§ MR. HOGAN
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Her Majesty's Government has approved the provisional agreement 1268 entered into between the Government of the Dominion of Canada and Messrs. Peterson, Tate, and Co., for the establishment of a fast Atlantic service; whether the representatives of any other firm or firms desirous of competing for the contract were fully considered before a final decision was arrived at; and whether it is in accordance with precedent for a new and important contract such as this to be determined by a secret agreement instead of by public tender?
Her Majesty's Government have, subject to certain conditions, approved the provisional agreement made between the Dominion Government and Messrs. Peterson and Tate. The representations of other firms were fully considered before a decision was arrived at. Tenders were called for as recently as last year, and as the only tenders received claimed a subsidy of half as much again as Messrs. Peterson and Tate, and as the firms who then tendered gave no indication of their readiness to provide a service fulfilling the advertised conditions on terms at all equal to those offered by Messrs. Peterson and Tate, Her Majesty's Government decided that it was unnecessary to call for fresh tenders.