April 24, 1918

L LIB

Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

This amount of money is very well spent. For years past, I remember, the shipping interests have made every effort with the Government to secure a dry dock to accommodate big ships, should an accident occur. Special efforts were made after the disaster to the Bavarian, a large ship which was coming near Quebec when an accident happened, and which could not be repaired on account of lack of a dry dock to accommodate it. Quebec now affords possibly the best harbour in the world, comprising an area of about twelve square miles with a depth of water of about 150 feet. There is no other port in Canada that can boast of having such a fine harbour as that of Quebec. Will the minister express his opinion as to the possibility of utilizing such a nice harbour as Quebec harbour as a free port?

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

I am afraid my hon. friend is asking me to answer something which I would not feel in a position to answer. I have not given the matter any study. Possibly at some future time I might give him a more studied opinion upon it.

Quebec Harbour-River St. Charles-improvements to navigation, $15,0'00.

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L LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

Has the contract

placed with Quinlan and Robertson, of Quebec, been cancelled?

Mr. CARVELfL: The contract has not formally been cancelled, but the works were closed down early in the summer of 1917, and, I think I am safe in saying, with the consent of the contractors and of the Government as well. The contractors have been paid, off practically everything coming to them, and this $15,000 it is hoped will be sufficient to settle up the matter to date. The contract has not been cancelled and closed up because Quinlan and Robertson, like many other contractors in Canada, are claiming they are entitled to compensation for the closing down of the work. They base their claim on various grounds which, perhaps, it would not be proper to discuss here. There is the closing down of the work, and they want us tc buy their plant, and so on. Those matters have not yet been settled, but I hope they will be in the near future. This item is purely for the purpose of paying them the amount of money which we believe will be due to them when the accounts are finally straightened .out. It is only an estimate; the amount may be more, it may be less.

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L LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

If I ask this question, it is because last year it was rumoured that Quinlan & Robertson had made a demand on the Government to cancel the contract. The Quebec Board of Trade, also the Quebec City Council, at the time interviewed the Hon. Mr. Sevigny, who stated that a demand had been made to the Government, but that the matter had not been settled and that the work would go on without interruption.

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

I entered the department only in the month of October, and I really do not know what decisions. were arrived at before that date. If that was the policy early in the summer of 1917, there must have been a change of policy before October, because I know it has not, since the month of October, been the policy of the department to proceed with the work.

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L LIB
L LIB
UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

There must have been a change of policy during the summer.

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L LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAVIGUEUR:

Is the minister aware that the city of Quebec, to obtain the work on the St. Charles river, made considerable sacrifices in placing a contract with the Government, and that the work was to be proceeded with without interruption?

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

I am not aware of that, and I want to say to my hon. friend that we have hot by any means abandoned the work. It was simply not considered strictly essential work during the present financial stringency. My hon. friend from West Quebec (Mr. Parent) has just boasted of the splendid facilities of the harbour of Quebec, all of which is true, and as this was intended to take care of local shipping more than of ocean-going shipping, it was felt it would not be justifiable to spend a large amount of money under present conditions. I have always understood that the construction of those works would be of very great advantage to the city of Quebec in providing a great trunk sewage system. However, that does not play a very great part probably. I can only say that the work has not been abandoned; it has simply been closed down, and I hope the time will come when it can be finished. Many other works in Canada are in just the same position.

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L LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Laurier Liberal

Air. LAVIGUEUR:

Have precautions been taken to preserve the work already done? '

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Air. CARVELL:

Every precaution has

been taken.

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L LIB

Henri-Edgar Lavigueur

Laurier Liberal

Air. LAVIGUEUR:

I understood the

minister to say that this work was not of very great importance to Quebec. On the contrary, it is of first-rate importance. The city has already spent $200,000 for a market along,the St. Charles river, but we cannot use it until this work is completed.

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Air. CARVELL:

I quite appreciate that, but if my hon. friend sits here for the next fortnight and listens to these estimates being discussed he will see that these same conditions prevail in practically every city in Canada. In the next item, for instance, for the Toronto Harbour Works, he will find we have applied the axe much more vigorously than we did in Quebec. There is no doubt that there are local reasons in ' all these places why these works should go on, but we have tried as far as possible to apply the same rule on all public woras in Canada, unless they are absolutely essential for war purposes.

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LIB

Lawrence Geoffrey Power

Liberal

Air. POWER:

I would point out to the minister that altogether some $700,000 has been spent on improvements to the river St. Charles, and that to preserve the work that has been done we are spending less than $15,000, because I understand that out of this $15,000 a certain amount goes to the contractor.

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

Practically all of it goes to the contractor if it is found on settling the accounts that it is due him. We are not voting any money in this item for protecting the works.

Toronto Harbour improvements, $550,000.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMAS FOSTER:

I just heard the minister say that he had applied the axe pretty well all over Canada in regard to public works. I think he applied it too vigorously to the Toronto Harbour improvements. I think he will remember that late last fall he visited the harbour of Toronto, and while I was not able to accompany him on that inspection I understood from the mayor that the minister was impressed with the necessity of a large expenditure this year t)o protect the work .already done. The minister knows that the Harbour Commission proposes to spend about $13,000,000, the city of Toronto about $2,000,000 and thp Public Works Department about $6,000,000, altogether about $21,000,000. There has already been expended on these improvements between the -Government, the 'city, and the Harbour Commission, some $7,000,000. I think the minister will remember that a few days ago he was adlvised of the condition of the harbour toy telegram from the mayor and the Harbour Commissioner spoke to him of the possible loss of a great amount of property. 'The commissioner said that it was our duty to call the attention of the Minister of Public Works to the destruction of a large part of the shore property, the cellars in houses facing the shore being flooded by the heavy storms from the southeast which had. washed the shore away. What 'the minister's answer was I do not know, but I do know, after the millions that have been spent on thbse improvements, it is necessary for the minister to be more generous and bring down a revote for a large amount to protect the work that has been done. Take, for instance the work that has been done in the west part of the city, from the Humber east to the Island, and then continuing to Munroe park-a frontage of some six miles on which the Government has undertaken to build a breakwater to protect the harbour and the shore. To the west, the crib-work is down to the zero level and now it is necessary to place the cement structures on that to prevent the storms from destroying the shore, but I understand that not sufficient money has been granted for that purpose. If the land is not protected to the west there is danger of the work that has already been done-such as filling in

along the shore-at an expenditure of some millions, being destroyed. Then we come to the Island shore, which is: partly protected, but to the west of the island again last year the shore was awash right up to the buildings' and some of the splendid residences there were in danger; the sidewalks were washed and gas pipes were affected, and the city had to put up some temporary cribs to protect the shore for the time being. Then we come to the east. This year, on account of the high water and the storms, a great deal of the shore property has been destroyed already, and the. Harbour Commission and the city council say it is up to the Minister of Public Works to do something at once to protect the shore. iSurely the minister after his inspection of these improvements and after admitting the splendid work that has been done anid the necessity for protecting it, will bring down a more generous grant for protecting that work. Then we have what is called the ship channel. You come in at the eastern entrance. Last year that work had to be pulled to pieces, some $800,000 worth of work. Changes are now being made and there is a great necessity for that work being completed -also. The Harbour Commission has reclaimed some two or three hundred acres of land at a cost of some millions of dollars, and we have located there some of the largest in-[DOT] dustries in America and there is a demand for more sites; but if the Government is not going to- protect the work that has already been done and is now under way it will not be possible "to carry on the work to advantage. It is a disadvantage alike to the Harbour Commission, the city of Toronto and the Government-the three parties concerned in the proposed expenditure of some $21,000,000. Surely, in the face of conditions in Toronto the minister is not going to stop at this, proposed grant of $550,000. I should like to have some expression of the minister's views as to the necessity of doing something to protect the work that has. already been done. Conditions may arise any day whereby millions of dollars worth of work might Ibe destroyed and surely this is too serious a matter to allow to happen for the sake of economy. It is not economy; it is false economy. The minister is. saving half a million dollars' on the expenditure of last year, but his economy may cost him a couple of million dollars. He is taking all the chances imaginable.

The minister must know the position we are in there with our Island. With those southeast storms there is gr^pt danger of

immense destruction, which may occur any day, and after aid this money has been expended, if we are not going to protect that work, I do not see that we can give the minister much credit along the line of economy, when he proposes to save $400,000 or $500,000 compared with the expenditure last year. If the work had been completed it might have been a good economy, but not at this stage. The Harbour Commissioners prepared an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 as the cost of this work. The city is going on with its share of that work at a cost of from one-half to three-quarters of a million. If the Harbour Commission of Toronto is going to spend this amount, realizing the necessity of it, surely the Government must see the real necessity of performing their part of the duty which lies upon them. While the minister might have applied the axe advantageously to some other facilities for harbours where there is not that danger of destruction which there is in this case, where the work is partly completed, it might be economy, but in this case it would be false economy to say we are going to forego that expenditure for the sake of conserving large expenditures, because he really knows, having been over the ground and made the inspection, what has been done, the amount expended, and the greatdanger. Realizing that, surely he is not going to leave the city, the Harbour Commissioners and this Government in the position that we are going to take the chance of the destruction of a couple of million dollars' of work. I hope the hon. minister will assure me that, after making his recommendation of half a million dollars, he will supplement that by another half million to protect the money already expended.

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UNION
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I noticed that the hon. gentlemen who speak largely on behalf of the city and harbour of Toronto have touched upon a subject that is an old one in this House as to provincial, Dominion or municipal obligations. We from the different parts of the country have been very exacting in our demands for public moneys for public purposes, but I must remind my hon. friend that we never went to the extent of asking public money for the digging of cellars and putting of walls around houses. The hon. gentleman tells us tonight we must be careful to protect the walls of the houses in the city of Toronto, to see that the sidewalks in Toronto are not interfered with, and that the end of the sewer pipes are well protected by the Minister of Public Works.

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UNION

April 24, 1918