May 26, 1919

UNION

Peter Francis Martin

Unionist

Mr. MARTIN:

Is it true that the department purchased at a cost of $70,000 or $80,000 a steamer to take the place of the pilot boats at Halifax, but that she was found cumbersome and the pilots had to take to the pilot boats again?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

The Department of Marine and Fisheries simply borrowed from the Department of the Naval Service the boat now used by the pilots.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Peter Francis Martin

Unionist

Mr. MARTIN:

Am I correct in understanding that the department equipped her at a cost of $60,000 or $70,000, and had to abandon her afterwards?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I am not aware of any such expenditure as the hon. gentleman speaks of. I shall be very glad to look into it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

William Stewart Loggie

Unionist

Mr. LOGGIE:

I want to ask a question.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I am afraid the hon. gentleman will he out of order.

Resolution reported and concurred in.

Mr. BALLANTYNE thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 122, to amend the Canada Shipping Act, founded on the resolution.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS.
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT AMENDMENT.
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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


SUPPLY-CASE OF EUGENIE ALIAS " VENUS " COTE.


On the motion of Hon. Mr. Calder for the House to go into Committee of Supply:


L LIB
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Was it a judge of the

county court, or a judge of the Superior Court of Quebec who imposed the sentence in this case?

Topic:   SUPPLY-CASE OF EUGENIE ALIAS " VENUS " COTE.
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L LIB

Motion agreed to, and the House went into Committee of Supply.


SUPPLY.


NAVAL SERVICE ESTIMATES-STATEMENT BY Mr. BALLANTYNE. The House again in Committee of Supply, Mr. Boivin in the Chair. Civil Government-Department of Naval Service-Salaries, $i23'8,900. Contingencies, $->0,000.


UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. BALLANTYNE (Minister of Naval Service):

Mr. Chairman, before asking the Committee to deal with the Naval Service Estimates, it will be in order that I should reply to the charges made some time ago by the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) against the Naval Service. I regret that my hon. friend did not do me the courtesy to let me know that he was going to launch those charges on the floor of the House at that time, so that I might have been in my seat to reply to the inaccurate statements he then made. If the hon. member had said that the ships comprising the Royal Canadian Navy were not as efficient as they should be, I would not feel so much disposed to take issue with him; but he saw fit to detail a long list of inaccurate charges against the loyal and capable officers and men who have been defending the coasts of Canada to the best of their ability, and, as Minister of Naval Service, I am happy to say, in the most efficient manner during the period of the war. It is not my intention to reply to every charge that the hon. member made, because if I did I would take up too much time and probably I might weary the committee. I feel sure that he did not prepare these charges himself; no doubt they were collected together for him. When I was in Halifax last fall I quite accidentally came across a well-known man, not a member of this House, who was very busy trying to gather w'hat information he could so as to supply the hon. member with the defective ammunition that he used in making these charges. I am sorry that .the hon. member did not himself look into these matters more carefully; I am satisfied that Ke would never have made the charges had he known that they could not be substantiated.

I may mention in the first place that the establishment of the Royal Canadian Navy when war broke out on August 4, 1914, was only 300 men. Suddenly the Naval Service was called upon to furnish escorts for the convoys that were going out of Montreal, Quebec, Halifax and Sydney, and also to provide the necessary patrols, and hon. members will appreciate what it meant to increase suddenly the establishment of the Royal Canadian Naval Service from 300 to over 5,000 men. During the period of the war over 10,000 men passed through the Royal Canadian Naval Service. I resent, and I am sure that the people of Canada will resent, the very unfair and

unfounded charges that the hon. member (Mr. Duff) has seen fit to launch

5 p.m. against the loyal Canadian officers and men, as also the officers and men of the Imperial service, who gave their time and best efforts to Canada when her very existence as a nation was threatened. I am glad to take advantage of this opportunity, as Minister of the Naval Service, to pay my whole-hearted tribute to the splendid work done by the Imperial officers and men in the Canadian Naval service and by the loyal and efficient Canadian officers and men, who during the four and a half years of war, have been exposed to all kinds of hardship and of peril. I am surprised and disappointed that any member of this Parliament should make such unwarranted and unfounded charges as the member for Lunenburg has seen fit to make against these patriotic men who rendered to Canada and to the Empire such devoted self-acrificing service during the war.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I said no such thing. If the minister will read my speech he will see that I took the part of the men and of some of the officers.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

T.he hon. member

made charges against the men and he cast slurs at the efficiency of the Naval Service of Canada. Having charged the Naval Service with inefficiency and blundering, and having cast ridicule upon it, he cannot now rise in his place and say that he did not make any charges against the personnel of the Canadian Naval Service. It will be interesting, no doubt, to the hon. member to hear what a stoker had >to say with regard to one of his charges as published in the Montreal Star:

What the Navy Did.

Sir,-In a recent Star I saw that a Mr. William Duff, of Lunenburg, ran down the Naval Service on the Nova Scotian coast. Now, if it had not been for the Naval service there would not have been one of the Lunenburg fishing fleet on top to-day. I was on one of the naval boats, the Stadacona. We were sent ouit in very bad weather to find the Lunenburg fishing fleet on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and send them home because there were submarines around, and we did not stop till we had rounded every boat up. There was over 60 I was told. I did not count them myself-about 5 miles apart. In the meantime the men stood at the guns day and night, watching for subs.

I happen to know that the Lady Evelyn is not the best equipped vessel in the service, and when she went to Magdalen Islands, she took something of a great deal more value than lead pencils. Mr. Williiam Duff of Lunenburg may know a lot, but he doesn't know everything.

George Goodman, Stoker. ,

And now the hon. member says that he made no charges against the officers and men of the Canadian Naval Service. If he did not, what did he mean, when he said that at the time the oil-tanker Lux Blanca was sunk by a submarine several miles from the gas buoy off Halifax, the naval officials at Halifax were holding a pink tea and playing bridge whist? To-day, when I charge the hon. member with making unfair and inaccurate statements with regard to the officers and men of the Naval Service, he tries to make out that he did not reflect upon the personnel; that he was referring only to the ships. Such an explanation at this late date will certainly not go very far.

It is strange that the hon. member should go for his information to a junior officer, Lieutenant Julian-a man who did not know the bow from the stem of a ship when war broke out and who knows very little more to-day. In winding up his long list of supposed charges he says that he asked this young politician, Lieutenant Julien, to what he ascribed the inefficiency of the Naval Service of Canada; and that Lieutenant Julian said it was due to Sir Robert Borden and the late Conservative party. That clearly shows that the charges were made for the purpose of trying to gain some political party advantage. The late lamented and gifted leader of the Liberal party, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, did his best to inaugurate a Canadian naval service, and he placed a Naval Service Act upon the statute book. The ships that we have to-day are the ships [DOT]that were brought out to this country by the Liberal party. And yet a full-fledged Liberal like the hon. member for Lunenburg gets up and slams the navy that was created by his late revered leader.

It is not my intention to enter into any political controversy on the subject of a Canadian naval policy. It has always been a matter of great regret to me that the naval defences of the coast of Canada ever became a question of controversy between the two parties; I should have preferred to see it treated as a national matter and kept entirely out of the political arena. I shall not, therefore, this afternoon go over *the history of former Liberal and Conservative Governments so far as it relates to a naval policy for Canada. The matter of a Canadian naval policy will be taken up in due time. When Parliament meets in the next session I am satisfied that the Government will place before Parliament and before the people a naval policy that

[Mr. Ballantyne.l

will receive the unanimous approval of members of Parliament and of the people generally.

The first charge that the hon. member (Mr. Duff) makes is this:

I am going to show, Mr. Chairman, that this $31,000,000 was practically all wasted, that it was not spent in the interest of the taxpayers of Canada; that it was entirely unnecessary, and did not in any particular, or in any way help to defend Canada or to protect the property of her citizens.

That is a nice charge to make against the Liberal party who created the Naval Service of Canada. It is strange that the hon. member throughout his speech did not return to the financial side of the question, except to say that the Government proceeded to waste money on the purchase of a lot of small boats that were utterly useless.

Then, the hon. member had something to say in regard to the Niobe and the Rainbow. He said:

Shortly after Hon. J. D. Hazen assumed the position of Minister of Naval Affairs the crews of these ships were disbanded, the boys sent home and only a few men kept on board to act as caretakers.

I shall give the actual facts. On the 28th of July, 1914, when events in Europe first began to look alarming, the Rainbow was in commission with a full crew. On that day she was directed to prepare for war, and on the 2nd of August she was despatched to sea to cruise off Vancouver Island to be in readiness for any sudden attack by German submarines, known to be on the west coast of America. Immediately upon the declaration of war on the fourth of August, the Rainbow was ordered south to convoy His Majesty's gunboats Algerian and Shearwater to Esquimalt, a task which she successfully accomplished. She was continuously at sea until paid off in the spring of 1917, covering something over 50,000 miles during her period of service and her activities extended from Panama to the northern coast of British Columbia. By the battle off the Falkland Islands the great menace of the German Pacific fleet was removed; but there was considerable scope for useful work on the Pacific until the entry of the United States into the war. It was then decided that the Rainbow's trained and experienced crew could be used to better advantage on the Atlantic. So much with regard to the Rainbow.

The hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) had also to say something about the Niobe. He said that upon war being de-

dared "it was found that her boilers were in such condition that it would take several months to put her in a seaworthy condition." Here are the actual facts, which are very much at variance with the statement of the hon. member for Lunenburg. The Niobe was ordered to prepare for war on the 28th July. Steps were once taken to bring her forward for service, and to raise a crew for her. She was ready for sea on the 31st August, 1914. She at once joined the N.A. & W.I. Squadron, her first duty being to escort SS. Canada with the Royal Canadian Regiment to Bermuda and return with an Imperial regiment. She then patrolled the gulf of St. Lawrence and coast of Newfoundland, whilst the First Canadian Contingent was preparing to leave and during their passage through Canadian waters. She subsequently formed part of the so-called New York Patrol until she was paid off in September, 1915, after a full year's efficient service, during which she steamed over 30,000 miles. Hon. members will see that there is a wide difference between the charge that the hon. member made, that her boilers were in such condition that she was not seaworthy, and the actual facts, which were as I have just stated. Furthermore, at the request of the Admiralty all the big guns on the Niobe were removed and used on the merchant marine ships, but only after the active service at sea to which I have referred had been performed.

The hon. member was good enough to say that lie had no charge to make against my administration, but that he had as to the administration of my predecessor, Sir Douglas Hazen. I want to say, in fairness to my predecessor in office, that he is not to blame in any way for the Naval Service of Canada not having done more than that which it did render so effectively during the war.

In the early months of the war the Canadian Government inquired whether, in the judgment of the Admiralty, it was necessary or desirable to undertake preparation for naval defence. A reply was received stating that naval preparations were not necessary and that Canada's effort should be concentrated upon military forces. A further inquiry was made in the spring of 1915. with the same result. In the autumn of 1916 the Canadian Government was suddenly called upon by the Admiralty to undertake certain preparations for naval defence. The Department of Naval Service took up the matter immediately and vigorously, with the result that all the proposals of the Admiralty were carried out practically in their entirety and to the greatest extent that was possible in the circumstances. The result is seen in the largo number of patrol boats of various types and sizes which were engaged in anti-submarine defence.

It will be seen, therefore, that the Government on two different occasions inquired of the Admirality if there was anything that Canada could do more than was being undertaken at the time, and the reply was that the British Government did not desire that Canada should do anything more than concentrate her full effort upon necessary military forces to send overseas. The hon. member (Mr. Duff) makes this further interesting statement:

I make the statement here that if the Niobe had) been ready to proceed' to sea the morning that Avar was declared she would have succeeded in capturing prizes which would have paid the Canadian expenditure for war purposes during the first year of the war.

I, am sure that the hon. member finds himself in rather an awkward position this afternoon after having given expression to views that had been gathered for him by some persohs who had very strong partisan political leanings, and who were not careful about the accuracy of the statements that they placed in his hands. The hon. member no doubt referred to German vessels sailing to or from United States ports, but I may say that the German Government took the precaution to warn all masters of ships in advance that war was likely to be declared, and on receipt of this intelligence these vessels were careful to remain in the shelter of neutral ports. It will be interesting to learn that an Imperial cruiser of very similar type to the Niobe put into Halifax the day after the outbreak of war and that Imperial vessels continually shadowed the Atlantic coast from that time on. Neither this ship nor any others of the fleet made any captures off the Canadian or the northern United States coasts, which, I think, effectively disposes of the supposition that had the Niobe been at sea she would have made many valuable captures. The committee may rest assured that the Imperial Government were quite awake to the possibilities of the situation and took measures to deal with it.

The further the hon. member proceeded with his speech, the farther he got away from the facts. He wanted to know why the Niobe did not capture the German steamer Willehad. If he had taken the trouble to ascertain the actual facts he would have learned for himself that this German steamer Willehad sailed from Montreal

on the first day of August, and war was not declared between Great Britain and Germany until August 4. Notwithstanding, the hon, member expected the Niobe to open up her guns, and if not to sink this German steamer, at least to capture her, before a state of war existed. I am surprised that the hon. member should have made such an inaccurate statement before the intelligent members of this House.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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L LIB
UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

She sailed from Montreal on the first day of August.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Permalink

May 26, 1919