In 1900, when I was running an election In the county of East Prince, there was a flaring poster, as I have already told the House, published broadcast through the streets of Summer-side, announcing that a breakwater would be built, and that from $15,000 to $20,000 per month would be spent on this work, and what a great boon it would be to the workingmen of Summerside. This work has been promised for years and years, and no further progress has been made. If it is the policy of this government to revote a work three or four years in succession to find out whether the class of work recommended by the department will stand the weather, then the public works of this country will be in a very bad state before we get anything accomplished. Now, I find that votes have been passed every year since 1898. I believe we figured it up a year or two ago and found that the votes and revotes for a contract that was originally to cost $54,000, amounted to $108,000 in the session of 1903. I think we had a vote last year and now we find another vote this year ; so that altogether for a work that was originally to cost $54,000, we have voted over $150,000. All this time we find our Liberal friends in that province pointing to this aggregate of votes and saying : See how great an amount of money we are getting for public works in Prince Edward Island. I want to point out how the people of Prince Edward Island are being fooled in the matter of public works. In the estimates of last year there was a paltry sum of $13,000 for public works in Prince county, and I find that this year, of that $13,000, $10,400 is a revote- only $2,600 has been spent in the county of Prince during the last year. I am not objecting to the minister's estimates with regard to the amount of money voted for public works in the county I have the honour to represent. But I must insist upon the department proceeding with some degree of speed on the public works which are admitted by them to be required for the benefit of the shipping of that county. 1 would like to know from the minister whether they intend to build this work, if a new plan has been put before the government, and whether they will call for tenders for this work in the near future. I have received by the last mail letters from people in Summerside asking whether this work is to be continued.
I should be very sorry to remove anything from the estimates which would deprive the hon. gentleman of an opportunity of getting off the speech he has made on several occasions. The work is exactly in the position I have told him.
I cannot alter the conditions. If it is found that a work can be constructed there of a character that will stand and serve the purpose, that breakwater will be constructed. The engineer has been asked to report; and when we get his report the department will decide what to do.
By a new contract, by making plans and specifications for a work which will be of a character to ensure permanency. It is unfortunate, I acknowledge, the hon. gentleman has some grievance when he says that over $100,000 have been voted, and so little has been spent. He objects because a certain vote has been a re vote.
I quite concede that the people of the county have been blinded. But let the hon. gentleman possess his soul in patience. We will have the work investigated. I have no desire to delay the work if it is necessary. This is a very long work, some 2,900 feet, and it is necessary that it should be made of a permanent character when it is undertaken.
I think the department should now be seized of the knowledge whether this breakwater is going to be built, and how it is going to be built. Surely the people of Summerside ought not to be obliged to wait another year for that breakwater. Will the minister assure me that plans and specifications will be prepared, and tenders called for, and the work proceeded with in the spring 1
There is no hon. gentleman to whom I would like better to give such an assurance. But I cannot give an assurance of that kind after the statements I have made that it is necessary for the department to be perfectly sure of the char-aster of the work which they contemplate constructing there, in order that it may be of a permanent character. The hon. gentleman knows as well as I do that there are great difficulties, it is a large undertaking. He knows that a breakwater of that length reaching out into deep water requires to be carefully considered. I can only give the hon. gentleman the assurance that I will have reports from the engineers, and when we are satisfied of the proper
character of the work to construct there, we will go on.
The good faith of the de partment is shown in entering into the original contract in 1900. The amount of that contract was $55,000. I do not think that the extension of a work of that character all the way could be carried out for that money. It is a question of cost, and we want to be sure before we proceed with the work. If, having a vote for $20,000, I entered into a contract for a work that would cost $150,000 or $200,000, I would be very seriously critcised in this House.
I think the hon. gentleman said last year that the amount that would be required to complete that work satisfactory would be in the neighbourhood of $150,000. May I ask the hon. gentleman if, in case the department find that a useful work can be constructed for that amount of money, we can have his assurance that the work will go on after a careful investigation has been made ? I presume they have the details of this work in the department, and if he decides that it can be advantageously proceeded with at a cost of $150,000, will the hon. gentleman give us the assurance that it will be gone on with ?