May 25, 1928

LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I would not say so. I think the principle followed is exactly similar.

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CON

William Alves Boys

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

It seems to me the only justification is that possibly they would have no right to do dredging themselves. As I understand, the whole island is privately owned, and always has been. Am I right?

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LIB
CON

William Alves Boys

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Then I take it for granted there has never been a survey resulting in highways which would be vested in the crown. The whole island is privately owned. That would not give the company the right to go out in navigable water and do work which is essential to the undertaking. It seems to me the vote must be justified on that ground. I do not think the minister would go so far as to suggest, that where an enterprise is privately owned, and the public have no right of access to any portion of the territory, it is the duty of the country to provide money for dredging. Another feature occurs to me in regard to the financing. I heard the hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power) intimate that tends to the extent of $6,000,000 had been offered to the public. I gathered that, the public had subscribed for them, and that the promoters would get the common stock for practically nothing. The minister has pointed out that this was undertaken last year, and it is important to know whether those who subscribed for the bonds did sc

Supply-Harbours and Rivers-Quebec

in tihe expectation that the dredging would be proceeded with. That is certainly a very important feature, because, if so, it might be considered a breach of faith if the work were not carried out. Personally I should like to be enlightened on those points.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I am not in a position to say whether any bonds of the company were sold on the statement that the government had made any promise to do dredging. Certainly no bonds could have been so sold except after the item was passed by this house a year ago. I may tell my hon. friend that the government did not decide upon this policy without considering it very carefully and ascertaining the merits. I was led to believe, after a very careful investigation, that this was one of the best investments by way of dredging as a public work that the department could do. I believed it was a bona fide concern and would give employment to 5.000 people at good wages for many years to come. That is only the smaller part of the business, because I felt the company would supply the raw material to be manufactured 'to the highest possible extent within Canada, thus employing a great deal of labour.

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CON

William Alves Boys

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Is not the labour absolutely in the 'hands of the company? In an ordinary community if a man loses his job he can get some other work in the locality; here he would have to get off the island.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

My hon. friend misunderstands me. The pulpwood will be consumed in the paper mills at Port Alfred, St. Maurice and Three Rivers. It furnishes employment to the men on the boats engaged in moving the material and the men in the mills. Here is the situation: Instead of having the island of Anticosti absolutely unproductive, we now have a thriving population there, well provided for and receiving good wages'.

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LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. ADSHEAD:

Is it not a fact that the men must spend their wages in the company's stores at the company's own prices?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I think it is. Last year 55,000 'tons of food products were brought in.

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LAB
LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I have no doubt. However, Mr. Chairman, perhaps we can obtain sufficient information to satisfy everybody, and I am quite willing to suggest that the matter stand for further consideration.

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UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARDINER:

One other question.

The minister has attempted to bolster up

his argument for the expenditure of the money by stating that it would make a good harbour of refuge for vessels. Remembering that this is private property, is there any agreement with the company to permit vessels to use the harbour in case of distress?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

My information is that

they have always had that right.

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LIB
LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

There are two St. Lawrence routes, one north of Anticosti and the other south. If my hon. friend will look at Port Ellis on the map he will find that this harbour is only a little off the direct route. Some 3,000 feet of dredging has to be done to get to the dock, but that is partially along the main channel. This is what the engineer reported a year ago when the matter was under consideration:

This development scheme will be a great aid to shipping in the gulf of St. Lawrence as it is proposed to make Ellis bay a provisioning centre for ships in the gulf where coal and fresh water will be obtainable at the new commercial wharf. There will also be adequate protection for shipping in time of bad weather and a seagoing tug will be kept on hand to render assistance to ships in distress in the gulf.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

The minister's remarks

are very interesting. I listened also to the eloquent speech of my learned friend from Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Casgrain), but I was very much surprised to hear him complain that the item for $8,500,000 for the harbour of Quebec had been voted.

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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Air. CASGRAIN:

I did not say that. I

said I was surprised to find there was not very much discussion of it at the time from the hon. member for Quebec South who is fighting this item now. Let us be fair with everybody.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Those two things are entirely different. The item for Quebec harbour is altogether different from the item for Ellis bay dredging. Now we are on the latter item. Because my hon. friend from Quebec South (Mr. Power) represents an important section of Quebec city-which is also represented by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), the hon. member for Quebec West (Air. Parent) and the hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency (Air. Lavigueur)- and because money has been voted for the city of Quebec-and the fact of the matter is, it is not for the city of Quebec alone, but for the country at large-is no reason why any hon. gentleman should get up and suggest that the hon. member for Quebec South must necessarily remain silent in respect of any

3358 COMMONS

Supply-Harbours and Rivers-Quebec

vote for any other constituency. To say that because this house has voted $8,500,000 for Quebec, therefore the hon. member for Quebec South must necessarily keep his mouth shut when other items are under discussion, is no argument at all. When the item for Quebec was under consideration the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay supported it; he voted for it. The hon. gentleman reminds me of that old maxim: Nemo allegans suam turpitudinem audiendus est-no one is allowed to allege his own turpitude.

The hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay should be glad to admit that light comes from discussion. The very interesting speech from the hon. member for Quebec South brought forth some illuminating explanations from the Minister of Public Works. Every hbn. member is free to speak in this house as he sees fit, and because a certain item has been voted for his constituency that is no reason why anyone should say he has not the right to express his own views regarding the advisability or otherwise of some other item. I crave the indulgence of this house to defend the rights of any member; any member has the right to say what he thinks about any item before the house. Because I get an item of $5,000 or $10,000 or more in my constituency, why should I shut my eyes to everything else that goes on here? Because a member gets so much for his constituency is he to be blind to what is going on somewhere else? One should be more independent than that, and I am sure that if my hon. friend from Charlevoix-Saguenay will think it over he will agree with me, and that when he speaks afterwards he will congratulate the hon. member for Quebec South on his freedom of speech.

I am not acting as lawyer in behalf of the hon. member for Quebec South; he can defend himself. But I would point out that the hon. member for Quebec South has nothing to do with the spending of the money voted for Quebec harbour; he has no more to do with it than has the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) or the hon. member for Quebec West (Mr. Parent). It is true his brother is chairman of the Quebec harbour commission, but he does well; and the best evidence that he does well is the fact that he remains in office. But these two gentlemen are separate individuals, and I admire the hon. member for Quebec South for being so independent. I do not believe the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay has any ground for complaint against the chairman of the Quebec harbour commission. If so he should state

the fact. But whether he has any complaint or none in that regard why should he reproach the hon. member for Quebec South? This is something altogether different. The question he raised in the opening of his speech was more like the first course of a meal-hors d'oeuvres; it was really beside the question.

I am not particularly opposed to the vote, Mr. Chairman, but before we leave it I have two remarks to offer. The first is this. The population, we are told, has increased from 451 in 1921 to 3,000 at the present time-and 5.000 in midsummer. Well, I see the time when Anticosti island will be so thickly, so densely populated that it will be represented in the house by 'a distinct member. I do not know whether at that time the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay will choose to represent Anticosti island or will devote his attention to Charlevoix-Saguenay. But there are a good many constituencies with a population of from 50,000 to 60,000; in my own constituency there are more than 50,000 people; and I wonder whether I should get ten times as much for my constituency- $3,000,000-because there is ten times the population there that Anticosti has during the summer. There is another thing, too. If any hon. member wishes to go to Anticosti island to get some idea of the improvements that will be carried on there next summer he will be barred. This is private property; you are not allowed to go there: "Keep off the grass; no trespassing 'allowed." But it is very strange. There is a sort of wall-

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?

An hon. MEMBER :

A wall of Jericho.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

No, not a wall of Jericho,

because that wall fell down. But there is a wall around the island and no one can get in. I say, it is entirely private property, and there is room only for public expenditure. It is very strange, I repeat. But in Quebec city anyone can walk about on the streets; it is public. It is interesting to note the difference between the two places. No one can step on to Anticosti island because it is absolutely private, whereas Quebec city is public and you can walk through the streets and view the fine improvements that are going on there for the benefit of the whole country.

I have little more to say. But before concluding I would point this out: in Quebec the American people are very well treated by the provincial government. Take Noranda and Arvida for instance: when these new towns were built the Quebec legislature appointed as mayors and councillors, Americans who were not naturalized as British subjects. And at the last session of that legislature a statute

Supply-Harbours and Rivers-Quebec

was passed, in connection with the town of Racine in the Lake St. John district, enabling two Americans to be appointed as mayor and councillor, respectively-there is another member, a municipal councillor, also. These two gentlemen, one a Mr. J. Reidy Smith and the other a Mr. K. B. Bolton, are not naturalized as British subjects. I got this information from the Department of the Secretary of State. Now, according to the British North America Act aliens come under the jurisdiction of the federal government, and I wonder whether the federal government will veto such a law giving public rights to aliens, Americans, who are not naturalized as British subjects. I should like to have some information from the government on this point.

To sum up. The only reason why, in my opinion, there is an excuse for this vote is that it is expended in a semi-public way; in a few years the money will come back to the government through another channel. It will help some people to have work there for some time to come. That is the only reason and the only justification for this vote, but I ask the Minister of Public Works and the members of the cabinet not to be impressed by big corporations; they are entitled to justice, but they are not entitled to anything more than the man in the street is entitled to. I do not say that as a criticism; I say it from the bottom of my heart. I think there should be equal justice to all. I have no reason to complain in that respect about the present federal government, but the members of the cabinet should be careful and I hope they will be in the future to see there are no grounds for complaint of this kind, because in Quebec to-day there is criticism of the excessive powers given to private and foreign corporations by the local legislature.

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May 25, 1928