February 11, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Pugsley



I suppose I ought to be very thankful to my right hon. friend the Prime Minister for letting us on this side of the House know that if we have the audacity to attack the Government, we must look out for ourselves. In other words, if we have reason to believe that some persons, not members of the Government, not members of this House, have made secret rake-offs in connection with the purchase of war vessels or of ammunition and we dare to breathe it in this House, our action will be resented by hon. gentlemen opposite. _ They will take it as showing that we are influenced by partisan spirit and they will endeavour to make the country

believe that in some way or other we are obstructing them in doing their part in connection with this war. They will not terrify me and I do not think they will terrify any other hon. member on this side of the House. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and the hon. member for Victoria (Mr. Barnard) have set the example of making partisan speeches. I have not done so. Has it come to this that, because Canada is engaged in war, we are not to bring to the notice of the House or of the Government any wrong-doings, as to which we have had notice, and which we believe ought to be investigated in the interest of the people of this country? If the people of Canada are prepared to spend their last dollar and to make every possible sacrifice in the interest of the Empire, we are not satisfied that there shall be any waste of public money. My hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries charged me with improper conduct this afternoon when I spoke of the purchase of ammunition in the United ' States. If the people of Canada will condemn the Government if they do not investigate any facts brought to their notice from which presumption of wrong-doing can be drawn, one hundred times stronger will be the condemnation of the people of Canada if through agents appointed by this Government-I care not whether with the knowledge of this Government or not the wrong-doing shall take place-there
has been money filched from the
treasury of the mother country. And Sir, would we be doing our duty, not merely as members of the Opposition but as members of this House, if we took any course but that which we are taking? I appeal to hon. gentlemen opposite-I appeal to the hon. gentleman opposite who, a few days ago, at a meeting of the Horse-breeders' Association, declared that there was graft in the purchase of horses, who stated that those who purchased horses might be good at playing marbles but they were not good in the purchase of horses. The atmosphere of this country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, is reeking with stories of corruption by people who have been buying supplies for the Government.
I can say that without making any charge or insinuation against a member of this Government or this House. We know very well that when these large expenditures are taking place it is difficult for the Government to watch every expenditure. They

have to appoint agents, not only for the purchase of horses, but for the purchase of ammunition, motor-trucks, blankets, shoes and all kinds of war material, both in this country and in the United States. They cannot he supposed to watch all the purchases. And when we bring to their notice the fact that we have evidence which leads us to believe that there is this wrong-doing and ask them to take action, is it to be charged against us that we thereby are guilty of partisanship? My hon. friend (Mr. Barnard), and the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries, and the Prime Minister also, have made the charge against me that I insinuated that Sir Richard McBride had been guilty of taking the difference between $900,000, paid to the Electric Boat Company, of New Jersey, for these submarines and the $1,150,000 which the Government paid. The minister has said that the Government of British Columbia actually paid out $1,150,000. Who denied it? I did not dispute that fact. With emphasis which was great even for him, my hon. friend said that the amount of $1,150,000 was actually paid to the British Columbia Government? Who denies it? But what became of the difference between $900,000 paid to the contractors for the construction of these submarines and the $1,150,000 which was paid first by the Government of British Columbia and afterwards paid to them by the Government of Canada?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Full View