June 1, 1921

UNION

Gordon Crooks Wilson

Unionist

Mr. WILSON (Wentworth) :

The reason why I think I am in order in bringing this matter before the committee is that application has been made by the Department of Public Works of Ontario to the federal Department of Railways for the approval of these highways. Let me repeat that in answer to my question with regard to what roads in the county of Wentworth had been approved as highways by the Dominion Government and what roads had been proposed by the Department of Public Works of Ontario, the Minister of Railways said:

The following roads have been approved of as highways by this department: Hamilton-Queenston highway, Hamilton-Brantford highway, Hamllton.Jarvis highway, Dundas street highway; and the following roads have been proposed by the Department of Public Works of Ontario: Hamilton-Queenston highway, Hamilton-Brantford highway, Hamilton-Jarvis highway, Hamilton-Chatsworth highway, Hamilton-Kitehener highway, Dundas street highway.

I submit that we are vitally interested in that matter because we are bound by the Canada Highways Act to pay forty per cent of the cost of the roads if they are approved. Therefore, I say that it is my duty and privilege to bring this matter before the House and the country.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

On the point of order, I would be very sorry to deprive my hon. friends opposite of the very evident pleasure they are getting from the recital of the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Wilson).

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UNION
UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

It is doubtful whether the hon. member for Wentworth is in order.

I cannot see what the question of whether a purchase of trucks by the Minister of Public Works of Ontario was a good or a bad purchase has to do with the item under consideration at the present time. In that respect my hon. friend was distinctly out of order. I would suggest that his whole remarks are certainly on the border line of a violation of the rule of order.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS:

On the point of order,

T should like to direct your attention, Sir, to the Canada Highways Act, the latter part of section 4 of which reads:

Except for reasons set forth in such Order in Council and except with the consent of both governments, all expenditure under this Act shall be by tender and contract.

I might argue that, in my judgment, the very fact of the consent of this Government being required to certain parts of the work gives us a right to lay before this House any facts pertaining thereto.

I would more particularly direct your attention to this point:

The aid to -be given in any case shall be forty per cent of the amount which in the opinion of the minister is the actual, necessary and reasonable cost of the construction or improvement of such highway, as the case may be.

How is the minister going to arrive at what is a reasonable and proper cost without a consideration of what work has been done and what money has been ex-

pended on it? If the minister has a right to arrive at a conclusion from the facts as presented, will anyone argue that any member of this House has not the same right to present facts and argue along the same line?

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UNION

John Best

Unionist

Mr. BEST:

I cannot understand why lion, members living in other parts of the Dominion than Ontario should find fault with the people of Ontario for looking after their share of the $20,000,000: This is question 11:

What is the mileage of provincial highways in the county of Wentworth and the estimated cost of same?

The answer is:

The provincial department reports that the mileage of provincial highways in the county of Wentworth is 64 miles. The estimated cost is $2,654,640. The estimated cost of the mileage under agreement under the Canada Highways Act is $8^,126.

I do not know whether that mileage is all approved or not, but I know from what I have seen in the commissioner's office that part of that is approved. We want to know, if this has been approved, whether the money is being properly spent. The estimated cost is $2,654,640. The estimated cost per mile under agreement in accordance with the Canada Highways Act is $887,126. If that is all approved, the one county of Wentworth gets one-sixth of all the money that is coming to the province of Ontario from this Dominion. There are 52 counties in Ontario. Is it fair to the rest of Ontario that the county of Wentworth should get one-sixth of the total amount? I think the people of Ontario will give the hon. member for Wentworth great credit in that, while he lives in that county, he is willing to see that the other counties receive fair play. I do not think hon. members would be doing justice to Ontario if they tried to stop the hon. member from putting a fair and honest statement before the people.

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L LIB

Archibald Blake McCoig

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McCOIG:

I rise to direct your

attention, Sir, to the fact that a point of order is before the Chair. I do not purpose allowing any hon. member to make a speech that is irrelevant to the question under discussion. If the hon. member who represents the riding of Wentworth is objecting to such a large amount being expended in improving the roads in his particular riding, that is a matter between him and his constituents. Personally, I am in favour of good roads, but I contend that the total amount to which Ontario is entitled should be equally distributed

throughout the province. The point of order is before the Chair, and I do not think hon. members should wander in other directions when your decision in this matter has not been given to the committee.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK (Red Deer) :

Might I suggest, with great deference, that we hear from the minister in charge of the Estimates as to the exact extent that he has approved these roads?

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I might say that I propose, before giving a ruling on the point of order, to put a question to the Minister of Railways. I fear that both the hon. member for Dufferin (Mr. Best) and the hon. member for Kent (Mr. McCoig) have digressed somewhat from the point of order placed before the Chair. I would like to ask the hon. minister whether or not these roads have been approved by the department, and if any request has been made to the department for approval of the construction of these roads under the Act.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

The Ontario Government submitted a programme of roads in that province for consideration and approval of the Minister of Railways and Canals. In the list submitted they gave an estimate of the total cost of construction. An agreement has been entered into between the Ontario Government and the Dominion Government by which the Dominion Government agree to pay forty per cent of the amount as estimated. Therefore, in the roads that are under discussion, an agreement has been made whereby the Dominion Government agree to pay forty per cent of the amount as estimated. As a protection to the Dominion Government, we have inserted in the agreement a clause that the amount so paid shall not in any case exceed the total amount to which the province is entitled under the Canada Highways Act. In other words, supposing the road costs the amount that has been stated by the hon. member, that will not mean that the Dominion Government must pay more than the amount estimated, neither shall we be responsible for any amount over and above the total amount of $5,800,000 odd, Ontario's share of the $20,000,000.

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L LIB

Charles Murphy

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

I thought the Chairman asked the minister if the roads specifically mentioned by the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Wilson) were roads with regard to which an application had been received by the Minister of Railways and Canals and which had been approved. The

committee would like to be satisfied on that point.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

The road under discussion is the Hamilton-Brantford road. An agreement has been signed for that. I might also add that in the agreement I have inserted a clause that the minister also reserves the right to pay only what he considers is a fair and reasonable amount of the cost; or, in other words, if an abnormal expenditure has been made, we are not hound in any way to pay for that abnormal expenditure.

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UNION
UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

$658,907.05, or $34,400 per mile.

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L LIB

Charles Murphy

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

What about the road

mentioned by the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Wilson) that cost about the rate of $81,000 per mile?

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UNION
UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

Irrespective of what

these roads cost, is it not a fact that the Department of Railways pays only on their own estimate of what the cost should be? In other words, suppose the Minister of Public Works in Ontario builds a road that costs $250,000 per mile. I take it that the Minister of Railways does not pay upon that basis, but upon the basis of his own engineers' estimate of what the cost should be.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

The clause reads as

follows:

The Dominion, in consideration of the premises and subject to the performance and observance on the part of the province, to the satisfaction of the minister, of the covenants, provisions and conditions in this agreement contained, will, in accordance with the Act and the regulations, pay to the provinces, towards the cost of improvement of the said highway sections, aid to the extent of forty (40 p.c.) per centum of the amount which, in the opinion of the minister, upon the report and recommendation of the Commissioner of Highways of the Department of Railways and Canals, is the actual, necessary and reasonable cost of the said Improvement.

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UNI L

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CRERAR:

I submit that it is of no interest to this House how extravagantly the Minister of Public Works in Ontario may build his roads, because we pay only upon the estimate of our own federal engineers.

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UNION

June 1, 1921