Mr. E. B. DEVLIN (Wright) :
I have listened with a great deal of interest to the speech of my hon. friend from Port Arthur (Mr. Keefer) and I find that his resolution calls for a special committee consisting of an unspecified number of members for the consideration and investigation of the benefits to be derived from a deep waterway for transportation from the Great Lakes to the sea by way of the St. Lawrence river. The House is very well aware of the fact that a similar commission was appointed some years ago to study the water-powers, the water levels, and the whole question which my hon.
friend would like to have investigated at the present time, and that that commission decided at the time, after a study of the St. Lawrence waterway, that the only possible settlement of the transportation question by way of water would be from the Great Lakes down through the Ottawa river to Montreal.
There were very many reasons adduced in favour of the project, some of which my hon. friend (Mr. Keefer) has mentioned this evening. I recall the discussion of this matter in this House upon different occasions. I remember it was pointed out that our Nova Scotia coal could not get farther west than Montreal owing to the expense of its carriage by rail; but that by the construction of the Georgian Bay Canal, Nova Scotia, coal could be transported up the Ottawa river. The great advantage of the Ottawa River route over the St. Lawrence route, which my hon. friend endorses to-night, is that it would give the whole of the upper Ottawa country, and all the lands within reach of the Ottawa river, a chance of being developed. There are untold natural resources in that country, but they cannot be developed and the products carried out at present because of the expensive rail rates. This is a story that many members of the House are familiar with. Still there are a considerable number who were not in Parliament when the discussion of the Georgian Bay Canal project invariably formed part' of the proceedings of the House on one, if not two days of each session. My hon. friend surely would not like to see set aside the recommendation of the commission which the Government appointed to inquire into this project, and whose report is a wonderful work which must be in the Library of Parliament; I know I would not be without a copy of it in my own home. Surely he would not ignore the surveys which were then made of the whole of the waterway system from the Great Lakes down, and in which due account was taken of the possible electrical development. The power development possible on the St. Lawrence system does not begin to compare with that capable of being developed through the medium of the water powers along the Ottawa river., Many people have mistaken the idea of the Georgian Bay canal by imagining that it is proposed to con-truct a canal from one end of the system to the other. The canal system is a very small part of the project. There are a
great many natural water courses along the route and out of approximately four hundred miles, if I remember correctly, there would be but very few miles of canal system to be constructed. My hon. friend from Port Arthur would ^njoy, through the Georgian Bay system, all the facilities that he would have if the system which he has so eloquently advocated tonight were built. I really would not like to embarrass the Government hut I am sure that the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. McCurdy) is now telling the Prime Minister that his department is already in possession of the reports, plans and surveys made in the past of the water ways along the proposed Georgian Bay Canal route; and that department is perfectly familiar with the matter.
Subtopic: GREAT LAKES-ST. LAWRENCE DEEP WATERWAY TRANSPORTATION