May 23, 1919

UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Speaking generally,

bridges are supposed to be controlled by local governments, but there seem to be exceptions. Perhaps the minister could give in each case, very briefly, an explanation of how these expenditures on bridges come to be chargeable to the Dominion.

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

The first item is the

Banff bridge. Banff, as my hon. friend is aware, is in a Dominion reservation known as the National Park, all public buildings in which are under the purview of the Dominion Parliament. I personally inspected the Banff bridge; it really must be attended to. It is an ordinary light steel bridge which was probably quite sufficient for the traffic when it was constructed twenty-five years ago, but which is entirely inadequate now'. There is a tremendous tourist traffic over this bridge in summer. We are asking for ,$100,000, but that will not be sufficient to build the new bridge. There has been a good deal of discussion about the character of the proposed bridge. The people are very anxious that it shall be built along certain artistic lines. They want an arch bridge instead of a steel bridge, and they are desirous that it shall be in keeping with the rest of the works around that important centre-the Canadian Pacific hotel at Banff, and other public buildings. After investigating their request carefully we found that the granting of it would involve a very large expenditure. We had designed an ordinary steel bridge. The engineers are now working on a sort of combination steel and concrete arch bridge which will meet the traffic requirements and at the same time comply with the wishes of the people of that vicinity. The Canmore bridge is also in the National Park.

The next item is a contribution by the Dominion of $7,000 for repairs to the Capi-lano river bridge. The Capilano river flows into Burrard Inlet and is west of -the Indian reserve. I am just a little doubtful whether we have overstepped the mark or not in this vote, but I did not make the grant without personally inspecting the bridge. It seems -that some dredging was done by the department two or three years ago at the head of Capilano river, and the contention is that this dredging so changed the channel of -the river that it undermined the piers of a fine bridge that had been erected by the municipality on the route of a very important highway. One marvels sometimes, when he sees the splendid public works that have been built out in the country In these western districts, ai the faith which the people there possess. I feel that I would hesitate before I would spend the large amount of money which has been spent in that part of the country on such works. They, however, did it, and one of the piers of this bridge was washed away. It was contended by the engineers-and from what

little knowledge and experience I had in looking it over I agreed with them-that the damage resulted to a certain extent from our works. The proposition was then made that we divide the cost between the Dominion and the province and the municipality, and an agreement was entered into; in fact, I think the bridge has been constructed, and this item appears in the Estimates to cover it.

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UNI L

Sanford Johnston Crowe

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CROWE:

I understood that the repairs of the Capilano bridge would cost something around $30,000; that the municipality and the provincial government offered to contribute some $10,000 or $11,000 each, and that the Federal Government was going to contribute $10,000 or $11,000. The amount of $7,000 will not be enough to contribute one-third of the cost of the repairs.

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

The next item is " Edmonton-repairs to bridge." This is a small amount of $1,200. It seems that many years ago the Dominion Government built the low-level bridge across the Saskatchewan river at Edmonton, and this is to take care of certain repairs.

The next item is $2,500 for the interprovincial bridge at Matapedia, for the purpose of putting a new plank roadway over the bridge. It was under contract; the contract was not let until the last year, and as the contractors contended that owing to great difficulty in getting labour, they could not do the work within the prescribed period, we gave them the right to extend the contract to the first of June. I am not sure that the work is not finished by this time.

The next item is for a new bridge between Ottawa and Hull to replace the present Union bridge over the Ottawa river below the Chaudiere, $120,000. There happen around Ottawa many things which demand the expenditure of public money, but which would not, of course, be tolerated for a moment in any other part of Canada, and this is one of them. I do not know how this came about, but many years ago the Dominion Government built a bridge across the Ottawa river below the falls. It was perfectly good for all the traffic existing at the time, but the people of Ottawa and Hull wanted an electric railway, and they promptly put an electric railway across the bridge and then they came back and said: This bridge is not sufficient to carry the railway; you build a new bridge for us. This seemed a peculiar proposition. I know if I had asked for anything of that kind in New Brunswick, I would have been told

I was absolutely crazy, and I think I would have been. I refused to pay the total expense of building this bridge, and the result was that we entered into negotiations with the provinces of Quebec and Ontario and they agreed to pay $40,000 each, and the Dominion is to pay the balance. I believe our proportion will amount to just about $40,000. I think this bridge is under contract now for $110,000, and there will, of course, be some extras, which will bring the cost up practically to $40,000 each, and in that way a bridge which will be sufficiently strong to carry the traffic will be built.

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L LIB
UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

Yes, it will take the whole amount. We make the contract with the Dominion Bridge company, and then we receive the reimbursement of $80,000, or $40,000 each from Quebec and Ontario, so that we have to vote the whole amount in order to carry out our contract with the bridge company.

The next item is for a bridge at North Timiskaming. This is a bridge not over an interprovincial river, but over a riveT within less than half a mile of the boundary line, so that it is practically across an interprovincial river. I am sure that it was so nearly an interprovincial river that it was felt proper that the Dominion Government should share the expense. This item is to provide for the superstructure and some small repairs to the substructure. In this case the province of Quebec pays $15,000. Tenders were called for, and a contract was let some time ago at somewhere around $75,000 or $80,000, and the bridge will be finished in a very short time.

The next item of $7,000 is to take care of the approaches to bridges in the city of Ottawa. It is wonderful what people do around here, but the custom has become so long established that it has practically become law, and I suppose we must carry it out.

The next item is for repairs to bridges at Portage du Fort, also up the Ottawa river, and then there is a small amount for improvement to the river road at St. Andrews, Manitoba.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

I am sorry I do not see in these Estimates any amount for the construction of a bridge between Hawkes-bury and Grenville. The construction of that bridge had been decided upon before the war; in fact, tenders had been called for and an Order in Council passed awarding a contract to the lowest tenderer, but

war was declared almost immediately and so the work was suspended. I had hoped that the work would be resumed after the war, but I do not see any amount in the Estimates. I hope it will be provided for in the Supplementary Estimates.

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

My hon. friend is quite right that tenders were called for and an Order in Council was passed, but I do not think the contract was signed. It was just a week or two before or practically at the time that war was declared, and the matter was allowed to drop. When I came into the department, of course, the matter had practically ceased to exist. I have not included this in the Estimates for this year for the very good reason that I thought we should wait until the highway policy of the Dominion and the provinces was

settled, because I do not think we would be justified in erecting

a bridge costing, I suppose, $500,000 or more, across the Ottawa river until we know exactly whether it will form part of the general highway from Montreal to Ottawa. Personally, I feel very strongly on this question, and I should like to see a beautiful highway extending from Montreal to Ottawa. To my mind it is incomprehensible that the capital of Canada is absolutely cut off as regards automobile traffic, from the rest of the world. A man would require tremendous courage who endeavoured to get out of Ottawa in an automobile.

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UNION
UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

I agree with my hon.

friend. If the railway employees strike, we should have to use aeroplanes because we cannot get out of Ottawa by automobile. I should like to see a highway built from Ottawa to Montreal, and a highway from Ottawa to the St. Lawrence river, so that we could get over to the United States and west. Until, however, the question is settled, we sho'uld hesitate to decide whether a bridge should be built at Hawkesbury or Vaudreuil. I do not want the hon. member for Prescott (Mr. Proulx) to think I am endeavouring to take the bridge away from Hawkesbury, but we should wait to see where the highway is going to be constructed, and when that matter is decided the Dominion of Canada would be justified in contributing towards the construction of a bridge across the Ottawa river.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

Is there a well-defined principle now regarding interprovincial bridges as to what relation the provinces and the municipalities have to them?

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. OARVELL:

There is a well-defined

principle. The only thing is that there is a provision in the British North America Act-

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I do not think so.

Mr. 'CARVEL,L: I have held that opinion, but I may be in error.

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UNI L
UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. OARVELL:

And I will not contradict my hon. friend either but it is easy to settle the question.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

This is the reason why I imagine there is no such provision. A good many years ago, when I had something to do with the affairs of Nova Scotia, the Dominion Government would not contribute a penny towards an interprovincial bridge, but let us pay a duty on the bridge when we got the material. However, things have changed a hit since then, and I suppose there is a better understanding.

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?

Isidore Proulx

Mr. PROTJLX:

Ontario and Quebec contribute a portion of the cost of this bridge which is interprovincial, while the bridge at Ste. Anne and Vaudreuil could not be provincial. It is midway between Ottawa and Montreal. Nature has provided its location, and it is on a solid rock foundation.

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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

I cannot say that there is any policy in these matters. I simply take things as I find them, and I have not yet asked for any appropriations for either interprovincial or international bridges. Of course, international bridges are provided for by the British North America Act, and I was under the impression that interprovincial bridges were also.

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UNI L
UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

Even if it were, I entirely agree with the suggestion of my hon. friend that it is a pretty risky business to go into it. I think I ought to take this occasion to remark that it is astounding the demands that have been made upon the Federal Government, since the armistice was signed, for the expenditure of public money on all sorts of schemes. I sometimes admire the ingenuity of the men who conceive these projects. I believe I have been asked during the last four or five months to spend one hundred million dollars in all sorts of undertakings. Every day sees its quota. I think to-day is one of the small days, but the amount is pretty nearly a million. We are being asked to-day to spend money for works that would not have

fMr. Fielding.] *

been thought of five or six years ago. The only explanation I can offer is that in the last four and-a-half years the Government has been spending tremendous sums and has been practically the paymaster for the country. People have been selling goods to the Government and receiving cheques and have not had to look after anything, and they have got the idea that the Government ought to act as paymaster. I do think that the people must have a notion that in some way we turn a crank at Ottawa and grind out notes, or that we have an inexhaustible vault filled with gold and all we have to do is to dig down with a dipper dredge and scoop it up. There must be some such conception on the part of the people or they would not make the demands they make on the Government. I am getting away from the subject of interprovincial bridges, however. I do not know where we are going to land if some one does not apply the brakes and if we do not get down to sound business principles and declare that we will not expend money except on certain really necessary public works.

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May 23, 1919