The lieutenant-governor in council may authorize the issue of letters patent, under the great seal of the province, for the purpose of forming a corporation under the name of "The Corporation of Lake St. Louis Bridge" or under whatever name he may deem-
I think this will give my hon. friend the information he desires. Let me quote the act further:
Such corporation shall be composed of five members, appointed in accordance with section 2, for the objects hereinafter mentioned. The members of the corporation shall be appointed by order of the lieutenant-governor in Council. The corporation shall elect a president from among its members. The affairs of the corporation shall be administered by its members, three of whom shall form a quorum. Any member of the corporation may be dismissed for cause by an order of the lieutenant-governor in council.
Provision is made for filling vacancies. The act also provides:
Ihe corporation shall appoint its officers and employees, and fix their remuneration, subject to the approval of the lieutenant-governor in council.
As to the rest, the corporation shall be governed by the provisions of the civil code respecting corporations, and it may:
(a) Have a common seal and alter it at will;
(b) Appear before the courts;
(c) Administer its property,-
And so on. The last paragraph provides that the corporation:
may adopt all by-laws, ordinances and rules necessary for its organization, government and management.
Giving of its second reading to the bill involves approval of its principle. If, Mr. Speaker, our friends are content that the bill should go into committee with a distinct reservation of our objection to the principle of it, we are willing to expedite the business of the house. As I am at present advised, I fear this is a measure the principle of which I cannot approve.
I think, Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that we have got into the habit of adopting resolutions without knowing what they contain. I have always understood that resolutions were intended to acquaint the house with the purpose of the bill which would follow. Certainly by adopting the resolution we signify a measure of approval of the subject matter of the bill to be introduced.
I just want to make it clear, Mr. Speaker, that I think the house should not be put in the position of having to approve the principle of a bill like this, so that we could get the bill into committee and secure information from the minister in charge of it.
I suspect that I must have some responsibility for having suggested that if the bill were read we would find in print the terms of tthe proposed measure instead of taking up the time of the house listening to a verbal explanation and reading the bill afterwards. I assure the member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) that it was only with that object in view that I made the suggestion.
Mr. Speaker, the principle of the bill is decided on the second reading. If the house adopts its principle the bill is beyond our power. The private bills committee of this house has been considering the principle of the construction of bridges by private corporations at Sarnia, Windsor, Cornwall and in the Niagara district. The province of Quebec are to appoint the five members of the board to build and operate the bridge. The Dominion and municipalities by the Quebec Act of 1928 appoint no one. I't is taxation without representation. The day has passed when the provinces of Quebec and Ontario should maintain toll bridges. There are few such bridges left now across in the United States, and it is most unfortunate that tourists and persons entering the province of Quebec should have to pay a toll on a municipal bridge. I wonder what the tourists would think of such a system; they would wonder what kind of a country we live in when we go to the extent of exacting tolls which should never be charged for a bridge on a highway which is purely municipal. The province of Ontario has a Department of Highways in which during the last year they spent $11,000,000 or $12,000,000 on construction, and I can say at this time that that province is entirely opposed to the whole system of tolls. These bridge concession bills granted to private parties in the past three sessions have resulted and will result in making millionaires out of the recipients of such legislation.
In my view the subject under discussion represents a clearly municipal undertaking; it merely connects one municipality with another. It is not interprovincial in the legal sense. Neither is it international, running from the north shore of the St. Lawrence to United States territory, nor does it affect navigation. Those are the only grounds upon
which this house can vote money for the building of bridges. _
In my opinion this is a political bridge with the object of pleasing the people in Laprairie-Napierville and Beauharnois where there have been some difficulties over the vegetable duties in the tariff. To attempt to pass this bill in the dying hours of the session is not fair either to this house or to the country. The provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, the maritime and the western provinces will be obligated to pay for this municipal bridge. This government should not give such a franchise to private corporations and thereby make millionaires. The government has come along and has stated that it would in effect build a political bridge on the five cent principle. This is what I would call a five cent bridge bill, because the five cent principle will certainly apply to the building of this bridge. The building of this bridge is a purely political proposition lodged on the eve of an election.