May 27, 1935

LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

In the neighbourhood of $200,000 is to be expended on the continuation of the Jasper-Lake Louise highway.

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Subtopic:   WORKS, 'UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OP RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

$225,000.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

$180,000

is being expended on the continuation of the Revelstoke highway.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

$185,000 out of this vote and $100,000 which was provided for by the 1934 act but not expended.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

There will

be no expenditure with a view of continuing the road westward from Jasper to connect with the Revelstoke highway and the trans-Canada highway.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

There is no money

allocated for that.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I want to

protest against the expenditure of this money. I cannot understand why the government is constructing a highway from Lake Louise to Jasper before a trans-Canada highway is completed from coast to coast. Much relief work has been provided by highway construction but so far as I can understand very little progress has been made on the construction of the highway to the Canoe river from Golden. The Jasper-Banff highway leads eastward instead of westward and no provision is being made for a trans-Canada highway through Jasper to connect with the Golden coast outlet. To use the mildest language, it seems to me to be the height of folly to build a highway over a mountain peak 6,000 feet in the air and expect that the people from northern Alberta will be able to use such a highway more than one month in the year. An opportunity is offered of building an outlet to the coast at a height of little more than 3,000 feet which would be open practically as long as the roads are open in the province. The government has spent a considerable amount of money on the construction of this highway and yet no outlet to the coast is being provided. There will be great difficulty in keeping this road open, even in the summer time. Down at the southern end of the province a road was constructed around Crowsnest lake and it was found possible to keep it open only six months in the year. Finally a road had to be constructed at the lake level before it could be of any use at all. Yet the government is constructing a road up over 6,000 feet.

I am protesting against this money not being spent to provide a connection with the trans-Canada highway, in connection with which so many promises were made in 1930. Considerable money has been spent on certain sections of this highway but the construction of other sections remains in abeyance and no outlet to the coast is being provided for the people of northern Alberta.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

The road being constructed from Lake Louise to Jasper is a scenic highway which lies wholly within the boundaries of our parks whereas the road advocated by the hon. member lies to a great extent outside the boundaries of the parks. Last year the hon. member took exception to the expenditure of money on the Lake Louise-Jaspei highway and advocated the completion of the west leg of the Big Bend highway and a connecting road from Jasper to Big Bend. Both

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these roads would lie outside the parks and it would naturally follow that the dominion would have no jurisdiction. The hon. member will recall that during his term of office correspondence was exchanged between this government represented by himself and the government of British Columbia in connection with the building of the western leg of the Big Bend highway from Revelstoke to the Canoe river. This year the dominion government will complete its part of the bargain by finishing the highway from Donald to the Canoe river. Owing to insufficient funds and possibly other reasons of which I am not aware the government of British Columbia have not fulfilled their part of the bargain. Certain work was done on the west leg of the Big Bend road during the past three years by camps under the jurisdiction of the Depart-of National Defence and certain boards of trade and other bodies have asked the dominion to take over the construction of that road. The fact that the dominion government is to-day constructing roads within our parks for scenic purposes does not prevent the undertaking of other road projects. The hon. member will recall that much money was expended upon scenic roads in the parks during his term of office and the building of this Lake Louise-Jasper road is simply a continuation of that policy. As far as the utilization of the road is concerned I have it on the authority of the chief engineer that the road will be available for traffic during the tourist season. I take it from the smiles of the hon. member that he does not agree with the chief engineer.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I would not agree with any engineer who made any such statement.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

And naturally I would

take the opinion of the responsible engineer, as I think the hon. member himself would under like circumstances. That is their job. Again, I say that the building of the scenic route within the park, which is our responsibility and which will provide, I am informed, one of the most 'beautiful scenic routes on the continent, does not prevent the construction of roads outside our national parks. But of necessity, if the dominion government builds roads outside the national parks and on provincial lands, some agreement must be entered into with the province concerned.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

A good deal of complaint has been made by the government about expenditures which they have been forced to make on relief. In Ontario, as my hon. friend well knows, and in the other

provinces as well, the federal government have been joining the provincial governments in the construction of what is known as the trans-Oanada highway. True, at the present time in northern Ontario there seems to be a disagreement between the two governments with respect to what they will do about the matter; but the well known policy of this government was to join the provincial governments, for relief purposes, in the construction of these highways; and my protest here is, first, that despite what the engineer or anyone else may say I know enough about the mountains to know that snow will not be out of passes six thousand feet in the air for more than one month. I know that from past experience because I had to construct a highway in southern Alberta where the summit is only five thousand feet, getting down to lake level at Crowsnest lake. Every engineer knows that, and any engineer who tells the government that a pass six thousand two hundred feet in the air will be open for more than one month in the year is straining his veracity to a great extent. What I am pointing out to the minister, as I pointed out last year, is that this government made very spacious promises in 1930 with respect to this trans-Canada highway. As a matter of fact, the electorate thought that the government were going to build this highway quite irrespective of any contribution by the provinces; and when the minister speaks of the cooperation we offered British Columbia with respect to the Golden-Revelstoke highway, let me point out that that was done for the purpose of avoiding an impossible route across Glacier park. We did it to avoid construction through the park at that point. There was no trans-Canada highway thought of at that time except for the general idea that we should get one across Canada, the provinces constructing every mile within provincial boundaries and we doing our part wherever it passed through crown lands, whether in the national parks or elsewhere. And with that in view the highway was projected to Jasper. We improved a good many years in advance of the arrival of the provincial government at the eastern boundary of Jasper park, the highway through the town itself to the boundary of the park, with the intention of extending that highway westward. At that time we had an agreement, or we were negotiating an agreement to take in Mount Robson park and add it to Jasper park, which would have entailed a good deal more mileage of highway within the park boundary. What I want to point out however is that the construction of the southern end over the summits, which they have adopted, is not going to provide a high-

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way for any very lengthy period during the summer unless the snow ploughs are kept at work.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

The hon. gentleman is

referring to the Lake Louise-Jasper highway?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Yes. My

second point is that before the project was entered into there should have been an outlet from Jasper westward to the coast. If this expenditure that has been made on that highway had been placed on the other we should have been that much closer to having a national highway through Canada. I quite appreciate the fact that this work will be prosecuted and the other will remain in abeyance, and the worst feature of the whole thing is that we are rapidly coming to the point in this country where we shall not be able to make capital expenditures. If we are to add seven or eight hundred millions to the capitalized debt in a period of five years, the chances in this direction will be mighty slim, and the prosecution of the trans-Canada highway may be delayed for years, while money is being spent on what my hon. friend is pleased to call a scenic highway. That is my objection to the whole thing.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

The hon. gentleman advocates the construction of a highway from Jasper westward, and he states-

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I am advocating both-first the completion and then any extension.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

And secondly he advocates the completion of the highway westward. May I point out that these areas are outside our national parks.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Had the

minister included Mount Robson park in Jasper park, which it was intended to do and ought to be done with the utmost dispatch, when he had reached the boundary of Mount Robson he would have contributed materially to the highway running down to connect with the southern route.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

I am not in favour of the tu quoque style of argument, but the hon. gentleman when he was minister had exactly the same opportunity and it was not done.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

There was

not a dollar spent on this project.

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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

Mount Robson park was

not included within the boundaries of Jasper part at that time.

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May 27, 1935