Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
The House remembers that under the terms of the Act authorizing the construction of the National Transcontinental Tailwav. it is provided that the portion of the railway from Winnipeg to Moncton is to be constructed by a board of Railway Commissioners under the joint supervision of the chief engineer of the commissioners and the chief engineer of the Grand Trunk Pacific railway. Naturally differences of opinion arose as to the classification of material, between the engineers of the Railway Commissioners and the engineer of the Grand Trunk Pacific. I say naturally, because it would have been extraordinary indeed if in the construction of a road of that magnitude, where there is such a variety of soil, it had not been the subject of some differences of opinion. The Act, however, provided that in case of a difference of opinion, a third person should be appointed as arbitrator. The board of arbitrators therefore was to be composed of the chief engineer of the Transcontinental Railway Commissioners, the chief engineer of the company, and a third arbitrator to be selected by the two, and if they did not agree, by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. As there were differences of opinion between the engineers, a third arbitrator was appointed in the person of Mr. Colling-wood Schreiber. After the board of arbitration had proceeded for some time, Mr. Lumsden, the chief engineer of the commissioners, resigned, in a letter which i3 to be found at page 28 of the blue-book which was brought down to the House a few weeks ago. On the 25th of June, Mr. Lumsden addressed the following letter to the commissioners of the Transcontinental railway:
My recent trips over portions of districts ' B ' and ' F ' in connection with the arbitration on points in dispute regarding the classification and overbreak between the chief engineer of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company and myself (which arbitration might have been proceeded with more than eight months ago but for delay on the part of the Grand Trunk Pacific) have led me to the conclusion that neither the general specifications nor my instruction regarding classification have been adhered to, but on the contrary large amounts of material have been
returned as solid rock, which should have heen classified as loose rock or common excavation, and material has been returned as loose rock which was or could have been handled by plowing or scraping, and should have been returned as common excavation. On several residencies there seems to have been no attempt by the engineers to carry out my instructions and measure rock returned, either by showing the same on cross sections, or by measurements of individual pieces, but they simply appear to have guessed at the amount by taking percentage of the total cutting. In some cases where cross sections were prepared showing ledge rock, they proved to be erroneous, resulting in a very much larger amount of the solid rock being returned than actually existed. What is known as overbreak has also been returned in many places where it was caused h.y excessive use iof explosives, and where the material was wasted this should pot have been done. .
Such being the case, I must decline to certify to any further progress estimates in districts ' B ' and r F/ in view of the general disregard of my instructions, and having lost confidence in the engineering staff, I have concluded to resign my position as chief engineer, and have to-day written to the Hon. Minister of Railways and Canals to that effect, inclosing him a copy of this letter.
(Sgd.) HUGH D. LUMSDEN.
And in another letter, written on the following day, Mr. Lumsden says:
Dears Sirs,-Referring to my letter of yesterday wherein I stated that I have lost confidence in the engineering staff, I beg to state that this does not apply to the whole staff, but applies only to a portion of the staff who were responsible for the measurement, classification, supervision and inspection of considerable portions in district ' B ' and east of Rennie Crossing in district ' F' lately gone over by me.
(Sgd.) HUGH D. LUMSDEN.
P.S.-In order to make the matter clear, I may say I assume my resignation as chief engineer also carries with it my resignation as arbitrator in matters of dispute with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company, but as there is a doubt raised by you, I also resign as arbitrator.
(Sgd.) HUGH D. LUMSDEN.
Before proceeding further I 'may say that the vacancy which was caused by the resignation of Mr. Lumsden was filled by the appointment of Mr. Gordon Grant, who has also been acting since as an arbitrator. The arbitration is now going on, the board as constituted being composed of Mr. Grant, Mr. Kelliher, chief engineer of the Grand Trunk Pacific and Mr. Collingwood Schreiber. The House will notice that in the letter of resignation of Mr. Lumsden he states that he has reason to be dissatisfied with the classification which has been made on the road. He thinks that there is a classification to the prejudice of the Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
commissioners and of the government. If this be true, and that is the very thing that is now being investigated by the board of arbitration, the over-classification may have arisen from one of three things. It may have arisen from the negligence of the local engineers in charge, it may have arisen from incompetency on the part of those engineers, or it may have arisen from bad faith on the part of those same engineers. But, whatever was the cause of that over classification, whether it was negligence, incompetence or bad faith, the result is the same so far as it is necessary to ascertain the amount of the over-classification.