March 18, 1941

LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Yes; there is a good deal of that sort of building Tound the Georgian bay district and Midland, but that does not answer the question of the hon. member for Cape Breton South.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

British Columbia pays the highest wage.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

British Columbia pays a high wage. Of course there are firms in that province which have done a great deal of shipbuilding in recent years. They have splendid timber, and for some reason or another they are able to underbid Nova Scotians for the construction of these ships.

The next type of wooden ship, in size, which we had to build was the mine-sweeper. Eight of these mine-sweepers were for the British Admiralty and were built to their specifications. It is true the specifications called for expensive woods, such as teak, which Nova Scotia people were not entirely accustomed to, but neither, I suppose, were the builders in other parts of Canada. Every Nova Scotian builder of any consequence was given a chance to bid on these mine-sweepers. I have here a list of twelve builders who were asked to bid and who did bid. The first eight of these British ships-the whole eight-were awarded to Nova Scotia. What has happened? Four builders have renounced their contracts. They have said that they will not go on with the contracts to build these ships because, as they are honest enough to admit, they do not think they can do it for the money in the time specified, and they have asked to be released. That is the story with regard to the minesweepers.

Everything possible has been done. I should think, in fairness to the builders in that province, both by the authorities here and by

the government of Nova Scotia, but there is an unfortunate condition. It may be, as my hon. friend pointed out, that the builders there, accustomed to working on a small scale, have not the necessary capital. It may be that when they saw the expensive wood that would be required, such as mahogany and teak, which will have to be imported and paid for, they felt that they had not the capital necessary to undertake the work. Whatever the reason may be, there is the result. It is unfortunate, but I do not see that anything more could have been done here.

One other word. My hon. friend said he thought the matter of shipping was second in importance only to aircraft and aircraft production. It is my judgment that it is second to nothing at all in the winning of the war. So long as Britain remains an island and so long as she has to get supplies from overseas, shipping and the protection of shipping will be absolutely vital to the life of that country. There is no question in the world about it. We must have not only cargo ships to carry supplies to England but ships of other kinds which are just as necessary-underwater craft, surface craft and, at other stages, aircraft for purposes of protection.

That brings me to this point. You cannot take a navy, whether it be a merchant navy or a service navy, and turn out its ships and its men overnight. This afternoon I was pondering the time it takes to train an officer in the navy. Someone has asked how many men were promoted from the ranks, and what educational qualifications were required. I believe I told the hon. member for Vancouver East that at least senior matriculation was required for entrance into the Royal Canadian Navy, but after that a cadet would have to go to naval college at Dartmouth, England- I am talking of peace time-for a period of about two years. He would then be made a midshipman and be at sea for about a year and six months or two years more. Then he would be a sub-lieutenant for a year and a half or two years more. He would then take some courses of about six months to qualify as lieutenant. At the end of six years of study, after he had acquired matriculation standing, he would be a lieutenant in the navy. At the end of another eight years he would be a lieutenant commander. Thereafter his promotion would depend on merit and selection.

You cannot turn out such men overnight, nor can you turn out skilled shipbuilders overnight. The thing to remember in this house in future is, I think, that whatever you may be able to do in other respects, and without in any way attempting to depreciate the importance of other services, the naval service is one the nucleus of which, both in

War Appropriation Bill

service personnel and in shipbuilding personnel, should never be allowed to decrease below the danger point. It has been allowed to decrease below that point here and in other countries as well in the last twenty years, and this and other countries are feeling the effect to-day.

We are trying our best to train men for the navy to man the ships we are building, and it is not an easy task in view of the high calibre of training required in a naval officer or even a petty officer. As regards the shipyards of the country, the programme which was agreed to in 1939 for shipbuilding in Canada, estimated at four years, is going to be compressed into the space of two and a half years. Every ship that we planned to build up to the year 1943 will have been completed in 1942.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

But not destroyers?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

No, because the plan had not contemplated destroyers. I am speaking of the plan made in 1939 on the basis of what was then considered to be the capacity of Canadian yards. We said that we could build so many corvettes, mine-sweepers and patrol boats; that was all that we could do, and the plan was to last until the end of 1943. That plan will be completed next year owing-I think it is fair to say-to the enterprise, courage, skill and energy of the shipbuilders of the country who have done a magnificent bit of work in this regard.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

Percy Chapman Black

National Government

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

Accepting the statement of the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services, that the building and maintenance in operation of ships constitutes the most important of our war activities, and accepting the assurance of the Minister of Munitions and Supply that he is endeavouring to harness the shipbuilding capacity and the man-power of Canada to its utmost, I feel that some special effort should be put forward to get the production that can be derived from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I am satisfied that if proper efforts are made, a very much increased programme of production can be obtained in Nova Scotia. I am of opinion that the time has come when the yards and the facilities and the men should be subsidized and encouraged in order that the shipbuilding programme can be pressed to its utmost limit, and I should hope that the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services and the Minister of Munitions and Supply would make special efforts to this end.

I was surprised to see the following Canadian Press dispatch from Shelburne, Nova Scotia, yesterday, showing that this yard has no construction work. I quote:

Shelburne, Nova Scotia, March 16 (C.P.)

The 118-foot freighter U.K. service IV was launched Saturday from the ship yard of Winslow Mack-ay Sons Limited and shortly after that officials of the company announced they were closing down the yards for lack of further orders. The 149-ton wooden vessel built for a firm at LaHave, N.S. was the 14th turned out by the plant in the last year.

We accept this as correct, coming from the Canadian Press. It seems to me that with the present need for the building of ships, this condition should not exist. There should be officials from the Department of National Defence for Naval Services and the Department of Munitions and Supply following up the work in these yards, to see that new construction is offered to them to the limit of their capaoity. Not only should the yards be given business to the limit of their present capacity, but they should be expanded, as has been done in connection with munitions factories, largely in central Canada. I suggest there should be some explanation as to why a dispatch such as I have quoted' should be sent across Canada at a time like this, when there is such pressing need for more ships of many kinds.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

I had intended to deal with that matter when I spoke earlier, but it slipped my mind. The hon. member has referred to the shipyards of Winslow Mackay Sons Limited at Shelburne. I would reply that the Mackay company were asked to tender on the Fairmiles, but did not put in a bid. That happened last fall. They were again asked to bid on the mine-sweepers. They said they would not bid on that type of boat, but they might be interested in a somewhat similar type of boat built on Canadian designs and of Canadian material. The Mackay company has had some work from the government, although not a great amount. I believe it has built three derrick scows, four float scows, and four wooden lighter skids, but it has not bid on the larger wooden ships.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

What about the machinery used on those lighter ships?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

They do not have to provide the machinery.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

Then how are they going to build Fairmile boats?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Is the hon. member referring to the building of engines?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

No; the machinery for planing, and fitting up the woodwork.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Mackay has as good facilities as any yard in Canada.

War Appropriation Bill

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

For Fairmile construction?

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Yes; nobody can turn out a better yacht than Mack ay.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am glad to hear that; and yet they would not tender.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

They would not tender, no.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

John James Kinley

Liberal

Mr. KINLEY:

I am glad the minister said that, because Mackay is one of the finest shipyards in the east. I have information that they were figuring on a ferryboat for the city of Halifax at the time these tenders were asked. In order to be sure that they could do the work they were tendering on, they stuck to the other boat. I believe the contract has since been awarded to a firm at Dartmouth. It may be that some of the firms which were at that time figuring on the Dartmouth ferry might now be open to figure on these other boats, if they were asked to.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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NAT

Grote Stirling

National Government

Mr. STIRLING:

Examining the two sets of figures appearing at page 1495 of Hansard, I would suppose that the first one sets out the amount of money required for the next fiscal year, and the second one contains figures relating to expenditures in the present fiscal year, up to January 31.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Yes

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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March 18, 1941