The railway traffic is insignificant and it is not a dangerous crossing. Then we have the destruction of trees. In many cases the provincial Minister .of Public Works has had some of the finest trees in the country cut down. I might quote from the Toronto Globe, an authority which should be satisfactory to some members at least. This is the article:
Hurl criticism for blundering with highway.
Toronto Globe takes rap at Hon. F. C. Biggs for condition of road.
Then the article refers to the cutting down of the trees in these terms:
There is another matter in this connection too which is receiving not a little criticism throughout eastern Ontario, and that is the planting of trees. Nothing will add more beauty to a stretch of road than a row of stately elms or maples, yet why, asks the Kingston road farmer, have these been cut down in scores of cases and saplings planted by unskilled, high-priced labour in their place? True, the right of way has been widened and many of these trees were in the way, but the actual road has not been, nor ever will need be, widened sufficiently to have necessitated their removal. Again, young trees have been planted irrespective of their surroundings. Through swampy, sandy and clay soil alike, the same varieties have been placed eight feet apart. In some cases cedars have been cut to make way for maples. In many cases plantings have been made under overhanging apple trees.
To revert to this Hamilton-Brantford highway, I might say that buildings, including part of a school and a church may have to be removed, although this is out in the country in the townships of Barton and Ancaster. Only those who have travelled over it can commence to describe what is being done. My statement, perhaps, may seem extravagant, but anybody who wishes to take the time can go there and see for himself.
Now, there is another section of the road known as the Hamilton-Kitehener highway. But before I go into that, perhaps it may be advisable that I should refer to a question which I put to the Minister of Railways and which may be found at
page 3,698 of Hansard of this session. I quote: ,
8. What roads in the county of Wentworth have been approved of as highways by the Dominion Government and what roads have been proposed by the Department of Public Works of Ontario?
To which the following reply was given: The following roads have been approved of as highways by this department: Hamilton-
Queenston highway, Hamilton-Brantford high' way, Hamilton-Jarvis highway, Dundas street highway; and the following roads have been proposed by the Department of Public Works of Ontario.
Then follow the four roads which I have mentioned, and, in addition, the Hamilton-Chatsworth and the Hamilton-Kitchener highways. According to the answer given by the Minister of Railways, therefore, we have six of these highways in the county of Wentworth.
No, they are all in the county of Wentworth. But in that connection I might refer for a moment .to the roads in which the Minister of Public Works in Ontario .may perhaps be directly concerned. The Hamilton-Kitchener highway pases through the town of Dundas and in front of the property of the Minister of Public Works of Ontario.
I may say that the Minister of Public Works of Ontario commenced the laying of the bitulithie pavement from his own gate. He is building from his own gate past his father's gate and on to another property that his father owns about three miles down the road. After my asking the questions in this House apparently he thought thait the facts looked too glaring, so he has now started-and he has only made matters worse-to build a mile of road to the west of his property, and on the south side of the road no one owns any land but the Hon. F. C. Biggs, Minister of Public Works for Ontario!. On the other side Mr. Biggs' father owns a farm. There are one or two places in between, and then comes again the property of the Hon. F. C. Biggs, Minister of Public Works for Ontario.
The Hamilton-Kitchener highway has not been approved by the Minister of Railways.
Hon,. Mr. REID: In order that that question may be answered fully I may say that the Minister of Railways has not approved of the construction of these roads on any such expenditure as has been mentioned by the hon. member who is speaking.
If these highways have not been approved by the Minister of Railways I do not see that this committee has anything to do with the subject. This is a matter of provincial jurisdiction with which the Federal Parliament is not concerned.
Kent (Mr. McCoig) asked the Minister of Railways if these highways of which the hon. member for Wentworth speaks had been approved by the Department of Railways. The Minister of Railways replied, "No."
I understand that before these highways can be approved the plans have to be filed by the provincial department of highways and the estimated cost of the construction must be stated. If the Minister of Railways has not approved of the construction of these highways at the cost stated, then he has not approved of them at all; if he approves of them at all he must approve the estimated cost. I submit, therefore, that as these highways have not been approved by the Department of Railways, in accordance with the requirements of the federal Act, this committee has nothing to do with them; they are wholly within the jurisdiction of the provincial legislature.
The point is a very intricate one, and I think that members interested should be heard before a ruling is given by the Chair. I should be very glad to hear the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark)-who desires to say a word on the point of order-and then the hon. member for Wentworth, who, of course, will state how in his opinion, this discussion is relevant to the item now under consideration.
It appears to me that the point of order raised by the hon. member for Prescott (Mr. Proulx) is exceedingly well taken, and I think it is something that we ought to clear up in the interests of orderly and proper discussion in this committee. I am not satisfied with the statement of my hon. friend the Minister of Railways that he approved of these highways but does not approve of how they are being constructed. Under this dual control I should say it would be a very useful thing for my hon. friend if, the moment a mistake is made, he can say: Oh, this is not my mistake; it is the mistake of the Government of Ontario. I think we need to know, before we can even ask you, Sir, to decide this point of order, exactly what my hon. friend the Minister of Railways means when he says that he approved of these contracts and did not approve of them-because that is about what he said. I submit that we have to know how far we can go in a discussion which to many of us appears to be a discussion that might better be conducted in the legislature of the province. If these roads have not been approved of they are not proper matters for discussion in this committee. If they have been approved of, then we should go on and discuss the dual control-at some length, I am free to say, because this matter is bound to prove a very interesting subject for debate. I can see food for several days in it myself.