May 11, 1917


On the Orders of the Day:


The Rt Hon. S@

Mr. Speaker, I think it

might be well to make a short statement as to the arrangements that have been made for to-morrow. The hour at which our guests will be here is not exactly known, but the House will go into session at twelve o'clock, and. I suppose they will be here at that hour. On the arrival of the train I should

like to have at the station the member? of the Cabinet, and members of the Privy Council who have been memibeTS of preceding Cabinets, to informally meet the guests. They might put on their top hats and look as well as they possibly can. I am making that intimation for members of the Privy Council who do not belong to the present Government. From the station the guests and others will come directly to the House of Commons. M. Viviani will be given a seat at the side of Mr. Speaker, and the members of the House and senators are requested to fill up the first seats and to raise no objection to those who are not members of Parliament occupying the remaining seats and the galleries. Admission will be by special card. All members of Parliament and their wives and-I was going to say daughters, but I hope not many daughters^-all members of Parliament with their wives and daughters will receive cards. The purpose is that we shall make ourselves the hosts of the distinguished guests and make it possible for as many representatives as possible to have an opportunity of being here and hearing the address that will be delivered. That will require a little - selfdenial on the part of members of Parliament, which I hope they will practise. After the speech, I propose to make a motion that the speech that is delivered by M. Vivian! be printed in our Hansard, to become a part of our permanent record. I shall astk my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Lanrier) to second the motion in that respect. Whatever I may do myself, I shall hope that my right hon. friend will make some remarks appreciatory of the distinction conferred upon us by the visit of our distinguished guests. After that the members of Parliament and those who have admission to the House will be asked to file in at the right, and to file out at the left of Mr. Speaker, and Mr. Speaker will present all to our guest. I omitted to state that Mr. Speaker, if he will be kind enough, will tender an address of welcome to M. Viviani.

The tickets will be delivered to the members and to the invited guests, and we will see that they are properly distributed. After that, I suppose I might say, the Governor General will have the visitors to luncheon, and if there is any time left we shall try to show them the beauties of Ottawa, both the beauties which at present exist and are visible, and as our guests are men of some imagination, we will try to stimulate that faculty to take a still greater and larger


view of what the future possibilities of our capital are. I think that takes in the whole of the programme as arranged.


George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)


They will be

given tickets, as admission will be by card. We will send them cards.




On the Orders of the Day:


Joseph Hormisdas Rainville (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. J. H. Rainville):

Just before the adjournment

of the last sitting of the House the hon. member for Huntingdon (Mr. Robb) moved a second amendment to the motion "That the Speaker do now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Ways and Means." A previous amendment having just been negatived, I find from a careful study of the authorities that this amendment was irregular and should have been declared out of order. The rule as laid down by Bonrinot and May makes this abundantly clear. I quote from Bourinot, pages 419-420:

"Only one amendment can be moved to the question, 'That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair'. If that amendment is negatived, a discussion on other questions may he raised but no other motion can be proposed. If the amendment is withdrawn, however, another amendment can be at once submitted to the Hous?e."

And also from May, 11th Ed., page 610, as fallows:

"When an amendment to the question for the Speaker's leaving the chair has been negatived, as it has been decided that the words proposed to he left out shall stand part of the question, no further amendment can be moved thereto; though, general debate on the main question can he maintained by those members who have not moved or seconded an amendment thereto, or spoken on the main question before an amendment was moved; and if an amendment be withdrawn, members who have spoken to the amendment, may speak again after another amendment has been proposed."

Accordingly, the main motion is the only question now before the House and may be debated, but no further amendment may be moved. [DOT]

I therefore declare the amendment of the hon. member for Huntingdon out of order.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.


On the Orders of the Day: Mr. 0. TURGEON (Gloucester, N.B.): I wish to call the attention of the Acting

Minister of Marine to' a serious condition which threatens the fishing industry in the county of Gloucester, owing to a salt famine. Until lately our fish dealers were under the impression that they could possibly secure contracts for vessels to bring salt across the ocean, but lately they have been advised of the impossibility of securing such contracts. The hon. member for Guysborough (Mr. Sinclair), a few days ago, called the attention of the House to the same subject with reference to the province of Nova Scotia. I wish to add that northern New Brunswick is practically in the same condition. As to the scarcity of tonnage, I might make the suggestion to the department that last fall the French Government had to allow a large cargo of lumber to remain in Bathurst, as they could not get the necessary steamer there in time, and I am under the impression that the cargo is still there. A vessel bringing salt from France to Garaquet could take back that cargo of lumber from Bathurst. An arrangement might be made between the two Governments so that when the transport for the French Government comes for that lumber it might bring a quantity of salt which would be sufficient for all Caraquet and northern New Brunswick.


George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)


The matter has engaged the attention of the department for some months and the British Admiralty is quite willing that transports coming to Atlantic boards-if the loading point of the salt is reasonably near and the loading does not cause too much delay-should carry salt to the ports to which they come, charging for it a reasonable rate. I have no doubt that the French Government would be ready to do the same thing with its transports. But my hon. friend will see that the time of these transports cannot be taken up making long voyages in order to get some salt. .


Onésiphore Turgeon



So far as the Caraquet district is concerned, very little loss of time would be involved, as boats from Caraquet could go on to Bathurst for that cargo of salt.



On the Orders of the Day:


Rodolphe Lemieux



I have been requested by certain consumers in Ottawa to ask the Government if they are aware that coal is being sold to-day in Ottawa at between $9 and $10 a ton, whilst it has been established by the Federal

IMr. Turgeon.]

Trade Commission at Washington that coal at the mine is delivered at $3.60 and $4 a ton. It is true that transportation possibly might affect the price to some extent, but it seems to me that it should not to that degree. Would my right hon. friend inquire as to this, and ascertain if relief can be expected?

Sir- GEORGE FOSTER: Yes, I shall

make a note of that.



Mr. E. M. MACDONALD (Piotou) asked for leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the menace to the national interest by the submarine campaign and the necessity of meeting it, and what Canada should do to deal with the situation. And leave having been granted.


Edward Mortimer Macdonald



I have no apology to make to the House for asking the members of this House to consider for a few moments the position which Canada should take with reference to this great national menace, a menace to the whole Empire and to all our Allies in the war. The situation on land has been of the most encouraging nature so far as our plans are concerned, and the brilliant results which have followed'the attacks under General Haig by our men in France have created a position there so menacing to the Germans that during the last few months they have decided to resort to the use of submarines in a ruthless manner in order to cut off food and other supplies, which would go to Great Britain and the Allies from the sister nations on this side of the water. This menace has reached a very serious stage. The development of the U boats by expert German scientists reached a point not thought of before the war, indeed hardly conceived of up to a very late period. A few years ago it was thought to be an impossibility that submarines competent to cross the Atlantic could be constructed; yet last year the Deutschland, a submarine built on commercial lines for the purpose of carrying *supplies, more than once reached the United States then a neutral nation. Last October, when the weather permitted these long voyages of submarines, we had news of their sinking various vessels including, *several British bottoms, off the American coast in the north Atlantic. In the seas surrounding Great Britain, the extent of

the baneful operations of the submarines during the past few months has been serious indeed. It has interfered with the avenues for the transport of men and supplies from Canada to the Motherland, and an addition it has created such a feeling of apprehension in Great Britain, that the Homeland has come to look with expectancy to the possibility of producing within her own borders the food and other supplies necessary to sustain her people should the blockade necessitate this- I have therefore no apology to make for calling the attention of the House to the situation, and to wihat Canada ought to do in the premises. Only this week, on Tuesday, the matter was discussed in the Imperial House of Commons, and the task which was laid upon the Lords of the Admiralty in dealing with this problem, together with aU the means that might be put into effect by the nation herself for the purpose of meeting this menace, were fully considered. When we realize the extent of the U boat depredations, as we can from looking at the latest figures, we begin to grasp the exceeding importance of the question. I have before me the latest report of the submarine situation which says:

The German submarines succeeded in destroying a larger number of fishing vessels last week than has been reported for several weeks past.

Vessels of nationalities: Arrivals, 2,374;

sailings, 2,499.

British merchantmen over 1,600 tons sunk, including five not reported previously, 24 ; under 1,600 tons, 22.

British merchantmen unsuccessfully attacked, including six previously not reported, 34.

British fishers sunk, including one not previously reported and thirteen sailers, 16.

In addition to the British vessels reported by the Admiralty to have been sunk by submarines or mines, fifteen British ships had been reported overdue since January 1 and no information had been obtained in regard to them. It was impossible to say how many of these were marine casualties and how many represented losses inflicted by the enemy.

Further information as to the extent of the submarine menace comes from the United States. The attention of the Government of our great sister nation of the Anglo-Saxon race has been directed to this matter by the delegates from England and France, one of whom we are to have the honour and privilege of entertaining to-morrow. Mr. Denman, chairman of the Shipping Board of the United States, in announcing the Government's programme for exercising more direct control of shipping and shipbuilding facilities, said that estimates had reached the board showing that 300,000 tons

of shipping were sunk in one week. He goes on to say:

The present world's ship tonnage is estimated at less than 50,000,060 tons. In 1916 the entire loss in tonnage due to war causes was put at a little more than 2,00 0,0-00 tons, or some 162,000 tons a month. At present the Germans are sinking considerably more than that each week.

In other words, while 160,000 tons a month was the extent of the loss due to submarine depredations last year, that amount of tonnage is lost in one week under present conditions. Speaking in the British House of Commons the other day, when the matter was fully discussed, Mr. Macnamara, speaking for the Admiralty, said:

It was not in the public interest to disclose what proportion of vessels sunk had been armed. He said, however, that merchant vessels were being armed as rapidly as possible. All possible steps were being taken by the Admiralty, Mr. Macnamara continued, to accelerate the entry of the foodships into port. He regretted that the resources at the disposal of the navy did not permit of an individual escort for every vessel conveying foodstuffs, but said the Admiralty had done everything which was possible and practicable to protect them.

It will be noted from Mr. Macnamara's statement that additional injury is liable to be inflicted on Great Britain as a result of the submarine menace because of the withdrawal from the North Sea and the English Channel of vessels, for the purpose of protecting ships that are sailing on the North Atlantic with food and with men. The withdrawal of these vessels from the immediate scene of action, where their presence is required in order to keep the Germans confined within the Kiel canal, will impair the efficiency of the North Sea fleet, possibly give the Germans an advantage which they do not now possess, and, to some extent, release them from the blockade that is being maintained against them.

That this condition is of a most serious character is evidenced by the utterances of American public men, who are acting in consequence, no doubt, on information imparted by Mr. Balfour and M. Viviani. For instance, so conservative an American public man as Mr. Lansing, United States Secretary of State, made this statement as published in the press:

There is no use of our closing our eyes to the fact that the situation is very serious.

Secretary Lansing in a statement during the day declared that the seriousness of the submarine situation could not be exaggerated, and that it was time the country awoke to the facts. Reports to the State Department give

Indeed, it is a common belief that along the little frequented shores of Maryland, north of Norfolk and Newport news, during the past year there has been established a German base for submarines. If it is possible to conceive of such a thing being so along the coast of the United States as far south as eastern Maryland, When w'e come to think of the conditions that apply on the coast of Labrador or the coast of Newfoundland, any one who has had an opportunity of visiting those coasts will readily realise that there would be no difficulty whatever in establishing such a base unless the greatest possible precautions were taken against it.

It will be noted from the remarks which I have read and the statements which have been made, that the Germans look forward to summer weather conditions to render it more easy and possible for submarines to operate. We can therefore look forward to the possibility or probability of German submarines coming across; and if in addition to the menace to the transportation of men and supplies across to Great Britain, we have the possibility of an attack upon our own shores, the necessity of Canadians wakening up to the situation becomes all the more apparent. The very latest papers intimate that steamers arriving at New York report that a submarine has been sighted 300 miles west of that part of the ocean which is considered the danger zone on the other side, so that German submarines may be working towards this side already. What has been the condition of affairs in the past in regard to that? Some of our transports, in leaving our Canadian shores and going across to the other side, have relied upon their speed. The magnificent work done by the great steamer is a matter of common knowledge, and the tremendous service she has rendered in taking men across from this side to Great Britain has been largely due to her great speed, which has carried her from the coast of North America as far as the danger zone on the other side where an escort awaits her. There have been times since the war began when the chief vessels in control of our defences were the Australian ships the Sydney and the Australia. I think there is no manner of doubt that at this moment Canada's defence upon the sea is being carried on by American torpedo boat destroyers. Years ago we used to discuss here in an academic way the Monroe doctrine, but now without any talk about the Monroe doctrine our neighbours to the south [Mr. Macdonald. J

are giving us the protection of their cruisers.

What should we do in this regard? I have submitted questions to the Government with regard to the establishing of a naval aeroplane station on the Atlantic coast, and I gather from the answers that have been given that they have considered this proposal and turned it down. I submit that it is the imperative duty of the Government to proceed first to establish a naval aeroplane station in eastern Nova Scotia, with auxiliary stations in Newfoundland and in the province of Prince Edward Island. This is a matter about which there is no reason for secrecy; we should look the facts in the face and discuss them in the frankest possible way. The United States had no secrecy or misgivings when they were considering what ought to be done. It is all very well for us to have an aeroplane training school in Toronto and other places in Canada, but I submit that in view of the dangers that I have indicated as likely to come from the sea, and in view of the fact that a similar course of defence has been adopted by Great Britain and all the other nations, an aeroplane station should be established somewhere along our coast at a point to be decided upon by the proper investigating authorities, with auxiliary bases in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

If we had such a station the airships would be able to ascertain whether there was a possible base for German submarines along the Newfoundland coast or elsewhere, and would be able to supply very valuable information as to the approach of vessels of different kinds. They could also be used for the observation of submarines possibly in Cabot Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and could work in conjunction with the vessels from Great Britain and the United States and other countries that are looking after our defence.

It may be that there are reasons that I cannot conceive of which have led the Government to believe it would not be prudent to establish such -an aeroplane station, but I submit that if there is to be any attempt whatever by Canada to look after her own defence this is a preliminary step which ought to be taken, and should not on any account be disregarded.

There is also the matter of ship construction. From the information I have been able to gather from answers to questions in the House and from statements that have been made by hon. gentlemen opposite, I understand that the Imperial Munitions

Board is making expenditures in this country for the building of vessels for the Imperial Government. I assume that these vessels are not for the Government of Canada, . because, as we have been reminded more than once in this House, the Imperial Munitions Board is not a Canadian institution per se, and owes no duty and is not responsible to the Canadian Government. If the Canadian Government are going to take any steps to laplace the tonnage that is being sunk day by day I assume they would do it through the regular and natural channel, and that they have not done this I gather from the fact that the Minister of Finance, in answer to a question from myself only a few days ago, said the matter of giving aid to shipbuilding was under consideration.

I could give the House statistics, if it were necessary, to show the absolute necessity of providing ships, firstly, for purposes of defence, and secondly, for the building up of a merchant marine in this country, and to replace the tonnage that is being destroyed in the fleets of our Allies who . have been doing our carrying trade during the last two or three years. I do not think any one will doubt the need for ships in view of the feverish energy with which Great Britain is turning out vessels from every possible shipyard; and then we have also the wonderful spectacle of the great American people being so impressed with the need for ships that three weeks after joining the Allies they are prepared to spend the enormous sum of one billion dollars to provide the ships so urgently required. Not only that, but President Wilson in his statement to Congress the other day announced that by agreement with the British Government they were taking over the contracts for the ships that were being built in the United States, and that whereas there had only been one shift of men per day, there would now be three, so that the work could proceed without a moment's ' delay. In addition to that, the President asked Congress for plenary powers to enable the Government to take over existing shipyards so that every nerve might be strained to attain the desired results. I submit that this is a matter that should not rest under the consideration of the Government for one moment longer. The question of what Canada should do in regard to shipbuilding has been discussed in this House several times both last session and this. Without any encouragement from the Government

we find that men have gone along by themselves and engaged in the building of ships in different parts of Canada, in Nova Scotia, for instance, and on the Great Lakes and in British Columbia. We have not been yet able to produce in Canada the steel plates that are required in the building of steel vessels, although in almost every other avenue of steel production Canada is on a par with any other nation. But we have not a mill in operation in this country capable of turning out the necessary steel plates for steel ships, and we have had to get them from the United States or anywhere else where they could be obtained. Vessels of three thousand and four thousand tons are now in course of construction in my own province; some of them will be launched in the next two months, some indeed have already been completed, and all this has been done by private enterprise without aid or encouragement of any kind from the Government. It seems to me that it is time for the Government to do something, and there are two classes of ships to which the Government should devote its attention. The first is made up of such ships as are necessary for the immediate defence of Canada working in conjunction with the Mother Country. We have two submarines on the Pacific coast. For the time being, the necessity for their operation has fortunately gone. Down in Montreal, in the Vickers-Maxim >

oncern, they are producing submarines. They produced some of them last year, and these were seen by those of ns who live at the gateway of the Dominion in the Maritime Provinces, making their way out as though to cross the ocean, and no doubt to-day they form part of the defences of the Mother Country. Why do. we not produce more submarines in the Vickers-Maxim works? Why did not the Government act long ago, when the subject was urged upon them, instead of sitting supinely? We can build destroyers. There is no .magic about the construction of a steel ship. Any hon- gentleman who has looked into this matter knows that we have the artisans here, and that the conditions exist in Canada under which these vessels can be constructed. We should be constructing them, so that we may provide for our own defence and also make ourselves real auxiliaries upon the seas to the Mother Country and the United States and all the Allies. This has been urged upon hon. gentlemen opposite, and I urge it now once moT6- in the strongest way I can.

It is said, we have no plate mills in Canada. Why, then, should not we provide conditions under which a plate mill might, ibe started? You may say, it will take six months before a pliate mill can be put into operation? Suppose that to be true, what then? The thoughtful man, he who has looked ahead in regard to the conditions under which Canada may help the .Mother Country in this great struggle, and may play her part for freedom and right, has found his every proposal since the war began met in this same way. And so, we have done nothing in these things. If we -had moved last year we could have had an ample supply of submarines for our protection, and we could have produced destroyers besides. Last year, there was no difficulty about getting plates from the United States. Even now it is open to hon- gentlemen opposite, if they worked in conjunction with the United States Government, to ask for a supply of plates from mills which are practically under their control. Bringing those plates to Canada an industry can be initiated which will assist us in the protection of our own country jand will enable us the better to play our part in the war.

Then, over and above this question of dedefence upon the sea are we not to use some part of the vast expenditure we are making in connection with this war for replacement of the vessels lost to out mer-

4 p.m. chant marine? Our merchant marine has not been so great that we can afford to lose any of its numbers; it is not greatly to our honour that the transportation of our products across the seas has been for years largely in the hands of Norwegians. We have in a most liberal manner provided for the transportation by land of the products of our country including those of our wonderful West. But a strange blindness seems to have fallen upon us in regard to future conditions. We have three transcontinental railways, over which we bring down our products to our ports on the Atlantic and on the Pacific, and yet we are dependent upon, and seem content to be dependent for all time upon, other nations for the carrying of these products upon the sea. And, if the destruction of our merchant marine that goes on to-day is maintained for any considerable length of time, in addition to danger that we shall be unable to find means of transportation for the food supplies needed by those at the seat of war, there will be very serious effects in lowering the ex.por-

tation of the products which it is necessary that we .should dispose of in the world's markets in order to maintain the economic strength of the country which is essential in view of the great obligations we have assumed.

I would like the Minister of Trade and Commerce to tell me why we cannot do that which Great Britain has done, is doing, and is going to do. I would like him to tell me why we cannot do what the United States has done, is doing, and is going to do. Has the genius of the people down by the sea from which my right hon. friend ('Sir George Foster) himself has sprung, completely gone so that the young men are no longer to look forward to a career upon the sea in vessels constructed upon Canadian soil? It seeihs to me that cannot be so. We should do what other nations are doing, having regard to our financial capacity having regard to the obligations we have assumed, and having regard to the duty that rests upon us to relieve Great Britain, as far .as we can of the necessity of the defence of Canada. Why should it be necessary for Great Britain to take from the North Sea a single destroyer or cruiser and send her to this side escorting the transports containing our men, or the supplies that we send across the Atlantic? We should have thought of this, we should have prepared for it. I engage in no recrimination as to the mistakes of the past; I do not wish to discuss the question from that standpoint, but only from the standpoint of the serious duty that is thrown upon us as Canadians to play our part now, even if we failed to play it before. Had we started a year ago, we should not now be worrying about the submarines being dangerous. We should not now, as a proud nation, be awaiting word of what course the United States intends to take in these matters. We are glad of their noble and generous assistance in this war; but the spirit of our people calls for leadership here, calls for a clear conception of our own duty, and demands that there should be no further delay in taking such action as will provide for our own defence, and will also supply the deficiencies in our merchant marine caused by the sinking every day of some of our ships. I submit that the great danger that threatens our nation, and through us the cause of the Allies, calls upon us imperatively to act now, if we have not acted before. It is not too late to begin. The Government should outline a programme of a generous char-

acter which would enable us, first, to produce steel plates in Canada. Pending their production, and so as to avoid even short delay, plates should be brought from the United States. We should proceed immediately with the construction of smaller vessels of the trawler type, which are said to be of the greatest possible assistance to the navy-"the eyes of the navy" they are called. We should build the submarines for the defence of Canada on the Atlantic coast. We should proceed with the construction of torpedo boat destroyers. We should provide for the manufacture on our eastern sea-coast of naval aeroplanes, which would enable us to use for our own protection that wonderful new discovery. We should have a comprehensive scheme to make up for losses in our merchant marine, and to lay the foundation of a merchant marine suitable for our future needs. These things seem to be lessons that one naturally and apparently draws from noting the conditions that exist in other parts of the Empire. Shall the Government act? The duty seems to me to be one which they cannot escape. I believe that they must have appreciated that they should have acted a year ago, or should have acted long before that. Notwithstanding that, let us act now; let us act boldly and promptly, let us act in such a way that it will be said of us that we have at last attempted to fulfil our duty to the great cause with which we are associated in the face of this menace which threatens us and all the allied nations.


May 11, 1917