July 28, 1911 (11th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)


This matter has been so often threshed out in this House that I should not consider it my duty to speak, nor would I have spoken had not the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) quoted these extracts. The hon. minister told us that he did not know anything at all about the matter. Well, it seems to me only natural that when public money is being expended he should make some inquiry.
Of all the fool reports I have ever heard read, the report just quoted by the hon. minister from the ' Globe ' is the biggest fake that was ever presented to this House. I think I can speak with some authority on this subject, because I was born up there, and as a boy I. used to bathe in the Holland river at Newmarket. I can tell the hon. members of this House that very often in the month of August there is not enough water in the Holland river for the boys to bathe, unless they make a mud dam to retain it. Many times as a boy I have helped to make a mud dam so that we might get enough water to bathe in this beautiful stream. I have lived on Lake Simcoe during the summer for the last twenty-six years, and week after week I have passed that magnificent river by train, and in an automobile, and many times have I seen people take a trip up to this grand river to look at the gorgeous fake. The thing is such a circus that people talk about it, and go out to see it.
The government are trustees for the people's funds, and I say that in spending money for the Newmarket canal they are committing a breach of trust just as serious as the breach of trust committed by the directors of the Ontario and Farmers' banks. They know it is of no use. There is not enough water in the place to float a boat if there was freight for a boat to carry.
There is not one single tug boat on Lake Simcoe, there is not one single ton. of
freight on Lake Simcoe to be moved through that canal. When I first summered there, there were tugs going up and down Lake Simcoe hauling logs to a very extensive sawmill at Bradford and Belle Ewart. There is not a stick of timber towed on the lakes now, and there is not a mill on the lake shore. There is no business to go to Newmarket, because the cost of freight from Newmarket to Toronto by trolley would be infinitely cheaper than anything that could be charged by the canal. There was a heavy wind storm at that point four or five weeks ago, and unfortunately it blew down 40 to 60 very fine pine frees which were the beauty of the property owned by the late Sir James EdgaT. I was told that these trees were sold to one of these Newmarket mill owners. They were loaded on the trolley which passes the property, and in half an hour they were in Newmarket, in a shorter time than it would have taken to ship them to the wharf and tow them over to the mouth of the canal. There is one pleasure steamboat on that lake, as old as I am I fancy, which makes excursions once or twice a week around the lake.
The government about the time they commenced to build the Newmarket canal, [DOT]started to spend money ion wharfs on the (lake. They spent $4,000 lor $5,000 building a wharf at Roches Point, where it was not wanted. A few planks had 'been thrown out in previous years when the season opened at a cost of $20, so the building of that wharf was just so much money wasted and thrown away. It was never used, it was an absolutely worthless expense. In the first place there is no water to supply that canal if the canal was wanted unless the water could) be pumped up from the lake. We have an instance of how foolish people may be in the case of the old Sir Lister Kay farms in the northwest. It will be remembered that this gentleman established many farms for growing wheat in a district that afterwards turned out to be unsuitable for growing wheat. His foreman thought he would overcome the difficulty, and send up an enormous number of watering carts to these farms. He started to send out the water carts which he filled from a little stream there, over the 5,000 or 6,000 acres of wheat. They may fill the Newmarket carnal with a watering cart, 'and get enough water to have a stream1 Tunning down which would carry a rowboat. This work has been discussed so often, and so strongly, and there is so much money spent on it that it is the duty of the government to send some independent outside man to make a full report on it with a view to stopping this expenditure of money. I say it is a breach of the trust of public

funds, and no man of common sense, engineer, merchant or farmer, can go there and see the work, see the conditions, and not say that every dollar of that money is being wasted. Probably for some years it will entail on the country a large annual expenditure to keep it up before it is finally abandoned as an absolutely useless work.

Topic:   W. MULOCK.
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