May 20, 1935

CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I would say that under the Unemployment Relief Act, any negotiations such as those suggested by the hon. member are still open to the city of Toronto. However, the government has decided that this is an appropriate way to expend moneys for relief of unemployment in _ that city. We are doing it on our own account; we are not asking any contribution from the city of Toronto, and we are carrying out our obligation.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Samuel Factor

Liberal

Mr. FACTOR:

Will the government undertake to build this tunnel without the development of the airport?

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I would say that they are under obligation either to build the tunnel or to construct a bridge irrespective of the development of the airport. But I do say that the development of the airport is an added reason, or an added justification, if one were needed, for the undertaking of this work.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

I have followed this discussion with a great deal of attention, and I must say that the more I hear about this vote the less I am convinced that it should pass. At first sight this would appear to be an improvement to the Toronto harbour.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I do not think

my hon. friend puts it quite rightly, and I am sure he does not wish to misstate the matter. I say now, as I have said on several occasions, that there was a general scheme for the development of the harbour, that it was recognized that the dominion should have some part in that scheme, and that this was the part assigned to the government. In itself it is not strictly speaking a development of the harbour, but it was a work that was

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agreed to be done in connection with a large scheme for the development of the harbour, the city undertaking to do other things which properly perhaps the dominion government might well have undertaken to do. It was just the division of a general scheme of development. Divorced from all the rest, which I say it should not be, and taken by itself, perhaps it cannot be considered to be a harbour development.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

I am very glad we agree

on that point. The argument I was going to make was this. After looking over the schedule as a whole, at first sight it would appear that as the government was spending money in the harbour of Montreal and the harbour of Quebec it was also desired to spend money in the harbour of Toronto, but the moment we examine into the matter more closely we find that this tunnel project as an improvement to the harbour of Toronto simply does not exist. It cannot improve the harbour of Toronto at all.

The argument that is advanced in favour of this project is twofold. In the first place, it is said that an agreement was entered into with the city of Toronto some twenty-five years ago, as the minister has just repeated. In the second place, it is said that this tunnel might serve as an access to an airport which does not yet exist. I say that in both cases the argument is a very poor one.

In the first place, if the agreement has been left outstanding for a great number of years, no attempt being made to carry it out even when the country was prosperous and a lot of money could be spent everywhere, it is disputable at this stage, when money even for relief purposes is very cautiously spent, whether the agreement entered into some twenty-five years ago should be respected when it is acknowledged to-night that this tunnel is of no use at all so far as an improvement to the harbour is concerned. In the second place, we are told that the tunnel will furnish access to an airport. Certainly, Mr. Chairman, this is the first time that we hear of building an expensive access to something that does not exist. It would be much wiser first to let the airport be built, and then consider whether it would be worth while to have such an expensive method of access constructed.

Another argument which in my opinion is a very poor one is that this project is for relief purposes and to provide employment. That argument could be advanced in favour of anything at all proposed under this act. Of course we want money to be spent to relieve unemployment, but the mere fact that

it is to be spent for that purpose is no reason why we should build a tunnel rather than a bridge, or this work rather than another. I find that under item No. 10. for instance, there is a large amount appropriated without any specific purpose being set forth, and the proposal that has been made by my hon. friend from Toronto West Centre (Mr. Factor) I think is a good one, that instead of having this one million dollars voted specifically for a tunnel it might be included in the general vote with the understanding that Toronto will have the benefit of it. If it is not used for a tunnel it might be used for a public building or improvements of another kind, and that would be serving the purpose of providing employment, for which we all stand. But it is not necessary to have the money voted specifically for a tunnel.

The minister seems to think we must take the bill as it stands, that we cannot possibly change one line of it. But this would surely be the first piece of legislation to come before the house. Mr. Chairman, in respect to which it was not considered possible to bring in any amendment. Surely the minister will not say it would not be feasible to withdraw that one line appropriating a million dollars for a tunnel at the west entrance of Toronto harbour and to add one million dollars to the amount appropriated in item No. 10. On the contrary. I think it would be very wise and very reasonable. Then it would be understood that one million dollars would be spent in Toronto anyway for the relief of unemployment, but we would not be committing ourselves to the building of a tunnel which in the words of the minister himself is not an improvement to the harbour but will lead to an airport which does not exist, and is being imposed upon a city which does not want it.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

Why make a statement like that? How do you know what Toronto wants?

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

I have followed the discussion very carefully, and it has been repeatedly stated here-

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

You had better stick to Montreal and something you know something about.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

I cannot of course alter the temperament of my hon. friend but we have spent all day hearing about the airport.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

Why do you-

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Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

I have the floor, Mr. Chairman; I am trying to use it as a gentleman and my hon. friend will not interrupt me unless he does likewise. We have heard a good deal about the airdrome at St. Hubert in connection writh Montreal harbour, and when I said that this proposed tunnel would not be an improvement to the harbour of Toronto the minister would not even let me finish my sentence. I take the ground that there can be no comparison between the expenditures in the harbours of Montreal and Quebec and the harbour of Toronto because as an improvement to the harbour of Toronto this simply does not exist. This tunnel is proposed merely because it was agreed some twenty-five years ago that there might be built either a tunnel or a bridge, and there is the additional argument that it would lead to an airport when nobody knows whether the airport will ever be constructed. You do not need to be from Toronto to understand that the whole thing is absurd. It is very clear to a member coming from any part of Canada; and I will never admit in this house-I say this dispassionately

that unless you happen to reside in the very place where an expenditure is proposed you have no right to discuss it. If my hon. friend from Parkdale has that parochial idea, I have not. I claim the right to discuss expenditures in Halifax and Vancouver with the same dispassionate freedom that I have when it comes to discussing an expenditure in my own city. But I will not prolong that part of the argument. I know that my hon. friend (Mr. Spence) is very genial. He just popped up at the moment and regrets it I am sure, and I accept his apology even before he presents it to me.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

I will just say this in reply, that when Toronto makes up its mind to get an airport it is going to get it whether the government pays for it or not. The people of Toronto get everything they want, and we will continue to do so.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Paul Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri):

May I ask what is the population of the island? I ask only for information. I do not know much about it because I am from Montreal.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I really do not know the population.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Paul Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri):

Is it a lonely island on a lonely lake?

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

It is the very opposite of lonely,

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Paul Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri):

Does not the minister think that the present papulation will be bothered by the tunnel when people come picnicing there from the city? They are living in peace on the island now.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS:

Seven hundred thousand people visited the island last year.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Paul Mercier

Liberal

Mr. MERCIER (St. Henri):

Then you do not need any tunnel.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OF RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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May 20, 1935