January 26, 1912

CON

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McCURDY.

The point I wish to make is with regard to facilities and extending the trade generally between Canada and the West Indies. I do not wish to set the advantage or disadvantage of any one port up as against the other. Let the generally enlarged trade find its natural port. It is a matter of common knowledge that before the days of steamship subsidies, the West Indian trade centred in certain localities for perfectly natural reasons. That is the answer I would give to the hon. member for St..

John. , But I do not wish to speak of one port as against another; our purpose here is to seek to extend and increase the West Indian trade.

^GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP OF TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE LINES.

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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?

Mr LEMIEUX.

I regret that the Postmaster General .(Mr. Pelletier) is not in his place. But I suppose the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Foster), who is leading the House will be able to give me tjie information I desire. I see it stated in the ' Evening Journal ' that the Postmaster General made an announcement yesterday . on the nationalization of the telegraph and telephone lines by the Dominion. It is a rather startling announcement, and I desire to ask if the government has considered this matter of nationalizing telephones and telegraphs. Also I see it announced that the Postmaster General said that free rural mail delivery will be .given. I am sincere m asking for information on these points. Does this represent the personal view of the Postmaster General, or did he speak for the government?

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER. (Toronto).

I think if would be more satisfactory if the hon. gentleman would put the question to the Postmaster General himself. We have had an illustration already to-day of the inadvisability of tieing ourselves up completely to items in newspapers. While trying to be as correct as possible, they are tinged with human frailty, I fear. '

Topic:   SUPPLY-INTERCOLONIAL TRADE,
Subtopic:   TRADE BETWEEN CANADA AND THE WEST INDIAN ISLANDS AND AUSTRALIA.
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Motion agreed to, and the House went into Committee of Supply.


SUPPLY.

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I believe the item * Wingham-Public Building-Tower Clock, 1$2,000,' was allowed to stand. I was speaking when the House adjourned on Wednesday last at .six o'clock. .1 have only a little more to say. I noticed in some of the papers the statement that my hon. friend, the former Secretary of State (Mr. Murphy) announced that the government had decided to abandon the land on Sussex street, as the site for a new departmental building. I observe also 'that in one of the newspapers the language of the former Secretary of State was quoted for the purposes of showing that I evidently was unaware of the statements which that hon. gentleman had made. ,

I have, however, looked at ' Hansard report of his statement and what he said, as I interpret it, is not that the govern-xnent lutd decided that the Sussex street site was not suitable for a departmental building to be erected now, or looking to future needs. I take it that what the hon.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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CON

Fleming Blanchard McCurdy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McCURDY.

member for Russell meant was that that land would not be sufficient for all the accommodation that would be required now or in the future and therefore a sub-committee of Council had been appointed with a view to looking over other available sites in order to purchase the land in advance of the actual requirements. It is true we had differences of opinion as to the extent to which we should use the land on Sussex street.

When I became Minister of Public Works, plans had been prepared under direction of my predecessor for two departmental blocks and also a Palace of Justice which were intended to cover all of the land purchased from Sussex street up to Mackenzie avenue and also to cover Mackenzie avenue. Subsequently when by an arrangement between the government and the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Improvement Commission the City of Ottawa proposed to buy certain lands along Sussex street and facing the river in order to improve the driveway, the Ottawa Improvement Commission made a very strong protest to me and other members of the government, including the then Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), against the closing of. Mackenzie avenue, saying that it would be desirable to keep that avenue open as a public driveway particularly because a portion of Major's Hill park had been taken for the Chateau Laurier. I yielded to the view of the Ottawa Improvement Commission as urged upon me. I directed the Chief Architect to prepare new plans for a building which would come only to the edge of Mackenzie avenue. Owing to the change, we had to take one story off the building in order to give proper light in the wells and we had to narrow the building by some 40 feet, the width of Mackenzie avenue. It took some time to prepare those new plans and while they were under consideration quite a feeling was expressed by prominent citizens of Ottawa, which, I may say, -was shared in by the late Governor General, who is a warm friend of Ottawa as well as of Canada, and who takes a very enthusiastic view of the future of Canada and of Ottawa and who urged very strongly that it would be a mistake to erect a building upon any part of the land acquired, that it should all be left open as a public park and that the building should be put either on the other side of Sussex street or in some other locality. I felt bound to give weight to these representations which were made to me and which I knew were shared in by at least one gentleman who is now very prominent in the Conservative partv. I deferred coming to a final decision as to the construction of the building until the return of 'the late Prime Minister from England. After his return, as my hon, friends know, the House

was dissolved, the general elections came on and therefore there was no time to deal with the matter. But it is in no sense true that we had decided, as a government, to abandon the land on Sussex street. On the contrary, I would have expected that a part of it at any rate, would have been utilized for some departmental buildings, while, of course, it would be the part of wisdom to acquire land in some other locality to provide for the very pressing needs of the public service.

One statement with Tegard to the Lan-gevin Block in answer to the Postmaster General who, I think, tried to unduly press the charge that the late government bad been neglectful of the interests of the employees of the Post Office Department. If there is any fault anywhere, it is on the part of those who built the Langevin Block in the first instance. It was constructed by the Conservative government a 'good many years ago, not by the Liberal government and, instead of acquiring land right through to Sparks street and erecting a building which would have plenty of light and ventilation, for the different public offices, the building was erected on only half the block so that the rear offices are not lighted at all and it is exceedingly difficult to get proper ventilation.

With regard to the congestion, as I said the cffher day we recognized that trouble and sought to remedy it. Since I have been minister, we have rented a large number of buildings in Ottawa. We have rented commodious premises in the Grand Trunk building for our Railway Commission,, splendid accommodation at large expense. We rented the old Y. M. C. A,, the Rosenthal building, the Brennan building, the Imperial Realty building and some others, endeavouring, as fast as we could reasonably do so, to give accommodation; but the new buildings had to be erected before we could get the accommodation. I entered into negotiations for the Blackburn building some time ago, and the new Minister of Public Works (Mr. Monk) is only carrying out to completion the negotiations we entered upon.

I do not like to charge my hon. friend with exaggeralion, but I think he is exaggerating when he speaks of the rats being so destructive. I think if that is so, it is the fault of the caretaker. If a building is neglected, rats will accumulate. The Postmaster General (Mr. Pelletier) says rats were so wary because they were born and brought up while the Liberal government was in power. I would rather think that the fact that it was only after the new government came in that they became so vicious and started in to devour the postal notes, shows that they have seen the procession moving towards the

public crib and would like to be in with the crowd, and the only thing they could find was these postal notes and money-orders.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

I merely wish to correct the impression, if it exists, that anything-has 'been absolutely decided as yet about the sites. What I told the committee and what is the fact is that the government has not yet had time or opportunity to fully study this important question. A committee of the Privy Council has been appointed, we are very anxious to get to work and to take up the matter as soon as possible because our accommodation is entirely insufficient and inadequate and every day demonstrates more conclusively that we have no rooms, that the departments are very ill provided with absolutely essential accommodation. We have to continue leasing buildings as has been done in the past and we are extremely anxiou3, if possible, to put an end to that by commencing the construction of cur own departmental building as soon as possible.

Personally I would be very sorry to see the Sussex-street site abandoned. I have only had time to cast my eyes upon the plans of a justice building to include the Justice Department, the Supreme Court, the Exchequer Court and the Railway Commissioners, in fact everything pertaining to justice. That plan has been prepared by one of the most- skilful arch!-tects. It seems to me it would be possible at any rate to install that part of our departments on the Sussex-street property leaving sufficient space around to give the necessary relief to such a very handsome building. I can assure the committee that as soon as the House has adjourned we will take up the question and try to bring it to a solution as soon as possible.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX.

As some newspapers have sneered at me about the ' ratty ' condition of the Langevin Block, and have held me responsible for the congestion there, I wish to vindicate myself once more, and to say that when I took office-in the Post Office Department five years ago I found that there were certainly too many people congregfted together within those walls. But the Post Office Department occupy onlv or e Aoot and the cellar for the parcels the Archives and the old files. I immediately called upon the Deputy Minister of Labour, Mr. King.

I was then Postmaster General and Minister of Labour. I urged upon Mr. King to fully consider the question, to study the building from the labour point of view and to prepare a report. I may say that the city of Ottawa had laid a complaint to the Department of Labour. Mr. King

prepared a lengthy report at my request which I laid before my colleagues in council. In that report it was stated that there was too much congestion and that the employees required more space. Council im. mediately decided that a new departmental building should be erected. Then my hon. friend (Mr. Pugsley) started the expropriation proceedings on Sussex street. We know that it takes months and even years to get reasonable valuations of properties such as those on Sussex street, and, especially when such properties are to be purchased by the government, you must go quietly to work and get as good a bargain as possible. That took tvo or three years, but meanwhile we began to look around to find in the city of Ottawa some available space to accommodate the employees of the Post Office Department. It was reported to me that the only possible thing for the department would be to get hold of the upper floors of the building occupied by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture. Unfortunately, I could not convince .Mr. Fisher or my hon. friend the membe'' for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) to vacate the premises, and we had to. look elsewhere. There was only the Blackburn building available. It was started two years ago. and it is not yet completed. But, to put the facts right 'before the public, let me say that what is now being carried out by the Minister of Public Works is nothing else than what was decided upon by his predecessor. It was decided to take fiats in the Blackburn building. That building is not yet completed and none of the employees of the Post Office Department have been transferred since the 21st September to any outside building. Not until the Blackburn building is completed will they be transferred from the Post Office Department-. It was only just that I should rise and state what the facts of the case are

At six o'clock, House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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PRIVATE BILLS.


House in Committee on Bill (No. 22) respecting the Dominion Atlantic Railway Company.-Mr. Jam'eson. .On section 2.


CON

John Best

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEST.

Is not this railway already constructed?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

Clarence Jameson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JAMESON.

It is with the exception of a branch line of about fifteen miles known -as the North Mountain railway, which I am given to understand will be [DOT]built very shortly.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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LIB
CON

John Best

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEST.

Why is the guarantee increased from $25,000 to $30,000 per mile?

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CON

Clarence Jameson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JAMESON.

T,he Dominion Atlantic l-ailwaj consists of the -amalgamation of several short railways running from Yarmouth to Windsor, with one branch from Truro to Windsor. In 1908 they w-e-re empowered to build this North Mountain railway and the security authorized was limited to $25,000 per mile. The object of increasing the guarantee -to $30,000 per mile is to enable them to improve ihe railway by laying heavier rails and putting steel bridges in the place of tire original wo-od-en bridges. The company has not, perhaps, m-ade as much progress in the past as some other companies, but I believe it is the intention of those now in control of the road to put it in condition so as to improve transportation in that part of Nova Scotia, which no -doubt-, my hon. friend (Mr. Best) will deem a very desirable thing.

Bill reported, read a third time and passed.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS.
Sub-subtopic:   DOMINION ATLANTIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
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CAP DE LA MADELEINE RAILWAY COMPANY.


House in -committee on Bill (No. 43)- Mr. Paquet. Mr. PUGSL-EY. I would like to know from the Chairman of the committee on what ground this railway is declared to be for the general advantage of Canada?


CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

The ground, I do not think, is a very satisfactory one, but it is a time honoured one, if that be any justification. There was not a word that I remember raised in the committee against declaring this railway a work for the general advantage of Canada. On many occasions, when I was in opposition, I fought vigorously for the principle that there ought to be some evidence that a work really is for the general advantage of Canada before we embody that declaration in any Bill. But we have been in the habit on all occasions of practically taking that for granted.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   CAP DE LA MADELEINE RAILWAY COMPANY.
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January 26, 1912