July 28, 1911

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Subsequently Mr. A. J.@

Grant was appointed, and on May 9, 1-906, I w-as -informed by official letter that Mr. G-rant would -take charge of the Holland river improvement work.

Had that w-ork been left m my charge -the government would have avoided much unpleasant criticism, and the country spared an absurd extra outlay of several hundred thousand dollars.

Copying Soulanges Canal Plans,

It has been already stated that Mr. Grant, with Mr. Butler's approval, copied from the Soulanges canal plans in the proposed canalizing of section No. 2 of the Holland river; and in doing so they demonstrated the fact that they were unable to differentiate between a great national water-highway route and a small local ditch.

Any engineer undertaking to carry out, almost, any class of work may find old plans or other works to copy from, but unless lie discriminates between relative governing conditions he is liable to seriously blunder, just as in the case of the Newmarket canal; and in this respect it would be no more incongruous to take the statue of ' Venus of Milo ' as a model for a Greek sphinx.

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Hon. H. R.@

Emmerson Resigns Portfolio. The Hon. H. R. Emmerson resigned the portfolio of Minister of Railways and Canals on April 2nd, 1907.

Up to this time Mr. Butler was somewhat restrained in his peculiar methods, but from thenceforth his erratic official actions indicated unbridled sway.

Exit Mr. Butler.

In the month of January, 1910, Mr. Butler severed his official connection with the Department of Railways and Canals. Judging from the newspaper reports of statements attributed to the minister, concerning the resignation of that plenipotent individual, of . the irreparable loss sustained, &c., &c., the public might reasonably have inferred that he had 'shed tears of blood,' but certain, parties 'in the know' only smiled. Among other remarks the minister was credited with saying that he was a: 'man of exceptionable ability and it would he very difficult to secure a successor capable of filling all these positions. I consequently have under advisement the division of the office as was the case some years ago.' Further: ' It is a case where the office should seek the man,' &c., &c.

This letter might be described as rodomontade.

It has been a favourite phrase in governmental circles of late years, and these are several, extraordinary, negative examples of .its application with respect to some very important special appointments [DOT] in the public service.

Seeing Red.

Like an individual, from whom the white dove of innocence had flown, protesting virtue, so the hon. minister just as frantically proclaimed and rehearsed the (mythical) stupendous and transcendental quality of the engineering exploits of Messrs. Butler and Grant, as those appeared to him. Was this an additional expedient to- cover the blunder -ings of the department and by suggestive contrasts to attempt to discredit the writer?

A Clew.

Some important official appointments, in connection with the Department of Railways and Canals, were under consideration early in 1910, for one of which I was an applicant. Some influential (mutual) friends who had spoken to the minister on my behalf, afterwards, informed me that Mr. Graham was f seeing red,' and had told them he believed I was a ' Conservative,' &c.

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CON
LIB

Allen Bristol Aylesworth (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir ALLEN AYLESWOKTH (Minister of Justice).

Mr. Speaker, so far as the motion which the hon. gentleman has made is supported by reference to the circumstances of the canal at Newmarket, I ought to be very grateful to him for having again

brought the matter to the attention of this House and indirectly to the attention of the country, at all events to the attention of the constituency of North York, at this particular juncture. I am sure the hon. gentleman, if he should happen to have the time would find it very interesting indeed if he would make a little excursion across the boundary between his own constituency and the constituency of North York and make, in that riding, some of the remarks that usually are made when this question of the canal at Newmarket is under discussion in this House. It has been a pleasure to some hon. gentlemen opposite and to the newspapers which support them through the country to connect this work at Newmarket with my name. I have enjoyed the ingenuity and the art of the cartoonists who have amused themselves and their customers by cartoons that have appeared on the subject and I have not in the least failed to appreciate the newspaper remarks that, from time to time, have been made in reference to myself with regard to this canal. But while that is the fact and while, as I have on previous occasions said in this House, I should be very glad if I had any right to take to myself any credit in connection with the construction of the public work in question, the fact remains that I have no such right, and that the hon. gentleman, if any effort was necessary in finding a convenient subject wherewith to waste public time, might quite as well have taken up any other subject which antedated some two or three general elections. This particular question certainly arose before not merely the general elections of 1908 but before the general elections of 1904. At that time I had no idea of entering public life, I had no thought of representing or being a candidate in North York. This public work was undertaken, so far as North York is concerned, in circumstances which have already been detailed, and with which I need not occupy time that is supposed to foe of some value to somebody or other, by going over again. There was absolutely nothing political about it and there was, in every sense of the word, as much agitation for the construction of this work and for the government to undertake it, by the leading men among the Conservatives of North York as there was among the Liberals of that riding, and there has from first to last in this matter been no success in the attempt which has been made at different times to give some political aspect to this undertaking. I shall not discuss at all the question of whether or not it was a judicious and advisable thing in 1904 or whenever it was that the resolution of the government to undertake this work was reached. That was long before I came into the government or into this House or had any idea of doing so and that question, I

think has 'been satisfactorily settled after ample debate by not merely the result of the general elections of 1904 hut also by the result of those of 1908. If it pleases the hon. member for Centre York (Mr. Wallace) to seek to thresh out again this venerable and ancient dust heap or to search for the traditional grain of wheat in this pile of chaff-

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

Sir ALLEN AYLES WORTH-which gentlemen who cheer so enthusiastically have tried to construct about this matter, so far as I am concerned, he is entirely welcome to do so. He will be more than welcome within the boundaries of North York, he or any of his colleagues who think there is any political capital in this matter for them; I shall be only too glad to see him or any of my neighbours, if they wish to discuss that subject in North York, and I am only too grateful to the hon. gentleman for having joined that noble brigade of blockers who have impeded the business of this House. I am very glad to be able to tell these gentlemen that it will not be many days before we will bring them to the bar of public opinion for judgment.

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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. CURRIE (North Simcoe).

This question is not an amusing one, it is a very serious one, and I think it ill becomes the Minister of Justice to call this canal, which is being built in his riding, a dust heap. There is no water, but the grass is growing over the work which has been done, and it would be very absurd to call it a dust heap. I have no doubt, however, that by judicial sprinkling this scheme will germinate and result perhaps in the return of the Minister of Justice again to this House. On three occasions this public work has been used to corrupt the voters of North York, and I say it is too great an expense for this country to bear to secure the return to this House of such men as the Minister of Justice. Just to-day he has stated that hon. members on this side of the House are afraid to go to North York and use the expressions we use in this House in regard to this work. I want to tell the Minister of Justice that on an occasion not very long ago, I happened to be in North York and spoke to an audience of 4,000 people, and I took occasion to characterize this canal in its proper terms, and I can assure you, sir, that the people of North York recognized this work as a great was'te of public money 'and a scandalous shame. Now, the Minister of Justice, after holding his seat in this House by the barefaced use of public money, goes to North York and tells the people that he is not going to be a candidate again, and with a great flourish of trumpets a young lawyer is brought from Toronto, named Robinette, and he is par-Sir ALLEN AYLESWORTF.

aded before the electorate, and a stupendous campaign is commenced. After they had been campaigning for two or three months, they discovered that the candidate was not able tc carry that riding, and they held another conclave and decided that the Minister of Justice should stand again, if there is an election within the next year, and that Mr. Robinette should retire. I want to tell this House that there is a conscience in the people of North York and the people of Ontario. They are awakening to the knowledge that they have not been getting very much in the shape of public works, or they have been accustomed to see docks built where there is no water, and canals built on top of hills where there is no need. It was a great shock to them to see this canal being built through the town of Newmarket. Why, sir, there is no beginning or end to this canal. As a matter of fact, there is not sufficient water in the neighbourhood to make the canal a success. They have built locks with concrete works and steel bridges, costing $30,000 apiece, according to the report, and what is the use of them? But the people of Ontario are beginning to see through it. The good Scotch and Irish Presbyterian vote which has enabled the prime minister to remain in office here, men of the same race and religion as my-self, these mein have always believed the right hon. gentleman, and taken it for granted that he and his party are working for the .benefit of the country. The trouble is that they have not hitherto been able to see with their eyes how the public money has been expended; but now they can go and see this Newmarket canal with their own eyes. Throughout the summer people go there in pilgrimages to see this great public work of Ontario; it is something like the- Colossus of Rhodes or like the Suez canal, and people go to see it out of curiosity, and they get an object lesson that opens their eves t/o the way this government is wasting public money. They are beginning to realize that the government is no longer worthy of their confidence, and hon. gentlemen will find outt when the election comes what t(hqi voters think of it. The right hon. gentleman may rest assured that so far as the members on this side of the House are concerned, we are very glad to go before the bar of public opinion, and we know very well that the Minister of Justice will be adjudged the culprit; it is his case that is going to be tried, and I am satisfied that the verdict will be one of guilty. The Minister of Justice will find that the constituency of North York cannot be bribed in such a flagrant fashion as he is endeavouring to bribe it.

Now, let us see what there is about this canal. I think the gravest charge that has

ever been made against this government has been made by the engineer who made this report, or who has written this memorandum to the government. I have taken occasion to characterize the work of Mr. Walsh as faulty, I have called attention to the fact that Mr. Walsh did not appear to be doing his duty as a public officer.

I could not understand, for instance, why a public work that was estimated to cost $290,000 should, a few months afterwards, *be estimated by another 'engineer to cost over $900,000. I could not understand why, in view of all the traffic that could possibly pass over that canal, such a vast sum of money should be recommended by the engineers to construct it. I could not understand why the first engineer reported favourably, stating that the canal would ccst about $300,000, when a few months afterwards it was discovered by another survey and by another engineer that it would cost nearly a million dollars, and when the contracts were let we found as a fact that they did amount to over a million dollars. Now, Mr Walsh has told us the story in this report, he has shown that he was virtually coerced into recommending this work, without any consideration as to whether it would be of any public utility. As far as he was concerned, all he had to do was to figure out the cost of the work. He did not take into consideration the amount of traffic that could be procured for the canal, or what use could ever be made of it. Therefore he reported that the canal would cost a little less than $300,000. But to make a canal that would ostensibly serve election purposes the cost was immediately raised by other officers in the department to nearly a million dollars by putting in the most expensive construction they could, regardless of any possible utility. Why, it is the most absurd thing in the world for any person to say that the Newmarket canal will be of any value to this country commensurate with its cost. There is only a small population, there is only a small area of six by ten miles altogether over which freight can be carried by this canal. East of it there is a heavy rise of nearly 200 feet, and no one is going to bring stuff over, that height of 200 feet to get into the valley where this canal is built. On the westward there is another mountain rising 200 feet and no one would bring freight over that 200 feet in order to take it four or five miles to Lake Simcoe by canoe when there is a shorter cut down the valley which can be used. In order to serve a small valley in Ontario something like six miles wide by ten or twelve miles long, already served by two lines of railway with communication in every way and where a government road has been in existence since 1808, the government undertake an expenditure of public money to the amount of close

upon $1,000,000. It ill becomes the Minister of Justice to rise in his seat and say a word about that canal. He of all people should hide his diminished head in that respect. Whenever he appears on the public platform he has not the manliness to say: Well, the thing was commenced and I have recommended its continuance in order that something may be accomplished with it. Instead of that he is always trying to crawl under the ermine of a high court judge of Ontario, trying to hide his head and get out of it by saying: I am not to blame.

The expenditure which was authorized at the instance of Sir William Mulock was very small indeed, and the work could readily have been stopped if it were found not to be a public utility when Sir William Mulock left this House and remained in retirment owing to illness for some time until he went upon the bench. It is very unmanly for any one who has been befriended as the Minister of Justice has been by Sir William Mulock, the man who gave him his seat as a free gift, to turn around and endeavour to place blame upon him. Sir William Mulock has very many friends on both sides of politics in Ontario. We always considered him a kind and companionable man who wras constantly thinking out good schemes for the benefit of the public at large. It is well known that his opinion on the question of public utilities drove him out of this House and out of the government, and for the man who was befriended by him, the man whom he placed in office, the man to whom he gave the riding of North York, virtually a pocket riding, to turn around in this House and cast aspersions upon him

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CON
LIB

Morley Currie

Liberal

Mr. CURRIE (Simcoe).

After he had been beaten in the constituency which he chose to think he could carry on his own personality

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L-C
LIB

Morley Currie

Liberal

Mr. CURRIE (Simcoe).

Then he made the people of Durham

in this House on a previous occasion. I cast aspersions upon his work as an engineer and I think I was amply justified in doing so. But, I am willing to accept Mr. Walsh's explanation. Mr. Walsh has been an engineer of standing in various parts of the world, and no doubt he is a better engineer than any of those that were over him or who have superseded him. His own report shows that. I am willing to accept that explanation, but the red line that runs all through that memorandum of his is that it is not the independent opinion of the engineer who gives his services to the Department of Public Works or the Department of Railways and Canals that is wanted. That is a disgraceful condition. What safety is there for the people of this country? We can all understand how it was that the Quebec bridge fell. He has so stated it there. The engineering was not done in accordance with the views of the engineers. The work of the engineering staff is made subservient to political purposes. What can you expect! Can you not expect that docks will go oft down the river, as the dock went floating down the river at Sorel, that bridges will fall, as the Quebec bridge fell, that towers will tumble the same as the Laurier tower tumbled? What else can you expect when the men whose professional services are required are not at liberty to express their views and when all they have to do is to draw pictures on paper and endeavour to plan works in such a way as to suit the political exigencies of the occasion and in order to save the political lives of the friends of this government? Now, let us see; I pointed out on a previous occasion that this work was not finished. Mr. Walsh has some opinions on this question, and they are good as far -as they go, but he is not infallible. He points out here, for instance, that the dredging that was done in Holland river was done *with a suction dredge. In that he was mistaken. The kind of dredge they endeavoured to employ for that work was exactly the same kind of a dredge that he had recommended, but they have been unable to do any dredging in the Holland river, and the only motor boat that has run up and down the Holland river is now pulled up on shore, and -was not painted or launched this year. There has been nothing done on the Holland river, no attempt made to deepen or straighten the channel, or do any kind of work because there will have to be an expensive dredge built there, but nobody has taken on the work, and it looks as if the government were afraid to let the contract or continue the work. An hon. minister the other night said that a chain is just as weak as its weakest link. This canal wall disclose its weakness if nothing else will disclose it by its weakest link.

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CON
LIB

Morley Currie

Liberal

Mr. CURRIE (Simcoe).

I think that you cculd put all the water in that canal in the hold of one of the Dreadnoughts, and I do not think you would need to start the pumps. There will not be enough water in these ditches to enable the government to lock five motor boats through a day and still maintain the water supply. That is one of the reasons why the Minister of Justice feels so very sore about this work. Great enormous steel bridges have been built. There have been thousands of dollars' worth of work done where the grass is growing to-day, and as far as I can see the work is of no utility. I think that nearly all the farms in New York have been called upon to supply field stone for the work. I do not know how much the farmers get; I suppose they are pretty well paid for it, and they are now looking around to see if they can get some form of stone they can sow over spring, or every time an election is coming on so that they can get a fresh crop of stone with which to supply that canal. There is no end to the expenditure of money and the expenditure of that money is entirely useless as far as I can see. The work so far is travelling towards the lake. It has now reached almost as far down as Holland Landing, but there are four or five miles more of work to be completed before they will get to the lake. I would be the last man in the world to say or do anything to interfere with any industry in the town of Newmarket.

No one would say there was any chance of that canal aiding or assisting any industry in Newmarket. Then again take the expenditures from year to year upon this canal by this government. I am satisfied that within the next two or three months 500 or 600 men will be placed at work on that canal in order to make the seat safe for the Minister of Justice. There is no necessity in the world for this expenditure of money, and there is no chance of the Minister of Justice being returned to this House, because the voters in North York have decided that they are not going to be held up to the scorn of the whole country for the sake of sending a Minister of Justice down here who encourages a work like that Newmarket canal.

Year before last something like $82,000 was expended on this work. There was not much done on it that year, and there is no doubt that the work will be continued as long as this government is in office; year after year and month after month, and especially in election years, great work will be done on that canal; it will be one of the most important works in this country.

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CON
LIB

Morley Currie

Liberal

Mr. CURRIE (Simcoe).

No, because after there is a change of government the work will be finished; Laurier's work will be finished, and especially this canal. Last year $120,000 was expended by one department on this canal, but you can go along the canal for seven or eight miles and hardly see a man working on it. I do not know if men are on the pay-roll who are not working there, but I know there is a large expenditure of public moneys, and that every one in the province of Ontario treats this whole thing as a great big joke. It is believed that the government is doing work that is unnecessary, and that the efforts of every minister in this House are directed not to giving good service to the country, but to seeing that they are returned to office and they endeavour to spend as much money as they can in their own particular ridings. The minister had a dinner of some kind in North York. The member for South Essex went up there and told the assembled Grits that he had looked over that canal, and he did not like to express any opinion upon it. but he thought that any constituency that would send such an able man as the Minister of Justice to Ottawa should have a great deal of public money spent in it. That is a new code of political ethics, wider than ever; it is a case of wider open and spend all the money you can when you send a good man like the Minister of Justice to Ottawa. I should like to read the opinion expressed by the Liberal candidate in Centre York, Mr. Dewart, of the Minister of Justice, which is very amusing, but I have not the extract with me at present.

In Mr. Walsh's report, which has been placed before the House, reference is made to the close connection between the Minister of Railwavs and a certain gentleman named Lott.

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CON
LIB
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An hon. MEMBER.

A Grit?

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LIB

Morley Currie

Liberal

Mr. CURRIE (Simcoe).

A Grit, in fact he was a Grit candidate in one of the ridings in eastern Ontario. One Saturday night he went across the river to the United States, and some. time during the night smuggled across that river into Canada a number of ballot boxes with secret bottoms. In that he was aided and abetted by an official of this government whp served a term for doing this work and, according to the evidence of Mr. Lott, the man he seemed to draw his light and his leading from on that occasion as well as on this occasion, referred to in the report, was the Minister of Railways (Hon. Mr. Graham). I am sorry that minister is not in the House, as I would like to pass up a few compliments to him and tell him what the people of Ontario think of him, how, as the chief of the Grit machine in our province, he is looked upon as one of the most dangerous men in political life in Canada, and that as the last of that old brigade they are going to see that he and his machine are crushed in this election as they were at the last local election in Ontario eight years ago, when the people showed that they had done with the Minister of Railways and his fellows, and were tired of this political scul'lduggery, as the Minister of the Interior would say. But they find on all hands the same thing going on as was going on previous to 1904; the same old story is told; the same old machine is at work. The expenditures of the country and the work of government are conducted more in the interest of a single party than of the public. The public are going to take their revenge, they are going to get even with the Minister of Railways for his political peccadilloes; they are going to see that the machine which he has been oiling up for the last two or three years-and his present absence from the House is probably to put some oil on the wheels-is smashed. The Minister of Justice and the Minister of Railways will find that the people of Ontario will no longer put up with anything of that kind. They have tired of these political heelers, it is about time that we should have in Canada a government like the one we now have in the province of Ontario, a government that is fair and square and honest and above board, that deals with all people who come before it in one way, irrespective of whether they are Conservatives or Liberals. Let us see what the resolution says, and we will find whether the House is justified in voting for it or not. The resolution reads:

While the growth and development of Canada demand an expenditure of public money which shall at once be far-seeing, systematic and liberal, every such expenditure ought to be designed and carried out in the public interests and not for partisan purposes or for aggrandisement of party followers.

That is a great principle for which the Conservative party will have 'no hesitation in voting. This government do not ask themselves: Is this going to be in

the interest of Canada? The only question asked by hon. gentlemen from what I have learned, is: Is this going to help the

party? The second part of the resolution reads:

This House regrets that in many cases the government have departed from this wholesome rule and principles and have used and applied public moneys for purposes that were not in the public interest.

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CON

July 28, 1911