June 18, 1920

L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

The minister says we

have to build this bridge to protect life. Any expenditure to protect life is justified but as a nation Ithat is desperately hard up, could hot the present situaltion be met by an expenditure of less than $100,000?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not think a proper bridge could be erected for less than that sum. I was not anxious Ito spend a large sum and I was responsible for postponing the vote for two years but I thought I could not take the responsibility longer. The character of the. structure was thoroughly canvassed and we endeavoured to reduce the cost. A slightly cheaper bridge could have been built bult it would have been an unwise investment in the opinion of the officials in whom I have confidence and it would have been inappropriate to the character of the surroundings and the purpose of the bridge. It would have been an eyesore rather than an addition to the beauty of the park.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

The question raised by the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) concerning the policy of the Government in relation to bridges might well be considered in a broader way and perhaps at some more convenient time some clearer declaration might be made of the policy of the Government. International bridges, I take it for granted, would be a matter of arrangement between the Canadian Government and the Government of the United States. It may be that interprovincial bridges would also be a proper subject for the Dominion, but it is within my knowledge that a few years ago interprovincial bridges were refused aid by the Government, whereas bridges built within a province have been aided largely. I do not say this by way of criticism but difficulties arise as to the class of bridge that properly comes under the supervision of the Dominion Government and if at a convenient moment

the hon. gentleman could endeavour to draw the line a little more clearly it would probably prevent some discussion that would otherwise arise. Difficulties have arisen in the past because when a project for the building of a bridge was advanced somebody would say: "There is no use

bothering about that; ithe Dominion Government will not do anything; it is a provincial undertaking." If we had some clearly defined line as to the responsibility of the Dominion and of the provinces it would be very helpful. ,

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. D. REID:

The policy of the Government in the past-, and the same policy ie being pursued to-day, has been to assist i.n the construction of intenprovincial bridges, as for example the bridge between Ottawa and Hull; to build bridges over canals or public [works owned entirely by the Bo-minion; and to aid in the construction of international bridges.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

In the case of a bridge being constructed partly for railway and partly for highway purposes-not being international, and not being interprovin-cial-would not the Government aid that construction in some cases?

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. D. REID:

No, there has been no aid of -that bind. I can recall >a case, however, in 'the province oif Quebec, where, with respect 'to a bridge crossing -one of our own canals, aid was granted under arrangement made with the municipality.

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L LIB
UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. D. REID:

We have also given aid in the case of -a railway crossing' -a river. I remember that w,as done in the case of the Edmonton and Dunvegan railway, which -crosses some large Stream in 'the West. It was represented to us that the bridge wa-s going -to cost a million dollars and a subsidy was -asked ter. A special amount was voted for assistance in that case.

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L LIB

Charles Marcil

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Bonaventure):

In the

case of the Victoria -and Gharl-e nagne bridges, highway bridges were -attached to those structures. Dominion -aid was given in both cases.

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UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

Under the Railway Act there is a provision iter the Government 'to join with a municipality in constructing a large railway bridge, the municipality paying fits portion of 'the cost.

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. D. REID:

The hon. member for Bonav-enture has referred to the Victoria bridge. If -my memory serves me correctly that bridge was built toy the Grand Trunk Company 'themselves, and they charge a toll for i-ts use.

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L LIB
UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. D. REID:

The reason ter that may have been that it crosses the St. Lawrence river.

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L LIB

Charles Marcil

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Bonaventure):

The Charlemagne bridge crosses the Riviere des Prairies and a highway bridge was attached to it, and on that condition it received a Dominion subsidy. The same assistance has -been applied for to aid in building a bridge between Ste. Anne and Vaudreuil for the last twenty years to my knowledge. The hon. gentleman's predecessor in the administration of the Public Works Department (Hon. Mr. Monk) gave a pledge on behalf of the Dominion Government that they would contribute fifty per cent of the cost -of that bridge if the province would pay the difference, and that offer still stands.

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. D. REID:

I cannot say what the late Mr. Monk promised with reference to a subsidy for that particular bridge. I know the place well and there is great need for a proper connection there. I think it is almost a disgrace to Canada that no bridge has been provided during the last forty v-ears. An automobile or a carriage desiring to cross at that point has to -be ferried on a scow. But that is an entirely provincial matter; I do not see why the Dominion Government should assist in the construction of such a bridge as that. As I already said, we have granted aid for construction of highway bridges in Quetoec, but only where they crossed a Government canal.

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L LIB

Charles Marcil

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Bonaventure) :

The Federal Government has a canal at Ste. Anne, and that was why the late Mr. Monk gave the pledge referred to.

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. D. REID:

The proper way to give the needed accommodation at the point in question would be to attach a highway bridge to the present railway bridge. As I understand it, the railway company is quite willing to grant the necessary permission, but the authorities-either provincial or municipal-as I understand object to the expense. The expense would not be so awfully great, and I cannot understand why

the provincial authorities have not long ago provided a highway bridge there.

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L LIB

Gustave Benjamin Boyer

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BOYER:

The Provincial Government have promised to subscribe fifty per cent of the cost of a new bridge at the point referred to provided the Dominion Government would do the same. The late Mr. Monk promised that the Federal Government would contribute its -share, not because the proposed bridge was interpro-vineial, but by reason of the fact that it would be a public utility. Under the circumstances, I do not see why the Government should not carry out the undertaking entered into by that gentleman. In the event of the Dominion and provincial authorities contributing toward the cost of a bridge at St. Anne the municipality of Isle Perrot will do its share.

A committee composed of some of the most influential men in the industrial and professional life of Montreal interviewed the Federal Government a few weeks ago to secure a grant towards the construction of this bridge, but they were told: " We have heavy commitments to meet and we must be economical." Well, we are ready to admit that principle of economy, but it should be applied impartially to every part of the country. If the Government is ready to build a bridge at Banff or anywhere else, presumably it is because it is a necessary public work. This bridge that I am asking assistance for is also a necessary public work, and therefore I submit the Government should treat it in the same way as it treats the Banff bridge* they should build it or contribute towards its cost. The Boards of Trade of Toronto and all the towns between Toronto and Montreal have sent resolutions to the Government recommending the construction of this bridge, and its importance and necessity is admitted generally. I do not know why the Government is so parsimonious in this particular case. I would suggest that it grant substantial financial assistance towards the construction of this very important bridge at Ste. Annes and Vaudreuil.

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. D. REID:

I agree with the hon. member that the Ontario and Quebec municipalities have sent resolutions to the Dominion Government recommending the construction of this bridge. But they are not the only people who send resolutions when they want money expended that they should themselves expend. I cannot see why every time a bridge or some other work that is really a provincial undertaking is required that the Dominion Government should be

[Mr. J. D. Reid.l

called upon to build it. I have no recollection-and the deputy minister confirms me [DOT]-of any case where the Dominion Government have ever built or assisted to build what is really a provincial bridge and for which the Provincial Government alone is responsible. That being the case, if we place in the Estimates an item for this bridge, we are at once faced with further expenditures of the same character, for the provinces are frequently applying for federal assistance on the ground that the works contemplated involve a very large expenditure and the Dominion Government should assist the Provincial Government, and a grant .such as my hon. friend is now asking for would be used as a precedent for further demands on the Federal Treasury. This bridge is entirely a provincial matter.

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L LIB

June 18, 1920