Hon. DOUGLAS ABBOTT (Minister of National Defence):
Yesterday when I was unavoidably absent the senior member for Halifax (Mr. Isnor) asked if I would make a statement about the report that the Queen Elizabeth would no longer call at Halifax but would call at New York instead, and I am very glad to do so now.
This question first arose about three wTeeks ago, when the quartermaster general informed me he had been advised that the captain of the Qu6en Elizabeth was in doubt as to whether he would be prepared to bring the ship to Halifax during the winter months. She is an exceptional type of ship because of her great' size, and apparently he feared that in a southeasterly gale, which I understand is rare in Halifax, there might be some danger if she were moored alongside the only pier available. I asked him to take up the matter with the captain and with the British shipping authorities, to endeavour to see if that view could' not be changed. He did so. Further discussions have been had with the British ministry of war transport, but unfortunately the captain and the owners of the ship adhere to the view that they would not be willing to bring the Queen Elizabeth into Halifax during the winter months, for the reasons I have mentioned.
I may say that the opinions of our own officials of the ministry of transport do not entirely coincide with the views of the captain and owners of the ship; but, as the house knows, in matters of this kind the captain is master of the ship and is responsible for her safety, and in case of difference of opinion his view must prevail. So the Canadian government has not been able to do otherwise than accept that decision, and for the winter months the ship will call at New York and not at Halifax.