It is well equipped but we are just completing our work on that canal.
May I ask the hon. minister one question with reference to this map ? What purpose was it intended to serve, in connection with this table of sailing distances, to say that Depot Harbour is 797 miles from Montreal. [DOT]
We simply wanted to give all the figures and information possible. On the other side of the map the hon. gentleman will find the railway distances.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
I think it is a pity that the Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) was not present to hear the Minister of Public Works describe ns party politics the arguments we heard from the Minister of Railways and Canals three years ago. The Minister of Public Works is just as responsible for the statements made at the time when the contract between the government and the Grand Trunk Railway was brought before this House as was the Minister of Railways and Canals, and we were told then that the Intercolonial was extended to Montreal for the purpose of getting a large portion of the western trade and bringing it over the Intercolonial Railway to St. John and Halifax. When the hon. member for Toronto (Mr. Clarke) to-night made a reference to that statement, the Minister of Public Works said he was introducing party politics. If it was party politics now, I suppose it was party politics then, and the Minister of Public Works is responsible for what was said then just as much as if he had made the statement himself. He talks as if an expenditure of .$300,000 or $400,000 for an elevator were a trifle not worthy a moment's consideration. An elevator was built in St. John with the idea of bringing western freight over the Intercolonial Railway which we were assured could and would be done. I pointed out to the Minister of Railways then that it would be far better to attempt to bring the freight to Halifax and save thereby 250 miles of the ocean distance. I also pointed out that the Canadian Pacific Railway should not be ignored, and that instead of spending all the millions which were spent in extending the Intercolonial Railway to Montreal, we should get running powers over the Canadian Pacific Railway from Quebec to Montreal, which would be available as soon as the bridge across the St. Lawrence at Quebec was constructed, and in return should give the Canadian Pacific Railway running rights to Halifax, and thus confer upon the people of Nova Scotia Hie right to use the Canadian Pacific Rail-
way, which they do not possess at present. The Intercolonial Railway-for the management of which my hon. friend is responsible as a member of this government-has not permitted the Canadian Pacific Railway to be available to the people of Nova Scotia during the past two years at all, as far as freight is concerned. The Intercolonial Railway has refused to accept freight for St. John to be delivered there to the Canadian Pacific Railway for transmission to Montreal. I do not know whether the Intercolonial Railway does so now', but for a considerable period, during the past two years, it refused to accept freight for transmission over that railway. Does the hon. gentleman think that that is dealing with the Canadian Pacific Railw'ay as a national railway and in the spirit in which it should be dealt with, and in which the people of Nova Scotia should be dealt with. These people have paid their share of the construction of that railway and are entitled to the use of it as well as the rest of the Dominion. If there is any change of mind on this matter, it is not on the part of my hon. friend from Toronto, but on the part of the Minister of Public Works himself. because he supported the Minister of Railways and Canals in that contract by his vote, if not by his voice, and that contract went through for reasons which the Minister of Public Works now says are absolutely unworthy of consideration and which should not have the slightest W'eight for one moment. My hon. friend the Minister of Public Works knows well enough that that elevator was not built at St. John to be used in connection with the Canadian Pacific Railw'ay. He surely does not pretend that the idea was ever advanced by any member of the government of which he is a member.
I did not say it was.
Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
Then why does the Minister of Public Works suggest that it can be used for that purpose ?
Mi-. BORDEN (Halifax). It might, but that was not the reason on account of which the hon. gentleman voted to expend $300,000 or $400,000, that was not the reason on account of which he supported his colleague when he brought dowrn that scheme. My hon. friend knows that the elevator has not been put to very much practical use since, though I quite agree-the same idea passed through my own mind in visiting St. John the other day when I saw these steamers lying on the western side of the harbour and wharf, and the elevator on the eastern side not used at all-I agree possibly that although this elevator could never be used for the purpose for -which it was intended, it might at some future time be used in connection with the operations of Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
the Canadian Pacific Railway. But it js hardly worth while for the hon. gentleman to cast a reflection upon an absent colleague, which he did to-night, by using the language he did use; and because the Minister of Railways and Canals is not here to defend himself I am rising in his absence to defend him from aspersions. I trust that any suggestions of this kind that have to be made to this House will in future be made when the Minister of Railways and Canals is here to defend himself.
Now, we are pretty far afield from the particular item under discussion. But there is one pi'actical question to which I would like an answer, as this subject has been gone into. What does the minister say is the relative cost of water borne freight on, this great waterway which he eventually proposes to construct, so far as I can gather, the Georgian Bay waterway; what is the cost of water borne freight on that waterway as compared with the probable cost during the next five years, or ten years, of freight borne by railways ? If we are going to discuss this question at all that is one of the first things that we have to ascertain, because we cannot come to any proper conclusion on the subject until we get the relative cost of these two modes of conveying freight. The hon. gentleman in answering that question will have to take into consideration all the modern improvements which have been made in railways, the great reductions which have been made in conveying freight on the American railways, and the probable advances towards further reduction of that cost which will be made in the near future. This is a practical matter w'hich I think he might present to the House, and possibly it would be of as much importance for us to know that as to know a great many other matters with which the hon. gentleman has favoured us to-night.
I am very sorry the Minister of Railways and Canals is not within the sound of the voice of the leader of the opposition because he would doubtless convey to him his thanks just now. I feel, however, that my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals would not take objection to what I have said if he were here.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.
I must ask the committee to come back to the item immediately under discussion.
Please allow me to say only one word more. When it was decided to extend the Intercolonial Railway to the city of Montreal the main object was to connect the town of St. John with that great centre of trade. The income of the railway proves that the extension has been good policy, trade has increased very largely indeed.
I would ask tlie lion. Minister of Public Works if be has got any experts engaged in looking into the transportation question at tbe present moment V
I have conversed with a great many men in different parts of the country, and asked advice of competent commercial men of different political opinions. I have been in communication with dozens of such men all over the country who take a deep interest in that important question. I do not know what my hon. friend means by an expert.
What I mean is this, has the hon. gentleman employed any person outside of his own department to look into this great question ?
No, we have not.
Just simply within your own department 7
My own officers, and business men.
In connection with these canals, I would like to say one word for what I may term the winter port of Canada, I refer to the port of St. John. Before I left home 1 procured some statistics which give the quantity of exports from that port. I find that the exports of this year exceeded those of last year, between the 27th of November, and the 25th of January, by $1,050,000. Now in regard to foreign goods shipped from the port of St. John between the 27th of December and the 25th of January, I have also statistics to show that from across the line, from the neighbourhood of places on the established railways of the United States, we had during that period shipped $1,400,958 worth of foreign goods. If we can do that in the present condition of our harbour we can do a great deal better after it has been improved. If these goods can be shipped from St. John in the present state of our harbour and the present state of the American railways, and we can compete favourably with them to the extent that I have indicated, there can be no risk in making that port the future winter, port for the business of Canada.
I desire to say a word concerning this St. Lawrence ship channel for which there was voted last year the sum of $669,000, and for which we are asked to vote this year $500,000 more. The minister says it is his intention to deepen the water to some thirty feet and make the channel 430 feet wide between Montreal and Quebec. The hon. gentleman has told us that he has a magnificent fleet of dredges. I have not been able to gleau from his remarks how much each dredge cost, the capacity of each dredge, and the
number of dredges that are employed in doing that work. But I notice in the Auditor General's Report that the following dredges have been engaged on this work. The ' Laurier,' the ' Lady Minto,' the ' Lady Aberdeen,' the ' Labelie,' No. 8, No. 11 and ' Spoon Dredge ' No. 6. I would like to ask the hon. gentleman if he intends to employ any more dredges than I have named on the work for which he proposes to spend $500,000. I would also like to know when these dredges were built, where they were built, who built them, what, is the cost of each dredge, and the capacity of each dredge.
I am employing this year a new dredge that started work last autumn it is called ' Sir Louis Hypolite Lafontaine,' which will take the place of No. 11. That will make one dredge additional. All these other dredges, except the ' Laval,' have been built since we took office-since 1896-7. There is a big dredge, the last one I have had built, in Toronto, which will be used also and which will bear my own name. That will be twelve dredges that will be employed. I have said that the suction dredge has cost $250,000 and that the other dredges have cost in the neighbourhood of $125,000. They have all been built at Sorel, except the one built at Toronto in the government shipyard with Canadian labfiur entirely.
The hon. gentleman has not stated the capacity of each dredge.