May 23, 1961

CCF

William Arnold Peters (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this bill. I am appreciative of the remarks made by the hon. member who has just taken his seat in regard to the support that this bridge is receiving from the people in the area of Three Rivers itself. As hon. members know, this bill was first introduced in the Senate in June, 1956, by Senator Dessureault and received the support of the government of Canada at that time. The responsibility put on the people in that area was that the bridge had to be built within a period of three years. It is gratifying to know that that responsibility has been accepted and, because of the spirit of co-operation among the citizens of that area, there is some hope that the bridge will be built in the very near future. The bridge will be a large project. It is expected it will be 6,500 feet long if the original plans of Dr. Pratley are proceeded with. Including the approaches, it will have a total length of

9,000 feet.

Some question has been raised both in the area itself and in the Senate since the original bill was first passed with respect to whether sufficient consideration has been given to increasing the width of the bridge because of the increase in the number of motor cars that will be using it. According to present plans, the bridge will be 26 feet wide which means 90205-6-3321

there will be only two traffic lanes 13 feet in width. The suggestion has been made that a larger project should be considered involving a four-lane rather than a two-lane highway.

It is my hope and that of my colleagues that the bridge will be proceeded with as soon as possible. According to the last estimate, it is going to cost approximately $12J million, with a maximum anticipated cost of $15 million. Over a period of years this bridge has been promised by politicians in provincial and federal elections in every constituency that will be served by the bridge. I accept the word of the hon. member for Drummond-Arthabaska (Mr. Boulanger) that the radio stations and civic-minded people in the area are interested in the bridge and that they have probably forgotten some of the election promises that have been made and are going to go ahead and build a bridge themselves. There are some questions with respect to this project that I think should be answered. The first one I should like to raise is why it should be necessary for the bridge to be authorized by the federal government. I am aware of some of the reasons but they do not seem to apply-

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Subtopic:   ST. LAWRENCE RIVER BRIDGE
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PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Woolliams:

Do you know all of them?

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CCF

William Arnold Peters (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Peters:

I am not from the province of Alberta and I am not a Social Crediter. I do not talk about anything and everything like the hon. member does. There are some things I know and some things about which I should like to be informed. I will at least stand up in my place and ask my questions in a parliamentary manner. Certain questions were raised in the Senate in relation to this matter and Senator Methot quoted certain parts of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. As quoted by him on page 478 of the Senate debates, section 10, subsection 1, of that act reads as follows:

The governor in council may make such orders or regulations as he deems expedient for navigation purposes respecting any work to which this part applies or of which the plan and site are approved under any act of the parliament of Canada.

Section 11 reads as follows:

No approval shall be given under this part of the site or plans of any bridge over the river St. Lawrence.

Section 3 reads as follows:

Except so much of this part as relates to rebuilding or repairing any lawful work, nothing hereinafter in this part contained applies to any work constructed under the authority of any act of the parliament of Canada.

The problem is this. If the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Woolliams) has anything to say, Mr. Speaker, I would be quite happy if he would rise in his seat and say it. I do not

Private Bills

think he adds anything to parliamentary decorum by speaking from his seat. There is an indication in section 11 that the St. Lawrence river may not be an international body of water at all points, but I presume that because of the hazards that might have been created in days gone by the St. Lawrence river was placed in a class different from other navigable waters with respect to the building of bridges over it. Section 11 of the Navigable Waters Protection Act makes it necessary for the people of Three Rivers and the surrounding area to come to parliament to ask for permission to build this bridge whereas such permission would not have to be sought in most other parts of Canada.

I believe this has worked a hardship on the people of that area and has made it possible for politicians in the federal and provincial field to use the bridge as a political football or political offering at election time because of the fact that the federal government has within its jurisdiction the power to grant or not to grant the right to construct a bridge in this area. Furthermore, there is the fact that the federal government through the Department of Transport and particularly through the board of transport commissioners is in a position to grant the necessary approval of plans that have been submitted and will be submitted in the future with respect to the construction and maintenance of this bridge.

It seems to me that the rules and regulations with respect to navigable waters in other provinces and the requirements as to a certain type of bridge over a body of water of a certain size should be sufficient to provide for the building of this bridge under normal circumstances rather than an application having to be made to parliament for the construction of the bridge. I know that the people of this area want the bridge and need it. I am pleased to support the bill. It is a stipulation of the law that the bridge must be proceeded with within three years.

I know that a bill was introduced by Senator Dessureault in 1956 and although the bill was passed the bridge was not proceeded with within the required three years. Therefore it was necessary to ask parliament again to pass a bill. It is my hope that the bridge will be constructed within the period of three years and that the people of the area will be able to construct it either with provincial assistance which they have been promised or through subscriptions which the hon. member for Drummond-Arthabaska suggested might be forthcoming from the people of that area.

I hope they will have the opportunity to build the bridge within the next three years and that it will be of service to the people

on the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence in that area. I hope they will not be faced with the problem of having to go to the provincial government for financing in relation to the deficit that may occur before completion of the bridge. Having these things in mind, I support the bill and I ask the government to give some consideration to changing section 11 of the Navigable Waters Protection Act which makes it necessary for the people in the vicinity of Three Rivers to come to parliament to ask that they be granted the right to build this bridge.

(Translation):

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Subtopic:   ST. LAWRENCE RIVER BRIDGE
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PC

Paul Lahaye

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paul Lahaye (Champlain):

Mr. Speaker, it is in my capacity as member of a riding adjoining the city and the county of Three Rivers that I feel entitled to say a few words in support of this bill, the purpose of which is not to construct this bridge but, if I clearly understand the situation, to authorize La Corporation du Pont de Trois Rivieres and the provincial government responsible for this construction, to build this long needed bridge between the city of Trois Rivieres and the south shore. I do not believe that anyone questions the necessity of a bridge there, because there are about 160 miles between the most easterly bridge from Montreal and the present bridge over the St. Lawrence in Quebec city.

The Three Rivers area and the city proper have a population of approximately 60,000. In addition the few industrial cities on the north shore, including Cap de la Madeleine, that I have the honour of representing in this house, as well as Shawinigan, Grand' Mere and La Tuque, and those on the south shore which are almost as populous, make up an industrial and farm population of about

200,000 near the site chosen for this bridge.

I am one of those who have had occasion to realize the need for a bridge there, because in the course of some work I had been doing previous to my coming to this house, very often I had to wait one or even two hours before I could get across the St. Lawrence river. These long waits are most unpleasant and, of course, hinder the industrial development of an area.

A bridge over the St. Lawrence would also prove a valuable asset to the development of the tourist industry. Nobody underestimates the touristic value of the St. Maurice area, especially the upper St. Maurice region. Thus a direct throughway from the United States would run through this promising area.

Mr. Speaker, the title of the bill pleases me very much:

An act respecting the construction of a bridge over the St. Lawrence river near the city of Trois Rivieres.

However, when I look a little further down, in section 1, I see that this bridge will have to be built about a mile upstream from the limits of the city of Three Rivers. Frankly, Mr. Speaker, without opposing this project in any way, for if I rise at this time it is to give it my fullest support, I regret that the bill does not provide for the alternative of building the bridge either east or west of Three Rivers. I refer particularly to the possibility of building it east of the city of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, for reasons that, in my view, are important. In fact, while I do not lay claim to special engineering experience, I have noticed that the north shore of the St. Lawrence river is about 30 feet higher east of Three Rivers than where it is proposed to build this bridge.

In order to span the St. Lawrence and not hamper ship traffic on the seaway, I wonder whether it would not be economical to have a higher base of operations of about 30 feet, at least on one side of the river.

There is also another reason. I wonder whether account should not have been taken of the fact that the best highway to the upper St. Maurice area runs east of Three Rivers. I understand that a slight straightening of that highway has been planned, from a proposed crossing point on the St. Lawrence, at Ste-Marthe-du-Cap, which could link up with the road commonly called the Shawini-gan road, east of that point, which runs up into the St. Maurice area.

That magnificent highway would allow American tourists to enter directly into Cap-de-la-Madeleine, on the way to Shawinigan, Grand' Mere, La Tuque and, after a road has been built between La Tuque and Roberval -a project now in the planning stage-to make a magnificent tour through the national park, and come back by way of Quebec city.

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to voice any objection to the building of a bridge over the St. Lawrence, because with all the citizens of the area I have fully supported the campaigns in favour of that bridge. I am referring now to the newspapers, chambers of commerce, all municipalities and radio stations which, for ten years, have had a slogan to promote this project. However, I should like to single out a remark made a moment ago by the hon. member for Drummond-Arthabaska (Mr. Boulanger), when he indicated that this request had been made to the Quebec government, when the Union Nationale party was in power and that, at

Private Bills

the time, the approval of the great premier who preceded the present premier seemed only apparent. Mr. Speaker, you will no doubt allow me to point out to the house that this is quite illogical and that I have never known a statesman who has done more for his province, and particularly for his city of Three Rivers, than the former premier of the province of Quebec.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot conclude my remarks without expressing my most sincere wishes that representations already made by the people of the area about the construction of this bridge be continued. And I do hope that the formal promise the present premier of the province of Quebec made to Three Rivers not so long ago will be fulfilled as soon as possible in the interest of the population of the province of Quebec and of Canada as a whole, and more particularly of those who live in that region in the heart of the province of Quebec and who are especially interested in the construction of this bridge.

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Subtopic:   ST. LAWRENCE RIVER BRIDGE
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LIB

Maurice Bourget

Liberal

Mr. Maurice Bourgel (Levis):

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is necessary to add much to the explanations the sponsor of this bill gave us because, since I live in Levis and have to cross over to Quebec every day, I know the many difficulties that are caused by the lack of a bridge or a tunnel between those two cities.

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PC

Martial Asselin

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Asselin:

If Mr. Lesage could build it.

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LIB

Maurice Bourget

Liberal

Mr. Bourgel:

Since my hon. friend from Charlevoix (Mr. Asselin) says that Mr. Lesage will build it-

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PC
LIB

Maurice Bourget

Liberal

Mr. Bourgel:

-he is absolutely right, and I can understand him very well.

Mr. Speaker, I would not have raised this matter if there had not been that interjection of the hon. member for Charlevoix-

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LIB

Léonard-David Sweezey Tremblay

Liberal

Mr. Tremblay:

Will he do it without levying taxes?

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LIB

Maurice Bourget

Liberal

Mr. Bourgel:

-but on the other hand, when we consider the situation-

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LIB

Léonard-David Sweezey Tremblay

Liberal

Mr. Tremblay:

Is he going to do it without levying a tax?

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LIB

Maurice Bourget

Liberal

Mr. Bourgel:

Obviously, you have not yet learned to shut up. After four years, you have not learned to be polite and to maintain a certain decorum in the house. Why don't you shut up?

Private Bills

Mr. Speaker, would you kindly call the hon. member for Roberval to order?

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I will certainly do so, but

I would also ask the hon. member for Levis to address himself to the Chair and not to pursue private conversations with the said member.

The hon. member for Levis has the floor.

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LIB

Maurice Bourget

Liberal

Mr. Bourget:

Mr. Speaker, the reason why I did not address myself to you was that I knew you understood. Unfortunately, this is not the case of the hon. member for Roberval, who does not understand a thing.

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LIB

Léonard-David Sweezey Tremblay

Liberal

Mr. Tremblay:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I regret to see that the hon. member for Levis thinks you understand what he is saying. Personally, I will have to wait for the official record before I can make it out.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. That remark was out of order, and so are the interjections from both sides. I would ask all hon. members to allow the member for Levis to go on with his speech.

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LIB

Maurice Bourget

Liberal

Mr. Bourget:

Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to say, in reply to the hon. member for Charlevoix, that the former premier of Quebec was the member for Three Rivers, and that for all practical purposes he never had anything to do with the building of this bridge. It is probably the Liberal government of the province of Quebec that will provide the city of Three Rivers, the city of Nicolet or another city in the area with the bridge that the people have been demanding for at least five years, because it is a fact that the bill now before us will be expiring soon and that it was passed in this house about five years ago.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of my intervention is to state that, according to my information, both technical and economic studies were made; as a matter of fact, I am not sure they have been completed. Once those studies have been completed, perhaps it will be decided to build a tunnel rather than a bridge. Under the circumstances, I wonder whether the sponsor of the bill could inform us on this point and whether, in fact, it would not be wise to include the word "tunnel" in addition to the word "bridge". Thus if it were decided, for the reasons I have just mentioned, to build a tunnel, the petitioners would not have to come back to the house to have the bill amended.

IMr. Bourget.]

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PC

Rémi Paul

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paul:

In reply to the question of the hon. member-

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I must point out to the hon. member for Berthier-Maskinonge-Delanaudiere (Mr. Paul) that if he speaks now, he will close the debate. I cannot let him have the floor if there are other hon. members who wish to speak in support of or against the bill.

I see that the hon. member for Montmagny-L'lslet (Mr. Fortin) wishes to speak.

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May 23, 1961