I have never understood the minister to deny that he was associated with Mr. Moore or Mr. McAvity in a financial way in the purchase of the St. John * Telegraph ' and ' Times.' I ask him now if he denies that?
I am replying to the statement of the hon. member (Mr. Meighen) who has just been speaking. He, makes three assertions. One was that the, contract was let illegally. The second was that it was let at four times its value- ,
The hon. gentleman made the statement that the contract had. been illegally let that it had been let for, four times its value and that the money, was used for the purchase of the ' Tele-^ graph ' in association with the Minister of Public Works. I say there is no foundation for these statements. And the reason I rose is that the hon. gentleman said that nobody denied that these statements were correct: I deny them absolutely.
I made four statements, and I stand here until I show every one of them to have been correct. The first is not a statement of fact, but is a conclusion of law-that the contract was illegally let. And who will say that a contract is not illegally let which is let after tenders are called for and before the tenders are received? Does the minister say that that is authorized by the Public Works Act?
If I stated that the Minister of Public Works would not deny it I did it without appreciation of his character. I made the statement that these men were awarded this contract in that hurried, illegal and suspicious way at prices four and a half times what two of his engineers estimated it should be let at. The evidence absolutely proves that, and there is no contradiction. It is true that the minister got two men afterwards to come and find the difficulties-to find that the wind was blowing, to find that they had to fetch water over I forget how many yards in order to have water to drink, and that they had to fetch coal over a similar distance. But that had nothing on earth to do with the cost or with the fixing of the price, for the price was fixed no matter how far they had to bring the coal, and everybody knows that a dredge, except in a sheltered harbour is exposed to the wind; we do not expect to carry on dredging by
the fireside. It is true, the minister raised the spectre of these difficulties and was able, by the power he wields to bring two men who would testify on that subject. But these statements are not backed up, and they are made under circumstances that reflect no credit on the department. I say these men were given this work at four and a half times what it was estimated it should cost, and that they bought the St. John ' Telegraph ' and bought it in association with the Minister or Public Works. I do not say that they took the same identical bills to make this purchase. I do not know that my case would be particularly stronger if I did. The fact that they got the money and bought the St. John ' Telegraph ' contemporaneously is_ a fact practically undenied. And the minister was associated with them in the purchase and reaped the result. And still the minister ventures to say that all this is covered up, that the multitude of sins is wiped away simply, by the fact that by this corrupt purchase of newspapers in city and county of So. John. He knows New Brunswick he was able to carry the the appeal he made to the people of St. John city; that he would as soon be defeated himself as have his colleague Mr. Pender defeated, and that he would not take it as vindication unless Mr. Pender were elected. And he knows that St. John turned down his appeal and elected the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Daniel). The patent undenied facts, the mere recital of the dates, makes the case that appeals to the people of the country.
I state here that the minister is in no* better position, whether that contract was technically legal or illegal. I say without question that in my opinion it was illegal. I cannot see how anybody can conscientiously say it was not. But if it was not illegal, then we might just as well burn the Public Works Act, because it leaves the Minister of Public Works absolutely free to do just as he chooses under all circumstances. An urgent public work, he says, excuses the whole thing. Why is it urgent? Because, he says, this was the dredging season. The dredging season started two months before. If a public work is urgent because it is the dredging season, then every dredging work in this country is always urgent, because it can only be done in the dredging season. So I repeat, that unless the Minister of Public Works admits the illegality of this Act, he might just as well burn the Public Works Act out and out, because it puts no restraint upon him whatever.
Now, the Minister of Public Works devoted a part of his time to some other reflections. He has a very strange idea. We are here with the evidence before us, and with the resolution which says that the evidence bears out certain facts and con-Mr. MEIGHEN. * , j
elusions. The hon. member for York (Mr. Crocket) supports that resolution on the evidence. The Minister of Public Works offers something else. I ask him on what authority he offers it, and he says on his own. Then he goes on in reply, and not only does his reply consist of an attempt to read page after page and sentence after sentence into the evidence, but he also answers by reading his own speeches made some time last spring. Let the Minister of Public Works take the evidence here, let him take the dates, let him reflect on these dates, and he will conclude, in his own heart at least, that it will take a lot more than his 6wn speech and that of the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson) to square himself and his government with the country.
Mr. Chairman, when the committee rose last evening, I was discussing some of the economic disadvantages of the reciprocity pact from the view point of Canadian interests. When we consider that the United States people are large producers of the articles that we desire to export the folly of this agreement from the Canadian point of view is self-evident. The United States is really not a customer in the large sense, but a competitor of Canada. I desire to place upon 'Hansard' a list of some of the articles of which the United States is a large exporter to show that so far from being a consumer of Canadian products, the United States offers the least desirable market of all the markets that are open to Canadian shippers:
Topic: WAYS AND TRADE WITH MEANS-RECIPROCAL THE UNITED STATES.
The United States people are large exporters of these very articles that the Canadian producers and farmers desire to sell. The price of any article that Canada has to export and any surplus that the United States people have to export is fixed by the European market. The European market governs the price of the surplus of all exporting countries, including Canada. The United States with 100,000,000 people is an exporting country the same as Canada with her 8,000,000 or 10,000,000 people. Consequently it is folly to expect that much advantage will result to the Canadian producer by negotiating a trade treaty with a people who are exporters of the very same commodities as those which we export. Speaking about the market that fixes the price of the surplus products of exporting countries, the Hon. James Wilson, on page 76 of his open letter to the Grange, of February 9, 1911, says:
Motion agreed to, and House went into Committee of Ways and Means.
While Canada is exporting wheat or other grains and the United States is also exporting wheat, there is no particular reason why Cana-