April 4, 1918

L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

What control have the Canadian people over the money which the Imperial Munitions Board use for the building of ships, or is the money merely lent to the Board?

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

The money is merely lent to the Board, as a hank would lend money to a private individual or 'business concern.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

1 ^represent a constituency which at one time was the centre of the wooden shipbuilding industry in Canada, and before giving my cordial approval to the Government's plan of steel shipbuilding I should' like to toe informed whether the minister has made a full investigation into the possibilities of reviving the wooden shipbuilding industry, and whether or not experts have given it as their considered opinion that wooden ships could not be used to increase the world's tonnage with the same good effect as steel ships.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

The Government,

and I, as the minister charged with the responsibility of seeing that the Government's shipbuilding programme is carried out, looked very carefully into that question, but, as I stated in my remarks a few minutes ago, the Government's policy being only to keep the steel shipbuilding yards in Canada busy, our financial ability will not permit us to go beyond that. My hon. friend from South Quebec (Mr. Power) will agree that, as a business proposition and as a national proposition, hearing in mind that these ships are being built not for to-

day only, tout for the future, it is a wiser policy for Canada to put her money into steel shipbuilding than to put it into wooden ships. I am not saying anything derogatory to the wooden ships, but the speed of a wooden ship is very much less than that of a steel ship, her carrying capacity is less, and the wooden ship is debarred from the submarine zone because her speed being so slow, she presents a very much better target for submarine torpedoes. But the latter argument is not the one that causes 'the Government to go in for steel shipbuilding. The other arguments which I have just presented carried more weight.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. Mr. FIELDING:

I suppose, in a

matter of such importance, with so many details, we should all feel disposed to reserve our judgment on matters of detail, so that if any question arises later on we may be free to inquire into it. Subject to that I want to offer my congratulations to the hon. 'Minister of Marine and Fisheries on the exceedingly interesting and most admirably clear statement he has made on an undertaking of so much importance to the country. I think the House has received the announcement very favourably, and we shall all desire, when the details come to be considered, that there may he nothing found in them which- will lead us to withdraw our good opinion of the minister's programme.

I think the Government should be congratulated upon giving their attention just now to steel shipbuilding which of course does not necessarily imply that they lack appreciation of the importance of wooden shipbuilding. My own judgment is that we do not need any particular stimulus for wooden shipbuilding in our country. It is an art with which many of our people are quite familiar. I do not know whether there is a revival in the ancient city of Quebec of the great art of wooden shipbuilding, hut in the Maritime Provinces there is a very large measure of activity all along our coast. In my own constituency several wooden ships are being built. I am afraid the conflict between iron and wood and steel was settled some years ago when, in the age of progress through which we were passing, the fact had to be recognized that the wooden ship must give way to the iron ship, and the iron ship in turn must give way to 'the steel ship. By and by we will return to those conditions when tlhe large wooden ships will hardly have much chance in competition with the large steel ships. There has been in the past, and I believe there will be in the future, quite

a demand for wooden ships of the smaller class. I believe the conditions thaJt will exist at the close of the war, and for some years after the war, will be such that there will be large opportunity for the wooden shipbuilders of the country to engage .in their enterprise. So that I feel that, in giving the preference to steel shipbuilding, as the hon. minister is doing, there is no danger of any injustice being done to the wooden shipbuilding industry. I believe that industry will flourish for some years to come without .any particular aid from the Government.

Steel shipbuilding is, in a measure, a new industry here. It has been carried on in a small way, but owing to the very fact that the hon. gentleman has stated: that we had no plate mill in the country, we could not expect to engage in the enterprise in a very large way. As I happen to know something of the formation of the Dominion Steel Company, and as I was, in some measure, identified in a modest degree some years ago with the creation of this splendid industry in 'Cape Breton, I take a particular pleasure to-day in hearing the minister make the announcement that he is arranging to. have a contract with the Dominion Steel Company, whereby the steel plates will be made in the works at Sydney. Altogether, I am sure the House has been deeply interested in the statement of my hon. friend, and I offer him my hearty congratulations on it.

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L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Before the item is further considered, I may be allowed1 to make some observations upon it. First of all, the minister may never need to apologize for addressing this House, because he is possessed of one great outstanding virtue, namely, that when he rises in his place and speaks, we can all hear him. with ease. In harmony with this acclaim of congratulations this afternoon, I wish to. congratulate the minister, but on somewhat different grounds. The .minister said he was able to induce people to start a valuable industry in this country by allowing their machinery to come in free, or rather allowing the machinery to come in on payment of the diuty -and afterwards refunding the duty to these people.

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L LIB
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

The point I wish to

make is that, if it is a good thing in Canada to permit manufacturers to bring in free of duty machinery for making ships,

it might be a good, thing in Canada to allow machinery for other purposes- to- be brought in free. I would not like this occasion to pass without saying that I hope that the minister's attitude that no large industry can be started or perpetuated in Canada without artificial encouragement by means of a bonus or tariff will not be endorsed. I would not like that statement to pass unchallenged, because I trust he is wrong. I trust there are industries in this- country which do not need any encouragement by bounty or tariff. The building of ships is a -war measure. If -artificial stimulation is required it should he given, but it should not be given-, I take it, as a matter of principle. My recollection, of course, does not go so far back as the- recollection of the hon. member (Mr. Fielding) but I am old enough to know that the industrial history of this country is emphasized here and there by large companies who enjoyed bounty encouragement and tariff encouragement, and who, when they were making too much profit, capitalized that profit against the people of Canada by watering their stock in most lavish fashion. I make these remarks not in any way to detract from the congratulations that have been showered on the minister-because he deserves these congratulations for the way he has placed this matter before the House-but in order to put myself, and, I believe, some of my friends on both sides of the House, on record that we are not absolutely wedded to the principle of protection.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Before proceeding with the estimates, I want to thank the bon-. member for Queens-Shelburne for his kind words of commendation on the Government's policy of shipbuilding, and I am pleased that he thought we picked on the right firm and the right province in Canada in which to have the ship plates rolled. In addition to that, I w-ant to give a little further word of encouragement to my hon. friend, Mr. Fielding, to whom this country is indebted in a very large measure for his patriotic services, that while at the present time I regret that there are no steel shipbuilding yards in the Maritime Provinces, -and while our programme is limited, as I stated, to the amount of the expenditure we can afford to allocate for shipbuilding, at the same time I have been giving a lot of attention during the last few weeks, and so have my colleagues, to the question of having a large steel shipbuilding industry located somewhere in the Maritime Provinces, so that steel ships may

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L LIB
UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

There is no reason why rolling mills should he confined to any one particular province hut it is not an attractive business [proposition' at the present time. There are not many financiers or industrial men in this country who want to put $5,000,000, or even $3,000,000, into a plant that has absolutely no protection whatever. If any other group of financiers wish to enter into the rolling of ships' plates, either in Montreal or in any other part of Canada, 1 will not say that the Government will give them the same assistance that we have found it necessary to give the Dominion Iron and Steel 'Company-I think hon. members will agree that it was necessary to do that to get the first mill started-but if any other group of financiers wish to start into the rolling of ships' plates without any duty, the Government will be very pleased indeed to see them do it.

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?

Joseph Enoil Michaud

Mr. MIIOHAUD:

I have a clipping from the Graphic newspaper published in C'amplbellton, N.B., which reads as follows:

The Graphic in conversation with a gentleman who is interested was informed yesterday that if the town of Campbellton would provide a free site and exemption for a term of years, his Arm would seriously consider the establishment of a ship-building plant here.

That such an industry would be -of immense benefit to Oampihellton goes without saying, and' nothing we can do should be left undone to induce the firm to establish a plant here.

We would suggest that the town council place itself on record as willing to assist such an industry.

The town of Campbellton is tan important harbour in the northern part of the province. I would ask 'the minister if he knows anything about the transaction that ie referred to here or if it is about to take place. Has Ihe heard! anything about a shipbuilding plant being established at Campbellton, and, if so, what?

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

We have noit received any proposition from Oaimpbellton or from any financier who 'contemplates the establishment of a 'Shipbuilding plaint there. I have already, I hope, clearly explained to hon. members that we hope to see more ship yards in Canada than exist at the present time but we are limited as to the creation and expansion of ship yards owing to the financial condition of the country. If the finances of 'the Dominion -exchequer will permit an extension of our programme, we certainly will not forget Campbellton if its citizens should put a proper proposal before us.

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L LIB

Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH READ:

I want to join with other hon. members, especially on this side of the House, in congratulations to the hon. the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Ballantyne). But I wish to advise him also that he gets a good deal of sympathy, particularly from this side of the House, and to point out to him the reason why that is so. I hold in my hand a paper called the Halifax Herald. I understand this is the personal organ of the right hon. the Prime Minister, but notwithstanding that, it contains one of the most vicious attacks upon my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries that I have ever known to be made upon a public servant.

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L LIB
L LIB

Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. READ:

It is a shame, coming from a senator and a man who obtained his position, I think, through the good graces of the present Dominion Government. This attack of the Prime Minister's organ on my hon. friend is a disgraceful thing altogether. Did my hon. friend see it?

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

No.

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L LIB
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Read it.

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L LIB

Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. READ:

It is as follows:

Halifax, March 12.-Further investigation by The Halifax Herald in shipping and pilotage circles yesterday has brought additional and conclusive evidence that there must be a shake-up of no meagre dimensions at Ottawa. The pilots' story that a steamer laden with high explosives was allowed to lay in the fairway

of the harbour one day last week for seven hours, was fully confirmed, and in getting the "confirmation other details of a most startling nature were disclosed.

The Halifax Herald is scrupulously careful to abide by the rules of the censorship and anything calculated to furnish information to the enemy is gladly withheld from publication. There is not a man familiar with marine affairs at this port, not a Nova Scotia captain who has gladly given his services to the work of naval patrol, not a master mariner who regularly brings in and takes out his steamer, but what has a story to tell of stupidity, of pigheadedness, of 'bungling in connection with the affairs of the port and, following up these stories, the trail leads directly to Ottawa and reveals a heterogeneous bunch of incompetents who may know the ways of society, who may be able to judge aright the merits of various blends of wine, but who certainly do not know the ways of ships and are not able to judge the competence of those whom they place in charge.

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April 4, 1918