Mr. Speaker, I desire to lay on the table a certified copy of an Order in Council approved by His Royal Highness the Governor General. As it relates to important matters, it is, perhaps, advisable that I should read it for the information of the House, and that it may appear in Hansard:
Certified copy of a Report of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Royal Highness the Governor General on the 3rd April, 1916.
The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated 31st March, 1916, from the Right Honourable Sir Robert Laird Borden, the Prime Minister, respecting the desirability of appointing a Royal Commission to inquire into certain contracts made by a committee (known as the Shell Committee and herein referred to by that designation), of which General Sir Alexander Bertram was Chairman.
The Prime Minister observes that the Committee was constituted for the purpose of acting for the Government of the United Kingdom (hereinafter referred to as the British Government), and especially for the War Office and afterwards the Ministry of Munitions, in giving orders under the direction and subject to the approval of the British Government, for shells required for the purposes of the present war; and that the expenditure made by the Shell Committee for that purpose was on behalf of the British Government.
The Prime Minister further observes that on
the evening of Tuesday, the 28th March, in the course of a debate upon a motion previously moved by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Mr. George W. Kyte, one of the members of the House of Commons, made certain observations with respect to the contracts hereinafter mentioned which had been entered into by the Shell Committee on behalf of the British Government.
The Prime Minister also observes that on Thursday, the 30th day of March, he made an announcement in the House of Commons with respect to the matters alluded to by Mr. Kyte, a copy of which announcement is hereto appended.
The Prime Minister considers that, having regard to the considerations set forth in the said announcement, it is desirable that a commission under Part One of the Inquiries Act be issued for the purpose of making a full and complete inquiry and investigation into the following contracts made by the Shell Committee, namely, a contract bearing date 19th day of June, A.D. 1915, between the International Arms and Fuse Company, a body politic and corporate and the Shell Committee; a contract bearing date the 19th day of June, A.D., 1915, between the American Ammunition Company, Incorporated, a body politic and corporate and the Shell Committee; by each of which contracts the Shell Committee agree to purchase from the respective companies aforesaid a quantity of fuses of the description and upon the terms therein stated. Also a contract constituted by an order bearing date on or about the 16th day of July, 1915, given by the Shell Committee to the Edwards Valve Company of Chicago and accepted by that company, by which order the Shell Committee agreed to purchase a quantity of cartridge cases of the description and upon the terms therein stated. Also an alleged contract between the Shell Committee and the Providence Chemical Company of St. Louis, by which contract the Shell Committee agree to purchase a quantity of Picric Acid, if it should appear that the said Shell Committee has entered into such contract.
The Prime Minister, therefore, recommends that a commission for the purpose aforesaid do issue under the said Part One of the Inquiries Act directed to the Honourable Sir William Ralph Meredith, Kt., Chief Justice of Ontario, and the Honourable Lyman Poole Duff, one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, authorizing and requiring them with all reasonable diligence to make full and complete inquiry into the contracts aforesaid and each of them and into the acts and proceedings of the Shell Committee, whether by themselves or by any other person or persons directly or indirectly, and of the Minister of Militia and Defence whether by himself or by any other person or persons directly or indirectly in relation thereto or in connection therewith and into the negotiations therefor, the profits or prospective profits arising thereunder, the disposition, division or allotment of such profits or prospective profits, or of any commission or reward for procuring the said contracts or any of them and as to the persons interested in any such profits, prospective profits, reward or commissions, and generally speaking into all other acts, transactions and matters of every kind relating to the said contracts and each of them and to report the result of such inquiry with the evidence taken therein. Also to inquire, into such other matters relating to the acts or
proceedings of the Shell Committee as may be referred to the said commissioners by Order in Council from time to time, and to report the result of any such further inquiries with the evidence taken therein. .
The Prime Minister further recommends that the said commissioners, for the purposes of the proposed inquiry, shall have all powers and authorities which could be conferred upon them by the Inquiries Act, Part One, including the powers and authorities mentioned or described in the eleventh section thereof as the same is enacted by the Act II* George V (1912), chapter 28, intituled, " An Act to amend the Inquiries Act." .
The committee concur in the foregoing recommendations and submit the same for approval.
F. K. Bennetts,
Asst. Clerk of the Privy Council.
The document annexed (see Hansard, March 30, 1916) has already been read to the House; it is not necessary that I should read it.
[THE GOVERNOR GENERAL.]