April 6, 1903

LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER.

There may have been no report at that time. The engineer was there. But I may say about the engineers in Nova Scotia-and I am speaking in the presence of the hon. minister-that last year I think I had four reports to be made in my county, and one of them is not made yet. The engineers have so little help, at least that is what they say, that they do not make reports. They were ordered to make this report before the vote. There was a report came in before any contract was made.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

That is what we complain of on this side-that the department was induced to put a sum in the estimates last year without a report, for the minister was asked what the probable cost would be and he said he had no idea, for there was no estimate to show. Now, lion, gentlemen opposite can quite understand that we are justified in complaining about estimates so made. This is not a business way for a business administration to do-to bring down votes without preparing an estimate, so that both sides may know what they are doing.

Lingan, beach protection, $1,000.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

This makes a total of $1,600 for this work- $600 last year and $1,000 this year. This is brush and stone work, to repair damage made in beach protection work.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

But we were told that the $600 voted last year would complete the work.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

This damage may have occurred during the interval. It may be that the $600 is for repairs then required, but that since then the necessity has arisen for spending this money.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The hand of Providence seems to have been very hard on these works.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

It does seem to have been stormy in Nova Scotia.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

But there must be some reasonable excuse for this vote if it is worthy of our consideration.

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CON

Matthew Henry Cochrane

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE.

In all seriousness, what is this vote for ? What do we understand

by * beach protection ?' There must be something inside the beach in which the public is interested in order to justify this work.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

As I understand it, these are small natural "harbours which are injured by the waves of the seas, and, to protect them, brush and stone are put down to make a shelter to protect the points of beach from washing away. It is much cheaper than building wharfs.

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CON

Matthew Henry Cochrane

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COCHRANE.

So this is to protect some point that might otherwise be washed away ?

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

Fes.

Lunenburg, dredging harbour, $5,000.

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CON

Charles Edwin Kaulbach

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KAULBACH.

This is a revote of a sum that has been standing in the estimates for a number of years-and why it should be there, without being appropriated, I cannot understand. My friends say it is to please the people. My own opinion is that they would be better pleased with a vote of this kind if it were expended. I was told last year it was for the want of a proper dredge to do that work, as a lai'ge amount of work had to be done. The government is right in saying it is an immense work for it is required for the benefit of the shipping of these ports. I speak without boasting when I say that the ports of Lunenburg and Bridgewater are two of the most important ports in the whole province. Lunenburg owns a larger amount of shipping than the whole of Halifax. Bridgewater has a very large amount of shipping also, and of heavier tonnage going in and out of that port. And why both of these ports should be hampered in the way, and that for years for want of a proper dredge to do the dredging, I can not understand. The Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Finance were at these ports three or four years ago. They came in a steamer measuring about fifty tons.

They happened to be there at low tide, and had they remained fifteen minutes longer they would have been compelled to remain until the return of the tide, some twelve hours. The boat turned up the mud as they went out of the harbour, so shallow was the water near the pier, and that shallowness of water extended all over the harbour. The banks of the harbour are alluvial, and the wash from the repeated rains carry the debris into the harbour and fill it up from year to year. Now to show the necessity for that dredging, I will say that last year, had we not used smaller vessels, we would have been deprived of the opportunity of importing salt from across the ocean in large steamers for the want of a sufficient depth of water. We are compelled to confine ourselves strictly to smaller vessels in order to bring in that

comioxs

nos

supply. The shallowness of water also deprives us of the industry of ship building of heavy tonnage. This year we built something like thirty odd vessels of a fair size, averaging from one hundred to three hundred and fifty tons, and they require a considerable depth of water to float them.' Now these amounts have been In the estimates for a long time, and has not been expended, I would ask when is this going to end ? By delay they are discouraging the industry of shipbuilding. I venture to say that the coming year there will scarcely be any vessels built, for they will not be able to come into those ports on account of shallow water. When that industry of shipbuilding is interfered with the consequence is an interference with the industry of the woodsman supplying the timber and the carpenters as well engaged in construction. It interferes largely also with the traders.

Now, when told last year that for the want of a dredge this money was not expended in either Bridgewater or Lunenburg, I took it for granted that I had an Indirect promise that dredges were being built, and that in a little while these dredges would be in service, and would be placed at work in those two ports. A dredge was built, as I understand, and has been in use the past year. Will the Minister of Public Works say that there has been no dredge in Nova Scotia during the past year ? I do not think he can say so, for I have learned that a lot of dredging has been done during the past year; but why Lunenburg and Bridgewater should be overlooked and other ports of less consequence cared for, I cannot for the life of me understand. I am here to! represent the interests of the people, and I claim that work as a right. I feel satisfied that the government are doing themselves a serious injury, they are injuring the industry of ship-building, and are indirectly hurting other industries as well by not giving us those dredges. Bridgewater requires a large amount of dredging, because it is a navigable river for about twenty miles. The bar requires dredging as weil as the upper parts of the river, where there has been a large amount of sawdust deposited as well as refuse from the banks of the river. But I ask the minister in all seriousness that he will not look upon this request as of small moment, but that he will give it the recognition it deserves. I hope that this year dredges will be placed in service at Lunenburg and Bridgewater and Mahone Bay, and I feel satisfied that if the minister will consider the case for a moment, he will be convinced of the absolute necessity of this work, unless he wants to stop the navigation of those waters entirely.

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Robert Lorne Richardson

Mr. RICHARDSON.

We passed a similar item to-night with regard to an appropriation for Bridgewater. We pass these appropriations from year to year and still we have no assurance that any work will be undertaken this year any more than it has Mr. KAULBACH.

been done in the past. I think we should have some assurance from the Minister of Public Works that something will be done, that these harbours will be dredged. It seems to be useless to pass these votes from year to year without we have an understanding from the Minister of Public Works that some progress will be made.

Mr. IvAULBACH. I am waiting for an answer from the Minister of Public Works with respect to the request that I have made for an expenditure at those two ports.

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The MINISTER OP FINANCE.

Before my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works answers, I want to say a word on the subject myself. If the presence of this vote in the estimates is offensive to my hon. friend from Lunenburg (Mr. Kaulbach), we will get over that matter very easily by striking it out. When he alluded a moment ago to the policy of keeping this vote on the book in order to deceive the people, and so forth, if he is serious, I think we will accommodate him by striking it out. But I venture to say that if we did strike it out he would be the first to complain, and to ask why we did not revote it. It is a fact that all along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia \ve are experiencing difficulties in the matter of dredging. We have one or two little dredges of an inferior pattern which are doing a little work, but we are not weil equipped with dredging plant. In the case of the great lakes, where the government have no dredges available, it is sometimes found possible to hire private dredges. We are willing to hire dredges for the coast of Nova Scotia if they could be found. When I interested myself in the matter, and asked the late Minister of Public Works to make an inquiry whether we could obtain dredges, I know he did make an inquiry, and he was not able to obtain dredges from any quarter. They are not to be found, they are not available. We are now building a couple of dredges, but they are large works, and the construction proceeds slowly. But as soon as these dredges are completed, we hope that some of these important works can be attended to ; but if we cannot get the dredges, if we cannot hire them or get them constructed in a short time, then it would be useless for us to make a promise to my hon. friend that we will do this work. I am as anxious as he is to have the work done. I appreciate the importance of Lunenburg and Bridgewater, and I heartily agree with him that Lunenburg is the most important point on the whole coast as regards the deep sea fishing industry. I sympathize heartily with him, but I do not think his case was as urgent as some other cases, for Lunenburg has a fine harbour. It is beginning to suffer, and I appreciate his desire that it should be dredged. If dredges are used in some other cases, it is because the work for the moment seemed more urgent. There are some cases

where the work was more urgent for the moment, though not of more importance. Then with respect to Bridgewater particularly, there is no dredge that we have in the maritime provinces which is at all suitable for that work. If it is a question of transferring a dredge from one place to another, I am sure that I am correct in stating in the hearing of the late Minister of Public Works and of the present minister and of the engineers of the department, that we have not a dredge in the lower provinces which is capable of doing the work at Bridgewater. We do not want to withdraw the vote, my hon. friend would not desire us to do so. Even though we are not in a position to guarantee the doing of the work, we leave it there as an evidence of good faith ; and if we can buy, or build, or hire dredges, we are as anxious as lie is that this work and other works along the coast of Nova Scotia shall be provided for.

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LIB
CON

Charles Edwin Kaulbach

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KAULBACH.

At low tide it would be little more than nine feet, and our smallest schooners draw that amount of water. In regard to the remarks of the hon. gentleman, I know he is inclined to be generous, but, still at the same time, I did not like to hear a remark made by him in regard to the withdrawal of the vote.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I do not think my hon. friend is serious in pressing it.

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CON

Charles Edwin Kaulbach

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KAULBACH.

I did not refer to it in any disingenious way at all. If there is any difficulty in obtaining dredges for work of that description I will ask the hon. Minister of Public Works if he will permit me to get parties to construct dredges and place them at the service of the government at a certain rate per cubic yard. If so, I will be prepared to get parties to construct dredges that will do all the dredging required.

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April 6, 1903