gentleman to depart from any rights. I was merely asking, as a matter of courtesy, if he would have any objection to sending over the agreement he has read.

Now, they say that an equivocation is worse than a falsehood.

Mr. Kyte: We have sent over one document already.

If the inference from that is not that he was reading from an agreement, I do not understand the use of the English language. Further on he speaks of a contract with the Electrolytic Metals Company, of which I never have heard that I am aware of; and then he goes on to say:

I have here a summary of the amount that was actually divided between Yoakum, Lignanti, and Allison.

' Then he went on to read a list of commissions that, I understand, turned the head of the House of Commons, the figures were so magnificently large. All rainbow! I am assured by my counsel, who has been in New York awaiting my arrival, that he has examined these, and that not one dollar of this stuff has ever been divided or ever will be divided.

After referring to a contract with one of the ammunition companies, in regard to which I know nothing, the hon. gentleman speaks'of the Edwards Valve Manufacturing Company, a matter that will come before the commission, and then he goes on:

Out of a contract negotiated between the Canadian Vickers and Allison for 500,000 rifles, known as the Allison Southern rifle deal -for $8,500,000, Yoakum and Allison receive $625,-

000.

I am informed that it is unlikely that one dollar was ever received by them, or that one dollar will ever be received by them. He says:

Then, out of a contract negotiated between the Canadian Vickers and J. W. Allison to sell 140,000 rifles, and known as the Allison Southern Rifle deal, Allison and Yoakum receive $1.25 per rifle, or $175,000, less one-eighth paid to Lignanti.

Not one dollar has ever been received or ever will be received. And yet a gentleman, representing a free constituency in the Dominion of Canada, knowing that he had no data whereon to make these -statements, stands up here and makes to this House and this country these abominable misstatements.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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CON

Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I am afraid the hon. gentleman is exceeding the rules of debate.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I accept the ruling. I retract the word " abominable." The hon. gentleman goes on to refer to a contract for 2,500 tons of picric acid, which, he figures, paid a commission of $262,500. Not one dollar was ever contracted for, not one dollar was ever received for this contract. This House and this country are told that these men pocketed these huge sums, and there is not a particle of truth in the statement.

Then, the Finance Minister (Sir Thomas White) speaks. They even wakened him up with the sound of these big figures-and he does not deal in small sums. They roused him from his slumbers, and he asked a question:

Sir Thomas White: Would my hon. friend state the contracts from which these commissions are to be derived?

And the answer of the hon. member for Richmond followed, and will be found at page 2378 of Hansard:

Mr. Kyte: I have read them. ,

-Sir Thomas White: Are they contracts of the Shell Committee?

Mr. Kyte: Not all of them.

Sir Thomas White: My hon. friend will realize the difficulty of following such a complicated statement as this.

I should think so.

Sir Thomas White: Does my hon. friend

suggest that the commissions to which he has been referring are to be derived under contracts with the Shell Committee?

Mr. Kyte: Not all- of them; I think there are three with the Shell Committee.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Kyte), as reported at page 2380, says:

The hon. member for Carieton found fault not only as to non-deliveries, but as to the prices being exorbitant and altogether unjustifiable.

Let me point out that there is only one firm on tlhe continent of North America that has been able to compete with these two firms that began under such adverse conditions. I have read the great list of other firms that have not yet delivered one solitary fuse. And as to the prices, so far as the No. 80 British fuse is concerned, the hon. gentleman cannot find a firm in the United States or Canada to take a contract and guarantee deliveries, in lots of a million, at the price accepted by these concerns. The American fuse is 75 cents to $1 cheaper than the No. 80 British fuse-these are time fuses I am speaking of. In regard

to the graze fuse, the No. 100 detonating fuse, I have nothing to say; I never heard of it definitely until after the contract was made. When the original order came from the British (Government, an agreement had been made, as already referred to in this House, for these fuses. They had no detailed, (specific plans for the No. 100 fuse. They knew that the price in Great Britain was nearly $4-something like $3.60 or $3.72. I do not know anything of the details, hut am merely giving an explanation to the House as I have it; and it was found that this detonator or No. 100 fuse could be made somewhat more cheaply, and it is being made somewhat more cheaply to-day.

When in England I read an extract from a German paper relating to present conditions. The Germans claim that since the outbreak of the war they have added a population of 55,000,000 to their domain. They claim that they have annexed Belgium almost entirely, the northern portion of France, nearly all of Russian Poland, nearly all of Galicia, and all of Servia; that Bulgaria is with them and also Montenegro, Roumania, the Adriatic provinces, and Albania, and that they have formed an alliance with Turkey. I had the honour years ago in this House of Commons of pointing out that that was the ambition of Germany, namely, to rule from the North sea and the Baltic to the Adriatic, the Aegean, and the Euxine. They have seized and they control to-day all the vast resources, agricultural, mineral, and manufacturing, of those countries that I have named. They control the rich industries and mines of Belgium and of France, at Lille, Armentieres, and all those great industrial centres which our boys can see every day from the trenches. In Russian Poland they have possession of vast mines and manufacturing establishments. In Galicia they control very rich oil fields and the other industries there. In Servia they have abundance of copper from the mines there. Bulgaria, with her vast resources, is with them, and I see from recent statements in the press that Roumania has come to an agreement to furnish Germany with millions of tons of farm produce. Every day, they claim, the grandest railway train in the world runs from Berlin to Constantinople, and the vast resources of the Turkish Empire, in men, materials, and produce, are at their disposal. Every morning shows that the German submarines are not idle, and the commerce of the Allies is dis-

appearing from the face of the waters. Such is the situation, according to the Germans. Yet, after an absence of four or five weeks, I find, on my return to Canada, that two hundred of the ablest men in this country, members of the House of Commons, instead of being out helping on the cause, are sitting here listening to piffle of that description.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Mr. Speaker,

I have just one word to say in regard to the facts and materials which have been presented to the House by my hon. friend the Minister of Militia. When my hon. friend left for England the motion which I had made asking for an investigation into all the operations of the Shell Committee was still pending before the House. The Government had from the start taken the attitude that this investigation shouid not be granted and that they would not, for reasons with which the House is familiar;, favour such an investigation; in fact, that they would oppose it. But, when my hon. friend from Richmond (Mr. Kyte), in the course of the debate, after my hon. friend had left for England, brought to the attention of the House contracts made by the Shell Committee with two American concerns, which the hon. member for Richmond characterized as mushroom companies, for the manufacture of some 5,000,000 fuses at a price of $4.50 each, and stated that the approval of this contract had attached to it the signature of my hon. friend the Minister. of Militia, the Government thought that they would, at all events in so far as that operation was concerned, change their attitude and grant a commission of investigation. .The Prime Minister informed ns two days afterwards that he had advised His Royal Highness the Governor General that a commission should be appointed, and that he had communicated with the Minister of Militia asking him to return at once. The situation in the eyes of the Government, therefore, was very grave, inasmuch as it necessitated the return of the Minister of Militia. When the hon. gentleman came here to-day, as the commission had been granted, as therefore his conduct in this matter was to be investigated in the terms laid down by the Order in Council, we expected that my hon. friend would explain his connection with it; that he would inform the House how it had happened, what were his intentions, what were his motives, and what he had in mind when he made those contracts. My hon. friend has

to-day discussed almost everything connected with the motion which was pending when he left, and which has been disposed of since, but he has said very little about his connection with those contracts for time fuses. He has not chosen to explain the circumstances under which the contracts were given. In fact, if I have understood him correctly, he has rather hinted that the contracts had been made without his participation. If that inference is correct, he has not explained to us how his signature and his approval is attached to them. The only reference which he made to the contracts was to explain why he had given them to two foreign firms, the information being that Canadian manufacturers had been urged again and again to enter upon the manufacture of fuses and shells and that they would not do so. He insisted that he was in a manner forced to go to the United States because the Canadian firms had been deaf to his repeated appeals in that regard. That is a' matter for investigation. But, Sir, my hon. friend has chosen to go into other contracts-steel, boots, shoes, Colts revolvers, and so on.

I have to express my regret that he did not think it advisable to refer also to a contract which has been brought forward prominently in the press with regard to the disposal of small ammunition It has been alleged in the press that his department has sold fuses and cartridges, manufactured by the Government for the benefit of the country, to a private firm. This matter is in the air to-day, it is demanding attention, and I am surprised that my hon. friend did not refer to it, since 'he chose to go into other matters than this one.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I shall be more than delighted, at any time, at any place, in this House or out of the House, if my hon. friend wants any data on that subject, to give him everything he wants.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

If that was the intention of my hon. friend, he has lost a fine opportunity of carrying it out. The information is desired not only by myself. The press has talked about it and has given the views of the community on the subject-not only the Liberal press, hut the Conservative press as we'll.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I must say that I never heard of it.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

It may be;

I assume that mv hon. friend has not heard

it. At al'l events, if that is the case, he will have an opportunity of giving an explanation. At this moment I do not want to deal with the matter in any way; it is not fair for me, or for the hon. gentleman, or for the House, that the matter should be discussed to-day.

I regret that my hon. friend has gone into matters which will come before the commission. But one statement particularly struck me in the references made by my hon. friend, and with regard to it I think the House is entitled to some information. My hon. friend told us that it is not his intention to act as Minister of Militia pending this investigation, and that he is turning his department over to the Prime Minister. I should like to ask my right hon. friend the Prime Minister to inform us what is the exact condition of things- whether or not my hon. friend the Minister of Militia is still in the Government, and, if he is in the Government, why he is not administering his own department?

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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?

Right Hon. S@

The Minister of Militia is still a member of the Government. He has asked me to undertake the administration of his department while he is occupied with the investigation which has been granted, at the instance of hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House. Has my right hon. friend concluded his remarks?

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I have.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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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 desire to say that, with regard to the matters to which the right hon. gentleman has alluded, and which are now under investigation, the Minister of Militia and Defence has assured me that he not only desires, but intends that the investigation shall be full and complete to the end, and that he is prepared from now henceforth to place his time at the disposal of that commission in order that the most searching investigation may be made. I sent a telegram on Friday last to Sir William Ralph Meredith, which I communicated to the Hon. Mr. Justice Duff-I had heard that the commission had not been organized-desiring them to undertake the organization of the commission and to proceed with the inquiry at the earliest possible moment. I received a telegram in reply from Sir William Ralph Meredith, on Saturday I think it was, informing me that the commission would meet to-morrow and would then organize and continue the investigation

with every possible expedition until it is completed.

I do not know that there is anything further in the observations of my right hon. friend that demand comment at the moment, except this: The Minister of Militia and Defence had had no previous opportunity of making reply in respect of certain matters with which certain hon. gentlemen on the other side sought to oonnect him. Many allegations were introduced with regard to enormous profits supposed to have been made by Mr. Allison, which were not connected, so far as I am aware, with the Shell Committee, or with the Minister of Militia and Defence, or with the Government in any shape, form, or manner whatsoever. The allegations of the hon. member for Richmond were entirely new to me in respect of nearly all these matters, but they were introduced in such a way as to endeavour to connect the Minister of Militia and Defence with the supposed enormous profits. Therefore, notwithstanding the criticism of my right hon. friend, I think it was a perfectly proper thing for the Minister of Militia to make .the observations which he did make in reference to the supposed contracts in order to dissipate the idea that he had any connection with them, or that any such contracts were, as a matter of fact, ever made, or any such profits ever realized. It seemed to be the object of hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House, at a most critical time in the history of this country and of the Empire, to swell up an enormous sum of supposed profits, and by veiled insinuation to connect the Minister of Militia and Defence with them. I am free to say that there never was a Royal Commission recommeded and granted, for inquiry into the conduct of a minister of the Crown, that was based on such slender and slight foundation of charge or assertion as the Order in Council and the commission issued in pursuance of it in this case. In recommending that course to Hie Royal Highness the Governor General, I went beyond the pledge that I had given to the House. I went beyond that pledge because I realized the impression which hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House were endeavouring to create by suggestion and insinuation, and .because I was determined that these insinuations should be probed to the bottom. Let me assure my right hon. friend and gentlemen on the other side of the House that they will be probed to the

bottom by this commission, and that no effort on the part of this Government will be wanting to that end. In making that assertion to this House I am expressing the determination and conviction of every one of my colleagues, and especially of the Minister of Militia and Defence himself. To-morrow this matter will proceed before the tribunal which has been selected, and while that investigation is being carried out the Minister of Militia and Defence will give his whole time and his whole energies to the investigation of the facts and the determination of the truth. I am prepared, at his request, although it is a very great burden in addition to responsibilities already sufficiently onerous, to undertake to give my attention to the affairs of hie department in OTder that the efforts of this country in doing its part in the'great conflict which the Empire is carrying on may not be stayed and that our great common cause may not suffer from lack of attention or effort in that department. That is the whole situation, which we expose frankly and without any hesitation to the members of this House and to the people of this country.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. E. M. MACDONALD:

(Pictou): At the request of my hon. friend the junior member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean), who was forced to leave the House and who was mentioned by the Minister of Militia in connection with a conversation the minister had with him previous to his going to England, I desire to state that the Minister of Militia had spoken to the hon. member for Halifax and asked him whether he thought the Opposition would agree to allow him to get his Estimates through quickly in order tp enable him to leave for England. Be replied to the hon. Minister of Militia that he could not tell him, and suggested that he should see the leader of the Opposition. He affirms that he made no undertaking with regard to any matter as a result of that conversation. I desire *to say with regard to myself, for the hon. Minister of Militia mentioned my name, that the minister spoke to me with regard to his going to England.

He discussed with me certain matters ' which I need riot mention here, and he asked me whether I would see the right, hon. leader of the Opposition in regard to the question whether any matters would come up affecting him. I told him I would not see the right hon. leader of the Opposition; that,, if he desired to hold,any comt

munieation with those upon this side of the House in regard to any matter of that kind, he would have to see the leader of the Opposition himself, and I was aware that he did so.

I understood the Minister of Militia to say, in response to my leader, with reference to the question of small arms ammunition, that he was prepared to deal with that question. I would ask him to take occasion to deal with that question at an early day, as there has been some slight difficulty in getting information in regard to the matter in his absence. .

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal-Conservative

Sir SAM HUGHES:

I will remove every difficulty, and the hon. gentleman's most ardent wishes shall be gratified. So far as concerns the tittle-tattle of discussion between the hon. junior member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean) and myself, that is nothing. I had already seen the leader of the Opposition when I saw the junior member for Halifax; but that does not matter. The gentlemen were very courteous; I am not finding the slightest fault. The leader of the Opposition said that, so far as he was concerned, he knew of nothing coming up, and he was very nice. The hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) was also very nice; I was delighted with him for once in my lifetime.

Topic:   WAR CONTRACTS.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF MILITIA.
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D'EATH OF PRIVATE D. CURRY.


On the Orders of the Day:


April 18, 1916