January 13, 1954

BRIDGES

VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER

LIB

Hector Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. Hector Dupuis (St. Mary) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of entering into negotiations with the government of the province of Quebec for the purpose of reaching a mutual agreement for the abolition of tolls on the Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges.

(Translation):

He said: Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time the subject matter of this motion has been brought before the house. As early as 1946, my hon. friend, the member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Pinard) placed on the order paper a motion along the same lines. He renewed his attempt several times but in spite of all his efforts and his well known talent no progress has been made. I myself have repeatedly asked that we grant the requests of the citizens of the province of Quebec and especially those of the city of Montreal and of the municipalities and towns of the south shore of the St. Lawrence who, for many years, have been calling for the abolition of tolls on the Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges.

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The motion I submit is somewhat different from those which were placed on the order paper in the past. It merely asks the government to consider the advisability of entering into negotiations with the government of the province of Quebec for the purpose of reaching an agreement for the abolition of tolls on these two bridges, and in particular on the Jacques Cartier bridge, the province of Quebec being party to a contract signed by the national harbours board, the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal.

Such an agreement would not establish a precedent since, a few years ago-in 1928, if I am not mistaken-the province of Quebec was authorized, through a separate agreement, to use the Quebec bridge and build on it a vehicular road. At any event, before 1948 the province of Quebec had abolished all bridge tolls. Well, the new contract provided that the province was authorized to build a second vehicular road but that no tolls would be collected. After negotiations between the two governments the Quebec bridge ceased to be a toll bridge.

One might say that it would be difficult to negotiate with the Quebec government when the latter refuses to honour its obligations in connection with the Jacques Cartier bridge.

We know that by virtue of a tripartite contract between the national harbours board, the government of the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal the two latter are supposed to pay part of the deficit resulting from the operating costs of the bridge, interest on the debentures issued at the time the bridge was built, as well as other expenses.

That share was not to exceed the sum of $150,000 per year for each of the two parties. They have acquitted themselves of their obligations until around 1944 when they stopped paying the amounts due. Legal proceedings were brought against the city of Montreal, to recover the money owing, by the national harbours board which won the case. Judgment was passed against the city and it has paid since an amount approximating one million dollars, representing the arrears owing. Will the national harbours board have to proceed in the same way against the province of Quebec for the same purpose? I do not know.

I should like to express the hope, however, that a friendly settlement may be effected out of court. I should think the provincial gov-

!Mr. Dupuis.]

ernment would seek to meet its obligations like every other government. To my mind it would be possible to arrive at some generally acceptable understanding through a meeting between the federal and provincial authorities, at which the city of Montreal would be represented. It should be possible to achieve once more the result obtained in the case of the Quebec bridge, as long as every interested party is willing to show the understanding necessary to the solution of this matter, at least in the case of the Jacques Cartier bridge.

Now, as far as Victoria bridge is concerned, I am of the opinion that the federal government alone can do away with the toll charges, since the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal are under no contractual obligation in this regard.

As far as the settlement of this matter is concerned, that is with regard to the abolition of toll charges on the Jacques Cartier bridge, it must be remembered that the city of Montreal alone has paid nearly $3 million to cover the deficit incurred and that the province of Quebec will have disbursed as much once it has paid the million or so dollars still owing according to the terms of the contract I have mentioned.

I would not like to be harsh in my remarks, but I believe it is time to put a stop to this unfair treatment which is being inflicted upon the people of Montreal and of neighbouring municipalities. I do not know of any other place in Canada where people are required to pay toll charges for the use of federal bridges or of those of the Canadian National or again of those of the national harbours board.

As I have already pointed out during previous debates on this matter, the development which has taken place, in the course of the last ten years, along the south shore of the St. Lawrence, has been tremendous. It is sufficient to recall, to mention one place in particular, that the town of Jacques Cartier, which is 5 or 6 miles from Montreal and which, in 1940, had a population of only 700 to 800 has now a population of nearly 35,000. The majority of them are workers who have left Montreal and who have built themselves small houses in this locality.

They work for the most part in Montreal, so that they have to cross over one of the two bridges, which means heavy expenses for them, as they cross over at least twice a day. Those who own cars-perhaps I should say jalopies-give rides to other workers who

also have to pay the toll charged the passengers in all vehicles, with the sole exception of those who use a public bus.

I can also add that Longueuil, Montreal South, St. Lambert and other municipalities on the south shore of the St. Lawrence have seen a tremendous increase in population during those years.

One can easily see the burden which these thousands of taxpayers have to carry. They are charged a sort of indirect tax while everywhere else people can cross any bridge without having to pay a cent.

And what about the thousands of Montrealers who use that bridge many times a day? They also have grounds for complaining about such an anomaly which puts upon them charges of which residents of the other communities of the province of Quebec and of all other provinces are exempt.

I know the cost of building the Jacques Cartier bridge was very high, reaching the amount of $18 million, and that there is still a considerable amount outstanding. Yet conditions were the same with regard to the Quebec bridge, on which the toll was abolished.

In 1928, the province of Quebec was authorized by the Canadian National Railways to build a vehicular road on the bridge, on certain conditions. It was also allowed to charge a toll for automobiles and passengers. This toll was put into effect and abolished a few years later, as it was on all other bridges belonging to the province of Quebec. In 1948, the latter was authorized to build another vehicular road; this time the permit stipulated that no toll should be charged. At the time of both agreements, the province of Quebec was to assume the maintenance of both vehicular roads, and establish a sinking fund with regard to these two roads. Although the bridge was the property of the Canadian National Railways, an agreement was signed between the Canadian government-not the Canadian National-and the government of the province of Quebec. As I was saying, it was a matter of paying interest on the amount spent for building this road and of setting up a sinking fund which, if I remember rightly, was not to exceed $400,000.

Should the government accept my point of view and meet with the provincial authorities in order to work out an agreement on the matter of tolls on the Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges, I believe the contract signed in relation to the Quebec bridge could be

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used as a basis for discussion. An estimate could perhaps be made of the cost of the vehicular road on the bridge to find out the amount of capital invested for that purpose. It would then be easy to agree on an amount, a reasonable rate of interest and to set up a sinking fund which would eventually reimburse the national harbours board for part of the amount expended for the construction of this bridge.

As far as the Jacques Cartier bridge is concerned, I am sure the situation is different from that of the Victoria bridge. Indeed, I am wondering if the Jacques Cartier bridge would ever have been built if the province had not been willing to assume certain responsibilities together with the city of Montreal. The contract must be respected but consideration must be given to the situation in which the users find themselves.

I deem it advisable to make a thorough study of that contract, and to negotiate a new agreement which would satisfy all the parties interested and more particularly the citizens of the province of Quebec and of Montreal. I am wondering whether the citizens of Montreal should really have to do more than anybody else in the province of Quebec toward meeting the deficit. I repeat that this was admissible in 1930 when it was a matter of building the bridge, but now the operating deficit has been reduced, and, taking into consideration the possibility of such an agreement with the province of Quebec, I believe that the city of Montreal should not be forced, in such a case-no more than Longueuil and adjoining municipalities, Outremont for instance, the mayor of which is here with us-some day or other to make good the deficits created through a tax assessment established by the metropolitan district for the whole island of Montreal. I do not wish to raise that question because I would be out of order; I am simply reminding the house that the city of Montreal should not have to pay anything whatsoever for the upkeep of the bridge or for the maintenance of a sinking fund.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, nothing would prevent us from obtaining, following negotiations in which everybody would show sufficient good will, the same results which were brought about when the problem of the Quebec bridge was taken up. In my humble opinion, the present problem would be even easier to solve.

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If I am not mistaken, the initial cost of the bridge has long since been repaid. The hon. Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) shakes his head. Even if it has not been entirely repaid, the city of Montreal has been called upon long enough to give financial help to the Canadian National Railways in so far as the use of that bridge is concerned. Let us not forget that a toll is collected from the users of the Victoria bridge, that obsolete structure which, everybody will admit, is no longer adequate for that part of the city, with its heavy traffic.

Every time 1 think of it, I am amazed to see that the citizens of Montreal, in particular, and the people of part of the province, in general, are forced to contribute to the income of the Canadian National Railways. Can anyone mention another instance where Canadians have to contribute to the income of that railway and to pay for the use of bridges belonging to that company. If there is such a case, I will deem it my duty to ask for the people concerned the same consideration I am now asking for those whose rights are being encroached upon, for the users of the Victoria bridge.

Why should we pay for the use of that bridge when we can use without charge other bridges belonging to the Canadian National?

Two bridges built by the Grand Trunk railroad, one of the companies that preceded the Canadian National, now belong to the Canadian National; they are located at the eastern end of Montreal island and they have been used until recent years for horse-drawn vehicles and automobiles. Yet nobody ever thought of levying toll charges on those bridges. I am referring to the bridge that connects Montreal island to Charlemagne and the one that connects Charlemagne to Repentigny.

We used them for several years-as all those who live in Montreal and the vicinity very well know-before the new bridge was built by the provincial government and nobody ever paid for using the bridges, although they are the property of the Canadian National, just like Victoria bridge. It is useless to go back several years past in order to try and find who decided to levy toll charges on Victoria bridge. Perhaps the reasons put forward at that time justified the levying of such charges. But those reasons cannot hold today when the financial situation regarding the cost of erecting the bridge has

greatly improved, even though it may not be entirely paid for, because I am convinced that it is not far from being so.

Mr. Speaker, it is unfair to tax, and I repeat the word tax, indirectly the citizens of Montreal and the vicinity in order to increase the revenues of the Canadian National.

In my opinion, the share paid by the eastern provinces in the cost of building that railroad and to make good the operating deficits of the railroad is at least equal to that of the western provinces. Shall we continue to pay the operating expenses of our railway system by means of a tax in disguise levied in the form of toll charges on this bridge that is far from meeting our traffic needs and is used mainly by the Canadian National and the Montreal and Southern Counties Railway?

I know that the Minister of Transport is well disposed. He clearly stated his position in a speech he made in the house on February 22, 1951, as reported at page 570 of Hansard and of which I quote the following excerpt:

I do not think there can be any disagreement in principle as to the elimination of tolls. In principle we favour doing away with the toll system. There is no difficulty on that point. But we have to decide who should bear the costs. As regards jurisdiction, moreover, the three parties have already come to an agreement. To my mind, tolls cannot be removed unless there is some agreement on the procedure to be followed. It goes without saying that, for the time being, this agreement concerns only Jacques Cartier bridge. Nor should hon. members forget that the agreement which related to the building of the Montreal bridge, the Jacques Cartier bridge, was signed following the enactment of a statute by the house, the passing of legislation by the provincial legislature and the approval of a minute by the city of Montreal.

Therefore, I submit that the suppression of the tolls would necessitate the agreement of the three parties concerned.

We must also consider the practical side of the matter which is no less important than its legal aspect. In 1950, the national harbours board collected, I believe, $1,200,000 in tolls on Jacques Cartier bridge. As for Victoria bridge, I cannot give you any idea of the amount collected since it is buried in the accounts of the Canadian National.

What I mean is this. It is not easy for the national harbours board or for the Canadian National to give up without further ado revenues exceeding a million dollars.

I agree with the Minister of Transport that the abolition of toll charges on these bridges will bring about considerable loss of revenue for the national harbours board or the Canadian National Railways. He might allow me to add, though, that the situation would be identical with that brought about by the abolition of toll charges on the Quebec bridge.

At that time, the Canadian National Railways had the benefits of the toll charges levied on this bridge; however, the practice has been discontinued.

Once again, I know that the federal government cannot abandon the toll charges without the co-operation of the province.

Before going on any further, I should like to point out that the Quebec bridge has nonetheless remained the property of the Canadian National Railways. So, the national harbours board could very well remain the owner of the Jacques Cartier bridge. The suggestion I made a moment ago should be considered thoroughly.

In view of the capital invested in the construction of the vehicular road over the Jacques Cartier bridge, the federal government is not required to provide everything; besides it is bound by a properly drawn up contract. But, in the meantime, in order to alleviate the lot of the man in the street and settle the matter of toll charges, I think my suggestion should be accepted; it is supported wholeheartedly by all my colleagues who are interested in the matter.

Therefore, I humbly submit that in so far as the Victoria bridge is concerned, I cannot admit that we should have to increase the income of the Canadian National Railways by means of a toll charge, however low it may be, which is not required anywhere else in this country. I do hope that this situation will come to an end as soon as possible.

A few years ago, the Minister of Transport stated that the implementation of the St. Lawrence waterway project would settle the problem of the Victoria bridge. This project would include the construction of a tunnel below the Victoria bridge, which would be used by the Canadian National Railways trains. My colleague, the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Pinard), has already quoted in this house part of an address delivered by the Minister of Transport, in Montreal, a few years ago. Allow me to quote once again what the hon. minister had to say then:

The plan provides for the construction on the north shore of one or two locks designed to overcome the difference in level and to make navigation possible from Montreal harbour to and above the new industrial area which is to be established. Thus, the level of lake St. Louis would extend as far as below Victoria bridge and would provide a maximum fall for power development. One of these plans considers diverting railway traffic from Victoria bridge to a tunnel. Thus, Victoria bridge

Bridges

could be used exclusively for motor vehicles. This would improve markedly transportation on the south shore.

Of course the carrying out of such a project would solve our problem. But how many years will that require? Therefore I think we should settle at once the toll problem, without waiting for the carrying out of the huge St. Lawrence project. The reasons I have already set forth warrant the earliest possible action by the government in an attempt to settle the matter of the abolition of tolls. I realize that the problem of Jacques Cartier bridge is different from that of Victoria bridge. The former was built after an understanding between the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal, both parties agreeing to assume jointly maintenance costs, interest on debentures, etc., up to $150,000 a year.

I am not familiar with the conditions laid down when Victoria bridge was built, but I doubt very much that the city of Montreal agreed to accept indefinitely the charging of a toll, even after the cost of the bridge had been fully paid for. At any rate, if the administration of the day signed such an agreement, it is time for the government to correct the situation and to grant the repeated requests of the people who want an end to a situation which is indeed detrimental to them.

I do not know the feelings of the provincial government, but I rather believe that an agreement could be entered into on a basis that would be mutually satisfactory and in the interest of the people who have been asking for a long time that the toll be abolished on these two bridges and more particularly on Jacques Cartier bridge as far as the Quebec government is concerned.

I have not been asked to speak on behalf of the Quebec members, but I remain convinced that all right-thinking members of this house would favour an agreement to eliminate the evil of tolls required from those who have to use these two routes.

As some time is sure to elapse before such an agreement is signed, might I suggest a middle course until the matter is finally settled? Since 1950 or so, the revenue from tolls on Jacques Cartier bridge brought a rather large surplus. In 1950, I think that the revenue was $1,250,000, and it is possible that, in 1951, it was quite as high. With regard to 1953, the revenue has perhaps reached a million and a half dollars, if not

Bridges

more. I do not have the exact figures here, but let us suppose that, for 1953, it amounted to $1,200,000.

Well, with regard to Victoria bridge, the receipts have also been more than satisfactory for some years already. It seems to me that means could be found to do something pending the final solution of the problem, and I am still speaking of Victoria bridge in particular because the province of Quebec is not bound to it by contract. If tolls cannot be completely eliminated I wonder whether it would not be possible to at least reduce it on the two bridges and abolish entirely the fee required from the passengers in these vehicles. Both these things should be done or one at least.

We could manage in such a way that the national harbours board, like the Canadian National Railways, would not have a deficit. It should be possible also to bring relief to the taxpayers. It would be an excellent opportunity for the government to show that it gives serious consideration to this problem. It would be a generous not to say a liberal gesture, which is synonymous, to reduce these charges upon that part of the population.

In conclusion I wish to let the government know that all I have said has been said in the best possible spirit. I feel that I am at present faithfully discharging the mandate given me by all my fellow citizens. Not only is it my duty to request abolition of toll charges on the Montreal bridges, but also to insist that at least cogent reasons to justify a possible delay in this connection be given to me and to those colleagues of mine who will no doubt take part in this debate.

Once again I wish to remind the house of the difference between a resolution moved here, in the House of Commons, and a motion put before a municipal council. Here we are moving something that requires the government to consider the advisability of doing such and such. We are not instructing the government to do this or that, but simply to take a certain thing under consideration.

We merely ask the government to consider the advisability of doing something. To ask the government to consider the advisability of enacting a measure does not mean that the government has to recommend the measure which we asked to be considered. For instance, when the members of the city council of Montreal submit a matter to the executive

committee, the latter is in no way obliged to report favourably on the proposals. That is the difference between the interpretation given to motions here and that given elsewhere.

It is not a matter of abolishing tolls directly. We simply ask that the government consider the advisability of entering into negotiations with the provincial authorities of Quebec, and request them to see that the tolls on the bridges concerned are removed.

I believe I am speaking on behalf of all the citizens of Montreal, of the greater part of the people of Quebec, and of the chamber of commerce. I also hope that in the very near future the government will find it possible to meet the wishes of all the citizens concerned. Needless to say it would then be entitled to the gratitude of all those people as well as of the member for St. Mary.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

Roch Pinard (Parliamentary Assistant to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Roch Pinard (Chambly-Rouville):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in this debate I wish first of all to reassure the hon. member for St. Mary (Mr. Dupuis) and those who do me the honour of listening to my speech by stating that I do not intend to unduly prolong this debate or to prevent the hon. members of this house from expressing their opinion on the question before us.

The problem is important and of interest not only to the population of the towns, municipalities and villages situated on the south shore of the St. Lawrence river, in the Montreal area, but also to the people of Montreal and vicinity. I take pleasure in supporting the resolution submitted by the hon. member for St. Mary. I am at ease to do so for I can say, without giving myself undeserved credit, that I have always been highly interested in this problem ever since I came to this house in 1945, when, for the first time, I had the privilege of representing the people of Chambly-Rouville county.

As I was saying a moment ago, the learned member for St. Mary has submitted a resolution similar to the one I had the honour and the privilege of presenting in the course of previous debates. The principle involved is the same and I can safely say, I think, that the representatives from Montreal and the vicinity are unanimous in requesting the prompt intervention, immediately if possible, of the federal government to eliminate what we may well call an anomaly, but which I consider as a real injustice to the people concerned, who have to bear with a toll

system which has now been in force for so many years.

I do not intend to take up one after the other the arguments I had the opportunity of expressing in the course of previous sessions when I submitted similar resolutions, because it would take too long and the house would not be able to vote on the motion moved by the hon. member for St. Mary.

I take the liberty of making a few remarks on the toll system now in force in connection with the two bridges concerned, Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges. My first words will be on the tolls now levied on Victoria bridge.

Victoria bridge is nearly a century old.

I believe it was built during the last century, in 1860. At that time it was open to railroad traffic. Contrary to other bridges built in the province of Quebec, Victoria bridge has the merit of lasting long, of being strong and soundly built. As I stated a moment ago, Victoria bridge is nearly a century old and I hope that the centenary will be celebrated in 1960. I hope that the authorities of the national railways system will invite the members concerned, as well as the people who use the bridge and have made it a profitable venture that brings revenue to the Canadian National Railways. Like the hon. member for St. Mary, I hope that those who take part in the celebrations will be able to do so without paying the toll charges.

Victoria bridge, Mr. Speaker, was built with subsidies which were generously provided by the central government to the company which undertook the work, in the course of the last century, and it is the Grand Trunk Railway which benefited from these subsidies. The subsidies were renewed under various forms. I remember having read, while I was studying the question some years ago, that in 1900, some 54 years ago, a member of this house requested from the government authorities the abolition of toll charges on this bridge. At that time a subsidy was granted by the federal government to the Grand Trunk in order to allow it to make certain improvements to Victoria bridge. As a matter of fact, I have here a statement made at the time by a member of the loyal opposition, Mr. Cochrane, who stated in column 9989 of Hansard the following, and I quote his words in English, just as he uttered them:

(Text):

If the Grand Trunk Railway saw fit to reconstruct that bridge it was their own business and not ours. We have paid all this country could afford to pay as a subvention to the Grand Trunk Railway.

Bridges

Now, why, after giving a subvention of $300,000, do you want to give them $200,000 more when you are paying them $40,000 a year for the user of that bridge?

(Translation):

And later the same member added:

(Text):

Why do you not put in a condition that the people should travel over the Victoria bridge free, and then you would get something for the people in return for this subvention?

(Translation) :

In other words, Mr. Speaker, as far back as 1900 a member of the opposition asked the government of the day to abolish the toll on Victoria bridge. This should prove to the hon. member for St. Mary, and to other interested members, the importance of putting into practice the maxim of the French writer who said: "Put back your work twenty times on the loom" if you want to get good results. Nevertheless, it is a matter of some surprise, if not of satisfaction, to find that more than 50 years ago there came from quarters just as responsible as ours a request for the rectification of what the member called at the time an injustice.

There is no doubt that Victoria bridge has been an extremely profitable venture first for the Grand Trunk and later on, in 1909 or 1910, when the Canadian National Railways were organized, for that new agency of the federal government. Perhaps that is why the hon. Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier), during the debate on that same question two years ago, said that the Canadian National Railways were reluctant to give up such a revenue.

I quite understand their hesitancy, but I refuse to believe that it is the responsibility of the people of the municipalities and towns on the south shore of the St. Lawrence and of the city of Montreal to carry alone the occasional deficits of the Canadian National Railways. Such a state of affairs is unjustified, and I do not think that the minister could deny this statement; there is no doubt, in my mind, that Victoria bridge has been entirely paid for by those who used it. At any rate, as far as those who used it are concerned, the system of tolls should disappear, especially since the public enterprise that brought it into being is entirely paid for. The authorities of the Canadian National Railways are, therefore, in no way justified in allowing this state of affairs to remain, and the tolls on Victoria bridge should be abolished forthwith.

May I add that while this bridge has as I just said the merit of being strong, it is not

Bridges

very practical as the vehicular roadway is very narrow, and even dangerous. The tolls are surely not related to services rendered.

Consequently I feel that it is imperative for the Canadian National authorities to immediately abolish the tolls on this bridge.

I shall only add a few words concerning Jacques Cartier bridge. As the Minister of Transport gave us to understand, and justly so, when he discussed the problem raised by the Jacques Cartier bridge, it cannot be considered in the same way. This bridge has been built following an agreement involving three administrative authorities: the federal government, the government of the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal. It seems quite difficult to decide who should take the initiative.

I have been told that the situation was somewhat similar with regard to the Quebec bridge and that the government of Quebec had taken the first steps and contacted the authorities of the Canadian National Railways in order to bring about the abolition of the tolls on this bridge.

May I point out, with regard to the Jacques Cartier bridge, that at the present it has surpluses rather than deficits.

The annual report of the national harbours board for 1952 shows that the operating surplus of the Jacques Cartier bridge amounted to $123,635 in 1951 and to $300,156 in 1952.

I am emphasizing those figures because when I put forward a similar motion in 1951, that year was likely the first in which the operation of the Jacques Cartier bridge did not end in a deficit.

As there is now a surplus, and since the municipal authorities of Montreal have accepted the decision of the courts and have paid the arrears they owed according to that judgment, a matter of nearly a million dollars, it seems to me that the national harbours board authorities should themselves open negotiations with the provincial government in order to do away with such an injustice and abolish the toll on Jacques Cartier bridge. If the provincial government has been negligent that is no reason for the federal government to wait and adopt a policy of laissez-faire, because the provincial government does not wish to intervene.

[Mr. Pinard.l

I strongly urge the Minister of Transport, who has shown that he is very well disposed since the beginning of these debates on this same question, to make representations to the body concerned and, if necessary, directly to the provincial government in order that negotiations may be started without delay with a view to doing away with toll charges on Jacques Cartier bridge also.

Besides, I am convinced that the minister shares my views. He has already stated quite emphatically that he favours the elimination of toll charges. It is evidently the means of arriving at this result that makes the situation complicated and difficult. I am confident that with his kind co-operation, well before the time comes to commemorate the centenary of Victoria bridge, toll charges will have been eliminated on those two bridges and the present unfair situation will have been done away with.

Again I congratulate the hon. member for St. Mary on his initiative in agreeing to submit such a resolution. By putting it on the order paper he perpetuates a practice that seems to have become a tradition in the house, a tradition that tends to bring about, at regular intervals, debates on a matter that should no longer be debated and that should have been settled a long time ago.

(Text):

Mr. W. M. Hamilton (Notre Dame de

Grace): Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in the debate on this resolution this afternoon I will deal particularly with the Jacques Cartier bridge. There is reason for that. The Victoria bridge is the property of the Canadian National Railways, and we have already seen this afternoon that the Canadian National Railways are a little organization largely independent and to themselves, and are rather reticent about supplying information through the minister. Therefore it would seem not quite fitting to discuss something which comes under their jurisdiction, because apparently there is nothing that we can do about it.

The whole question of these bridges is an important one in Montreal, because Montreal is an island, and these are the lifelines upon which all of our blood travels. Our great metropolitan area on the island itself is connected with another large area on the south shore, and an area extending many miles beyond that, all of which commutes daily back

and forth over these bridges to Montreal. The bridges are one of the major links between Canada and the United States. Perhaps there is at least one advantage in the present tolls on these bridges. It means the people entering Canada, our visitors from the United States, are given a foretaste almost immediately they come within seeing distance of Montreal of what Canadians encounter each day of their lives, because they are asked to pay a tax, an unnecessary tax. Perhaps it is right, although I do not think that we should meet our visitors at the door of our city with a tax in which the federal government is deeply implicated.

The Victoria bridge itself is one of the great antiques still standing. That is about the only tribute that I can pay to it. On the other hand, the Jacques Cartier bridge is a magnificent piece of bridge architecture. It was built just prior to 1930. If they go back and read the Hansard debates of that time, those who are seeking information will have great difficulty in finding it, because the bridge was then called the South Shore bridge. It took me some hours without the help of any adequate research service to find any reference to the subject in Hansard, but you will find there was much discussion at that time about the cost of the bridge. As I remember it from Hansard, the figure of some $10 million was bandied about. When the bridge was constructed it cost some $18,500,000. But there again, that is one of the things which we must expect in this life, I am afraid.

The bridge was built under an agreement among three governments. The fact that three governments have to do with this bridge should be emphasized because the resolution before us suggests only that our federal government enter into negotiations with the provincial government. Deeply implicated in this subject are not only the federal and provincial governments but also the municipal government of Montreal. Under the original agreement both the provincial and the municipal governments contracted to underwrite for a period of forty years deficits arising from the operation of the bridge up to an amount not exceeding $150,000 a year. These agreements and these payments of the governments have had a rather checkered history. For some years the city of Montreal refused to pay a large part of their undertaking, their objection being based on what they felt was the high cost of constructing the bridge. They were sued and they lost. The city of Montreal is paid up at the present time.

The province of Quebec enjoyed a somewhat more favoured position because it was

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only very recently that the federal government moved to collect from the province the payments that were owing. I understand that the case has now been initiated.

Over the period since the Jacques Cartier bridge was constructed the city of Montreal has paid between $2 million and $3 million towards deficits on that bridge. This has been a charge against all the taxpayers of the city, and not only against those people who use the bridge on the one hand, nor on the other hand against all the residents of the province, as happens with our other bridges which are owned by the province, and on which there is no toll.

At the present time the Jacques Cartier bridge is being used beyond its capacity. Additional capacity could be constructed on the bridge, roadways for streetcar lines, and that sort of thing, but nothing seems to be done about it. That is one thing which might be brought to the attention of the government in the hope that the capacity of the bridge could be expanded. The upkeep of the bridge could be improved considerably. Finally, it might be mentioned that most toll operations or this kind have a rather interesting arrangement so that, as a vehicle goes through, it is counted off automatically, and at the end of the day there is a reckoning of some sort between the man who collects the money and the automatic machine which has counted the number of vehicles going through. There is nothing of this sort on the Jacques Cartier bridge. Doubtless it could lead to abuses with respect to the current collection of tolls.

The revenues from the Jacques Cartier bridge run in the neighbourhood of $1,225,000 a year. Thus, if these tolls are removed we shall have to find $1,225,000 a year somewhere to make up that revenue. That is a very great sum. I also have the privilege of sitting on the city council of Montreal. I feel quite sure that the city would not be particularly interested in acquiring or taking over any share of that amount of money.

On the other hand I most certainly and beyond any doubt favour the abolition of tolls on this particular bridge. I favour the abolition of the tolls on both bridges but I am referring particularly to the Jacques Cartier bridge for reasons previously outlined. I favour the abolition of tolls on this bridge because most bridges in the provinces are free. The existence of tolls on one or two bridges used by great numbers of people is most unfair to those people. I have given the example of the United States tourist coming into Canada and being greeted almost at the gateway to Canada by a tax collector with his hand out. The tolls charged on these bridges do give a bad impression to people

Bridges

entering Canada from the United States or those who are entering Montreal for the first time.

Another point is that these tolls place an unfair burden upon certain groups of people who have paid already for bridges and roads and other things through gasoline and automobile taxes paid to the province. I was talking recently with a gentleman in Montreal who has a large enterprise on the south shore of the river which entails considerable travel back and forth. He told me that in the course of a year his firm paid $20,000 in tolls on the Jacques Cartier bridge. It will be seen what a heavy burden is placed upon a small group of people or a small section of the community.

It must be remembered also that the federal government, or the harbours board which is its agent in this connection, owns no other bridge anywhere in Canada, at least as far as I can find out. I am glad to know that the government is almost out of the bridge business, but I would be happier if it were out of it completely. I cannot see any justification for the operation of bridges by the federal government. In this case the federal government is underwriting the deficits and the expenses of operating the bridge, which I understand to date have amounted to almost $7 million.

I have a suggestion to make, but before doing so I should like to cite one further figure. I understand that the bridge finally cost the government $18,500,000, and that up to the present it has been depreciated by some $3,500,000. This leaves the bridge with a book value, shall I say, of $15 million. The government carries it at $19 million because they have funded all the deficit, but that is just one of the peculiarities of government finance, where they consider that the longer they hold a thing the more valuable it becomes.

I am just wondering whether the government could not get out of the bridge business by selling the Jacques Cartier bridge-I make this suggestion in all seriousness-to the province of Quebec. After all, bridges and roads are the business of a province, not of the federal government. Despite the figures I have quoted I shall not venture to suggest a price, but judging from other government sales of war surplus material and that sort of thing perhaps ten cents on the dollar or even less would be adequate. I have seen a great deal of other material go through at absurdly low prices. Seeing the government in the bridge business like this makes me come to the conclusion that this is just another example of the "Howe" mentality of the gov-

ernment, how much can we get our hands on and how much can we control.

In closing I suggest that instead of merely abolishing the tolls on this bridge, which certainly should be done, and staying in the bridge business and thus saddling the taxpayers of Canada with an expenditure of $1,250,000 a year, the government should consider the advisability of selling this bridge or transferring it to the provincial government. In line with what the provincial government have done in connection with other bridges which they control they would probably move immediately to remove the tolls from this bridge. As I say, that is what has been done in the case of all other bridges under their control.

(Translation):

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

Maurice Boisvert

Liberal

Mr. Maurice Boisvert (Nicolet-Yamaska):

Mr. Speaker, even though I do not entirely subscribe to all the views expressed by the hon. member for St. Mary (Mr. Dupuis), I nevertheless wish to express my concurrence with regard to the advisability of entering into negotiations with the Quebec government with a view to concluding a mutual agreement providing for the abolition of toll charges on Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges.

I represent a constituency situated on the southeast shore of the St. Lawrence. My constituents earn their living through agriculture. It is therefore on behalf of the farmers of my constituency and of those of every other constituency whose livelihood depends on the sale of their farm products in Montreal that I wish to take part in this debate. On their behalf, then, I ask the government and the minister who is most kindly disposed, in principle, in this regard, to leave no stone unturned, in order to bring about the abolition of these toll charges which weigh heavily upon the agricultural population of the district lying to the southeast of Montreal.

I know that a large number of representations were made to me, at various times, either by agricultural societies, farmers associations of my constituency, or federations of agriculture representing several counties, urging me to work towards the abolition of these toll charges.

On the other hand I am well aware of the fact that the people of this country shou'd, in one way or another, pay for the public works they benefit from.

If ever an understanding can be arrived at in this connection with the province of Quebec, I would like some consideration to be given to the farmers of the province and, more particularly, to those whose living de-

pends on Montreal. The problem is most involved and difficult. There are a great many difficulties standing in the way but I am convinced that the Minister of Transport will find a way out and that, some day, we shall see these toll charges abolished.

We will, of course, be told in some quarters that in the United States toll charges are coming back into favour, that if we go over there we have to pay fairly large amounts of money to cover long distances on super highways. But we should not compare our economy and population to that of the United States. And should the final settlement of this matter make it necessary for us to retain these tolls, we might maintain them in the case of tourists. If we go to the United States, we have to pay what is asked. They, in turn, should have to pay us what is required for the maintenance of these bridges.

Those are the few remarks I wished to make. I have spoken with the greatest confidence in the minister and in the government; I believe that this problem can and will be solved to the satisfaction of the agricultural population of my constituency.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

Marcel Boivin

Liberal

Mr. Marcel Boivin (Shefford):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a few words on the resolution introduced by the hon. member for St. Mary (Mr. Dupuis).

He referred to various municipalities of the south shore and mentioned a tripartite agreement which used to be in force between the harbours board and the federal and provincial governments. My colleague referred in particular to the beautiful city of Montreal.

He also pointed out that the municipalities of Longueuil and St. Lambert had expanded. May I add that there is a great industrial centre in the constituency which I represent in this house, namely the city of Granby, which has doubled its population during the last ten years.

Mr. Speaker, the matter of toll charges has been brought up. I should like to use a phrase which is perhaps less polished: I would say that we, from the south shore, have an additional tax to pay, a tax which the people of the north shore do not have to pay. The farmers of the south shore, the merchant who comes to Montreal, the manufacturer, the transport companies must pay a tax which increases their operational costs.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that that notorious toll is not favourable to the development of the south shore. The citizens of Montreal and of the north shore, out of stubbornness and because they refuse to pay the toll, do not cross over to the south shore when they go for a drive.

Bridges

The member for Notre Dame de Grace (Mr. Hamilton) said a moment ago that bridges and roads should not be under the jurisdiction of the federal government. May I be permitted to congratulate the federal government for the initiative it took years ago of building that bridge with the aim of furthering the expansion of the south shore. May I remind the house, without further ado, that there is in the province of Quebec a certain man who likes to claim that anything proposed or done by Ottawa is wrong. That is why I wish to state that I share the opinion of my colleague, the member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Pinard), who said that the hon. Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) had shown good faith in his efforts to solve the problem.

Mr. Speaker, I am convinced that this debate, this afternoon, will prove not only to the province of Quebec but to the entire country that the federal government favours the removal of tolls.

(Text):

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

Auguste Vincent

Liberal

Mr. Auguste Vincent (Longueuil):

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a great pleasure for me to address the house on a question which has been the cause of debate for many years, and I am glad that in this maiden speech I am afforded an opportunity to ask on behalf of my own constituents, and on behalf of the two million people who inhabit the constituencies in the Montreal region, that once and for all free trade be established between Montreal and the south shore. In the international field we call for free trade among countries. Well, Mr. Speaker, I think free trade at home is one of the main objects at which we should aim. In the economic interests of all concerned I would urge that the tolls on the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges be abolished as soon as possible.

There is a difficult legal question involved here because the three parties concerned enacted legislation to enable the bridges to be constructed. Therefore these three parties must act on the question before the tolls on the bridges can be abolished. In this connection I would like to give a slogan to the powers that be, and that slogan is "Down with the tolls in 1954". I think that with all the good will shown on Christmas cards during the holiday season just ended all those concerned in abolishing tolls should get together and realize once and for all that they are not dealing with a personal question but with a public question, and in this regard they should act accordingly.

Taxes imposed by the city of Montreal, by the province of Quebec and by the federal government of Canada on the two million

Bridges

people living in the region of Montreal are all paid by the same people, and I would ask the powers that be when and if they discuss the possibility of abolishing the tolls on the bridge to consider this fact and remember that while they are quibbling over this question the people on the south shore are paying tolls.

I think I should tell the house why I am interested in this toll situation. I am interested geographically and also as a matter of principle. Geographically my constituency lies on the south shore of the St. Lawrence river and is separated from the city of Montreal by a toll curtain, and I would describe the people of my constituency as the south shore pioneers for whom the bridge has "tolled". I would again urge the powers that be to give serious consideration to the abolition of tolls in 1954, and I trust that this year the tolls will be taken off.

This toll situation is a question of national interest, because whenever a member from western Canada comes into the House of Commons and asks for a grant it is the labour and the earnings of the people in the region of Montreal, Toronto, and other large centres in Canada that pay for this grant. Confederation means co-operation among all the provinces of Canada, and consequently I would urge this confederation to institute free trade between the island of Montreal and the south shore. It is about time we had it, and I would ask all the parties concerned to live up to their obligations. I know the province of Quebec has not lived up to its obligation.

It is not for me to say to what extent the powers that be have defaulted in carrying out their obligations, but I can say that since 1946, when this question was first introduced in the house, no solution has been found. That is a long time. I am a practising lawyer in Montreal, and if a client comes to me and says, "I have a problem for you", I just cannot tell him that I can do nothing for him because there is a problem. Governments, whether provincial, federal, or municipal, are paid through the medium of taxes on the people to resolve the problems of the people.

This is a vital problem. As a representative of the people I ask the executive of the government of Canada to bring before the other powers that be the question of the bridge situation and, with good will, to find a solution for the problem. I say there is no reason why the people on the south shore should pay more for their meat. There is no reason why a man on the south shore should pay 50 or 60 cents more just because he has to cross the bridge. Furthermore I say that property values would rise enormously

if this problem were solved. I may be criticized for this statement, but I know that the chamber of commerce of Montreal, and also the junior chamber of commerce of the province of Quebec, have prepared a statement to that effect and there are figures to prove it. Consequently, in closing, I would ask the good will and co-operation of all. In ending his speeches Cato used to say delenda est Carthago. In ending my speech I will say, down with tolls in 1954.

(Translation):

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

Jean-Paul Deschatelets

Liberal

Mr. J. P. Deschatelets (Maisonneuve-Rosemont):

Mr. Speaker, the motion which is now before the house is certainly important. It concerns the welfare of several million people, either citizens of Montreal or of its suburbs, or the ever-increasing population of the south shore. A tripartite agreement, in regard to the Jacques Cartier bridge, has been concluded between the harbours board, the Quebec government and the city of Montreal. As for the Victoria bridge, it obviously does not any longer fill the purpose for which it was built. Moreover, I should add that it is exceedingly dangerous.

There is one point I should like to raise here and it is the fact that thousands of car owners today do not hesitate to go out of their way in order to cross the Jacques Cartier bridge. So that this district is not served by two bridges, but at the most by one and a half.

Mr. Speaker, this situation has become intolerable and it would be a good thing to emphasize the following two points: The government of the province of Quebec has failed to meet its obligations in not paying the part it had pledged to pay.

Moreover, the city of Montreal did not deem it advisable, as far as I know, to enter into negotiations in order to bring about the removal of tolls on Jacques Cartier bridge. The federal government has been criticized in certain quarters as regards the tolls on these bridges. The people concerned should know that the Quebec government has failed to meet its obligations and that this failure to meet the obligations laid down in the contract now gives rise to an uneasiness which makes it more difficult to settle this problem.

It seems to me that the city of Montreal, directly responsible for the well-being of the population served by these two bridges, should have entered into negotiations with this government before now. It did not deem it advisable to do so.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that we have to take into account the needs and the wishes of the citizens of Montreal and of the south

shore. The time has come, it seems, to settle this matter. I have no solution to offer, but I think that any step that would make it possible to abolish tolls on these two bridges should be taken.

I wanted to take part in this debate in order to put before this house the feelings of the electors of Maisonneuve-Rosemont, who feel that the time has come to study the means of abolishing tolls on these two bridges. I congratulate the bon. member who has introduced this motion, which I think is absolutely necessary and timely having regard to the present-day needs of the population of Montreal and of the south shore.

(Text):

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

Louis-Joseph-Lucien Cardin

Liberal

Mr. Lucien Cardin (Richelieu-Vercheres):

should like to join with hon. members who are now asking again that the government consider abolishing the tolls on the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges. I do not need to repeat any of the arguments that have been made or to refer to any of the problems or inconveniences-or even the mental anguish-that are experienced by a large population in and around Montreal every time they want to get in or out of the city. Hon. members who have spoken on the subject this afternoon and those who in past years have brought to the attention of the government the different problems and difficulties which exist in connection with tolls have done so in such a way that it is now impossible for the government to be unaware of the situation that exists.

I am sure I cannot add any new facts that can assist the government in dealing with this matter promptly. Nor do I believe there is any serious opposition in this house concerning the proposition that has been made by the hon. member for St. Mary (Mr. Dupuis). I am also optimistic enough to believe that the government has no objection to the abolition of the tolls on both these bridges. As a matter of fact I recall that early last spring the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) made a statement in which he said the government was contemplating a meeting with the provincial government and the city of Montreal in connection with the structural changes that will have to be made on the Jacques Cartier bridge as a result of the St. Lawrence seaway project, and that during this discussion consideration would be given to the question of abolishing the tolls on the Jacques Cartier bridge.

There is one thing I should like to urge on the government-this is one of the reasons I took this opportunity to speak-and it is this. If they foresee any delay in this meeting with the province, in connection with facilitating the St. Lawrence seaway project, 83276-69J

Bridges

I believe it is the duty of the government to convoke that meeting with the province and the city of Montreal for the sole purpose of clearing away the difficulty with regard to abolishing the tolls on both bridges.

A great many people seem to think that the agreement in connection with the Jacques Cartier bridge is a three-way agreement with the provincial government, the municipal government and the federal government. But there is a fourth party to this agreement. That fourth party is the people who have been paying for the bridge for years and years, and who I believe have done their share in maintaining the bridge. I believe they also should have recognition at this time.

In my opinion the government should consider this problem on its merits. Of course, if the government foresees the meeting with the province in the near future, then the matter can be dealt with. But if there is to be any delay in meeting with the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal to discuss this problem, I believe the government should convoke a special meeting in order to settle any problem that may exist with regard to the province of Quebec or the city of Montreal, and in order to do some serious work on this particular question.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Patrick Healy

Liberal

Mr. T. P. Healy (St. Ann):

I should like

to say a word, Mr. Speaker, since I am a Montreal member representing a district which the Victoria bridge enters. I should be glad to see this fine one hundred year old structure finally free from taxes, and 1 support the resolution moved by the hon. member.

(Translation):

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

J.-Georges Ratelle

Liberal

Mr. J. G. Ralelle (Lafontaine):

Mr. Speaker, in my capacity as member for the north shore constituency closest to that of St. Mary, which is represented in this house by the mover of this motion, I would feel remiss in my duty were I not to take part in this debate.

Now, before I go on to anything else, I should like to point out that in directing certain remarks to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) a while ago, some of us seemed to have neglected to find out if Victoria bridge was entirely paid for, if moreover there was an agreement between the province of Quebec, the city of Montreal and the harbours board (i.e. the government) or if certain sums were still owing to the federal government. There is some misunderstanding on that score, but I do believe that assuming good will on the part of the federal government, who have not failed to show it up to now, there should be some way of forcing the provincial government to live up to its obligations and to come to an agreement if possible with the city of Montreal. This would greatly

Bridges

improve traffic conditions between the two shores. As a matter of fact there are some days when it is impossible to transport goods to and from Montreal, a situation which causes great inconvenience to those who live on the south shore.

Moreover, at rush hours it takes over an hour to go from Montreal to the south shore. At the present time certain important undertakings are being carried out in our district and so as not to delay their completion we have asked certain members to help us to obtain the abolition of these tolls on Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges. This would, I believe, be doing a real service to the people not only of Montreal and the south shore, but also to those tourists who come to see us. They would be all the more interested in seeing our city if they did not have to wait so long before entering it.

For all these reasons I support entirely the proposal made by my colleague and seconded by the member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Pinard). Both of them made an eloquent plea in favour of the abolition of toll charges on these bridges, which is very important, for we all know that it is in the interest of the population to be able, in due course, to cross over to the south shore, and from there back to the north shore, without having to pay any toll charge.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate, particularly after hearing the excellent speeches delivered this afternoon. I think the house should be grateful to the hon. member for St. Mary (Mr. Dupuis) for having placed on the order paper this resolution, which, by the way, is not new, as the house has had the opportunity to consider it on various occasions before. I therefore thank the hon. member for his remarks, as well as all the other members from constituencies surrounding the city of Montreal, for their splendid contribution to this debate.

This afternoon, I would have liked to add something new to all that has been said with regard to this discussion on the abolition of tolls on the Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges, which cross the St. Lawrence, and link the south and north shores at Montreal. I am sorry to say, however, that my remarks this afternoon will in part be a repetition of what I have already said. There will be something new, to a small extent, but nothing substantial because, since the matter was last discussed in this house, nothing has happened following negotiations that might

have taken place between the parties concerned.

However, I think that, as an answer to those who argue that there should be no distinction made between the two bridges, I must say that, if these bridges are to be considered together with regard to tolls, it will, as I see it, be very difficult to abolish the tolls on Victoria bridge without removing them on the Jacques Cartier bridge. And, if we were to abolish them on one, without settling the whole matter immediately, I think it would give rise to a great many difficulties. At any rate, the hon. members are quite as conversant with the situation as I am myself, and those who contributed to this debate have shown it.

First of all, they have drawn a distinction between the tripartite agreement between the municipality of Montreal, the province of Quebec and the national harbours board, on the one hand, and the position with regard to Victoria bridge on the other hand. This tripartite agreement, we should remember, has been approved by the house.

As a matter of fact it has also been approved by all the governments concerned, namely the city of Montreal, the province of Quebec and the federal government, which has passed an act to that effect. That is why I doubt seriously that the tolls could be abolished without a similar enactment by the present government. Besides, it was decided, at that time, that an act was needed to give approval for the construction of a bridge. Consequently I feel that we cannot eliminate tolls without another agreement being signed which would have to be approved by the house.

Then what are the facts at the present time? Here they are: two of the parties involved, the city of Montreal and the province of Quebec, have refused, one of them for a certain period at least, to fulfil the obligations assumed under this agreement. As a matter of fact, during five years the city of Montreal had not honoured its undertaking to pay one-third of the deficits, one-third of the amount necessary for the maintenance of the bridge. So the government or at least the national harbours board had to take legal action. Those proceedings have been concluded after a period of litigation of over two years. They have been settled in favour of the national harbours board and the city of Montreal has now honoured its obligations through the payment of nearly one million dollars, made up of about $750,000 in arrears plus the interest.

Bridges

The same does not apply to the province of Quebec. I would like now to reply to the hon. member for Notre Dame de Grace (Mr. Hamilton) who claimed that some preference had been given to the province of Quebec since no proceedings had been taken against it. Such is not the case, I must say. According to the opinion given by the Department of Justice it has been decided to start proceedings against the city of Montreal first, and to consider the other matter after the litigation between the national harbours board and the city of Montreal had been settled. That dispute with the city of Montreal has been settled only very recently and there was no need therefore to consider the position of the province of Quebec until a few months ago. I wrote to the provincial minister concerned. I reminded him of what had happened and asked him what attitude he would take under the circumstances. I do not remember exactly what he replied but at any rate the province of Quebec has not paid the third- of the cost of maintenance as it was supposed to do according to the tripartite agreement which has been mentioned during this debate. We are now considering the course, the proceedings which we should take.

Now, as far as the principle of elimination of tolls is concerned, there can be no difficulty, no disagreement, because we all favour, I am sure, the elimination of tolls. Everyone, including all members who have taken part in these debates, has said that it is unfair towards a certain part of the people, and more particularly towards the people of Montreal to levy tolls in that way. But what has not been said and what should be said is that if we decide to abolish those tolls, at whose expense shall we do so? Should we do away with those tolls at the sole expense of the federal government, that is at the expense of the national harbours board, or should we eliminate them following an agreement? I believe that everyone agrees that if tolls have to go, they should be eliminated only after agreement between the various parties concerned.

As I stated a while ago, it is parliament that authorized the division of operating costs of that bridge and, in my opinion, it is also parliament that should decide the manner in which those tolls are to be abolished.

I should add that an official of the city of Montreal, who very much desired to settle this matter, has, I believe, consulted certain of the members who have spoken this afternoon and then has discussed this matter with me. Unfortunately we came to no agreement. In any event this was not the object of these discussions. The object of this visit was to

begin preliminary talks with a view to determining whether it would be worth while to prepare an agreement which would lead to the abolition of these tolls. I must say that this conversation was quite pleasant, quite interesting and, also, quite friendly. I believe it would be possible, by continuing these discussions, to arrive some day at a satisfactory solution to this problem.

Now, as far as the Victoria bridge is concerned, this afternoon we saw what happened during the discussion of certain matters. The house will recall what I said in reply to a question raised by a member, in regard to the Canadian National, as well as the attitude taken by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent). Unfortunately or fortunately the organization known as the Canadian National is not a division of the Department of Transport. It is a crown agency, a crown corporation whose function it is to administer the affairs of the Canadian National and to do so in the interest of all its shareholders who are the Canadian people in general. Now, the directors of the Canadian National are in favour of abolishing toll charges on Victoria bridge, but under certain conditions. These conditions I have already mentioned in this house and I mention them again, referring to what I said on page 570 of Hansard of February 22, 1951:

As regards Victoria bridge, I have already informed the house that, on the condition mentioned in Hansard, the Canadian National Railways were ready to consider the removal of tolls now levied. The Canadian National has already indicated its approval of legislation that would do away with tolls for non-commercial passenger vehicles and for passengers. The removal of tolls is based on the contingency of a satisfactory agreement with the province. This agreement would compensate the Canadian National for monetary losses sustained and would also protect its interests.

The Victoria bridge situation is comparable to that of Jacques Cartier bridge, for if the Canadian National loses one million or several millions in revenue derived from these tolls, it must be compensated. And if we were able to tell the Canadian National, "Tomorrow, you will abolish tolls on Victoria bridge", they would say, "Very well, we will do it, you can order us to do so, but in the name of the shareholders of Canada, we ask that you pay us the amount we have been collecting until now". It is a very large amount. And the house, which has to approve each year the amount necessary to run the Canadian National, would then have to vote that additional money which would come from the revenues of the country and would be paid by all the shareholders. That is why I repeat what I said at the beginning, that it is very difficult to make a distinction between

Bridges

the policy tor the removal of tolls on one bridge, on the one hand, and the policy for the removal of tolls on the other bridge, on the other hand. I believe that our policy should be the same in each case and that the matter should be settled at the same time for both bridges.

(Text):

Here, Mr. Speaker, I should like to pause for a moment to deal with one or two matters that were raised by the hon. member for Notre Dame de Grace (Mr. Hamilton). The hon. member is, as he has himself said, a member of the city council of the city of Montreal, and he indicated this afternoon a knowledge of this question that I was pleased to see. It was evident from his remarks that he had given the subject some thought. But there were one or two matters dealt with here that I am afraid do not accord with the facts.

For instance, it was suggested that the federal government get out of the bridge business. Well, no one would be happier than myself to see the federal government, or its agency the national harbours board, get out of the bridge business. But had it not been for the national harbours board or its predecessor, the Montreal harbour commissioners, there would be no Jacques Cartier bridge in the city of Montreal. It was thanks to the fact that the predecessor of the national harbours board agreed to provide the funds that a bridge was constructed. Therefore it seems to me that the citizens of Montreal should be-and I am sure they are-grateful for the action taken by the federal government at that time in connection with the construction of this bridge.

So there will be no doubt about the figures, I should like to place on Hansard the position in so far as the Jacques Cartier bridge is concerned. After all, the suggestion has been made by an hon. member that we should sell the bridge to the province of Quebec. That is not a new suggestion. It was suggested as far back as ten years ago, and I am sure that is what is in the mind of the negotiators who will deal with the province and the municipality, namely the sale of the bridge either to the province or to the city. But there are two criteria by which we must be guided, first, what did the bridge cost the taxpayers of Canada in the first place? According to the figures that have been prepared for me by the national harbours board, the debt to the government in respect to the original capital cost is $16,976,000. The debt due to the government in respect of deficits is $6,489,000, and the debt to the government

on account of the accrued interest on the deficit debt is $5,019,000, making a total of $28,485,000, roughly speaking.

Following the argument made by an hon. member, whose constituency I have forgotten, that physical assets of this nature have increased in value over the years, there is no doubt that the physical asset known as the Jacques Cartier bridge has increased tremendously in value. In fact it has increased to the extent that the national harbours board feels that today, after allowing for depreciation and taking right of way, at original cost, the present value of the bridge is $37 million.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

That is replacement value?

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Yes. The position as I understand it is quite clear. The debt to the government is $28 million, and either we sell it for that figure or we give it away at a nominal cost. If there are to be negotiations between this government and other parties, these are the two lamp posts between which negotiations must take place. In other words, I do not think anybody in this house will suggest for a moment that we deed the bridge to the province or to the municipality for a nominal sum, and I would not suggest for a moment to the house that if we are to settle this question we insist upon a payment of $28,485,000, because if I did I do not think we would ever settle this question as between these two posts. I think between them there is a possibility for discussion.

Some hon. members have said earlier-and their contention was correct-that in the case of the Quebec bridge an amicable solution was arrived at. That bridge is owned by the federal government. It is entrusted to the Canadian National Railways for operation, and the province of Quebec and the Canadian National Railways came to an understanding without the slightest difficulty. I hold the terms of that understanding in my hand but I do not want to put them on Hansard because they have already been made public; the house is familiar with them. But here was an instance where there was a desire on the part of the two parties concerned to come to an understanding on a very complex and difficult problem, because there it was a question of the abandonment of one rail line and the substitution of an asphalt coating over the line, together with the establishment of a lighting system, a signal system, over the bridge and the change of abutments, which was a complicated matter. It took some time; but the powers that be at Quebec and the president of the Canadian National Railways had no difficulty in arriving at an agreement, and I am confident that-

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

Can the minister give us a brief outline of the nature of the agreement?

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Yes. In return for the Canadian National Railways giving up its second track over the Quebec bridge the province agreed to bear the total cost of relocating the railway track and also the first and subsequent costs of maintaining and operating a C.T.C. signaling installation system; that is the system known as centralized traffic control on the Canadian National Railways at the end of the bridge on either side of the St. Lawrence river.

Then again, the province agrees to bear all the expense of constructing and of subsequently maintaining the roadway on the bridge and approaches thereto. The province agrees to provide at its own expense any lighting necessary for the roadway. The cost of all structural steel or other material which will have to be added to the bridge on account of the construction of the highway shall be borne by the province. There are a number of other provisions under which the province undertakes and agrees to save harmless the minister in his capacity as representative of the owners of the bridge from any damage or the like that may be caused because of the construction or the maintenance of the asphalt coating.

These are the reasons why I commend the hon. members from the Montreal area who have pointed out that since it was possible to arrive at an agreement there, surely it is possible to arrive at an agreement in this instance.

(Translation):

Coming back to the resolution, it reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of entering into negotiations with the government of the province of Quebec for the purpose of reaching a mutual agreement for the abolition of tolls on the Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges.

The hon. member has somewhat modified the terms of his resolution, and rightly so, I am sure. It is not quite similar to the other resolutions that have been previously discussed in this house; if we read it carefully, we see that the government is requested to consider the advisability of entering into negotiations with the province. This has already been done. The Minister of Transport has himself made a statement, which was approved by the government, to the effect that he would be prepared to welcome any suggestion from the municipality or the province of Quebec, with a view to reaching an understanding. One of the parties interested has already benefited from this statement. As I was saying a while

Bridges

ago, one of the representatives of the city of Montreal has already opened preliminary negotiations with the minister. It was a bit more difficult I am sure in the case of the other party, because in my opinion it owed a large sum of money to the federal government in connection with the operation of Jacques Cartier bridge.

What the hon. member requests, in fact, is the opportunity to open negotiations. As I have said, the government has already examined this problem and has made a subsequent statement. I respectfully and humbly submit to the hon. member that the resolution need not go any further. Since the request has already been made, since moreover one of the parties has already submitted its representations, then it seems to me that it might be possible to accept further statements from this third party when it will have fulfilled its obligation toward the national harbours board.

As I indicated at the beginning, it seems to me that I must take roughly the same attitude as we have always taken regarding this question, namely that it would be impossible for us, on our own initiative, to abolish the toll without being unfair to the other Canadian taxpayers and without submitting such a decision to the house.

I would have liked to add that another matter is involved. Now that the traffic has considerably increased on the two bridges, it becomes necessary to spend considerable amounts of money not only on the Victoria bridge but also on the Jacques Cartier bridge. As a matter of fact, there is some talk about a new right of way for vehicles the cost of which would be at least one million dollars and there is also some talk about a ramp on St. Helen island which would cost $200,000 or $250,000; that would make for this bridge a total expenditure of $1,250,000. The addition of another vehicular road on Victoria bridge would cost a great deal of money.

Therefore, one should not advocate the immediate removal of the toll without giving particular consideration to all the facts I mentioned here this afternoon.

It seems to me that the aim the hon. member had in sight when he introduced his resolution this afternoon has been achieved. If he believes it to be for the common good, he might come to the conclusion that it would be advisable to withdraw his resolution.

(Text) :

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, one of the advantages and privileges of being a member of parliament is that through years of experience in

Bridges

the House of Commons one learns a great deal about his own country, particularly those parts of it far away from home. I have been interested across the years in the debate which has taken place on a number of occasions with respect to tolls on the Victoria bridge and the Jacques Cartier bridge in the greater Montreal area.

I note that a number of those who have taken part in the debate today are hon. members who took part on previous occasions. The hon. member for St. Mary (Mr. Dupuis) moved the motion today, and he had the support of the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Pinard). I believe the last time this matter was before -the house the tables were reversed; it was the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville who moved the motion, and on that occasion he had the support of the hon. member for St. Mary.

He also had the support of the then hon. member for Matapedia-Matane, Mr. A. Phileas Cote, who did not come back to the house after the last election, and also the support of another Mr. Cote, namely the hon. member whose resignation from this house was announced today, Mr. Paul Cote, who I understand has been appointed to the superior court of the province of Quebec. Perhaps it would not be too far out of order for me in just a passing moment to offer my congratulations to our former colleague upon his elevation to the bench.

Other members who have been here from time to time from the greater Montreal area and have taken part in debates on this question have made it very clear that this is a most important issue to the people of Montreal. After listening to as much of the debate today as I could understand and from my reading of debates on former occasions I feel that the request by those members that steps be taken leading to the abolition of these tolls should be met. I regret that I do not understand the French language as well as I wish I did, but I think I understand it well enough to realize that in his closing words the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) was making the usual suggestion to the sponsor of the motion that perhaps it might now be withdrawn.

I hope that course will not be followed on this occasion as it happens all too often in connection with motions moved by hon. members on the government side. In respect to this motion I would suggest to the hon. member for St. Mary that he not withdraw it. As a matter of fact I am not sure that those of us who feel the motion should be supported should give the unanimous consent required for the withdrawal of a motion

of this kind. I think it should be voted on; I think it should be passed by this house.

I know the Minister of Transport will say, as he has said on former occasions, that this is a matter that calls for negotiation among the three bodies concerned, namely the national harbours board which is an emanation of the federal government, the provincial government and the municipal government of the city of Montreal. Nevertheless I suggest it would strengthen the hand of the federal government or the national harbours board in connection with this matter if today a motion of this kind could be passed by this house. It seems to me that the position of those who argue for the abolition of these tolls is weakened when motions are placed before the house and then withdrawn simply on the basis of the assurance that the minister will do his best to see that something is done about the matter.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, this matter was last debated-I do not think it has come up in the meantime, but if so I stand subject to correction on that point-on February 22, 1951, and on that occasion it was the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Pinard) who asked that the house give consent for the motion to be withdrawn. I would remind hon. members that we did not feel in that sort of mood that day and we did not give consent, and so the motion was lost, the government expressing its opposition to it. But on that occasion, when the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville was asking that consent be given to the withdrawal of this motion, he indicated certain conditions. He said this, as will be found at page 571 of Hansard dated February 22, 1951;

In withdrawing my resolution I wish to say that if nothing has been done by that time, I shall propose the same resolution next year.

Well, next year was 1952, two years ago, and it would seem that nothing has yet been done. The people of Montreal are still being required to pay tolls at these two bridges; therefore I suggest to the hon. member for St. Mary and the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville, and to others interested in this matter, that surely they should have learned their lesson. Surely permitting this motion to be defeated or having it withdrawn is not serving the purpose they have been assured it would serve. Indeed, tolls are still being exacted from the people of Montreal and I would suggest to them as a matter of tactics, if I may put it that way, that if they want to strengthen their case they should round up all the support they can in the party to which most of them seem to belong and try to get this motion passed.

For my part, I think it should be passed. I do not deny that the party to which I belong has not as large a membership or is as strong in the city of Montreal as I think it should be, but I can say that our people in the city of Montreal have been in touch with us about this very motion respecting these tolls on these bridges and have urged us in the name of the little people of Montreal to support this motion for the abolition of these tolls.

So I take this stand and support this motion and urge that it be passed, not just from my own reading of debates that have taken place and from the attention I have paid to the debate that has taken place today, but because of representations made to us by the people in Montreal who share our point of view and who feel it is unfair that these tolls should continue to be paid.

So, Mr. Speaker, I urge most strongly that the house pass this motion. I am not going to have a chance to record my vote for it if the hon. member for St. Mary responds to the request of the Minister of Transport and agrees to withdraw it. But if we do not give consent to its withdrawal it will go to a vote; and if it does so, I hope this time it will be passed. The last time we refused consent for withdrawal the motion was defeated at the will or desire of the government, but I still fail to see why the government should regard it as embarrassing to have a motion of this kind passed. What does it say? It reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of entering into negotiations with the government of the province of Quebec for the purpose of reaching a mutual agreement for the abolition of tolls on the Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges.

Now, what is there in that motion that could be embarrassing to the government? I suggest that it would strengthen the government in any attempt to negotiate with the province of Quebec or the city of Montreal on this point. It would let these jurisdictions know that members of this house representing all parts of Canada agreed with the members from the city of Montreal that the time for these tolls to be abolished certainly had come.

I listened today, Mr. Speaker, to the figures the Minister of Transport placed on the record, and I have read the remarks he has made in the past, particularly with respect to the loss of revenue that would result so far as the national harbours board is concerned if tolls were abolished on the Jacques Cartier bridge. I have also noted that he has referred to the loss of revenue the Canadian National Railways would suffer if tolls were 83276-70

Bridges

abolished on the Victoria bridge. I understand he is not in a position to indicate what that amount would be because that type of revenue is buried in the general revenues of the Canadian National Railways. But any public project, be it a highway, canal, ordinary road, aid to navigation or aid to aviation, any project of that kind costs money and we enter into these things because we feel they are necessary public services; they are necessary to the progress and development of the country, and they are necessary for the wellbeing and the welfare of the people of Canada as a whole.

Now, there are some of these things for which something corresponding to a toll might be said to be in existence. I mentioned, for example, aids to aviation. There are landing fees that pay part of their cost, but they do not pay the whole cost. We spend a great deal of public money providing aids to aviation; we spend a great deal of public money providing aids to navigation, and we also spend a great deal of money on highways. We are spending federal money, in co-operation with the provinces, on a trans-Canada highway, but it is not proposed that there be tolls on the trans-Canada highway in order to get that money back. We regard the country as that much better off because we have these aids to aviation and these aids to navigation, and because we have or will have some day a trans-Canada highway.

I submit that in the same vein conditions are better in the Montreal area because we have these bridges, and we should not be told that the moneys that have been spent in producing them are moneys that have to be recovered. They are expenditures and investments in improving the living conditions and means of transportation in the Montreal area, and I think we get our value for them as a nation in the very fact that we have these aids to transportation, if I may call them that.

Therefore I think, bearing in mind the large number of people, and indeed the very large percentage of the population of Canada residing in the Montreal area, it is not at all unfair for us to urge that the necessary steps should be taken to abolish tolls so far as that area is concerned.

A good deal has been said in the course of this debate and in the course of other debates about the part played in these things by the other two jurisdictions. I understand that the city of Montreal is regarded as having reneged a bit on its part of the agreement, and of course when you get negotiation between the federal government and the government of the province of Quebec

Bridges

there is always a little game of each blaming the other. But in the meantime the ordinary citizens of Montreal are being called upon to pay these annoying tolls, these amounts which seem to be in the nature of nuisance taxes. Tolls on bridges and tolls on roads were part of the ordinary course of things a century or two ago, but we have moved on; we have made progress, and we recognize that the day of that sort of thing has gone. I think it is unfair to the citizens of that great metropolitan area of Montreal that these tolls should be continued.

If I were one of the members from Montreal, with the keen interest they have in this question, I certainly would not be satisfied just to be given the same explanations, the same figures and the same assurances that have been given from time to time back over the years. When the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville introduced this matter in 1951, he said it had first been introduced in 1946. That is eight years ago. Indeed, in 1951 the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville made the statement that this motion had been on the order paper every session from 1946 on. It has not reached the debate stage in every one of those sessions, but every time it has come up we have had the same approach to it as that which was made today on both sides. We have had the members from the city of Montreal bringing out some of the same arguments they have made today, namely that the citizens of Montreal are entitled to free passage over these bridges.

The members who speak on it are conversant with the arrangements among the three jurisdictions. They are conversant with all the figures. They lay their case before the minister. The minister stands up and expresses sympathy with them. He understands their position. He says that nobody would like more than he or the federal government to get out of this business of collecting tolls, but in the end all he can give is the assurance that they will continue to press for the kind of negotiations which he hopes may some day solve the problem. He sets up as lamp posts the question of giving the bridge away for nothing or trying to get out of it the $28 million that has been put into it. Having set up these lamp posts he asks the members who brought this matter before the house to accept his assurance that efforts will be continued to bring about the kind of negotiations that may result in something.

How many times do the members from Montreal have to go through this kind of experience before they realize that they are not getting anywhere by this method of simply discussing it in the house and then

withdrawing the motion? I suggest that to have the motion voted on in a formal division, and defeated if necessary-but having on the record who the members are in this house who support this proposition-would do more good than will be done by having it withdrawn. What would do them even more good, of course, would be to have the motion passed. I hope some of us will be able to persuade the Minister of Transport and the government that there is nothing that will embarrass the government by having this motion passed.

I wish to indicate my wholehearted support of the plea that has been made by the members who have spoken on this matter today. I hope they will continue to press for it. If the matter reaches a conclusion before the day ends, I hope they will let us have a vote on it so we may see where the house stands. I certainly will give the motion my support. I am prepared to vote for it. I think the votes that would be recorded in this house for the motion would strengthen the hands of those who, in my view, take the correct position that no longer should there be these tolls on the Victoria bridge and the Jacques Cartier bridge in Montreal.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
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CCF

Colin Cameron

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

Mr. Colin Cameron (Nanaimo):

Mr. Speaker, when this matter was first brought up in the house this afternoon I was under the impression that it was the first occasion on which I had heard of the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges. After some investigation, however, I discovered that my first sight of the Victoria bridge, on which apparently the unfortunate inhabitants of that area pay tolls, was no less than 46 years ago when, as quite a young boy, I first entered Canada. One of the first sights I saw in the Dominion of Canada was the famous Quebec bridge. Not long afterward that particular bridge collapsed. It was rebuilt, and to my astonishment today I discovered that they are still charging tolls upon that bridge.

In view of that fact it would seem to me that the hon. member for St. Mary would have to take with a grain of salt the minister's assurance of the utmost consideration for his plea, if it has taken them 46 years to consider the matter of abolishing tolls with respect to the Victoria bridge-and I presume the government have been considering abolishing tolls at intervals during those 46 years-and they still have not abolished them. It would seem to me that the hon. member for St. Mary had better view the minister's assurance with a considerable amount of misgiving.

I do not think there can be any doubt that the Victoria bridge has been paid for several times over. I do not imagine that even the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) would suggest that there is very much owing on the

Victoria bridge. I noticed that on a previous occasion in this house the minister made the statement that the tolls from that bridge in 1950 amounted to $1,200,000. It was also stated at that time that the new arrangements with regard to the financing of the Jacques Cartier bridge had resulted in a reduction of the carrying charges, which had been somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1 million a year, to somewhere in the neighbourhood of $500,000 a year.

I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that even since 1950 the government has been receiving $1,200,000-and presumably for some years prior to that date- that it has already accumulated quite a healthy surplus with regard to the carrying charges of the Jacques Cartier bridge. Even if we were to consider the carrying charges for the next 15 years-I believe the period of this new financial arrangement was until 1969, some 15 years from now-the sum of $7,500,000 would be the total amount the government of Canada would be out of pocket if we did not take into consideration the surplus amounts they have been collecting over a long period of years; that is, surplus over the carrying charges on that particular bridge.

I have been rather amazed to find that, leading into the largest city in Canada, we have two bridges upon which we still preserve the antediluvian arrangement of tolls. In the city of Vancouver we were in a similar position until quite recently, and there was a continual outcry. It may be that British Columbians cry more shrilly to their provincial government than the Quebec members cry to the federal government; or it may be, of course, that provincial governments have more acute hearing than have federal cabinet ministers. But certainly the tolls on the Pattullo bridge were abolished as a result of public outcry at the fact that the city of Vancouver was virtually isolated from anybody who did not have the toll in his pocket; it was not possible to get to the city of Vancouver from the rest of the province unless you came from the best part of the province, namely from Vancouver island, in which case you paid your toll to the C.P.R. The toll on the Pattullo bridge was abolished at the same time as the toll which had been imposed on the Alexander bridge at Spuzzum in the Fraser canyon, and in that case I may say there was not even a suggestion on the part of the government that there was any basis for preserving the toll on the Alexander bridge. The cost of this bridge had been refunded out of tolls time and again. Finally the tolls were abolished, and we now have easy access to the city of Vancouver.

83276-70i

Bridges

Like the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, I certainly hope the hon. member for St. Mary will not withdraw this motion. I would suggest this to him that in August of this year practically every Liberal member in Canada told his audiences at political rallies that one of the major reasons they should vote Liberal was that the Liberals could get things done. Certainly they were going to win the election, and Liberal members had the ear of the government. I am going to suggest to the hon. member that he will have to prove to his constituents that his pipe line to the minister's ear is as adequate as I fancy he suggested to his constituents it was during the election campaign.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

A thirty-inch.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
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CCF

Colin Cameron

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

Mr. Cameron (Nanaimo):

Is it a thirty-inch line? We shall know, after this debate is over and the motion comes to a vote or has been withdrawn, just what we are to believe. We shall know what weight we are to give the minister's assurance that careful consideration will be given to this plea to which he has listened, I would have thought ad nauseam. I would have thought the minister would have been anxious to abolish these tolls, if for no other reason than to avoid having to listen, session after session, to the plea of the Montreal people to have their area brought into the twentieth century and out of the era of darkness.

Topic:   BRIDGES
Subtopic:   VICTORIA AND JACQUES CARTIER
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF TOLLS
Permalink

January 13, 1954