There was a property lying idle at Prescott and you paid $24,000 for it which would be considered a very high price for such a property. You have 100 men working there now improving the buildngs at a great expense. There must be some other reason for moving to Prescott, that has not come to light.
We had only 48 feet by 40 at Morrisburg while at Prescott [DOT]we had extensive grounds. The member for Grenville (Mr. Reid) stated in the House that we bought the Prescott property at half what we would have had to pay for it a year ago.
You would have no trouble acquiring property at Morrisburg because you could have bought at a very low price, the old saw-mill with its water-power belonging to the estate of the late Wm. Mackenzie. I do not understand why you ruhde the change.
Owing to the increased number of steamers and expenses in connection with the service, the vote of $250,000 is inadequate to maintain this service. The vote is altogether for maintenance and supplies, but no provision is made for repairs and accidents to the steamships during the year. For instance, last autumn the steamship ' Lady Laurier ' stranded while going into the port of Lockeport, Nova Scotia. This vessel had to be immediately repaired at the dry-dock in Halifax at a cost of $40,000. A large portion of this sum had to be taken from the vote for maintenance, the consequence being that in the month of May the vote was completely exhausted, the wages of all the crew had to be held over and accounts for supplies also held. A sum of $30,000 has been placed in the supplementary estimates for 1903-1904 to cover part of the cost of repairs to the ' Lady Laurier ' but the outfitting of the steamers and necessary repairs to machinery to fit them for the spring work also have to be paid. The steamers now being built, particularly the ice breaker, for the St. Lawrence river, will be expensive to maintain and equal, if not more than equal, that of the ' Minto ' which is $45,000. It was was intended to increase the Dominion steamers vote by $125,000, but, owing to the estimates being large the amount has been cut down to $75,000
It is the intention to install the system on the ' Minto ' and the ' Stanley.' It is also intended to establish stations at Charlottetown and at Pictou, in order that, if communication should be interrupted in the winter, the island would not be entirely at the mercy of the Anglo-American Cable Company. We intend also to establish a station at Cape Ray in Newfoundland.
Has the government considered the question or done anything in the direction of providing a steamer for ice breaking purposes on the Georgian bay or Lake Superior ? It is the impression of a great many people that by the employment of ice breakers, navigation on Lake Superior eould be kept open all winter and the season of navigation on the Georgian bay could be extended for a couple of months in the year. If that could be done, it would be a matter of great importance. In Russia, we find that ice breakers can break ice 12 feet or even 16 or 18 feet thick.
I appreciate the suggestion made by the hon. gentleman. The whole question has been studied by my officials, and Mr. Cowie, the engineer in charge of the ship channel of the St. Lawrence, has reported in favour of establishing a service of ice breakers on that river, The first trial will be made at Cap Rouge, which is a most important point, about twenty miles above Quebec. It appears that there is a kind of gorge there, where the ice bridge forms about the end of January, and prevents the channel being opened early in the spring. Considering the demands that have been made, and that we required a boat to replace the ' Aberdeen,' which is doing the buoy service between Quebec and the Gulf, the government decided to order a 'boat which would combine the qualities of an ice breaker and a lighthouse boat. If the experiment proves successful-and I think from the report of my engineers that it will be-we intend' to apply the same system to the lakes.
After duly considering the matter, we gave a contract to the firm of Fleming & Ferguson, of Paisley, who were the only parties ready to contract to deliver a boat by the 15th November next. So that the trial will take place this fall, and there will be no delay whatever in supplying the necessary aids for navigation on the lakes, if this proves successful.
There has been scarcely any money spent by the Depart-
ment of Marine, because the company are obliged to prove the efficiency of their system before it is adopted. The Marconi Company have begun to install stations for which money was provided during the last fiscal year. They have thus far installed -two stations-at Heath Point and Point Fame. The station has been inspected by the telegraphic superintendent of the government, employed in the Public Works Department. Although he has telegraphed to the department that the installation is perfectly satisfactory, I have not yet his report in writing. Until it proves perfectly satisfactory, we pay nothing except the expenses incurred in transporting the material required for the installation. I may say that perfect communication for seventy-five miles has been established.
Yes. The company claim that they have passed signals across the Atlantic, but it has not yet proved to be a commercial success. I visited the station some months ago, and they assured me that they were exchanging signals with Great Britain dally ; but the system had not far enough advanced to be applied to commercial purposes.