Robert Abercrombie PRINGLE

PRINGLE, Robert Abercrombie, Q.C.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Stormont (Ontario)
Birth Date
December 15, 1855
Deceased Date
January 9, 1922
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Abercrombie_Pringle
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=ae857af8-8d19-4f6d-8e3c-ac71e3e1703f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
CON
  Cornwall and Stormont (Ontario)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
CON
  Stormont (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 57)


July 16, 1908

Mr. PRINGLE.

We have recently come through a provincial campaign in Ontario. The Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) spoke on the platform with the leader of the opposition in the legislature, Mr. A. G. McKay, and the whole complaint was that last awful week in Toronto. What was that last awful week ? The Hon. J. P. Whitney enunciated in his platform of 1904 the principle that not one dollar of bonus should be given to any railway in the province of Ontario. He adhered to that policy rigidly ; the only complaint wras that he undertook to guarantee certain bonds of the James Bay Railway to the extent of some $2,000,000. The Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Graham) now asks this House not in the last week of the session, but in the last 48 hours to pass bonuses for millions of dollars and a guarantee of bonds for millions more. Personally I am not opposed to the guarantee of

bonds under proper conditions and proper circumstances. I believe it is the best way of assisting railways in opening and developing new territories and that history will show this country will not be called upon to pay one dollar of principal or of interest where the bonds are for a reasonable amount, and precaution is taken to see that the railway is built through a country that will likely be a good producing country. What I do complain of is the absolute hypocrisy of the party which went through Ontario condemning the Conservative party because the Conservative party guaranteed bonds to a small amount, and then asks us to-day, with 48 hours ahead of us, to grant bonuses to an extent of about $20,000,000. I have not had time nor has any hon. member to thoroughly investigate the bonuses to the different railways but I have run through some of them. In Ontario the Ross administration in its dying days granted a subsidy of $2,000 a mile to one railway which is now getting a subsidy of $6,200 a mile. The Ross government granted a land subsidy of millions of acres to another railway which is now getting a subsidy from these hon. gentlemen of $6,400 a mile. Under certain conditions it might be reasonable to grant certain bonuses. The province of Ontario in the past has done it, the Ross government left for the Conservative government a debt of five or six millions incurred in subsidies to railways. But since the advent of the Hon. J. P. Whitney to power in 1905 not one dollar has been granted in subsidies to any railway and yet the Liberals in Ontario raised the cry of that last awful week, simply because there was a guarantee of bonds which I believe was justified. I do not think it is possible for us in 48 hours to thoroughly consider these resolutions. We know we have to prorogue on Saturday and X with others feel that these resolutions should have been brought down weeks ago instead of being left to the last days of the session.

Topic:   EDMONTON, YUKON AND PACIFIC RAILWAY.
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July 15, 1908

Mr. R. A. PRINGLE (Stormont).

I would like to ask the Minister of Railways and Canals if any arrangement has been made by which the large manufacturing establishments at Cornwall will get a greater amount of water for power than they are now getting. I understand that since the unfortunate break in the canal they have been cut down to a very small amount, w3hich puts them at a great disadvantage. I recognize that the navigation is the first point to be considered, but I understand that without any great additional expense the channel could be widened in such a way that the cotton mills and the other mills could have a larger amount of water than they are now getting. I may say that the loss of power means to one industry alone an additional expenditure of some $15,000 a month. I saw that a deputation waited on the Minister of Railways and Canals the day before yesterday in reference to this matter, and I want to know if any arrangement has been made by which the mills can get more water.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   ACCIDENT TO THE CORNWALL CANAL.
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July 15, 1908

Mr. PRINGLE.

The currents will go away from the dam towards the mill.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   ACCIDENT TO THE CORNWALL CANAL.
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July 15, 1908

Mr. PRINGLE.

I do not know aything about the rake-offs, and I am not discussing the contract that has been threshed out before. It has been an enormous benefit. Only a few years ago one of our woollen mills closed down and had to go out of business. We were able to have it reopened because of the electrical power and to-day it is employing three or four hundred men in a different class of industry and owing to the power we have had other factories located there.

We suffer in Cornwall from floods in winter, caused by the frazil that comes down, forms in the rapids and passes under the ice which has become solid, causing a shove. The result has been that portions of the town have been flooded, and mills have been closed for weeks.' One of the largest of the cotton mills was flooded. These people are naturally interested in seeing this scheme go through, so long as it does not impair in any way the navigation of the Sit. Lawrence. They know from the engineers' reports that the result will be no floods in the winter. This water will be hemmed back, it will form almost level to the dam, will freeze solid there and there will be just a natural flow over the dam with no possibility of the injurious floods we have had in years past. On one occasion the government had to come to the rescue of people who had suffered from one of those heavy floods. It has been said that the American section of the International Waterways Commission nave reported favourably on this. If they have it has been after giving the matter the greatest possible consideration. When the Canadian section of the International Waterways Commission said to Mr. Calvin, to the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company and others who were opposing this scheme r Nominate an engineer and we will appoint him and get him to look into the matter and see what his report will be, they did not take the responsibility of nominating an engineer because no engineer would stand for the statements made by some of those people that the erection of this dam would decrease the flow of water east of Cornwall. Some went so far as to say it would affect the flow of water ait Montreal, but that statement was so ridiculous that they could not get any engineer to endorse it. The effect of this scheme would be that instead of only 5 per cent of the waters of the St. Lawrence going down on the Canadian side we would have 50 per cent. The effect, would be to give us all the power that could be developed, practically unlimited power, whereas we are now absolutely limited. It is no wonder that some of the power companies are instrumental in putting up opposition to this scheme. This development would be one

of tremendous advantage to the whole eastern portion of Ontario and I am satisfied it would be of great advantage to the county of Dundas, which my hon. friend (Mr. Broder) represents. While the Minister of Railways lias been expressing his opinion against this scheme it would tie a tremendous advantage to his own constituency for this power would be taken to Broeliville where it is needed, more than in any other town in Ontario. I have refrained from speaking on this before because I felt that we had not all the information before the House required for a full and intelligent discussion of the question, but when the hon. member for Dundas (Mr. Broder) opposes it in the dying days of the session, I feel that in the interests of the eastern portions of Ontario, especially in the interest of the county of Stormont, if this scheme does not injuriously affect navigation, but on the contrary, aids and assists it, the government should give it careful consideration and should procure all possible information on the subject before any agreement is entered into or any permission given for the erection of this dam. Of course 1 foresee that the permission would have to be a joint permission of the United States and Canada, but nothing T think should be done until the whole matter comes before parliament.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   IS, 1908
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July 15, 1908

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

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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.

Mr. PRINGLE

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.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DEEP WATERWAYS COMMISSION.
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