May 14, 1903

CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I understood the hon. minister to say that this is simply in pursuance of a policy inaugurated a number of years ago, and that the only change was an increase in the percentage from two to three. Might I ask whether under the Order in Council or statutory law, there is a condition precedent that the dock to be constructed should cost a certain amount ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

There is not any such condition, but the plans 95

have to be submitted to the Minister of Public Works and by him to the Governor General in Council for approval. Whether there should be any amount fixed may be a matter for consideration, but we are simply following the policy laid down in the Act in times past.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

I notice that the Act was first passed in 1899, so that it must have been passed during the hon. gentleman's term of office. Have any companies taken advantage of the two per cent clause ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The Act of 1899 was an amendment. The original Act was passed many years before.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I think that we should encourage the building of dry docks, but under the provision of this resolution, it will be in the power of the government to grant very large amounts of public money without the special authorization of parliament. I would invite my hon. friend to consider that point when framing his Bill. For instance, when this resolution becomes law, the government will be empowered to grant over $2,000,000 of public money without the special authority of parliament- $30,000 a year for twenty years. And as the construction of these docks may become frequent, although we are proceeding on a law which has been in force a number of years, I think that it is worthy of consideration whether it is prudent to give such a very large power of disposing of public funds to the Governor General in Council.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The best answer to my bon. friend is that this Act, in one form or other, has been on the statute since 1882, and up to the present we have only subsidized one dock under it. We may, therefore, conclude that the difficulty surrounding the construction and carrying on of large enterprises of that character will always impose certain checks on the demand for public aid, although, of course, by this amendment, we are making temptation stronger than it was in the past.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

In my opinion the trouble will be that the percentage proposed, is not high enough, because these docks have not hitherto been paying investments by any means. The percentage is not sufficient inducement for capitalists to put money into such enterprises, and, I think, that the government might very well make it much higher.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

My hon. friend's criticism has something in it. It shows that the risk involved is a protection against any excessive payments under the Act. But I hope that the increase from two to three per cent will lead to the construction of one or two docks. The Collingwood dock will be finished and we will probably have one at St. John. Possibly other applications may come forward, and if there are sections where such accommoda-

[DOT]son

tion is needed, we shall not regret supplying a portion of the means to furnish it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

What are we to understand by sections of the country ?

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Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

My hon. friend from Jacques Cartier expressed the fear that under this Bill we might incur too large liabilities, but on the other hand my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) says that financial responsibilities involved in the construction of these docks are such that unless we give very liberal aid, such works will not be constructed at all. He says that, even with the aid we are now giving, we will not find companies prepared to undertake the risk and the responsibility.

Mr, INGRAM. I understood the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals to say that this is a very old policy. Was it in existence before 1899 ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I said that the original statute was passed twenty years ago, which my hon. friend may not consider very old.

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Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The first Act was passed in 1882.

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Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

Thomas Inkerman Thomson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMSON (North Grey).

Has the hon. minister received any applications from any parties in Owen Sound with regard to increasing the capacity of the dry dock there ? And is it the intention of the government to give such parties any assistance ?

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Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

My hon. colleague the Minister of Public Works is the one to whom any such application would be addressed, and I would leave him to answer my hon. friend. As to whether any assistance would be given, I cannot say at present. It is not likely that these docks will be constructed close together. The cost of construction will be large, and if the demands of business are met in any one place, business men will not build another dock close by. Each case will be decided on its merits by the Governor General in Council, and the limitations I have suggested will regulate and restrict applications.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

Thomas Inkerman Thomson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMSON (North Grey).

The reason why I asked whether any application had been made is because one of the strongest arguments used in favour of the Liberal candidate, that if elected, the government would furnish assistance for the purpose of enlarging the dry dock at Owen Sound. I would ask whether the government authorized the holding out of any such inducement on that occasion, and whether it is, the intention by this proposed Act to enlarge the dry docks at Owen Sound ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

If any application were made, it must have gone to the Minister of Public Works. If any application should come from Owen Sound or any part of Canada, it will be considered and dealt with on its merits.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. Mr. FIELDING.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

Thomas Inkerman Thomson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. THOMSON (North Grey).

Owen Sound is a very much larger and more important business centre than Collingwood. The business done there is very large, and It is important that the dry dock should, be enlarged. This Bill is in the right direction. We require a larger dry dock in Owen Sound, and although the people there did not support me in the last election, to the extent they would, on account of these promises, I hope they will get the increased percentage on the same terms as Collingwood and other places mentioned by the Finance Minister.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

It is now in order for the Minister of Customs to support the claims of Owen Sound, because when be was politically wrecked in South Brant he was put in dry docks in North Grey.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

My hon. friend from North Grey was referred to the hon. Minister of Public Works for a reply to the question he put, as to whether any communication had been received from any party in Owen Sound respecting the giving of government aid for the enlargement of the dock there.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CONSTRUCTION OF DRY DOCKS-GOVERNMENT AID.
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May 14, 1903