April 28, 1914

PRIVATE BILLS.

FIRST READING.


Bill No. 161, respecting the Western Life Assurance Company.-Mr. Bradbury.


RESUME OF GENERAL ELECTIONS.

LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

I desire to draw the attention of the Prime Minister and the Government to the fact that a pamphlet has been distributed to members of the House containing a resume of the general elections of 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908 and 1911, and of byelections held between June, 1, 1896, and

January 1, 1914. This work is a

valuable one, but it does not cover the whole period from Confederation. I would ask the Prime Minister to instruct the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery to prepare a similar resume for the period between 1867 and 1896. This would give a complete record of all Dominion elections from 1867 to 1914 in a handy reference book.

I may state that with reference to general and by-elections held between Confederation and 1896 there is very little information available. From what I know of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery he is the man to prepare such a resume. Every year's delay in the preparation of this election record means so much more difficulty in obtaining the information necessary for its proper preparation. I am sure that the right hon. gentleman will give the subject due attention and will see that the work is done.

Topic:   RESUME OF GENERAL ELECTIONS.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

I shall be glad to give

consideration to it.

Topic:   RESUME OF GENERAL ELECTIONS.
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NEWFOUNDLAND SHIPPING DISASTER.

PROPOSED AID FOR SUFFERERS.

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

I desire to allude to a

matter which I mentioned a few weeks ago. At that -time we had tidings of a very regrettable disaster which had befallen a number of fishermen of Newfoundland. I then informed the House that the Government intended to bring down an appropriation of the sum of $10,000 to assist in the relief of the families of those who had been lost. Since that time it has transpired that, most unfortunately, the disaster was much greater than then known. It has been definitely ascertained that1* the steamer Southern Cross with a very large number of persons on board has been lost and that the number of sufferers will be two or three times as great as when I made the announcement to the House previously. Under the circumstances, I think we shall all agree in the desirability of increasing the appropriation. I take the opportunity of announcing that we propose to increase the grant from $10,000 to $25,000 for the purpose of relieving those who have suffered in this way.

Topic:   NEWFOUNDLAND SHIPPING DISASTER.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AID FOR SUFFERERS.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The circumstances which have come to light since my hon. friend made the announcement some time ago of the Government's intention to give $10,000 are such, I think, as to justify the increase, and I have great pleasure in supporting it.

Topic:   NEWFOUNDLAND SHIPPING DISASTER.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED AID FOR SUFFERERS.
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QUEBEC MARINE AGENCY.

ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES.

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I have seen reports in the press of this date to the effect that certain officers of the Marine Department at Quebec have been suspended. Can my hon. Mend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries give us any information on the subject? '

Topic:   QUEBEC MARINE AGENCY.
Subtopic:   ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES.
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CON

John Douglas Hazen (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Last week the attention of the Marine Department was called to the fact that there was reason for believing that very serious irregularities had occurred in the Marine and Fisheries agency at Quebec, covering a number of years. In consequence of the information that was received, Mr. Doutre, the purchasing and contract agent of the department, was sent to Quebec, and, as a result of the inquiries Mr. Doutre made, and the information winch he received while there, he has been placed temporarily in charge of the Marine and Fisheries agency in that city, four officials have been suspended, and a thorough inquiry . is to be made at once into the charges which have been made. The charges which have justified this action on the part of the Department of Marine and Fisheries are to the effect that in the years 1908 and 1909, and possibly in subsequent years-the full facts are not known -the pay-lists of the department were padded; the names of fictitious persons were put on the pay-lists as well as the names of others who, while employed by the department, were not employed in the capacity designated on the pay-list. These pay-lists were certified by the timekeeper, by the accountant'*of the agency, and by the paymaster, and went through the usual departmental channels and were paid. There is, I think, no doubt whatever about this having occurred, as it is practically admitted by one of the clerks in the agency, and, I am informed, by the accountant of the agency himself. As to the position the agent occupies in the matter, there may be difference o,f opinion; that will have to be ascertained by investigation. Mr. Bela-nd, it is fair to say, told Mr. Doutre that he had no knowledge of the matter at all; other officials of the department say that Mr. Boland did know what occurred, and that in doing what they did they were acting under his instructions. It is said that the persons who got this money did not themselves benefit by it; but the information is that certain bills were incurred which the purchasing agent of the

department at Ottawa refused to sanction, and that for the purpose of paying those bills fictitious names were placed upon the list, the money drawn in the names of these fictitious persons, and then used for the purpose of paying the bills. This action involved conspiracy; at least, I think that is the case- I do not want to make statements that will not in future be verified-but it seems to me it involved complicity amongst & number of the officials of the department and iu some cases involved what was practically forgery, because the checks were sent payable to the parties whose names had been placed on the list, and these checks were endorsed by somebody with the names of those to whom they -were payable. In addition to that, a charge is made to the effect that certain junk and properties were disposed of by the agency and that no account was made of the moneys received. In that case an explanation is given to the effect, I believe, that in connection with some celebration which was held in Quebec the money that had been obtained through the sale of this junk and old material was used to defray certain expenses of decorating the agency premises. But the fact was never reported to the department; no return was made of the money, and no account w,a,s ever sent in for these expenses. The amount, however, is, I believe, comparatively small. In view of the circumstances, we have thought it desirable to ask the Governor in Council to sign an order appointing a commission under the Enquiries Act to investigate the whole matter. That commission, which will consist of Mr. Doutre, the contract and purchasing agent of the department, and one of the officials of the Justice Department, will proceed at once to ascertain exactly what the state of affairs is. I may say that the statement is made-and it would appear on the face of it to be a frank statement-that nothing of this sort has occurred since the year 1909; that these irregularities, which have since come to light, originated in the years 1908 and 1909. But we are told of another case where an official employed in the department placed his own name upon the list two or three years ago as having done work as a mechanic, to the amount of $20. The statement is made to us that this money was used by him, not for his own private

purposes, but to pay an account that had been contracted at Bic, I think, by the agency on his instructions, which the department refused to recognize, considering it not a proper charge to make. The report of the investigation of the commission will be laid before the House as soon as it is received.

Topic:   QUEBEC MARINE AGENCY.
Subtopic:   ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES.
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THE ST. JOHN VALLEY RAILWAY.


On the motion of Hon. W. T. White (Minister of Finance) for Committee of Ways and Means: Mr. F. B. G'ARVELL (Carleton, N.B.): Before you leave the Chair, Mr. Speaker, I desire to call to your attention and to that of the minister a matter of great importance, not only to the province of New Brunswick, but to the Dominion of Canada as a whole, regarding the construction of a railway in our province known commonly as the St. John Valley railway, but legally as the St. John and Quebec railway. I regret being compelled to bring this matter up this afternoon when my hon. friend the Minister of Finance is anxious to enter into the consideration of tariff matters, but as I may foe called away at any moment I feel that I would not do justice to myself and to my constituents in the province of New Brunswick were I to leave this House without laying before the Government and the country certain facts of grave importance which I think should be given to them. It is well known that very grave charges have been laid against the Premier of New Brunswick by Mr. Dugal, a member of the legislature, on two important matters. The first is in connection with the extension of timber licenses; with that I do not intend to deal at the present time, because we have the promise of the Government of the province of New Brunswick that a tribunal will be created to give that matter a thorough investigation, with that matter I will deal at the proper time and in the proper place. We are also promised that a tribunal will be created to investigate certain matters in connection with the St. John and Quebec Railway Company. In so far as those matters can ibe properly discussed and investigated before that tribunal, I do not propose discussing them here this afternoon. But I want to discuss a side of this question which appeals to this Government* to this Parliament, and to the people of Canada as a whole. You will remember, [DOT]v I Sir, that there is an agreement on our statute books- placed there as a result of . a number of different statutes-by which the Government of Canada have agreed to take over and operate this railroad as a portion of the Intercolonial, as soon as it is in a position to foe taken over. In fact, [DOT]the Government agreed to take over each individual section when completed; and they agreed, to pay the company owning the road forty per cent of the gross earnings, upon which the province of New Brunswick were to have a lien for the interest on the bonds. The balance, if any, would go to the company as their own private property. As the House of Commons is going to operate this road for sixty per cent of the gross earnings, it is a matter of great importance to the people of this country that the road be properly constructed, that it be properly located, and that it be not overcapitalized and generally that it is a proposition from which sixty per cent of the proceeds will make a proper fund for operating the road. As regards the inception of this transaction, I take credit to myself in so far as I am entitled to it. It is an absolutely justifiable proposition for the people of New Brunswick and for the people of Canada as a whole-a proposition which was justifiable from any standpoint whatever under the original inception, a proposition which, in my judgment, could have been carried out and made a paying proposition to the people of Canada or to any person. This agreement was entered into in the session of 1911, between the Dominion of Canada and, we might say, the province of New Brunswick, because they were really the contracting parties. It was agreed in this House that they were to build1 a road through New Brunswick up to the standard of the Transcontinental, and that the road [DOT] was to go from Grand Falls to St. John, N.B. It was to run from the Transcontinental to the port of St. John, and was to be a highway over which the commerce of the Transcontinental intended for export from the city of St. John should pass. It was to be a road in every sense of the word, and equal to the Grand Trunk Pacific ot Transcontinental in grade, curvature, and general miake-up. Prior to the election of 1911, there was a good deal of backing and filling between my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, then Prime Minister of New Brunswick, and this Government. I am not going into the details of that as it is ancient history, and plays no great part in the important



matter which we have to consider at the present time. Suffice it to say that no agreement was ever come to before 1911 by which they were to commence the construction of the road. We supposed we had them to the sticking point a good 'many times but they always got away from us. They promised first of all that it was going to be next month, then next week,, then 'the next day, and then the next day and this went on until the 21st of September, 1911. Up to the 21st of September, 1911, when the Liberal party was defeated, the contract had not been signed by the Government of New Brunswick, but the moment my hon. friend's party came to power the whole matter was plain sailing. Instead however, of a contract being entered into between the province of New Brunswick and the St. John and Quebec Railway Company whureby a road was to be built of the character which we had sUpulated-the character set forth in the statute of 1911-this Government passed legislation authorizing a contract between the province of New Brunswick and the company for the construction of a road of an entirely different character [DOT]-a road of any specifications which the contracting parties could agree upon. What was worse, it referred to certain schedules when there were no schedules in the Act. Therefore, the matter was left wide open. I will not take up the time of the House reading about this point as it was all placed on ' Hansard ' last year. I have referred to the statutes; I quoted the original statute, and the statute of 1912. If my hon. friend the acting Minister of Railways wishes to inform himself on this point, he will find the vicious section in chapter 49 of the statutes of 1912 wherein it is provided that the road shall, be built according to the specifications agreed upon. Now, the specifications agreed upon are something we know nothing about-except the information that was given us in a return brought down last session.


CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID:

You have seen the

specification, theni?

Topic:   THE ST. JOHN VALLEY RAILWAY.
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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

No, I saw no specifications. I only got some correspondence. I asked for plans and specifications a number of times, but the Minister of Railways told me it would be an endless job preparing the plans, but that I was at liberty to go to the department at any time to examine them. I have no fault to' find with the Minister of Railways and Canals-I am speaking now of the Hon. Mr Cochrane as

I assume the acting Minister of Railways knows nothing whatever about it-he is disposed to do -what is right in the matter. He is willing to give us all the information in his possession if we like to go over to the department, but as it was so very voluminous and as I could not carry it in my head I did not get it. Certain returns were brought down in this House a year ago, and were discussed by myself on the 3rd day of June last. My hon. friend will find the discussion if he refers to ' Hansard ' of that date. According to those returns it appears that the company was allowed to put in 7 degree curves and 1 per cent grades wherever they wished. The result is that they have built 117 miles from Gagetown to Cen-treville; the two miles through the city of Fredericton have not been built. I do not mean to say that every mile of the 117 has been completed, but they have been working over that distance. I make the statement here, Mr. Speaker, that it is not a first-class road, it is not a second-class road, it is not even a third-class (road. The only thing that can be said in its favour is that it has 80 pound steel rails, and so far as the railway is completed it has a reasonable amount of ballast. The bridges-what few of them there are:-are to be of steel, and the larger culverts of concrete. So far as that goes, it is all right, but there are dozens and dozens of little corrugated iron culverts. I can tell the minister of one place where there is a three-foot corrugated culvert under a twenty-foot embankment. The culvert is broken down, and it is almost impossible for trains to get past that point.

After the remarks which I addressed to the minister a year ago, he promised me that he would have these things remedied. I told him that the road was not being built upon the plans and specifications in his office. I told him not to take the word of the company, but to put his engineers upon the right-of-way and take the levels. I told him to go to the contractors and ask them. I told him about these culverts. I believe that they did make an investigation but the trouble was that instead of the railway company changing their road to meet the plans and specifications, they changed the plans and specifications to meet the road. I happen to know that new plans and profiles were prepared. It took nearly half of the summer of 1913 to bring these things to completion. They made new plans and profiles in order to

meet the conditions and there are dozens and dozens of places-I think I am safe in saying hundreds of places-anyway, there are dozens and dozens of places, where the plans show a certain curvature while the actual curvature is much greater. I am informed that new plans have been prepared to meet these conditions. That is the character of the road. In every place where it was possible to do so they have used a seven degree curve and a one per cent grade. While I have never put a level upon this road myself, I can take the minister to places where the grades are greater than one per cent. If the minister will come with me, or if he will give me an engineer, I will tell him the places to look for them. He will find that there are grades greater than one per cent. I can take the minister to places where he can find four seven degree curves in a mile and one-quarter on a one per cent grade. I can take the minister to a place where he can find a swamp with about two feet of earth on the top of the bog and where he can run down a pole seven feet in the soft mud and no ditch on either side of the railway.

Topic:   THE ST. JOHN VALLEY RAILWAY.
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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID:

Well, then, the railway is not completed,

Topic:   THE ST. JOHN VALLEY RAILWAY.
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April 28, 1914