April 1, 1910

LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS.

I think I can give an assurance that he will not be severely criticised from this side of the House. While I do not profess to control members, I think I can give that assurance with every confidence. As to its being a private wharf, the minister is right to a certain extent; it is private owned, but it is used by the public to a very great extent. The advantage to the public would be about sixty cents or seventy cents a ton on all the coal they use. I understand the municipality would go to the expense of putting up a coal shed so that this little bit of dredging, costing $200 or $300, would enable the coal barges to unload right at the wharf. I do not think the minister would be criticised from this side, he certainly would not receive any severe criticism from the people in that locality if he made that expenditure.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

While I have every confidence in the good faith of my hon. friend, it would give me more confidence in the attitude of hon. gentlemen opposite if I were to hear from the hon. member for Grey (Mr. Sproule) because he is leading the opposition.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I can assure the hon. minister he will not encounter any criticism from the hon. member from Grey regarding it.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

We have advanced quite a long distance. I find hon.. gentlemen opposite are quite prepared to support the expenditure of government money on what are absolutely private wharfs, and certainly, that being so, I will be called upon to give the matter even more careful consideration than I have done hitherto. I cannot promise my hon. friend, but I will take the matter into consideration.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

I do not wish to raise any objection to this expenditure, but I think the minister is putting a wrong construction on what is said by the member for Grey, and the member for Fronte-nac. What they referred to was this specific case, not generally speaking.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

A principle is a principle. If it is good for one case, it is good for another.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

Providing the conditions are always alike.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

If a wharf is a privately owned wharf.

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CON
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Yes, every privately owned wharf is used by the public.

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LIB
LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

Largely without tolls. There is a modification there.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS.

I want to be fair, and I think there have been many instances where grants have been made for which there was less justification than in this case.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Are we to understand that it would be a new departure on the part of my hon. friend if an expenditure of this kind were made?

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

There would be ground for criticism. It would not be unreasonable that I should be criticised for making improvements to what w'as really a private wharf owned by a private individual, who often collects tolls for the use of that wharf. It is often difficult to diraw the line. There would be criticism in this case, because the work is not a large one, and the public might well say that the owner of this wharf might have this dredging done at his own expense, that it was only a matter of two or three hundred dollars, and why should the government spend public money to improve this property? That is the criticism that would be made. But it has been done in cases where the public receive larger accommodation, as, for instance, improving a channel in front of a railway wharf, there, of course, the interests of the railway company come in, and the transportation interests in which the public is concerned. However, in this case the wharf is owned by a private individual, and he would receive the benefit of the government's expenditure. The amount is not large. I say again in perfect good faith that I am considering the matter, and I have not yet decided whether I can do it or not.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS.

If we can get an assurance, or a written undertaking, from the owner of this wharf, that no toll will be charged to coal vessels, that is to say, that that part of the wharf will be absolutely free-

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

What about the rest of the traffic?

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS.

That is unloaded on a different part of the wharf. I have no doubt the owner of this wharf will sell to the government at a very reasonable figure, yet it is a government owned wharf. It would be rather a unique experience for that part of the country.

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

No, in Ontario there is a large number of government owned wharfs. ,

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

My question was as to whether the department has not in the past expended money upon private wharfs in the province of Ontario and other parts of Canada.

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April 1, 1910