May 26, 1919 (13th Parliament, 2nd Session)


William Duff

Laurier Liberal


Well, we had a certain class of Englishmen in Halifax, some of whom were not much good. For instance the captain of the Hochelaga was an Englishman. Here is what was said by the Halifax Herald in its issue of August 7, 1918:
The outstanding- feature in connection with the three hour battle outside the harbour that rivets attention with compelling force is the absence of any protecting ships while torpedoes sped on their deadly mission, shells fell thick and fast and the air reverberated with the crack of guns for a space of 3 hours.
Where was the patrol fleet? The brave wireless operator of the oil tanker heriocally obeyed duty's call, but the patrol answered not. Had it been a ship in distress even in peace times succor would have arrived in less than that time.
But at war, with the fiendish Hun pirates at our very door and known to be lurking in the waters off the coast, the brave crew of the allied ship fought single handed a monster pirate of the deep-and there was no response to the piteous calls for help from the patrols- which at least it would be thought would be busy scouring the waters that lap the shores of Halifax and all the other towns an 1 villages from here east and west.
The Halifax Herald goes on to say:
Where the patrol was, what they were doing, may he in the ken of the authorities-
And I presume it was, Mr. Chairman, and I want the minister to pay particular attention here:
Where the patrol was, and what they were doing may be in the ken of the authorities-may be confidential, but the citizens of this city-who have already suffered from the greatest calamity ever visited upon any city on this continent by gross and criminal carelessness, and neglect of proper control by the constituted authorities, are vitally interested to know that the patrol is such that it may with all human probability save Halifax from another calamity.
If the patrol (boats did such good work, why does not the minister produce their
logs and tell us where they were on the coast of Nova Scotia during this time? That would be the proper evidence to lay before this Committee. But he gives us only sneering remarks about my knowledge of these matters, he tries to gloss them over- to put a coat of Sherwin-Williams shellac, on the whole business.
The minister says that some of these boys were decorated by the King. Certainly they were. They were good Canadian boys lost in the Halifax explosion. They were on the Niobe at the time and volunteered to go out to the Mont Blanc, and they deserved to be decorated by the King or by anybody else.
I would like to call the minister's attention to what he said about the conduct of the captain of the Hochelaga in comparison with the conduct of the six boys who were sentenced as criminals to eighteen months' imprisonment in Rockhead jail. The captain of that steamer, as I said before, was discharged for gross negligence and cowardice in the face of the enemy. The hon. minister tried to make out that I said the captain was honourably discharged. Perhaps I did so express myself. But if the Naval Department discharged the captain of the Hochelaga, is there any man in Canada to-night who will say that the department is treating those six young boys as they should be treated, some of them iad's from the city of Victoria-no doubt from the county represented by my hon. friend (Mr. Cooper) who interrupted me a few minutes ago? These boys are at present languishing in a criminal prison at Rockhead, forced to associate with vicious, degraded criminals. I assert that no man should dare get up and say that those boys got a correct sentence. Immediately the minister read my speech he should have taken steps to interview the Minister of Justice 'and have these young men discharged from custody. I say it is a disgrace that these six young men should be tonight undergoing the association of criminals while we are here sitting on our cushioned chairs; and I say emphatically that to-morrow morning the first thing the minister should do is to see that those young men are immediately released.
Now, Mr. Chairman, for a few moments I wish to make some further statements, as the minister did not quite believe what I said in my last speech. I noticed this afternoon that he spoke about the good work- the Royal Canadian navy did on the British Columbia coast. That is quite true; but no credit is to be given to the naval authorities at Ottawa for that good work.

At Victoria, British Columbia, a few public spirited men got together in 1912 and put their hands in their pockets for the purpose of forming what is known as a Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. They applied to Ottawa for permission to form this reserve and for help. The officials of the Naval Department turned those men down, and declined to give them any assistance. A petition accompanied the request. Shortly after a cold formal acknowledgement was received from the department saying " the matter would be given consideration," but nothing further was done by the department. Influential citizens of British Columbia were interested in this matter, and, as I said a moment ago, out of their own pockets they subscribed liberally, and as a result 400 boys joined what is known as the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve. Nothing was done until July, 1914. You will remember {.hat the minister this afternoon took credit to his department for what was done in relation to these boys. The
department was compelled to give them recognition, because in July, 1914, the Kam-agata Maru arrived in Victoria with a large number of Hindus-, and the city authorities, realizing the seriousness of the matter, telegraphed the Ottawa authorities and asked that those boys be given power to look after that ship and see that nobody landed from it. That was when the Naval Reserve was first recognized. No. 1 Company, Victoria, of the R.N.C.V.R, were the first to offer and to perform volunteer service in Canada when the war started in August, 1914.
Those boys at that time were sent to Esqui-malt, and to show you the state things were in, for a few days they were given orders to dig trenches in the solid rock around the dock yards. Ammunition pits were dug and shelters erected, and general chaos" reigned throughout. To show that nothing was contemplated, these boys were not fitted out with any equipment, clothes, rifles or anything else.
What happened on the Pacific coast? On or about August 10 the German cruiser Leip-sig was known to be in the Pacific. The citizens of Vancouver, of Victoria and other coast towns were very much afraid that this cruiser might reach the British Columbia coast and shell them. In fact, the banks in the coast cities removed their gold to then-inland branches. Our fighting strength at the outbreak of the war on that coast was represented by the cruiser Rainbow and the other two ships mentioned by the minister this afternoon. In addition, there were

two fishery protection boats, the Galaino and the Malaspina and the two submarines which were purchased in Seattle about this time from an American shipbuilding firm. There was also a fleet of auxiliary yachts given to the Naval Reserve by wealthy men of Victoria and Vancouver. The Naval Department agreed with the Marine Department here to transfer those fishery protection boats to the Naval Service. These two boats were armed, but on being taken over by the Naval Service the guns were taken off and they were sent to sea without guns or ammunition. It is well known that the Galaino proceeded to sea without guns or ammunition of any kind.
But, Mr. Chairman, the Naval Department determined to do something, and they thought they had better help out one of their friends, I presume, so they arranged to charter the Grand Trunk Pacific steamer, the palatial Prince George. She was chartered on August 8, 1914, at $500 per day. Then the department proceeded to spend a lot of money on her for repairs and alterations to fit her as a hospital ship. Equipment was purchased, cots and sick bays and operating areas were installed, and a staff of female nurses and a medical officer were placed on board. These are a few of the things that were purchased:
Drugs and medical supplies $505.40
Surgical instruments 287.16
Flags 115.65
Medical stores 127.27
Bowls, jugs, soup tureen, etc., etc. .. 109.78Arrowroot biscuits, 500 lbs., etc 135.00
Blue jackets, overalls dressings; gowns, 72 at $2.00 each; tooth
brushes, towels, etc S62.35
Bed spreads, 74 at $2.10 each;
Blankets, 111 pr. at $5.25 per pair;
Felt mattresses, hammocks, etc.;
silver forks, etc 2,214.89
-and hundreds of other items. This steamer, Mr. Chairman, was sent on the broad waters of the Pacific with lights out. Now, anybody knows that Red Cross boats or hospital ships should not be sent out in that way. It is well known that the Hague Tribunal provides that hospital ships shall be painted white with a green stripe and with the red cross displayed in four or five prominent places, and in
no way try to conceal her identity. The Prince George proceeded on her journey, and had she been unlucky enough to have met with one of the German cruisers then at large, a terrible calamity would have occurred.
It is not the custom nor the procedure of the Admiralty of any country to send hospital ships sculling about, endangering the

lives of people on board; these ships are to follow after an engagement, not to precede it. During, an engagement they remain at their base or in the safety zone. After a short but somewhat expensive career this hospital ship was recalled and dismantled, and on September 23, forty-five days after being chartered, was turned back to the Grand Trunk Pacific. This little farcical episode cost the country $49,805.05, plus some other items of expenditure appearing in the expenses of H. M. C. dockyard, Esquimalt. As I said before, the Government paid the Grand Trunk Pacific $500 per day for the use of the Prince George.
While this was going on on the Pacific coast a number of German trading vessels were proceeding from Japan to Pacific ports in America. It was known to every pilot on the Vancouver coast that these ships had sailed from the other side and were on their way to this side of the Pacific. Two of the lieutenants who were at Esquimalt- one of them was Lieut. Julian and the other, Lieut. B. L. Johnston, a Vancouver pilot- presented to the naval office at Esquimalt a list of the German vessels which were then on their way acro-ss the Pacific, and requested permission to take the Galiano or the Malaspina, place her guns back on board and use the boat in an effort to capture these German ships. The senior naval officer promised at once to communicate with the naval authorities at Ottawa, but a few days later the lieutenants were informed that permission was not granted. One of the trading vessels was the German barque Kurt, which arrived at the port of Astoria, United States, on September 11, 1914. If these young Canadians had been allowed to take these fishery protection boats out they would have captured the German barque Kurt, which was worth $600,000 in gold, had a full cargo of products from South America, and was without guns or ammunition of any kind.
There were other vessels which the commander at Esquimalt was told about, and concerning which, I assume, he sent word to Ottawa. One was the ss. Alexandria, which arrived in San Francisco from Samoa about this time with the entire personnel of the German staff of the South Pacific German possessions, and over a million. dollars of gold in her strong-box. Other German boats which arrived safely at their destination on this side of the Pacific were the Arnoldus Vinnen, which arrived at Astoria on October 11, 1914, and the German ship Ottawa, of 2,542 tons register, which arrived at San Francisco August 21, 1914. If these young lieutenants
had been allowed to use the fishery protection vessels to which I have referred they would in all probability have captured these three valuable prizes.
What was done to help these boys keep up this naval reserve? The climax was reached and the death knell sounded for the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserves on the arrival of the Director of Naval Service in Esquimalt, Vice-Admiral Chas. E. Kingsmill. Strong representation was made to him by the heads of the respective branches at Esquimalt to obtain the bare necessities for carrying on the R.N.C.V.R., and it was hoped that his arrival would in no small way herald the righting of things. It is to be remembered that Admiral Kingsmill called the entire corps of the naval volunteers to assemble in the drill hall and there addressed them somewhat along the following lines: He
said he had been informed by the department at Ottawa that the Government had received instructions from England to devote all their energies to manning an army, not a navy. This is in contrast to the recruiting that was going on in Great Britain and in the Dominions overseas. Admiral Kingsmill stated: That the naval volunteers had been very badly advised; that the naval volunteers had been to a much greater extent poorly led; that there appeared to be
. great discontent throughout the
9 p.m. rank and file, and that it was not the intention of the department to go on with the volunteers as a fighting force, and, therefore, that as many as wanted could leave the yard forthwith. This was small recompense and very little thanks for the work done up to this time under the most adverse conditions by these men. They had been in the stokehold of the Rainbow when at sea; they had coaled ships in their civilian suits and had generally borne the brunt of things in the yard. Great consternation reigned after this speech. However, suffice it to say that over one hundred availed themselves of the admiral's advice and departed.
Needless to say, naval recruiting was at a standstill. The blow had been dealt, ani the naval spirit that existed up to this time in Western Canada was practically dead. Many of the naval ratings joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. However, it is to be noted that about sixty days later the Naval Department, evidently being in need of naval ratings, sent an urgent telegram to Esquimalt, using the words " Recruit! Recruit! RecTuit!"

As showing the kind of situff our Canadian boys are made of, I may point out that a large number of them, some 1,188, went across to the Old Country and joined the British navy. But let us see what The Sailor, a magazine published in Toronto, says about affairs in the Canadian Naval Service. It is headed " The Price of Inaction/5 and says:
Mention has been made editorially of the fact that Canadian officers serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve strongly desire to be identified with a Canadian Naval unlit. This desire has been expressed not once, but many times, and recently was voiced in a constructive manner by a young officer, who, in writing home, suggested that some plan be worked out whereby Canadians who are now serving under the White Ensign be formed into a Canadian Naval unit and loaned to Great Britain for the duration of the war. It may be parenthetically remarked here that the young officer in question has already been recommended for a foreign decoration and has been since appointed to a responsible post in the British navy. Therefore, his suggestion was actuated by the purest motives of patriotism, and shows plainly the spirit which animates our sea warriors ; for no matter how high they may climb ; no matter what their environment, they are Canadians first, last and all time; and they are proud of their Mother Country. It is a curious fact, however, that the suggestion was identical with the one made by Capt. the Hon. Rupert Guinness, R.N.V.R., to the Department of Naval Service in 1916. At that time he was in Canada armed with diplomatic credentials, and (instructed to urge Canada to recruit 2,000 men for the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, and to lend them to Great Britain, where they could be trained in various ratings. While he was pleading with the late minister, and his deputy minister, to take action in the matter, Commander Armstrong, R.N.V.R., was also in Canada and was energetically recruiting for his unit. The result was obvious, the apathy of the one side and the energy of the other, brought its own reward, and when Commander Armstrong left Canada he had secured about 400 of Canada's finest sons for the British branch of the service. Meanwhile the late minister and his deputy sat idly by, and watched the young men go. In fact, it took them from early spring until late autumn to break the monotony of their inaction, and then they decided to start recruiting for the R.N.C.V.R., in the depth of winter. This decision was indicative of only two things, of either the utter incompetency of the late minister and his deputy as departmental heads, or of their absolute indifference to the branch of the service which they were bringing into being.
These are not my words, Mr. Chairman, but the words of the editor of The 'Sailor. I think his name is Mr. Amelius Jarvis, of Toronto. At the time the German cruiser was on the Pacific coast and we had only the poor old Rainbow and the other little boat 'to do our work, wThat was the position that Canada was placed in? We had to accept help from the Japanese Government. Three Japanese cruisers-I

forget their names-came to the Pacific *coast, established a base at Esquimalt and did patrol work for 'the Canadian Government and the Canadian people during a great many months while there was *danger on the Pacific coast. .
The minister this afternoon endeavoured to convince the Committee that it was impossible for the Niobe to capture the German steamer Willehad, which sailed from Montreal.
'Some one asked that question, and it was shown that she was going along the Nova Scotia coast the very day war was declared. My information is, and reliable information too, Mr. Chairman, is that the steamer Canada was at that time on the Atlantic coast. She carried two twelve-pound guns, and if she had been given instructions from the dockyard or from the authorities at Ottawa she could have captured the Willehad. There was no necessity to have the Niobe to capture the ship. Now, it was considered necessary to purchase an aggregation of boats for patrol, and in connection with this matter I do not think I need say very much. There were a number of boats connected with the Marine Department for the purpose of laying buoys, and looking after the bells on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. One of these boats was the Lans-downe. She was one of the largest steamers in the Marine Department, being equipped with derricks for the purpose of placing and hoisting buoys. This ship was taken off Marine work and put in the Naval Service, the cost involved being some $47,043. Instead of being put to useful work she was kept at the base in Sydney for the purpose of lifting and lowering the signals at the defence boom to allow vessels to come into Sydney-work which a small tug boat could have done rather than -this large ship belonging to the Marine Department. Let us see what happened as a result of the boat being taken off the Marine work. As I said a moment ago, the work of these boats was to lay buoys along the Nova Scotia coast every spring. In winter some of these buoys have to be taken up owing to the ice, and during the spring and summer of 1918 a number of buoys were not placed because the Marine Department had no boat to lay them. The following are the buoys not placed in position:
Liscomb Fairway, gas and whistle.
Thrum Cap, gas and bell buoy.
Three Fathom, gas and bell.
Egg Island buoy, no whistle or light.
Thorn Shoal, bell.
Owl's Head, bell.
Ship Harbour, automatic whistling buoy.
Spry Bay, bell.

Sheet Harbour Passage, bell.
Basson Reefs, bell.
Lockwood Rock, automatic whistle.
Nixonmate, bell.
Bull Rock, bell.
Isaac Harbour, gas and whistling buoy.
New Harbour, whistling buoy.
Tor Bay, whistling buoy.
Flying Point, bell.
Whitehead, gas and whistling.
Cerebus, gas and whistling.
Grimes, gas and whistling.
Argus Shoal, whistling buoy.
Petitdegrat, gas and bell.
Beak Point, whistle buoy.
Haddock Rock, bell.
L'Archeveque, bell.
Fourchu, whistling buoy.
Guion Island, gas and whistling buoy.
Barr Reef, whistling.
Now, I suppose the Minister of Naval Affairs will say the reason these buoys were not placed is that the German submarines, if the buoys were in position, would find their way into the harbours. That argument will not hold water, because the German submarines had no need of the buoys or bells to enable them to get into the harbour. All the coast lights were burning, and if a German submarine wanted to go into a harbour from Cape Sable to Cape North it could have done so at any time, day or night. To show what kind of naval service we had, we were obliged to have a Japanese guard on the Pacific coast, while a similar: condition
existed on the Atlantic. It will no doubt be remembered that two Australian ships came to our coast to help protect our coastal waters. If I remember correctly, these ships were the Sydney and the Melbourne. One I am sure was the Sydney, which sank the German ship Emden in the Pacific and afterwards came to help us. So that it is obvious the minister could Hot rely on the service of his navy when *we had to have Japanese and Australian ships assisting us. Then the hon. gentleman told us about the work of the mine sweepers. The joke about them is that they only swept the sea after the convoys had passed, and for this statement I have the most reliable authority. The duty of the mine sweepers is to clear the water before the ships carrying soldiers and other passengers .go forward; but this patrol calmly swept the ocean after the convoys had passed and were out of sight. We did have some protection on the Atlantic coast in 1917, on the suggestion of Mr. Amelius Jarvis of Toronto. The Canadian Government, with money which I believe belonged to the Imperial Government, purchased seven or eight fishing schooners which were changed to represent camouflaged vessels.
They were supplied with motors, and had guns. They also had on deck dories which were let down and disappeared in the waist of the ship. These vessels were bought in May or June, 1917, and as an illustration of the expedition with which the naval authorities in Halifax did their work, these seven or eight vessels were not made ready until October of the same year. Of course, as every one knows, in October the fishing fleet were home so that those ships did not do any work that season. However, they should have been kept for the next year and could have rendered excellent service. One of these little vessels fixed up to look like a fishing craft could be anchored or laying amongst the fishing fleet, and on a German submarine coming up, this "mystery ship," as it is known, would lower her dories and train her guns on the submarine, and before the latter had time to get her own guns ready, the camouflaged boat could damage, if not sink her. In the winter of 1918, I presume at the suggestion of the department, these vessels were sold at about half their price to any one who cared to purchase. I contend that they should have been kept, for they could have performed very valuable services in 1918. But, as I said, they were sold in February or March of that year. We have been told of what was done to protect the fishing fleet on the Atlantic coast. I do not profess to take any credit for what was done, but I may say that I did telegraph the Acting Minister of Naval Affairs last year acquainting him with the condition of affairs in Nova Scotia and asking him if something could not be done to protect about 150 fishing vessels at that time on the broad Atlantic. I received word from Ottawa-a very nice telegram, I must say-that they were doing all that they could in the matter. Of course, I knew what that meant, and I telegraphed hack and requested that an endeavour be made to get either British or American cruisers to come and patrol the Nova Scotia coast. We have heard about the Stadacona and the advice to fishermen to leave their grounds and go into port. Now, I took the matter up myself when I could not get satisfaction from the minister, and on my responsibility I telegraphed every port in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland where vessels were in the habit of going and advised them to remain in, and by the time that either American destroyers or any boats which the Naval Department might have sent from Halifax got to the grounds, there were only two or three vessels on the Grand Banks. So that

when the gentleman who wrote the letter to the Montreal uiar, as quoted by the minister this afternoon, said that there were 60 vessels notified, I will say that it must have been in the stokehold of the boat shovelling coal instead of being on the lookout. These vessels could not continue their fishing voyage owing to lack of protection by the Canadian authorities, and the advice I gave at the time was that they should endeavour to get home at the earliest possible moment and in so doing hug the shore.
The instructions which I gave them at that time were to try and get home at the earliest possible moment and hug the shore; that is, they were to leave the Newfoundland ports and come up around Cape North, down through the straits of Canso, and hug the shore from there to Lunenburg. This was done, but I regret to say that one of the vessels which was hugging the shore-this would not have happened if we had had the proper naval protection-on the sixth of September was blown on the rocks by an easterly gale, and eighteen men were lost owing to the culpable negligence and' lack of protection afforded by the Canadian naval authorities. When these vessels arrived at their home ports I telegraphed to the Minister oi Naval (Service that some 150 valuable ships had arrived home with valuable cargoes ranging in value from $30,000 to $40,000. 1 asked if it would not be possible for him to send some patrol vessels from Halifax to patrol the coast off the mouth of Lunenburg and Lahave, but the minister has not yet done me the courtesy to reply to that telegram. Two days after the armistice was signed, on the 13th of November, into the harbour of Lunenburg steamed about a dozen patrol boats, the first we had seen since the beginning of the war. That is the kind of patrol service which the minister tried to defend this afternoon.
Early in the war a despatch came from Ottawa to the naval authorities at Halifax that the German cruiser Karlsruhe was shelling the town of Glace Bay. Of course, no such thing ever happened, but word came to that effect. The naval authorities hustled around. At that time the good ship Canada, a boat not much longer than this Chamber, was lying at Halifax. She had two twelve-pound guns, and that was the boat that was sent down to Glace Bay to engage the German man-of-war. At the same time, in order to give further protection to the citizens of Glace Bay, a crew with a couple of guns was sent by train. This crew was made up of sick-bay attendants and watchmen on the Niobe; there
TMr. Duff.]
was hardly a naval rating among them. The joke was that the gunners went without any ammunition and without a breach lock. One of the guns sent by the naval authorities at Halifax was about twenty years old, and had been used as a hearse at sailors' funerals. The whole thing was a joke, and after setting up some wire at the town of Glace Bay, the sailors came back.
The minister did not think I was correct when I said that a certain gentleman had offered to give one destroyer to the Government if they built four others. That offer was made by Commander J. K. L. Ross. He gave his own boat, the Tuna, and also took charge of a vessel called the Grilse. The Grilse was the only vessel in the patrol service that could be said to be equipped with guns and ammunition, and would you believe it, after the Grilse had been bought in New York and brought to Halifax she was sent up to Gaspe Basin, in the St. Lawrence, to help convoy ships carrying Canadian soldiers. Her guns and ammunition on her first trip consisted of a half-barrel with a stick of wood painted gray lashed on top of it.
The minister also talked about the ships the Government bought. I notice that six of these small patrol boats cost something like $208,000 each, or $1,250,000 altogether. They could have been bought in England for at most half the price, and I say without fear of contradiction that somebody made $75,000 or $100,000 on each of these six boats. If the minister would grant me the investigation I ask I have no doubt this fact would come out. It is true that other boats were purchased, but all kinds of prices were paid for them and no attempt was made by the department to get value for the people's money. I have no hesitation in saying that our naval affairs were conducted by the department in such a way that every Canadian should hang his head in shame.
The minister said that my remarks with regard to the Mont Blanc were not correct, and he spoke of the beautiful harbour of Halifax. Now, if anybody should know about the beauties of Halifax harbour I should. It is one of the finest -harbours in the world; I might say the finest, but the hon. members for St. John might not agree with me. The minister said that it was all right to allow this ship carrying high explosives to come into Halifax harbour. I do not know whether the minister knows this or not, but it is a fact that the Mont Blanc had her decks on fire before she reached Halifax harbour. Some oil had got

out of the casks on deck and started a fire. That ship was deliberately allowed to come up to Halifax harbour with her decks on fire. Is that the way to protect the citizens of this country? I do not want the minister to take my word alone; I am going to put somebody else on record. On December 20, 1917, the 'Morning Chronicle said:-
The public have the right to know under what authority. the Mont Blanc was allowed to approach the Narrows, proceeding inward towards Bedford Basin at the very moment when the Imo was outward bound. The naval authorities, as we understand, control the movements of all ships inward and outward. It is imperative that the public should know by whose authority the Imo was ordered to leave her anchorage in Bedford Basin at a time when it must 'have been plain to the competent naval authority that the two ships would meet in or near the narrow channel which leads from the inner harbour to the basin. It is also imperative not only for the purposes of this investigation, but for the city's security in future, to ascertain why a proper patrol was not maintained by naval craft to keep the course clear for the munition boat. The naval authorities have a large number of boats of various sorts at their command in this harbour, but so far as we have learned none of them were employed in escorting the Mont Blanc on her way to Bedford Basin. Why? The public have a right to know why these and other precautions which we might mention were not taken and, above all, why the risk of allowing these two steamers to meet on this narrow waterway was taken.
The Morning Chronicle at that time was a supporter of the present Government and of the Minister of Naval Affairs. On December 22, 1917, the Chronicle says:-
Halifax has suffered a calamitous loss on account of the explosion on a ship which carried exceedingly high explosives. What we want to know is what precautions were taken to avert this disaster; why the Imo was allowed to go through the Narrows, where the waterway is comparatively narrow and a considerable current runs, at the same time as the Mont Blanc laden with munitions; why the course was not kept clear for the latter ship? And why warning was not given to -all craft to give the munition-laden ship a wide berth?
The public want this whole matter thoroughly and searchingly probed, not alone to establish the responsibility for what has occurred, but to ensure that there shall be the most absolute safeguards possible for the future. They want to know if the regulations governing the movement of traffic in this harbour shall govern in the future, and they want to have it made absolutely certain, so far as human effort can make it, that no such risk of disaster will ever be taken again.
Now Sir, I will go a little farther to establish my case. I do not want the minister to think that I am the only person in Nova Scotia who complains about his bum-boat navy. The Chronicle of December 26 (?) says:
Halifax harbour is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Canadian Government lit is
officered and staffed by Federal appointees who act under Federal orders. Neither the province of Norn Scotia nor the city of Halifax exercises or can exercise any control over its navigable waters. It is evident, therefore, that neither of them bears any responsibility for anything which may be amiss in the management of those waters. They receive neither fees nor direct emolument from the shipping which enters the -port. They have no -power to regulate, much less to prevent, the movement to, from or within the harbour of undesirable or dangerous shipping
It seems to us that the Dominion is not only legally and equitably liable for the Injuries occasioned by the explosion of the Mont Blanc in Halifax harbour, its entrance having -been sanctioned, if not invited, by responsible -federal officials, b-ut -that it is morally and conscientiously bound to indemnify, in so far as it can, the people of Halifax for the grievous loss and injury which has been inflicted upon them through the direct acts of its regularly appointed and duly authorized agents.
Would- not any individual citizen of Halifax have a good cause of action against the Dominion Government for his personal loss? If so, should1 not the -damage done to the city toe borne without contest or murmurs by the whole people of -Canada every one of whom has as much -personal interest in the cargo of the Mont Blanc as had any citizen of Halifax, although all the loss caused by the explosion fell immediately upon the people of this city?
The Government and the minister admitted their responsibility when they paid the citizens of Halifax millions and millions of dollars. The Halifax Chronicle of December 28 said:
The inquiry which is demanded is an inquiry to establish the responsibility for the movement of the ships, the one from her anchorage in the lower harbour, the other from her anchorage in Bedford basin-why a death-carrying vessel w-as allowed to proceed up the harbour and into a narrow channel and there to come in collision with an outgoing steamer, with, so far as it is known, no precautions or safeguards whatsoever having been taken or provided. That is the crux of the whole question.
The minister said this afternoon that this ship was perfectly justified in coming up the harbour an-d that the naval authorities had done nothing wrong, and yet we have this Government organ, the Chronicle, condemning in unscathing terms not only the minister but his officials at both Ottawa and Halifax. But I am not going to rest my case upon what the Chronicle says. The Morning Chronicle once upon a time was a Grit paper and of course some of my friends might -say Grit papers are not always reliable. So I am going to give a few quotations from another paper. This paper is known as the Halifax Herald, a newspaper edited by no less a gentleman than the Hon. Senator William Dennis, of the city of Halifax, province of Nova Scotia. What do we find the Herald saying on December 24?-

There is no need to try and disguise the fact that the citizens will not rest content until the blame is rightly fixed and it would he useless to deny that there is considerable unrest in the minds of the people, that the citizens require to have their faith re-established in the ability of those having the safety of the port under their care.
It is alleged that there is no effective harbour patrol, though the naval authorities have a number of craft at their disposal, many of them tied up when they might be keeping the roadway clear for ammunition-laden ships. That there is a scarcity of men to man those patrol boats does not seem apparent from the number of uniformed1 men which were seen day by day in the vicinity of the Acadian hotel, which by the way was a sort of hotel for naval men on the " waiting list."
"Set when the hon. (member for Guys-borough (Mr. Sinclair) asked the minister a question about the number of men lying around Halifax he tried to make out that they weie net there for any length of time. He will go a little farther and see what the Halifax Herald says on December 31:
The persistent demand made jby the Halifax Herald is for a thorough investigation into all the causes that led to the explosion and the placing of official and personal responsibility therefor.
(a) Who permitted the Mont Blanc to pass up the harbour without being preceded by a patrol boat?
(b) Who permitted this foreign ship, heavily laden with a cargo of inflammables and the most deadly explosives and with a captain, officers and crew who couldn't speak a word of English and a pilot who couldn't speak a word of French? What naval, or other Canadian Government official permitted this ship to steam up to the Narrows not only without a patrol escort, but without even the ordinary and usual " red flag " danger signal?
(c) Who permitted the Norwegian steamer Imo, chartered as a Belgian Relief Ship, but now in ballast, to proceed down the harbour at an hour and minute that made it possible for the empty Imo-also without patrol escort- to collide with the Mont Blanc and her cargo of death-dealing explosives, through " error of judgment," "accident," "crass stupidity," "'gross carelessness," "damnable cussedness
or from any other cause-to collide in the very narrowest part of the harbour-this wonderful harbour in which the greatest ocean leviathans can swing around at full speed and the niavies of the Empire could ride in safety.
We will go a little farther with this investigation and see whether the naval authorities were doing their duty at the time this boat came through the Narrows ana blew up with the result that some 1,80U people lost their lives and some 20,000 or 30,000 were injured and wounded. This was the greatest disaster that any city haa suffered for a number of years and it was all due, as proved by the Chronicle ana the Herald, to the carelessness of the naval authorities. On January 31, the Herald said:

There are rumours that there may be a complete reorganization of the naval department at Ottawa, but it is hardly likely that anything will be done until the findings of the Drysdale Commission are received. The feeling here is that there is ''too much pomposity and too little efficiency among certain naval officers in Ottawa."
I address this in particular to the minister himself.
Deputy 'Minister of Naval Affairs Desborats is admitted to be a competent official though, of course, he is a civilian and consequently lacking in naval experience.
The shake-up in Canadian naval affairs at Halifax is without doubt only preliminary to a more extensive carrying out of a much needed reform in the Department of Naval Affairs at Ottawa.
Let me go a little farther to prove my case: The Halifax Herald of February 5, 1918, says:
Notwithstanding the cruel manner in which-
And this is a reference to the minister:
.-he was deceived by his officials when he made his deplorable utterance at Halifax some weeks ago in defence of men who have been shown to he utterly incompetent, and of a system thoroughly rotten, congratulations are due Hon. Mr. Ballantyne on the initial reforms he has made. No one to-day regrets that utterance more than he and the changes he has already made can he looked upon as an instalment towards a complete reorganization of the staff at this port-and which should carry with it as complete and' as thorough a change in the department at Ottawa, An investigation of the conduct of naval affairs in Canada, apart altogether from the question of harbour control, will reveal changes that should have been made long ago ; and if they had been made not only might the great catastrophe have been prevented, but much money would have been saved which has been expended for unseaworthy craft and their incompetent management.
I would like the minister to give careful attention to that.
Of that there will hei more to reveal in the future.
Let us see what the Halifax Herald says further of the Department of Naval Affairs. On February 9 it says:
Yet upon this simple policeman's job the Canadian naval service, with all its frills and feathers-
Now who is talking about pink teas and furbelows?
The result 1,500 innocent men, women and children killed', thousands injured, and several hundreds blinded for life. The punishment, the preventive methods for the future must not stop with the prosecution of a pilot, a ship's master, and a subordinate examining officer. The horror is too appalling, the measure of official^ neglect too ghastly.
We will go a little further in the matter. In its issue of February 12, 1918, the Halifax Herald says:

So accustomed has Halifax become to startling developments in connection with the recent disaster and the matter of harbouir control, there would seem to be nothing added which could further appal the people of this city, and further convince the country of the necessity of revolutionary changes. But once again comes a terrific shock. It is an actual fact that the great ocean greyhound, the Olympic, had, because of harbour mismanagement, a narrow escape, when freighted with thousands of human lives, from going on the deadly Sambro Ledges. The Commission appointed by the Federal Government to inquire into pilotage affairs was astounded yesterday afternoon near the close of the second session of the day at an announcement by Captain Latter of the pilot board. Captain Latter declared that "the naval people shifted buoys without warning, and vessels coming up in the fo<g narrowly escaped going on Sambro Ledges."
Then this appeared in the same papei on the same day:
Another development of the inquiry was the further proof of the "death sleep" and lethargy of the Marine Department at Ottawa given the evidence of J. E. De Wolf, one of the Halifax Pilot Commissioners. Mr. De Wolf said that some six or seven years' ago the (Marine and Fisheries Department asked the Pilot Commission to draft new by-laws.. The Commission, assisted by Hector Melnnes, K.C., did this and the new by-laws were sent to Ottawa. It is evident that they are still reposing in a dusty pigeonhole. No notice was taken by the department. " They treated us with contempt " said Mr. De Wolf. 'We never heard a word and I urged upon the commission to resign in a body as a protest." .
Now, the point I am making in connection with what I am reading now has reference to do with what happened after the explosion. The explosion occurred in December, and although the naval authorities knew all that happened in that regard, the officers of the Naval Department at Halifax made no attempt to better the conditions of that city. Therefore we read as follows in the Halifax Herald of March 12, 1918:
Further investigation by the Halifax Herald in shipping and pilotage circles yesterday has brought additional and conclusive evidence that there must be a shake-up of no meagre dimensions at Ottawa. The pilot's story that a steamer laden with high explosives was allowed to lay in the fair way of the harbour one dav last week for seven hours., was fully confirmed, and in getting the confirmation other details of a most startling nature were disclosed.
The Halifax Herald is scrupulously careful to abide by the rules of the censorship and anything calculated to furnish information to the enemy is gladly withheld from publication. There is not a man familiar with marine affairs at this port, not a Nova Scotia captain, who has gladly given his services to the work of naval patrol, not a master mariner who regularly brings in and takes out a steamer, but what has a story to tell of stupidity, of pig-headedness, of bungling in connection with the affairs of the port, and, following up these stories, the trail leads directly to Ottawa and reveals a heterogeneous bunch of incompetents who may know the ways of society, who may be able to judge aright the merits of various blends of wines, but who certainly do not know the ways of ships .arid are not able to judge the competence of those whom they place in charge.
The coming in, the anchoring and the going out of ships is at all times a matter which should demand the attention of men familiar with the. sea. Nova Scotia has produced some of the best seamen of all time-they are not at Ottawa* they are not in control of marine affairs, such, control is left to men whose hands never gripped hemp, men to whom the use of a sextant is an absolute mystery, and their management of floating things limited to a slight knowledge, possibly of a varnished canoe on a still lake.
In times of peace we should not have such men at the head of affairs qf a maritime nature. To have them in such position in these awful days of war is evidence of a laxity on the part of our people, a laxity which has already led to fatal consequences, and which should, perchance, a break be made through the British fleet, lead to awful disaster. God forbid that a change at Ottawa be withheld until such a time comes.
It took one of the greatest disasters the world has ever known ito partially arouse those in auhority, but those who were in supreme authority then are still in authority. Britain, France, Italy, the United States, all have had a shake-up, and a betterment of their management of marine affairs-. Canada, after appalling evidence of incompetence is without a shake-up. A Jellicoe was shifted, a Kingsmill reigns supreme.
I think I hear the minister whispering something to the Chairman. Perhaps he does not want me to read these extracts; but I would like to finish the task which I have undertaken, even if I am getting under the skin of the minister. In its issue of March 13, the Halifax Herald says further:
that so long as men who have notoriously outlived their usefulness as public officials, and some of whom are regarded as having become fossilized incompetents are retained in positions of great responsibility at Ottawa in marine and naval affairs there will be no harmony, cooperation or practical co-ordination among those upon whom the safety of this port depends and while this condition remains the people of Hali

fax cannot feel that "all that is possible for their protection is being done."
Then the Halifax Herald says on the same day:
The Halifax Herald has been informed by responsible citizens, in a position to know, that [DOT]while the vessel was at anchor in the fair way, explosive matter was removed from her, that it was taken up the harbour, that not only tugs or barges, but a motor boat, with gasoline on board, was used in the transportation of certain cases from the vessel before she was taken up into the basin.
Yet the Minister of Naval Affairs this afternoon without endeavouring to criticise the charges I brought against the department, pronounced those charges inaccurate

Now I have established to the satisfaction of other members of the Committee that what I said in my previous remarks on May 7th was correct. I have also gone at great length into these matters to-night. I have more to say; and if the minister will grant me the investigation for which I have asked I will prove who is speaking truly and who is not. We are going ahead to-night with the Naval Estimates. On May 7th after making my charges, I made the assertion that under all the circumstances, after what had happened in the case of the Canadian Navy officials, we should not vote one dollar for naval expenditure this year. I repeat that statement to-night. After all has been said and done, after all that was heard on May 7th, and what has been said to-night, and after all that is current talk in the city of Halifax, and in every port of Nova Scotia, I say that this Committee should not vote one dollar to the present Administration for Naval Affairs in Canada. We are asked to vote a sum of $288,000 for the salaries of men whose incompetence has been proven not only by myself, hut 'by the Halifax Chronicle and the Halifax Herald. Therefore, I urge this Commitee not to vote one dollar for the Department of Naval Service. It is quite unnecessary. It can *do no good. There is no necessity for any *vote of public moneys for men in Halifax *connected with the Naval Department. They should be discharged as incompetent, and the vessels either sold for old junk, or else handed over the Minister of Public Works, filled with cement and ballast and then sunk for the purpose of making breakwaters at the mouths of harbours. We are not only asked to >vote $288,000 for salaries for these gentlemen in the Naval Department, but the immense sum of $1,805,000 is asked for the maintenance and upkeep of the dockyards at Halifax and Esquimalt and the Royal Naval Reserve. I say, Sir, that no good can come from this expenditure especially in view of the present (financial situation of Canada, and every representative of the people should decide against one dollar being voted for this purpose.

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