April 7, 1949

CCF

Arthur Henry Williams

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Williams:

Will the minister give us some information about the experience of the shipbuilding firms? Were they operating as shipbuilding firms during the war?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB
CCF

Arthur Henry Williams

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Williams:

Did they have contracts from the government during the war for building ships?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Yes. Charles T. Davie was one of our most efficient builders of corvettes and frigates.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CCF

Arthur Henry Williams

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Williams:

Charles Davie?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

George T. Davie yard. I am mixed up with the owner whose name was Charles Davie. It is the George T. Davie yard. There are two shipyards at Levis, one owned by the Canada Steamship Lines and the other owned by the Davie family. This is the latter. It was an efficient yard, and like all shipyards it was greatly expanded during the war. The St. Lawrence Metal and Marine yard also built a considerable number of corvettes. It is located in the city of Quebec. It was an extremely active shipyard during the war period.

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CCF

Arthur Henry Williams

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Williams:

Do I understand also that this sum of money that you found it necessary to advance was in 1946?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

No. It is within the last six months.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CCF

Arthur Henry Williams

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Williams:

Within the last six months?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Yes. The advance is guaranteed by a mortgage on the company property. The difficulty came when the first deliveries were about to be made. It was found that large sums of money were owing by Davie and by St. Lawrence Metal and Marine. It was found that without intervention from somewhere it was impossible to deliver the boats, because mechanics' liens would have been filed immediately had delivery been attempted at that stage.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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CCF

Arthur Henry Williams

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Williams:

What surprises me, Mr. Chairman, is that experienced shipping com-

panies of this particular kind, which did nol suffer any particular period of bad business during the earlier years, should almosl immediately on the conclusion of the war find themselves in such difficulties that they could not carry out these contracts and the government had to come to their aid. It is easy enough to run any business in that way if one can just carry on and fall flat upon the government to get it out of the hole. The fact that the government did something of this particular nature is more amazing, if it did it without authority, though I understand the minister to say that he did have an order in council for this.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB
CCF

Arthur Henry Williams

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Williams:

Which presumably is his authority. However, it is more surprising still to find out that this much-vaunted private enterprise found itself in such a hole that the government had to come to its rescue to the tune of $850,000.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Unfortunately private enterprise has to be somewhat venturesome. These people ventured in 1946 and took a firm price contract to deliver nine ships. My hon. friend will recognize that the cost of material and labour advanced materially between 1946 and 1948 when the ships were due to be delivered. One of them is not delivered yet.

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CCF

Thomas John Bentley

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Bentley:

If we had had price control we would not have had that trouble.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Perhaps that is why we are paying $850,000.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Castleden:

I was interested in the minister's statement in which he said that the loss was according to the accounting firms of the shipping companies.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

No, I did not say that.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Castleden:

I should like to know what effort was made by the government to ascertain whether or not the statement of the company as to its losses was correct.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

The first thing the government did was to call in a firm of chartered accountants to go through the records of the company from the beginning. The firm of McDonald Currie Company was retained, and no action was taken by the government until a complete report was obtained.

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April 7, 1949