July 3, 1919

UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Yes, it worked splendidly -in gunnery operations, and the submarine idea proved most effective also.

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.
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UNION
UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

There is not a

gunner at the front who did not use Fessenden's idea for locating the enemy guns during the last years of the war, and the invention could have been used much earlier. Before his idea came into use when the enemy artillery were firing, you could not tell where the guns were located; but by his system of signal posts and registering the sound by photographs, within a very short time enemy guns could be located and destroyed. It was the same thing in regard to a device .for the detection of sub-

marines which was adopted in 1917 by the British Government but should have been taken up much earlier. I sent him over in 1914. (My desire in speaking on this subject is to throw out a word of caution, that not only should there be a research committee but the man who has genius should be encouraged to develop his ideas and not hand them over to some other person who will manipulate and probably appropriate them for himself. The same experience was encountered by Ross of Washington.

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UNI L

Michael Clark

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

I should like

to be permitted in a sentence to express my very high appreciation, which, I am sure, is shared by the whole House, of the very admirable address which has been given by my hon. friend from London (Mr. Cronyn). I take the opportunity of saying that there were some sentences in his address which might be calculated to mislead us as to the frequently asserted before the war pre-eminence of Germany in scientific matters. I do not know that my hon. friend asserted that, although he seemed to indicate that there was good ground for an opinion in that direction. I read not long ago a book by a German- an enlightened German who was in Switzerland during the war-the title of the book, I think, was "When Blood Was Their Argument " and Hueffer was the name of the author. He pointed out that the world, and even Germans up to the Emperor himself, had been misled in this way.

He produced figures to show that in scientific discoveries of first value in the years immediately preceding the war Britain was far ahead of Germany in the actual number of such discoveries, and that France also had1 the lead of Germany. I give the title of the book and the name of the author, and I quote the facts for what they are worth. He Went on to state that such discoveries as Germany did make were in a spirit the very opposite to that of the true 'scientist, and that they were given ito the Emperor by the leaders of science in that country for a kind of flamboyant announcement at certain periods of the year. One can easily see in the false *thought that existed in the world and in the Germans themselves a source of very great peril to humanity-the peril that we should be invaded by anything but the scientific spirit. If people are fed up in that way on what is not true, they very easily become supermen. I am sure that the address of my hon. friend is calculated to warn us against such dangers, and we

should all rather cultivate the truly scientific spirit of Sir Isaac Newton, who, when approaching the end of his wonderful career, said, as the House will well remember, that he felt after all his attainments and all his acquirements like a child picking up pebbles upon the sea shore.

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UNION

Alfred Thompson

Unionist

Mr. ALFRED THOMPSON (Yukon):

Before this motion is put, Mr. Speaker, and specifically in answer to some observations which have dropped from the lips of my ' hon. friend from Victoria (Sir Sam Hughes), I might be permitted to say that there is just such an organization in view in connection with this Bureau of Standards and institute of research as he has in mind. The suggestion is to create an organization which shall have charge of:

(a) The investigation and determination of standards of length, volume, weight, mass, capacity, energy, and time, and of the fundamental properties of matter.

(b) The standardization of the scientific and technical apparatus and instruments for Government service and for use in the industries of Canada and of the materials used in the construction of public works.

(c) The investigation and standardization of the materials which are or may be used in the industries, and of the products of the industries.

(d) Researches undertaken with the object of improving the technical processes and methods used in the industries and of discovering new processes and methods which may promote the expansion of the existing industries or the development of new Canadian industries,

(e) Researches undertaken to promote the utilization of the natural resources of Canada.

That, Sir, would be one side of this proposed organization's activities. We have nothing in Canada at the present time which meets the conditions outlined in these paragraphs. The committee discovered during its investigations that although our universities from time to time do turn out men who achieve a very considerable degree of success in scientific research, there is no opportunity in .this country to employ these men, and they have to go abroad, and to-day many of them are in the United States occupying lucrative positions. It seems if we are to realize on our natural resources we must have an opportunity to employ these men who qualify themselves in the higher realms of science. So it is suggested that side by side with this Bureau of Standards the Government shall establish in Ottawa or in some other city an institute of science where these men who spend years of their time and energy in qualifying themselves for the higher development of science may have an opportunity of pursuing their particular trend of thought or their life work in our

own country for the development of our own natural resources. I shall not labour the point or argue it at further length. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I did not intend to speak at all in seconding this motion, but I thought I must point that out. in answer to the observations my hon. friend made.

This is no hole-in-the-wall suggestion. It has been considered by three very important bodies in Canada: one, the Canadian

Manufacturers' Association, which has endorsed it; the Royal Canadian Institute, which met here a few weeks ago and endorsed it; the Trades and Labour Council, which met not long ago and also endorsed it. I have the reports of these three bodies under my hand, but I shall not weary the House by further referring to them. These three important organizations believe that we should have suh an institute as I have outlined. But before this thing is finally settled some one will have to come to this Parliament and ask for the money that is necessary to provide the building* the equipment, and the salaries for the staff. Thalt may give rise to the question: What is the use of all this ; will it pay? Well, Mr.'Speaker, in anticipation of that question, I shall just refer to ithe results of the research of one man in France during the last century-and now I am putting this on the lowest possible ground, that of dollars and cents. The investigations of Louis Pasteur into the silkworm industry in France, into chicken cholera, and into anthrax-which, as hon. gentlemen know, killed many sheep and cattle in France-his investigations into these three things, it is conservatively estimated, increased the wealth of France sufficiently to pay the indemnity which the Huns demanded of the French in 1870-71. That is the result of the work of one man.

I need not refer, Sir, except in a passing way, to many of the secrets of nature which have been opened for the benefit of humanity, and which are to-day being used by men all through what my hon. friend so aptly termed as "the master key of science." These things I am about to refer to were all discovered within the memory of men who are now within the sound of my voice, with the single exception perhaps of the electric telegraph. The telephone, the telegraph, wireless telegraphy, the development of electricity, aviation-this morning careering across the North Atlantic is the first airship to connect the continent of Europe with that of America-all have been brought about by the development of

283i

science. I believe we are to-day on the verge of a vast development in aerial navigation, and that the continents of the world will be connected by ships larger even than the R-34, which we hope will to-day or tomorrow land on the shores of North America. The X-ray-I could deliver an address on that for an hour or two-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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UNION

Alfred Thompson

Unionist

Mr. A. THOMPSON:

I beg to assure my hon. friends that I do not intend to do so, but I could. Some people wonder why we spend thousands of dollars each year to maintain our Dominion Observatory; why we spent thousands of dollars in the erection in British Columbia of one of the largest telescopes in the world. I was asked the other day: Why should we spend money on things like that when we have a war debt to meet and interest to pay? I will tell you about something which, again on the lowest ground of dollars and cents, will pay for all the time that has been spent by the star-gazers, from the time when the shepherds watched the star of Bethlehem in the hills of Judsea until the present day. We have in our observatory out in the West one of the finest telescopes in the world. We have a photographic apparatus which will take the light from the farthest star, analyze it on the spectrum, and tell us of what that distant body is composed. Centuries ago one of the greatest astronomers of the day discovered in the gases of the sun, at a certain eclipse a new element which he called helium, after the sun itself. Helium was thought to be of no value, until, very recently, the German zeppelins raided the cities of England. It was then discovered that the weak spot in the zeppelin was the hydrogen gas which conveyed that big balloon over

12 a.m. the British Isles, and British scientists decided to find something that would explode that hydrogeD gas. This they did, and immediately the zeppelin raids came to naught; the invasion of England by zeppelins is a thing of the past so far as the use of hydrogen gas is concerned. What then? It was recognized as a living and continuous fact that we should have airships in the future; the question was, then, can we get anything in the way of a gas that will not inflame? Is there such a gas? The scientists said: Yes, there is, and that gas is helium. Professor McLennan, at present the scientific adviser for the British navy, told members of the House in this Chamber that during the war, when helium was at a premium, the city of Calgary alone was

releasing every twenty-four hours from the gases of that town $50,000,000 a day in helium.

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L LIB
UNION

Alfred Thompson

Unionist

Mr. A. THOMPSON:

My hon. friend himself often does something of that nature in this House.

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L LIB
UNION

Alfred Thompson

Unionist

Mr. A. THOMPSON:

I could not put a value on it. In all humah industry science is the great thing; the nation that is most advanced in science in the years that are to come will he in the best position to meet its war debt and will be furthest ahead in the line of progress. I want Canada to be that nation, and by encouraging just such things as are dealt with in this report, that desirable end will be brought about.

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Motion agreed to.


QUESTIONS.


(Questions answered orally are indicated by asterisks.)


ST. BARN ABE ISLAND.

L LIB

Mr. DECHENE:

Laurier Liberal

1. Has the Government purchased the Island of St. Barnabfe, near Rimouski, or any other island, of the lower St. Lawrence, since 1911?

2. If so, when, and for what amount?

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UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Inquiry has been made as to the island referred to, but no reference can be found to it in any department. If the hon. gentleman will give gome information as to the particular department alluded to, further search will be jnade; in the meantime the question might ,be dropped.

Question dropped.

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REPORT OF FOOD CONTROLLER McFALL.

L LIB

*Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Laurier Liberal

1. Were any reports made to the Government by Controller McFall of The Canada Food Board, since his nomination as such?

2. If so, how many, and on what dates?

3. Will the Government lay such reports on the Table of the House?

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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

I was promised an answer to this question many times. On June 26th the Acting Minister of Trade and Commerce (Hon. Mr. Maclean) said that he would answer my question at three o'clock on that day. Three o'clock has passed many times since then, but the information has not been forthcoming.

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Subtopic:   REPORT OF FOOD CONTROLLER McFALL.
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July 3, 1919