C. Eagleson and L. O. Eagleson. Why was it necessary to put these names on if the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister- and of course this plan ne-ver would be made unless the Prime Minister supervised it, as he supervises everything-
Were there no negotiations with the owners of the property, no offers made to purchase the property, before this transaction was completed? I understand that in all the departments the practice is to approach the owners and try to make a bargain with them, and that recourse is taken to expropriation proceedings only when the parties cannot come to an agreement. I should like to ask the minister if there were no negotiations or rapprochements made between the department and these people.
Perhaps I may be permitted to say a, word. This whole scheme was initiated in the first place by the federal district commission. I may not be accurate as to whether it preceded the defence or air service but I know that over a long period of time the federal district commission have been extremely anxious to get an eastern entrance to the city of Ottawa via the driveway. They are making a very beautiful entrance to this city which, apart altogether from the beautification, will have the effect of relieving congestion on the Montreal road in years to come, leaving the road through Eastview for the heavier traffic.
So far as the air force is concerned, I have had occasion to fly from that field a number of times, and in discussing the matter with members of the air force I have found that they always have been very nervous about the high hill on the south side that is covered with tall trees. You must land on a flying field in conformity with the wind that is blowing at the time, and if a landing has to be effected from the south side there is very grave danger because of that high hill and the trees upon it. The air force always have been very nervous with respect to that physical condition and have wanted the shoulder of that hill removed so that the menace might be eliminated. This dovetails into the scheme of the Ottawa Improvement Commission. I speak of these facts because I have had occasion to discuss the matter with the federal district commission several times, and the view I have ex-
pressed as to the air force came to me incidentally from the different officers with whom I have had contact.
If that is the case why smuggle the item in under the head of engineering services and works? There are separate items for aviation under which this amount might more properly be placed. Why not put it under the federal district commission?
I shall not quarrel with my right hon. friend, but there was no question of attempting to hide the item. I think it is a most praiseworthy step; I think it is in the public interest, and I believe that in the years to come it will return a much larger sum of money than will be expended on it. It might have been better to put it under a separate item, but it touches three different departments and the engineering branch of the Department of National Defence naturally would do the surveying. I assume that is why it appears in a national defence item, but there was no attempt or intention to disguise the item. I should think my right hon. friend, who always has been an advocate of the beautlncation oi Ottawa-aiiu I say this in his praise-would ibe the first to say that this undertaking is one designed in a marked degree to enhance the beauty of Ottawa. At the same time it will serve another purpose; it will provide more satisfactory accommodation for the Department of Justice in connection wtih the mounted police and will round out- a proper landing field for the capital city of Canada.
I may say to my hon, friend that I would be the first to support him and the government in any soheme that would meet the two necessities of which he has spoken and at the same time help in a necessary civic improvement, but the last place I would expect to find it would be in the most unpopular vote that is presented to this house, namely, an increase in the vote for militia services. I wonder very much that the government should have selected this particular service to cover the purchase of this property. So far as the land is concerned, in connection with the purposes mentioned by my hon. friend, I am quite prepared to withdraw my objection to the purchase, but this is a very different explanation from the one given by the Minister of National Defence.
If there had been any intention on the part of the government to smuggle this vote into the estimates, certainly
the government went about it in a very clumsy fashion. As my right hon. friend has suggested, this amount could have been put in a separate item, and to that extent it would have reduced the militia estimates and lessened the criticism of military expenditures.
I may say to my hon. friend from Antigonish-Guysborough -that the government has made many mistakes. I have not known of a government in the history of Canada that has not made many mistakes, and I never expect to see a government of Canada that will not make mistakes. I suggest to my hon. friend that the government that does not make mistakes does not make anything. We would be the first to admit that we have made mistakes, but certainly if this is a mistake it must ibe apparent that it was not done with any sinister purpose.
With what the Minister of Finance has said with reference to improving the approach to Ottawa I have no quarrel whatever, because that matter has been mooted for a long time. Undoubtedly there must be a further approach from the east in order to relieve the congestion of traffic on the Montreal road and also to meet the objection to the landing field at Rockcliffe. That is nothing new; that has been talked of for three, four or five years, ever since the inception of that aviation field. We all agree that better landing facilities should be provided and that the congestion on the Montreal road should be relieved; with that I have no quarrel at all, but there have been many alternatives proposed. For a long time the local newspapers have been advocating an entrance from the east, but this is not the only alternative. I must agree with what my right hon. leader has stated; if this vote had been properly put in the estimates those who are primarily interested in following these matters would have had some knowledge of it. It was purely and simply a matter of luck, or perhaps a matter of psychology, that in considering the estimates this matter came up; otherwise no one would have known anything about it- until the whole thing had been completed. To that procedure I must register strenuous opposition. It was not fair to the people of Ottawa; it was not fair to the representatives of the people of Ottawa in this parliament that a matter such as this should have been contemplated and practically
consummated without anyone having the slightest knowledge that the project was under way. That is why I feel that the matter has not been handled in the fairest way.
My colleague the Minister of National Defence made a very clear explanation when this item was first called, but unfortunately he is suffering with a sore throat and his voice does not carry very far. I must say that I heard him with some difficulty even at this short distance. He made a very clear explanation and I am sure that Hansard, which is not very far from him, will have a record of his remarks. If the hon. member will look over those remarks to-morrow morning I am sure they will1 disclose a full explanation.