March 16, 1914

LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. C. A. WILSON (Laval) moved:

For a copy of all correspondence, documents, recommendations and reports, respecting the dredging of Des Prairies) river, the work' done, depth, length and width of channel dredged, the list of men employed to perform that work, their salaries respectively, and the amount of money spent on that work since the 22nd of November, 1912, up to the 2nd of February, 1914.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Rogers) is in his seat. If he will refer to the debates of this House as far back as 1908 or 1909, he will find that, at my request and with the approval of one of his friends then sitting near me, the Hon. Mr. Monk, certain sums of money were put in the Estimates for the dredging of Des Prairies river. At that time the question of the Georgian Bay canal was a live topic and, according to the very valuable report of four engineers appointed by this Government, there was a question as to whether the Georgian Bay canal should enter the St. Lawrence by the southern route, via Ste. Anne, or by another route north of the island of Montreal, known as the alternative route. My contention was that, even without reference to that grand canal project, any money spent for dredging the river Des Prairies would be well spent, if only for the purpose of improving navigation in that river, while the improvement wouild, of course, be useful when the Georgian Bay canal project became an actuality. I was listened to, and I think very properly, and an amount of 860,000 was put in the Estimates of 1909 and of 1910 and of 1911. I do not mean that an amount of $60,000 was put in the Estimates each of these years and spent. Everybody knows what the Des Prairies river is. It is about thirty-two miles long. It runs from Bout de L'Isle, below the island of Montreal, to the lake of Two Mountains, and if you follow the southern shore of lake of Two Mountains you reach Ste. Anne and Vaudreuil. We need improvements on that river. The population living

on the shore is very large. It was not very numerous fifteen or twenty years ago, but now the city of Montreal has increased so that there are no less than two wards on the 'river, Ahunt-sic ward and Bordeaux ward. I am delighted to see the Secretary of State (Mr. Coderre) in his seat. He knows that where there were only farms a few years ago there are now thriving towns. We have many institutions on the shores of that river. One of them is rather an ancient one, having existed since Confederation-the penitentiary of St. Vincent de Paul. The population there is now five hundred, and the Government are spending about $150,000 a year for the support of the institution. The consumption of one article, coal, varies between $3,000 and $5,000 a year. The transportation of coal to that institution is most expensive. According to the reports in the Department of Justice from the inspectors of prisons, to mention only two, Mr. Douglas Stewart and Mr. Dawson, it will

be seen that they have calculated that at the penitentiary at St. Vincent de Paul the Government could save a $1 a ton on the transportation of coal, which would come to between $1,000 and $2,000 a year. That would be a good investment even if we spend $50,000 or $100,000 just to dredge that river. This is no new scheme. In 1865, when the old convent of the Sacred Heart was transformed into a reform prison to start with and then into a penitentiary, convicts were brought down to St. Vincent de Paul at high water in the spring by a boat named the Eagle. There was a wharf there. The wharf has been destroyed, and I am now asking for the restoration of navigation. I understand that transportation was one of the difficulties in that period; but to-day building materials of every kind -nstone, wood, lumber, shingles, and cement -can be transported from Montreal and at a much cheaper rate than we could transport them then. I was delighted to see in the Estimates for 1911 the sum of $25,000; it was rather small, but on this side we are happy when we can get even a little piece of those Estimates. Every year since 1911, $25,000 has been set aside for dredging, but we have no dredge. We have dredge No. 6, a special one, and I feel certain that we have dredged right across the St. Lawrence from the main channel and under the Canadian Northern railway bridge as far as Rivi&re des Prairies a good channel eight feet deep at low water and 100 feet wide. It allows to come up scows with a [Mr. C. A. Wilson '

draught of five or six feet and tugs drawing six or seven feet. I cannot see why this sum of $25,000 which appears in the Estimates each year has not been wiped out. The dredge has now reached a point below St. Vincent de Paul. I urge my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works to get some information on this point from the Minister of Inland Revenue or the Secretary of State, who are very familiar with the case. I am sorry that the late member for Jacques Cartier is not here to deal with this question, as he could do it much more eloquently than I. The dredge could proceed right up to the lake of Two Mountains, for the benefit of residents of Riviere des Prairies, St. Vincent de Paul, Bordeaux, and St. Martin Dorothea. We need navigation up there, and I hope my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works with his big heart will not only put $25,000 in the Estimates, but will . add to that the $25,000 of last year and the $25,000 of the year before, making $75,000, and I hope he will not merely have it printed on a sheet of paper by the King's Printer, but will see that dredge No. 6, which he will find behind St. Helen's island, gets to work. The mow is melting, the ice will soon be drifting down and the river will be clear, and now is the time to get the dredge in good working shape, and to get the tug under steam and painted-painted blue if you like, but get it to work anyway.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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CON

Paul-Émile Lamarche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAMARCHE:

Does my hon. friend consider the dredging of Des Prairies as a separate undertaking, or as necessarily forming a part of the Georgian Bay canal scheme? It makes a lot of difference.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. WILSON:

I do not think it makes any difference at all whether a shovelful of mud is taken out of a river for navigation at the present time or for the Georgian Bay canal scheme later on. I do not see Why when the Georgian Bay canal scheme comes into effect, if it ever does, it will be necessary to throw that shovelful of mud back again.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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CON

Paul-Émile Lamarche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAMARCHE:

If my hon. friend refers to the plans made by the eminent engineers of the Government, Mr. Lafleur and others, he will find that the Georgian Bay canal is constructed at that part of the river by elevating the surface of the water by means of dams, one of them being situated at Bout de l'lle and the other in the neighbourhood of the projection of St. Denis street. I think it is very important to decide first whether or not this enterprise is to be a part of the Georgian Bay canal scheme, or whether it is simply a matter of the construction-of a channel eight

173J

to ten feet deep, although the latter would also be very useful, I admit, for navigation between Montreal and the Back River district.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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LIB

David Arthur Lafortune

Liberal

Mr. D. A. LAFORTUNE (Montcalm) :

Mr. Speaker, after listening to the remarks just made by the hon. member for Laval (Mr. Wilson), I may say that I agree heartily with him in the statements he has made. There is no finer prospect in the world than that part of the river Ottawa which extends from Bout de l'lle and passes by St. Vincent de Paul, Ahuntsic, Sault au Recollet, Cartierville, l'lle Bizard and St. Genevieve and then enters the lake of Two Mountains.

It is certainly the most beautiful stretch of the river Ottawa. Residents along the banks of that part of the river are many of them very influential people, rich property owners. The reasons set forth by the hon. member for Lavall are very cogent, but he has let slip one of them, Mr. Speaker, and to my mind, the most weighty: we are the owners at St. Vincent de Paul of 800 ar-pents of land, and I may assure you, sir, that should those improvements be carried out, the value of that property would be very materially increased.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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CON

Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PELLETIER :

Who is the owner?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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LIB

David Arthur Lafortune

Liberal

Mr. LAFORTUNE :

My family owns it. It is the best reason I could urge, although possibly I had better not mention it, since the hon. gentleman is not likely to take much stock in considerations of that kind. And in the direction of Cartierville and St. Laurent we hold also large interests. But apart from any personal motives, improvements such as those projected are surely in order. It is a pity to see such a fine stream left in a state unsuitable for navigation. Such improvements would certainly enhance materially the value of every property bordering the river, whether situated on the island of Montreal or on the ile JAsus.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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CON

Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PELLETIER :

What is the average depth of the river des Prairies?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. WILSON :

Seven feet on an average if the boulders referred to by me were removed.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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LIB

David Arthur Lafortune

Liberal

Mr. LAFORTUNE :

Some parts of the river are very deep. Between the Sault au Recollet and the confluence of the Ottawa with the St. Lawrence, the depth at some places is sixty feet. You may be sure, sir, that if the Government wishes to spend to advantage public moneys, they cannot find a better place for effecting improvements.

There is some pretty heavy work to do at Moulin du Crochet; rapids to do away with. Those rapids are a little lower down than St. Vincent de Paul.

Once those improvements are carried out, a cruise along that river will afford the finest pleasure trip imaginable, between Bout de File and the lake of Two Mountains, and besides the land values would go up materially.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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CON

Joseph Hormisdas Rainville

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RAINVILLE :

That would be more profitable than the pleasure trip.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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LIB

David Arthur Lafortune

Liberal

Mr. LAFORTUNE :

Of course, when i speak of pleasure trips, I do not wish to dissociate business from pleasure. A new institution has been established on the banks of the river des Prairies, I mean the new Montreal gaol. As is generality known, large amounts have been expended on that building, and large quantities of materials and supplies are being constantly forwarded there. Were it possible to ship them by boat, a great saving would be effected. There are mills in operation in that vicinity and the establishment of others is forecasted.

As pointed out by the hon. gentleman from Nicolet (Mr. Lamarche), a still more pressing scheme is that for the building of the Georgian Bay canal. I visited that part of the country; I even went as far as Georgian bay, and I well satisfied myself as to the advantages which the citizens of Montreal, as well as residents on the banks of the river Ottawa, would reap through the building of that canal. All agree on that point; and you must have perceived with a great deal of pleasure, Mr. Speaker, that in Montreal particularly there is but one opinion on that point. Boards of trade, municipal corporations, all public bodies are unanimous in urging that this work be carried out as soon as possible.

We are in the habit of quarrelling about this and that and the other thing; but in regard to this matter there is only one opinion, and the country could not make too great sacrifices for the purpose of starting the work at the earliest possible date. All the same, let us not lose sight of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Laurent.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. ROBERT ROGERS (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker, first let me

say in reply to the hon. member for Montcalm (Mr. Lafortune) that the reasons which he advanced for the necessity of this work certainly appeal to me. To some extent, at all events, this work would be an advantage for the transportation of prisoners to the penitentiary at St. Vincent de Paul.

That would be a certain advantage to the country and the work would be deserving of consideration from that point of view. The additional reason which my hon. friend from Montcalm advanced, that he was the happy possessor, together with his family, of 700 acres of land which would be very much benefited by the construction of this work, which he thinks should be undertaken, is another reason which appeals to myself. Let me say to my hon. friend from Laval (Mr. Wilson) that there will not be the slightest objection to bringing down all the papers that his motion calls for. I quite agree with my hon. friend that this is not a new question and I might inform him that it has been pressed upon my attention, not only by those representing the construction of the Georgian Bay canal, but by others. In view of the fact that before the work of the Georgian Bay canal can be undertaken we must have the report of the commission that is about to be named to take into consideration the commercial feasibility of the enterprise, my hon. friend from Laval may not wish in connection with this local work, to wait for the report of that commission. However, as he has stated, it i3 no new question and I may say to him that it has been pressed from the local point of view upon my attention on two or three occasions by deputations from that locality. About a month ago a very strong deputation, headed by Mr. Leonard, presented very forcibly the necessity of the work which my hon. friend has spoken about to-night.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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LIB
CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Yes, the same one.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. WILSON:

Well, you will hear from me on the motion which follows.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

He was very anxious for this as for other works in connection with the river des Prairies. I promised the deputation that the matter would receive the consideration of the Government, the officials of the department are giving their attention to the matter with that end in view and I can only hope that the result will be in accordance with the wishes of my hon. friend when, a conclusion is reached.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. C. A. WILSON:

In reply to the hon. member for Nicolet (Mr. Lamarche), let me say that we must understand each other. The other night we agreed about the Georgian Bay canal and we still agree, but before the commencement of the work in the river des Prairies in 1909 Mr. Languedoc, an engineer of the Department of Public

Works, was asked to make a special survey, and, basing his figures upon the Georgian Bay canal report, he came to the conclusion that the work would cost $100,000, of which $15,000 could be applied to the construction of a lock at the rapide du Moulin du Crochet. My hon. friend the Postmaster General (Mr. Pelletier), when he crosses the river going to Quebec, crosses the rapide du Moulin du Crochet. The lock at the rapide could be built for about $15,000, and then we would have a depth of seven or eight feet of water from Vercheres to Two Mountains.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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CON

Paul-Émile Lamarche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAMARCHE:

The Georgian Bay

canal locks are designed to be 22 feet deep.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avila Wilson

Liberal

Mr. WILSON:

No, my hon. friend is

mistaken. The dredging from Vercheres straight from the river St. Lawrence channel, up through the rapide la Passe, the first rapid met on that river, will give us the depth of the locks of the Georgian Bay canal. The lock at the rapide la Passe will be 25 feet high, 650 feet long and about 60 feet wide. That is the first lock. There will here be a barrage extending out in the river, and the level of the river from that point will be raised 13 feet. You do not require any dredging from the rapide la Passe to the Sault au Recollet, because as a result of raising the water thirteen feet the rapid will be reduced to that extent and there will be no more Sault au Recollet rapid. If we do not start the Georgian Bay canal now, and if we start with the smaller scheme that I am speaking of, in order to have navigation between Bout de l'Isle and Two Mountains of seven or eight feet, all that is necessary is to dredge the rapide la Passe, build a lock at the Sault au Recollet, and dredge Whitehorse rapids and the rapide Lallemant.

To relieve the anxiety of my hon. friend (Mr. Lamarche) I may tell him that this is no promenade at all, but there are numbers of promenades on the St. Lawrence route. If the hon. gentleman will consult his good friend Sir Rodolphe Forget, the member for Montmorency, he .will find in the archives of the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company, that for fifteen years the steamer Terrebonne was carrying on a service from Montreal to Bout de l'lle, thence to Macdonald's wharf at L'Assomp-tion, and thence to St. Vincent de Paul, and back to Montreal. For fifteen years these wharfs were leased by the federal Government, and the steamer did a large traffic at them. The Minister of Public Works seems to have the idea that we need this

navigation for the transport of convicts to the St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary, but he is mistaken as to that. We used to get some convicts from Kingston, and a couple of years ago we got two carloads from Stony mountain, but that kind of interprovincial trade has now been stopped. The convicts at St. Vincent de Paul come mostly from the city of Montreal, and they are brought sometimes by boat but mostly by cabs. What the wharf is needed for mostly, is, for the coal and the general merchandise that is required at the penitentiary. The wharf would also be useful for the municipalities along the river, where there is considerable building going on, and quite a large trade.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.
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March 16, 1914