May 30, 1929

LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

The contractors did all

they could.

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CON

George Spotton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPOTTON:

The minister is quoted

in Hansard as saying, " That is a suggestion for North Huron," and there are other remarks which do not appear in Hansard. He says now that notwithstanding anything that the representative for that riding might say and in spite of the way they are represented, it would not divert this government from their fixed policy of procedure. I am glad he is going to carry on so manfully, and I wish to congratulate him on that policy. But he must not forget that there have been other governments and there was a government bearing the heat and burden of the day, a war government, that put an item of $200,000 in the estimates in 1915. Some day another government may be in power, and if I have the honour to have a seat in the house- if the minister will not carry out his threats to bring about my retirement-I shall stress still more forcibly to the new government that this work should be carried on. My whole point with the minister is this: I am

requested to say that the citizens of Goderich are satisfied with the amount in the estimates, but they will not be satisfied if that amount is not spent. We do not believe in getting $205,000 and having only $100,000 of it spent.

Supply-Public Works-Bridges

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

I want to make an appeal to the minister in connection with a portion of estimate No. 142 in regard to the interprovincial bridge over the Ottawa river at Hawkesbury, for which bridge an item of $40,000 has been in the estimates for a good many years. The proposal of the government is to build this bridge, provided the Quebec and Ontario governments will each contribute one-third of the cost. The difficulty of the position is that three governments are interested in this matter, and someone has to take the initiative. In all courtesy to the Minister of Public Works, I say that in his position he is the natural person to take this matter up with the other governments. I want to urge upon him that he ask the representatives of the other governments to meet him, talk the matter over and see if there is not some way whereby this very important and necessary work may be built. I want to ask him as a personal favour to take the matter up with the other governments and see if some solution cannot be found. Perhaps the minister does not know the location. The bridge is very urgently required, because there is no bridge over the Ottawa river between Ottawa and Ste. Annes, a distance of 110 miles or thereabouts. I know that at or near Hawkesbury and Grenville many lives have been lost in the last twenty years owing to the fact that people had to cross the river in the fall or spring of the year when the ice was bad and perhaps unwisely took the chance of crossing on bad ice. For humanitarian reasons, therefore, this bridge is very much needed and we have been agitating for it for a long time. With the present development of motor traffic there is a great necessity from the commercial point of view for the building of this bridge, because, if motorists coming from the United States were able to cross at Hawkesbury they would get into the north country via the shortest possible route instead of having to go to Montreal and taking a roundabout route. In the north country back of Grenville there are many lakes and wonderful scenery to attract people from the United States, and if this bridge were built it would be greatly used by motorists who desire to visit that section.

When the Borden government was in power, at my request it was decided to build the bridge and in 1914 tenders were called for the purpose. Unfortunately they came in just about the time war was declared, and on account of the war it was considered impossible to go on with any public works that were not absolutely necessary, so that no tender was accepted. As a matter of fact if the war

had not intervened, this bridge would have been commenced in 1914 and completed many years ago. At that time it was the intention of the Dominion government to pay one-half the cost of the bridge, and on that basis arrangements were made with the provincial governments each to pay one-quarter. The minister tells me that the policy of the present government is to pay only one-third of the cost of bridges such as this, and he absolutely refuses to alter that decision. There should be a conference between the authorities of the Dominion and the two provinces on this particular point and with regard to this very necessary work. The counties on either side, one of which I have the honour to represent and the other 'being the county of Prescott in Ontario, have very little money spent in them. We are satisfied to have our friends from the great lakes and other parts of Canada receive the greater part of the public money that is being spent 'by the minister's department. We do however demand that this small expenditure be made, and surely in all fairness the people of those two counties ought to be helped to have this bridge built which is so very necessary for the preservation of life and also for the use of tourists who bring so much money into the country. Therefore I appeal to the minister to take a personal interest in the matter and to try to get the representatives of the provinces together to find a solution so that this bridge may be built in the near future.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

This is a matter that has been before the government for some time and in regard to which the attitude of the government, as my hon. friend said, is quite well known. It is true that in the earlier years, as I am able to read the history of interprovincial bridges, it was clearly intended at the time of the passing of the British North America Act that bridges between provinces other than military bridges should be constructed by the two adjoining provinces. Practically the same rule applies as between counties. I am able to speak of the province of Ontario especially, and that rule applies as between two counties. Between townships, the two townships would build it, and between a township and a village the cost would be borne half by each. That has been the practice. Following out that, you would naturally expect that bridges that were not originally military bridges would be built by two adjoining provinces on an equal basis. However, the system has grown up under which the Dominion has contributed different proportions of the cost of bridges at different times, but for the last fifteen years the policy has .been consistent.

Supply-Public Works-Bridges

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Not for so long

as fifteen years,-I think.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

Since the interprovincial

bridge over the Chaudiere was built, and I am informed that that was fifteen years ago. Where two provinces have decided upon the necessity of a bridge, I think the Dominion government has since that time agreed in every case to contribute one-third of the cost, each of the two provinces contributing one-third. I quite agree with what my hon. friend has said with regard to the right of a county like either of the two he has mentioned. They do not require much expenditure in the way of wharves, breakwaters and that sort of thing, and they should receive some reasonable consideration by way of assistance, so far as it is legitimate for this government to assist in transportation facilities. I was under . the impression after a conference I had with my hon. friendl some time ago that he was going to foe good enough to see one or two or both of the representatives of the provinces with regard to taking the initiative. I question the wisdom of the Dominion, as a general rule, taking the initiative in regard to an expenditure of which the two provinces really have to be the judges to a large extent, and in relation to which their outlay between them is twice as much as that of the Dominion. But I do agree with my hon. friend as to the necessity of a bridge at this point, and as far as I am concerned I am not going to stand on any formalities if I can be of assistance in getting all the parties together and getting an arrangement completed. I know that my hon. friend will be glad to join with me in offering his good offices in getting all the parties together and having this much required bridge got under way at the earliest possible moment. I shall be glad to have a conference with my hon. friend and anything that can be done in the matter I shall be glad to do.

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CON

Milton Edgar Maybee

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAYBEE:

I would direct the attention of the minister to the revote of $41,000 for Cobourg harbour. I assume this is to complete the dredging in that place. I would ask the minister just how the matter of the repair of the esplanade stands between the department and the town of Cobourg.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

As my hon. friend will

know, the title to the site on which the work will be done is in the town of Cobourg. Some time ago they agreed to transfer that to the Dominion government, but for one reason or another-I do not wish to atthch any criticism to the town in connection with it-through no

fault of this department the town was unable to complete that transfer until a couple of weeks ago. It is the intention to proceed with the dredging right away.

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CON

Milton Edgar Maybee

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAYBEE:

I understand from the

minister that the town have completed theit part of the arrangement satisfactorily.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

Yes, within the last twit

weeks.

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CON

Milton Edgar Maybee

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAYBEE:

Then there is no disagreement between the department and the town as to the department going ahead and repairing the esplanade, and there will be no delay in making the repairs.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

It is only fair for me

to say to my hon. friend-he probably knows something about this-that now that we are committed to what is know as the esplanade proposition a more ambitious progjram, a larger scheme, is proposed by the town. They are urging that at the present time, and I might say that it is under consideration. But just to what extent we can vary the arrangement we made last year I cannot say.

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CON

Milton Edgar Maybee

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAYBEE:

Is the minister aware that the esplanade has slid into the harbour since the high water that came with the last storm? At the present time the harbour is not in use for shipping as previously; shipping is being diverted from the harbour of Cobourg to other ports, and the town of Cobourg is thereby losing considerable harbour fees. I would also call the minister's attention to the shipping that has been done at this port. The waterborne tonnage for the port of Cobourg for the year ending April 1, 1929, amounted to 345,600 tons of coal and 115,201 tons of merchandise, or a total of 460,801 tons. The outward tonnage amounted to 194,223, or a total tonnage of 655,024. That means 92 tons for every man, woman and child in the town of Cobourg, which is the highest record, I believe, for any town in the Dominion.

I would) also direct the minister's attention to the fact that the town is still under considerable obligation for the cost of the harbour, having debentures that do not mature until 1934. They are therefore very desirous of having the revenues from the harbour maintained so that this obligation can be taken care of.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I would say to my hon

friend that I am quite aware of the revenue. Before we decided to proceed with any scheme of improvement there the possible business to be done was considered very carefully. He is aware of the fact that the proposal known as the esplanade scheme involved aboui

Supply-Public Works-Bridges

$40,000. Since that time recommendations and requests have been made, very urgently, to take out the rock necessary to give them a 22 foot depth and build there a harbour that would give them a 22 foot depth right up to the esplanade wharf. That would cost about $140,000, involving a good deal of blasting. I should be very glad if my hon. friend, who knows the local situation, would give me his views as to the comparative merits of the two propositions; they are not entirely in harmony.

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CON

Milton Edgar Maybee

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAYBEE:

That is as to the depth?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

Yes, as to Whether to go

on with the scheme that was considered last year of repairing the esplanade wharf, or the other scheme of building a larger wharf.

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CON

Milton Edgar Maybee

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAYBEE:

I would certainly urge

that the harbour be made to accommodate the vessels drawing the greater depth.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

They do now up to the

esplanade; this would be an addition.

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CON

Milton Edgar Maybee

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MAYBEE:

Not over 15 foot draft,

I understand, and I believe that considerable shipping that would have come into the harbour last year wras lost owing to lack of a greater depth of water. I certainly would urge upon the minister that they make their program to fit the greater depth for the harbour.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

It is not a question of

depth; it is a question whether the harbour should be extended to the larger size.

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May 30, 1929