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.
Subtopic: DES PRAIRIES RIVER DREDGING.