Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver Centre):
In the last two years we have had a veritable epidemic of proposed bridges across international waters. I am not opposing this bill. I should like to make it perfectly clear that the fact that, in regard to a bill of this character, one takes the stand that there are involved conditions affecting the public interest, is no reason for anyone to say that we are opposing the bill as a private bill. But I think, in view of the large number of structures of this kind that are being proposed, there should be some declaration of public policy on the part of the government regarding matters of this nature. These bridges are proposed to be built across international waterways, yet last year and this we are giving seven or eight private companies very wide powers in regard to these matters and we are creating more bridges and establishing conditions which it will be very difficult for parliament to deal with later on.
Another point is this. These bills in my judgment have been in error sent to the private bills committee. Again I am drawing attention to this as a matter of procedure and not as a matter of criticism of the private bills committee. This bill and similar ones ought to go to the railway committee. They have to do with transportation and traffic; they have to do with the Railway Act; the Railway Act is invoked in some of them. I do not know whether it is invoked in this particular bill. Expropriation procedure under the Railway Act has been invoked and
Niagara Falls Memorial Bridge
to my mind these bills should go to the railway committee. Furthermore the government should be prepared to declare before the committee and parliament what its policy is in regard to bridges across international waterways.