February 25, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)


James Davis Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)


The Minister of Public Works has, as usual, an ingenious answer to the question I put, but his answer does not meet the case at all. In the instances on the Fraser river to which he has referred the Dominion government did very reluctantly and after a great deal of pressure make contributions towards works which we claimed in British Columbia we were not responsible for. but to which, in our devotion to the public interest, we consented to contribute one-half in order to avoijd the damage to property that would have been caused by the neglect of the federal government to do their plain duty upon the Fraser river. The federal government resisted the Claim we made, and in every instance in which they helped us on the Fraser river they repudiated responsibility and stated they did so as an act of grace and not as a matter of right. Why, no later than to-day, in answer to an application I made to the Department of Public. Works for the continuation of certain wofks which we were able to get this government to undertake on the Fraser river at Langley, the minister sent me a letter over his own signature entirely repudiating any responsibility for the work which his

department had undertaken and left in an incomplete state. He stated in his letter to me that this work was a matter of provincial and not Dominion concern. When I said that he had one yard stick for British Columbia and another yard stick for New Brunswick I referred more particularly to the doctrine laid down by this government in connection with the bridge over the Fraser river at New Westminster. The answer to our application for a subsidy was that if we would hand over that bridge to a private corporation to exact toll from the people of the Fraser valley for ever, then this government would give a subsidy amounting perhaps to $300,000 for the bridge, but because it was owned by the province, and we proposed to keep it in the public ownership of the people of the province, this government had not a cent to give us. They told us that there was a constitutional objection to giving any bonus to the province except a bonus authorized by the several Acts of confederation, while now we find them giving a direct subsidy to the province of New Brunswick towards the creation of public works. I am not objecting to that subsidy, but I am objecting to one rule being applied to the provinces of eastern Canada and another rule to our disadvantage being applied to the province of British Columbia.

Full View