1, 2 and 3. The C.G.S. Champlain was withdrawn for repairs on the 19th November and returned on the 23rd December, 1917. The vessel was replaced hy the C.G.S. Bellechasse from the 19th to the 27th November, 1917.
I was not expecting the Civil Government estimates to come up to-night, and I could not get in touch with Mr. Johnston and I have not all the details I would like to have, but I should judge, inasmuch as the number of employees this year is 125, four less than last year, that the positions at Prescott are not being filled, but I will not give that as a positive answer.
I will furnish the information at some other time.
These three employees have been transferred from the Marine and Fisheries Department at Prescott to Ottawa, and we particularly need the services of these men now in connection with our shipping programme. They are expert draftsmen.
I deeply sympathize and so does the Government, with those who suffered by the terrible disaster which overtook the city of Halifax on December . 6th last. So far as the port of Montreal is concerned, one of my first acts when I became minister was to call the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal to Ottawa and to give them the most explicit and clear instruction that for the coming year no high explosive should he stored or loaded in the centre of the port of Montreal, or in what might be more properly termed the congested area. I have arranged that during the coming year all high explosives will be loaded many miles east of congested portion of the Harbour, in what is known as opposite Pointe aux Trembles. That is another reason why we are extending the
railway tracks down there. A special shed is being built for that purpose, and every precaution is being taken to avoid accident. I am also having expert navigators draw up very carefully prepared rules for the guidance of munition ships entering the port of Montrea/1 or any other of the seaports on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. With the precautions that are being taken in the matter of loading high explosives and the providing of rigid rules for the guidance of munition vessels and all other ships entering seaports, we hope to avoid any such unfortunate disaster as that which took place at Halifax.