May 9, 1953

PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (Si. John's West):

Would the

item of $300,000 to cover site for departmental buildings be in connection with buildings already erected or is that to improve the ground before the building is put up?

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

Probably. It is to

extend the site needed for this establishment at Tunney's Pasture, for the city, and Tunney's Park, for the property we own. We put it into condition where we can develop the site for government buildings.

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PC

John Angus MacLean

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacLean (Queens):

May I revert

briefly to item 695. The minister informed me during some correspondence I had with him that consideration would be given to having an item in the supplementary estimates to provide for a federal building in

Charlottetown. I see there is no such item and I am wondering what the minister has to report in connection with this proposed building.

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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Hull):

The information I

have is that they are proceeding with the preparation of the plans. As this is going to be a monumental building the plans and specifications are taking some time to prepare. I hope I shall be around to see that this building receives due consideration.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

This Ontario item gives

me an opportunity to rise on a question of privilege in connection with Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the reply made in connection with the Booth Construction Company. The questions asked and answers given are as follows:

1. How many construction contracts has the Booth Construction Company Limited had at Camp Borden, during -the past four years?

Answer: 4.

2. What was the total amount of such contracts?

Answer: $2,148,336.32.

3. How much has been paid to the said company on account of each of the said contracts?

Answer:

(a) Construction of 204 housing units $ 884,393.75(b) Construction of 100 housing units 570,956.25(c) Construction of 90 housing units 509,895.54(d) Construction of sewers andwater mains

38,794.39Total

$2,004,039.934. Did the said company complete each of the said contracts?

Answer: No.

5. If not, which of the said contracts have not been completed?

Answer: 3(b)-Construction of 100 housing units, 3(c)-Construction of 90 housing unts.

6. Were the subcontractors of the said company, or suppliers of goods, wares or merchandise or services, in connection with the said contract or contracts duly paid?

Answer: Although the contracts are with the prime contractor, the Booth Construction Company Limited, only, the prime contractor and some of the subcontractors and suppliers have informed Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation that there remain outstanding accounts to some subcontractors and suppliers of material.

7. If not, what is the total amount of the unpaid indebtedness of the said company to each of the subcontractors or suppliers, giving the amounts owing and names and addresses of each of them?

Answer:

While Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation has received representations from Booth Construction Company Limited, and suppliers and subcontractors, the representations are insufficient to provide an answer to this question both as to a list of all creditors and as to the amounts owing on account of these two jobs.

That answer, Mr. Chairman, is a travesty. That answer simply places Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in a position of being superior to parliament. If they cannot give all of the records, let them give what they have, for my understanding is that it

runs into a tremendous amount and that the reason that the subcontractors have not been paid is the failure of the corporation to withhold moneys from the Booth company, the contractor. That last answer, Mr. Chairman, is a denial to parliament of information, and it is not the first time that we have had that experience with this corporation. Unless an amended return is made giving this information, however distasteful it may be to the corporation, I intend to move for the information at the beginning of next week. If my hon. friends want to get the session through, let us have information that does not consist of the selected type of information given in 6 and 7 rather than the facts and the truth.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

When the hon. member says "if my hon. friends want to get the session through" that may be considered to be in the nature of a threat and threatening language is not in order.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

There is no hurry to finish the session.

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Resources and Development)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

I simply want to say that if any question of privilege is involved here it should not come from the hon. member. The type of language he has used this morning reveals an ignorance of the construction industry. As my hon. friend realizes, there is no way of knowing if the subcontractors who have told us that their claims have not been paid constitute a full list of creditor subcontractors. Nor does Central Mortgage know whether or not the list submitted is in respect only of contracts in default. My hon. friend can see from the return that of the four contracts there was default on two of them, as I recall it.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Did this company have other contracts besides this one?

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LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Resources and Development)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

I am referring to the four listed in the return made this morning. The hon. member is asking that we give information to the house that might be incorrect and which might thus be unfair to particular subcontractors. The whole purpose of tabling the return in that form was to give the information that we had and to give it on the basis of fairness to the contractor, to Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and to the subcontractors. The last thing I would wish to do would be to give incorrect information to the house, and at the same time the first thing I wish to do is give the house all the information to which it is justly entitled and which I can give correctly.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Chairman-

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Order.

Supply-Public Works

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I rose on a question of

privilege.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

The hon. member raised a question of privilege-

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Parliament is entitled to full information.

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?

An hon. Member:

You are not running

things.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

-and I allowed him to carry on. May I point out, however, that normally a question of privilege arising out of a matter dealt with before the committee of supply or committee of the whole is constituted should have been taken up when Mr. Speaker was in the chair. Therefore I could have risen and asked the hon. member to resume his seat the minute he stood up to raise his question of privilege. I allowed him to do so, and I allowed the Minister of Resources and Development to give an explanation. That is the limit to which I think I should go in fairness to hon. members who have met here at this time to study the supplementary estimates of the Department of Public Works. We are on item 699, which has nothing to do with the return the hon. member received respecting a question having to do with national housing when Mr. Speaker was in the chair.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Chairman, with the

greatest of deference, I cannot allow that statement to pass unchallenged. Parliament is always jealous of the privileges of parliament.

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LIB

Joseph Miville Dechene

Liberal

Mr. Dechene:

Just making noise.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

The hon. member is debating the matter about which he has complained, namely not having received a complete answer to his question. He does so in debating my ruling.

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May 9, 1953