Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior):
Briefly, the reason why the
federal government is interested in the construction of this bridge is that the southern end^ of the structure is on the Caughnawaga Indian reserve. We have spent considerable money on this reserve for the construction of a highway leading to the counties south of the St. Lawrence river and to the United States. We are forced to do this work on all the reserves where public highways pass through them, for the convenience of the public as well as for the convenience of the Indians. This matter first came to my attention in 1926 on representations made by the Hon. Mr. Robb. It was suggested that as the
Department of Indian Affairs was interested, a sum of money should be devoted towards the construction of this bridge. Negotiations went on with the Quebec government for some time, but no definite arrangement was made, although we did admit some responsibility. Later on, the Quebec government decided to give the construction of this bridge to a company and to charge tolls. They are now asking that there be a joint guarantee of the interest on the bonds which the company will sell for the purpose of getting funds to construct the bridge, and our share of the guarantee was deemed to be for one-third of the interest on the bonds.
Subtopic: PROPOSED CAUGHNAWAGA BRIDGE