March 18, 1909

LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

The government is carrying out, just as rapidly as it can reasonably be done, the recommendations of the Transportation Commission. But let me say that, as one member of this government, and as having to do with the administration of public works, I fail to see that all other sections of the country should be sacrificed for the benefit of these great ports which are part of this great transportation system. What was the recommendation of the Transportation Commission? It was that the ports of Fort William and Port Arthur should be improved and made capable^ of rapidly assisting in the transportation of the products of the west to the eastern sections of Canada and the Atlantic seaports of our country; it was that the canal system should be deepened, that the port of Montreal should be improved, as also the ports of St. John and Halifax, and, on the Pacific coast the ports of Victoria and Vancouver.

Now, let us commence with the west and see what the government is doing. On the Fraser river, we have a powerful dredge that has been working there for some time, and another dredge in the harbour of Victoria. Within the last few months we have purchased two as good dredges as are to be found in either the Atlantic or Pacific waters of the United States. We have the * Ajax,' a very powerful dredge, and lately we purchased in Germany* a suction dredge of the most superior character, one capable of dredging to the extent of 1,000 cubic yards per hour-a thousand per cent greater capacity than the average dredge we have had working before this, a dredge with enormous capacity and one which will enable

us to do splendid work. Our idea is to make the Fraser river a great ship channel up to the city of New Westminster. We are dredging the approach to the harbour of Victoria, carrying out a definite scheme of improvement of that harbour with which the people there are well satisfied, as shown by the manner in which they expressed themselves though their board of trade and otherwise in appreciation of the work we are carrying on. In Vancouver we are entering upon the work of improving the harbour. This has not been necessary in the past, because the traffic was not congested as it has since become. We are putting on a dredge to improve the entrance to False creek, a very important part of the harbour, and we are having an examination made of the Narrows, the entrance to Bur-ard inlet, and also of the Parthia shoals and some other shoals which require to be removed. Now, coming eastward to the western shores of Lake Superior, we find that this government is to-day spending millions to make Port Arthur and Fort William capable of accommodating larger vessels which ply upon the lakes, so that the traffic of our country may be handled with as great facility as traffic is handled at Duluth. Coming eastward to the eastern shore of Georgian bay, you will find that the government, in conjunction with the two great railway companies, the Grand Trunk and the Canadian Pacific, is developing the new harbours of Tiffin and Victoria. The railway companies are building new lines of railway almost as level as this floor, in order to divert the traffic which now goes to Buffalo and through United States ports to Canadian ports and through Canadian channels, spending on these railways no less than $50,000 to $60,000 a mile. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) will see, if he looks at the estimates, that large appropriations are made for the dredging of these ports of Victoria and Tiffin, and he will see that for Port Arthur and Fort William the magnificent sum of $600,000 is appropriated for the carrying out of this part of the great transportation scheme which the commission has recommended to the government. Now, if he comes to the port of Montreal he will find that very recently the government has expended upwards of $1,000,000 on the new pier there, and also that we are lending to the Harbour Commission of Montreal money for the purpose of carrying on vast improvements there and lending at the low rate of 3 per cent. Coming to the Atlantic sea-board, you find that so far as the port of St. John is concerned, this government has departed altogether from the policy of its predecessor, which was that no work should be done by the government in the harbour of St. John unless immediately connected with the Intercolonial. Last year the expenditure of this government at that port amounted to three-quarters of a

million. And if he will look at the estimates he will find an appropriation of $500,000 for the coming year, to carry on the work necessary to make St. John one of the great winter ports this also being a part of this great scheme of transportation. If he will go to the port of Halifax he will find great improvement there in connection with the terminus of the Intercolonial Railway. And if he will go to Quebec, he will find that we are engaged there upon works for the purpose of providing ocean terminal facilities, which will run into $2,000,000 or $3,000,000, before we get through with the very large scheme we have undertaken. If he will visit the south shores of the St. Lawrence at Levis, he will find that we have purchased there a property capable of being made into a splendid depot for our terminal, and we have an item in the estimates of $400,000 for the purpose of completing the purchase of this property and beginning the making of improvements. All along the line from the Pacific to the Atlantic, we have been moving forward to the accomplishment of the ideal which this commission had in view and recommended to the government; but while doing that, are we to sacrifice all the other sections of the country? Are we to refuse to give to the people living along the St. Lawrence in small towns and villages the accommodations in the way of wharfs and dredging which they require and the ordinary conveniencies of transportation? Let my hon. friend not forget that the trade problems of this country do not simply concern the great ports and the people inhabiting the large cities, but also the people living along the St. Lawrence and on the shores of our great lakes and the lakes and rivers of the maritime provinces, as well as the people of British Columbia, who live not alone in Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster, but in Nanaimo and on the west coast and in many small harbours along the coast. All these people in all these sections are doing their part in contributing to the business of the small towns and cities, and these in turn are doing their part in building up the great cities of Montreal, Toronto, Quebec, St. John and Halifax. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, whilst giving attention to this great transportation problem, I am not prepared to lose sight of what might be called the smaller transportation problem, but still one which concerns many thousands of people. Take this item of St. Sulpice, and it is the only item to which my hon. friend ventured to refer. He says it might be criticised. The amount we are asking for is to repair a wharf 25 miles below Montreal, which was built by the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company and which has got sadly out of repair. The people are asking us to put it in repair. That is a place of some 700 to 800 people,

principally farmers, who send a good deal of produce from there, and it would be a great loss to them if the steamers were not able to call at that wharf. We are putting that wharf in repair in order that steamers may call there and the farmers get the accommodation to which they are entitled.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

My hon. friend has given a glowing description of public works generally, but the simple question I put him he has not answered. I asked why the government had not carried out the suggestion of the Transportation Commission, which called for the nationalization of the ports of Montreal and Quebec, and the building of two dry-docks, one in Montreal particularly and generally the completion within as short a delay as possible of the improvements upon the St. Lawrence route. My hon. friend says they have spent a great deal at Port Arthur and Fort William. I say that the government has not even at these points carried out the urgent recommendations of the commission which required that the government, without any delay should expropriate the water front. That was the first recommendation.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

At Fort William?

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

The hon. minister has not answered my question. I come now to the particular instance to -which I referred. I did not state that a wharf could not be of some use at St. Sulpice. What I said was that the county in which St. Sulpice is situated and the neighbouring county were intensely more interested in the carrying out of the practical suggestions of the commission, such as the nationalization of the port of Montreal and the immediate construction of the Georgian Bay canal. These two works are of infinitely more use and benefit to St. Sulpice than the construction of a wharf. My information is that there was a wharf built by the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company, which does service in that locality and has done so more than half a century. Why should we interfere? Was it most urgent to make the wharf 15 feet wider? Was that as urgent as the other works to which I have referred? It was made 15 feet wider and the stones were used from the old wharf belonging to the Richelieu Company to fill up an "additional 15 feet. The work was not done by contract. If it had been, it could have been done for $3,800, but it was done by days' work, and I think we have got to pay about $7,000. Was the old Richelieu wharf purchased?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

It was.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

There was great dissatisfaction at St. Sulpice at the wharf being where it is? These 800 people, to whom the minister referred, were greatly dissatisfied because the wharf was not at the right

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

place, and in order to make things square all round, the mayor was appointed to oversee the work at $5 per day, although he knows nothing about it. He was, however, an influential man.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

My hon. friend is only some 800 per cent out of the way. It was $3 instead of $5.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Is my hon. friend absolutely sure ? I think I am nearer the right figure than he.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I am sure the hon. gentleman is astray.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

We want a competent man. It is not because a man is influential or is a mayor that he is particularly qualified to do the work. The wood was not called for by tender and nothing appears to have been done by tender. The wood was bought from a stone merchant, a very influential and important man to conciliate. Was it bought by tender ? I doubt it very much. That is what I have to say about the St. Sulpice improvements. I say that these people are more interested in the large works projected for transportation than in this little work for local convenience. The minister has multiplied words but he has not answered my question, why have the government not nationalized and made free the ports of Montreal and Quebec, when the Americans are competing successfully for our traffic making their ports free, equipping them for traffic and in some cases giving bonuses to the traffic?

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LIB

Joseph Pierre Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. J. P. TURCOTTE (Quebec Centre).

(Translation.) Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Jacques Cartier has declared repeatedly, to-night, that nothing had been done about dry docks at Montreal and Quebec. He even said that there was no dTy dock at Quebec.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

(Translation.) I beg pardon, I never said that. I did say that the dry dock at Quebec could not hold such large ships as the ' Bavarian,' which had coused the complete wreck of that ship.

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LIB

Joseph Pierre Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. J. P. TURCOTTE.

(Translation.) There is a dry dock at Quebec, which was built by the Liberal party as we all know, which cost a considerable sum of money, and has been in use until lately. Everybody knows that such undertakings are very important and cannot be brought to completion within a day's time.

I expected the hon. member for Quebec M est (Mr. Price) would contradict the statement made by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk).

I am well aware of the fact that pressure is being brought to bear upon the government in order to induce them to comply with the wishes of the hon. gentleman. But

there is many a slip between the cup arid' the lip and the hon. gentleman will have to wait till the country is wealthy enough to accomplish the dream which haunts his sleep. When his friends were entrenched in power, they neglected to make those improvements. Public money was squandered in the port of Quebec, and that expenditure gave rise to public scandals. But it was the people's money that was spent, when those millions were being squandered, and thrown into the waters of the St. Lawrence, and what was the outcome? As all the hon. gentlemen know, it was those scandals that brought about the downfall of the party then in power

I may say that a strong agitation is being carried on by the interested parties both in Montreal and in Quebec, with a view to securing the building of dry-docks large enough to meet the actual requirements of trade. Influential delegations from Montreal and Quebec have waited upon the government and have had interviews with the right hon. the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Works.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK. (Translation).

With what results?

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LIB

Gustave Adolphe Turcotte

Liberal

Mr. TURCOTTE. (Translation).

The matter has been thoroughly discussed. On the part of the government there was no such answer given as ' non expedit,' that is to^ay, nothing to show that the government were unwilling to take action. What was stated was that owing to the financial situation, and the vast public works that were being constructed, although the proposal was worthy of consideration, it was not deemed advisable for the present to start works the necessity and urgency _ of which are fully acknowledged but which could not be constructed within a short time.

All along the shores of the St. Lawrence, chiefly between Montreal and Quebec, vast improvements have been carried on; other great works are being constructed or will be resumed, during the next season. It is in the interests of Quebec and Montreal that the steamer 'Montcalm' is now busy dredging the channel between those two; cities, in order to have the river opened up to navigation earlier in the year. Those' improvements call for large expenditures which are incurred, no doubt, in the public interest, but more particularly in favour of the county which the hon. member for Jacques Cartier thinks has been sadly neglected by the government.

I do not think there has been any such neglect either in that part of the country or elsewhere. Such sweeping criticisms are calculated to lead astray public opinion and fool the people into believing that we are remiss in our duties. My hon. friend from Quebec West is well aware that such is not the case. He knows that within twelve or

eighteen months, the government are going to place at the disposal of the Minister of, Public Works with the consent of parliament the appropriations required to complete the necessary and urgent improvements in the harbours of Montreal and Quebec.

River St. Francis, St. Francis du Lac, on west side of river, $4,000.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY.

Could the minister

give any information as to the extent to which the river is navigable at this point and the amount of navigation there is?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PIJGSLEY.

I am not sure as to the depth of water, but my information is that there is considerable traffic between this place and Montreal. I suppose it would be by one of the Inarket boats. I am not able to give my hon. friend the information which I suppose he would desire as to the depth of the water.

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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY.

Is the minister in a position to say that there is water enough for any boat to run for more than perhaps a month in the spring time?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PIJGSLEY.

If the hon. gentleman asserts from personal knowledge that there is not, I will take his statement.

Mr. DOHERTY I am not asserting it; I am asking the minister for information.

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March 18, 1909