March 20, 1936

CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

A week or so ago, when the estimates were under discussion the question of education was raised. To-night the minister again referred to technical education of Indian children. May I ask if that type of education has been carried out successfully? In all the fruit areas and in a good many of the agricultural areas children are permitted to leave the reservations by the hundreds. It seems to me foolish to spend large amounts of money on technical education when the children are permitted to leave the reservation from possibly the middle of April or the first of May until the early part of the fall. I was wondering whether some enforcement could be brought to bear upon the children in Indian reserves so that there could be enforced technical education, which is so necessary to them.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I assume the hon. member is referring to the manual training carried on in many of the schools. An effort is made to train these Indian children in various branches of manual training, and so far as I am aware that training is carried on during the ordinary school term, until the pupil leaves the school.

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CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

Does the minister know that the children are leaving the reserve by hundreds, and missing all these school days?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I am not aware of the

condition to which the hon. member refers. Indians move from their reserves at times, and possibly he has reference to that fact. But when the Indian children leave schools they usually go back with their parents to spend the vacation term, following which they return to school until their period of tuition is completed.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Has the minister a record of the last census of Indians in the different reserves?

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Yes. The bureau of statistics would supply the hon. member with a volume giving the census of Indians in Canada.

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CON
LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I understand it does, yes.

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CON

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LOCKHART:

Apparently the minister has not yet grasped my point. I know that in my own particular district, and in many other fruit, vegetable and agricultural districts the Indians come by hundreds. I know for a fact that they leave their reserves in the latter part of April or possibly earlier, and come with their parents to settle as permanent residents in certain areas. They do not return to school, in most cases, until the frost comes. It does not seem proper to spend any amount of money on these children unless something is done to enforce their attendance at school.

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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Personally I have no

knowledge of the complaint my hon. friend raises, but I can assure him that I shall endeavour to get information upon it. Youngsters are supposed to be at school and we shall have to try to keep them at school.

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Item agreed to.


DEPARTMENT OF MARINE


Public Works-chargeable to capital- To provide for the investigation of water levels in the St. Lawrence river, $40,000.


CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

Mr. Chairman, I am

sorry to have to take up the time of the committee at some length as I propose to do, but this item pertains to a subject of which I have made an exhaustive study covering a number of years, and I propose to deal with it from the point of view of the causes of the lowering of the water levels of the great lakes system and the St. Lawrence river.

At the outset I want to express my appreciation of the fact that we have in charge of this department a man with the back-

Supply-Marine-Water Levels

ground of training and experience of an engineer and with the knowledge of the construction industry that the minister possesses; and from the further fact that he himself lives on the great lakes system I feel confident that in the back of his head he has the intention of going a much further distance in his inquiry into the water levels of the great lakes system than this vote of $40,000 would indicate. Personally I hope that this is just the start of attacking the great problem which is involved in this vote, which is to provide for an investigation into progressive lowering of the water levels of the St. Lawrence river.

The newspapers of the great cities along the great lakes system and the St. Lawrence river have for the last several years contained very instructive and illuminating articles on the great lakes-St. Lawrence water levels, such as the one that appeared recently, headed by a caption reading like this: Average water level in Montreal harbour 6-49 feet lower for the month of December last than the lowest December average in any of the previous seventy-five years. Another article might be headed: Waterborne traffic on great lakes menaced by low water levels. Another one: Cargoes of ships in the St. Lawrence river canal reduced one-half as a result of low water levels. Another one: Waterborne traffic on harbours cut as the result of low water levels. All such articles have been presenting to the people of Canada what to-day is a national menace, and I am glad that the minister in charge of this portfolio is going to grapple with this serious problem. It presents a national menace to the economic welfare of all the cities on the great lakes system and the St. Lawrence river. I take it from this item in the estimates that the government is familiar with the situation and proposes now to try to remedy it.

That the Ontario government is also familiar with the situation was clearly evidenced by a statement made by the chairman of the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission in an address he made in Toronto on October 28 last. He is quoted as saying that the Ontario government proposed to ask this government to assist it in constructing works across the Albany and Ogoki rivers in northern Ontario to divert four thousand cubic feet of water per second over the height of land-the topography of the land permits of that quite easily-and down through Mojikit lake, Nipigon lake, Nipigon river into lake Superior. For what purpose? The first purpose enunciated was for the development of power. The second

purpose was just that which the minister has in his mind, to raise the great lakes-St. Lawrence water levels.

It is not my intention either to oppose or support or even comment on the proposals of the chairman of the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission other than to say that his proposal is not new. It was first submitted to the Lake Levels Commission of the city of Chicago in 1925 or 1926. I am going to try to show that the purpose of the proposed diversion of the Ogoki river was not primarily to raise the levels of the Great lakes and the St. Lawrence river, but rather to provide water for the city of Chicago through its sanitary and ship canal.

On page IX of the Regulation of the great Lakes, a volume by John R. Freeman, he says:

The possible diversion of a large quantity of water into the great lakes from streams now entering Hudson bay w'as brought to the attention of the committee on lake levels as a remedy for low lake levels and as a means of compensation for the diversion of water from the lakes through the Chicago sanitary canal. This W'ater now flowing north was to be turned south into the great lakes by way of lake Nipigon.

There is evidence that when this proposed diversion scheme first came up, it was not for the purpose of raising the levels of the great lakes and the St. Lawrence river, but for the purpose of making up for the loss of water at the city of Chicago through its sanitary and ship canals. As I have said, I have made an exhaustive investigation of this subject covering several years and extending over the great lakes system, all of its connecting rivers, the Chicago sanitary district and all its works, the Chicago-Mississippi canal, its works, and everything pertaining thereto, and I am going to try to present to the committee information to support the minister in any proposal he brings forward to remedy this national menace that is presented in the constant and progressive lowering of the water levels of the great lakes system and the St. Lawrence river.

The history of all the cities on the great lakes and the St. Lawrence is clear evidence of the great economic advantage afforded by adequate water levels in that great transportation system. Toronto, for instance, in 1926 had a more or less inadequate harbour, but all governments gave it proper dockage, deepened the inlets and outlets, and built the Welland canal, with the result that since 1926, when

50,000 tons of shipping entered that harbour, the quantity has risen to from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 tons in the last year. But the city of Montreal, which as we all know is one' of the

Supply-Marine-Water Levels

six major ports of the world, is threatened with calamity. I believe it was the Montreal Star which on January 8 carried an article, based on facts obtained from the Department of Marine, indicating that in December last the water level average in the harbour of Montreal was 5-49 feet less than in any December in the previous seventy-five years. That fact is so colossal that the people of Canada have not realized it, and I again congratulate the minister upon having begun to grapple with the great question.

I shall deal with this subject from the standpoint of three separate years, taking the years 1860, 1900 and 1935. I choose 1860 because it was in that year that the government of the United States and, I presume, the government of Canada first began to keep an adequate daily record of water levels on the great lakes and on the St. Lawrence. I take 1900 because it was in that year that the present Chicago sanitary and ship canal reversed the natural flow of the Chicago and Calumet rivers and in addition thereto diverted by gravity from lake Michigan varying quantities of water up to 10,000 cubic feet per second. I believe the largest diversion was 17,500 cubic feet per second, and it varied from that down to

5,000 and less. Prior to the first of January of this year and for the five years previous the total diversion was S.200 cubic feet per second in accordance with a decree of the United States Supreme Court issued in 1930.

Few people can comprehend the vast quantity of water represented by a diversion of 8,200 cubic feet per second. I read some days ago an article discussing the rainfall in the three western provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta during the entire wheat-growing season. I cannot vouch for the figures, but it was a reputable engineer who gave them and his statement was that 15,000,000,000 tons of rain water falls on these three provinces throughout the entire wheatgrowing season. Compare that with the extraction from lake Michigan, through the Chicago drainage and ship canal, which has risen to 10,000,000,000 tons per year, or two-thirds of the rainfall in the three western provinces I have mentioned. On the first of January, 1936, the diversion at Chicago was reduced, in accordance with the United States Supreme Court decree of 1930, and at the moment they are diverting 5,000 cubic feet per second for dilution and 1,700 cubic feet per second for domestic water supply, or 6,700 cubic feet per second, a colossal

[[DOT]Mr. MacNicol.]

volume of water extracted from the great lakes system, to the detriment of the water levels of the great lakes and the St. Lawrence river.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

It is not suggested, is it, that the water that falls in the prairie provinces has anything to do with this?

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

No; I am comparing

what is taken out of lake Michigan with the rainfall in the prairies, so as to give an idea of the extent of the diversion.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

I am very much interested in the figures the hon. gentleman is giving. Do I understand that they are with respect to diversion from lake Michigan and that, in addition to that, there is the diversion of water from the two rivers mentioned?

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I am glad the hon. gentleman has asked that question. I said or should have said that the diversion included the water from the Chicago and Calumet rivers, but that is figured into the precipitation of the Chicago sanitary district. The total diversion, prior to this year and for the five years previous, including the Chicago and Calumet rivers of the St. Lawrence watershed was 8,200 cubic feet per second, and at present it is 6,700. Prior to that it rose 10,000 per second more or leas. I will try now to give an idea of the fluctuation of water levels on the great lakes during the same three years. But I should observe that the Chicago drainage canal is not the only cause of the lowering of water levels on the great lakes. The others I shall refer to shortly. I have here evidence of engineers in Chicago, Milwaukee, Washington, Detroit, Cleveland and other great centres, and the consensus of opinion is that the Chicago drainage canal itself has been responsible for the direct lowering of levels on the great lakes by six inches. Some say more, but the general opinion is six inches.

I will now give the October average of these lakes for all the Octobers of the forty years prior to 1900, from 1860 to 1900. The average above sea level for lake Michigan and lake Huron, which are on the same level, was 581-52 feet; for lake Erie, 572-87, and for lake Ontario, 246-13. That was the October average for the forty years I have mentioned. I select October because the water level is more stationary at that time, after the summer. I will give the water level for each of the other lakes, taking the average for October in 1860. I will give each lake by itself. On Michigan and Huron for October, 1860, the

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average was 582-62 feet. In 1900 the average level for October was 580-66, for October, 1935, it was 578-21, or 3-31 feet below the average level prior to 1900. If anyone wants to figure out what a colossal loss of water that is, take the area of lakes Michigan and Huron at 45,000 square miles, and I believe it will be found that one foot rise or fall will mean 39 billion tons of water. The average October figures for lake Erie are: in 1860, 573-12; in 1900, 571-75; in 1935, 570-11, or 2-76 below the average October level prior to 1900. For lake Ontario: for 1860, 246-67; for 1900, 244-72, and for 1935, 243-19, or 2-97 below the pre-1900 average.

The whole St. Lawrence system, including both the river and the great lakes, which lakes of course are the maintaining source of the levels of the lower St. Lawrence, has lost such a colossal volume of water that the figures I have just given will stagger anyone who cares to look into them from an engineering standpoint.

One may ask: How did the levels prior to 1900 rise and fall? Well, they fluctuated up and down; they were never up much and never down much; but since 1900 these two great lakes, Michigan and Huron, have never again reached the pre-1900 average for October. The great lake Erie reached it in one October only, and lake Ontario, reached it in eleven Octobers, but as I said, there are several other causes for the lowering of the great lake levels. The first one is the rainfall, or precipitation. I would take that up with the second one, deforestation. As I said some time ago in this house, the whole of the great lakes watershed had been largely depleted of its forests. That depletion has caused in the whole great lakes system east of Sault Ste. Marie a lowering of the water levels of from three to eight inches.

The third cause is the control works. So far I have not referred particularly to lake Superior, because at Sault Ste. Marie there are control works which maintain the level of lake Superior to an average of 602 feet above sea level. But that control at lake Superior has cost, it is said, the whole of the lower lake levels and the St. Lawrence river a drop of 8 inches in water levels.

The fourth cause is the deepening of the lake outlet channels. Almost everyone, particularly my hon. friend from Sarnia, knows that in the river Detroit and in the river St. Clair the channels have been deepened and dredged, especially in the lower Detroit, to about 600 feet wide and to provide a draught of twenty-two feet, and that the more rapid flow of water caused by the deepening of

these lake outlet channels has resulted in the lowering by approximately five to six inches of the levels of lake Huron and lake Michigan, with no gain in the lower lakes and levels of the river St. Lawrence, because the water runs off.

The next cause is inversions, of which there is none worth mentioning, into the St. Lawrence system. In former years there were two or three little canal run-off inversions, but they are not worth mentioning. But the greatest diversion in the world's history that I have been able to ascertain is the one which is the sixth cause, the diversion at Chicago.

I want to deal with the Chicago diversion from several standpoints. First, there is the sanitary standpoint. Chicago had to do something to relieve the colossal loss through typhoid fever that afflicted that city in the nineties. They commenced about 1891, I believe, to construct their present works, but they had taken water out of lake Michigan as early as 1871, at first a small volume by pumping it over the height of land, and then in 1883 they pumped over the height of land approximately 1,000 cubic feet per second. Later, in 1900, they increased that by gravity to 10,000 cubic feet per second. The diversion did eliminate typhoid fever, or brought it down to the percentage in other cities. Then there is the power purpose. I do not believe that the generation of power on the Chicago sanitary canal extracts any more water from the great lakes-St. Lawrence system than what is taken out by the diversion itself for sanitary and ship canal purposes, but it is said that they develop at the present moment from

50.000 to 60,000 horse power and anticipate developing, I believe, up to as high as from

80.000 to 100,000 horse power.

The next is navigation purposes, and this is one that especially affects Canada, and particularly the great lakes and lower St. Lawrence navigation economic balance. Any one who has inspected the Chicago-Mississippi canal lately will be struck, as I have been in the last four or five years, when I have made surveys over it, with the locks, which, as far as I can understand, are the third largest in the world. There will be seven locks when the canal is completed according to the full plans of the engineers. Five of these locks are at present completed. The first five completed locks are 600 feet long and 110 feet wide, and the first one, at Lockport, Illinois, will raise or lower a boat forty-one feet. The capacity of a single boat could be about 8,500 tons, but I understand that they .are going to use the same system .of boats which are now

Supply-Marine-Water Levels

operating on the Ohio river canals, namely, barges of 500 tons capacity, and their proposal is to run six of these barges, or 3,000 tons, at each locking. Let any one figure out just what that means, when it is considered that this year it is said that they locked through about 300,000 tons, and they expect, when the St. Lawrence seaway is completed and ocean steamships are sailing up to Chicago, to send down that canal maybe 10,000,000 of shipping a year. If any one will figure out what that will mean on the basis of 3,000 tons per locking, with the knowledge that Lockport lock requires about 2.750,000 cubic feet of water to put one locking through, it means the navigation part of that canal may always be a source of lowering the water levels and of keeping the water levels of the great lakes-St. Lawrence system lower than they otherwise would be.

Next, I want to consider the effect of the Chicago drainage canal on the great lakes system. It lowers the great lakes system to the extent of six inches. It has had and will have a colossal effect upon the capacity of our own canals and our own harbours. I have before me a book I got in Washington recently issued by the war department, with a letter sent to the war department by the chief of engineers. With reference to navigation it says this, at page 92:

The average loss caused by a reduction of one-tenth of a foot in the available draught amounts to $44.57 for one trip of a bulk freighter on the upper lakes, or $590,000 per year for the whole fleet. For the smaller vessels engaged' in trade through the Welland and St. Lawrence canals the average loss caused by a lowering of one-tenth of a foot is $41.40 for each trip and $70,000 per year for the whole fleet.,.. The total loss to the bulk freight trade caused by this lowering is estimated at $4,713,000 per year.... Of the loss now occurring $2,866,000 per year is due to the diversion of 8,800 cubic feet per second by the sanitary district of Chicago.

These are facts that should stagger the shipping interests of this country, the harbour commissioners of Montreal and all those associated in any way with the economic welfare of the great cities on the great lakes. My opinion is that this diversion will continue. They are constructing three colossal sewage works, which are now about fifty per cent in operation. I looked them over very carefully on two different occasions; I talked over the matter frankly with engineers; I went to Washington after discussing it with Chicago engineers, because I had made up my mind that it was doubtful if the works would do all that was expected of them. The engineers hoped for the best, but no engineer can predict just what will be the effect on the Illinois river of pouring into it 1,700 cubic

feet per second of effluent of Chicago sewerage. The decree of the United States Supreme Court, issued in 1930, means that on January 1, 1939, Chicago must reduce its intake from lake Michigan to 3,200 cubic feet per second, 1,500 feet for dilution plus 1,700 feet for domestic purposes. I thought I should like to find out what the proposal would be to take care of the situation if in 1939 the control works did not perform the work expected of them, and the engineer whom I met in Washington directed my attention to page 16 of the report of the Secretary of War, where I found these words:

... and that the chief of engineers be granted authority to direct such additional temporary diversions of lake water, not to be considered in the determination of the annual average, as may be necessary to flush pools and/or to maintain pool levels and as may not be inimical to lake navigation.

Any one who has gone down the Illinois river and the Chicago-Mississippi canal, who has a conception of enginering and who figures out just what a colossal amount of water will be required to maintain those pool levels, will know that the diversion of water at Chicago for that purpose will be a very large number of cubic feet per second.

I am not talking politically; this subject is far beyond the ken of narrow politics and is too big to be discussed from political angles. In my opinion we have a minister who, from his engineering background and his knowledge of the great lakes, as well as of his own city and his own lake, the level of which is controlled by works, should be competent to deal with this question. I am going to appeal to the minister to go before the government and ask for more money when the supplementary estimates are up for consideration. This item of $40,000 will be only sufficient to make a start. Let him ask for more money with which to prepare plans. Mr. Minister, in my humble opinion you have a golden opportunity to do something big for this country and at the same time add to the national wealth. The works that you can plan in your department are not of the type of dole works, that add little or nothing to the national wealth. You have a type of works to plan for that will add national wealth and that, in the long run, will not cost this country anything because of the improvement they will bring about in our transportation system.

Now, in a very humble way I should like to suggest to the minister that at the earliest moment he should ascertain, by surveys, the cost of erecting control works at- Sarnia to raise the levels of lakes Michigan and Huron; to ascertain the cost of control works at

132S

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Buffalo to raise the level of lake Erie, and so on. May I say, Mr. Chairman, it is a disquieting sight to go along lake Erie to-day and see how the shore shelves out so much further than has been the ease in former years. The great lakes are being depleted of their water, and the St. Lawrence river is losing its water supply. I would go so far as to suggest a plan of reforestation to recover as much as possible of the three to eight inches that the great lakes-St. Lawrence watershed has lost as a result of deforestation. I will go further and suggest that some scheme be planned to save some of the water that now causes such tremendous floods. I know a number of rivers that have storage basins; I have been over some of them from one end to the other. Some of these are the rivers that are now giving so much trouble; I have surveyed two or three of them and have seen natural reservoirs which, without the expenditure of too much money, could be utilized to store a large volume of the spring freshets which could be run off later in the dry season. To my mind the minister has before him a golden opportunity to save the levels of the great lakes and of the St. Lawrence system, and in my opinion it is possible to have the cooperation of the city of Chicago through the government of the United States. At page 9 of his book, published in 1926, Mr. Freeman says:

That some years ago the Chicago sanitary district had offered a large sum of money to be expended upon works in the outlet of lake Huron, and possibly also at outlets of lakes Erie and Ontario, for the purpose of compensating for and raising the levels of these lakes to an amount equal to the lowering caused by its diversion, without at that time having any very definite information as to what type of structures that would best serve this and other useful purposes, or their cost.

Of course the engineers cannot speak for Chicago, but that is what I was told, that, too, in Chicago, and there is the report of John R. Freeman stating that Chicago offered a large sum of money for the construction of these compensating works, which, I assume, would have to be constructed at Kingston or east of Kingston too, to be of service to the St. Lawrence system. All these outlet control works could be part and parcel of the proposed St. Lawrence seaway. The money expended on them would not be lost, and while the proposal to construct the St. Lawrence seaway has not been endorsed either by this parliament or by the congress of the United States, these preliminary works for raising the water levels certainly could be carried on in due course.

If I have not said anything to impress the minister it is because of my lack of capacity

to express myself. I am so much interested in this subject after a long survey of it and so much in earnest in desiring to assist in some way to save the great lakes transportation system and the St. Lawrence river system that perhaps I cannot just convey my thoughts and experiences and the facts and figures I have gathered in trying to ascertain information in connection with the continuous and progressive lowering of the great lakes and St. Lawrence water levels.

The lowering has been continuously progressive in spite of the fact that in 1929 or 1930 we had a cycle of heavy rains, but even in those years the two great lakes did not reach the October pre-1900 level Again I urge the minister to appeal to his friends in the cabinet to support him in whatever he as an engineer decides is the best way to set about saving the sources of the water levels of the St. Lawrence. I cannot separate the St. Lawrence from the great lakes, so that while this vote calls for surveys in connection with the St. Lawrence the minister should go further and ascertain the cause of the water level lowering in the great lakes, and then plan to construct the necessary works, in cooperation of course with the United States. They are, I would believe, ready to entertain proposals along that line. What would be the results to Canada, outside the saving of large amounts yearly to our shipping through increased tonnage per ship? I am satisfied that such works would give employment to 50,000 men in factories making the material to enter into the construction and carrying out the construction of the works themselves, and every dollar expended wmuld be a national investment and not a dole.

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CON

Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

I do not think

the Department of Marine has been before the committee this year before to-night. I am sure it was done inadvertently, but I think the government were in error in bringing in these estimates on Friday evening. Am I right in thinking that the marine department has not previously been before the committee?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Marine; Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Marine):

We were on railways, and we regarded them as one department, although technically I suppose they are two.

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March 20, 1936