February 27, 1911

CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

But there is some difference in a case of this kind.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I do not get at what my hon. friend means.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

There is an order in council placing the responsibility, and the minister says that the engineers appointed were to take the responsibility for the design and construction. I do not understand that there was any obligation entered into by these engineers that they would assume that responsibility.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

They gave no bond, of course, that they would do so, but they accepted the position as members of that board, and so long as they remained members of the board they fulfilled the duties devolving upon them. When they resigned we had to get some others to fill their places.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Have their places been filled?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

The place of the chairman and chief engineer has not been filled. Mr. Fitzmaurice resigned and Mr. Charles Macdonald, as I explained, has accepted the position, and a happy choice, I think, it was. Nov, as to the cost: My hon. friend must see that we must look at this question from a business standpoint. We are within hailing distance of having the matter closed up, and the contract signed, the details of which, I think, will fully satisfy my hon. friend, fudging from his speech this afternoon, whan he sees the documents laid on the table of the House. This will be the result if we are successful, but my hon. friend from South Lanark (Mr. Haggart) will understand that you are never sure of having a contract closed until the signatures are placed upon it, and it would not be in the public interest for me to enter

into fuller details as to this contract than I have done. I have given the House all the information that, from a business standpoint, I ought to give. Suppose I were to go into details and state some of the differences, and it would take a very long time to discuss in detail all that has taken place at the board-

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

What about putting the plans on the table?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

If we knew exactly the design upon which the bridge was to be constructed to-day, I might put them on the table, but inasmuch as the design under consideration and the contract are unalterably united, if the contractors or the bridge builders declined at the last moment under the conditions imposed to sign the contract, I might be in the position of having to accept some other design, and as the matter is not yet decided, I think it would be altogether unwise from a business point for me to give any further details to the House. I assure my hon. friend that the point that he has raised has been guarded in so far as we can guard it. We have taken the advice of the very best men, I believe, to be found on this continent. No step has been taken without full consideration. There has been no difference without calling in some other expert engineers in order to get the benefit of their advice. Step by step this work has been progressing, and I hope that in a few weeks at the utmost I will be able to give the House the result of months and months of great anxiety on my part and very hard work on the part of the several members of the board. Safety is the first thing-absolute safety-and the criticisms of the * Scientific American,' I believe, will be found to be totally unwarranted when the papers and designs are put on the table of the House. I assure my hon. friend that this is one of the most difficult problems that any government has ever had to deal with. I have devoted hours, day and night, to try and work it out, but I have depended absolutely at every step on the advice of the scientific men engaged for that purpose, I assure my hon. friend and the House that I have not taken any step of importance in the matter in which I have not had the majority of the board behind me. I have acted on their advice, and if we cannot be successful with the advice we have had, then I believe no success can attend such an enterprise. But I have full confidence in the plan adopted. I have every confidence in the men on the board, and I believe that when this contract is signed, as I hope to have it very shortly, the country will be satisfied, my hon. friend will be satisfied. The construction of material at least for this great undertaking will proceed in a few months, and the people and the government will 137

have reason to be proud of the Quebec bridge in the years to come. As to the cost, my hon. friend will see that it would not be wise for me to mention that at the present moment.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I would like to ask the minister what is the width and what time it is now estimated it will take, in a general way, to complete the bridge. I do not think he can give the time within a few months. There is one question that I want to ask the minister that I do not understand myself. It has been handed to me by a gentleman who does understand it, and I am requested to ask it. It is this: How many safety factors, after completion, does the design provide for. That is some technical point that I do not profess to understand.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Neither do I.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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CON

John Graham Haggart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAGGART (Lanark).

The minister has not told us what is likely to be the cost of this bridge. He says it would be injudicious to do so, but I have never yet heard a minister ask for a vote unless he was able to at least give the estimated cost. Again, is the minister satisfied that the present location of the bridge is the best one possible? I have been informed that there are other locations on which the bridge could be built for less than half the cost, say for instance, a little above Three Rivers, or across the Island of Orleans. It may only be common talk, and it may have no foundation, but it is certainly stated that the reason the bridge cost so much is because it is built there so as to be near the city of Quebec.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

The width of the bridge ,as in the official design is 88 feet, and I think the same width is maintained in the other designs, but as to that I am not absolutely sure. The time runs from three to five years and judging from the progress we have made so far my own opinion is that it will be nearer five than three. Last year my hon. friend (Mr. Haggart) suggested that the superstructure would cost $11,000,000 and I will not quarrel with that approximation of the estimate; I am hoping that it may be something less. I think the contract for the substructure was in the vicinity of two and a quarter millions. One of the duties of the new board was to examine the location, and they reported that the present location was the best ; it is eight miles west of the city of Quebec. Will my hon. friend (Mr. Lennox) withdraw his motion?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

There is one point which should be explained. A board of three able engineers, as I understand, was constituted and we are told that the best men in that particular department were secured. These three engineers con-

suited, investigated, and eventually prepared plans, having taken a reasonably long time in which to do that work. It appears that when tenders were asked it was suggested that any tenderer might tender upon his own plans, and it is said that the plan likely to be accepted was prepared by a certain corporation which tendered. It is singular that after a board of very able engineers had been at work for a long time on this problem, that the government should have cast their plans aside and adopted a different one. I do not inquire as to this for the purpose of getting information that the country and parliament should not have at present, but I mention it as* bping rather singular.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

It is a very proper question and without explanation it would bear the interpretation suggested by my hon. friend. One of the difficulties of the department was this: The chairman of the

board had very decided views along certain lines, and the other members of the board had very decided views along other lines. When I considered the time had arrived when we ought to advertise for tenders I found they were not a unit on the chairman's design which was called the board's design, and to proceed with the advertisement-and Mr. Fitzmaurice puts it fairly plainly in his letter to me-I thought it well to make it* as a compromise that they would agree to the government advertising for tenders on this design, but that tenderers should be invited to put in a design of their own. The other two members of the board took the position that they were not satisfied that, for such a great undertaking the board's was the very best possible design, and in the resolution of the board they set out that if any better design were presented by any of the tenderers they would accept it over the board's design. On that understanding we advertised for tenders on the board's design and permitted the tenderers to send in competing designs. Two members of the board think there is a better design than the official design, and that is the explanation.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I have no complaint to make of the reply made by the minister ; I treated him very' well and he responded. There is a good deal of information no doubt that we would like to have at this stage which it might possibly be urged that itis not wise to give just now but, on theother hand there is a lot of information which I believe might be given to thecountry now or soon. I trust it will

turn out as the minister says, that within a few weeks at furthest we will have the information that the country is waiting for. I hope the minister will make the announcement to the House, without being asked, at the earliest possible moment.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The minister said that a condition was attached to the tenders that the plans should adhere to the specifications of the board. That may be a good controlling feature in the matter. Ordinarily I would not think it wise or safe to take the somewhat haphazard plans that are prepared by contractors. Another feature not fully developed by the minister is that the minister realized when he was about to let this contract that it was necessary not only that he should have competent men to design the bridge but that these men should be in charge of the carrying out of the work. That, I think, was wise. The chief engineer refused to go on with the work when his plan was disregarded. It may be that from his very desire to obtain the services of gentlemen especially eminent, the minister has run into that other dangerous extreme that as men do not become eminent until they become somewhat advanced in years, and as they become advanced in years they sometimes become independent, the government have probably employed engineers in this case who are to a large extent independent of the compensation they were to receive. The minister might have done better if he had obtained the services of some men who by reason of their position might be expected to remain in the employment of the government throughout not only in the making of the design but the execution of the work. I am inclined to think there is a weakness at this point, that we are now virtually away altogether from the position at which we started, and which was covered by the order in council referred to by the minister. Mr. Vautelet is out of it, his responsibility is gone, Mr. Fitzmaurice is out of it, and his responsibility is gone. The original official plan is out of it, and all the benefit of that plan or at least a great deal of it is lost. The chairman of the board is taking no part in this matter, his plan has been disregarded, he is eliminated from the proposition altogether.

A word as to the cost of the bridge. I am not going to quarrel with the minister's statement but to call attention to it. He says that as to the superstructure of the bridge he does not quarrel with, the figures cited in the House, namely $11,000,000, and as regards the substructure about two and a quarter or two and' a half millions. In addition to that there is the cost of the previous structure without counting subsequent interest, &c., about $7,000,000. Thus the total cost exclusive of interest during construction, incidentals, engineering and approaches, of that bridge will come to upwards of $20,000,000. That is as far as we have got, no one can tell what the expense will be hereafter, but anywhere between $20,000,000 and $30,000,000 is

within range. I would be inclined to say., at the risk of making a mistake, that it would be a good deal closer to $25,000,000 than to $20,000,000.

In withdrawing the motion I would say that I am gratified that the minister has endeavoured to give us some information this afternoon.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

What is the proposal of the minister with reference to security from the contractors?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

The clause in the contract reads:

Each tenderer must send with his tender or tenders a cheque accepted by a Canadian chartered Bank of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) made payable to the order of the ' Minister of Railways and Canals of Canada/ As soon as a tender is accepted, the successful contractor shall deposit with the minister another similarly accepted cheque made payable to the order of the minister for such amount as will make the united amount of the two cheques equal to fifteen per cent (15%) of the cost of the works as estimated by the chief engineer.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   SAFETY, THE FIRST ESSENTIAL.
Permalink

HAGUE ARBITRATION PRO CEEDINGS.

LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax) (for Mr. Jameson) moved :

For a copy of all letters, telegrams, papers, minutes and documents between the imperial authorities and the government of Canada, and the government of the United" States of America, relating to the settlement of the case in the matter of the North Atlantic Fisheries arbitration at the Hague.

He said : I may say to the Minister of Justice that I do not think any copy of the various proceedings upon that arbitration has been placed for reference in the library. It might be very convenient for many members if a copy could be placed in the library. We have copies there of the previous arbitrations such as the Behring Sea, and the papers relating to the Alaska arbitration.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   HAGUE ARBITRATION PRO CEEDINGS.
Permalink

February 27, 1911