April 3, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

William Scott Maclaren

Liberal

Mr. MACLAREN (Huntingdon).

to find out who these men were, but it was alleged by a most respectable lawyer from Montreal who was there to speak in favour of the Bill that not less than $50,000 had been spent in preliminary surveys. An offer was made to present the proof of that allegation. Plans have been completed. They are not on their way to completion. I am now taking the statement that was made before the committee. The question of a bridge below Montreal is one which interests in a very high degree not only the population of Montreal but the population of the surrounding counties and particularly the population of the county which lies immediately to the south of Montreal. My hon. friend from Chambly and Vercheres (Mr. Geoffrion) supported us in the desire we evinced to have that measure fully discussed. There were two reasons why the Bill was disposed of in this summary manner and no opportunity given, in a matter of this kind where a most desirable expenditure of $10,000,000 was contemplated in Montreal, to the party who was defending the Bill to adduce proof of his allegation. The reasons given were most futile. I submit. We were told there was another project, that there was on the Order Paper lower down a Bill to incorporate a company having for its object the construction of a similar bridge. Into the merits of the allegation we had no occasion to go at all, and there was no reason for the statement that Mr. Armstrong was connected with this company or this enterprise. I submit to this House, that whatever may be the shortcomings of Mr. Armstrong, what we are concerned with is not Mr. Armstrong, who may have personal enemies on either side of the House, but the seriousness of the enterprise, and whether Mr. Armstrong is connected with it or not does not matter to us provided there are men interested in it who are capable of carrying out the enterprise. This allegation of Mr. Armstrong's interest in the enterprise, Mr. Buchan, the lawyer from Montreal, who is promoting the Bill, offered to refute ; in fact, if I remember rightly, he stated before the committee that any interest that Mr. Armstrong might have had in the company had now disappeared, that he was no more a shareholder and I have been informed that there is proof of that. Well, if Mr. Armstrong, objectionable or not, has no Interest in the Bill, if it can be established before the committee that he is no more a shareholder in that company and if the parties whom I have already named are really willing to go on with the enterprise, why should we throw out this Bill without giving it any study when the promoters are merely asking for an extension of time, a favour which is asked from this House and granted every day ? In fact, I believe that this morning the committee granted that favour reporting favourably on a Bill extending the time for beginning operations when the time had actually

lapsed, whereas, iu this instance, it had not. As I have already stated this is a project which interests to a very high degree the people of Montreal and all we ask is that the different Bills may be considered at the same time, so that the committee may judge of the merits of these different Bills. 1 think this is a fair request and should be granted.

Topic:   THE MONTREAL BRIDGE COMPANY.
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