Mr. R. A. PRINGLE (Stormont).
I did not think that this matter would come up for discussion at the present time. I may say that I have long taken a very keen interest in the development of power on the St. Lawrence river at or near the town of Cornwall. The hon. member for Dun-das (Mr. Broder) has expressed my sentiments when he says that the question of navigation is one of paramount importance, and if I considered for a moment that the accomplishment of this scheme would in any way injuriously affect the navigation of the St. Lawrence river, I would oppose it strenuously. But, Mr. Speaker, the matter is in that stage that I do not think this House is in a position intelligently to discuss it. The Canadian sections of the Deep Waterways Commission have given this matter a great deal of consideration, and in their report they express themselves as not yet having come to a conclusion, and they desire to get the very best expert engineering evidence before they finally report on the matter. I may say that the constituency which I have the honour to represent is vitally interested in this question.
We have had meetings of our town council and our board of trade and delegations have been sent to appear before the Deep Waterways Commission to urge upon them
that they give to this matter their most serious consideration. The Deep Waterways Commission have not acted hastily in this matter. They have held meetings at different times. They held a meeting in the city of Toronto and after they had had some representations against the scheme they, for the convenience of the people who might urge opposition to this scheme, adjourned their meeting to Montreal so as to give every one interested an opportunity of being heard. Not one engineer in this or any other country has put himself on record as saying that this scheme will injuriously affect navigation. On the other hand we have the reports of the most eminent American, Canadian and English engineers to the effect that this scheme would not only not injure navigation on the St. Lawrence, but would be of incalculable assistance to it. We saw what occurred here a few days ago. We have a canal, over 9 miles in length, some G or 7 miles of that canal are separated from the river by an earth embankment and a greater strain is being put upon the banks of this canal year by year by the increased size of the vessels. They are not increased in length because the locks will permit of a vessel of only a certain length passing through, but they have been increased in width and in carrying capacity. To-day we have vessels going through that canal carrying 80,000 and 90,000 bus.'hels of grain and with the increased displacement of water there is greater pressure put upon these banks. In 1903 I put myself on record in this House in favour of a lock at the foot of Sheik's Island dam, into the St Lawrence river. If that lock had been built, and engineers of that day. said it was quite feasible, we would have had no delay to vessels passing through the Cornwall canal. There would have been no request for a vote of $150,000 to repair break as it is very probable there would have been no break as vessels could have come down Sheik's Island dam, passed through that lock into the St. Lawrence and gone on- their way saving the time that it now takes to pass through five locks which is considerable, and saviag danger to banks of canal from large vessels passing through canal. My remarks at that time are to be found in ' Hansard ' of 1903, page 14137. I said : I
I understand from those who are engaged in navigation that a saving of an hour or two could be made by having a lock immediately east of the Sheik's island dam, which would let vessels into the St. Lawrence river without going down through three locks to the eastern end of the canal; and it would also permit all vessels to come up and enter the canal just at the foot of the dam and go through the Cornwall canal in a very short space of time. Vessel owners have told me that it would be an immense saving if that lock were put in, not only a saving of expense, but a great saving of time in passing through the canal.
It would not have been a very expensive lock. It would have paid for itself between 1904 and the present time. That is practically the scheme now. The scheme to-day is to have a lock, or two locks, where this dam will be built so that vessels coming through Sheik's Island dam may pass on into the St. Lawrence, saving time and expense. This is a matter of the utmost importance to the whole surrounding country but it should not in any way influence myself or any man in this House in favour of this scheme if it is not practicable and if it is likely in any way to interfere with navigation. What are the objections we find ? My hon. friend has said that no engineer has been able to say what effect it would have on navigation. I ask my hon. friend to read the reports of the engineers who have investigated this matter most thoroughly and who say that the scheme would not be objectionable from the point of view of navigation but that on the other hand it would assist navigation.
There are one or two objections made with regard to this scheme. One is that it will prevent certain tourist steamers passing through the Long Sault rapids. I say at once that it will. For four months there are certain tourist steamers which pass down the Long Sault rapids. They say it will' destroy the scenic hffect. What does one eminent engineer say in regard to that ? He says : ' Take the great dam
on the Nile-I think it is called the Assouan dam ; that dam is bringing yearly increasing numbers of visitors to see its beauties. It is possibly the largest dam in the world.' When this dam is constructed on the St. Lawrence it will be the largest dam in the world and the beauty of the dam will be just as great as the beauty of the Long Sault rapids. But this is not the only rapid we have. There is a chain of rapids all down the St. Lawrence and many boats pass down through them to the city of Montreal. Now, it is said that it will back up the water on the property west of the Cornwall canal. What do the engineers say ? The engineers say that it will back up the water as far as Farran's Point canal and they say that in so far as Morrisburg is concerned the effect will be practically nothing, that it will be nil.
Subtopic: DEEP WATERWAYS COMMISSION.