Near the bottom of the first column. To have a responsible cabinet minister-somebody says "irresponsible"; I would not say that, but it certainly is a matter of misjudgment-say that, shows that something is radically wrong and needs investigating. Possibly the whole department needs investigating, according to the admissions of the minister, who said:
They have been coaxed again and again to take the work, and the result of it all is as I have indicated.
That is in the second column on the same page. Why in the world would a cabinet minister coax and coax these fellows to take the work after the government had sent an inspector down there to investigate? Why should they be given two chances to bid? I never heard of a company being treated that way before.
The government of Nova Scotia coaxed these men and called them together on at least two occasions, and sent delegations to Ottawa accompanied by a Nova Scotia minister of the crown. They are the people who coaxed these builders, not I.
That makes it all the worse. We have the admission that the government sent out inspectors to investigate and pass upon certain contractors in a certain province. Then the dominion government gives these companies an opportunity to bid twice and they are given contracts which they cannot fill. That looks pretty suspicious. Then the provincial government had to intercede and coax them and send delegations to Ottawa to insist further that they get contracts. It just does not look so good, in fact it looks worse than it did before. The minister then went on to say:
-but I do not think it is of any use to make general observations like "every shipyard should be busy and all Nova Scotia shipyards should be working," when in some respects the yards themselves have not taken full advantage of the opportunities that offered.
To have a minister make that statement in the middle of a war is certainly pretty discouraging to the people of Canada. Every shipyard that can possibly be used should be used at this time. There certainly should not be any further delay.
The minister ended his remarks by referring to the hon. member for Weyburn in the following words:
If my hon. friend thinks we should take people by the throat and gestapo them into building ships when they do not want to build them, that is another story.
From the facts which have been presented, and having in mind the great urgency of procuring ships, having in mind the fact that we conscripted the youth of this country to fight-
Do not ask me when or I may tell you. Right after the election is when. This government solemnly promised that they would not conscript people, but of course they did. Did not we have three cabinet ministers stand up in their places and say that they would resign from any government which put in conscription? Yet right after the election it was put in.
The mere fact that a Liberal government break their word is not the question here; they have done
Supplementary War Appropriation Bill
it so often. The fact is that we have conscripted men in this war and under the authority of this government. These companies refused to do this work, or at least they did not do it, but they were coaxed and coaxed to do it. We coax industry to do work, but we pass the mobilization act to put our young fellows in the trenches. That is not playing fair with the people of Canada. There is certainly no equality of sacrifice in it.
If the hon. member will get up and talk it will be quite interesting to hear what he has to say about it. We should have an explanation from the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services. He and the Minister of Munitions and Supply should get a little closer together on this thing.
May I interject just one or two remarks in connection with the statements made by the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat? There were reasons why the Nova Scotia yards did not bid on the Fairmile boats, and one reason was that they were not as well equipped to build that type of boat as the Ontario yards. I understand that the contracts for the Fairmile boats were let on the basis of an average price, taking a horizontal cut of the tenders given. These Fairmile boats, which are very fast, are made largely of mahogany. Spruce is the wood generally used in Nova Scotia for planking. There was no oak in Nova Scotia suitable for ribs or frames, so their timber would not be at all suitable for the construction of these boats.