January 20, 1916

LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Will my hon. friend send out and get the names of that committee?

Topic:   J916
Permalink
LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have said that I have no knowledge that he was a member, and 1

would like my hon. friend to get the names of the respective committees and show that the Minister of Militia was a member. The committee, however constituted, and whatever its personnel, was, from the time of its institution, a committee acting under the authority of the Imperial Government.

Now I come to the point raised by the hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux), and a point which came just at the last minute to the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley). I could see clearly that the debate and division of 1903 had been called to his attention in the interval, and he set about to dig out from his ingenuity some way in which he could possibly distinguish the Imperial moneys of 1902 from the Imperial moneys of 1915. So he asked the Minister of Finance whether it was not the case that we were paying our share of the cost of maintaining our troops at the front to the Imperial treasury. The Minister of Finance answered in the affirmative. It is our intention, it is our policy to pay our share of the cost of maintaining the men at the front which the Imperial Government is paying on bdhalf of our men. It is true that the Imperial Government is to be recouped for the share of expenditure, as nearly as can be estimated, that is being paid for the maintenance of the Canadian forces at the front. " Oh, then," they say, " we ought to review this expenditure which we have to meet." Well, that is either true or it is not. If we have the right to review part of the moneys that are payable to the,Imperial Government we have the right to review all the expeditures in which we are interested. We are interested in the same degree in the money paid by the Imperial Government in the United States as in the money paid in Canada. We have to pay some part of that, and we have to pay some part of any money that miay have been spent in Japan and in Great Britain itself, and if there is a duty upon the Parliament of Cam ada to investigate the expenditure of Imperial moneys for the munitions of Canada, the same duty must apply to all the moneys in which we are interested expended by the Imperial authorities. Furthermore, this Government has assumed a position not only consistent with, but strictly in conformity with its policy 'initiated long before the war: that in matters of defence we and the Imperial Parliament are on common ground;

that in matters of defence-until the time comes when this country shall have a seat in the Imperial councils-we trust to the Imperial Government for advice and for the disposition of our forces; we place the forces under their control, and we trust them in the expenditure of money for the common purpose. I do not think that if the Imperial Government is looking for examples as to how best to deal with the moneys of the British people, or if they are looking for improvements in the methods of handling that money, they are going to take the advice of, or look for inspiration to, the hon. member for St. John. I have parted with the question of the control of the Shell Committee; I am through with it, and I propose to deal with just one other matter that came up during the debate when the hon. member for St. John was speaking. He had occasion to refer to the question of ' submarines.

Topic:   J916
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Before my hon. friend

passes from that point might I give him the answer of my hon. friend the Minister of Finance to the question put to him as to our share of the expenditure of moneys on munitions. On page 42 of Hansard,

I find this: '

Hon. Wm. Pugsley: I desire to ask my hon.

friend the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) if he will kindly lay on the table of the House, or if he can give now, information in a concise manner as to the arrangement between the Government of Canada and the , British Government as to what proportion of the expense in connection with the carrying on of the war, in so far as Canadian soldiers are concerned, is to be borne by the Government of Canada. I desire to know whether all the expense of ammunition, guns, equipment, etc., is to be borne by the Government of Canada, or what the arrangement is.

Sir Thomas White (Minister of Finance) : The matter will be dealt with probably by my right hon. [DOT] friend the Prime Minister in introducing the war Appropriation Bill, which will provide means for continuing our participation in the war, or, if not, by myself in the Budget Speech, which will be brought down at a later date. In a general way, I may say to my hon. friend that the Government of Canada is bearing the entire expense of Canada's participation in the war. There will necessarily be certain accounts which cannot be adjusted until the war is over, or until a later date.

Then he gives the conversation he had with Col. Ward. The hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugsley) then puts another question :

Mr. Pugsley: That means, of course, all the ammunition, all the guns, all the boots and shoes, and all the clothing used by the Canadian soldiers at the front?

Sir Thomas White : Our understanding is that the Canadian Government will pay all, but that an adjustment is necessary and will have to take place later.

I desire to ask my. hon. friend in a friendly spirit, because I want to be right in this matter: whether he claims that, in view of that understanding that we are to pay our share of the cost of munitions and guns, no investigation can take place regarding the charges made. I quite understand his answer as regards the Imperial part of it, but as regards what is being paid by Canada, does he deny any investigation?

Topic:   J916
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not know that I

am certain of the object of the hon. member for Rouville in rising. In so far as his quotation from the Minister of Finance's answer is concerned, it is exactly as I stated to the House. His object could not have been to correct me in that regard. It is exactly as I stated; we pay in a general way our share of the. expense of maintenance. Then, he says: Now, do you say that because of that there should be no investigation? I never said any such thing. I have only argued that the fact that we pay our share of the maintenance is no argument whatever why we should investigate any more than we should have investigated in 1903. It adds no point whatever to the contention of hon. gentlemen opposite. If they have charges to make as to the conduct of any member of this Government in relation to the Shell Committee, or otherwise these charges will be investigated as they always have been investigated under this Administration. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Pugsley) tried to get the benefit of making charges, but carefully refrained from making any in this House, shielding himself always behind a closing sentence that he was making no charge himself, but that he was only saying what was reported, or stated here, there, or somewhere else.

By the way, the hon. gentleman made one remarkable assertion which I think disclosed the whole purpose of his speech. He emphasized with tremendous force that no commission was going to satisfy his ambition. He did not want any judge invest! gating these things; he has lost confidence in judges. He did not want any judge but he wanted a committee of Parliament. That is the only thing that would satisfy him. He not only said, that but he made the solemn-statement that from the Atlantic to the Pacific they were crying for an investigation by a committee of Parliament.

Then he proceeded to wade through every newspaper that he could get from one end of Canada to the other, especially every Liberal paper, and he hoped by calling his own witnesses for opinions to make a case against the Government, I say now, having read them of every sort and character, that be cannot find in a single quotation from a single paper, Grit or Tory, that he quoted one -demand that there should be an investigation by a committee of Parliament. He has raked the country with a fine tooth comb to support his assertion that he is voicing the indignation of the great Canadian people, and having made his quotations after doing all the raking, he cannot produce a single opinion concurring with his own.

He says that these papers reflect public opinion. We have quite as much respect as the hon. member for St. John for the opinions of the editors of this country, and for, on the whole, their exceedingly patriotic conduct during this struggle; still, it is a notable fact that ajter he got through with each quotation, which almost invariably laid the blame on the manufacturers, he was careful to say that this opinion did not agree with his own at all because in his judgment the manufacturers were all right and the Government all wrong. I do not know whether he was taking a sort of side dig at his rival for supremacy as the ' chief lieutenant of the Liberal party or not, but he was careful to lay bare to the House that the Canada Forging and something Company were ambng the arch middlemen, but when he was chided by the hon. member for Renfrew (Mr. Graham) he became very appreciative indeed of the manufacturers of this country.

At six o'clock, the House took recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock. .

Topic:   J916
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Perhaps the House will bear with me while I make just another brief reference to the attack of the hon. member for. St. John on the Shell Committee. I observe in the body of his address a reference by way of insinuation to an alleged visit of two men, whose names and identity are unknown, to some company whose name and identity is also unknown, representing somebody whose name and identity is also unknown, and asking for a commission of one and a half per cent, on some contracts they hoped to get from the Shell Committee. I observe also that in reference to that very specific and daring

charge of the hon. member for St. John, he comments as follows:

I said a commission of one and a half per cent on the contract price. I do not pretend for a single moment that any of this was to go to the Shell Committee. I do not pretend for a single moment to say that anything was given to any one associated in any way with the Government, or with this House.

In the first place it mystifies me what influence two men, who do not represent the Shell Committee or the Government or any one connected with either, could have in asking for a commission from any firm of contractors. * Upon what ground would they expect their request to be granted? The insinuation answers itself on the face of it. But the reason I refer to it at this moment is this: the hon. member for St. John is asking for an investigation; he would like to get men like this exposed. His regard for purity is so high that he is not satisfied until these men are properly punished. Well, the method of punishing them is open to him. We have on the Statute books of Canada at the present time a law that will come directly down on the heads of men who ask for a secret commission from any firm of contractors. What is our Secret Commissions Act for? It has been on our Statute, books for some time; and if any man claiming to represent any one wants a commission of that kind, he is liable to punishment and imprisonment, and all the hon. member for St. John has to do is to go to this firm of contractors that hopes to get the job, and either do so himself or get one of them to lay a charge against these two individuals, and the prosecution is bound to follow. If then he wants an investigation or punishment, why does he not take this step? I will tell you why he does not. That is not what he wants at all. He wants a select committee of Parliament-presumably selected by himself; at all events if it is not, he will not be satisfied with it-in order that he may have a chance for political pyrotechnics in the House of Commons. That is what animates him in making that reference, the same as in every other.

In the course of his observations he referred to a speech said to have been delivered by myself at Port Arthur or Fort William, in which I made the statement that I knew that excessive prices were being paid for shells. - In the first place, I made no speech at Port Arthur or Fort William.

I do not suppose there was any intention at all on his part to be incorrect there; I think he refers to a speech I made at Portage la

Praiiie; 'but in my speech at Portage la Prairie I made no statement that I knew excessive prices were being paid. What I stated was in answer to a request to speak on a proposition as to war taxes, and I said that I believed there had been some cases of large profits. That is a very different thing from stating that I knew that excessive prices were being paid. It would be utterly inconsistent, upon the principle upon which the Commission acted, namely, that they were compelled to include in the initial prices the cost of machinery, that there would not be cases of large profits. Perhaps the matter was scarcely worth referring to. I want, however, just in closing this phase of the subject, to place upon Hansard the report that men and experts, who were representing the British Government, to which this committee was responsible, have made with regard to that committee. I have already read the verdict of Mr. Thomas. I now propose to put upon Hansard what the second man says. His investigation, of the work of- the committee is a very recent one; his report has been made, and the substance of ,it is embodied in a letter written by the gentleman in question to the Prime Minister of this country. The contents of that letter have been made public. I only make quotations. Mr. Hitchens writes as follows:

The Shell Committee which was appointed in September, 1914, by the Minister of Militia and Defence to deal with the munition orders placed in Canada by the Imperial Government has, I think, met with remarkable success in dealing with a difficult task. In the early days the problem was to persuade manufacturers to undertake the work of making shells, which was quite new to them, and presented formidable difficulties that caused many of the leading firms to hold back. The orders at that time destined -for this country were on a small .scale; there was naturally no assurance of continuity in the work, and the prospects of success were doubtful. The readiness with which the Canadian manufacturers adapted themselves to a new industry is, I think, remarkable, and although, as in England, they have often been unable to live up to their original promises, yet they have nothing to fear from a comparison with the early efforts of firms of the highest standing in England.

Then later on he says:

I should like to take this opportunity to point out, after a careful inquiry into the facts that the Shell Committee has been submitted to much unfair criticism. It was, as I have said, appointed to deal with orders of modest proportions, and from the nature of the case was intended to be educative rather tha'n administrative. It was natural therefore that it should contain an infusion of steel manufacturers whose advice and experience was necessary to the proper development of the new industry. The measure of their success can be gauged

by 4he. remarkable results achieved. The facts speak for themselves. There are now some 320 firms in Canada manufacturing shells of their component parts and in the short space of 14 months the Shell Committee with the active encouragement and support of General Sir Sam Hughes have developed the largest industry in the whole of the Dominion. They have been the means also of bringing into being certain important industries subsidiary to shell-making which will have a permanent effect in developing the resources of the country.

Then he goes on elaborating on the work of the committee, and in closing these are his words: [DOT]

These far reaching arid important results have not been achieved without the most exacting and strenuous labour, which has fallen more particularly upon General Bertram and Colonel Carnegie, and which a single minded enthusiasm for the cause has enabled them to sustain. Perhaps I may be allowed to add that these striking results owe their inception and a large measure of their development to the practical zoaJl and the active encouragement of General Sir Sam Hughes. To conceive a big idea_is hard, but to give effect to it in action demands qualities of a rarer kind. I wish, therefore, to place on record that the shell committee have for the first fourteen months been carrying on a work of the most exacting and strenuous nature, and that they have fulfilled their task well. The changes therefore which are now being made are the logical development of their work-the necessary superstructure upon the foundations laid .by them.

1 wish now, Sir, to refer to another subject, and one with which I am confident I can deal without long engaging the attention of the House. Certain references were made by the hon. member for St. John to what is now popularly named the Davidson Commission, a commission appointed under the Inquiries Act to investigate the letting of war contracts. It will be remembered that the hon. member for St. John made what cannot be described otherwise than as a slighting slur or a savage attack, whichever he intended it, on that commission. It is known to every one that that commission is still in existence, 'and that it has not reported. Neither the evidence nor the report referring to the'purchase of submarines, therefore, has been handed in. It is not desirable, therefore, that I should say anything anticipatory of that report. But it is worth while to bring the attention to the fact that before this commission-constituted of a retired chief justice of the province of Quebec, a man whose reputation from one end of Canada to the other, is not only unblemished but distinguished-has made its report, the hon. member for Carle-ton (Mr. Carvell) in his place in this House denounces it as a whitewashing report.

Topic:   J916
Permalink
LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

He stands by that,

before he knows what the report is. It will be remembered that about a year ago the people were startled-if indeed it is possible any more to startle this country by speeches of the hon. member for St. John-startled by a speech made by that gentleman referring to purchase of submarines immediately before the outbreak of the war on the 4th of August, 1914. At that time, as every one knows, the Government of this country was able to purchase two. submarines completely constructed at Seattle by the Seattle Construction Co., and previously under contract for purchase by the Chilian Government, the price being $1,150,000. It pleased the hon. member for St. John to rise in his place in this House and, in a speech that showed many of the characteristics of the tirade delivered yesterday, to try to embed in the minds of the people of this country the insinuation that there was some graft or something crooked in connection with that purchase. He asked that the matter be investigated. The investigation was put under way, the matter being included in the subjects within the purview of the Davidson Commission. That commission sat in Montreal, it sat in Victoria, and in at least one city south of the line. These sittings, I believe, were held during several months. But from the commencement of those sittings to the end the man who was responsible for the charges that were made and who, if he had been the man that he should have been, would have made it his duty to prove the charges if he could', never showed his face within the walls when the commission was sitting, and never brought a tittle of evidence to prove his charges. He gave no assistance to the commission in any way whatever. And he excuses himself now in Parliament on the ground that in the city of Victoria, some time after this investigation had begun, a solicitor of that city named Taylor had applied to His Lordship Chief Justice Davidson for permission to appear and cross-examine witnesses on behalf of the Provincial Liberal party of British Columbia, which permission, as I stated in the midst of the speech of the hon. member for St. John yesterday, was denied.

In the first place, every one knows that under the constitution of that commission, under the Inquiries Act, the commissioner is himself representative of the people of this country. It is his business to make an investigation on behalf not of the Conservative party but of all the people of Canada. In that duty he was assisted by Mr. John Thompson, K.C., of the city of

Ottawa, a son of a former Prime Minister of this country. The duty of Mr. Thompson, as the duty of the Commissioner, was, not to represent a mere political party, but to investigate anything within the purview of the. commission brought before its attention for investigation, and investigate it to the bottom, on behalf of the Canadian people. Mr. Thompson represented the Liberal party as he represented the Conservative party-or rather he represented neither but represented the whole people of Canada apart from all political parties. Therefore, the commissioner took the view that if Mr. Taylor were allowed to represent the Liberal party before the Commission he would infringe upon the duties assigned to Mr. Thompson. Let me draw the attention of the House to the clause of the Act referring to this matter. I should not have to do that, for the wording of the Act is as well known to the hon. member for St. John as it is to me. The hon. member knows well that under that Act it was no part of fhe duty of the Commission to allow, any attorney to take part in its proceedings except- the attorney representing the people, as Mr. Thompson did, or the attorney representing any person charged with an offence. The Act is clear and precise in its terms in that regard. Here is the clause:

The commissioners may allow any person whose conduct is being investigated under this Act, and shall' allow any person against whom any charge is made in the course of such investigation, to be represented by counsel.

These are the limits of the powers of'the Commission, and acting within these limits His Lordship Chief Justice Davidson felt that he was bound to refuse the application of Mr. Taylor.

Now, is Commissioner Sir Charles Davidson to be subjected to attack in this House because he acted within the limits of- his powers? Is he, because he gave effect to the law, to be attacked in this House? We remember that the conduct of Sir Charles Davidson in this inquiry has met the approval not only of Conservative^ but of Liberals as well. Sir Charles Davidson has not been criticised by any responsible Liberal paper in Canada, but on the contrary they have commended his non-partisan impartiality.

The hon. member for St. John chooses to characterize that investigation as shallow; he chooses to attack not only the commissioner, but Mr. Thompson, K.C., as well. He says of that honoured counsel-who has

given his services free to the people of Canada-that he did not know enough to ask questions that would have 'appealed to a mere student-at-law. Those are the references of the hon. member for St. John to these two gentlemen. Let me, on the other hand, point the hon. member for St. John to the opinion expressed not by the Conservative journals but by tha Liberal journals of this country. I refer particularly to that journal which, at all events outside the city of Ottawa, is the most outstanding Liberal organ in Canada, the Toronto Globe. Here is what the Toronto Globe says of the work of Sir Charles Davidson, who is denounced by the hon. member for Carleton as a whitewasher, and who is blackwashed-in the words of the Free Press-hy the hon. member for St. John. I quote from .an editorial in the issue of the Globe of Nov. 30 last:

To-morrow morning, at the Toronto City Hall, Sir Charles Davidson, as Commissioner by appointment of the Dominion Government, will continue his investigation of such charges of wrongdoing in the procuring of military supplies as may be brought to his attention. There can be no fault found with the way in which Sir Charles has discharged his by no means pleasant duty for several months past. He has been fair to leniency with every accused vendor or go-between brought before him, but he has also displayed the keen insight of a trained jurist and the moral courage of a stern judge in exposing actual wrong-doing and reprobating deliberately fraudulent conspirators.

If he has done that, wherein has he offended?

That none of those so condemned have yet been sent to jail is not his fault. In his work he has had valuable professional aid from the Government counsel, Mr. Thompson-

The gentleman who, in the opinion of the hon. member for St. John, has not the knowledge of a schoolboy in law.

-Mr. Thompson, whose duties are just as onerous and as important as those of the Commissioner.

And they proceed to urge that certain war contracts should be investigated by that commission. Those who were present at the investigation were quite sure that they were sifted to the bottom, much to the discomfiture of the men who made the charge.

In a later issue, that of December 4 last, after the investigation at Toronto bad been concluded, the Globe comes forward with words of approbation for Sir Charles Davidson. They have evidently been reading some journals which, in language as indefinite and vague as in many cases it was meaningless, complained about the country reeking with scandal, and about the blush of shame being on this man and on that, just as did the hon. member for Sts John. Here is what the Glebe says-and I commend this very good advice to the hon. member for St. John himself. The Globe makes reference not to the Shell Committee, but to other war contracts made out of the money of the Canadian people 5

There should be, and we have no doubt there will be, Government investigation of the matter, and there should be retroactive legislation which will enable the Government to confiscate any proven undue profits. Meanwhile, to a number of Liberal newspapers which harp on the subject and claim to have exact knowledge, we may point out that the Davidson Commission exists for the purpose of investigating all war contracts, and that any private individual can place charges before the Commission and have them examined without cost to himself. There will probably be Government investigation; but if any of our newspaper friends are impatient or dubious, and know what they say they do, they don't need to wait for Government action.

In substantiation, or in supposed substantiation, of his attack upon the Davidson Commission, the hon. member for St. John made use of the following language in his speech of the 18th instant and I am compelled to put practically all of it on Hansard. He passes from one subject to another, expressing at first his surprise and then his amazement that there had been no inquiry into this subject and into that subject, naming them one after the othej. I am going to name these subjects, and I am going to refer to the evidence and to ask the House to come to a conclusion as to whether the hon. member for St. John is now the only one who should express amazement. The hon. member (Mr. Pugsley) said:

I watched with considerable interest the newspapers in Vancouver when I happened to be there for a day or two, to see whether it would occur to the gentleman who represented this Conservative Government, the Government with which Sir Richard McBride is, or was, so closely allied before a certain event took place; I watched to see whether any question would be asked of Mr. Logan as to how it was that he had carried on the negotiation for the purchase of submarines for a fortnight and yet did not know what the price was to be, and why he simply whistled over the telephone when he found that the enormous price of $1,150,000 was named.

Will it surprise the House first to learn that the evidence clearly shows that Mr. Logan did not carry on any negotiations for a fortnight, or anything of the kind? Will it surprise the House, in the next place to find from the evidence that Mr. Logan had been asked, and asked repeated-

ly, the very question which the hon. member for St. John complains that he had never been asked? I am sorry to have to delay the House with what must be a rather dull proceeding, but I cannot make the reply that should be made to the hon. member without doing so. I quote from the evidence. I am informed that the evidence has been handed to the Opposition'- at all events to the leader of the Opposition-and, consequently should be at the disposal of his followers in the same way as it was at mine, which was only yesterday.. Mr. Logan tells about sitting in a club in the city of Victoria when there were some gentlemen present, including Mr. Paterson, who had been the engineer or president of the Seattle Construction Company, which had been engaged in the actual work of constructing the submarines. Mr. Logan was asked:

Q. Try to recollect, please, who else was present?-A. I cannot say, I think H. B. Thompson was there, the Lieutenant Governor J. V. Paterson, I. W. Paterson, Mr. Harry Bullen, and myself. Paterson mentioned incidentally that he had a pair of submarines that we could get if we wanted, but there was not much said about it. Then later on

Q. Did you ask him the price?-A. No, I did not say anything at all about it.

Q. Did anybody ask him the price?-A. No.

Q. Are you quite sure?-A. Yes.

Q. Paterson said somebody asked him the price and he did not know?-A. I did not ask him; somebody may have said something about it, but i did not hear.

Q. Were you not curious to know the price? -A. No.

Q. Not in any way?-A. No.

Q. Although you had been talking about submarines?-A. We were only talking generally on these vessels, they are out of my line. X am in the merchant service.

Q. Yes, but you had a conversation with Paterson, when we were evidently on the break of war, and as I understand it you were discussing submarines?-A. We were discussing the probability of the war, not the submarines.

Q. And Paterson said he had two submarines? -A. He said he had a couple of submarines which Canada could have if they wanted to.

Q. You do not recollect anybody asking what the price was?-A. No, I do not recollect that at all. On the Sunday, just preceding the fourth of August, I think it was the second of August,

I was sitting in my house when I got a telephone message from a man named Kay.

Now it is clear that all he had known of the matter up to this point was that some time before, in a club in Victoria, he had heard Mr. Paterson say to a number of friends around the table that there were two submarines there that ' the country could secure, and that, not being an expert in this line or knowing anything about it, he had made no inquiry about the price.

He was asked repeatedly about it, and in every case the answer was that as he knew nothing about the price he made no inquiry. The next thing he knew about it was on the Sunday before the declaration of war, when he was called upon at his house by a telephone message from Mr. Kay. Hfe states that he did not know Kay, but that Kay had been in the court room, and he was asked to say what took place.

Q. Is he here to-day?-A. I do not know, there will be some one present in the Court who knows him.

Q. Well proceed.-A That man telephoned to me and asked me if I didn't think we should form a citizens' committee to wait upon Sir Richard McBride and urge on him to buy a battleship in Valparaiso from Chile, and I told him I thought the idea was absurd. When I got down to my office the next morning, I telephoned over to Sir Richard McBride and tol'd him about these two submarines.

That was on the Sunday before the declaration of war. All that had occurred before that was simply a club conversation, at which Paterson suggested that there were these submarines down there which might be obtained. Then he goes on and tells about the proceedings that followed:

Q. With whom did you return?-A. With Mr. Barnard and the Hon. Mr. Burrell. We had a meeting in the Premier's office just about lunch time, and Mr. Bowser was there and I think Mr. Ross.

Q. What Mr. Ross?-A. The Hon. Mr. Ross, one of the provincial ministers. At that meeting I was asked if I knew the price of these submarines, and I told them I did not, and I was urged to give an idea of the cost of these boats and I said: as to cost I would say $375,000 each, but I had absolutely no knowledge of the cost of submarines, and I made that very clear at the time.

But still the hon. gentleman says that no reason at all was given why this man did not know the cost of submarines until he was later told by Mr. Paterson over the telephone:

Q. Why did you talk of $375,000 apiece?- A. Because I knew that was about the cost of a destroyer, but I had no knowledge at all of the cost of a submarine.

What better reason a man could give, 1 am at a loss to understand. Then he tells about going down to the naval yard at Esquimalt with Mr. Burrell and Lieut. Pilcher:

We discussed the question of submarines being required. It became apparent that they were required and the question of price again cropped up.

Q. How did it crop up?-A. I think Mr. Burrell or Lieut. Pilcher, I am not sure which asked me, but anyway I know it did crop up, and I telephoned from that office to Mr. Paterson to ask him the price of these boats.

and that is when Patterson replied and stated the price at just the price which was paid, which was adhered to from beginning to end, $1,150,000. That does appear to be something of an answer to the allegation of the hon. member for St. John, that no questions were asked as to why this man, who, he said, had been conducting negotiations for two weeks, did not know what the price was until the last.

Then what is the next complaint?

I was struck with amazement to find that when Mr. Paterson, the man who had been in Seattle when the submarines were tested, and when the experts of the Chilian Government refused to accept them-I was struck with amazement to find that he was not asked as to the nature of the test, or as to how the submarines acted under the test.

It will be no surprise to the House to learn, and I will substantiate it from the evidence, that Paterson was asked as to the test and gave his evidence as to the test and how the submarines acted under it. Inquiry was made, most prolonged inquiry. This thing was investigated from place to place, and witness after witness, every witness I should think the wit of man could call to mind, was examined fully on all these points. I quote from the evidence.

Q. Had any asserted inefficiency of these vessels anything to do with the non-possessioii of them by Chili?

Perhaps, to make this clear, I had better review this phase of the subject. The Chilian Government had defaulted in their contract to purchase the submarines at $818,000, and the commissioner was trying to ascertain the reason of the default. It was shown that they were about $150,000 behind and had made some complaint, through their engineers, that the vessels were deficient in buoyancy which, if I understand rightly from the evidence, is * the power of the vessel to speedily come to the surface after being submerged; and the commissioner was endeavouring, and endeavoured through page after page, to ascertain whether or not there was ground of complaint on the part of the Chilian Government as to this buoyancy, and whether or not that was the real cause of their not taking up their contract and, therefore, whether or not they were willingly relieved of the contract and glad to get their money back. Mr. Paterson, in that connection, gave this evidence.

Q. Had any asserted inefficiency of these vessels anything to do with their non-possession by Chili?-A. No.

Sir Charles Davidson: In no sense whatever? -A. I do not know what you mean by " in no

sense." What I mean is this. It is the same thing as if you were to take the Princess Charlotte there on a draft of water* to carry 1,000 tons and the owners came to a clause in the contract which said they were to carry stores for two months, and they said stores for two months amount to five thousand tons, and you will have to put on five thousand tons. The Chilian Government said that stores for two months amounted to so many tons.

Sir Charles Davidson: Do you mean actually that number of tons?

The Witness: No, that is merely by way of illustration, they put the weight on corresponding to that amount and they said: " Run your trial trips," and they ran their trial trips and they dived and performed it, but they did not come up with the speed that they should have come up and they did not perform their function with the speed that they would have performed it in had they been in a fighting condition.

Sir Charles Davidson: Was it in consequence of that that they refused them?

The Witness: No. They would have taken them anyway, they would gladly have taken them if they could pay them. But that was their official protection against our enforcing the contract which would have made them pay, and by the by, with regard to the price of these boats-

And so on. He goes on talking about the price and how cheap they were. So he was there stating what the real kernel of the difficulty appeared to be, namely that the Chilian Government interpreted the contract as involving enough stores to run the boats for two months, and that with such stores on board, as he explained more fully later on, the boats did not come to the surface with the buoyancy desired; but that no such stores as that would be loaded on for the purposes of battle for which they were intended. There was no difficulty or complaint as to the buoyancy at all.

Topic:   J916
Permalink
LIB

Frederick Forsyth Pardee

Liberal

Mr. PARDEE:

As I understand they had paid for the boats to within $130,000 of the purchase price. [DOT]

Topic:   J916
Permalink
CON
LIB

Frederick Forsyth Pardee

Liberal

Mr. PARDEE:

Progress estimates had been paid up to $130,000, so that was all that the Chilian Government defaulted upon.

Topic:   J916
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is stated in the

evidence $150,000, but it was in that neighbourhood. Just in that connection it is remarkable that the hon. member for Lamb-ton knows just how much the Chilian Government had paid.

Topic:   J916
Permalink
LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Not yet; why does he

know? Because the evidence was given. If the hon. member for Lambton had heard the hon. member for St. John yesterday he

would have known that that hon. member said that nothing was asked as to what the Chilian Government paid.

Then the examination of Paterson goes on:

Mr. Thompson: There is a letter from J. W. Paterson addressed to Sir Richard McBride, and printed at pages 21, 22 and 23 of this blue book. This is what Mr. Paterson says:

It is untrue that the boats are in any way less efficient than their design provided for. It is true the Chilian commission reported the boats as not satisfactory, but that does net mean what Mr. Pugsley tried to show. It really means that the boats, loaded with a quantity of stores and provisions far beyond what they were designed for or could reasonably be expected to carry in war service, did not function so rapidly as in the fighting condition -for which they were designed.

It is true that the contract with the contractors gave the Chilians the right to load the vessels in this way, but that is the fault of the terms of the contract and not the defect of the boats as fighting submarines, and it was for fighting that I sold the vessels and you bought them to fight, and not to carry cargoes of provisions.

Topic:   J916
Permalink
LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My hon. friend poses as an expert on submarines. I do not suppose he knows that experts were called upon to examine the submarines and that every expert, without a single exception, pronounced them to be efficient in every respect.

Topic:   J916
Permalink
LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. gentleman will have a chance to speak, but 1 say that there was not a witness whose evidence I have read but says- '

Topic:   J916
Permalink
LIB

January 20, 1916