this bill is to incorporate a company to build a bridge a little above Brockville across to Morristown, New York. Last year there was before the house a bill similar to Bill No. 70, to incorporate a company to build a bridge at Gananoque. That bill has been brought up again this year. The Department of Railways and Canals objected last year to that bridge and I do not know what their present attitude is. As I say, the bill I am promoting is for a bridge between Brockville and Morristown. There is no vehicular bridge across the St. Lawrence river between Montreal and Niagara Falls, a distance of over four hundred miles.
In the last two years we have had a veritable epidemic of proposed bridges across international waters. I am not opposing this bill. I should like to make it perfectly clear that the fact that, in regard to a bill of this character, one takes the stand that there are involved conditions affecting the public interest, is no reason for anyone to say that we are opposing the bill as a private bill. But I think, in view of the large number of structures of this kind that are being proposed, there should be some declaration of public policy on the part of the government regarding matters of this nature. These bridges are proposed to be built across international waterways, yet last year and this we are giving seven or eight private companies very wide powers in regard to these matters and we are creating more bridges and establishing conditions which it will be very difficult for parliament to deal with later on.
Another point is this. These bills in my judgment have been in error sent to the private bills committee. Again I am drawing attention to this as a matter of procedure and not as a matter of criticism of the private bills committee. This bill and similar ones ought to go to the railway committee. They have to do with transportation and traffic; they have to do with the Railway Act; the Railway Act is invoked in some of them. I do not know whether it is invoked in this particular bill. Expropriation procedure under the Railway Act has been invoked and
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to my mind these bills should go to the railway committee. Furthermore the government should be prepared to declare before the committee and parliament what its policy is in regard to bridges across international waterways.
I should like to inquire from the promoter of this bill whether a similar bill for the United States portion of this bridge has been before the New York state legislature. That legislature, I understand, has now risen, and if that bill has not been passed there, what object is there in pressing this bill? What disposition has been made of the bill before the New York state legislature?
Before the committee adopts the preamble, as no doubt it will, I would suggest to the government that all of these bills that are international in character should be sent to the committee on international and industrial relations, instead of to the private bills committee.
I gave notice on the 21st of March, Mr. Chairman, to amend this bill by striking out in clause 7 all the words after the word " approaches " in the twentieth line up to and inclusive of the word " approaches " in the twenty-third line, and substituting therefor the following:
From a point between the Upper Steel Arch bridge and the Lower Steel Arch bridge to be determined and approved by the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada.
carries, I wish again to emphasize what I said a moment ago in regard to another bill. There seems to be a good deal of misunderstanding on both sides of the house' regarding the objections that have been raised to this and other similar bills. I want to make clear that it is not a question of objecting to this as a private bill, or objecting to those who are asking incorporation as a private company. That is not the point at all. The point at issue is that the work suggested in this bill is a very important work over international waters. Up until last year or very recently there have been comparatively few of these bridges 'built, and it is not sufficient to say, because years ago we allowed private companies to build bridges, that therefore we as representatives of the public should pay no more attention to it and let any company that desires to build a bridge do so. The very presence of this and a number of other similar bills indicates to us, if we are at all thoughtful, that the time has come when the whole question of spanning these international waters should occupy the attention of parliament, and some definite policy should be determined upon and adopted by parliament. The responsibility for doing that rests at the moment with the government. I am not saying this in criticism of the government; I am merely pointing out a condition which has arisen, and indicating what to my mind and to the minds of a great many others is the duty of parliament, and ineidently at the moment the duty of the government as the leaders of the house, namely, to make some investigation and some determination of what the public policy of Canada is to be on the question of bridges crossing international waters. For instance, some of these waters are navigable. In this particular case I do not think the waters at this point are navigable, and the bridge probably will be so high that it will be clear of all navigation. But there are other waters that are navigable, and underneath the bridges over these1 waters will have to pass all the lakes traffic. This is a stupendous responsibility that we are taking at the present time in allowing bridges to be built across international waters on which passes the whole traffic of the great lakes, and we are doing it, as we also did it last year-I say this with all respect-rather lightly and rather frivolously. I know that my utterances the other day were misunderstood. It was thought per-
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haps that I had some prejudice against this bill or against the member introducing it. But there is no such thing. I have nothing but the kindliest feelings towards the sponsor of this bill, as I have towards the sponsors of other bills that are introduced into this house. My point is that we are dealing here, through the medium of private bills and private companies, with something that should be a subject of public policy.
evening and also before the committee. It is called "memorial" because of the hundred years of peace between the United States and Canada, and also in view of the jubilee year of confederation which has just passed.
I just want to put myself in the same category with reference to this bill as my hon. friend from Vancouver Centre, who has just spoken. It appears to me that the government of this country should take some stand regarding matters of this kind. Before I sit down I intend to show what the attitude of the state of New York is on similar proposals. When this bill was before the committee on the last occasion, the hon. member for Welland (Mr. Pettit) told us that so far as he was advised, the counterpart of this bill in the United States had not been defeated. I can tell him now that that bill has gone where lots of good coloured people go; it has gone to limbo. We are proposing to pass in this house a bill that is opposed by the state of New York, is opposed by the province of Ontario, is opposed by the parks commission on the Canadian side, and opposed by the state reservation commission on the other side. I do not think we will get anywhere with this bill. I just want to put before the house and before the committee a statement from the governor of the state of New York in reference to bridges, not only at Niagara, but also on the St. Lawrence. The committee will see that the state of New York has a policy on this question. I shall not read the whole of it, but just a couple of sentences.