May 26, 1919

L LIB

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

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The hon. member has risen to a point of order. He must be given an opportunity to state his point of order.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

My point of order is that the minister is accusing me of reflecting on the British navy.

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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:

Order. That is not a point of order, but a question of privilege, and the hon. member can correct any misstatement when the minister has concluded.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I think I followed the hon. member very closely. He referred in very unparliamentary terms to the officers of the British navy that had been loaned to the Canadian Government, and his wearisome two hours' speech very largely consisted of long extracts and quotations from certain Halifax papers. Now," I am only too glad to give the hon. member for Antigonish and Guysborough (Mr. Sinclair), or any other hon. member in the House all the information in my possession regarding the naval affairs of Canada. I was only attempting this afternoon to refute the charges of the hon. member for Lunenburg, and made no attempt then to go into details of the Naval Service. But as the items come up in the Estimates before the Committee now, I shall cheerfully and gladly give hon. members any information they desire; and if the hon. member .for Antigonish and Guysborough wishes me to go over again the facts regarding court martials, I shall be only too pleased to do so. In the army and navy there are rules and regulations covering offences and courts martial that were held in regard to the men of Trawler 30, and also the officer in charge of the Hochelaga, and I am quite sure they were followed out.

Hon. gentlemen surely would not for one moment suggest that under the rules and regulations of the Canadian navy, which are similar to those of the British navy, full justice is not meted out to the officers and men tried before a court-martial for dis-

obedience or any other offence. I can assure my hon. friend that there is not one code for the seamen and a different code for the officers. Everything has been done according to the rules and regulations. It is to be regretted, of course, that these young men on Trawler 30 refused to obey orders. The craft was proven to be in a seaworthy condition; Canada and the Empire was at war; these men had been ordered by a superior officer to carry out certain duties; and surely, when these sailors disobeyed that order, hon. gentlemen could not possibly expect that we would let them go scot-free. Discipline could not possibly be maintained under those circumstances. The sentence was not a heavy one in view of the seriousness of the orime.

With regard to the captain of the Hochelaga, the charge of cowardice was not proven against him. The only charge proved against him was that he did not do all that he might have done. He was tried by a very competent board of. British and Canadian senior officers, and when an officer is dismissed from the service and loses all that I stated this afternoon, that punishment cannot be looked upon as a light sentence. I do not want the House to think I am trying to hide anything in connection with the naval affairs of Canada. I do not suggest that the service is so efficient that no criticism can possibly be levelled against it, because it is certainly open to legitimate criticism. I took the trouble this afternoon to answer fully and completely every one of the charges made by the hon. member for Lunenburg, and I did not hear anything new to-night in his long two-hour speech. There is no necessity to my mind for a commission to be appointed to inquire into his charges, because I have clearly proved that every one of his charges was inaccurate. When we come to the Estimates I shall be very glad to give full and complete information.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

The minister in his reply

a moment ago endeavoured to make the Committee believe that I had said something against the British navy. I want to deny that absolutely. In any remarks I made I did not refer to the British navy. Like every British subject I realize that the British navy was the only thing that stood between us and the German hosts. We know what the British navy has done in this and every other war, and I say it is not fair for the minister to insinuate that I, who am as good a British subject as ever he dared to be, would say one wqrd against the British navy. The minister

gets up and says that this afternoon he answered all my arguments. Let hon. gentlemen read Hansard and see what paltry excuses he made this afternoon. His chief stock-in-trade was an endeavour to brand me with saying that the men on the Canadian ships were not good sailors and were not doing good work. Hansard will show that those insinuations are absolutely groundless. Now he tries to make the Committee believe that I am against the British navy. I say he should be ashamed to insinuate anything of that sort in regard to any British subject in this House.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Would the hon.

gentleman deny that he made some slurring remarks on the English naval officers in the Canadian navy?

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

No, I will not say that I did not make some remarks about English officers in the Canadian navy. I do not know any body of men in any line of business which is one hundred per cent efficient, and consequently, good as the English navy is, and better as the British navy is, composed as it is of English, Irish and Scotch, and Canadian, I do say that there were men in the British navy who were not one hundred per cent efficient, and that some of those who came to Canada were cast-offs from the British navy. They were put over men like Captain Manning, a native of my own county, and a better seaman than they in every respect. If the minister desires it, I can show him where English officers' were put over good Canadian officers. Let him investigate the case of the captain of the Hochelaga. The minister talks of the captain's naval record. He had none, and I know it. It is not right for the minister to insinuate that I said anything derogatory of the British navy.

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

The Minister of Marine and Fisheries is the first minister I have heard who, on going into his Estimates, takes occasion to stand up and lecture hon. gentlemen opposite on how to con- . duct themselves, and to suggest what criticism it is proper for them to make. A few days ago my hon. friend from Lunenburg made some statements in the House that seemed to me, and I believe to other hon. gentlemen, to be of a very serious nature. The minister tells us that he has answered those charges fully and completely, and then he deplores the audacity of my hon, friend from Lunenburg in standing up again and wearying the House with a two-hour speech. What has

the minister to say of himself for standing up for an hour and a half this afternoon reading extracts and reports prepared for him by officials of his department? We might as well have a show-down here and now as to whether the minister can stand up and lecture hon. gentlemen on this side of the House for venturing the criticise the Estimates of his department. Has the minister such a high and sensitive nature, and are his qualities so statesmanlike and of such a high order, that his department must be above criticism by hon. gentlemen on this side of the House? The minister expects his Estimates to pass. I have no desire to block Estimates in this House, but hon. gentlemen have a perfect right to criticise without being insulted by the minister.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

It is rather difficult for me to understand the remarks of my hon. friend. I have never ventured to question any hon. member's right to criticise the Naval Estimates. We have not as yet taken up the Naval Estimates. I have already said that I will cheerfully give all the information I have when we come to discuss the items. The discussion this afternoon and evening has related almost altogether to the charges made by the hon. member for Lunenburg. I certainly have no desire to lecture any hon. gentlemen opposite, and I am not aware that I have done so. I would be the last man to do it, because, of course, every hon. member has a right to ask what questions he pleases, and it is the plain duty of a minister to give the House all the information that is asked for. Last year when my Estimates were up and again this year I gave all the information I had, and I intend to follow that rule.

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

Then why complain that an

hon. member on this side of the House is wearying the House?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I made no reference to hon. gentlemen opposite wearying the House. I just referred to the long speech of the hon. member for Lunenburg, but I want to make it perfectly clear that I find no fault with hon. members criticising to the fullest extent and asking any questions they like regarding the Estimates before the Committee. I had no such intention as the hon. gentleman has recently imputed to me.

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. OOPP:

Does the minister say that he will dole out to us how we shall criticise and how we shall ask questions and that he will answer them? While my hon. friend from Lunenburg was discussing this matter

this afternoon the minister did not pay-much attention to what he said, but -when he read extracts from the Halifax Herald, which supports this Government, he -began to be weary of my hon. friend's argument. Hon. members on this side of the House have just as much right to take part in discussions, whether their remarks be long*or short, as has my hon. friend the minister.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Mr. Chairman, I need not say that the tone and manner of the Minister of Naval Affairs (Mr. Ballantyne) in his criticism of the speech offered by my hon. friend (Mr. Duff) surprised me very much. 1 had been in this House for many years before we had the honour of the presence of the distinguished minister, and I have also been here since he came. It seems to me that he has always been rather a high-minded gentleman and we always have treated him as such. But to-day he came into this House with a speech prepared for him by some piqued officer of his department, by some party who ought to know better and who is responsible to some extent for what has been going on in his department. That gentleman was piqued and hurt because there was criticism and he transferred his pique to the minister. It was so apparent to everybody who heard the remarks of the minister that the language and emphasis were not his own, but were absolutely foreign to his style. Hereafter, if he finds it necessary to criticise anybody on this side, let him prepare his speech himself and not be responsible for the pique, spleen and bad manners of somebody in his department.

I listened with the closest possible attention to the speech delivered on the 6th of May by my hon. friend from Lunenburg (Mr. Duff). I listened with all the attention of which I was capable to. the speech of the minister this afternoon. I was looking for a calm and deliberate refutation of these charges if they could be refuted. I have heard no su-ch argument. I have heard a tirade of scolding from the minister. That is all we have received-assertions on one side and denials on the other. We had assertions by the hon. member for Lunenburg about matters with which he is perfectly familiar and flat denials by the minister upon facts furnished to him by his department.

Let us take the one statement as to the failure to go to the assistance of the American tanker that was being sunk off the port of Halifax. It has been stated by the Halifax Herald and other papers, 3nd. by business men in Halifax, that when called

upon the commander told them that he could not go out, that he had nothing to go out with. That is a statement of fact published in the newspapers. We have members sitting in this House representing the city of Halifax. I would like to hear from them what defence they have for the conduct of the department. The statement is made in the newspapers, and by the hon. member for Lunenburg, that there was no assistance sent out to this vessel. The minister makes a statement that this is all false, that a ship did go out, and that she was lost in the fog. It is most extraordinary that such a thing could happen. There is a square issue of fact. Surely the controversy might toe settled by some person who was present in Halifax as to whether the truth lies in the statements which have been made in regard to this incident or in the reports which -the department has got. If the people are paying millions of money for the upkeep of the Naval Service, surely there can be no dispute about an important question of fact such as this which should be settled beyond all controversy.

We have always understood that nothing will be stated as a fact by a naval or military officer in the service of this count unless it is absolutely a fact. Here we have a dispute on a bare, bald question of fact; and I think, although it does not make very much difference now when the matter is over whether it is true .or false, we should know what the fact actually is. A seaman knows the place to which he has to go before he leaves port; he knows the latitude and longitude of that spot; he has his compass, his log, and he knows how fast his vessel is steaming. He ought to be able to get to that point along the coast of Nova Scotia without stopping in the fog to consult some poor fisherman whom he encounters a few miles from the shore. A more absurd statement was never made in this House-that a warship should stop on her course in order to allow the officers to consult a poor fisherman as to her latitude and longitude and where and how she should sail. That is the most absurd proposition and the most damning evidence as to the incompetency of the men who say that they did go out when other people say that they did not go out at all. These are the answers we "have to these charges. Reputable newspapers and men in the city of Halifax say that they did not go out at all; now they say that they did go out in the fog and that this fisherman gave Them some directions as to how

they should go, but that he did not give them the proper direction. I do not think the minister should waste one minute in defending an officer of that kind.

Then, leaving that, evidence is produced to show that bungling of the worst kind took place in Halifax harbour in connection with the vessel's explosion there which resulted in the destruction of millions of dollars worth of property and in the loss of hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. There is not a word in the nature of a satisfactory explanation. We are not told the name of the officer in charge, we are not told who he is, or what he did or whether he did anything. But we have the newspapers and citizens of Halifax condemning the actions of the naval officials. The minister simply stands up and abuses my hon. friend from Lunenburg for daring to bring this matter before the House. There are these two things, the failure to rescue that vessel and the bungling in Halifax resulting in this accident. Does the minister explain how that accident took place? The people of Halifax and the newspapers say that it was simply due to the bungling of his officials and we have no answer to that.

The minister becomes very wrathy because we say that a certain steamer went to the Magdalen Islands with a small cargo of pencils. If that is not so why does not the minister tell us what the vessel went with?

He is absolutely reticent and non-communicative about what the cargo was. Surely the position of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Duff) could be made more untenable and perhaps ridiculous if it could be shown that this vessel went for a good cause and was carrying a good cargo, and refused to do other duties in order to discharge her mission to the Magdalen Islands? There are scores of other reasons why an investigation of some sort should be granted into the matters which have been brought forward.

I regret exceedingly that the minister found it necessary to resort to a contemptible practice that has prevailed in this House and in this country for the last five or six years, viz.: directing charges of disloyalty at hon. gentlemen on this side. I am surprised that a gentleman of the standing of the minister should stoop to such a course. He knows very well there is not a single man on this side who would indulge in any fling at the British navy or at any British officer; he ought to know that if anything that could be construed into an

accusation of that sort slipped from the lips of any body on this side it would be merely a mistake, and something that was uttered unintentionally. Nobody in this House who is in the possession of his sound senses would do such a thing, and nobody knew better than the minister that no such thing was intended. Let me say that any hon. member-no matter on which side of the House he sits-who interrupts a speaker may very well expect to get a retort he was not looking for. The hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) was interrupted by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Cooper) who asked him in a sneering way whether he gave orders to a certain Admiral Storey in Halifax. All that the hon. member for Lunenburg said was, " No, I did not advise him, he had plenty of Englishmen about him to do that." On that very meagre statement, which did not amount to anything at all, a minister of the Crown thinks it proper for him to start a cry in the country that an Opposition member insulted the British navy. The minister is welcome to all the glory he can get out of it; he has laid himself open to being stigmatized in this House, as a man who is capable of descending to low, contemptible tactics. That is my judgment of any man,

I care not whether he is a minister or an ordinary member, who would stoop to such miserable, contemptible proceedings.

Let me tell the minister that I hold in my hand a letter dated at Esquimalt on the 11th day of the present month, and which is therefore of recent date. It was written to me by some men out there who say that they are anxious to get clear of the Naval Service. The letter states:

We have come to the conclusion that they are holding us so as to hold their positions as long as possible. If we were doing some useful work which necessitated our being kept on, it would not be so bad. But we are just stalling round, painting the cars of the officers at the Government expense. Could you give the matter your immediate attention, and oblige?

That is an extract from a letter from men who were engaged in the Government service around Esquimalt and on the warship Bain-bow. Like requests came to me from Halifax. I brought the latter requests as speedily as- I could to the minister, and I am very glad to say that two days afterwards he moved in the matter, and those very men were allowed their liberty. I suppose the men in Esquimalt found that their friends in Halifax were allowed to go, and now they complain that they are being kept there for the purpose of making positions for superior officers. They say they are not

doing anything that is useful for anybody except painting cars for their officers.

I must also draw the attention of the minister to the case of those men who- are suffering imprisonment in the Rockhead jad at Halifax. They are not Nova Scotia men, every one. of them is from British Columbia, and their names are: Frederick L. Jones, Robert G. Bissett, David A. Curry, Oscar T. Metras, George Gibson, Archibald M. Green, and John C. Hewson. 1 would expect some of their friends from British Columbia who sit in this House to take an interest in them. I know something about marine law, and a great deal about sailors and their difficulties and their lawrsuits; I have lived for thirty years as a lawyer in a seaport, and have had much to do with a great many such cases. It is true that I have no knowledge of naval rules. We never had any occasion to deal with the Navy, or with naval men who were in difficulties, we would not have an opportunity of so doing; but I do know that our young men of the sea are brought up under the rules of the Merchant Shipping Act. They are not educated to know very much about naval rules, but they do know that in the case of those men in question, who were possibly sailors, and who had gone to sea from Canada, that if there was anything wrong with the vessel it was the duty of the captain to send them ashore, and for them to make complaint before a magistrate and a harbour master. It would then be the duty of these officials to hold a survey on the vessel, and the finding of that survey would be conclusive as to whether the men complaining should go to sea or not on- the vessel. But there was nothing of the kind in this case. The absurd practice was followed in the case of certain miserable, craft that had been moving along the shores, vessels that are no good to anybody, and run to land when anything like danger threatens, of applying to them the austere rules of the British navy. When these boys complained that the deck was leaking, that their beds were full of water, and that any food they would take into their quarters was soaked with salt water, they were not allowed to leave. The moment they did that, there was no word of calling in the proper authority to inquire as to whether the ship was seaworthy or not; they were brought before men who turned up the authorities in order to ascertain what constituted insubordination in the British navy. I suppose that if a ship were just going into action and one of the gunners refused to [Mr. McKenzie.!

take charge of his gun, it would amount to insubordination. A charge of that kind was applied to these poor boys who were accustomed to the right of making complaint and going before the harbour master and magistrate, and having the actual conditions determined. The naval rules were rigidly applied to them and they were sent to jail for eighteen months; whereas a man who had for the first time in the history of Great Britain, or in the history of our navy, disgraced the white ensign, as has already been stated, got off scot-free. Probably he was able to attend those pink teas in Halifax with the rest of the officers who were there doing nothing, and eventually perhaps his passage home was provided for. But let me in all seriousness say to the minister that he cannot put his finger on one single thing that his miserable navy did for the defence of the Atlantic coast that was worth tuppence ha'penny. Where is it? Not a single thing, except shovelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars of the people's money. Is it not most marvellous, Mr. Chairman, that year after year we were spending large sums of money, and yet we had nothing that could do anything to defend us?' Could there be a more deplorable confession than that when this American vessel was within a short distance of the port of Halifax and appealed to the headquarters of our naval and military forces, in the province of Nova Scotia, in the Dominion of Canada, the officer in charge had to say: " I am absolutely helpless; there is nothing I can do"? And that was after three years of war. Surely if there was any efficiency in the department something could have been done, even if we had to borrow an American craft or get one from overseas to defend our own shipping. There was nothing done.

. Now, if in humility and honesty the hon. minister had come here to-night and said:

" I regret exceedingly that there was nothing we could do. We had nothing Vhen the war began, we had nothing when the war was half way through, and we had nothing at the time of the armistice," we would sympathize with him and say: " Possibly in view of the circumstances that is the best thing you could do." But instead of that he allows some zealous official in his department to create a howling speech full of abuse for everybody in sight who dares find fault with the efficiency and standing of the navy and what it did for this country.

I repeat again that the only time when a submarine appeared off Sydney harbour the vessel that went out to deal with her fled cowardly, and the master was discharged

because he did so. Off the coast of Nova Scotia an American vessel was being smashed and sent to the bottom, and we had to acknowledge that we could do nothing. Where is the efficiency, where was anything done in connection with the war of which we can be proud, and from which we have any return for the money spent? I would be glad, indeed, to be informed what naval service was rendered and by whom, and I would be delighted to give credit to the minister and to his department for anything accomplished for our protection during the war.

I am not going to say very much about the little craft on both coasts that he hired, because he has steered absolutely clear of them. Those craft were hired to no purpose whatever. Every man of a certain line of politics from Cape Sable to Cape North simply ran to headquarters with his little boats and hired them at the highest possible prices that they could ask. Those boats were engaged all the time, but what they were doing nobody knows. It would be quite in order for the minister to give a list of the craft of every kind and description that he engaged for service on the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick coasts, together with the names of their masters and the amount of money that was paid out in connection with the " secret " services performed. What they were doing, as I have already stated, nobody knows.

Now, in view of the fact that there was inefficiency from start to finish, the minister should not get on his high horse and hurl epithets at hon. members on this side of the House when they dare to question the services rendered by our Naval Department, I would ask the hon. minister and his department to give us the best possible account of what was done for the lavish expenditure of the people's money.

For myself and my friends on this side of the House I am not at all satisfied with the tone of the minister in replying to the criticisms of the hon. member for Lunenburg, nor am I satisfied that any defence worthy of being called such was made to the charges put forward by the hon. member. However, a great many of these things cannot be helped, 1 suppose. But the minister can help those boys who are pining in jail at Halifax, and he can let them go home to their friends, where I am sure they will be more useful to the- country than they can possibly be kept in confinement at Rockhead. Rockhead is the site of the old penitentiary in the province of Nova Scotia before Confederation, but I am glad to say that so law-abiding and excellent are our

people that we have no penitentiary there to-day. But Rockhead is still there, and it still carries the same disagreeable odour that was associated with it while used as a penitentiary. To 'that old penitentiary those boys were sent. I hope 'that the minister will be perfectly satisfied that they *have sufficiently condoned for any little shortcomings they may have been guilty of.

I am sure, Sir, 'that now the war is over *nothing is to be gained by afflicting the sore hearts of this country, and this is one little thing we can do, or rather the minister *can do to allay irritation, having amply punished any insubordination on the part *of those young men. I trust,- therefore, *that before many more days have passed *over our heads the minister will he able *to tell us that he has done one good thing- [DOT]allowed those boys to depart to their homes *in British Columbia.

I have not had an opportunity, Sir, of looking through the Estimates to any extent but I presume they are somewhat along *the lines of the other Estimates, and we *shall be very glad to give fair and honest consideration to every item in them. I am *sorry that this is the first time that a minister of the Crown, this year at all events, has started out with a storm, which has been visited hack upon his own head, and which has kept him for over three weeks before getting a single item through the Committee.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I might be allowed to say a word or two in answer to the hon. leader of the Opposition,- for whom I have the greatest regard. With regard to *the young men referred to, it was my intention when the peace treaty was signed *to give orders for their release. The hon. leader of the Opposition has stated that *when orders are disobeyed in the navy it *would be proper to call in the harbourmaster and refer the matter to the Marine Department. That of course could not be done in naval affairs, because the Marine Department has nothing to do with the navy, and in this case we necessarily had to follow the regulations. But I will be very glad to look into the matter again *and see 'if these young sailors may not be *let out even before the signing of the peace treaty.

The hon. member has stated that I made no explanation to the Committee in regard to the Lux Blanca. I will very briefly repeat what I stated this afternoon. There were off the coast at that time one division of patrol vessels, comprising sixty-four ves-

sels, and two United States submarine chasers. The former had just left their convoy; the latter were still in company with a convoy. A wireless message was immediately sent to both divisions, and this message was coded, despatched, decoded and acted upon by 2.30 p.m., which shows considerable promptitude. The patrol vessels were uncertain of their position in the fog. I do not claim to have any great knowledge of navigation, but I have crossed the ocean several times and have talked with mariners, and I know that it is not unusual for a man to be uncertain about the position of his vessel, especially during a thick fog. These trawlers went as quickly as they could to the assistance of the Lux Blanca.

With regard to the service generally, the hon. member says that it has not done anything. As I said this afternoon, 11 p.m. having regard to the fact that aside from the Rainbow and the Niobe the Canadian naval service is made up of trawlers and drifters, it rendered good and efficient service for Canada. The trawlers acted as escorts to the convoys, and also as scouts and mine-sweepers. So that considering the craft that were at our disposal, the service was as efficient as could be expected.

I made reference this afternoon to the services of the Niobe and the Rainbow. If there is any further information that I can furnish to bon. members, I shall be only too glad to give it.

With regard to the men out on the Pacific coast who, the bon. member says, have nothing to do but certain painting, I have no knowledge of that, but I will immediately send a wire out there to ascertain the facts and shall be glad subsequently to give my hon. friend more information than I am able to give him now.

I thought that I covered the ground pretty well this afternoon. I did not say during the course of my remarks that we had modern ships in the Canadian navy. When I became Minister of the Naval Service I had to do the best I could with the ships that the Canadian navy had. Hon. members know all about the Rainbow and all about the Niobe. These trawlers and drifters were new ships. I understood the hon. member to say a moment ago that Trawler 30 was an old ship. I wish to correct him on that point; this was a new trawler and, according to expert officers, was perfectly seaworthy, although she was leaking a little, as all new vessels do. As we proceed with the Estimates I shall be

glad to give any additional information that I can.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

The minister has kindly invited us to bring to his attention anything we heard of that was not satisfactory in the Service. I wish to direct his attention to a matter relating to the claim of a sailor in Halifax by the name of James C. Lavandier, I received the following letter from him on February 17 last:

I beg to acknowledge to you that I am out of the naval service, and what about I cannot tell, as I was steward of the ship Hopper Barge No. 1 and was getting my food from H.M.C.S. Niobe, and was getting food for 18 of the crew, and as it happened that the Captain, John Barr, had on board his wife and daughter, and the mate also had his wife, I was short of food. This was on Friday, January 24th. I thought that there was nothing else for me to do but to tell the Captain, and I did so, and he said if I should speak to him again he would report me to the Niobe, and I told him to do so, and he did, and on Friday night at 8.30 he told me to get my clothes and go ashore. I did so, and on Monday the 27th of January I went, down to the Niobe, and they said I had run away from the ship, and they gave me 17 days' leave and 17 days' pay cut off, and although I had two witnesses they did not take my word. Of course, if I had been a Captain I would have been all right, but as a slave I was cast down, and on February 10 I was let off and I did not get my discharge yet.

That is what I got after being in service from August 20th, 1914 till February 10th, 1919, and we were under fourteen days' notice. I was discharged without a cent, and all thoso that did nothing and have joined the service from this last year are going away with three months' pay or six months and I have nothing to show for my services.

I hope you will take charge of this case and see what you can do for me. I have four yeais' service and five months.

Yours truly,

James C. Lavandiei

When I received that letter I wrote Mr. Destoarats, the Deputy Minister of ^ Naval Affairs, as follows:

I am enclosing- herewith a letter just received from one of your employees in Halifax, James C. Lavandier.

Be kind enough to look into this matter and let me know if this man has a reasonable complaint, and if anything can be done to adjust it, and oblige.

I received the following reply from the deputy minister:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 24th enclosing copy of a letter from James C. Lavandier complaining of certain treatment in the Naval Service. He does not give much information in his letter, but I am having his record looked up and should he able to inform you of the facts of the case.

That was on the 28th of February. I waited for some time for an answer, but there did not seem to be anything doing,

so I decided to write to Colonel Thompson, the Commanding Officer of Military District No. 6, Halifax, to see whether I could make any progress in dealing with this sailor's case. I received the following polite reply from Colonel Thompson, dated March 15:

I am in receipt of your letter in reference to a sailor's grievance, which I handed over immediately to Commander D. Tatton-Brown of II.M.C. Dockyard, Halifax. He advises me that he has instructed the Commanding Officer of the Niobe to look into the case and take the necessary action. I asked him to communicate with you direct.

If you hear nothing in the course of a day or so you might please write the Commanding Officer of the Niobe yourself.

I trust you will be able to get a full explanation of this matter. Should there be any delay and should you consider I could help you further I shall be pleased to hear from you.

Colonel Thompson referred the matter to the commanding officer of the Niohe. Colonel Thompson wrote me a further letter on March 17, as follows:

With further reference to my letter of the 15th instant, I attach herewith copy of communication this day received from the Assistant Superintendent H.M.C. Dockyard regarding the complaint made by Mr. J. C. Lavandier.

This is the letter that he enclosed. It is addressed to Colonel Thompson and reads:

The Admiral Superintendent has directed me to inform you that if Mr. J. C. Lavandier has any complaint he should have made it to the Commanding Officer Niobe or to the Admiral Superintendent.

If Mr. Sinclair requires any information with regard to men in the Naval Service he should apply to the Department of Naval Service., Yours faithfully,

D. Tat ton-Brown, Commander, R.N.

This gentleman is evidently more anxious about the due observance of rules or red tape than he is to see that justice is done to the sailor. He gives no explanation of the sailor's charge that he was dismissed from the service because he ventured to tell the captain that the food had run short. As will have been observed in his letter, the man was a steward on this vessel and was getting food from the Niobe to feed eighteen persons. The captain took his wife and daughter on the ship, end the mate also took his wife; and the number of those on hoard multiplied so that the man could not feed them on the supply he was receiving from the Niohe and when he brought this fact to the attention of the captain he was reprimanded and dismissed from the service and he has been at No. 2 Hurds Lane ever since that time waiting to get a settlement of his case. In the

meantime, I have been writing letters and waiting for replies from the commander of the Niohe or from the deputy minister in regard to the matter. This dismissal occurred in January and it is now the 26th of May; and while I have had a number of polite letters from different officers in the department there has been no settlement or explanation. The sailor has not received his wages. I have done my best to obtain a settlement from the minister's officers and have failed, and I submit that this is only another illustration of the inefficiency of the Department of Naval Affairs. The question is what next? After the impudent letter I received from commander D. Tatton-Brown, K.N., I do not feel like going back to Halifax for any solution of this matter, and 1 trust that the minister himself will see that the necessary steps are taken to have a satisfactory adjustment made.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I shall be glad to

look into the matter to-morrow and let the hon. member have a prompt answer. I understand that the man to whom he refers was not a member of the Naval Service, but was a civilian on hoard a ship called the 'Speedy, all the crew of which had been demobilized. This is the first time the matter has been brought to my attention, and I shall see that the hon. member receives a satisfactory and prompt reply.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I wish to bring to the

attention of the minister an experience I had similar to that of the hon. member for Guysborough. Last fall I also received a rebuke from a gentleman who was, I think, the master of the N.E. 30. I do not happen to remember his name. One of his sailors came ashore in my town and found illness in his family. He came to me as the member for the county to see if I could intervene with the officers of the ship with a view to getting him leave to stay at home with his sick wife. His wife was a nervous wreck on the verge of confinement, without any help, and she simply clung to her husband and refused to let him go. In an endeavour to help the man I wrote as politely as I could to the commanding officer. He wrote back to me informing me that I should mind my own business, and suggesting that I should know better than to write a letter like that to a man in his position. He said that if anything was required I ought to know where to look for the information. He signed his name and never mentioned the sailor at all. Now, Sir, we are a simple Canadian people, unaccustomed to such conduct as that. In future years we may

know how to deal with such high and lofty officers, but I desire, on the floor of Parliament, to bring to the notice of the minister the fact that such conduct engenders in the hearts and minds of the best people of Canada nothing but the .most extreme contempt for such officials or any one who may stand behind them; and the sooner they learn that this is a democratic country and that we are a democratic people, the better. We are willing to stand behind efficient service and give our hearts and souls, and our blood, in support of such service, but we will not tolerate snobbery or contemptible behaviour of such a character.

Fisheries Protection Service-To provide for the repairs and maintenance of Fisheries Protection Steamers, $400,000.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

This item shows an increase of $120,000 over the Estimates of 1918-19 and an increase of $45,000 over those of 1913-14. The increase is due wholly to the fact that most of the vessels engaged in fisheries protection work were also engaged in patrol duties under the Royal Canadian navy. As such their expenses were defrayed from the war vote and not out of this item. This condition will now cease, and vessels will return to peace basis. The increase of $45,000 as compared with the pre-war estimate is due to the fact that three of the smaller vessels, those employed in fisheries protection duty, have outlived their usefulness and have been disposed of. To fill their places the department has transferred from the Naval Service, the Hochelaga, and two new trawlers, and also the patrol vessel Stadacona.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

How many ships have we now in the fisheries protection service, and where are they?

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May 26, 1919