January 25, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)


I have something more for my hon. friend. I hope he is not losing his temper. He is an excellent gentleman until he gets excited, and I have respect for him even more in his calmer moments than when he is excited. He was giving us a judicial statement on that occasion, and he will admit that it is hard to square them with the facts of to-day. He told us that founded upon competent information and high authority-not upon isolated consultation but on many authorities-he had ascertained that the road from Levis to Moncton would cost $25,000 per mile. The section of 1,475 miles from Quebec to Winnipeg would cost a little more, or $28,000 per mile. Taking the two sections together, the cost of the whole road from Moncton to Winnipeg he estimated at $41,300,000. To that, he told us, we must add the interest during construction, which would bring the total cost up to $54,609,675. Then he went again into an elaborate computation and made out that the total interest charge on the country would !be a little over a million dollars per year, and the actual cost ot the country all told less than $13,000,000 for the whole undertaking. Contrast those figures with the figures given by the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) in the session of 1908. According to-his figures, the outlay, not taking the Quebec bridge into account, computed upon the sarfie basis as the $13,000,000 were argued or -by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, would he a capitalized interest hearing fund of $38,000,000. And again as the Minister of Railways told us a year and a half ago, the road, instead of costing an average of about $27,000 per mile from Moncton to Winnipeg will actually cost $63,427 a mile.
In view of these facts, and the startling declarations made by Mr. Hodgins-declarations which were not withdrawn, hut were stifled and suspended on the promise that__he would be brought immediately Mr. FIELDING.
before a committee of three experts who were then said to be at work, and give his evidence to them-in view also of the .fact that a gentleman who, out of all the engineers in -Canada, was selected as the one best fitted for the position of chief engineer, and his statement that, after he had been in charge for some years, he found the most glaring disregard of his instructions, and in view still further of the startlingly damaging disclosures made by Mr. Woods, the assistant chief engineer of the Canadian Pacific railway, is it not amazing that the right -hon. the Prime Minister should propose to ms this gold-brick in the form of the resolution we are now discussing. But the Prime Minister is not responsible. He is simply doing what he -has been commanded by__the power behind the throne. There was a time when, in my simplicity, I thought that the right hon. gentleman, as Prime Minister, ruled his party and controlled the destinies of Canada, but I have since learned that there is a stronger hand than his-the hand of the chairman of the Transcontinental. That gentleman could afford to ignore even the Minister of Railways and reject a public document affecting the interests of the people and which should have been suto-mited to that minister. Two years ago that same gentleman demanded that the Prime Minister should have an investigation for the purpose of castigating Mr. Hodgins, and the same gentleman again is file moving power in this matter a.s revealed toy the letter of the 39th of December read by the right hon. gentleman this afternoon. It is an amazing condition of things, but perhaps were it not for that communication, the Prime Minister would not have -been aware of the existence of this Lumsden letter at all. Mr. Lumsden resigned the 25th J*une last. His resignation was published in every newspaper in the country. Tt was considered everywhere a matter of great significance, yet apparently the Prime Minister knew nothing about it. He knew nothing about that resignation until this gentleman -behind the throne said to him: You must have an investigation, you must whitewash me once more. And hence we have the preamble in this resolution:
' Whereas it appears, by a return made during the present session, &c.' Is it not fortunate that there is a leader of the opposition, that there is an-opposition in this House, as otherwise the Prime Minister would probably not have known of the Lumsden letter at all.
I have been moving for returns and they come down very slowly, but we have obtained some. We have succeeded in obtaining material which in -a large degree sub-

stantiates the statements made by Mr. Woods and Mr. Lumsden, corroborated to some extent by Mr. Grant, for Mr. Grant also admits that there has been over-classification to a very considerable degree, and thus refutes the statement made by hon. gentlemen opposite a year ago that there was absolutely nothing of the kind. We have evidence that the discrepancies between the original estimates and the actual returns, as the work was done, aTe so startling, so utterly inconsistent with any hypothesis of honesty or competency, that a most thorough investigation is required land not such a misleading, narrow, hide-bound investigation as the right hon. gentleman proposes. What is required is an immediate, broad, general and thorough investigation of the business on the eastern division of the Transcontinental, which will, show the methods which have been followed in its construction and which have resulted in the enormous expenditure which has startled the country. One would suppose that before letting any work, investigations must have been made by thoroughly competent engineers in order to enable the government to judge whether the tenders were reasonable ot not and which is really the lowest tender; and one can realize that unless the estimates of the engineers are unreasonably accurate, one cannot expect a satisfactory result. It is an absolute farce, a leap in the dark, if these estimates upon which the tenders are based and accepted are not reasonably accurate. I am informed, and by competent engineers, too, that, in this matter of classification, the very most that is to be allowed for margin of error is twenty per cent. If you find that the estimates as tendered upon do not work out within a margin of twenty per cent at most, there is immediate need for investigation, for the result must come either from incompetence-or dishonesty-of the engineers who located and estimated upon the line, or from the incompetency-or dishonesty- of the men who are classitying the progress estimates from time to time as they are put in. Therefore, I hope I need not apologize for referring to some figures, for I am only giving to the House information that I should have been glad had the government given it to us long ago. Now, taking district ' F ' and the McArthur contract extending for 244 miles east from Winnipeg, we find that the estimate of quantities of the engineers who laid out the work represented a total expenditure of $13,010,398. That was the amount that the government led the country to understand the work would cost, approximately. There was a change in the location effected by Mr. Hodgins, as he testified during the Hodgins investigation, which resulted in an estimated reduced expenditure of $1,010,398.92, leaving the estimated cost of the entire contract in round numbers, $12,000,000. Now, compare that with the returns actually made and with the allowancee on which the work was paid for. In the figures I am about to give, 'S.R.' stands for solid rock, 'L.R.' for Loose rock, and 'C.E.' for common excavation:

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