some of the methods by which it is being constructed. The work, however, is. going to ibe of very great .convenience, not only to the people of Laprairie and that portion of the South shore of the St. Lawrence, but to the general travelling public. I -was there .about a month ago, and at that time it would'have been almost impossible for people to reach Montreal by ordinary means of conveyance if that highway were not there, because, after all, it is simply a dyke seventeen or eighteen feet high, upon the top of which is a highway. In going over it, I was impressed by a few things. The first was that I did not believe in the method of construction. I do not understand why it was necessary to build a concrete face up and down the whole length of that dyke, which must be a mile long, as a protection against the ice shock. If it had an ordinary rock embankment about one and one-half to one, that is all that would be required.
On'the river side, two-thirds of it I suppose, is now finished. Another thing that impressed me was that it was a great pity the embankment was not made two or three feet wider. It ought to be sufficiently wide to admit of a street railway track. It may be possible even now to put a track on the top of the embankment, but that would, to some extent, interfere with the ordinary highway 'for vehicles. Thai, however, is largely a matter for the Provincial Government and the people of that community, because, once this work is constructed, if I remain in this position, I think I shall have to take the position that it is purely a local work which rightfully belongs to the municipal or provincial authorities, and I would feel very much like washing my bands of it. I do not think, however, we would he justified, under present conditions, in carrying out the plans to their minutest details and putting a concrete covering over the whole surface of the road, especially when the road on either end of it is merely a macadamised road. It should be constructed uip to the highest standard of a macadamised road to conform with the general conditions of the road on either end of it, so that if a man goes along in an automobile, he can make just as good time over the dyke as over the highway. When that has been accomplished, the
10 p.m. Government of Canada will . have pretty nearly done its duty.
I want to assure my hon. friends that we intend to prosecute that work just as soon as we can get through with this session of Parliament and I can look around and satisfy myself as to the most economical and business like methods of finishing it. We shall not put off until the autumn, we shall finish it up at once, and we shall give the people of that community just as good a road over the dyke as they have on either end of it.
My hon. friend takes the right view of the whole situation. Many years ago Laprairie was a very interesting town. The first railway built in Canada started from Laprairie. One of the two old wharves which my hon. friend saw, was the terminus of the first railway built in Canada, in the forties. It ran from Laprairie to St. Johns. Then Laprairie ceased to be the terminus by the construction of the Grand Trunk. There was a time when this village was very thriving. There were two banks, and there was quite a big trade, and two steamers were plying between Montreal and Laprairie. Then the Victoria bridge was built, and one of the steamers disappeared. Later on, the Dominion Government gave the Grand Trunk new subsidies to rebuild the Victoria bridge, but unfortunately they gave the Grand Trunk powers to charge the poor farmers such tolls that I consider them being mulcted. From all those considerations, therefore, something is due to the people of that community. The land, as the minister has noticed, is very low. The river St. Lawrence forms a bay from the Lachine rapids down to the Victoria bridge, and every year Laprairie is flooded. I could not give an estimate of the property damaged or lost as a result of those annual floods. For years past, under the old Conservative Government, under the Laurier Government, protection works have been erected, but they never were completed. The present work will complete what was started very many years ago. The trouble is that this amount has been in the Estimates since 1911, hut through purely political considerations the works have been postponed from year to year, because the elections were not forthcoming. The minister has now visited the district, and he intends to apply this amount, and to make the dyke as useful as possible. Let him finish the work as speedily as he can. Not only the people of Laprairie, but the people of Montreal will benefit by it.
Matane-Repairs to breakwater, $1,000.
Mr. BTJ'TTS: I may be out of order, but can the minister say whether the St. Paul, which is reported to have overturned in an Atlantic port, was in Halifax harbour at the time.
Murray Bay and myeelf are very deeply interested in these improvements. Murray Bay has become quite an international watering place. During four months of the year there is -a big influx of American and Canadian tourists and the population increases I would say by at least two thousand in the summer. The improvements made by the late Administration were certainly necessary, and I hope they will be completed at the earliest opportunity. Several steamers c-all at Murray Bay. There is the Government steamer between Riviere Ouelle and Murray Bay, which is nearly always full of American and Canadian tourists, and then there are the Richelieu boats, how known as the Canada Line boats. The wharf, in the busy season is jammed not only ,with passengers but with vehicles of every kind, for the cliff is very steep, as its -name implies,-Pointe-a-Pic- and carriages are necessary to take the passengers up the hill. The wharf, which was too narrow, has been widened, but now the railways occupy a portion of it with their' tracks, and I hope my h-on. friend will lose no time having the improvements completed.
What I said a moment ago about Gaspe applies equally to the Magdalen Islands. The county of Gaspe is composed of the peninsula proper, the main land, and the Magdalen Islands. A peculiar feature is that the county member, in order to reach a portion of his county, has to pass through the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. There is a thriving
population of from -six to seven thousand on the islands, and many good harbours, btit the wharves and piers have been sadly neglected during the last two or three years owing to the absence of the representative of the county. The storms have been more numerous and severe during the last two years than ever before, and I am' informed by many letters and telegrams that repairs and improvements are absolutely necessary. When the minister receives a report from the resident engineer I would ask him to see that the population is treated fairly.
Improvements are not only required at Pointe a Elie, but also at Amherst, Grand Entry, and at another point which I cannot recall at the moment. These places should all be looked after by the resident engineer, and I hope that if ne asks Ur a few small amounts for repairs and improvements at these places, the people on the Islands, who are isolated for six months of the year, will not be neglected.
My information is that this vote will finish the Rimouski wharf. We were reluctant to spend such a large amount of money, but in view of the fact that Rimouski is the landing port for ocean steamers on the St. Lawrence, it has been considered necessary to finish up the work, and we shall complete it as rapidly as possible. .
The engineer asks for this amount for general repairs to the wharf -fenders, hardwood sheathing, cribwork, and so on.
Yamaska-Reconstruction of dam, $1,500.
Mr. DuTREMBLAY: I understand that the Federal Government has offered to cooperate with the provincial government in
the construction, of a bridge across the Batiscan river on the highway between Montreal and Quebec. My information is that the Federal Government offer to pay a certain proportion of the cost on condition that the bridge be built about a quarter of a mile above the road, while the provincial authorities want to build it directly in line with the road. In the press of yesterday it is stated that the provincial-authorities and the people of Quebec are offered help by the Federal Government in this matter, and I should1 like to know what information the .minister can give me with regard to it.