July 28, 1911

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. W. S. FIELDING (Minister of Finance).

If I had been aware that the hon. gentleman intended to bring this matter up to-day I should have read over the debate to see how far there wras any conflict between the hon. gentleman's statement and my own. I am quite sure any statement the hon. gentleman makes, either at this time or at any other time, has been made in good faith. Busy men hesitate to speak with confidence concerning conversations that took place several years ago, and I feel that I should hestitate to speak definitely about a conversation on that matter of several years ago. But this I do know, that the attitude of my mind with relation to the Farmers' Bank was such that if my hon. friend or anybody else had given me any substantial reason against the issue of that certificate, I would have welcomed it, because it is notorious that I did not wish to issue the certificate to the Farmers' Bank. My hon. friend is right, I viewed it from the beginning with anxiety. 1 do remember I had a conversation with him about the matter, but I do not remember that he gave me any information bearing on the subject which would justify me in refusing to issue the certificate. I am sure, in a matter of such importance, my hon. friend if he had felt that he had material evidence to submit, would not have been content to trust the matter to memory, but he would have sent me a communication giving me definite information. It is, however, beyond question that anything that came to me on the subject from any quarter represented the anxiety which business men had concerning the flotation of this bank, an anxiety which I felt. But against that, I had the sworn testimony of the man who came into my office and swore that he had complied with all the provisions of the law. That sworn testimony should have outweighed probably any casual conversation I may have had from any quarter at all. I do not for a moment imagine that the

hon. member for West Toronto (Mr Osier) did anything in this matter except with the best intentions, and I am quite sure that neither he nor I have any desire to misrepresent one another.

WAYS AND MEANS-THE NEWMARKET a CANAL.

Mr. FIELDING moved that the House go into Committee of Ways and Means.

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CON

Thomas George Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. G. WALLACE (Centre York).

Before you leave the Chair I wish to bring up a matter that has been discussed in this House several times already, a matter coming within the purview of the Department of Railways and Canals. I may say that my object in bringing this matter up is to place on ' Hansard ' a report handed to me . only on Tuesday last, which was asked for six months ago. I suppose this is the only opportunity I shall have of discussing this matter. I have always, both in this House and outside, condemned the expenditure upon the Newmarket canal as not being in the best interests of the people of this country. I believe it was an extravagant expenditure, and one that could not be justified by the Minister of Railways, or anybody else who knows the facts. The first estimate of the cost of this canal was $291,000, for a canal that was to run from Lake Simcoe to Holland Landing, and from Holland Landing to Newmarket. The next estimate was $967,000. The report shows why this expenditure had gone up from $297,000 to $967,000. This canal connects the town of Newmarket with Lake Simcoe, or is supposed to. Nevertheless, there has been no estimate made that this canal would be of any commercial value whatever, and what is more, no plan has been devised for furnishing water to this canal, and we all know that nothing is more necessary for a canal than water. There has been.no report made showing where water can be got to float vessels in that canal. Therefore, I condemn this expenditure as extravagant and a wanton waste of public money. My attitude on this question may appear singular to some people, seeing that part of the expenditure is to be made in the county I represent, and no doubt many people would consider my course as bad politics. However, as I honestly believe that this expenditure is absolutely unjustified, I must, as an honest man, oppose it. Whatever benefit, temporary benefit, may come to the people of the county of York through this expenditure, will ultimately be lost to them through the failure to operate the canal. Now, I wish to place on * Hansard ' this report made by Mr. E. J. Walsh, who was the first engineer in charge of the canal. I would have preferred if the Minister of Railways and Canals was present on this occasion, but I

am not responsible for his absence. I will read the report:

Ottawa, Canada, January 20, 1911.

Sir,-I desire to place before you, and on record in the department, (so that the same may be available for parliamentary inquiry), some observations and explanations concerning the Holland River improvements, more generally spoken of as the " Newmarket Canal," as follows:-

The policy of carrying out this work has been subjected to much adverse criticism, both in parliament and throughout the country, chiefly on account of the excessive cost.

In the debates, in the House of Commons, the Government through silence, and the Minister of Railways and Canals, by subtle suggestion and implication, has allowed, and caused the whole blame, for this unpopular expenditure, to fall upon myself.

In the reports of debates, House of Commons " Hansard," March 23rd, 1909. Supply- "The Newmarket Canal"-Mr. J. A. Currie, (North Simcoe) stated: " I do not think the Minister of Railways and Canals will rise in his place and say to this House that any single figure that has been given by Mr. Walsh to him as the responsible minister in charge of that department in connection with this work, has been within 200 per cent of what the work actually cost, or of the estimate that was made by the responsible man, Mr. Grant

.... Mr. Walsh also said the original work would cost something like $300,000. His first report was made to Mr. Collingwood Schreiber, in which he placed the amount as something over $300,000. He made a subsequent report on the 17th of March, 1905, which the Minister did not quote, and the amount was $291,249.86

Mr. Walsh made several attempts

or bluffs at an estimate on the second section but Mr. Grant, who is without doubt a very experienced engineer, made an estimate of that work which was far short of the lowest tenderer. Mr. Grant's estimate on section No. 2 was $596,826, and the lowest tender received in answer to the call founded on that estimate was $652,009.50. . . .

' Then there are the land damages and the work at Wilcox lake. No one has made an estimate on that work except our good Christian friend Walsh, who says $41,000. Mr. Walsh estimated at $290,000 work which has now reached $900,000, so if he says this work will cost $4-1,000, we are safe in saying that it will cost not less than $150,000.'

In another portion of his speech Mr. Currie is reported thus:-

' The first mention of this canal was immediately before the election of 1904. Some time in October 1904, Mr. Walsh, an engineer of the department, was hurriedly called from Orillia to that section of country to make a survey of this particular branch.

' Mr. Walsh goes down to that country, and in a few days every loose fish in Newmarket is driving stakes and eating his dinner at the country's expense.

' By the way, it was just two or three weeks before the election, and every voter that could possibly be put to work was put to work on the job, and within a very short time they blew in $25,000 of this country's money in Mr. WALLACE.

making these surveys. Bear in mind immediately before the election.'

I desire, before proceeding further, to cfiar-acterize the latter statement as being, absolutely, foundataomless. There are only four (4) ncal men, and three (3) in staff from Ottawa (7 -all told) employed at the time, and up to the date of the general election, which took place on November 3rd, 1904, the total amount expended, in connection with the Holland River survey, was $484.86, of which $68.79 was the actual sum paid, in wages, to the local men.

Details of this expenditure, annexed hereto, can be verified by reference to the Auditor General's report for that fiscal year. Mr. Currie's other statements, with reference to myself and my report, are quite as uncalled for, unfair and extravagant.

Doubtless, after Mr. Currie's parliamentary experience becomes more mature he may realize the propriety of asking for all papers on the particular subject, and satisfying himself that he is right in the premises, before making an attack in parliament on an official who is precluded from, being present and defending himself.

In the House of Commons debates, Hansard, March 23rd, 1909:

' Supply-The Newmarket Canal.

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Hon. G. P.@

Graham (Minister of Railways

and Canals). Mr. Speaker, 'He

gives his estimate, which, as my hon. friend (Mr. Currie) has pointed out, is too low, amounting to $354,536.

* Now let me go a little more into the history of the work as it has proceeded, giving also a digest of Mr. Grant's findings. Let us take section 2, Holland river division. On February 12, 1908, Mr. Grant, who is one of the most efficient engineers in the whole department, after giving the results of the analysis points out that the rainfall for 1907, which was a very dry year, was somewhat less than 30 inches. Mr Grant himself has gone over the figures very carefully, and, in his report of 1907, although he finds that the rainfall was less than 30 inches, and less, than Mr. Walsh found it. Mr. Walsh found by the records of the Meteorological Observatory, Toronto, that the average annual precipitation at Newmarket, for the ten years from 1896 to 1905, was 30-67 inches, and the minimum during that period was in 1896, when it amounted to only 27.67 inches, the latter is what he based liis calculations (re water supply) on. Vide report, dated 29th September, 1906, E.J.W., 20, 1, 11. . . The country is committed to building the Newmarket canal. It has cost a great deal more money than was estimated. . . . I

may state that the cost as estimated by Mr. Grant is, as my hon. friend has pointed out, nearly a million dollars. Mr. Butler has estimated that the reservoir will cost $80 000. .

. . . . The canal itself will cost in

the vicinity of a million dollars.'

Mr. Samuel Sharpe (North Ontario).-As this Newmarket canal .... The Minister of Railways and Canals also stated that the original estimate was largely ex-ceded, that the original estimate was something around $300,000, but that subsequent estimates which largely increased this amount were due to the increased cost of materials.

I ithink he placed the increased cost of

materials at from 40 to 50 per cent. But he failed to inform us that the original estimate had been increased some 300 per cent.'

Sir Wilfrid Laurier-Mr. Speaker, . .

. . We did send an engineer and he reported that the work could he done for $300,-

000. Well, we thought that if we could have that useful work done for the town of Newmarket and the riding of North York for an expenditure of $300,000 we ought to do it. It turns out, however, that the work is costing more than we expected. This is not unusual in works of this character. My hon. friend says it is going to cost a million dollars. But even if it should, even if there be a mistake, that is very different from a corrupt act.'

Mr. Walsh Interviews Minister.

Having been, more or less under the impression that the minister's, most extraordinary presentation and defence of the Newmarket canal policy, during the 1909 parliamentary session, might have been due to personal misconception, or misrepresentation on the part of some of his departmental officials concerning the true facts about that work, the writer called upon the Minister of Bail-ways and Canals (a few days after prorogation) on the 28th May, 1909, and pointed out to him that the adverse criticism in parliament, directed against the former, in connection with the Newmarket canal work, was founded on false premises; that my plans and proposals in re. section No. 2, of the east branch-Holland Landing to Newmarket-had been unwarrantedly changed and the cost, unnecessarily, enormously increased; that I had recommended a standard of construction commensurate with the amount of traffic likely to be available, and that, instead of adopting this, Messrs. Butler and Grant had copied the elaborate plans of the costly Soulanges canal; overlooking the fact that the St. Lawrence canals form the links of navigable communication between the Atlantic ocean and the Great Lakes, having tributary thereto the possible carrying trade of half a continent, the magnitude of which no living person could foresee; whereas the 'Newmarket canal' is much less ambitious in its pretensions as regards prospective traffic; and further, that when an attack was made upon myself in parliament, by certain members of the opposition, the minister, instead of coming to my defense and explaining the true situation of affairs, chose to leave parliament in ignorance and contented himself with fulsome laudations of Mr. Grant's (so called) engineering skill, thus endorsing said attack by implication. _

After questioning the minister, he admitted that he knew nothing about civil engineering work, and that his explanations and utterances in parliament (re Newmarket canal, and the engineers connected therewith) had been inspired and instigated by his deputy, M'r. Butler.

The writer will deal with Mr. Butler's case presently. Having impressed upon the minister the facts relative to the Newmarket *Canal, and the inaccuracy and injustice of his statements and insinuations, in parliament, it was but reasonable to expect that he would seize the earliest opportunity of making suitable explanations.

That he did not do so, the following excerpt from ' Hansard,' February 4th, 1910, (this

was the succeeding session), will show; 'Trent Canal construction.

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CON

Thomas George Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

What is the hon. gentleman appropriating for the Newmarket canal?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Last year we did not spend much on it. I sent for Mr. Grant, the engineer of the department, who is a first-class man, and we discussed the Newmarket canal very thoroughly. He assured me that I can state to the House on his reputation that there will be plenty of water in that canal. That is qc the word of one of the best engineers we have in the service in regard to hydraulics, and a most reliable man.

Mr. GRAHAM, I have seen the work, but I did not visit it for the purpose of investigation, because any information I could give would be based absolutely on the advice of experts whom we pay for that purpose.

Trent Canal-improvements, $62,500.

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Mr. J. A.@

CURRIE _

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

The engineer is having his report completed on the Severn route and the Nottawasaga route. My hon. friend (Mr. J. A. Currie) can come to the department and see what he is proposing.

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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CURRIE.

Was it the same engineer who made the estimate on these who made the original estimate on the Newmarket canal ?

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LIB
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CURRIE.

I do not wish to challenge the standing of the engineer who made the report, but, as the minister was so misled with reference to the Newmarket canal, I think it would be advisable for him to have these figures checked up by some ot her member of the 6taff.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Any estimate of these routes, before anything is done, will be reviewed by Mr. Grant, the engineer of the Trent, whom I will make responsible for nil the figures. .

The remarks of the Minister of Railways and Canals, as quoted above, are most discourteous to myself, the inference conveyed being a reflection on my standing as an engineer. I have no objection whatever, to the minister's somewhat frenzied, commendation of Mr. Grant as an engineer, but when my name has been in the ' limelight,' and detrimental reflections by innuendo and implication are, at the same time, directed against myself, I protest most vehemently. I have known Mr. Grant for some years, he was, formerly, a flagman on my staff, subsequently he had been on the staff of the late Mr. Thos. Munro, M.I.C.E., who was the engineer in charge of the Soulanges canal construction.

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NEWMARKET CANAL-HISTORIC RETROSPECT.


On September 27, 1904.-Received official letter of instructions from Department Railways and Canals, to make surveys for the improvement of the east and west branches of the Holland river, &c. October 17, 1904.-The instrumental survey of the east branch Holland river was not commenced until this date; there being a delay, on the part of the department, in appointing an assistant engineer for the work. January 9, 1905.-Mr. L. K. Jones (Secretary) informed me, by telephone, that Sir W. Mu-lock, Postmaster General, desired to see me about the Holland river surveys, and requested me to go and see the latter.



I told Mr. Jones I would see Mr. Schreiber. first. . January 10,1905.-Mr. Schreiber told me that an estimate for the Holland river (east branch) improvements was required forthwith, and directed me to see Sir W. Mulock on the subject. Informed Mr. Schreiber that the surveys were not far enough advanced and there was not sufficient data for a reliable estimate; he said nevertheless it had to be made. I afterwards saw Sir W. Mulock, and he asked me to prepare an estimate (which he required on the following day) for a canal from the mouth of Holland river to the town-line at Newmarket; that he desired it to be designed on the most economical principals of construction to keep down the cost; that, high level, wooden bridges, with graded approaches should be adopted for highway crossings, etc.; that land required would be inexpensive, as good land, in the vicinity of Newmarket and Holland Landing, could be obtained for $50 per acre, &c., and proffered other information about the route which he said he was familiar with. I explained to him that the estimate would not be reliable, &c. At conclusion of interview with the Postmaster General, returned to Department Railways and Canals to again protest to the chief engineer re forced estimate. Mr. Jones took my message to Mr. Schreiber, who was with the Minister, and returned in a few minutes and stated that, both Mr. Emmerson and Mr. Schreiber desired me to prepare the best estimate possible from the data at my disposal. January 11, 1905.-Finished the hurried preliminary estimate for proposed river improvement, and canal, from Cook's bay to Newmarket, and handed it to Mr. Schreiber at 11.20 a.m. lie looked it over, and instructed me to take it to the Privy Council chamber to Mr Emmerson, which was done, and the latter called out Sir W. M'ulock, gave him the estimate and. presently, left us alone together. , I reiterated to Sir William the very meagre information upon which the estimate was founded and, furthermore, that it did not provide for storage reservoirs, &c„ for a water supply for the canal, &c., &c. The amount of this estimate was $328,825.26. March 10, 1905.-Got letter from Mr. Schreiner asking for report and estimate of proposed Holland- river improvements to Newmarket. March 14, 1905.-Hon. H. It. Emmerson phoned at 7.45 p.m. and asked me to see Sir Wm. Mulock next day re estimate for canal on east branch of Holland river. March 15, 1905.-Interview with Sir W. Mulock, who stated that he wanted an amended estimate of cost of improving the east branch of Holland river to Newmarket, &c. I told him the surveys were not complete and that the preparation of the estimate should be postponed. He replied: it was imperative he should have a report before the end of the week to submit to council; that I could prepare an estimate based on such information as the surveys, 60 far as carried, afforded to date, and that full allowance would be made by the government for any discrepancy that might arise, &c. March 17, 1905.-Finished this estimate. March 18, 1905.-(Saturday)-Sent the report and estimate to Mr. Schreiber.


CON

W. MULOCK.


E. J. Walsh, Esq., Civil Engineer, Department of Railways and Canals, Ottawa, Ont. The following reply was sent: ' 164 Sparks St., ' Ottawa, June 3, 1905. ' Dear Sir William,-Your letter of the 31st ultimo having reference to the estimate for the Holland river improvements to Newmarket, was received upon my return to the city to-day, and I had just read it when you called me \>j telephone. ' I regret it does not seem possible to safely reduce the estimate, as all items are cut pretty close, and I ascertained, during my last visit to Newmarket, that one public road crossing had been overlooked in the preparation of the estimate-this will be met by the amount for contingencies. ' I am, yours faithfully, (Sgd.) E. J. WALSH. "The Honourable ' Sir William Mulock, K.C.M.G., ' Postmaster General, ' Ottawa , With regard to the merriment caused by the alleged hysteria-producing, comments of Mr. Grant anent the dredge used by the ' Lake Simcoe Dredging Company ' on section No. 1: it may be interesting to relate that, about the time this work was let, one of the contractors, who was in Ottawa, informed me that Mr. Butler had advised him to use a hydraulic or suction dredge, and asked my opinion. I pointed out that such a dredge could be used effectively, only, in deepening the shoals, &c., on the main river, from Cook's Bay to the ' cut off ' (which was only a small portion of the work); that it would be useless for dredging the peat-bog, as the fibrous material would clog the suction and discharge pipes, &c., that they would require supplementary dredging plant, such as a bucket, and clamshell dredge; and expressed the opinion that it would be better and less expensive to provide a combination dredge of the dipper and clam type.



Evidently they acted on the advice of Mr. Butler, with, apparently, disastrous financial results. Not an isolated instance. The preliminary estimate, for improving the east branch of the Holland river, made before the surveys had been carried far enough to furnish reliable data, is not an isolated instance of this kind. . The estimated cost of the great ' National Transcontinental Railway' was prepared before the survey parties had, even been placed in the field, and on such estimates the huge undertaking was launched and carried through parliament, and in reply to criticism the Prime Minister said they had: ' Mountains of information Regardless of this superfluity, the discrepancy, between the estimates for this work, and the cost thereof to date, is staggering. No scapegoat in this case. In ' Hansard ', vol. XLII., April 6, 1909, re Grand Trunk Pacific Loan; there was general criticism, by opposition members, of Mr. Schreiber's original estimates of $18,000 per mile for the prairie section being increased to $35,000 per mile; and for the mountain section from $30,000 per mile to $80,000 per mile. Did the government attempt to saddle the blame upon Mr. Schreiber and make a scapegoat of him? Not at all, on the contrary, hon. Mr. Fielding strongly defended -him. Compared with the Newmarket canal, the latter sinks into insignificance. Mr. Butler's extravagant changes. On December 7, 1906, Mr. Butler handed me a letter, written by Mr. A. J. Grant (in reply to a letter of the former, dated November 20, 1906), proposing certain changes in the designs and mode of construction of section No. 2 of the Holland river, and remarked that the latter had taken his ideas from the Soulanges canal work, upon which he had been employer in a subordinate capacity. The writer looked carefully into the changes suggested by Mr. Grant and endorsed by Mr. Butler, and handed in his report thereon, to the latter, on Janu-, ary 11, 1907. A copy of this report is enclosed herewith. Mr. Walsh's responsibility ceases. Subsequent to December 7, 1906, the date on which Mr. chief engineer Butler intimated that he approved of the changes suggested by Mr. Grant (though really inspired by himself), but particularly after my report of January 11, 1907, I disclaim all and every responsibility for the huge cost of the Holland river improvements, or of any criticism attached thereto, whether as regards preliminary estimates or otherwise. The concluding paragraph of my report (January 11, 1907) read as follows:- ' I desire to observe, in conclusion, that the suggested alterations, in the design and mode of construction, will, if indulged by the department, require a recasting of the proposals, and largely increase the cost, both, of construction and maintenance, without yielding any adequate advantage.' Greatly increased cost. The greatly increased cost is due, chiefly, to the following changes, viz.:- (1) The widening of the channel.


CON

Thomas George Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

(2) Changing a flight of two locks of 10 feet lift, each, to one lock of 20 feet lift, thereby necessitating a very large additional expenditure in providing an artificial foundation of piles, &c.

(3) The changing of the profile and general design of the work; and excavating a large section of new channel, instead of utilizing as much of the existing stream channel as possible.

(4) The substituting of culverts, in the 6ide walls of locks, for valves near the bottom of lock gates, for filling and emptying the lock chambers.

(5) By using metal casting for the hollow quoins in locks, instead of shaping the quoin directly in the concrete.

(6) A very large increase in the expenditure on account of building all the entrance piers to locks entirely of concrete.

(7) A very large increase in the cost of the work, by the proposed use of pile and artificial foundations for structures.

(8) A large increase in excavation by proposed deepening of raceways, or channels below dams.

(9) An increase in the cost of the work, by putting stop-log openings in each dam.

(10) A substantial increase in the expenditure by changes in the down stream, face of spillways of dams.

(11) An enormous increase in the cost of the work, by substituting concrete cores, for puddle cores, in the earthen dams and embankments.

(12) Increased expense for (unnecessary) temporary bridge across the river at Bradford road and Yonge street crossings.

(13) The cost largely increased by substituting concrete for stone-filled timber cribwork, in the construction of the rest piers of swing bridges.

(14) The cast largely increased by substituting concrete for cribwork, in the foundation of the dock at Newmarket.

(15) A large increase in cost for a proposed dock at Holland Landing, not originally contemplated.

(16) Cost of proposed water-supply ditch, from Lake Wilcocks, largely increased by changing two cedar culverts to concrete culverts, &c.

(17) A very largely increased cost owing to the change of profile, &c., necessitating a great amount of stone protection of Slopes of canal prism.

(18) Cost largely increased by substituting sodding for seeding of slopes of bank.

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Hon. S@

Aylesworth's contribution.

While Sir William Mulock was the parent of the Newmarket canal (which he desired to have constructed on the more economical principles known to engineering science), the Hon. Sir A. B. Aylesworth, M.P., contributed his ' mite ' of expense to the lusty offspring.

This took the form of a bridge across the east branch of the Holland river on the line between lots 115 and 116, in the first concession, township of East Gwillimbury.

Neither a bridge nor public highway had ever previously existed at this place, and when Mr. Butler first discussed the subject with the writer he was informed of this, and the latter also, expressed the opinion that the sagacious township ceuthorities had, apparently,

suddenly conceived the idea that it was an opportune time to have this bridge built-through the aid of their powerful representative in parliament-at the government's expense.

On the 19th March, 1906, Mr. Butler wrote me as follows:-

The township of East Gwillimbury are desirous of building a bridge, immediately between lots 115 and 116, of the first concession, west of Yonge street, Mr. A. J. Hughes being the township clerk. As this comes across your work, I would like to go over it with you, so that we can arrange with the township authorities to have the bridge built suitable for the canal at that point. . .

A copy of this letter is attached hereto.

In the negotiations which ensued between myself (on the part of the government), and. the township authorities, the latter agreed to hand over what remained of the appropriation of $3,000, part of which they were expending in grading road approaches -across a marsh, and in building -a wooden bridge, of 5 bents, 60 feet long, over a portion of ' Soldier's Bay,' and in driving piles on shores of the main stream. -The bridge over the river, constructed by the department, is a steel swing span, 120 feet long in the clear, resting on concrete over artificial foundations, Ac., its cost must have been from twenty to thirty thousand dollars. This, also, is included in the Butler-Grant revised estimate of cost of the mina-ture Soulanges canal-yclept the Newmarket canal-but very carefully concealed from parliament. The revelations hereinbefore disclosed afford food for reflection.

Dividing the Dual Position.

Towards -the end of 1904, the then Minister of Railways and Canals contemplated the abolition of the dual position of deputy minister and chief engineer, and (unsolicited) I was promised one of -these positions.

The minister's plans miscarried, and a few m-onths later Mr. M. J. Butler was appointed to both offices.

Mr. Butler's Sudden Evolution.

On -the 10th July, 1905, public announcement was made in some of the newspapers of the appointment of M-r. M. J. Butler as deputy minister and chief engineer of the Department- of Railways and Canals.

His appointment was heralded in the press as a national boom, he being described as a 'brilliant engineer' of eminence, 'greater -than had been,' and he was duly installed in office amid the blare of trumpets and ministerial eclat.

That appointment-understood to have been arranged by certain contractors-was the subject of much comment in engineering circles, as the appointee was, generally, unknown, he having previous to his appointment on the staff of the National Transcontinental railway, in August, 1904, been employed as contractor's foreman on some railway and bridge works in Prince Edward Island, also on some locomotive works in Montreal; before that, in charge of a gang putting up water tanks, Ac., for supplying water to locomotive engines on an American railway j and at a more remote -period having been engaged in connection with some 'one-horse' railways over near Lake Ontario, Ac.

As Chief Engineer.

His accomplishments as chief engineer of the department would scarcely gain him a niche in -the 'temple of fame.' Those may be enumerated as follows:

1. His success in securing an award whereby his former employer, the contractor for the Hillsborough bridge, Prince Edward Island, was paid a large amount of money by the government for so-called 'extras,' Ac., this work having already cost about three times -the amount of the estimate.

2. His certificate re the substantialness, Ac., of the bridge which was being constructed over -the St. Lawrence river near Quebec city, upon which the government guaranteed the bonds of -the Quebec Bridge Company to the extent of several millions of dollars.

The subsequent collapse of -this bridge was a national disgrace, and -the chief engineer of -that day cannot evade his share of responsibility by putting the blame upon an invalid in New York, Mr. Cooper, whom he knew had been physically unable to visit the site of the ill-fated bridge.

3. The stupid, unbusiness-lak-e methods pursued in connection with Intercolonial railway contracts at Moncton, New Brunswick, resulting in -a verdict in the Exchequer Court for a large sum of money-over and above what the engineer considered the work was worth-for the contractor, -and which the government has appealed to a higher court.

4. After the plans for the substructure of -the -swing bridge over the Holland river, between lots 115 and 116, east Gwillimbury township had been prepared, Mr. Butler, exercising his perogative as chief engineer, insisted on certain changes being made in those plans, -regardless of -the fact that -it was pointed out to him that if built under his modifications the r-oad embankments back of the abutments would, from sheer weight, shove the latter into -the river. The contract was let for this bridge under the modified plans; the -abutments were -erected and the road approaches filled up behind those before the superstructure was put up, and if was found necessary to spend a large -sum of -money in driving -piles through the newly made banks to prevent those from forcing out and throwing -the abutments into the river.

'By their fruits (works) ye shall know them.' So much for this engineering phenomenon. -Mr. Walsh refused offer of superintending.

Engineersh-ip of Trent Canal.

In March, 1906, Mr. Butler pressed the writer on several occasions to -accept the superintending-engineer-ship of -the Trent canal, bu-t the latter declined to take -the position for the salary of $3,600 a year, &c.

The refusal to accept the proffered position was followed by a species of -active discourtesy which had previously -been more or less -thinly veiled. .

Topic:   W. MULOCK.
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July 28, 1911