March 11, 1902

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Harbour works are of different kinds. Sometimes they require a dredge. There is a good deal of dredging on that work. My hon. friend will not tell me there have been no works done in Ontario. There are dozens of harbours, wharfs and breakwaters that we have built in the past in Ontario, and we shall continue to build wharfs and breakwaters there in the future. I may say that the harbours of Montreal, Sorel, Three Rivers and Quebec will be largely used for trade purposes, they are being already largely used for that purpose. Trade is increasing every day. If we are going to have that current of trade that we expect, we must provide for it. The works at Sorel, at Three Rivers, at Quebec, at Montreal are just the same kind of works that are being constructed elsewhere.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I made no complaint on the score that this was a local work, and that it was being done in the province of Quebec. I tell the minister that there are items in Ontario more disgraceful even than some of these that have been mentioned. Three years ago he constructed a dock in the riding I represent that was a disgrace, so far as the expenditure of public money went. It was at a place called Hawkestone, under the direction of the Postmaster General, and the people there reprobated it. It cost three or four thousand dollars, and the people there reprobated it even though they did get a little' profit out of it. I had a better majority at that point than I ever had, because the people said, if this is a sample of the dissipation of the public money of this country, then we propose to condemn it. I am prepared to support the principle of constructing harbours at any place where they are required by reason of receding water or by reason of deeper vessels plying there. I believe it is proper to do necessary dredging. So far as the expenditure goes that is a matter for the minister and the government to decide.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

At Goderich, how much have we spent in the past ? $600,000. Not this government

alone, but past governments.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

These are matters for the people of the country to decide, whether or not the government should do as they are doing, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at places that never have Hon. Mr. TARTE.

become ports and never will become ports, but simply to meet political exigencies.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

The hon. gentleman does not mean to say that Sorel is not an important port.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

If the minister will give the House this assurance, that they are going to construct docks at Sorel and charge the steamboats which may use those docks a reasonable sum for such use, and that he has reason to believe the revenue derived will be a fair return for the investment, then there is something to be said in favour of it. But, I have this to say to the hon. minister when he takes that stand, that, if it would pay the government to invest in docks and harbours, why are not private parties justified in going into similar enterprises as they do in Toronto V Why does not the government go to Toronto and construct docks ?

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Have we not spent $1,000,000 in Toronto ?

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

My hon. friend cannot point to where a dollar has been spent in Toronto on docks. True, where private parties have built docks you have spent money in dredging, and you have also expended money in constructing piers and rip-rap works to prevent filling in by sand. As far as Owen Sound goes, I do not think this, or the preceding government, has spent a single dollar on docks.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Yes, on wharfs.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

Well, I say it was wrong to spend money there for the benefit of the Canadian Pacific Railway or anywhere else, but if the hon. minister will explain to us what this Sorel dock is, we will understand what is proposed.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

I do not hesitate to say that any country that tried to get along on the principle enunciated by the hon. member for East Simcoe (Mr. Bennett) would not get along very fast. If you wait for private enterprise to provide accommodation for trade, you will have to wait a long time before such a system is carried out, and in a young country where we have an immense quantity of trade in prospect, if we do not provide for it, we will never secure it. I say as a matter of general policy, that it is the duty of any government to provide for the accommodation of trade by building wharfs and elevators. If I have a free hand I would not hesitate to erect elevators-

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC AVORKS.

In Montreal and elsewhere, because, in this century, governments must move on. But, we are doing a great deal and we cannot do everything we would like to do. As to the erection of works at Sorel, as at God-

erieh and elsewhere, we have to do it. My hon. friend (Mr. Bennett) has started his criticism under the wrong impression that these works were created for the benefit of the Richelieu Company. It is nothing of the kind. These are deep water wharfs for the accommodation of the deep draught vessels that will certainly visit that port when these works are completed. As soon as these works are completed by my department they are transferred to the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and, as I have stated in connection with some other works,

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KEMP.

Montreal has harbour dues and Montreal does not ask the government to build wharfs. I do not understand on what principle the government are embarking on this enterprise. If they are going to make an ocean terminal of Sorel, this is the first I have heard of the intention to cultivate a trade of that kind at that place. Do I understand that it is the intention of the New York Central to carry grain down the South Shore and transfer it at Sorel to ocean vessels to be carried thence to Europe ?

the law then applies and the ordinary dues are charged.

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CON

Jean-Baptiste Morin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORIN.

I would like to say to the hon. minister that, as we have been informed, the New York Central Railway Company have bought the Canada Atlantic Railway, and according to what the hon. minister says, they have bought the road from Montreal to Sorel. Before they bought these roads it appears there were wharfs enough at Sorel. At least, we heard no complaint about any scarcity of wharf accommodation. How is it that as soon as these American people come in here and buy our railways we must jump right up and build wharfs for them ?

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

These works were given out by contract long before the New York Central bought the South Shore Railway, in fact, a year or two ago. An appropriation was voted by the House before the South Shore passed into the hands of that syndicate.

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CON

Jean-Baptiste Morin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORIN.

That may all be, but I was just referring to what the hon. minister said. He said that the New York Central had bought the South Shore Railway and required these wharfs.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KEMP.

As this is a very large item, 1 think we ought to consider it a little more fully. May I inquire what amount of money it is intended to expend on the wharf at Sorel ?

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

For that work ?

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CON

March 11, 1902