August 6, 1917

CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

You are thinking of Vancouver.

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LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Are fees charged in that harbour?

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

Not yet.

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LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

When the war broke out we in Nova Scotia were willing to give up all our public works. We had large votes in tile estimates, and even before the war began, on account of the fall in the revenue, we were advised that we should cease pressing for improvements that had been promised, or from pressing for the expenditure of money that had already been voted. We were told by the minister that large ex-

penditures had to be dropped; that practically all public expenditures that were not absolutely necessary were to cease. Accordingly, we have not been pressing the minister for any expenditure, although some of these works are very necessary. It has been brought to the notice of the House several times that the fisheries of Canada are becoming more important every day; that fish as a food commodity is of the highest importance. In order to catch fish, ample facilities must be provided in the way of harbours, wharves and breakwaters. Facilities of that kind are very much needed in the part of the country from which I come. There was a very substantial item in the estimates of 1910 and 1911 fo the opening of a harbour at Ashby Bay in the county of Victoria. The question of the opening of that harbour was before this House and the Government for a good many years, and at last they reached the conclusion that the harbour should be opened. It would not involve the expenditure of a great deal of money, and once it was opened it would be of the greatest importance to the fisheries and the trade of the country generally. The vote was dropped some years after this Government came into power. I did not press the matter very much then, by reason of the fact that the war had broken out, and there was a fall in revenue and great need for economy. But now, the Minister of Public Works is spending large amounts of money on St. John harbour, for instance, which is an old harbour which they have got along very well with for a great many years, and I venture to think they could get along fairly well with it- as it is now. Although a layman, so far as the engineering business is concerned, I wish to warn the minister that he may find he has made a very grave mistake if he expects to make a good harbour at St. John by building a breakwater across the harbour. We had a .trial of that sort of thing as a protection to the entrance through the Grand Narrows in the Bras d Or lakes. A breakwater was built with the expectation of diverting the current and getting calm water where a very rapid current used to run. A large amount of money was expended, hut the result was simply to make the thing worse than it was before. I -am simply warning the minister that by the building of this breakwater at St. John, the currents he disturbs may make the water more treacherous than before. I think the item providing for the expenditure of this large amount of money on an old harbour could very well stand over, and preference should -be given to

such places as I 'have mentioned, where there is crying need for improvements that could be made at comparatively small cost. If the minister would undertake this work, the fishermen, not only of my county hut of the whole coast of Nova Scotia and in parts of New Brunswick, where they go for mackerel, cod and other fish, would be given a shelter that would enable them to carry on their wo-rk very much more conveniently and at a greater profit than at present.

Now that the minister is starting out to spend money, I must, in justice to that part of the country -which I represent, emphasize as strongly as I can the necessity of restoring those votes in the estimates of 1910, 1911 and 1912, providing for substantial improvements of the character I have mentioned and going on with the work.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

If my hon. friend, who says that I am undertaking new work, will only look at the item he will see that there is a reduction in it of over $2,500,000, which is an evidence that we are adhering to our policy of economy during war time, even in such important matters as the great harbours of this country. The .harbours enumerated here are our national harbours. Before the outbreak of the war large contracts had been let for the purpose of improving the harbours to meet the trade requirements of the country, and the amounts here asked for are simply to carry out the contracts that were then entered into. I quite appreciate the importance of harbours such as my hon. friend has mentioned, and no one will be more pleased than I when conditions will allow me to restore .any vote that is required 10 p.m. in the interests of the fishing industry of Nova Scotia, or any other place. There was great need for additional accommodation at the harbour of St. John last winter. It is-our great winter port, and the traffic has greatly increased on account of the war. New docks are urgently required. Only a few months ago several ships had to lay off the harbour awaiting their turn to dock, so great was the need for additional dockage. We hope, with the money we are here asking for, to be able to complete the docks, now under way, in order to relieve the congested condition that has existed at the port of St. John for some time. In regard to the harbour of Victoria, the contract had been let and there was a pressing need for the completion of the work .at the earliest possible date. I can assure my hon. friend that when the opportunity presents itself t'he

needs of that part of the country from which he comes will not be overlooked.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

I might point out that the goods that were exported through St. John during the last winter season amounted in value to nearly $200,000,000. There has been an enormous development in the business of that port during the last two years. New wharves have been erected, but they are not yet capable of handling the tremendous business that is offering every winter. The expectation is that this winter the exports through {hat port will be even larger than last year, when they far exceeded the exports through the port of Boston. I want the committee to understand that the money that has been spent on these new wharves at St. John is not lost to the country. These wharves are revenue producers and when they have been completed, they are handed over to the administration of the Marine and Fisheries Department. Last year we collected at the port of St. John a revenue of something over $100,000 in round figures, and that figure will be largely increased during the present winter, and will go a long way, at 3J per cent, towards paying the. interest on the money that these wharves cost. It is absolutely necessary fox the protection of these wharves that the breakwater that was built many years ago and extends from Negro Point to Partridge island, should be extended the whole way across. Otherwise the wharves would be in danger of being destroyed. I would be the last to urge the Minister of Public Works to spend the public moneys at the present time unless It was for an absolutely necessary purpose, and this particular work, as I have pointed out, is absolutely necessary in order to protect the trade of the country and to protect the investment which the country now has in the wharves which have been erected there of late years, and which are substantial revenue producers for the public exchequer. Tenders for this work had been asked for before the war broke out-before there was any idea that war would be declared. ,

Tenders were received after the outbreak of the war, buit in view of the fact that it was felt that economy .should be exercised, the deposits made by the tenderers were returned to them, and it was decided not to proceed with the work. The action of the Public Works Department in proceeding with the work now is because of the fact that it is necessary in order to protect the country's property which was constructed at an expenditure of a good

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LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I quite understand

that the hon. member from St. John, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, should stand up for his county and for his port. No one appreciates the enterprising people of St. John more than I do. At the same time, there is no use concealing the fact that the harbour of St. John is taxed beyond what God and nature ever intended it to be.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

Not by any means.

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LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Practically speaking,

it is not a harbour at all. It is just a sort of bay, into which the magnificent St. John river rushes, and where there is continually a battle royal between the tides of the Bay of Fundy and the rushing waters of the St. John river. That is the kind of harbour my hon. friend is trying to tame into a mill-dam for vessels to get into. We can have harbours anywhere where there is an island off the coast, if we get people generous enough to build any sort of structure between the mainland and the island, and then some extension beyond the island, but it is costing the Country too much, to satisfy the ambition of my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries. At the sartie time, I think it would be better to give more attention to places where there are harbours. I am sorry the magnificent harbour of Halifax seems to be forgotten to-night. There is also the magnificent harbour of Sydney and North Sydney, which nature intended as a harbour, hut it is neglected. No attempt is made to develop a number of places where there are proper harbours, but the minister asks to spend millions of dollars to fight the tides of the Bay of Fundy and the rushing torrents of the river St. John,

in order to make a harbour to please my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

I am very much surprised that my hon. friend, usually a well-informed man, is so much at fault regarding the geography of the Maritime Provinces, and I extend to him an invitation to come to St. John this summer, when I am at home and may have the pleasure of entertaining him. I am sure when he looks over our harbour and its possibilities, that he will-I will not say apologize,-but he will admit he was wrongly informed and making a mistake in crying down one of the great harbours of Canada. I think it is a great pity that a Nova Scotian should cry down the harbour of St. John, and I think it is a great pity that a New Brunswicker should decry the harbour of Halifax, I do not think that is the way to promote the interests of the Maritime Provinces. I think we should give credit to one another, and help one another, having more of a feeling of patriotism for our own province ratner than seek to spread disunion and create discord in reflecting upon the merits of the different localities. My hon. friend is a bit of a joker, I know, and says things in a facetious way; but it is really absurd to speak as the hon. gentleman has spoken of the port which *has been selected as the terminus of the Canadian Pacific railway on the Atlantic coast and from which goods to the enormous value of nearly $200,000,000 were shipped last -winter. The fact I have just mentioned carries with it the refutation of what my hon. friend has said in regard to the merits of the port. I think the port of St. John has enormous possibilities, not only because of its geographical position, but because of the enterprise of the people and because of the fact that the Canadian Pacific railway, the greatest of Canadian carrying companies, has made it its terminus on the' Atlantic coast, which will lead to its constant development year by year, and to an enormous increase in the traffic which will pass through it. So far as results are concerned, St. John is to-day, without question, the greatest port on the Atlantic coast.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

We have been asking the farmers all through the West and all through Canada to produce more in order that the Allies may be fed. One of the greatest requisites to production on the farm or anywhere is the expedition and cheapness with which those products can be shipped to the market. I notice there is nothing in these items for elevator accom-

modation at Quebec, Saint John, and Halifax.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The hon. gentleman will

remember that is in the railway estimates.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I remember the

railway estimates. An elevator system should be a part of the development of those harbours. The elevator system which is being constructed by the Railway Deparxment is part of the Government railway system, as the Halifax elevator is part of the Government railway system- We are not making a concentrated effort in the development of our harbours to make them in uniformity and have them completed harbours when we are through. At the head of the Great Lakes there are a large number of elevators- On this side of the Lakes there are a large number of elevators. We have spent millions of dollars in Canada to get through lines of transportation by land. Without elevator accommodation at Quebec, Saint John, and Halifax, a portion of the year when those railway facilities could be used -and navigation its closed is of no avail to- us at all. At the present time, there is no means of rushing by rail the products of the West and having them stored at Quebec, say, during the winter, awaiting navigation-

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HAZEN:

There is a million-bushel

elevator at Quebec now.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

But that is a smallsized elevator for the purpose required. It is only the size of the elevator at the head of the Welland canal.

Mr- COCHRANE: That is a two-million-bushel elevator.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It started out as one of 500,000 bushels. The foundations were provided so that enlargement could be made, which has since been done. With a two-million-bushel elevator at the head of the Welland canal, a one-inillion-bushel elevator at Quebec is of minor importance. In order to encourage the farmer in the West to produce we have to complete our transportation facilities to the seaboard, otherwise there is no use building railways to the seaboard, and there is no use urging the farmer to produce because he cannot get his product to the seaboard. Then you will tell me that there is no tonnage to take it '.across when we get it there. I think the honourable member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards), a year ago, brought up the matter, which I consider of

very great importance. At that time, if the Government had taken some means of providing against what was inevitable, the loss of tonnage, and had gone on with the erection of elevators, we should have been in a magnificent position to encourage the farmers of the West to produce, because we not only could have taken their grain to the seaboard but we would have had elevators to handle it and a certain number of ships to carry it across. My honourable friend the Minister of the Naval Service (Mr. Hazen) informed us to-day that the shipyards of Canada were largely engaged in building ships of various capacities for the Imperial Government. It is our duty to do that but we ought not to leave the other undone. I believe, as much as I believe anything, that the whole country would have been well served, and perhaps better served, if we had set the shipbuilding capacity of Canada to work constructing ships a year or two ago for Canada herself, either through private or Government enterprise; because at that time when the submarine menace was becoming very serious we might have looked sufficiently far ahead to realize that one of the difficulties of our Allies would be to get their food supply, through lack of tonnage. Even at this moment, because we do not know when the war is going to cease, it would not be out of place for the Dominion Government to utilize certain of the shipbuild- -ing establishments for the construction of vessels for ourselves to carry the products of the country overseas. The United States is doing a good deal in this way but she is not doing it for us; she is doing is for herself and the Allies. The links in our transportation system are altogether lacking when we have not elevator facilities at the seaboard and when we do not seem to be making any provision to secure tonnage to carry our products overseas.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

In so far as giving consideration to the carriage of the products of the farmers is concerned, I think the Government can reasonably claim that they have taken a very great interest in matters of that kind. With respect to the question of elevators, we have built for the producers of western Canada large interior elevators which are of great benefit. We have also established a Government terminal elevator at Fort William and we have established practical control of all the elevators at that terminal, which control is sufficient to regulate all the conditions incident to the transport of our grain through the elevators at that point. My hon. friend quite

appreciates, I am sure, that so far as the producer of western Canada is concerned, he is almost entirely dependent upon the elevatovr space at Fort William and Port Arthur. The space at the points named is quite sufficient at present to take care of the trade of western Canada. I quite appreciate the importance of additional elevator space at the seaboard, at such points as St. -John and Halifax, but I do not see that any special purpose can be served by additional elevator space at Quebec, for example. Quebec is only a summer port, and any grain stored in an elevator at Quebec in the fall, or at the close of navigation, would have to remain there until navigation opened in the spring. It would be of very little importance in the matter of the placing of grain whether it was at Quebec or at Port Arthur or Fort William. By placing it at Quebec you would probably have the long rail haul which would make it very expensive to the producer, and I do not think it would be a point at which additional elevator space would be particularly necessary. There is no doubt that we should have additional elevator space at St. John but the Canadian Pacific have already a large elevator there and the Government have erected one in connection with the Intercolonial railway. If my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Cochrane) is assured that there is a pressing need for elevator space at a point of that kind, I am sure he will meet the requirements as soon as it. is possible for him to do so.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

For many years the Canadian people have been spending millions of dollars deepening harbours and building docks at different ports, not only on the Great Lakes but on the seaboard, and whenever a harbour has been completed or a splendid dock erected, with possibly great elevators for the storage of grain and sheds for facilitating the handling of the products of the farms, we discover that some privately-owned railway controls the right of way along the docks and this railway, in its selfishness, places all sorts of obstructions against other railways. It would be well that every precaution should be taken to see to it that the nation shall own the right of way and the railway tracks to all harbours in Canada and provide for running arrangements so that privately owned railways shall be able to receive and discharge freight on these docks without being hampered by another privately owned road which would naturally look after its own business. Is the minister making provision for this in the new works that are going on

at these harbours not only on the Great Lakes but on the sea coast?

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I do not know to what points my hon. friend makes particular reference when he says that privately owned railway companies are in possession of the right of way and. obstruct others from getting access to the harbour, where1 the work has been constructed by the Government. Now that we have a Railway Commission, it has full power and authority to deal with and regulate any conditions such as my hon. friend suggests. If there is any particular point at which the difficulty that he mentions exists, I am sure it will only be necessary to bring it to the attention of the Railway Commission. If the Railway Commission has not sufficient power to regulate such a condition, if the complaint is genuine, as I am sure it is or my hon. friend would not have mentioned it, then I can assure him that the Government will be only too glad to take it up and find a remedy in some form or other.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I have no special reference to any particular port or railway. 1 think it is generally admitted that this has been the policy for years, and everybody in the trade knows that a railway is always able to hamper other railways, notwithstanding the efforts of the Railway Commission.

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August 6, 1917