May 2, 1916 (12th Parliament, 6th Session)

LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

The Government does
not own the harbours any more than it owns buildings in cities. If you tie your boat up to a wharf at St. John you pay so much to the man who owns t'he wharf unless you go to a Government wharf. Harbours in that sense are owned by the proprietors, but the governing body is the board that is appointed by the local authorities and the Government. They are not the owners. They are simply the governing body that makes rules and regulations for the harbour, but the harbour itself and the property in the harbour are owned by the people who live in the cities, and they ought to contribute something towards the maintenance of the harbours, because they get the profit. If we spend a million dollars in improving the harbour of Montreal every man who has a tract of land on the water front receives an advantage, because his property is worth that much more. It is the same at St. John and Halifax; all these expenditures raise the value of property in the vicinity of the harbour very much and consequently the minister ought to have some policy by which these different ports shall contribute something towards their maintenance and equipment. That is the proper idea in dealing with this question. It iis all very well to say that we ought to have national ports, but why should the farmer out on the western prairie pay his taxes to equip the harbour of Toronto and give additional value to property in Toronto if the people of Toronto themselves will not do anything? I do not know any good reason for it.

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