March 27, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)

CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

I do not wish to take up time unnecessarily; but my hon friend from Inverness (Mr. A. W. Chisholm) seems to think that this man was dismissed because of his politics. That question did not enter into it at all. This man was recommended for this position by Mr. Gallant, who was the Conservative candidate for Inverness in 1911, and appointed to the position largely on his recommendation. So far as I know the man was a Conservative, and there was no charge against him that he had interfered in politics. There was trouble at the station; discipline did not seem to be enforced by Mr. Maillet; and he made a charge against Mr. Cormier, one of his crew, and Mr. Cormier retaliated by making charges against him. Mr. Nickerson, an official of the Fisheries Department in Nova Scotia, was asked to make a report. He visited the place, and reported that in his opinion the complaint against Mr. Cormier contained in the coxswain's letter to Commander Thompson was by no means sustained in all its gravity, while the counter-charge was " a trifling matter indeed-a sort of trumpery accusation quite easily accounted for"-meaning, I suppose, that the coxswain had made a charge that was not sustained against this man, and the man retaliated by making charges against the coxswain. Mr. Nickerson proceeds to praise both men:
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Maillet is no doubt a capable boatman. Cormier, I believe, is a trustworthy watchman. A slight personal pique was the beginning of the trouble which has been wretchedly augmented by outside interference into which it was not judicious for me to inquire, but which
was obvious enough______Much has been doneto place this Cheticamp station on a high plane of usefulness. The location is correct, the outposts are properly chosen, the equipment is good and the men well qualified. Order and discipline can be introduced and maintained here if the crew are more fully instructed as to the nature of their duties in every part ot the service. They are as yet new to the work.
Still, discipline did not prevail at this station; the coxswain did not enforce the authority he had, and constant bickering and trouble existed between himself and the crew. Representations were made about the matter, and I instructed Admiral Kingsmill, whose duty it is, to look into the matter and report what should be done. Admiral Kingsmill, I am sure, did not have any thought of politics. Being a civil servant, I suppose he has no politics, but if he had any, I presume they would lead him to sympathize with hon. gentlemen opposite. He went to this station and investigated, and he reports:
With reference to your memo, of 31st of August; I beg to report that I visited this station on the 15th October and found that Mr. Gallant, who makes the charges against the coxswain, was not there, but I interviewed several people and found that there is a feeling that the coxswain is not loyal to the Government who gave him his appointment.
I take that to mean, not that he was not loyal to the Administration, but that he was not loyal to the Government of the country, and was not doing his duty in his position. Admiral Kingsmill had no instructions to inquire into the man s politics; there is no charge of political interference connected with the matter. He says:
1 would submit that there is no reason for retaining him in the appointment; he is not able to manage his boat's crew and the station is most untidy and ill-kept.
That is the report which induced me to take the action I did. That the coxswain was not able to manage his boat's crew is clear from the trouble that arose, each making charges against the other. Admiral Kingsmill further says:
When the station is closed down at the close of navigation, I would suggest some one be appointed to take charge of it, make an inventory and lock the boathouse up till the reopening of navigation, when the new coxswain and crew should be appointed. None of the crew made any complaint to me against the coxswain, and he himself spoke such indifferent

English that I could not gather from him any reason for the trouble which had taken place.
Perhaps that was one trouble, that he could not make his views and wishes well known to his crew. Or were they all people who understood French?

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