He denies most positively ever having had any interest in that dredge or ever having in any way benefited by it or by any work done by it.
What stronger denial is it possible for any one to make ? The deduction drawn by the hon. gentleman, that because a relative of a certain person is interested in a dredge, therefore that certain person must be interested, is one in which I cannot follow him. Insinuations may be founded upon the facts that have been alleged, but, as I understand the purport of Dr. Macdonald's letter, he denies in the strongest possible way that he has now or ever had any ownership in that dredge or that he has benefited by it in any possible way. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Bennett) refers also to the matter of the advertisements. As hon. members will understand, in the case of public buildings, and alterations in public buildings where the tenderer must figure on plans and specifications, it has always been the custom of the department, and always will be no doubt, to allow plenty of time for the calculations to be made. But, in the matter of such a work as the dredging at Port Arthur, I venture to say that any contractor could, within ten minutes after looking at the specifications, state at what figures he would take the work, because it is only so much per yard for the different classes of work, and having arrived at a figure for one class, he has established a basis for estimating the others. If you contract at 10 cents per yard for removing one class of soil, you have only to add or deduct a certain proportion for the others. The hon. member for Hamilton (Mr. Barker) brought up the question of towing, and the hon. member for East Simcoe (Mr. Bennett) mentions that again to-day. I gave an explanation, which, I think, was perfectly satisfactory to every other member of this House. When a dredge is hired by the hour, that dredge, for the time being, to all intents and purposes, is owned by the department; and it has been the custom for the department, in such cases, to provide for the towing of the dredge to the scene of the work. But it does not follow that the same should be done in a case of this kind. In this case the work is to be done at so much a yard. That being the case, I gave instructions that the course followed in the case of dredges hired by the hour should not be followed in this case, so that there should be no claim made on the department on that account. As to the question of the changes that have been made in the advertisement to which the hon. gentleman referred, I think it will be found that the changes are such as to permit the openest kind of competition by Canadian dredge owners. The
only matter the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bennett) seriously objects to in the change of wording of the advertisement, as I understand, is as to the dredges being owned in Canada. The new clause that has been inserted under my instructions, reads as follows :-
Only dredges may be employed upon the work which were registered in Canada at the time of the filing of tenders with the department.
That clause is intended-and I think it will be effective-to keep persons from tendering for this work, waiting until they find whether they are successful tenderers or not, and, if they are going to the United States and employing a plant and bringing it here to compete with Canadian plants