Yes. The first contract was entered into in October, 1920. That contract was with Coughlin. It was afterwards surrendered in consideration of a contract for the same subsidy. The Wallace Company being added to the consolidation. It was a contract under which two shipbuilding companies joined together, but a change was made in the kind of dock. It had been intended to build a graving dock but I think they came to the conclusion that that was impraticable because of the cost. The subsidy was for a second class dock and would not have enabled them to float their bonds and so on, and then the project would be financially impossible. These two companies were negotiating for a period of some six or eight months and finally consolidated their interests and surrendered the contract in consideration of the execution of a new contract. I canot give you the exact date. I think the contract was signed very shortly before the election, but the consolidation was completed and the surrender of the old contract was given only on the distinct understanding that the new contract would issue in consideration thereof.
In the first place this Government is not building the dry dock. This is a matter of private enterprise, subsidized under a public statute. Any person can come along, make odt a case, and get the subsidy. A case has been made out
repeatedly, as I say, for over a period of ten years and now we have got private enterprise to complete the undertaking. These two ports are eighty miles apart, and a dry dock in Victoria will never be of any use to the shipping industry of Vancouver. For this reason: Vancouver is a terminal point. The ships will come into Vancouver and unload, and if they have to turn round and go eighty miles to have very extensive repairs made, unless such repairs are an absolute necessity. They will reload and go back to Hong Kong and have them made there or else go down to Seattle.
I do not admit that at all. I say that the shipping in and out of Victoria is absolutely sufficient and more than sufficient to justify a dry dock there. As I pointed out before, the ports of Montreal and Quebec have four dry docks between them. These two ports have none and yet the shipping tonnage through them is much greater than through the ports of Montreal and Quebec.
I just wish to suggest to the Government that under the item of Dominion Public Buildings some amount of money might be spent, and some attention paid, to the matter of the acoustics of this Chamber. The conditions that prevail here are a travesty on common sense. The man who erected this building and left it as it is should be crucified. Can you conceive of a church in any of our big cities, or a theatre, with accommodation for nearly 250 people as to which one-third of those who attend might almost just as well be outside the building. It is of no use to say that an improvement cannot be made, because there can be an improvement. If you send a plumber to do the work he will not be able to do it; but if you send an expert-and there are experts in the business-the needed work can readily be done. Members from British Columbia will recall the former legislative chamber, only this is worse than that because in the provincial chamber there were only forty-two members. However, they could not hear in that chamber and they did some peculiar stunt in connection with the roof. I forget whether they tore out the former ceiling and put in a new one-* but it does not matter, they did something
to the chamber and made it practically all right. A little care and a little study by an expert would surely convert this Chamber into something approximating the purpose for which it was intended.