September 19, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


William Pugsley



I do not think it necessary to read ,all these items, but I would like to speak of one matter. There is an item for improvement work in St. John harbour, and I wish to call the attention of the Acting Minister of Public., Works to what I think is a very serious state of affairs in connection with this work. There was a contract given for a large amount of work there, including the building of a dry dock. When I was minister, I exacted a security of half a million dollars. I am told that the Government has reduced the security to $250,000, and that drawbacks accumulated, and that the contractors were at work and had a large plant on the spot, worth $300,000 or $400,000, in respect of which the department would have a lien for the purpose of the work. There was also about $700,000 of cash on hand including the deposit. I understand the Government has returned to the contractors the whole $700,000, and that the contractors are now trying to get the plant released. If that is done, it will he handing over to defaulting contractors, who were under obligation to perform this work, nearly $1,000,000 which this country had a right to insist should be applied towards the completion of the work. I do not think my hon. friend is responsible, but the Government is responsible, and I would ask him to exercise the right of lien which the Government has on that plant to keep it

there until matters can be arranged for the completion of the work.
I am not going to criticise to-night anything in connection with the half million dollars; perhaps that can be satisfactorily explained. But I would ask the minister to retain control of the plant until satisfactory arrangements are made for the continuance of the work and the unravelling of all matters connected with the dry dock.

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