April 17, 1901

IND

Mr. PUTTEE asked :

Independent Labour

1. How many claims are on hand and undetermined, based on the fair wages clause in contracts and laid by workmen?

2. At what date were the oldest of these claims first filed?

3. Does the determining of these claims rest with the fair wage officers of the Department of Labour?

4. What course will be pursued with contractors who persistently refuse to be governed by the terms of their contracts? Will the government pay the good claims and deduct the amount from contract price? Will the contracts be nullified, and will such contractors be debarred from tendering in future?

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LIB

Hon. JAMES SUTHERLAND : (Minister Without Portfolio)

Liberal

1. Eight.

2. October 17th, 1900.

3. The determining of these claims rests with the minister of the department to which the contract belongs. The fair wage officers of the Department of Labour investigate these claims and submit their report for the consideration of the minister to whose department the contract belongs.

4. ' In the event of default being made in paying of any money owing in respect of wages of any foreman, workman or labourer, employed on the said work, and if a claim therefor is filed in the office of the minister and proof thereof satisfactory to the

minister is furnished, the said minister may pay such claim out of any moneys at any time payable by Her Majesty under said contract and the amounts so paid shall be deemed payments to the contractor.'

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SUPPLY-THE TRANSPORTATION QUESTION.


The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding! moved that the House again go into Committee of Supply. Mr ROBERT BICKER-DIKE (St. Lawrence, Montreal). Mr. Speaker, before the House goes into committee, 1 desire to apologize for once more bringing np the question of transportation; but it is a question of great importance to the commercial people of this country, and I do not think that it has received the attention from this House to which it is entitled. I certainly would not have reverted to the subject again were it not that some lion, members who have spoken on it, have conveyed the impression that Mont-treal has become a port of the past. One of the statements made in that connection has been that the Grand Trunk Railway lias forsaken Montreal, and is building up the foreign port of Portland as its terminus. It is perfectly true, Mr. Speaker, that the Grand Trunk Railway has, for a time at least, forsaken the port of Montreal. I have a motion on the paper on that subject, which it is evident will not be reached this session, and which I cannot refer to ; but when the papers which I asked for are brought down, as 1 have no doubt the Minister of Public Works will bring them down, they will prove that the port of Montreal has never had a single dollar of government money spent upon it. They will prove that every port and harbour of it,he Dominion of Canada, from Esquimau to Point Clare, and from Halifax to Oaugh-nawaga, has receivod amounts of money for harbour improvements, both from former governments and from this government. But up to the present time-and I challenge successful contradiction of this statement- not a single dollar has been spent on the harbour proper of the city of Montreal. It is true, the government in the past has guaranteed the bonds of the Harbour Commission of Montreal, on which we pay interest, and the Auditor General's Report will prove that every time that interest becomes due the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal pay regularly and to the date. Now. Sir. the reason given by the Grand Trunk Railway for abandoning Montreal for a foreign port'is the lack of terminal facilities at Montreal. This reason is not serious. Had the Grand Trunk Railway spent on improving their terminals in Montreal, the monev tliev have expended on the harbour of Portland, their Montreal terminals would be far superior to those in Portland. It is evident that there is an attempt to-day to make Portland the port of Canada. Although the Grand Trunk Railway has been receiving large subsidies and bonuses from different Canadian municipalities and very large concessions in the city of Montreal, it suddenly decided to take its terminals away from that city and establish them in Portland, and it would be very interesting to know how much of the public money this country has indirectly contributed to the improving of that American harbour. I have to ask the indulgence of the House, as I once more go over the ground in order to point out what our commercial community believes is required to make the St. Lawrence route as safe as any of the other routes and the approaches on the St. Lawrence equal to those of the American ports. This matter which, of course, has already been presented to the several ministers, will not be new to them, and therefore I do not propose to go into all the details, but it will be necessary for me to touch on some of the principal points in order to show why our commercial community is unanimous in demanding that this government make permanent improvements to our national route, and make them without any further delay, for if this country is ever to take the place to which it is entitled among commercial nations, we will have to give the St. Lawrence route that amount of protection which will enable steamships to utilize it as cheaply and as safely as they can our rival routes. But in doing this, I shall endeavour not to detain the House any longer than possible, because I know there are quite a number of other members who wish to give their views on the subject. Before I became a candidate for a seat in this House, I pledged myself that in introducing the transportation question to the attention of hon. members, I would endeavour to submit evidence in favour of the improvements desired, which would be incontrovertible. At a great expense the commercial bodies of Montreal, steamship companies, and the marine underwriters, undertook an examination of the different captains and pilots who are employed on the St. Lawrence route. We examined some thirty-three captains, taken from all sections of the coast, from the entrance of the Gulf to Montreal, and also examined the pilots, as both these classes of men are those most likely to be in a position to give accurate and authentic information. The evidence taken has been submitted to each member of the government and the two leaders of the opposition, and in this evidence, taken before the Board of Trade of Montreal, the whole question has been threshed out in a most complete manner. A synopsis of the evidence has been furnished every member of this House with a chart, showing the different points where lights are required or where we wish the old lights to be removed and replaced by new ones, and also showing every sand bar cmnvro'Nrs that requires to be dredged and every rock that requires to be taken up, along the whole route of the St. Lawrence to Montreal. Let me first inform the House bow that Inquiry came about. Those who are most directly interested in the navigation of the St. Lawrence began a series of examinations during last October. We did not select any particular captain or the captains of any particular line, but took the captains of steamers just as they came into port. We sent down for each captain, had him examined by Mr. Meredith, one of the leading lawyers in Montreal, and his evidence taken down in shorthand. As was explained at the first meeting in October by the chairman, the object of the inquiry was to procure the opinion of shipping masters on the requirements necessary in order to improve the navigation of the St. Lawrence, and to press tiie matter on the attention of the Dominion government so as to secure these improvements and bring about a reduction in the marine insurance rates, which is to-day an absolute necessity. The people who brought about the investigation and conducted the inquiry are those most largely interested in the St. Lawrence route, and most interested in impressing on the government the necessity of making the requisite improvements in that route in the interests, not only of the shipping, but of the whole trade ot' Canada. To show the importance of this question, let me point out that Manitoba annually exports 58.000,000 bushels of grain to Great Britain, and that out of (this quantity less than 14 per cent goes by way of Canada, the other 86 per cent going through American channels and ports. That fact alone is sufficient justification for my bringing this matter up in this House. The evidence taken shows conclusively that the present aids to navigation on our national route are out of date. The system of lights, signals, buoys and other aids, are found to be of the lowest standard and far below what the steamer captains say are required. Such a condition of things is not at all consistent with the greatest security to life and property, and is a groat disadvantage not only to tiie large Atlantic steamers, but to all persons directly or indirectly interested in our shipping trade. Small coasting vessels are equally dependent on the marks and aids to navigation furnished by the government, so that it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the improvements which are marked out in the chart submitted with the evidence and the urgent necessity of the work being attended to without delay. If Canada is not to see herself completely outstripped in the race for commercial supremacy, we have not a moment to lose and can no longer afford to remain with arms folded. I am not taking up this question from any sectional point of view or out of any special regard for the interests of any particular locality. I am taking the broad view


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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

taken by the Montreal Board of Trade, which considered the whole question as affecting all the different points of Halifax, St. John, Sydney and thence to Montreal and from Montreal to the upper lakes. We must not forget that our shipping season by the St. Lawrence is short, due to climatic reasons, and that consequently it is imperative that the navigation of that route should be tiie safest and speediest and the best possible in every sense of the word. I think every lion, member will agree with me in that opinion.

In order that the Canadian producer may be able to compete with the exporters of other countries successfully, it is necessary that the produce of Canada should reach the European markets at as low a charge for transport as possible. The chief expenditure in connection with such transport is the freight from the shipping point, and that freight includes not merely the actual cost of carriage but also the cost of insurance, and at present the rate of insurance which the exporter has to pay is practically prohibitive.

It is perfectly clear that to enable the Canadian producer to compete with his rivals in freight, the insurance upon the hull and upon the cargo must be as low as it possibly can be. The insurance rate on tiie St. Lawrence route is much higher than from any American port. But if the approaches to the St. Lawrence are made as safe as are those to the American ports, the insurance must be reduced, and it will be reduced in proportion as we improve the approaches. An increase in the facilities of navigation will rapidly tend to diminish the insurance rates upon hulls and cargoes and will largely augment the tonnage that comes to the 'St. 'Lawrence. It will also increase the size of the vessels and will lower the rate of freight, while the providing of 'better steamers will enable the Canadian producer to reach his market more promptly and with greater certainty. I am sure that any lion, member of this House who has ever done any exporting will realize the importance of reaching his destination on time, or as nearly so as possible. The increase in navigation will tend to reduce insurance rates, and it will improve (lie promptness of delivery, which is of vitai importance to the produce of Canada, especially perishable articles and live stock. If the improvements proposed are made and have the effect it is reasonable to anticipate, we may look forward in the immediate future to a large increase in the number of steamers and the size of steamers, and an improvement in their promptness in reaching their destination ; and we may also anticipate a diminution in freights and of the rates of insurance on the hull and cargo, greatly cheapening the cost of transport. A further effect will be a large increase in the exports of Canada, which would be beneficial to the St. Lawrence

route and would also immensely increase tlie traffic of the canals and of our western ports. Now, Sir, that is the statement that has ibeen made by the Montreal Board of Trade and underwriters and shipping agents. If the condition of the St. Lawrence navigation is not improved to a very great extent and modernized, and if these improvements are not taken in hand immediately, one result, so far as Canadian trade is concerned, will be the removal of a great deal of our shipping. The shipping that trades by the St. Lawrence is very largely owned- in Great Britain, and the owners will not send their vessels to Montreal, Quebec, Three Rivers or Sorel if it pays better to send them to ports in the United States. I have sent out to the members a list of the withdrawals from this port. The Dominion line alone were in the habit of sending six or seven steamers a month-large vessels-to the St. Lawrence. That line of steamers has been taken off the St. Lawrence route and put. on the American route to Portland in connection with the Grand Trunk Railway. There has also been a large portion of the Thomson fleet withdrawn. There is the withdrawal of the large boats of the Hamburg-American line, the St. Lawrence tonnage of which is greatly diminished. The Donaldson line have taken some of their larger vessels off the St. Lawrence route and placed them on the American route. The Johnston line is counted one of the best lines trading between the St. Lawrence and Great Britain-Liverpool. The whole of that line is withdrawn, not a single vessel coming to the St. Lawrence today. The Leyland line has been very much reduced. This goes to show that, unless something is done and done quickly, the St. Lawrence route is going to suffer, and suffer very much. I shall not go into all the details ; they have already been gone over by the delegation, but 1 may refer to some of the points that were suggested by the captains and pilots engaged on the St. Lawrence route. They desire a good light and a fog signal ou the north-east part of Belle Isle.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRANSPORTATION QUESTION.
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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

Is the hon. gentleman reading from the report or from thel evidence ?

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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

I am simply taking out a number of the parts pointed out as important by the captains examined by the board of trade.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

Then, I understand, the hon. gentleman is reading a portion of somebody's evidence.

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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

I give the points most strongly brought out by the evidence given by the captains. We have examined 33 or 34 of these captains. Of these 33 agreed that the present light is useful where it is, but another is certainly required on the

north-east end of Belle Isle. When we come to the north, a light on the north-east end would prove invaluable.

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LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. WRIGHT.

Is the hon. gentleman referring to some point between Quebec and Montreal ?

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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

No, this is Belle Isle. I ask the hon. gentleman to start with me at Belle Isle and come up the river. The next is Flower Ledge, Newfoundland. It is known to all the members of the House that the lights provided in Newfoundland are provided by the Canadian Minister of Marine and Fisheries for tlie^benefit of the Canadian service. As will be seen by a glance at the references over two-thirds of the captains consider a fog signal at Flower Ledge a necessity. Flower Ledge marks the south-west entrance to the straits. Several shipmasters complained of the Cape Norman signal. It is a very poor one and needs strengthening. Something should be done to prevent the possibility of it being mistaken for Cape Bauld. One witness says that the signal at St. Armour is not low enough, and another thinks that the light at that place and also the one at Flower Cove lack penetrating power. I may say that the whole evidence given (by the captains goes to prove that the present lights should be improved. Most of the lights, as the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries knows well, are stationary lights. What we ask for are flash lights. If the light should flash twenty seconds green, and twenty seconds white, then twenty seconds dark, all the captain of a vessel has to do is to take out his watch and consult his chart, and he knows where he is no matter what time of night it may be or how dark it may be. That is what the captains ask for all along the line. Then I ask the hon. gentleman to go back with me to Cape Race, possibly not so relatively important as many other places, because many captains passed it over without suggestion. A few are satisfied with both light and signal. Two would have the signal and three the light increased in power. A siren would be most favoured. Four captains suggest that Cape Race flight should be moved a little to the south-west. This would be an exceedingly useful alteration because at present the light is too much to the north-east to properly guide the vessels coming from the west. After dealing with Cape Pine they come to Cape Ray. Some fifteen or sixteen captains denounce the present light. It seems to require strengthening.

There is another suggestion about Cape Ray. The light at Port Basque, a little to the east, is very weak and of no use. while the Cape Ray light itself, being rather too much to the west, makes some change advisable. The Port Basque light might be made stronger, or else the Cape Ray light itself might be moved a little south and

placed on Duck Island ; or another light put on Duck Island. Any of these alterations would seem to meet the wants of those who navigate this coast. Then, too, the signal at Cape Ray is denounced as very poor, and a new one-a good siren or whistle -should be placed here without delay. In any case a signal at Port Basque is suggested. It will also be observed that the Post Basque light is a red flash and utterly useless. As stated elsewhere, red flashes anywhere are condemned. After Cape Ray comes the Bird Rocks. The light here, as most hon. gentlemen know, is a fixed light and a very poor one. Then in regard to Anticosti, it will be seen that sixteen masters expressed the strongest desire for the further lighting of that island. It appears that Heath Point light, being the only one at the eastern point of the island, is too much around to the south-west. Something more is urgently wanted to enable mariners to round this coast more easily from the north. One or two suggest, as a remedy for this, a lighthouse on some high land up towards Pox Bay. The great majority, however, would strongly prefer a light-ship anchored off Heath Point, in from 20 to 40 fathoms of water, which would place it from three to ten miles from the shore. This would benefit them when rounding from either direction. All those who spoke of the Heath Point signal were unanimous in condemning the present one. A 20 minute bomb is absurd and dangerous, for a ship would easily have time to run ashore in the interval. Every one of the captains condemn a twenty minute gun service. They say that in many eases they have found that the intervals should not be longer than (two minutes.

Then we come to the south shore of the lower St. Lawrence, from Fame Point to Father Point. Beginning at Fame Point, this is a most important place, especially for ships by the southern routes. There is at present no fog signal, and all agree on the absolute necessity of having one. It may be stated in general that the demand is for good sirens or whistles in preference to guns. A glance at the reference shows this. Again, it is asserted by nil. with one, or at most, two exceptions, that a good signal should be placed at every lighthouse, but with the qualification that they must all be distinctive. For this reason one or two suggest the retaining of some kind of explosive signal here and there. In any case the existing bombs and guns are condemned as fog signals. Another very general suggestion is that all the lights should be flashing, revolving or occulting, provided (hey be distinctive, and more power should be given them. A red flash is useless, merely dimming the light. A fixed light is preferred by one or two. but then only when there are no other lights with which to confuse it. Off Matane there is a small buoy which is found useless. It should be Mr. BICKERDIKE.

replaced by a large automatic can buoy. Some would have it gas and some with a whistle. All up this coast the general suggestion is that the lights should be stronger and changed to flashing ones. Also that fog signals be placed at all lights. Fame Point, Cape Chatte, Matane and Father Point have special need of signals.

Now, Sir, we come to the coasts of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. At St. Paul's Island the signal is not properly heard. At Sydney Harbour, Low Point has a whistle which cannot be heard ; it is useless as it is, and should be replaced by a new one with a different sound and more powerful. Flint Island light is described as miserable. At Cape North the light requires strengthening. About the western end of Nova Scotia, Cape Negro light is a wretched one and needs improving very badly. It is a white light with red flash, and of no use. It is suggested to move it to the south-east side of the island where it could be seen when approching from either way. Cape Sable light is two and a half miles inside the outside zone of danger. There should be a lightship and a good signal. At the Lurcher Shoal there is now only a buoy. A good lightship with a signal is desired. The same may be said about South Reef at Briar Island. At Musquash, the entrance to iSt. John, the light is very poor.

The lights on Prince Edward Island are fixed lights and red ones. They are. therefore, almost useless. They should all be replaced toy distinguishable flash lights. West Point, P.E.I., needs a signal. There is a buoy there, but it is no good. There should be a siren signal to guard against this reef. The present buoy being a large and heavy one, is rather a source of danger than a protection when the weather is thick or stormy. Cape Eg-mont is a fixed red light, and useless. It should he stronger, and a flash light. Grand river is the same. The lights of dwelling houses are seen first when approching this point.

Now, that takes us to Father Point. From which place to Quebec and Montreal we examined pilots who are better qualified than anybody else to give evidence. Captains coming up the river depend entirely on the pilots after they leave Father Point, or almost entirely. Beginning at Father Point, a ga,s buoy is wanted at the north-west reef of Bicquette. At Bic, both light and signal need to be improved. The Cape Eagle light should be moved to the next point westwards. The Red Island lightship should he moved further south, and placed in twenty fathoms. At Green Island the gun is useless. It should be heal'd at least every five minutes. Cape Salmon signal is defective, and the light is not powerful enough. At the Traverse improvements are wanted in the worst way. Nearly all the witnesses

speak of this place and agree in their suggestions. First of all they want a pier light, with a signal at the lower end, similar to the one recently placed at the upper end. A still stronger wish is expressed for one or more gas buoys in addition to the existing one. At the Pillars a gas buoy is wanted. At Crane Island channel at present there is only four fathoms of water, and ships have to wait on the tide. I am pleased that the Minister of Public Works is in his seat, because he will realize that this is a very important point. There is no place from Montreal to the sea where we should have less than 30 feet of water. I think the minister without portfolio (Hon. Mr. Dobell) knows better than any one else in this House the benefit that commerce will derive from such an improvement. St. Thomas channel should be deepened to 30 feet. Between Crane Island and Bellechasse there should be a gas buoy on one of the parches. At St. Laurent there is one suggestion, that this light be altered to a flashing one. At Point Levis a gas ibouy is wanted in 8 fathoms to mark the south shore.

I would call the attention of the minister (Hon. Sir Louis Davies) to the fact that very successful experiments have been made with the wireless telegraph system for the purpose of signalling the vessels that may be in danger. An automatic system of signals transmitted by wireless telegraphy for the purpose of warning vessels in stormy weather against the proximity of reefs and rocks, and which already has been experimented with on the Pacific Coast, has been laid before German marine experts, according to a report to the State Department from Consul-General Guenther at Frankfort, Germany. The automatic part of the apparatus is said to consist of a wheel with a number of cogs arranged at suitable intervals which slide over a Morse apparatus. This latter is connected with a ladder placed vertically on rising ground on shore, or on a light-house. From the top of the ladder electric waves emanate and are taken up by receiving apparatus on vessels having such, within a radius of seven miles. Bells sound on the ships and the receivers note the spot of danger.

It might be well for the hon. minister (Hon. Sir Louis Davies) to make inquiries into this wireless telegraph system, and there is no doubt if we could adopt it at certain points in the Gulf it would be of great assistance to the navigation of those waters.

The most serious feature of the whole evidence is the situation at Quebec itself, where one would expect that the best lights in the world would have been provided. The hon. member for Quebec west (Hon. Mr. Dobell) has crossed the Atlantic often enough to know how very important it is. Of all the suggested improvements in the river the most important seem to be needed at Quebec. All the witnesses speak

of this place. What is wanted there is a leading light for going in and out of the harbour. At present there are two red range lights on the Quebec wharf, but these are strongly condemned by everybody, they are quite insufficient in power, and are not distinguishable. To remedy this state of affairs powerful range lights should be placed on the western end of the island of Orleans. There are some general observations made concerning this part of the river, but I will not detain the House by reading them. The evidence on the whole line from Montreal to Quebec shows that we want a 30 foot channel, 500 feet wide, well lighted, not only from Montreal to Quebec, but from Montreal to the sea.

We are not taking any narrow view of the matter ; we are not at all jealous of any advantages that may accrue to Quebec. We say that anything that comes to Quebec, Three Rivers, Sorel and Montreal is for the benefit of the St. Lawrence route and for the benefit of Canada. I would like to point out for a moment the amount of trade that this country is losing by not having a good route by way of the St. Lawrence. The average annual export of wheat and flour from the United States is 200,000,000 bushels, and 200,000.000 bushels of corn. The same thing is true in the case of oats, barley, bacon, ham, pork, and other commodities which are exported in the same proportion. The largest amount ever exported from the St. Lawrence in one year was 40,000,000 bushels of grain, and I claim that when our waterways are in a proper condition we are going to transport a large portion of this immense traffic. I mention this so that hon. members may realize the .importance of this question today. There is no question in my mind that the grain and other products from the western states and from western Canada will go down over the St. Lawrence route. The produce of the west, having descended the St. Lawrence, the great natural, and I may add, the international route to Europe, as far as Montreal, and with the completion of the work which I have outlined, cargoes from the west will be exported via the St. Lawrence route cheaper than will be possible via any other route, and in proportion therefore, as we succeed in making the great waterway through Canada superior to other routes, just to the same extent will be the success of the great commercial development of this country. Now. ns to Montreal ; Montreal, in my opinion, possesses great natural advantages as a place of exchange and distribution between the ocean and interior, as also by our present railway system. I can quite understand that this is a subject upon which there will be various opinions in this House. I am supported in mine by experience and a careful study of the situation, covering a large number of years, and by being in constant touch with the St. Lawrence trade of the country for the

past forty years, and having given the question very close, careful and continuous attention. Now, Sir, if my views are, as 1 believe them to be, sound and based on ascertained facts, and entertaining these views as I do, I think I will be forgiven for placing them before the country and the House as I am now doing. I have the great satisfaction of believing that I am voicing the sentiments of almost all the hon. members, if not all, on botii sides of this House. This is not a political question. I am sure that the hon. members on both sides of the House will agree with me that something has to be done for the sake of the commercial reputation of this country, and that it has to be done now. It is too serious a matter to trifle with. I have laid the facts before the House in connection with the work of perfecting the channel between ocean navigation and the city of Montreal. It must be borne in mind tlmt in all countries ocean-going steamers go as far into the interior of the country as they possibly can. Most of the hon. members of this House are aware that the old port of Glasgow to-day is the principal port in Scotland, and probably one of the best ports they have. Greenock was originally the great port of Scotland. At millions of pounds of expense, the little river Clyde that the boys used to wade across, was dredged out. and now the largest steamers from the Atlantic go right up to the interior of Scotland day and night. It is a fact that in all countries steamers will go just as far into the interior of the country as they can get. I cannot tell why. No one, I suppose, can tell why, any more than we can tell why it is that the cities and towns of this country grow to the westward. The same thing happened at Liverpool and at Manchester. Manchester has built one of the largest and best canals, I think, in the world, ns the hon. member for South Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart) will bear me out. As far as the St. Lawrence is concerned. in my opinion, the magnitude of the capabilities of (he St. Lawrence route would give a decided superiority to that route over any or every other route that it is possible to have between the western states, as well as western Canada, and Europe. With navigation so improved and perfected as to make the St. Lawrence the cheapest, quickest and best route for this great and ever-increasing trade of the west. Montreal must necessarily be the point of distribution. Some hon. gentlemen, especially the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton), claim that the day is coming when Quebec city will be the great commercial center. I hold a different opinion from that of the hon. gentleman. I may add. however, that one of my main objects has been to give prominence to this question, to place the facts before the House, and to Invite public attention to the subject. I do not think, although I apologize to this House for bringing the subject up again, that this question has Mr. BICKERDIKE.

been sufficiently before the country west of Montreal. It has been a burning question with us, but I do not think it has been properly introduced into this House before. I can only lay the question before the hon. gentlemen as a fair business proposition, shorn of any attempt at eloquence. But, the facts are there. There is no government that has spent one dollar on the port of Montreal. We are still in hopes that when the supplementary estimates are brought down by the Minister of Pulblic Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte), and the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Hon. Sir Louis Davies), there will be a sufficient sum in these estimates to carry out the works that I have suggested. I hope that the House will be unanimous in supporting these two hon. gentlemen in carrying out these works, and that if they do not put sufficient money into their estimates, the House will be unanimous in asking them to put in more. This is work that has to be done now. I will have no reason to complain if these opinions of mine are discussed and criticised, as the more they are discussed and criticised, the more likely it is that this work will be taken up in a thorough manner. I am familiar witli all the various routes from the west to Europe, and knowing all the advantages and capabilities of the different receiving points. I have no hesitation in stating that I know of none which possess the extraordinary advantages which may be made available at Montreal.

Let me here draw the attention of the House to the work now on hand for the improvement of the Montreal Harbour and it will give hon. gentlemen an idea of the extent of the operations now being carried on there. The Harbour Commissioners are entirely reconstructing the central part of the Harbour. Between the entrance of the La chine Canal and the Victoria pier, a distance of three quarters of a mile, the entire wharfage, which includes the berths hitherto occupied by the Allan, Dominion and Eider Dempster steamship lines, is being torn out and replaced by modern wharfs of ample size suited to the rapid handling of cargoes from the largest steamships. There will bo 9.850 feet, or within a fraction of two miles of such new wharf frontage, and included in it are three great piers which will be over twice the size of the new piers recently built in New York for the Cunard and White Star lines. All these wharfs are of such height and so (protected from ice shoves ns to allow of permanent freight houses being placed upon them, and will have tracks for bringing railway cars and ships together so that freight may be transhipped with the least posisble cost. About half of this reconstruction has been already done and work on the remainder will be carried on night and day. throughout the working season until finished.

In an adjoining part of tlie harbour a wharf specially fitted for the coal business has been recently built, aud within a short time that will be further extended 2,600 feet, or say half a mile.

In the eastern part of the harbour the Department of Public Works has given a contract for the construction of a large high level pier, also fitted for having permanent freight houses and railway tracks. Much of the material for this new pier has been made ready during the winter, and construction work will be commenced as soon as the ice clears off the Harbour.

These enlargement works will make a total of about 14,000 feet, or almost three miles, of new wharf frontage of the best and most modern character.

The following statement in reference lo the money expended on Montreal Harbour will show what has. been done by us

Approximate expenditure on capital account for Harbour of Montreal to end of 1900.

Harbour of Montreal

$1,483,912 07Harbour dredging

839,613 91Windmill Point wharf

372,228 70Windmill Point basin

189,877 93Hochelaga construction

679,439 68Deep water berths, sec 26

14,333 54Longue Point wharf

7,886 27Ship channel through harbour 12,832 20Dry dock test boring

5,468 06Guard pier construction

275,587 57

Removing old wharf, Victoria

Bridge

3,217 54Harbour enlargement

406,928 03Harbour, new approach

13,298 35Harbour railway

109,485 09Dominion Coal Co.'s tracks

26,949 47Harbour plant

289,437 80Real estate

96,845 01

The bonded debt is- _

To the public $2,222,000 00

To the government, 3J per cent.. 2,000,000 00

Average interest, 4 per cent.

The city of Montreal contributes towards the improvements now in progress $631,317 85

Montreal is to-day the head of ocean navigation, but I believe the day is not far distant when probably Port Arthur will compete with Montreal for being the head of ocean navigation. I believe the day is not far distant when the [Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) will be called upon to place $70,000,000 in the estimates to provide for the French river district and the Georgian Bay canal.

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An hon. MEMBER.

Hear, hear.

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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

An hon. member says ' hear, hear,' but I will venture to say that although he and I are no longer young men, I think we will both live to see the Georgian Bay canal an accomplished fact. When the

works that I have suggested are carried out, Canada, instead of shipping 40,000,000 bushels of grain a year will be shipping

100,000,000 bushels a year, and, when the Georgian Bay canal is completed, we will ship 300,000,000 bushels of grain by the St. Lawrence route. I have the figures to prov a what I say.

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CON

Bennett Rosamond

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSAMOND.

I would like to ask the hon. gentleman (Mr. Bickerdike) if he proposes to make a 20-foot channel ?

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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

Nothing less than a 20-foot channel will do. I believe the future of this 20-foot channel will be that steamers drawing thirty-three feet of water, will leave Europe and come to Quebec. They will there unload down to thirty feet draft, proceed to Montreal and take off the eastern cargo, and many of these vessels-I do not mean the larger ones-will proceed to Port Arthur and Fort William, deliver the balance of their cargo, and come back loaded with wheat and grain and other products of the west. I believe also that the large lake steamers will come down the St. Lawrence. Yes, Mr. Speaker, I venture to say that when the Georgian Bay canal is built, and built it will be, we shall carry 200,000,000 bushels of grain over that route. I have great hope for the future of the transportation trade of Canada. I believe with many of our friends from the North-west Territories and Manitoba, that when the great prairie country from the foot-hills of the Rockies down to Selkirk becomes a vast wheat-producing country, as is its destiny, then the Hudson Bay route will be constructed, and for five months of the year at least large quantities of grain and cattle will be exported front the great west over that route. It has been stated, Sir, that this country cannot afford to incur such a large expenditure at the present time as is necessary to provide the best facilities for our transportation system. I state here, and I will be backed up in this statement by every man who has the true interests of Canada at heart, that this country cannot afford to be inactive any longer, that the money must be provided for these great national works, and they must be undertaken and pushed forward at the earliest possible moment. There is no question in my mind, Sir, but that in the near future the Minister of Finance will be obliged to provide at least $70,000,000 for this great undertaking of completing the Georgian Bay canal and French river route connecting the St. Lawrence with the great lakes, and a great future is in store certainly for the St. Lawrence route. Quebec, Three Rivers and Sorel, as well as Montreal will be the great St. Lawrence ports in the summer time, while we will have St. John, Halifax and Sydney for the winter season. That. Sir, brings me to another question which I would like to refer to. I presume that most of the hon. gentlemen who know

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The SOLICITOR GENERAL.

What harm would the country suffer if it did ?

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Mr. BICKER DIKE@

None at all ; but my object to-day is chiefly to prove to the House and this country that not one dollar of public money has ever been spent in the harbour of Montreal ; and I challenge any hon. member to put his finger on a single item in the Auditor General's Report showing that there lias been. That may seem a bold statement to make, when every little harbour from oue end of tiie country to the other has received large grants from this government. But, Sir, if the government continues to treat Montreal like a stepchild, it will not stop the progress of that city and port ; for I think we are a sufficiently enterprising people that if the government continues to do us an injustice, we will endeavour to take care of ourselves. When the returns come down, they will show that instead of anything having been spent by the government on the port of Montreal, the government of this country owe the harbour commissioners a million and a quarter of dollars ; and when the supplementary estimates come down, I hope there will be sufficient in them at least to pay the government's debt to the harbour commissioners. Now, I would like to say just one word with regard to the harbour commissioners. They are entirely reconstructing the central part of the harbour, and they are paying the interest on every dollar of the cost. A number of the members of this House visited the port of Montreal a year ago, and they must have been impressed with the work being done there. The ex-Minister of Railways and Canals stated the other day that the steamships coming to that port were antiquated. There is a good deal in what he said, but it does not apply to what we are doing in Montreal. We are raising the wharfs to a high level, and we expect to have a railway service on them which will be controlled by the harbour commissioners, so thait all railroads will have access to the harbour and to the sheds. We expect to have terminal facilities there which will surprise the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals when he visits that city. There is one other question to which I wish to refer. While fully endorsing. as I have said, the preferential tariff, I hope the government will insist, as I am sure the Minister of Agriculture will, on Canadian cattle being allowed entrance into the markets of England and Scotland on equal terms with their own stock. As I know there are a number of other members who wish to speak on this transporta-

3 >99

tion question, I will, with your permission, leave any other matters until the close of this debate, as I may have omitted particulars which I may then wish to refer to. I thank the House for the kind attention they have given me, and I close by repeating what I have already said, that if ever Canada is to become commercially great, we must take up these important improvements without any more delay.

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CON

Thomas George Roddick

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMAS G. RODDICK (Montreal, St. Antoine).

In rising, Mr. Speaker, to make a few remarks on this question of transportation, especially in its relation to the city of Montreal and the St. Lawrence river from Montreal to the sea, it is a pleasure for me to feel, as my hon. friend from the St. Lawrence division, (Mr. Bicker-dike) evidently felt that this is not a political or a party question. Any discussion in this House on the importance of our great waterway and the establishment of a national port in Canada should never be lowered to the level of party, but be considered, from start to finish, as a patriotic and national question. My hon. friend has gone so thoroughly over the ground that but little remains for me to say. We are here, Sir, to-day not to find fault with the government, not to blame those ministers who are administering the two great Departments of Marine and Fisheries and Public Works-the two departments to which we appeal for assistance on this occasion. But we are here to implore, to beg practically on our knees for something to be done which will improve the facilities for navigation of the St. Lawrence and the terminal facilities of the port of .Montreal. We want if possible to have to-day a declaration, a definite statement from the government, as to what amount of money is likely to be expended in making the city of Montreal the national port of Canada, in making it a free port, and in so improving the facilities for navigation on the St. Lawrence that confidence will be restored to the shipping and commercial Interests of this country. That confidence has been practically lost, not alone by the shipping interests of Canada, but of Great Britain and of France, and I might even say of Germany. We find that our trade is terribly handicapped by the high insurance rates charged on ships and cargoes coming into and going out of the St. Lawrence.

I have taken a little trouble to get some information on this subject, and although I may be going over the same ground as my hon. friend who preceded me, I think that the importance of this subject furnishes me with a good excuse. I have been furnished by a friend of mine, of wide commercial experience-and I may say a gentleman who lias always supported our friends on the other side-with this Information :

Marine insurance to the St. Lawrence is more than double that to American ports; for in-

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Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

stance, where the insurance is 4i per cent to, say, Baltimore, we have to pay from 9 to 10 per cent, and even 11 per cent, on the steamers employed in the St. Lawrence route, which means on a vessel costing, say, $500,000, making five voyages in the season, extra insurance of $5,000 per voyage, or $25,000 per year.

One of the large companies employed in the St. Lawrence, in fixing their risk for the ensuing year, found (to use the expression of. the owners) ' that the St. Lawrence stank in the nostrils of the underwriters.' When it was pointed out that the government was going to improve the gulf and river, the underwriters stated ' that they would wait until that time came round.'

This difference of insurance is no exaggeration, as the company referred to arranged the premiums on their Montreal, Baltimore and Newport News steamers at the same time.

Regarding tramp tonnage, we have to say that while we are able to charter all the steamers required for our trade on the Atlantic coast, we find it next to impossible to get steamers for our Montreal trade, the charterers only stating in letter received from them this week that the trouble regarding Montreal was that the owners would not face the insurance charge on the St. Lawrence route.

Seventy-five per cent of Lloyd's underwriters will not look at the St. Lawrence, either for hulls or freight.

That proves tbat we are driving away trade from this country every day, and when it can be proved, as has been already stated by my hon. friend who preceded me, that whole lines of steamers are leaving our shores every day, one can readily understand the necessity for immediate action. My hon. friend has given us the names of the steamship lines which have left Montreal, and I am very sorry to hear that others are likely to follow suit. This means that something must be done, and warrants us in demanding that the administration declare positively and definitely what they intend doing. It will not do to put us off this time with the ordinary stereotyped statement which ministers use too often, I am sorry to say, that this matter will be taken into their serious consideration. We want to get something definite, and that without delay, as to the policy likely to be adopted.

Other reasons tvhy shipping is leaving our river, besides the high rates of insurance, are the feeling of insecurity in traversing the St. Lawrence route, the wretched terminal facilities in the port of Montreal, and the high harbour duties. The terminal facilities have already been referred to at considerable length, but I might refer to a few points which have not been touched upon. In the first place, our wharfs are all of too low a level, which makes practically impossible the building of permanent sheds, such as are found in other terminals. The sheds, of course, as you are aware, are removed every spring because otherwise the ice would carry them off. High level wharfs are then of the utmost importance and should be included in any scheme sub-

mitred by tlie government or the minister in charge of this department.

We find that the transportation of cattle, which my hon. friend (Mr. Bickerdilce) so thoroughly understands, is a matter of considerable importance also. I am informed on the best authority that because of the fact that cattle have to be bustled about and must pass through narrow streets for long distances down to the wharfs, they practically lose In value from $2 to $5 per head before they leave the port of Montreal. That is a very serious question and one to which consideration should be given. Another matter which was brought to my attention the other day was that the flour which was shipped to Montreal is practically decreased in value by about $4 per car-load from the fact that there are no storage facilities and the flour must be left in the cars until shipping can take place, and then it costs about $4 a car to carry this flour to the ships. At the very highest, a charge of $2 should cover the transhipment. Then, to our lumber friends I would say that we have no facilities for piling lumber in the harbour of Montreal. The consequence is that the purchaser finds that he is obliged to pay for demurrage to the extent of $10 or $12 for the boat or barge on which the lumber is carried. This, of course, should not be. The question of grain is, of course, the most important one-I run over these items hoping that they will be dealt with at greater length by hon. gentlemen who follow me. I am convinced from my conversation with commercial friends and from the fact that the council of the Board of Trade of Montreal recommended that course, that probably the best plan is to have the government build the elevator. Many schemes have been suggested, but this is the one which the council of the board of trade, after long consideration has recommended. These elevators should be built at a suitable point, and, if possible should be approached by an elevated railway, so that the general traffic on the wharfs might not be so much disturbed. The idea in having the government build the elevators is to prevent the possibility of foreign contractors intervening and foreign capital being used for this purpose. It is not thought desirable that the scheme that has been for so long before the public, the Conners scheme, or even the Wolvin scheme, should be carried out, but it is their opinion-I give it as theirs-that the government should build the elevators. One might be built at a time, or two might be built at the same time as might be thought desirable. A charge sufficient to pay the interest and cover the working expenses should alone be made. If it is found at the end of the year that the charges are too low. they could be raised to cover these two points.; if too high, they could be lowered so as to cover barely working expenses and in-101

terest. In the event of the government refusing to ibulM- the elevators, it seems to me that the best thing would be that they should utilize money that is in their hands belonging to the city of Montreal for that purpose, as suggested by my hon. friend from St. Lawrence, or the scheme that is proposed by Mr. Crathern, of Montreal, that the harbour board should borrow $1,000,000 from the government and build the elevator. I am obliged, however, as a man without practical experience to come to the conclusion that the council of the board of trade may get credit for having thought this matter over very seriously. In all probability their scheme is the one that will give the most satisfaction. A third reason why ships are leaving our ports is that the condition of navigation is so unsatisfactory from Montreal to the sea that ship-owners will not run the risks that they would run if they adopted this route.

Mr. CIIAIiLTOX. May I ask my hon. friend in what portion of the river tlie conditions of navigation are particularly unsatisfactory-above or below Quebec ?

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April 17, 1901