May 2, 1916

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

This, I suppose, will

include certain works which are still going on on the western side of the harbour, and also the work at 'Courtenay bay. I should be glad if the minister would make a short statement with regard to the work at Courtenay bay, and for this reason: Owing to the fact that the agreement which has recently been come to between the provincial Government and this Government in regard to the Valley railway cancels the original contract for the construction of the railway all the way from St. John to Grand Falls by what is known as the eastern route, so far as the last 30 miles of the road nearest to St. John are concerned, there is an apprehension on the part of a good many people in St. John that it is not intended to utilize, to any large extent at all events, the facilities which it was proposed to provide at Courtenay bay. When the iplan for the development of Courtenay bay was laid out some years ago, the late Mr. Hays, who was president of the Grand Trunk Pacific railway, was consulted with reference to the terminals there, and he gave his hearty approval, being of the opinion that the new Transcontinental railroad would require at St. John all the facilities that could be provided at Courtenay bay; and he was very much averse, from a railway standpoint, to being compelled to use the facilities which the Canadian Pacific are now enjoying upon the western side of the harbour. I should be very sorry indeed if the Government contemplated either discontinuing or curtailing the work of development at Courtenay 'bay, and I am sure it would be a very great disappointment to the people of St. John. I think it would be well if no changes were made in the plans, so far as the development of 'Courtenay bay is concerned. Perhaps the minister might make a short statement to reassure and encourage the people of St. John.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I do not think that any proposed changes in the railway situation in the province of New Brunswick will in

any way affect the development of Courtenay bay. On the contrary, the proposals that have been presented will have the effect of stirring up, if that were possible, the Department of Public Works in order to prepare for the reception of traffic as soon as the road is completed. There is no doubt in my mind that the connection of the Valley railway and of the Transcontinental wilt toe with Courtenay bay. My hon. friend will agree that both sides of the House thought the original contract for the development of Courtenay bay was very desirable, but, unfortunately, the principals engaged in the work became absorbed in other undertakings, and latterly, on account of war conditions and their other enterprises, they have not devoted that attention to their contract which is desirable in the public interest. As a result, we expect to transfer the contract in the very near future, in order that the work may be gone on with as rapidly as possible, and we hope that the successors to the present contractors will make much better progress than has been made during the past year. This arrangement for transferring the contract has been practically completed, and when it is consummated I do not think there will be any delay in going on with the work. A considerable amount of work has been done on the breakwater, and in excavating for the dry dock. Nothing has been done in regard to the wharves as yet, because it is claimed that a sufficient amount of dredging must first be done to enable the men to carry on the work at low tide; but these are matters of detail. Generally speaking, the work is not as far advanced as we should like, but we are hopeful that under the new arrangement the work will be gone on with more rapidly, and will be completed in sufficient time to take care of the rapidly increasing trade of the port of St. John. I fancy there is a great deal more shipping at that port to-day than ever bbfore, and we are fortunate in having the wharves on the west side to take care of the increased traffic, pending the completion of the Courtenay bay development work. I again assure my hon. friend that every effort will toe made to complete the work as rapidly as possible.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I am very glad to hear the reassuring statement .which the minister has made. Of course, the House will understand that the question of making proper improvements at the port of St.

John is one not merely of local interest but of national importance, because St. John at the present time is one of the two important winter ports we have in Canada. It is of course of the very greatest national importance that Canadian exports and imports should pass through Canadian seaports and that as much as possible Canadian traffic that now goes to American ports should toe diverted to the seaports of our own country.

If I might venture to do so, I should like to make just one suggestion to the minister. During the session I have on more than one occasion called the attention of the members of the Government, particularly the attention of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and the Minister of Trade and Commerce, to the desirability of doing at once something in Canada. for the encouragement of shipbuilding, so that, to as great an extent as possible provision might toe made for the carrying of Canadian products to the markets of Europe, particularly in view of the necessarily great scarcity in ocean tonnage, which is becoming apparent from month to month and even from week to week. At St. John, as in many other places, of course, there are wonderfully good opportunities , for the carrying on of shipbuilding. If the plans which I had prepared when I was minister, having reference to the development of St. John, had been carried out, there would at the present time have been a dry-dock with a ship repairing plant, and. my idea was to be as liberal as possible in the specifications for the ship repairing plant so that with very little extra expense shipbuilding might also be carried on. As my hon. friend knows, this was the case with the Vickers-Maxim plant situated near Montreal, where some shipbuilding has been carried on since the war began. For instance, the building of submarines has been undertaken there. At the dry-dock and ship-repairing plant at Port Arthur, in addition to ship repairing, very considerable shipbuilding has been carried on. In connection with this work at St. John-and I do not speak from any sectional standpoint, because . the same thing might be done in other sections of the country-I would urge that as soon as possible some arrangement be made whereby, in connection with the dry-dock and the plant which would necessarily be established in connection with it, some provision might be made for shipbuilding; if not for ships of a large size, for ships of

reasonable tonnage, ranging from three thousand to five or six thousand tons, suitable for the transportation of goods across the Atlantic. I think the matter is somewhat urgent, and I have hopes and indeed believe that the Minister of Public Works is alive to the necessities of the situation and will be be disposed to do anything he can to give encouragement along those lines. I bring the matter to his attention, at the same time regretting the fact that so many years have been lost since the late Government went out of office. I do not think at all of holding my hon. friend the minister responsible. The circumstances have been unfortunate, but I think that something ought to be done in the way of encouraging shipbuilding, and there is a very excellent opportunity at Courtenay (bay, where these improvements are now being carried forward.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I am afraid I cannot agree with my hon. friend that anything has been lost by the downfall! of the late Government in so far as shipbuilding or anything eke in Canada is concerned. I am not, of course, very familiar with the question of shipbuilding, 'because that matter is in the hands of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries 'and the Minister of Trade and Commerce; but I know that they have been paying considerable attention to the question during tfye past few months, and I have had the privilege of attending several meetings with them and discussing the matter in some detail. I can assure my hon. friend that the matter is receiving the most careful attention possible, and I am hopeful that in the near future action will be taken with a view of going on with the shipbuilding industry at one, two or three points in Canada. I quite agree that St. John would be a desirable place, and according to the plans originally adopted for a dry-dock there, I think my hon. friend will admit that we are making as much progress as is possible under the circumstances. I will undertake for the Department of Public Works, to urge the completion of a dry-dock as soon ae possible; I will at all events carry out my end of the work and prepare for shipbuilding. At Port Arthur we are now ready for shipbuilding or ship repairing, and I hope that in the near future we shall be ready also .at Vancouver. We have a dry-dock at Prince Rupert, and I trust that before long we shall have one at Victoria- and ,one at Vancouver. There is a desire on the part of the Government to inaugurate a policy of shipbuilding as soon as it is possible to reach it, and every care and consideration is being given to the subject ,by the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Marine and Fisheries along with one or two of the other ministers.

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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT:

I wish to call the attention of the hon. member for St. John ,(Mr. Pugsley) to the fact that there is a war on, and that nearly every night he has [DOT]been putting forth efforts to induce the various ministers, when presenting their Estimates to the committee, to practise economy. If he would put forth a little effort to reduce the vote for St. John say by $25,000 or $50,000, I am sure we on this side of the House would -assist him in that regard.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

For the gratification of my hon. friend I may say that St. John is very patiently hearing itsi share of the burden so far as cutting down expenditures for improvements is concerned. The expenditure this year as compared with that of last year has been reduced by $500,000. I am not able to point to many other places in Canada where the people have consented to such a large reduction, and the people of St. John have consented very patiently and loyally to that reduction.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

The contract is $7,500,000, of which we have spent about $2,500,000.

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LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

I would like the minister to tell the committee about this dry-do-ck at Halifax. Is it owned by the department or by private people?

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

The present dry-dock is owned by private parties. We are proposing a first-class national dry-dock there.

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CON
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May 2, 1916