April 2, 1941

LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

From what page is the hon. member quoting?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Page 2076 of Hansard of April 1.

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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Where are the words "what the full reasons are I do not know"?

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

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.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Faint heart ne'er won fair lady.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Perhaps

they are trying to build up a political machine, I do not know. The hon. member may know more than I do in that regard.

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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

Where is the suggestion that I coaxed them?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

In the

second column of page 2076 of Hansard.

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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

My hon. friend has made the statement that I coaxed these builders. I am asking him where is that statement?

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

The minister said:

They have been coaxed ag.ain and again to take the work.

May I ask the minister who coaxed them?

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LIB

Angus Lewis Macdonald (Minister of National Defence for Naval Services)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston City):

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.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

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-

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

When?

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

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.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

The mere fact that a Liberal government break their word is not the question here; they have done

2112 COMMONS

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.

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An hon. MEMBER:

You don't know what you are talking about.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

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.

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LIB

William Alexander Fraser

Liberal

Mr. ERASER (Northumberland):

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.

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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

Inspectors were sent down to investigate all that.

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April 2, 1941