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138   DAYS OF PREPARATION

produce the impression on the public mind that the Imperial shell orders in Canada were being manipulated for the benefit of a favoured few. This impression was fostered by the comparison of prices paid on the earlier orders with those paid later on for the same product, and many came to the conclusion that the first contracts were extortionate; whereas, as has been mentioned already, there were the cost of special plant and the risk of an absolutely unknown venture to be considered in the first prices, and many manufacturers made less profit out of 1914 shells at $5.15 than out of subsequent orders at $1.85. Having been appointed by the Minister of Militia, the Shell Committee was regarded as fair game for Canadian partizan criticism, which placed it in a very embarrassing position, for however it might have been appointed, it was in point of functions an agent of the Imperial Government. This anomaly was removed in November, 1915, when the Committee resigned and its functions were taken over by the Imperial Munitions Board, which was frankly responsible to the Imperial authorities. It consisted of the Canadian Minister of Militia as honorary president; J. W. (later Sir Joseph) Flavelle, of Toronto, as president; Sir Alex. Bertram as vice-president; Colonel David Carnegie, G. H. Dawson (Victoria, B.C.), C. B. Gordon, and J. A. Vaillancourt (Montreal), and E. R. Wood (Toronto). The change was brought about largely by Mr. D. A. Thomas (afterwards Lord Rhondda) and Mr. Lionel Hichens, who both came out as envoys of the Imperial Munitions Department. The latter in a letter to the Prime Minister regarding these appointments explained the changed economic status of the shell industry by pointing out that: "(1) It has been realized that shells can be successfully and profitably manufactured in Canada, and instead of holding back there is now a keen competition on the part of manufacturers to secure contracts; (2) the volume of orders placed in Canada has grown at a very rapid rate, and the output both of shell cases and


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