Nearly three years >ago, before construction work at Quebec was commenced, Mr. Cooper informed Mr. Parent that he would never be aible to go to Quebec again, and asked to be relieved from ihis responsibilities, as lie felt impossible to give the work the attention that he should, 'as he was under the ban of his physician.
Mr. Parent responded that they never intended to let him go until the bridge was finished, as they had confidence in him and wanted his services continued. He told Mr. Deans the same, but neither would hear of it at all as they did not know of another one who could be mutually agreed upon.
There was no government control, no joint engineer, Mr. Cooper was supposed to have Mr. ROBITAILLE.
the full responsibility and Mr. Cooper had said that his old age and his feeble health, caused his doctors to order that he should not leave New York. All these considerations were put aside. It may be inferred from the action of the directors that they were better pleased that Mr. Cooper should remain in New York than be on the bridge where he could check things and prove that the work was not done in a business like way. Then, the responsible head of the whole organization in Quebec was Mr. Hoare. Mr. Cooper in his disposition says :
All important changes were referred to Mr. Hoare and I suppose through him to the department.
But the department was not in a position to ascertain the correctness of these plans from an engineering point of view and so Mr. Hoare was the only one to look after them. Mr. Hoare's responsibility is recognized by the commission who in their report (page 49) says :
The company's directors did not seem to have realized the importance of the duties pertaining to Mr. Hoare's position and whilst believing that he was not competent to control the work they still gave him all the powers and emoluments of the chief engineer.
There was a letter written by Mr. Parent to Holgate when it was admitted in 1898 that Mr. Hoare had not the ability to undertake the responsibility of chief engineer but still Mr. Parent said : Never mind, we know yon are not capable but you shall be chief engineer. Why was Mr. Hoare accepted under such circumstances ? It seems to me that a grave responsibility rests on whoever was the main instigator of the retention of Mr. Hoare and Mr. Cooper* who admitted their inability to cope with the magnitude of the work. The report goes further :
Mr. Hoare personally considered that he was in general control of the construction, and that everything was under his jurisdiction except the approval of plans; the evidence shows that he gave much personal time to the oversight of the fabrication of the material, to inspection of the erection and the preparation of the estimates; it also shows that he lacked a comprehensive grasp of the work that was being done by the inspectors, and that although his subordinates entertained the highest personal regard for him they did not look to him for advice when technical difficulties arose.
Was Mr. Parent really the man who was running the Quebec Bridge Company. Probably some bon. gentlemen may challenge that statement but if so I refer them to page 29 of the evidence given before the committee when Mr. Barthe, the secretary of the company, was examined, and Mr. Barthe knows all about the Quebec Bridge Company if any man knows. Mr. Barthe was examined by Mr. Chisholm :
Q. You are aware that the chairman, had a good deal of travelling and a good deal of work to do other than what the other directors did P-A. Certainly. He was the soul of the whole thing and he practically did all the work.
I go further and I say, that Mr. Parent was responsible for the bad as well as for the good in the management of the Quebec Bridge Company. Mr. Parent ignored Mr. Douglas's report which was subsequently proven to be correct. The hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Maclean) admitted that the unit stresses were the fundamental mistake in the design. If we admit the truth of the maxim, that to err is human, is it not strange that an undertaking of that magnitude should be left in the hands of one single man ? Mr. Douglas condemned the unit stresses, and I quote from his evidence : v
Q. Are you in a position to state that this accident could have been avoided by the adoption of the unit stresses you recommended ?- A. To answer that question is a very large statement but I think-
Q. But speaking generally it would ?-A. Yes, I may say that the experiments that have been made at Phoenixville as a result of the collapse of this bridge corroborate my recommendation.
Mr. Hoigate stated about the same thing but still Mr. Parent ignored Mr. Douglas's report against the first plans and he ignored the logical recommendation of a joint engineer to supervise the technical accuracy of the plans. Mr. Parent also ignored Mr. Schreiber's admission that he was not in a position to be able to take the responsibility for the approval of these plans and he ignored also the Eiffel committee's report. I may say in passing that the greatest committee of engineers in the world is what is known as the Eiffel Committee in Paris. Eiffel was a great engineer who promulgated certain theories as to stresses and the flexibility of steel and on account of his great scientific attainments the French government permitted him to exemplify his theory by erecting the Eiffel tower for a period of five years. The French government has been so impressed by the successful carrying into practice of the theories of Eiffel that they have allowed the Eiffel tower to stand. There is therefore a committee of engineer's in Paris which studies every important work in the engineering world. The Eiffel committee reported that they did not see their way clear to accept the present cantilever scheme unless there was a double resting point provided, and that otherwise the bridge would be exposed to great inconveniences. Time has proven that these defects in the bridge existed and the bridge has fallen. In the presence of all these facts I say that there rests on the president of the bridge company the responsibility of wilful neglect 425*
which may probably be extended to criminal negligence ; because a man who undertook such an important position should have known his own responsibility, and if he did not he was not fit for the job.
I say that a man guilty of such carelessness or want of business ability or the ordinary precautions which anybody should take in the ordinary walks of life must in the eyes of God and man be held entirely responsible for the neglect of a duty which was entirely under his control. What was the verdict of the coroners jury at the inquest in Quebec. which was held to ascertain the cause of the death of those poor three score men who went down with the bridge ? These people were in a hurry to pack that jury with shareholders of the company, who rendered a verdict in consideration of their own interests, and went further than a coroner's jury is expected to go, in stating that all of the necessary precautions were taken by the Bridge Company to prevent the collapse. An ordinary motorman who runs down a vehicle or a human being in the streets, is immediately brought before the courts and tried for manslaughter ; but when these high and influential men cause an accident which destroys the lives of three score men, nobody even considers who is responsible. I think it is the duty of this parliament or of the courts of this country to sift this matter to the bottom and see who is responsible. This government does not know what kind of a white elephant it is getting when it agrees to take over the property of this Bridge Company under the broad wording of this resolution. The probability is that this parliament will have to pay out of the public treasury for the errors of incompetent and irresponsible people.
Another point which I wish to impress on the House is that the government had not sufficient control over the finances of the company. The want of such control resulted in loose business methods being resoi'ted to by the company, amounting almost ito misrepresentation. I read in the report:
One of the conditions engaged was that before the guarantee should be given the company would secure the subscription andt full payment in cash of $200,000 of additional stock. That condition was only in part fulfilled, through the government, having accepted the written certificate of the company's officer that it had been fully carried out, guaranteed a new issue of bonds.
I must say that when the attention of the Finance Minister was called to this, he admitted in his evidence that had this deception been known to him, he would not have authorized the execution of the guarantee. The Finance Minister is a high official upon whose statement relative to finances we can rely, and he considers that the terms of the statute were not fulfilled. How was it ? We find that $2,500 of stock was acquired by Mr. Parent which was paid for not in