May 14, 1902

REDHEAD, X.S., BOAT HARBOUR.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I would like to ask the attention of the House while

I refer to a matter which has received perhaps more importance than either the amount of money involved or anything else justified, except by reason of the manner in which the hon. leader of the opposition brought it before the House. I would ask to be permitted to quote a statement made by the hon, gentleman a short time ago, not for the purpose of commenting on it or continuing the discussion, but merely to follow it up by certain official reports relating to the matter. On the 11th of March the hon. gentleman brought to the notice of the House certain representations made to him concerning some public works in the county of Shelburne, and I take the following quotation from what he has said. It will to be found on page 1032 of the unrevised 'Hansard ':

Take the expenditure for the purpose of cutting a canal between a lake at Black Point in the county of Shelburne or Queen's-I do not know which-and tidal water. The information given me by a gentleman, who has personal knowledge, is that the project was to cut a canal between tide-water and the lake for the purpose of affording shelter to fishermen. The project had been reported on years ago adversely by the engineer in charge, Mr. Dodwell. This is the information given, not by Mr. Dodwell, but by this gentleman to whom I refer.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

There is no Black Point in our books. Is there any other name by which the place is known?

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The harbour at Black Point near Loclceport. It seems that afterwards a gentleman by the name of Locke, a civil engineer, who was placed in charge of a portion of the south shore, reported favourably on the construction of this canal. Mr. Dodwell has said it was no use undertaking the work because the bottom of the lake was higher than tide-water, and the construction of the work could not possibly result in any advantage to the fishermen ; but under Mr. Locke's report, the canal was cut at considerable expense, and it was found that the bottom of the lake was above tide-water, so that the water simply ran out of the lake, and the expenditure was absolutely thrown away. This is worse than waste of public money, and the Minister of Public Works should inform the House whether or not the statement I have made is correct.

There was a difficulty in meeting this statement for the reason that the place indicated by the hon. gentleman contains no such work as that to which he alluded. There is no such work at Black Point, and it was difficult to find out the work he referred to. But we have discovered a work which perhaps corresponds with the description he gave, and which he may have had in his mind. I shall simply read a report from the assistant engineer, Mr. Thomas J. Locke, addressed to Mr. Lafleur, acting chief engineer of the Public Works at Ottawa :

At Redhead, Shelburne county, we expended about twenty-one hundred dollars to convert a pond on inside of beach into a boat harbour in the spring of 1900, and built cribwork protection walls to low water about 300 feet in length. On November 10th, 1897, Mr. Dodwell reported Hon. Mr. FIELDING.

on examination of this place. The work is substantial and the boat harbour is now and has been used as a shelter successfully. The class of boats used are skiff boats about 18 foot keel. The channel, from low water to pond is twenty feet wide and at low tide the boats seek its mouth as shelter, and as the tide rises, go into the pond at about'

approximated half tide. For additional details, please see my annual report for fiscal years 1899-1900.

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THOS. J. LOCKE,


Asst. Engineer. That is a recent report. I wish now to present a report made by Mr. Locke on this work, not recently, not since this session opened, not since this matter was the subject of controversy, but at the time the work was done, two years ago. This is an extract from the report of Mr. Locke, the assistant engineer, for the year 1899-1900 : (Extract from my Annual Report, 1899-1900.) Redhead is situate about two miles east of Roseway and 12 miles south-west of Shelburne town. It is a fishing station of some considerable importance. There are from 40 to 50 threehanded boats at present fishing from this point, and in olden times when a safe harbour was afforded the fishermen, a much larger number was engaged at this place. At the site of our work is a shingle beach about half a mile in length and separating a small lake from the sea-coast. Through this beach there was at one time a channel or inlet by means of which in stormy weather, the owners of the boats were able to seek shelter and protection for their property through this channel into the lake. In 1840 or thereabouts the provincial government, upon representations being made to them that this channel was gradually being filled up, deemed it advisable to advance the interests of the fishermen by protecting the west side of this channel with a groin of stone-filled cribwork from the lake to within 40 feet of L.W.O.S.T. This work, however, was not suitable for the purpose, and within 15 years the channel was entirely closed, so that the fishermen had no shelter whatever provided for them. Examinations and surveys of this place showed it to be necessary in order to have a permanent haven thait the channel should be reopened and cribwork protecting walls built for the entire length on both sides. Accordingly the sum of $2,000 was appropriated for this work, and during -the last fiscal year it was undertaken and completed at a total cost of $2,097.87. The work done consisted of the excavation of a channel 20 feet wide, and from four to eight feet deep for a total length of 306 feet to L.W.O.S.T. Protecting walls were built along the sides of this channel, consisting of stone-filled cribwork, 10 feet wide on top and at an average height of from eighj to eight and one-half feet. The length of the western wall was 316 feet, while that of the eastern side was but 266 feet. Besides this, we constructed a retaining cribwork wall along the face of the beach, 220 feet in length, six feet wide and three feet high, so as to more fully protect the beach and keep the violent s-torm3 of the ensuing two or three years from washing portions of the beach into the lake, thus preventing the destruction of the outlet of the main work. I may mention that the estimated cost of this work was $2,360, and although we 4997 XAY 14, 1902 4993 constructed more work than was at first estimated to be necessary, yet the total cost was slightly under $2,100. The credit for this apparent saving is due to no engineering skill, but to the earnest and honest manner in which every labourer engaged in the work performed his duties. Too often, in employing labour upon government works, are the employees inclined to shirk responsibility, thinking in their ignorance that the money to the credit of the work is inexhaustible, but in this case each and every man knew that the building of the work meant a great deal to himself personally, and in consequence we received more than just recompense for the wages paid to labourers. The work is strong and substantial, and I have much pleasure in informing you that this work is satisfactory in every respect. I certify the above to be a correct copy taken from my annual report, 1899-1900. THOS. J. LOCKE, Asst. Engineer. This is the work which my hon. friend describes as utterly useless. I have not got the date of this report, but the engineer certifies that it is a copy of the report sent by him to the department for the fiscal year ending 30th of June, 1900. Mr. BORDEN (Halifax). What is the name V . The MINISTER OF FINANCE. Redhead. There can be no doubt that that is the place that my hon. friend refers to, because there is no such place elsewhere on that shore. But one other point-the hon. gentleman says that the work was waste-fuiiy carried on. 1 have shown by the report of the engineer that it was exceptionally well managed and that it was a work of great benefit to the people of that section, My hon. friend stated that Mr. Dodwell, the engineer in charge had previously reported against the work. i have now Mr. Dod-well's report made in 1897, addressed to the chief engineer of public works. That report is as follows : _ _ , „ November 10, 1897. L. Coste, Esq., Chief Engineer, P.W.D., Ottawa. Sir,-In accordance with instructions, con. tamed in your letter, No. 2866, of August 6th 1897, I made a survey and examination- early in September, at Red Head, Shelburne countv and I now beg to submit the inclosed plan and the following report : Red Head is a small promontory or head-land on the west side of the mouth of Shelburne harbour, 12 miles due south of the county town. The settlement on and near the head comprises some two or three hundred people dependent for a living almost exclusively upon fishing. A fresh water pond, of ten or twelve acres in extent, separated from the ocean by shingle . beaches, through which was a narrow channel used many years ago to afford a safe and convenient harbour for the fishing fleet, but it gradually filled up, owing to the drift of the gravel until it was with difficulty that a boat could be forced through even- at high water, g.orae few years before confederation, therefore, an attempt was made to re-open the channel and a grant of $100 was made by the pro-lo7j V1^la;1 government. With this sum together with labour and materials furnished ty the inhabitants, a piece of crib and pile work about 200 feet long was built on the south side of the -channel. The north side of the channel being unprotected, it soon filled up and the work gradually became buried in gravel. At the present time, and for some years past, the fishermen of the neighbourhood, on the approach of a storm, and also for winter quarters, are obliged, in order to save their boats from destruction, to haul them up on the beach, and often, before this can be done they are dashed on the shore and injured or broken to pieces. To enable the fishermen to carry on- their operations under somewhat more favourable conditions, it is desirable that the boat channel be permanently re-opened. This can probably be accomplished by the construction of the two-winged walls of crib-work, and the digging of the channel between them, as shown on the accompanying plan, which would give a protected channel having about six feet of water at H.W.O.S.T. (spring tides rise 7 feet, neaps 51 feet). That would probably remain open for some years and prove a great boon to the inhabitants. I estimate the cost of this proposed work at $2,360. Yours obediently, (Sgd.) C. E. W. DODWELL, Resident Engineer. So, every statement that my hon. friend was induced to present to this House with regard to this work is shown to have been unjust, unwarranted and unfounded. This work was necessary; it was useful; it was not reported against by Mr. Dodwell, but was favourably reported on by him. Mr. Dodwell reported that the fair cost of the work would be $2,300, and, under the administration of Mr. Locke, who carried it out, the work was performed for $2,097. Mr. BORDEN (Halifax). So far as the present report of Mr. Locke is concerned, it was apparently -made by telegram, and I presume a telegram was sent him. I suppose that it will be produced. The MINISTER OF FINANCE. My hon. friend the Minister of Public Works, no doubt, will py^duce it. . Mr. BORDEN (Halifax). If the hon. gentleman will look closely at the wording of the report he will see that it carries out practically the information given to me : The channel from low water to pond is twenty feet wide, and at -low tide the boats seek Us mouth as shelter, and as the tide rises go into the pond at about approximate half tide. Indicating that the boats cannot use this pond at all at low water, nor until It rises to half tide. Then, further : This work has never been useless, although at tim-e of commencement the pond had a deposit of mud from five to eight feet deep which has mostly scoured out. Now, if boats can only enter at half tide and that with from five to eight feet of mud scoured out from the bottom of the lake, what would be the condition when it



was first opened V 1 shall send this document to the gentlemen who gave that information-tor the information came to me from more than one source, including some who are political friends of lion, gentlemen opposite-and 1 shall ask these gentlemen what they have to say with regard to this report, iiut one of the first things I would expect them to say is that it is a practical admission of the truth of the statement they gave to me.- With respect to Mr. Dodwell's report, I informed the hon. gentleman when 1 brought this matter up that the information 1 had about the report did not come from Mr. Dodwell himself.


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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I read what the hon. gentleman said.

Mr. BOltUEN (Halifax). Hut 1 also said, which the hon. gentleman has not read :

Of course, I have no personal knowledge, but the information given me comes from ar entirely unprejudiced source - from political friends of the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Finance, in whose constituency -I refer to the Minister of Finance-a good deal of this expenditure has been made.

And so, not having personal knowledge of these matters, 1 asked for information, shall be glad if the circumstances are not as reported to me. 1 can only add, and I think the hon. Minister of Finance knows it from other sources than myself, that with regard to many of the expenditures on the South Shore, there has been, and I think are at present a great many rumours at least, and a good deal of dissatisfaction. Therefore, with these rumours current and with dissatisfaction existing, it is only right that these matters should be discussed in parliament in order that the Minister of Finance and the Minister ofi Public Works as well, may put themselves right in regard to them. As to this particular item, I do not think that the report of Mr. Locke shows that the suggestions are unfounded. I do not so regard it at present. But, as I said, 1 will send it to the gentlemen who gave me the information and will ask them what they think of it, and 1 (j'ill deal with the matter, if necessary, in a succeeding session.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

1 dissent rrorn the statement that there are rumours of the uselessness of these expenditures or dissatisfaction or any trouble with regard to any of the works to which the hon. gentleman has referred. He has specified this particular work, and this is the one under discussion, and 1 want to say that I have no doubt that every dollar expended along that shore under the direction of Thomas j. Locke has been expended honestly, intelligently and economically and in such a manner as to meet best the requirements of tlie people. The hon. gentleman says that if the work is what it is to-day, it must have been much worse before the bed of the lake was deepened. But liis informant was not writing of the" work as it was

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

at first, but as it is to-day. The hon. gentleman finds fault because boats can only enter at half tide. But is that any reason why the fishermen should not be permitted to get their boats in at all '! The essence of the hon. gentleman's charge was ' this is worse than waste of public money.' 1 venture to say that there never was a case in which there has been more complete vindication of the work of an engineer in preparing a useful public work. The hon. gentleman said that Mr. Dodwell had reported unfavourably, but that another engineer had gone in and done a useless piece of work there. That was the strongest point in what the hon. gentleman said, and it is shown that his statement was quite unfounded, because Mr. Dodwell recommended the work.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURDEN (Halifax).

Mr. Dodwell made no other report, I suppose. I take it that the hon. gentleman means that.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I have no knowledge of any other report. Will the hon. gentleman say that he did make another ?

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Mr. BURDEN .@Halifax

I have not said that he did. But 1 have said th'at I have certain information regarding it. That is all 1 said about it, and all I brought to the attention of the House both with regard to Mr. Dodwell's report and other matters. So far as the credibility of my information is concerned, and certainly as to the good faith of my informants, I believe in it still, and 1 do not think the report differs practically from the information given to me.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Let me say that Mr. Dodwell made no other report than the one here presented. I investigated this matter since yesterday, and there is no other report from the resident engineer. Let me add that this kind of work at Red Head, not Black Point, but Red Head is not the only work of the same character that has been done in several places in the county of GaspO. It is not a costly work. You make a channel and a couple of jettes, and without a large expenditure of money you have a harbour very useful for fishermen. That is the kind of work that has been done at this point. But that is not the only one, very far from it.

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PASPEBIAC AS AN OCEAN POUT.

LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr C. MARCIL (Bonaventure).

As the estimates of the Department of Trade and Commerce were adopted en bloc, I was deprived of the opportunity of making some remarks with reference to the needs of my county and I would like to take this opportunity, probably the last one I shall have, of doing so.

At one o'clock House took recess.

House resumed at Three o'clock.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Bonaventure).

Mr. Speaker, previous to the House rising at one o'clock X asked the privilege of speaking on this motion before you left the Chair, and I do so for the reason that no opportunity .lias been afforded me during the present session of referring to the subsidy which is paid by this government for a line of steamers between Dalhousie and Gasp6 basin. At a previous sitting of the House in committee it was agreed to vote the estimates for these steamship subsidies en bloc, and I was promised an opportunity before prorogation of referring to some of them. I am glad the Minister of Trade and Commerce is now in his seat, and I will particularly draw his attention to item 202 :

' Steam communication during the season of 1902, -from the opening to the closing of navigation between Gasp5 basin and Dalhousie, $12,500.' The county of Bonaventure which 1 represent is situated on this route, half. way, as it were, between Dalhousie, New Brunswick, and Gaspe basin, in the county of Gaspe. A line of steamers is at present subsidized by this government running practically from the 1st of May until the 15th or 20th of November. The conditions prevailing in that section of the province of Quebec are such that an effort,

I believe, should be made by this government to extend the present system of communication as much as possible, in view of the fact that the county of Gaspe is altogether deprived of railway communication of any kind, and that a portion of Bonaventure is also in that position. The North American Transportation Company has had a contract on this line for a number of years past. That contract expired at the close of navigation last year, and if I am correctly informed, the company have been allowed to run for one year more on the understanding that when tenders are called for a five years contract beginning fr'om next session, more improved methods will be applied, and that an attempt will be made on the part of the government to meet the legitimate wishes of the jieople inhabiting that coast. The steamer ' Admiral ' which is at present on the service, has certainly given satisfaction in the past. She is good enough as far as she goes. But, Mr. Speaker, when you take into consideration the fact that the steamer ' Admiral ' was formerly the property of General Grant, and navigated American waters as far back as 1861, you wall probably admit that in 1902 the time has arrived when a more modern vessel should be placed upon that route. The * Admiral ' is a paddle steamer. Now people want an iron screw steamer able to begin earlier in the spring and to continue later in the fall and winter. At the present moment the counties of Bonaventure and Gaspe have, roughly speaking, merely eight months of navigation, although navigation

is possible' for ten, eleven, and in some seasons twelve months in the year.

A number of petitions have been received by the Minister of Trade and Commerce on this subject. Some of them asked that the service to Dalhousie be discontinued because it is a parallel line with the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway from New Carlisle for nearly a distance of 100 miles. The views expressed by those petitioners have led me to believe that the present service might be continued, but that it might also be vastly improved. If communication is desired with the province of New Brunswick via Dalhousie, we should see-to it that the facilities of the eastern end of the line are extended. I would beg leave to urge that if the present line to Dalhousie is to be continued, the line from New Carlisle, the terminus of the railway, should be kept up as long as possible during the fall and winter, starting as early as possible in the spring. At this moment there are people in the county of Bonaventure who have to drive thirty miles to reach the first railroad station. There are people in the county of Gaspe who have to drive 80, 90, and in some cases 100 miles before they can reach the nearest railway station on the Atlantic and I.ako Superior, and then go over 100 miles to reach the Intercolonial Railway at Metapedia. Their arguments have been set forth in the resolution which I beg most respectfully to read, and which I believe contains the essence of what is now asked for. It is to the following effect :

That an improvement in the steamer service between the Bale de Chaleur and Gaspe is absolutely necessary.

That in 1899 the Department of Trade and Commerce called for -tenders for said service, to terminate not earlier than the 31st day of December.

That notwithstanding said condition on the part of the department, the steamer ' Admiral ' has invariably discontinued the said service in the -month of November.

That a paddle boat is not adapted for fall and early winter navigation. That the interests of the coast suffer great injury by the steamer service being cut off at a season when, navigation is perfectly feasible and safe.

That small sailing vessels of about 100 tons load and sail from Gaspe during the month if December for Europe and South America. That the harbour of Gaspd was closed to navigation this year on the 18th January. That it is a matter of vital importance for the prosperity and welfare of this coast that the steamer subsidized to run between Gaspe Basin and a railway terminus should be a screw steamer.

I believe that when we call the attention of the lion. Minister of Trade and Commerce to this important matter, taking into consideration the fact that these people are deprived of railway communication, he will see, during the year, that no contract is entered into with the North American Transportation Company, or any other company, until it is stipulated that navigation

shall be maintained on the Baie de Chaleur as long as it is possible to do so; that a screw steamer is provided so as to be able to go into the bays when there is a formation of two, or three, or four inches of ice, and that this service shall be maintained from the terminus of the railway at New Carlisle or Pasbebiac. The North'American Transportation Company have, so far as I have been able to ascertain, given a fairly satisfactory service in the past, and if all things should be equal, I think they should be given the preference, provided they will undertake to put on a modern steamer and that they will undertake to run from the terminus of the railway until the close of navigation.

I am sorry that I cannot allow my opportunity to escape without dwelling upon another matter in connection with the navigation of the Baie de Chaleur, which is of more national interest than that to which I have just directed attention. The House will remember that a couple of days ago we adopted a Bill providing, as far as we could see into the future, for the extension of the railway service in the counties of Bonaventure and Gasp6. That Bill met with the approval of my hon. colleague from [DOT] Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux), it met with my own approval, it was discussed at a meeting of the Railway Committee, and we thought that a fair compromise had been arrived at, and that all the conditions had been taken into consideration, but I learn that at the Railway Committee of the Senate the bondholders of the Atlantic and Bake Superior Railway Company succeeded in having this Bill thrown out, so that now the eastern portions of the county of Bonaventure and the county of Gaspe are again condemned for I do not know how long to be deprived of railway facilities. In view of this fact,

I appeal to the government, to, between now and the coming session, view this matter in the light that it should be viewed, and see whether the people of these counties are not entitled to generous treatment at their hands. These counties are amongst the oldest settled portions of the province of Quebec. For many long years they have contributed their share to the building up of the magnificent railway system of the Dominion, they have contributed their share to the construction of the trans-continental lines, to the construction of the canals and the improvement of our harbours; in a word, they have paid their proportion to make Canada what it is to-day. Yet, owing to unfortunate circumstances, they have been deprived of the boon and the benefits which have been extended to every nook and corner of this Dominion, barring merely the grants for harbours, rivers and ocean service. In view of the action which the Senate has taken, I beg most respectfully to call the attention of the hon. Minister of : Railways and Canals to the consideration of a few facts whiSh I will submit to him. He stated, in the course of the debate on

Mr. MARCILi (Bonaventure).

the Intercolonial Railway, that the Intercolonial Railway is not yet a complete system, and that the time cannot be far removed when the Intercolonial Railway shall be extended westward to the lakes. We heard, during last session and during this session also, the transportation question discussed in all its phases. As far as the western portion of this country is concerned, I need not say one word in reference to that part of the question, but I would beg most respectfully to urge upon the attention of the government the importance of what may be called the eastern phase of the transportation question. When, after the 25th of November, the last steamer leaves the port of Montreal for Europe, the St. Lawrence being closed to navigation, in what position is this country placed ? It means that this route is closed for five or six months in the year. The first American seaport is Portland, and the others are Boston or New York, far,removed. There is St. John, which has to be reached through American territory. To reach a seaport in our own country, on a purely Canadian line, you have to travel 740 miles on the Intercolonial Railway to St. John, you have to go S39 miles to reach the port of Halifax, or you have to go 989 miles to reach Sydney or Louisbourg. It is not a matter of surprise that the Intercolonial Railway, being handicapped in this fashion for five months in the year, being deprived of a seaport except at the expense of travelling an enormous distance, is working under a disadvantage, but I think the time has come for the government to take this question into consideration, as it is doing now, and try to solve it. I hope that it will consider whether the time has not come when the Baie de Chaleur. one of the most magnificent bodies of water that we have on this continent, situated midway between the St. Lawrence, the maritime provinces and the Atlantic seaboard should not be utilized with the view of jestablish-ing a steamer route to Europe. I am in possession, at this moment, of evidence submitted to me by the most competent officials of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and by men who have navigated the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Baie de Chaleur, which goes to demonstrate that the Baie de Chaleur is navigable for at least ten months, if not eleven months, in the year for ordinary steamers and for twelve months in the year for steamers specially constructed for that purpose. In view of the fact that the Senate has thrown out this Bill which would extend this railway along the Bonaventure coast, I would submit whether it would not be wise on the part of this government and of the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals to see whether it is not possible, when the trains reach Metapedia, instead of sending them across the province of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to find a seaport, whether it would not be possible to use the pre-

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IIAY 14. 1902


sent line of tlie Atlantic and Lake Superior down to Paspebiac and there find a seaport which could accommodate the largest vessels on the ocean and a seaport which is open for practically eleven months in the year. I do not ask the gov-[DOT] ernment to go into any reckless expenditures. I do not ask the government to increase the cost of the Intercolonial Railway to this country, but I ask the management of the Intercolonial Railway and the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals to consider if the port of Paspebiac, which is now connected with this system of railways, could not be utilized Instead of hauling the whole of our western and general trade to the seaboard through the maritime provinces. I have not a word to say against the city of St. John, or the city of Halifax, or the port of Sydney, or Louisburg. I would like to direct the attention of this parliament for a very few minutes to the fact that what I have called the eastern phase of the transportation question is not a new question. As far back as 1875 a committee of this House was appointed : To inquire as to the best and most direct route for the conveyance of mails and passengers, between the Dominion of Canada and Europe ; the possibility of riavigating the Gulf of St. Lawrence, during the winter months ; and of finding on the shores of the Dominion a harbour accessible both in winter and summer, to be the terminus of such shortest route. The advantages of Louisbourg, the advantages of Sydney, the advantages of St. John, the advantages of Halifax are all well known, but the advantages offered by the port of Paspebiac are not so well known, and 1 shall read a portion of the report which refers to Paspeibiac, a port which is uow accessible to us and which practically forms part of our system of railways, and a port which is nearer to Montreal than any winter ocean port we have on Canadian territory. That Paspebiac harbour, situated on the north side of Baie de Chaleur, offers all the advantages of a first-class harbour, and is, as the evidence shows, open and approachable from the Gulf of St. Lawrence at all seasons of the year. In examining into the merits and demerits of Paspebiac haroour your committee deemed it advisable to elicit all the information possible regarding the navigation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It appears from the evidence given by Colonel Farijana, based upon careful hydrographical examinations, that the southern and western portions of the gulf are perfectly navigable at all seasons of the year. It has been shown your committee that the Arctic ice which is carried into the gulf through the Strait of Belle Isle, strikes the N.E. of Anticosti with a velocity of current of half a mile per hour ; that the ice from the river St. Lawrence is bora upon the southern shore of the same island with a. force of current of two miles per hour ; and that the stronger current frcm the river forces the Arctic ice towards the western shore of Newfoundland, thus, leaving, as we have stated, the southern and western portions of the gulf safe for navigation. It has further been shown your committee that the tidal current entering the gulf between Cape Breton and Cape Bay, is divided by the Magdalen group, and that the wave which passes southward of the Magdalen islands, holds in check any ice which may appear north of the islands, thus keeping free from accumulations of ice that portion of the gulf lying north of Cape Breton and south of the Magdalen islands, and as far north as Cape GaspS. That report was made by tlie committee as far back as 1875, and in 1876 another committee was appointed to determine if tlie river and Gulf of St. Lawrence could be made navigable during the winter season. There are persons in the city of Quebec who contend that the River St. Lawrence can be made navigable for twelve months in the year. 1 am not now dealing with that question. 1 am not asking this government, when it calls for tenders for the fast line to stipulate that the boats shall be built in such a way as to overcome the difficulties of ice, difficulties which are overcome now by the ordinary ferry boats plying between L6vis and Quebec. My point is, tbat if you do not utilize the River St. Lawrence between the 25th of November, and the month of May; if for five months in the year Canada is to be a frozen desert, so to speak, debarred from communication with the outside world except through American harbours; then' 1 say that the time has come to consider the phase of the question whicli 1 present in connection with the transportation problem. The committee of 1870 also came to the conclusion, that the Gulf of St. Lawrence is perfectly navigable for tlie whole winter and that the port of Paspebiac was opened and easy of access. I may be told that four years ago an attempt was made by the steamer ' Gaspesia ' to engage 111 winter navigation, and that the attempt failed. Let me present evidence which will show the nature of the venture made by the steamer * Gaspesia.' I have here the *statement of Captain Wakeham, commander of the government steamer ' La Oanadienne,' a gentleman who has lived on the coast of Gaspfi for nearly forty years, and who is more competent than perhaps any other to speak on this question. Here is what he says with reference to the ' Gaspesia ' conditions generally in winter in that portion of Canada: But very little ice enters the Bay Chaleur from the gulf. Northerly and westerly winds prevail during the winter, and the gulf ice is carried past the mouth of the bay, and does not drift into it to any great extent. With prolonged easterly wind, some ice would enter the bay ; but owing to the overlapping of Point Macquereau by Miscou Point, the Bay Chaleur is never closely packed with ice. ' Gaspesia ' was an old vessel, not at all fitted for winter navigation in the gulf. She arrived off New Carlisle at a very unfortunate season. There was no wharf provision whatever for her. She was forced to anchor a considerable distance off shore in the running ice. The sea-



son was an unusually severe one ; the thermometer was at 20° below zero, and lower, nearly all the time she was In the bay. On making for sea, the captain of the ' Gaspesia ' took an unfortunate course, and one which he was advised to avoid by every one having the slightest knowledge of the ice conditions in the gulf. As a consequence he was caught in the pack which is always found to the westward of the Magdalen islands from the end of January to the end of March. Soon after getting into the pack, the ' Gaspesia ' lost her rudder, which was not strengthened or protected against ice, and the vessel simply drifted about until she was relieved. Had she not lost her rudder I believe that, poor vessel even as she was, she would have worked out of the pack, got round it to the north, and made her way to sea without much difficulty. On her second trip, the ' Gaspesia ' reached Paspebiac during the last week in January. She left there again on the 3rd February. She had no difficulty in reaching Paspebiac from sea, and was not bothered with ice when going out of the Baie Chaleur and working down along the GaspS shore. She afterwards got caught in the ice to the westward of the Magdalen islands. It is the opinion of all conversant with the mat-, ter that had she on leaving Paspebiac steamed direct for the east point of Anticosti, and from thence outwards towards Cape Ray, she should have got out of the gulf without difficulty. But, had 1 not further evidence at my command, 1 would not asU the government to test the possibility of utilizing the Baie de Chaleur for navigation during the winter months. 1 have here evidence which convinces me that the navigation of the Baie de Chaleur is perfectly feasible after navigation has been abandoned on the St. Lawrence, and that it presents none of those risks from shoals and other natural obstacles which the navigation of the St. Lawrence is exposed to. Captain Wake-ham speaks of the conditions at the present time, and of the conditions which have existed for thirty years to his knowledge. I know from letters which i have received that the Baie de Chaleur has been free from ice this winter, and that no ice has been seen at ail in the port of l'aspebiac. Captain Wakeham reports regarding the navigation of the Baie de Chaleur during the months of December and January : There can be no question as to the navigability of the above waters in December. No ice whatever will be met with anywhere. The weather In December will generally be more moderate, that is, freer from storms than it is in October and the early part of November. For many years (over one hundred) small sailing vessels have cleared from the ports of Paspebiac and Gasue in December with Osh cargoes for the Mediterranean, South America and Jersey. These vessels usually make a quick and safe run out of the gulf. Their sailings have at times been made as late as Christmas week. The prevailing winds will be from west to northwesterly. On her first voyage the * Gaspesia ' reached Paspebiac on the 19th December, and left a week later. She saw no Ice either coming or going. We generally have a cold spell about the 1st January, when ice will make in sheltered coves, and in the inner parts of the harbours ; but


May 14, 1902