answer that question by putting a question to my hon. friend: If he owned a private house and that house was bought, and he got $8,000 for it, and another man came along and offered him $15,000-the sale being good and all the papers legally correct -would my hon. friend take the house over? .
If my hon. friend will allow me, I am not asking for $2,500,000 to purchase ships. I am asking for that amount to carry on the naval service of Canada, to maintain our docks at Halifax and Esquimalt, to maintain the naval college, and for the upkeep of our ships. It is quite in order to ask questions about the naval force when the vote is before the House, but the Niobe has nothing to do with this vote.
My hon. friend is quite right, the vote before the committee is for $2,500,000 for the naval service. While the sale of the Niobe has something to do with naval affairs, it has absolutely
nothing to do with this vote. I am asking the committee to give their approval to the vote of $2,500,000, into which the Niobe does not enter at all. I will lay on the Table to-morrow all tenders and all the correspondence that we have had with this concern, and also a copy of the contract. I submit to hon. members that the sale of the Niobe has nothing whatever to do with this vote of $2,500,000.
friend is quite fair in that. I have repeatedly, through my deputy, asked how the matter stood with the Department of Justice. The department replied that they had the matter in hand, and they were corresponding with the firm, and so on. No later than this morning when my deputy was in my office I told him again to go personally and see the Justice Department, and find out if a writ had actually been served against the company. I did not forget the matter at all. We have been doing the very best that we could, and I am quite sure that my colleague the Minister of Justice is exercising his usual good judgment. You do not sue a responsible party right off. As a rule I understand that lawyers and the Justice Department first write to try and obtain a settlement, and if they fail they issue a writ.