February 22, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)


Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)


The grievance to which I wish to call my hon. friend's attention is one which we suffer from at Cote St. Paul. I endeavoured to obtain a redress of that grievance by writing to the employees of the department on the canal at Cote St. Paul. Last year I had some communication [DOT]with the minister ; but I think it is absolutely necessary to bring the matter before the House, and I would ask my hon. friend to give a strict order that the proper rem-Mr. EMMERSON.
edies be applied to that grievance. As the hon. gentleman is probably aware, on the Lachine canal at Cote St. Paul, there are a certain number of manufacturers who use the water-power from the canal. They depend upon that water-power to a very large extent in carrying on their manufacturing business. The complaint which I urged last year on their behalf and brought to the notice of my hon. friend, was that the water levels during the winter months are not properly kept up on all parts of the canal. There is a part of the canal below Cote St. Paul which, according to the complaints that have been made to me, is kept abundantly supplied with water, or at any rate receives a larger portion of water than the part at Cote St. Paul itself. This grievance only appears in the winter, because in the winter the supply of water in the canal for the purpose of manufacturing is not as regular as in the summer, because as is contended, the levels vary in the lake, and perhaps on account of the ice also. I will read to the House a letter I have received in connection with this matter, and then I will send to my hon. friend at his department a tabulated statement of the variations of the levels, which would be too long to read here. I really believe, after the efforts I have made to secure from the employees of the canal proper attention to this-matter, that it has been neglected, and that by bringing it to the notice of the department a word from the minister will probably suffice to procure the necessary degree of vigilance. These manufacturers suffer a great deal of annoyance, and some loss, which could be avoided if proper care were taken. This is the letter I have received from one of the manufacturers :
Dear Sir,-Attached is a copy of a letter written yesterday to Mr. O'Brien

Mr. O'Brien is one of the chief employees on the canal.
__-which is largely self-explanatory. We are
also returning his letter of the 11th instant, as sent you, having carefully noted his contentions.
If our trouble was caused entirely by low water in Lake St. Louis, as he contends, our demands would be unreasonable to say the least We have asked nothing unreasonable, however. What we have all along held is that the level below is kept up regardless of any and all conditions, while our supply level is continually fluctuating. The figures we give him in the letter attached show our position. On Monday the level below was 14 feet 4 inches, the level above was so low as to be entirely useless. No doubt some shortage at Lachine is a frequent occurrence at this season of the year, but we only ask a fair division of such shortage. Surely there is nothing unfair or unreasonable in our asking that the other users of the water bear their proportionate burden of existing conditions rather than have it all fall upon us as at present.
You will also observe the fact of the fluctuation in our supply level. One day it is up, the next it is down. Some days it is up in the-

morning and down again in the afternoon. Now if the whole cause was a shortage at Lachine, would there he this rapid fluctuation ? Would there not be a low level of more permanency than this ? We think so. The difficulty is simply that the man at St. Paul locks is instructed to keep the level below at some 14 feet 4 inches, and he does it regardless of whether we have an inch of head left or not.
Last year the trouble started in December, 1903, but this year we did not feel it until January. It always lasts until the canal is emptied, so that our period of difficulty is somewhat lengthier than the two months which Mr. O'Brien speaks of, being more like four months.
Now instead of complaining of this, which I think amounts to neglect and carelessness, at the beginning of the session when this trouble recurred, I wrote to the employees of the canal. I wrote particularly to Mr. O'Brien in regard to this. I do not think Mr. O'Brien is at fault, but X think there are some men in charge of the regulation of the levels who require to be informed by the department that they must more carefully attend to their duties. If the hon. minister will be kind enough to give such an order, I think that fact, with the fact that the matter has been discussed publicly, will bring some relief to these manufacturers who are certainly entitled to it. There is just one other point to which I wish to call the hon. minister's attention while I am on my feet. As the hon. gentleman is aware there is going to be. a bridge built at Atwater avenue this spring. I have no doubt that the bridge is at present ready, that all the structural pieces have been completed, and I have no doubt whatever that if the pieces were brought upon the ground, all the work along the canal done and everything ready it would not be necessary to take the water out of the canal for more than three weeks. That is not the opinion of an expert which I express, but it is an opinion which I have arrived at from what I have been told by builders and contractors. There is a question this spring of drawing off the water from the Rachine canal for six weeks and the opinion of the superintendent of the canal in Montreal is that it will l>e necessary to remove the water from the canal from March 15 until May 1, even though day and night work is resorted to.

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