March 23, 1920

UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I now come to another important adjunct of shipping, and that is the establishment of a steel plate mill and the contract entered into by the Dominion Steel Corporation with the Government. The contract calls for 250,000 tons of ship plates, the Government obligating themselves on their part to take 50,000 tons per year for a period of five years with the

the present time has bright prospects of becoming very much bigger and greater.

That brings me to the question of subsidies. I am not going to say anything in that regard, further than that the Government have the matter under their careful consideration. The Minister of Finance, when he brings down his Budget will state, in the Government's behalf, whether or not they can see their way clear to do anything to aid the shipbuilding industry in Canada. However it will be gratifying to hon. gentlemen to know that notwithstanding the fact that Canadian shipbuilders have absolutely no protection of any kind they have been able under existing conditions to secure foreign orders in competition with shipbuilders in the Old Land.

The National Shipbuilding Company of Three Kivers-the constituency which is so worthily represented by my hon. friend (Mr. Bureau)-is at the present time engaged in the construction of six ships of

5,000 tons deadweight each, three' of 3,200 tons each and two of 6,500 tons deadweight each for foreign registry. These orders were secured from France by the National Shipbuilding ''Company of Three Eivers in competition with the world. Canadian Vickers, Limited, of Montreal, also in competition with the world, secured a contract from Norway for the construction of two steel vessels of 8,000 tons deadweight each. The Collingwood Shipbuilding Company have secured the contract for the construction of a vessel of canal size for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, to be employed in foreign waters. That may seem to indicate that our shipbuilders can now compete with the world, on account of the conditions that I have referred to. But I am not so optimistic as to say that one or two years from now they would be able to do so without any assistance whatever.

I desire to pay a tribute to those of our Canadians who have had to do with the building of these ships. They were not skilled in the building of ships when steel shipbuilding was comrhenced on a large scale some two or three years ago. But although the designs of the ships which are being turned out in the yards from Halifax to Prince Kupert are British, the materials and workmanship are Canadian, and Canadians have demonstrated their skill in shipbuilding as they have in other walks of life, just as when the call of their country came they displayed their adaptation to military life, and their bravery in the field of battle.

Our ships are equal in design, workmanship and efficiency to any ships of the same kind that are built in the old land. I have covered the programme as fully as I have been able to; if hon. members desire to ask any questions I shall be only too pleased to answer them.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

I should not

have intervened in this debate so suddenly had my hon. friend not seemed to be rather inclined, in respect of my humble efforts of a moment ago, to throw out to me a challenge across the floor. But there was not the slightest' need of that, because as he proceeded with his statement I felt that it would be my duty, if I did say anything, to express my admiration of its remarkable lucidity and arrangement and of the evident effort which the minister made to make the whole Chamber hear him-an effort in which I am glad to say that so far as I was concerned he was perfectly successful.

There were one or two points in my hon. friend's' statement which attracted my attention, upon which I made a note or two and upon which I think I am able to base a little advice to the minister, if I may be permitted to give it. I listened with interest to his statement as to the ten-year periods. I did not quite catch his figures, but I heard him say at the end that there had been a very great shrinkage in shipbuilding. I do not think that I misunderstood my hon. friend.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

If my hon. friend

will allow me, I pointed out the very reverse of that. I was endeavouring to convey an impression of the magnitude of the wooden shipbuilding business away, back in 1875, and to show, by reference to ten-year periods, how the shipbuilding industry of Canada had declined from 1875 until recent years, when it had regained the big tonnage of that earlier period.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

That is exactly as I understood my hon. friend; that from 1875 until the most recent period there had been a shrinkage in the shipping of Canada. I understood him perfectly, and he will see why I was very glad so to understand him, as I am a strict follower of truth in these matters. May I point out to my hon. friend, who has always been a strong supporter of the National Policy, though he supported it under the name of Liberal, that from 1875 until the recent period of the war is the period covered by the National Policy?

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

1878.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

Hon gentlemen may console themselves all they can with

those three years. So that my hon. friend (Mr. Ballantyne) of all men, comes before us to point out that under the National Policy the shipbuilding of Canada shrank.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

If the hon. member will allow me a question

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

My hon. friend talked for a long time; he will have to listen to me for a little while now. I am not surprised to have heard the minister make the statement that he did; indeed, I knew that it must be so. The United States, as I have often pointed out in the House, set out in the middle of the last century to be a great competitor of Great Britain in shipping, but in the middle oi that century she went in for a national policy of her own and drove herself from the ocean. When Nova Scotia had the shipping, before the period of 1875, to which my hon. friend refers with pride, she had a nominal tariff. So it must always be; shrinkage is sure to take place under restriction. It is under freedom that expansion takes place. So far as the sea is concerned, the two little islands, specks in the German ocean, have given an example to the world of what freedom will do for shipbuilding which has never been equalled and cannot and never will be surpassed. They built and owned before the war more than half the entire shipping of the globe.

Now, it may be desirable that we should have a shipbuilding policy in Canada, and it may not; but the facts to which I have just drawn attention surely have a most important bearing upon what the policy of the Government is to be with regard to a continuance of Government shipbuilding.

I was touched by the pathos of the appeal' which my hon. friend made to the manufacturers of Canada. He said: " For goodness sake, buck up and export some." My hon. friend is no better than Pharaoh; he wants the manufacturers of Canada to make bricks without straw. If you exclude imports to your shores you just as certainly prevent exports from your shores. As a general principle of trade that is as certain as any of the Ten Commandments, and. as safe.

I observed as I listened to my hon. friend that lumber bulked very largely in his very interesting list of the goods that these Canadian ships have been carrying. What is the lesson of that? It is that if .Canada is to meet her enormous liabilities in this reconstruction period, and her financial commitments abroad, Canada's exports must consist very largely of raw materials and food for years to come. The Minister

of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) and the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) know what I mean. I may expand this line of thought if I am permitted to make a few remarks upon the Budget; but men of the highest prominence in the financial world in this country, men at the heads of our banks, have been pointing out that, to meet our financial obligations abroad, this country must have a surplus export of somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200,000,000 for some years to come. I do not wonder that my hon. friend wants to see tour export- trade expand; but that export trade, I repeat, must expand, if we are to reach solvency and prosperity as a nation, in the shape of food and raw materials. My hon friend does not for a moment expect that there is going to be any shrinkage in our export of food and raw materials, does he? He. does not expect our wheat fields to produce less; he does not expect our western-farms to produce a smaller quantity of stock; he does not expect our huge forests to put out less lumber. Will my hon. friend answer me a question, and this all has a bearing upon the advice which I wish to tender very modestly to the Government? If we are to export manufactured goods and food and raw material, we cover the whole field of commerce; what is my hon. friend going to bring in? Ships to be profitably run must carry goods both ways. I -am not. referring to war time; I am referring to times of peace. Does my hon. friend want to build up a shipping industry composed entirely of an export traffic? In that case, I want to tell him that will not be a paying line of shipping; ships want cargoes both ways. I hope my hon. friend and the Government generally will pay very great attention to the question I have just put if they are going to embark upon any further business of shipping. If you export manufactured goods, food and raw materials, what are you going to bring in? The answer is-nothing, and you . are going to commit yourselves to a shipping policy which is to be made a paying proposition by conveying goods only one way.

With regard to my hon. friend's statement, as I said before, I have not the least idea of attacking him or his policy in any way. In the period, of the -world through which we are passing, that man best .serves his country who seeks for occasion to commend where possible rather than to criticize, who seeks for occasion to construct rather than to destroy.

I want to congratulate my hon. friend that he has come out of this business as

well as he has, despite his figures which were somewhat homeopathic in dosage about the cost of plates. I am just going to permit myself to reiterate an opinion I expressed last year; that some of his bargains for steel plates were, to say the least, not very profitable. I hope that is not a very far departure from the desire to help which, I have just indicated, animates my bosom.

As I think I gathered from my hon. friend, he is not in favour of government ownership as. applied to ships. I rather thought I gathered that that was his policy and the policy of the Government. In that case there would be no need of advice from-me, because I should find myself absolutely at one with the Government. I think the sound principle in regard to government-ownership is this:-Where public services aie, in their real nature, a monopoly, then they might be profitably and wisely managed for the whole of the people; if they are a monopoly, then their profits ought to redound to the whole public. But if there is a possibility of competition, then the matter should be left to private enterprise.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Railroads.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

Did I hear

someone whisper " railroads?" The defense of the policy of nationalization of railroads was a two-fold one; that whether you believed in the principle or not, the things were in such a condition in Canada that you had to take them, willy-nilly. But I do not want to take refuge behind an answer of that kind. Railroads are in this country at the present time virtually a monopoly. Does any hon. gentleman in this House contend that there is real competition betwen our railroads as regards passenger and freight rates? Freight and passenger lates are both controlled in old England, controlled by Act of Parliament. I contend that railroads are in their nature a monopoly, and I anticipated the interruption and am grateful to my hon. -friend for giving me an opportunity to vindicate my own consistency. In the case of ships, no one will urge the same contention. Wherever you have a seaboard and ports, you can have ships built by private enterprise, building them in one port here, in another there and in another further on and so on all round your coast. That is the piinciple I should apply; that is the way I should look at the principle of government ownership, and, therefore, I contend 404 ,

that this business is not one for the Government to extend.

Here, let me say-and this is by way of emphasizing and driving home things that I have already hinted at-whether success is attained in shipbuilding or not depends entirely upon fiscal policy. An admiral giving evidence before a United States Congress committee said not long ago: "We

had better make up our minds whether uTe really wa.nt a merchant marine or not. If we do want a merchant marine, there is only one straight course to having it and that is by having free trade." Every one who has studied, the subject knows that, and I enforce it by the simple argument I made in reply to the minister when I rose on this floor to-day. Shipbuilding will be successful or unsuccessful according to your fiscal policy. If you have a tariff barrier round your shores, you will never be a great shipping nation whatever else you may rise to. History proves that and will continue to demonstrate it unless the world gets more rapidly wise than it has done up to now, although I am extremely hopeful upon that subject because changes are happening very rapidly in the world at the present moment, in the field of politics, in the field of commerce, and in the field- of enterprise of all kinds. My point is this: If you have the right fiscal

policy, private enterprise will build your ships; if you have a wrong fiscal policy, then neither Government nor private enterprise can build ships for long successfully.

It is elementary and obvious that two things are required for running ships. One is a sea-going traffic and the other is seamen. I have dealt with the one; what about the other? Seamen are naturally also the result of policy.

Nova Scotians in the early and middle portions of the nineteenth century liked the smell of the briny as well as the old country people did, but they lost the smell. The National Policy extinguished it. What is the condition in regard to seamen in the world to-day? There may be hon. memoer of this-House who do not know the fact- t am sure they will be pleased to hear it- that at the present moment in spite of all the drain of the war Great Britain has the finest and the most numerous set of marine officers and men that she has ever had in her history. The reason is very apparent. Liking the sea as they did, their was no compulsion in their choosing it in large numbers while the war was on. We know what Great Britain did on the sea while the war was on. Very large numbers of her

sons, instead of fighting in the trenches, [DOT] took themselves to the ocean. Fortunately, they are not needed any longer for fighting, but having got a taste of the briny, and the thing being in their blood anyhow, they are being drafted into the merchant marine. I just want to say this, and I am sure the House will not attribute any insular boastfulness to me on this point, that the Finance Minister, or any government of any country -who think that it is going to be an easy thing two or three years hence to compete with Great Britain, either in building, manning', or sailing ships, will have to waken up and change their fiscal policy.

We have heard a great deal about what the United States has done in shipbuilding. I was in Orillia last Friday, and as I came down on the train I met a returned soldier with whom I had a very interesting conversation. I very soon found out that he came from Boston. He had been an officer, and understood business conditions in the United States. I said to him, "You are building a lot of ships down there, aren't you?" "Yes," he said, "but our people are not very keen on the project because they find, taking conditions all round, it is going to be difficult for them to compete with Great Britain." No humbug about the average Yankee. That is the latest news I have direct from Boston as to the hopefulness of the United States people in being able to compete with Great Britain. I trust the Government will inform themselves fully along these lines before they embark upon any further shipbuilding enterprise, after this vote has been passed and after present contracts have been finished.

Something was said about subsidies by my hon. friend (Mr. Ballantyne) before he sat down. I have had no reason up to now to have the least doubt as 'to the financial sanity of the present 'Minister of Finance, and therefore I scarcely need to offer him any advice. He does not find money any too plentiful at the present moment; he has lots of holes for all the money he has got. I observe that Mr. Austen Chamberlain, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain, has lately laid down a policy under two or three heads. One is the cessation of borrowing; the other is the establishment of a sinking fund to obliterate gradually the national debt. If projects like that have any attraction for my hon. friend, he will turn a very deaf ear indeed to people who are coming to him for subsidies for any purpose under the sun. What the country wants at the present moment is a

wise administration of the common law, a government that does not do so many things, but only does wise things when it does them, a government that will keep the tightest possible hold on the strings of the public purse. If the Government' will govern along these lines, keeping out of all foolish projects and turning a deaf ear to people who come to them for Government doles, and my hon. friend the Minister of Finance will bring in an improvement in our system of taxation and an improvement in our fiscal policy, then I have sufficient faith in the people of this country, and in the country itself, to express my firm and sincere belief that in spite of all we have gone through as a young nation we shall before many years are over overtake some of the mistakes that have been made, and find ourselves in a splendid condition of national prosperity and financial stability.

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UNION

Edmund James Bristol

Unionist

Mr. EDMUND BRISTOL (Centre Toronto) :

Mr. Speaker, the matter before the House is of great national importance. I have listened to the breath of Cobdenism Which has floated across the Chamber today from my hon. friend from Red Deer (Mr. Clark), and I want to say to him and to other hon. gentlemen who entertain his views that a great many things have happened since Cobden was on this earth- things of very great importance to the British Empire, and of great importance to shipbuilding and other industries both in Great Britain and Canada.

I do not think that anybody in this House will for one moment combat the proposal of the Minister of Marine (Mr. Ballantyne) to complete his shipbuilding programme. I think the country is to be congratulated that we have as Minister of Marine a man who in addition to doing his share in the war, raising a regiment and going to the Front, has had a business career of which any man in this country might well be proud. I think as Canadians we are very proud indeed of having him as a member of this House and a member of the Government. What he has done for shipbuilding and shipping in Canada is a very remarkable achievement. Early in the war he decided that if the shipbuilding business was good enough for Great Britain to carry on in Canada, it was good enough for Canada to invest her money in, and he decided to have Canadian ships built in Canada in the interests of Canada. He went into the project, fearlessly, in spite of very severe criticism by many newspapers and by some hon. gentlemen opposite, and to-day he is

in this remarkable position, that he could sell his ships for more money than they cost, and in addition, in operating them he has made a substantial business profit. That is certainly a unique achievement in [DOT] the history of. governments, and it is one upon which the Minister of Marine and the Government and iMr. Hanna and the gentlemen who are operating these ships are to be congratulated, and for which they will receive the thanks of the people of this country. Not only that, but with unexampled foresight the Minister of Marine made a contract for steel plates with the Dominion Steel Company. My hon. friend from Red Deer has sneered at the National Policy and given as an example the failure of Nova Scotia to produce ships, but he was about twenty-five or thirty years behind the time in that observation, because the ships he was talking .of were wooden ships and they were disappearing as fast as they could after '74, '75 and '78, and steel ships were coming in.

The Government took measures to establish a steel plate industry in Canada in order to put Canada on her feet in the matter of shipbuilding. For shipbuilding you must have shipyards, steel plates, and skilled labour, and to-day through the efforts of the Minister of Marine and the ^Government we have these three requisites in Canada, and in splendid shape. Before this we were at the mercy of the United States for plates. Moreover, the Minister of Marine did not tell the whole story; he was too modest. If you try to order steel plate in the United States to-day you will find you cannot get them. The Minister of Marine made such a contract that to-day he is being offered higher prices than the Government is paying. He could sell his contract to-day for a million dollars without any effort. That is what he has done, and that is the kind of Government you are getting from business men associated with the business of the country.

Coming back to the shipbuilding industry, it is interesting to point out that when the war started we were building very few steel ships, and we should be grateful to Great Britain for what she has done through the Imperial Munitions Board towards establishing shipyards in this country, and developing the shipbuilding genius of Canadians who at that time were certainly not skilled in shipbuilding. These contracts were at comparatively high prices, which the minister informs us were higher than his prices, although wages and material were higher at the time he let his contracts. I agree with him, but I want to

point out that the Canadian workmen from the moment they started shipbuilding began to improve and are still improving and becoming more efficient and I venture to say that if the industry were accorded the care and protection which shook:': be given to any growing industry from its Inception and until it gets firmly on its feet- and that is apolicy whichl believeis a sound one-in five years from the present time the. Canadian shipbuilder will be just as good-as any workman in the British shipyards' who has been engaged in this occupation all his life. The Government took up the shipbuilding plan and the result of their operations, in conjunction with the efforts of the different shipbuilding yards, has been that these yards have been running to capacity, and the business,'started with perhaps a few million dollars, has to-day practically fifty million dollars invested in it. This industry has a payroll of forty million dollars, and over fifty million dollars is invested in subsidiary industries which are maintained for the supply of such accessories as engines, boilers and all the appurtenances that go to make up the ship apart from the hull. There are twenty-three or twenty-fbur thousand people employed in the industry proper, and twenty-three or twenty-four thousand in the subsidiary industries; and, making the usual allowances in 'an estimate of the number of people dependent on any industry, there are over two hundred thousand people to-day who derive their subsistence from shipbuilding in this country. In addition to this, a sum of over one hundred million dollars is invested m tins industry, and the dependent industries. These facts are of ihe greatest importance and call for the serious consideration of the people of Canada.

The interest in shipbuilding is very widespread in Canada, for there are two or three large yards in Nova Scotia, four or five in Quebec, five or six in Ontario, and three or four in British Columbia. Altogether, practically four-fifths of the people of the country are interested in the maintenance and upbuilding of our shipping industry.

Nov, what is the position of our industry relatively to that of the United States? I say fearlessly, and confirming what the minister has said, that we can to-day beat the United States in prices in shipbuilding, and with the deepening of the Welland Canal, which I trust will soon be accomplished, when we commence to build six hundred foot boats on the lakes, four or five years hence, we shall be able to equal if not surpass the American shipbuilders. My

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

Does my hon. friend know that Lord Robert Cecil, the eminent British statesman, who may be Prime Minister any of these fine mornings, recently advised England and -the world that what we want to-day is to get rid of the war mind?

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UNION

Edmund James Bristol

Unionist

Mr. BRISTOL:

evidenced I am sure the Government will consult and consider in coming to any conclusion as to what is the best policy for the shipbuilding industry. I am glad that we have the distinguished gentleman who now occupies the position of Minister of Marine (Mr. Ballantyne) in charge of the shipping interests of this country, and I believe that he has associated with him those who will give this matter their most careful consideration and that the shipbuilding industry will receive fair play.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. WILLIAM DUFF (Lunenburg):

Mr. Chairman, I am sure that we have all enjoyed greatly the excellent address which we have listened to from the hon. the Minister of Marine and Naval Affairs (Mr. Ballantyne) this afternoon. We also had much pleasure in hearing from that stalwart free trader the hon. member for Bed Deer (Mr. Clark) and that stalwart believer in high protection the hon. member for Centre Toronto (Mr. Bristol). With regard to the remarks of the Minister of Marine, I think most of us were greatly surprised when we received our copy of the Estimates yesterday and noticed the modest amount he is asking for. One of the reasons why I was surprised was that a few days ago I saw in one.of the newspapers, I think it was the Morning Chronicle of Halifax, the following desptach:

Hon. C. C. Ballantyne, Minister of Marine, announced to-night at the annual dinner of the Dominion Marine Association, held at the Windsor Hotel, that the Government has under consideration the building of passenger steamships of 15,000 gross tons in connection with the Canadian National Railways. Mr. Ballantyne briefly reviewed the operations of the Canadian Government merchant marine and stated that the net profits on the steamship service had been a very handsome one.

In view of the fact that the Minister of Marine made that statement a few weeks ago, it certainly is a surprise to me, as it must have been to other hon. members of this House, to see that he has only asked for the small sum of $20,000,000. Twenty million dollars will not go very far in building passenger ships for ocean service. Perhaps the Government had a caucus and the hon. member could not get his way as happened in ^ regard to the naval policy in connection with the report submitted by Lord Jellicoe. The minister told us during the course of his remarks that the Government started this policy of building cargo ships to be operated by the Canadian Government Merchant Marine in May, 1918. When the minister introduced this policy during the war, although we did not be-

lieve in government ownership of ships, we realized that as ships were being sunk in all parts of the world, there was nothing for us to do but to agree to that policy. But the war ended in November of tha| year and if the war was over and ships .were no longer being sunk it was not necessary to go further in making future contracts. The minister told us that contracts were made in January,of this year. It seems to me that it is bad policy for any Government to go into the shipbuilding and ship operating business. It is a matter which should be left entirely to private individuals; it is not a business for the Government to engage in. The Canadian people themselves can build and operate ships as well as the minister can. I am sure that he believed that he was giving a very glowing account of what his department had done during the past year. I say it was a very poor showing. The minister told us that with nineteen steamers-I presume of an average tonnage of about 4,000 tons deadweight which would make them cost anywhere from $10,000,000 to $15,000,000-there was a profit of $1,500,000 on their operation. Well, Sir, if the little boats that I am interested in only made that much profit comparatively in recent years I would sell them and sell them quickly. The only reason why that large profit was made-of course the minister did not say so but it is evident to everybody-was because the conditions that existed to-day, and which have prevailed for the last two or three years, were entirely unprecedented and it is only a matter of a few months, or a year at the outside when these ships, which have made a profit of a million arid a half dollars under abnormal (conditions, will go into debt-each one. of them.

It must have been gratifying to hon. gentlemen on this side when the Minister spoke of the excellent work that was being done in the shipyards of this country. My mind went back about ten years when the Liberal Party were in power and wanted to build a navy. They told the people of this country that they could do so but hon. gentlemen opposite, who at that time were supporting the Conservative Party, said that we could not build ships, we could not find rivetters-in fact we could not do anything in that line. My hon. friends opposite at that time called to their aid the Bt. Hon. Winston Churchill who made the statement that there was not a spot on the North American continent, to say nothing of Canada, where we could lay down the keel of a ship. Despite that we have had the admission of to-day from the Minister

of Marine. I am glad he acknowledged, -and the hon. member for Centre Toronto acknowledged the same thing-that Canadian workmen can build as good ships as British workmen can build. I am proud of the fact, we are all proud of it; the only differencfe is that we on this side knew il, years ago and hon. gentlemen opposite are only finding it out now.

I noticed that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bristol) in complimenting the Minister for his shipbuilding policy said he could sell those Government ships at a greater price than they cost. Well, Sir, my advice to the Minister is to sell those ships as quickly as he possibly can and the sooner the better. If he can sell those ships at a higher price than he paid for them, or at even as high a price, there is no reason why the Government of Canada should stay in the , shipbuilding business. If those ships can be sold at a profit, private enterprise firms like The Canadian Shipyards, or Vickers Limited or any of the other shipbuilding firms can go 'out and get the business themselves. I notice that the Three Rivers Shipbuilding Company have had no contract from this Government and that nevertheless they have gone abroad and obtained outside contracts. If the business is good and the ships turned out can be sold at a profit every shipyard in this country can . go out and get business for itself. Therefore there is no necessity for the Canadian Government to buy ships and interfere with the operations of private enterprise.

The Minister endeavoured to show that it was necessary to have those ships in order to build up our trade. It was quite true that while the war was on ships were scarce; but, Sir, with the shipbuilding programmes undertaken in Great Britain, the United States, and other countries that condition is not going to continue and I say that the Government has no more right to go into the shipbuilding business than it has to enter upon the manufacture of boots and shoes or candy. It should leave that business to those who are willing to invest their money in it. The Minister gave us a glowing account of the shipbuilding operations but I would like to draw his attention to facts set forth in the Toronto Globe of a recent issue. I have a copy of the paper in my hand and practically an entire page is taken up with an advertisement from the United States Shipbuilding Emergency Corporation in which they offer for sale 441 ships with a tonnage of 1,543,500 tons, and 31 barges with a total of 77,500 tons. In other words the United States

Government are offering for sale at the present time 500 boats representing practically 2,000,000 tons of shipping. Now, Sir, if private individuals put up their money and buy these boats is it fair that they should be subject to competition from the Canadian Government? -

The hon. member (Mr. Bristol) gave us a reason why; we could not build ships in Canada as cheaply as they can in Great Britain that the workmen in the United Kingdom do not get as good wages as do our mechanics. In reply to that let me say that if there is one Qlass of people in Great Britain to-day-and throughout the war and in pre-war times-who receive good wages it is the men in the Clyde Shipyards and other shipyards in the Old Country; and any person who says that the reason for their being able to build ships cheaper over there is on account of lower wages is certainly not acquainted with the facts. This statement is also true with respect to the hours of labour for the British machinists, engineers and shipbuilders do not work any longer hours than those in any other part of the world.

Now, Sir, what about the future of the shipbuilding industry in this country? Is the Government going to continue its policy of building ships just for the sake of having something to do, for I presume if it does that will be the sole reason? If private individuals are willing to build ships I cannot see any good reason wThy the Government should also enter into the business. As I said before, it is not a matter for the Dominion Government at all; it is purely a business for private enterprise which should be freed from Government competition, and if necessary, assisted. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Bristol) told us about the amount of capital invested in the Canadian shipyards and the number of men therein employed. I agree with the hon. gentleman that we should protect that investment as well as the men who are working in the indus'try. Personally I would not like to see any policy adopted in Canada which would have the result of closing up those shipyards and putting those men out of work. But I say the right way to promote the industry is not for the Government to engage in the industry itself. Tfie Government should go out of the shipbuilding business and frame another policy with respect to any help which it deems to be necessary for the shipyards which, are established at the present time. Of course we are only doing business in a small way in the Maritime Provinces. But during the

war, notwithstanding the necessities of the case, we did not come to the 'Government and say " We cannot build our little ships down there unless you help us and unless you buy the vessels from us." It would have been just as proper and just as legitimate for the minister to buy our little boats as to buy vessels from Vickers Limited or any other firm. But we did not make such an appeal, we had a duty to do during the war, and we did it to the best of our ability. New shipyards were started, we invested what money we had and borrowed what further sums were nefies-sary from the banks, and we did our little bit towards placing more tonnage on the ocean in order to help Great Britain and her Allies to win the war. If it is necessary to help in the building of ships and the securing of contracts for ships, let a suitable policy be devised; but the Government should not purchase ships and run them itself. If it is necessary, and if after careful investigation, it is found that the present Canadian shipbuilding firms cannot build ships in this country as cheaply as they can be turned out in Great Britain, France, United States, or elsewhere, the Government should in some way grant help. And my suggestion would be that it should be in the way of a bonus. If the Government thinks it is necessary to enter into that policy, I am willing to support it providing it is demonstrated beyond doubt that the Canadian shipbuilders need that bonus for the legitimate development of their business. There is no question but that during the war shipbuilding cost a great deal more money than it would under ordinary conditions, and for that reason, if it. is necessary, the, Canadian shipbuilding firms should be protected for a few years. But ' that policy should not be a permanent one, in fact I should not think it would be needed for more than one or two years; still if necessary our shipbuilders should have a certain amount of protection along that line.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   VOYAGES MADE TO FEBRUARY 6. 1920.
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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

In view of the present financial condition of the country, where will the money come from?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   VOYAGES MADE TO FEBRUARY 6. 1920.
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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

My hon. friend is justified in asking that question, but I am not, under ordinary conditions, in favour of bonusing the building of ships or any other industry. An indispensable condition, however, is that it should be necessary. Perhaps the hon. gentleman did not catch my qualification, but I have always insisted upon that.

I have always' maintained that any aid given should only be forthcoming in the [Mr. Duff.1

event of the shipbuilding industry needing it, and as far as I know it does not need it; I think the shipyards have made a lot of money. However, if it is necessary to keep our shipbuilding plants going, and keep the men employed for a year or two, the Government should come to their assistance.

If assistance is not necessary, do not give it to them; and in any case we should give it only after a proper investigation has been made. My hon. -friend asked where the money would co-me from; I really do not know. The only thing I would suggest is that my hon. friend help us on this side of the House to defeat -this -Government as quickly as possible in order that a Government may be put in power which will properly administer the affairs of the country.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   VOYAGES MADE TO FEBRUARY 6. 1920.
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UNION
L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Mr. Keefer has the

floor.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   VOYAGES MADE TO FEBRUARY 6. 1920.
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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. FRANK KEEFER:

I represent a shipbuilding city-

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   VOYAGES MADE TO FEBRUARY 6. 1920.
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L LIB

March 23, 1920