March 30, 1920

L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Have any contracts for ships been given out sir^ce the first of October last?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Yes.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

How many?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Seven or eight contracts have been actually signed since then, but they were agreed upon considerably prior to October.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Were there any

contracts agreed upon after the first of October?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Two ships with the Coughlan Shipbuilding Company of Vancouver, and two with the Wallace Shipbuilding Company. The reason for the long delay in signing contracts with both companies was because of a difference of opinion as to price, owing' to a change in the ships from coal-burning to oil-burning.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Iflr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Do I understand the minister to state that a contract was agreed upon after the first of October?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I do not know the exact date, but I should say, yes.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
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L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Mr. Chairman, I think we have here a clear example of the danger of letting contracts without tender. In the month of September last I had an interview with a high official of the Department of Marine, and I inquired from him whether the Government was going to let

any more contracts for ships. Some clients of mine from British Columbia had asked me to get this information. I was assnrred then by this high official that no more contracts would be let. That was in the month of September last. Now we have the admission of the minister-

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

May I ask a question? There are only two steel shipbuilding companies in Vancouver, and contracts have been placed with both of them. Will the hon. member give me the name of the firm he represents?

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
L LIB

Joseph Archambault

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ARCHAMBAULT:

Never mind the

name now. I do not. think any hon. member will doubt the truth of my statement. I repeat, I had an interview with a high official of the Department of Marine regarding contracts for ships, and his statement was that the Government programme was completely filled, and that there would be no more contracts let. That was in the month of September last. Now we have the admission of the minister that there were four contracts given for ships after the first of jOctober. I submit that was a clear case of patronage. I submit that it is a very dangerous thing to depart from the law which compels the calling for tenders for any item over $5,000.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

When I asked the question a moment ago, I was endeavouring to facilitate the passing of this item, and unless means can be found whereby the Government can state its position in the matter of a further loan to-night, I would ask the minister to allow the committee to rise and report progress-it is about midnight-so as to give the Government a chance to bring down a statement.

, Some hon. MEMBERS: No.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I might make our position perfectly clear so far as we on this side of the House are concerned. We believe that the people of this country are not prepared to vote millions of dollars as a result of only a few hours' discussion, iwithout knowing where the money is to come 'from to meet those expenditures. We believe the people of this country will want to know whether these expenditures will be met out of the revenues the Government believes it is going to be possible for it to get in the regular way, or whether they are to be met out of further loans. That reaches the very foundation of the Estimates the Government is going to bring down. I might as well infoim my hon. friends opposite that we on this side of the House

will continue to press for a knowledge of the Government's position on that matter. I certainly do not feel like voting $20,000,000 foi the purpose that is suggested here tonight, until I know whether the Government is going to demand a further loan out of which to meet the expenditure. I feel in exactly the same position in regard to most of the othei items that have been brought down in the Estimates. So I say to the Government, they will facilitate the business of Parliament if they make a statement on this point at the earliest possible moment, for until they do I should not. like to see another item carried.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

The hon. gentleman must surely know that the methods of raising money that the Government proposes to adopt are not disclosed until the Budget is brought down, and it is entirely imprqper and irregular to make any reference to Budget proposals before that occasion. Further than that, we cannot go. I am perfectly willing, however, to tell my hon. friend that at the moment I certainly have no idea of another popular loan.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
L LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN:

The Minister of Finance has just made a statement which wmuld have been sound and would have held sway in this House some fifteen or twenty years ago. But to-day the people of Canada are not so much concerned about formality and the technicalities of the rules of this House in the consideration of the taxes which they have to pay. My hon. friend, the leader of the Opposition, in the stand which he has taken has simply stated that we on this side of the House, who claim to have some responsibility to the public-and hon. gentlemen on the other side will readily agree with me that we have some responsibility, because we do represent some of the taxpayers of Canada-are not in favour of the practice, which seems to have been in vogue during the last few years, of having expenditures of millions of dollars foisted upon the Canadian people by a system of Orders in Council or by the mere statement of a minister who gets up and says: I assure you it is all right, and we need the money. I say with all deference to my hon. friend, the Minister of Naval Service (Mr. Ballantyne), that I for one should not like to be a judge of any man on either side of this House. I should not like to be charged with the keeping of any other conscience than my own; but I do say that it will facilitate and shorten the labour of the session, and help the work of ministers, if they would give all the information sought by

the people through the requests made by the Opposition. If they would do this they would find that it would be cheaper in the long run. I readily agree with what the Minister of Finance has said, that it is usual to wait for the Budget speech for a statement as to the country's finances and how public needs are to be met. But, Mr. Chairman, the minister will readily understand that when it comes to consideration of an item which carries with it the expenditure of millions of dollars, neither he nor I, nor any of the taxpayers of Canada who will be called upon to pay this sum of money, will be satisfied with a simple statement that the time to give information as to whether we shall meet this money by a loan or otherwise, will be given in the Budget speech.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

I must ask my hon. friends to accept the ruling of the Chair. My hon. friends know perfectly well that the ruling .which the chairman has given is but the statement of the invariable practice of the House. What my hon. friend, the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) is suggesting at the close of the day, when it was understood the item would be disposed of-

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There was no such understanding.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

At the end of the day my hon. friend raises a question which he knows is contrary to the whole practice and procedure of Parliament since Confederation. Supply has never been held up pending the bringing down of Budget proposals, and there can be no new statement by the Minister of Finance as to general sources of revenue until the Budget is brought down. If my hon. friend wishes to take the responsibility of seeking to overturn the whole parliamentary procedure and practice in connection with the voting of Supply he is quite entitled to do so, but he cannot rise and say that so far as he is concerned the business of the House will be held up on that account, or intimidate the Government by any such statement. The Government is anxious to proceed. For two days full information has been given on the item, and all questions have been answered and now my hon. friend says that unless the Minister of Finance will rise and outline the financial proposals of the Government in reference to the raising of revenue, then the Opposition will hold up this item. The position, I say wth great respect to my hon. friend' is wholly unwarranted and unprecedented. The Government could not

possibly accede to any such proposal as he has suggested, that the Budget speech should be anticipated on a question like this in Supply. All I ask my hon. friends to do is to recognize the ruling of the Chairman, who has but stated the invariable parliamentary practice in this House.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I desire to say that I have given frankly and fully every bit of information which it was humanly possible for me to give to hon. members. I could not have given it more fully if the members were ordinary shareholders in any large corporation. I appreciate very much the attitude of the leader of the Opposition and hon. members on the other side. They were quite within their rights in asking the questions they asked, and I am only too glad to have been given an opportunity to answer them as fully as I did. Now that that has all been done. I hope the leader of the Opposition and those associated with him will allow the item to pass.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I should wish to be the last to delay the proceedings, and, as I said a moment ago, I had in view only the facilitating of the passage of this item. The President of the Privy Council is entirely unwarranted in the statement that I am trying to change the procedure and practice of this House. It is no fault of the Opposition that we are now at the Easter recess and the Budget has not been brought down. I will point out to my hon friend that since Confederation there has been an understanding, in regard to the voting of Supply, that the revenues would be raised in the regular way. The irregular practice of the financing of loans was not a consideration formerly; to-day it is the biggest consideration in this country. I contend that there is no question in which the- people of Canada are as vitally interested as the question of public expenditure and the taxation that may be necessary to meet it. It is quite impossible for us on this side of the House, who recognize the obligation we have to the people of the country, to be indifferent to the question whether or not further loans are to be raised in Canada to meet public expenditures, and what particular taxation the Government intends to resort to. To give point to what I say, let me repeat that I think it would be well for the minister to bring down the (Budget at a very early date and, before proceeding much further with the Estimates, to inform the House how soon we may expect it. Because I may tell my hon. friends opposite

-not in any spirit of intimidation, but solely for the purpose of safeguarding the interests of the Canadian public-that the stand that we intend to take on this side ot the House with regard to public expenditures will depend very much upon the nature of the Budget which is presented.

I am glad the Chairman raised the point he did because it will enable us-and perhaps will enable the Government also- to see where we stand in the matter of further discussions on the Estimates. I cannot make it too plain that, until we get some intimation from the Government as to how it purposes to raise the revenues, it will be difficult for us to say whether particular items shall or shall not pass.

'Mr. JACOBS: Before the item passes 1 wish to say that I am much disturbed in my mind as to the position in which the Minister of Marine finds himself owing to the fact that these contracts have been let without tender. If I remember well when the matter first came up the minister told the House that the contracts were of such a nature that it was impossible-having regard to the business of the country and the business of the department-to have tenders called for, that the nature of the business did not permit of the calling for tenders. Now, as I understand it, to-night the minister has changed his view. He says that an emergency existed and that consequently the rule requiring the calling for tenders had to be suspended and done away with. I do not agree with him, Mr. Chairman, and I wish to Tecord my protest against the action of a responsible minister of the Crown in ignoring the solemn text of the law as its exists in this case. . If the ministers of the Crown, if the keepers of the King's conscience, do not obey the law, how can you expect the rank and file to do so? Never was there a clearer case made out against the Government and a minister thfm has been made out here, and it seems to me that some action ought to be taken by this House and by the Government to protect the' minister against proceedings which may be brought against him-probably in the nature of impeachment, or otherwise; I am not here to suggest what the proceedings should be or what the minister has laid himself open to. But it does seem to me that when a Minister of the Crown wilfully disobeys the law in the manner in which the Minister of Marine has done, surely the arm of, the law is long enough to reach that minister.

What I particularly object to to-night is the fact that the minister should have shifted his ground. We went away last week comfortably believing that the minister in his wisdom was right when he said that the nature of the business did not permit of the calling for tenders. He explained why and gave us the details. Why is it that the minister has now changed his view? I think it ought to be made clear to him that in matters of this kind the law ought to be followed, and that for every ship there should be a tender.

Topic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Subtopic:   COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY-RAILWAY ESTIMATES.
Sub-subtopic:   GOVERNMENT SHIPBUILDING PROGRAMME.
Permalink

March 30, 1920