Not at all. I am talking about other conditions, 'as the hon. gentleman would have heard if he had been patient for a moment. A great deal of dredging has been done in the harbour of St. John. Lying across the harbour and forming a natural breakwater, to a certain extent, was what was always spoken of as the Beacon Bar. This formed a natural obstruction to the wave's as they rolled through the gap. This bar has practically been all dredged away during the past five or six years for the purpose of giving a better entrance to the harbour and better facilities for shipping generally.
That obstruction having been removed, the waves caused by westerly gales now come with great force through that gap in the breakwater. On several occasions they have come across the harbour and caused damage to private wharves on the east side. In addition to that, striking against another obstacle, they are deflected back into the berths which have been in the course of construction at West St. John for some years, causing injury to the docks, and, on one or two occasions, rendering them unsafe for shipping. Sometimes the ships have had to be moved out of the docks and taken into the stream. The expenditure made by the Dominion Government at St. John during a number of years past, while running into large sums, has been bringing in considerable revenue. As a result of the construction of these wharves it was possible to send through the port of St. John last year exports to the value of over $200,000,000, an amount which exceeds the value of the goods exported from the port of Boston during the same period. Further than
that, last year the wharfage dues at St. John amounted to over $100,000, or four per cent on an expenditure of $2,500,000. This would largely cover the interest on the expenditures made there up to the present time. It is anticipated that during next winter the receipts will be much larger because shipping will be more extensive. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company has spent a considerable sum in improving yard room and extending sidings along its line between Montreal and St. John. [ am informed that the company will be in a position next winter to handle about 15 or 20 per cent more trade than dt was able to handle last season. If this work is not carried on, there will be great danger in two respects. The privately owned wharves on the east side of the harbour may be seriously damaged-some were damaged last winter and the winter before. Then there is the danger of damage to the wharves that the Government has constructed at very considerable expense, and of injury to ships lying in the docks during storms which in some winters are of a serious: character. For
these reasons it was thought advisable to put this .item in the estimates this year and to call for tenders for the work. For my part, I wish that the work could have been delayed; I am sorry that it is necessary to ask the country to make the expenditure at this time. But having regard to the importance of the shipping interests at the port of St. John, to the importance to the whole country of having the wharves maintained in safe condition and of giving the necessary protection to the harbour generally, it is only right and proper that this work should be proceeded with if it can be proceeded with at a reasonable figure. Tenders were asked for the work again this year. In 1914 the lowest tender-I speak rn round figures-was something over $800,000. This year the lowest tender was about $738,000. There is another tender $50,000 higher, and there are six or seven, all of which are considerable higher than the two to which I have referred. I understand from the Public Works Department that the tenderers are people of reputation and financial ability. The lowest tender is even lower than the lowest of 1914. The work would have been proceeded with had it not been for the conditions caused by the war, which has lasted much longer than we anticipated at that time. ' .