My hon. friend has not observed that section (B) states " more economically or expeditiously executed by ofii-cers of the department." This work has been done by shipbuilding companies. I will read my hon. friend the section so that he will see the point for himself:
in which from the nature of the work it can be more expeditiously and economically executed by the officers and servants of the department.
I think that answers my hon. friend's point. This work has not been done by officers of the department, it has been done by contractors.
-and the. more so in view of the refusal of the members of this Government to accede to the most reasonable suggestion of the leader of the Opposition that in future they would interpret the law as. demanding that in connection with the proposed expenditure of $20,000,000 of the people's money the law should be applied as in ordinary cases. The war is over and it is of paramount necessity that the Government of Canada should realize it. They were given during the war very wide powers. Let me tell them, with all respect, that, the people of Canada, and His Majesty's loyal Opposition as representing a large proportion of those people, do not propose that they should be allowed to carry on as they were allowed to do during the war. The law is absolutely plain. The Minister of Justice nods his head with confirmatory action. I am, Mr. Chairman, specially qualified to speak upon this question because when a law student I sat not at the feet of Gamaliel but at the feet of the Minister of Justice. Now let me read section 36:
Whenever any works are to be executed under the direction of any department of. the Government, the minister having charge of such department shall invite tenders by public advertisement for the execution of such works-[DOT]
That is the general principle. Here are the three exceptions:
Except in cases-
(a) of pressing emergency in which delay would be injurious to the public interest.
Now the war being over how can any one pretend that there is a pressing emergency which would enable the Government of this country to over-ride the principle of the law. There is no such pressing emergency.
For this .reason: We and the LTnited States are the two great
nations of this continent. Our economic life, our industrial development, and our trade relationships with the rest of the world are very much on a parity. The United States instead of going ahead with their shipbuilding programme are selling the ships which they built during the war. That is one good reason. Now a "pressing emergency" is one in which delay would be injurious to the public interest-not to private interest- not to the interest of one yard as opposed to another yard but to the interest of the whole public of Canada. I do not believe that any member who supports this Government, if he were, talking to me quietly outside of the House, would contend that there was any such pressing emergency at this time requiring the immediate construction of ships in this country and that this protection of the public interest-this protection to safe and sound and honest business-should be disregarded. Now what is the next exception?
That may be. Is it not true that after an agreement was entered into by which wheat and flour passed freely between, Canada and the United States, the latter country saw fit to place an embargo on Canadian wheat going into that country? That is true, I think I am stating the facts correctly. I think one reason why the United States did that was because they wanted to make sure that they could secure the necessary ships to get their own wheat out of the country, and so they prevented Canadian wheat entering the United [DOT]States, and going to their own ports and probably taking up the shipping space that would be required to ship their own wheat. If that is true I do not think we should be placed in the position of depending upon the United States or any other country for ships; we ought to have ships to transport our own goods. There you see the public interest, and not a private interest. It is the interest of all those who have goods to ship.
In answer to what has been rather a "shorter catechism" than a question by the hon. gentleman, I would say that you cannot regard a condition as a pressing emergency when there is a very serious difference of opinion in the country as to whether the Government's programme is a wise or unwise one. The words "pressing emergency" must mean an emergency
which is so pressing that there can be no practical difference of opinion among the people of the country as to the necessity. For instance, when war breaks out, if it is neeesarv to build a ship or construct a bridge-
Mr. McMASTER-or repair a wharf, something of that kind, the minister in charge would be able to do it. There you would have a presing emergency; we can all imagine many instances of that kind. But here is the continuation of a shipbuilding programme which has been going on for several years and which I cannot regard as being a "pressing emergency " in any way, shape or manner. >
The second exception to the general rule to which I invite attention is:
(b) in which from the nature of the work it can be more expeditiously and economically executed by the officers and servants of the department.
That exception does not apply. The third exception is:
Where the estimated cost of the work is less than $5,000 and it appears to the minister in view of the nature of the work that it is not advisable to invite tenders.
In order to come within this third exception the estimated cost of the work must be less than $5,000 and it must be the opinion of the minister that it would not be wise to ask for tenders. Certainly these exceptions do not apply; therefore the only ground that the minister has to stand on is the view that a pressing emergency exists and that to fail to act as he proposes would be injurious to the public interest. Now, believing sincerely that this policy is a mistake and that the Government is not a proper agency for the operation of tramp steamers, I think that the public interest would be better served by the abandonment of the scheme. But certainly there is no such emergency as would take this matter out of the plain principle of the law, a principle which every man administering the ihoney of others must desire to adhere to, namely, that he shall openly ask for tenders for anything that he has to buy or any work that he wishes t'o be performed in order that he may be able to say to those whoSe money he is administering: If it costs more than you thought it should cost, the fault is not mine: I gave full notice to every one and that is the lowest price at which after public tender and public ad-rertisement I could get the work done. I ask the Government to fall in with my
On March 11, 1920, the following questions which I had previously put to the Minister of Railways were1 answered:
1. Has the Canadian National Railway at the present time twenty-four or any number of vessels plying in various routes?
2. Jf so, how and on what terms or conditions have said vessels been acquired by said Canadian National Railway, and what is the name of each steamer?
3. Who is the present owner of each of said steamers or vessels?
4. Wliat is the tonnage of each?
5. What port or ports is each one of them plying between?
The answers given by the minister were as follows:
2. Vessels are being operated as provided for by Order in Council passed June 2, 1919.
In passing, I may remark that a reference to an Order in Council Which had not been made public is hardly an answer to the question. However, that is not the point that I want to emphasize. On March 11 we are told that the Canadian National railways are operating twenty-five steamers, and the names are given; each name is preceded by the word "Canadian." But' evidently some persons are better informed than the Government. I hold in my hand an article signed by John Kidman, in which he speaks of Canada's Merchant Marine- and highly praises it, too. But he gives the names of fifty-three steamers, while in the answer to my question of March 11 only twenty-five were mentioned. Whether or not that is right, I do not know, but this gentleman appears to be well informed.
$61,233,450. Average cost per ton deadweight, $195.54.
If, Sir, you are interested to know where this statement comes from, I can tell you that it is from the Montreal Gazette Commercial and Financial Review of the Year 1919, compiled by the staff of the Gazette and printed as a supplement with the issue of January 5, 1920. On the cover there is also this statement:
Canada does more business per capita than any other country in the world.
Mr. BAl^LANTYNE: If the hon. member would allow me, perhaps we might save a little time. I am, of course, not responsible for what any publisher might print, but apparently he has given the list of ships that have been contracted for by the Government along with the ships that are in commission. That will explain the difference between the answer given to the hon. member and the reporter's statement that he has just read.