May 23, 1935

LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

That may be true, and I hope we shall get it this year. But in any case, whether it be the business of the municipality, the province or the federal government, it seems to me that a bridge should be built at Saskatchewan Landing.

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

Mr. Chairman, when I

was interrupted I was asking the minister about the possibilities of using straight relief labour in the construction of this bridge at Ceepee. Has he anything further to say on that point? Will he endeavour to see that relief labour in the district is used?

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

Mr. Chairman, I would expect that this bridge would be constructed under contract, and the contract will contain provisions as to the employment of labour in the locality, those most in need and returned soldiers. With regard to the importance of these two bridges, the information we have on file is that the number of crossings at Ceepee in the year 1933 was 80,000 and at Saskatchewan Landing 55,000, and we have selected the point where we found the traffic was the heavier.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

Has any consideration

been given to the possibility of having a bridge at Saskatchewan Landing and a tunnel *t Ceepee? This government is great on building tunnels, and they might give us one at Ceepee.

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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

How many other bridges is the dominion government going to build along this highway? What justification is there for the government entering the field of bridge construction?

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

My hon. friend

has raised a very pertinent point. As a matter of strict obligation, the dominion government should not be in this field at all. Such bridges should be constructed by the provinces except possibly where they are on the trans-Canada highway, towards which the government contributes fifty per cent.

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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Or an

international bridge.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

Or an international bridge, as my hon. friend suggests. This is a measure for the relief of unemployment and there are not many harbours or other places where we can do work of this kind in Saskatchewan. That province has practically all the necessary public buildings, and it was thought only fair to provide a reasonable amount under this bill. It was decided that this was as good a way as could be found to provide this work.

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

When these moneys

are voted are they allocated definitely for the purpose set out in the bill, or can they be diverted to needful works?

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I would say they cannot be diverted, no matter how needful the work may be.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

I should like to make

a suggestion to the minister in connection with spending money for this purpose. I think the minister could relieve unemployment and do something which w'ould be more useful and beneficial if he would have dams built at intervals along some of the rivers and streams in the west in order to keep the water level at such a point that the people living along the streams may get their supply of water. People have settled along the banks of the Red river and many bridges are necessary across that river, but I think water in the river is even more necessary. I understand that the government of the United States is going to dam the Red river at a point close to the boundary, and if that is done the water in this river will become even more putrid than it has been during the last few years. Along this river the water in the wells is so hard and alkaline that even the horses will not drink it. I ask the minister to have his district engineer in Winnipeg look over this river and see if it would not be possible to construct small inexpensive dams at different places in order to raise the level of the water say two or three feet so that the people along the river may be able to get a supply of better water.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I am inclined

to think that the suggestion made by my hon. friend comes within the scope of the program being laid down by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) for the conservation of water in the three western provinces, which program is now being studied by a special committee. This would appear to be the best way of accomplishing the result my hon. friend has in mind. The difficulty of constructing dams

Public Works Program

without provincial authority is apparent, and even if that authority is obtained there are the rights of the riparian owners to be considered. People living along a stream are entitled to the natural flow, and if the flow is retarded or increased there may be many and costly claims for damages. This matter would require special consideration and perhaps special legislation, but I shall draw it to the attention of the engineers of the department to see if there is any information which we could furnish to the Department of Agriculture.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

So far as I can find out, the work being undertaken by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) is to take care of the dried out areas in the three western provinces. The district along the Red river to which I refer is not dried out from the point of view of sufficient moisture with which to grow crops, but it is as far as actual water in the river is concerned. There is a vote of $2,500,000 in this schedule for harbours and rivers generally, and very little of that amount is to be expended in Manitoba. Another vote of $1,500,000 is being provided for the Department of the Interior, of which only $62,000 is to be expended in Manitoba. I notice the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) looking at me; probably he is going to finish the Mafeking cutoff before the session is ended. Surely this condition along the Red river could be investigated and some relief provided out of this vote of $2,500,000. I have taken up this matter with the province of Manitoba but they are not in a position to do anything, because the federal government claims that the Red river is a navigable stream and under its jurisdiction. Will the minister have Mr. Goodspeed, the district engineer in Winnipeg, look into this matter and report to the department whether something cannot be done to raise the level of these waters? At nany points along this river the traffic must tross on ferries, and quite often there is not sufficient water to permit the ferry boat to cross.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I have no objection to securing a report as to the feasibility of this proposition.

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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

If the district engineer reports favourably will the minister hold back part of this $2,500,000 vote to do this work?

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I will consider that.

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

After listening to this discussion I have come to the conclusion that the minister is not particularly enamoured

of the word "Ceepee." I suggest to him that that should be changed to' "Saskatchewan Landing," and I should like to move an amendment to that effect. This bill is intended to provide work, and there is no place more worthy of assistance than the district in which the Saskatchewan Landing bridge would be built. I suggest to the minister that he change this location to Saskatchewan Landing.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

If my hon. friend can get the hon. gentleman who spoke for Ceepee to second his motion, then we will consider it.

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

I asked the minister a few questions, to which he gave certain answers. These were simply preliminary;

I should like to add a few observations in connection with this measure. I may say that my remarks will be more in the nature of commendation than condemnation; I want to commend the minister and the government for taking the action they have in the matter of the construction of a bridge at this point. The bridge will cross the north Saskatchewan river at Ceepee, and will fill a long felt want in that part of the province. John Morley once said that there were three attributes which were essential to parliamentary eloquence or parliamentary discussion. One was, who did the speaking, another, how he spoke; and the third, what he said. To-night, in the discussion of this project, we can throw out the last to a large extent. There has not been much said on it yet-that is, not much that is constructive. A good deal of extraneous material has been introduced. How what was said was said, and who said it, are important, but there has not been the opportunity to say very much. Very little information has been given the committee so far. Now I should like to give some.

It is not necessary to persuade the government or t'he committee because that persuasion has already taken place and the bridge project has been accepted by the government, so that in time it will be constructed. Therefore, so far as those who have spoken are concerned, and how they uttered what they did say, and what they said, did not make much difference from the point of view of persuading the ministry because, as I say, that persuasion had already been accomplished.

May I say I am glad to see this bill on the order paper; there is no doubt that the house will adopt it. The government has a sufficient majority to put it through and will put it through and if necessary, my vote will help to put it through. May I say that the

Public Works Program

very fact that the bill is on the order paper is proof that [DOT] the unemployment problem in that part of northern Saskatchewan has not been adequately solved. That is why I asked some questions as to whether or not straight relief work would be done in the construction of the bridge. I gather from what the minister said that a good deal of it will be of that kind. Now it is better late than never to have a bridge of this kind erected, and though it has been a long time coming, I think I am justified in saying that the government has done the right thing by that part of the province.

In 1930, subsequent to the election of that year, the dominion director of unemployment relief sent out a questionnaire to every member in western Canada and in the east as well. It had reference to useful projects that would help to absorb the unemployed of that day and most of the members east and west replied to it. At any rate, speaking for myself, I forwarded my reply, and I recommend that a certain number of projects should be supported by the government in northern Saskatchewan in order that useful development works might take place and also with a view to having the unemployment problem grappled with in a satisfactory manner. I recommended surface gravelling of important highways in northern Saskatchewan, especially in northwestern Saskatchewan. I also recommended branch line railway building; I suggested that there should be a branch lice from St. Walburg to Beaver Crossing, and another branch line a certain number of miles south of that branch, between Frenchman's Butte and a point called Heinsburg in Alberta.

Furthermore, this bridge was recommended. I would point out that it was recommended in 1930, five years ago. Now in 1935 action is being taken. I commend the government for taking this action but considerable time has elapsed since the recommendation was made in 1930 and I do submit that it would have been better if the bridge had been built four or five years ago. A branch line railway was also recommended out of Borden to join the railway between North Battleford and Prince Albert so as to afford the farmers of that area better railway accommodation, something they do not yet enjoy. Indeed, that is a problem which will have to be met in the near future. Nothing was done in regard to this bridge in 1931, nothing was done in 1932 or 1933 or 1934; not until 1935 in the last session of this parliament has the government taken action. As I say, it is better late than never and I am pleased that the government is backing this measure and that it will become law. To show the im-

portance of this project all that one has to do is to consult the geography of western Canada.

If one knows anything about Saskatchewan, if he knows what a great province it is, embracing 250,000 square miles of territory, if he knows anything about the development that has taken place in that great area in the last twenty-five years, he is bound to come to the conclusion that this bridge is an absolute necessity. It will be a link in the Jasper highway, a link in the highway through northern British Columbia, northern Alberta and northern [Saskatchewan, and will very materially facilitate the traffic through North Battleford, Saskatoon on to Winnipeg, and to eastern Canada.

At the present time there is only a ferry service at the point known as Ceepee. It cannot by any means accommodate the large amount of traffic that flows along the highway from the north through North Battleford and down to Winnipeg. That northern country in the last few years has taken a new lease of life. The people from southern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, southern Alberta and other parts of the dominion have been going into that northern area which is prac- [DOT] tically an empire in itself. It is thickly populated. This bridge therefore will be a very useful link in that highway and will prove an important aid to traffic from all parts of that northern area. It will be a great benefit to all those who are doing any trucking or transporting of goods to and fro along that highway. I would point out, moreover, that this bridge could be utilized to a large extent by the department in absorbing unemployed who are on relief in that part of the province, and since there are some unemployed I should think that those who are near to this location in Saskatoon and North Battleford and also in the rural areas should be given the preference when the bridge is being built. That would give them an opportunity for work and wages.

May I urge upon the minister and the department the importance of getting the work under way as expeditiously as possible. I am satisfied that when the bridge is constructed all those associated with its erection will receive commendation from people of all shades of political opinion, something only right when we consider that the contract will involve over $'200,000 and that this structure will constitute a permanent link in one of the most important highways in the dominion.

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CON

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURY:

I wish to make a brief contribution to the harmony, indeed the unanimity, that has prevailed among lion, members opposite on the subject of bridges by interjecting another bridge which I wish to call

Public Works Program

to the attention of the minister. On the same highway on which this Ceepee bridge is to be constructed, there is another nec^p-sary link, a bridge over the North Saskatchewan river at the northern part of the city of Edmonton. We have no ferry there as my hon. friend who represents North Battle-ford (Mr. McIntosh) has at the site of the proposed bridge in his constituency, and people taking that highway, coming from Lloydminster and Saskatoon and, I suppose, going through North Battleford, when they come to the bank of the North Saskatchewan opposite Edmonton have to make a detour of fifteen miles or perhaps more in order to get back on that highway. I would urge upon the minister consideration of the possibility of utilizing an amount from this vote for the purpose of completing the good work which he proposes to commence at Ceepee, by putting up another bridge over the North Saskatchewan river at Edmonton.

May I, while I am on my feet, remind my hon. friends opposite that this particular item of the vote demonstrates what they are so loath to admit, namely, the broad mindedness and lack of political partisanship of the present government in respect of relief; for whereas the hon. member for North Battle-ford is able to get a bridge at Ceepee, I have so far failed to get a bridge in my constituency of East Edmonton over the North Saskatchewan.

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May 23, 1935