Would not that necessarily be the effect as to dry-docks of the first class? The moment you repeal a statute under which the Governor in Council has authority to pay money and substitute for that another statute, then all payments must be made under the substituted statute or not made at all.
Might I suggest that the minister or the Prime Minister give the House a short statement as to the meaning of this Bill and as to how much money it is proposed to expend under it? I do not think the members understand what is proposed to be done.
This Bill is introduced in order that the Government may be able to secure the construction of a first-class dry-dock at Vancouver. Under the old law, it was impossible to find any company willing to undertake the construction and financing of a dry-dock on a basis of a subsidy of 3i per cent, and this Bill is to increase the subsidy to 4 per cent. In view of the increased cost of money at the present time, my hon. friend will understand that it is very difficult, in fact, impossible to finance on a basis of 34 per cent. The Bill was intended to correct this condition of affairs so that we might be able to secure the construction of a dry-dock at Vancouver.
given consideration to the very urgent request made on behalf of the people of St. John for a change in the plan for the construction of a dry-dock at that port? The present contract, as my hon. friend is aware, provides for a dock only 900 feet in length. Since that contract has been entered into, there has been a very great advance in the construction of steamships, the tendency being to build larger ships. As the Government is aware, that view has been presented very strongly by the people of Quebec, and I believe the Government is now engaged in the construction of .a dry-dock, at the port of Quebec of a length of 1,100 or 1,150 feet. The people of St. John are strongly of the opinion that a dry-dock of the same length should be constructed at their port so as to be able to accommodate the largest steamships likely to cross, the Atlantic. If their request is acceded to and a new contract entered into for an enlarged dock, will this Bill, when it becomes law, apply to that enlarged dock as well as to docks which may be constructed at Vancouver and otheT places?
This matter was discussed when the resolution was introduced, and, as my hon. friend is aware, the people of St. John were anxious for the extension of the dry-dock at that port to a length of 1,100 feet. Application was made informally by the contractors who had in charge the work at that port, and we informed them that we were quite prepared to amend the contract to provide for a dry-dock 1,100 feet in length on the basis of the contract made for the 900 feet first-class dock. If the contractors are willing to come to an arrangement, we shall be very pleased to enter into a contract with them. I have word from Mr. Griffiths, who has that contract, that he will be on his way in a day or two to Canada, and this matter will be taken up with him when he arrives here. The Government will give it every consideration; and, if an arrangement can be come to with Mr. Griffiths the Government are prepared to be very reasonable in dealing with him with a view of supplying St. John as liberally as possible with a dry-dock of a larger dimension. I do not wish it, however, to be understood in the meantime that we would agree to the subsidy being fixed at four per cent, as the matter has not as yet been considered by the Government.
I would suggest to the Minister of Public Works that, this being a general law, it should take in dry-docks of tire second and third classes as well as those of the first class. It is just as difficult for people to raise money or to float bonds for the purposes of one of these works as for the other. The effect of increasing the bonus to one class and not to the other will be to give a preference to the larger ports to the disadvantage of the smaller ports which in the future may try to secure dry-docks but which cannot maintain docks of the first class. I would suggest that the minister amend subsections a, b, and c of section 8 of the Act of 1910, in order to make this change applicable to all dry-docks.
There is another clause in the Act of 1910 which I would bring to the attention of the minister. It may be a matter concerning which I am not very well informed, but I know something of the company that proposed to build a dry-dock in the city of Sydney harbour. Section 3 of the Act reads:
The Governor in Council may, as an aid to the construction of any dry-dock, authorize the payment out of any unappropriated money.
When the promoters of a dry-dock go into the market for money, those who are asked to advance the money will turn up the Act, and there they see this word ' unappropriated They ask: What would
happen if at any time there were no 'unappropriated ' money forming part of the consolidated revenue fund of Canada? I understand this question has been actually raised by financiers who have been approached on the raising of money for dry-docks. They do not understand why the word ' unappropriated ' is there. The Act should be so worded that there could be no doubt about the Governor in Council giving this money at the rate of three and one-half per cent or four per cent, whatever it may be, when the dry-dock has been completed to the satisfaction of the minister and his engineers.
never before heard raised, and so far as the department is aware the word in the statute to which the hon. gentleman calls attention has never caused any difficulty. It seems to me clear that the money must be paid out of the consolidated revenue, and, of course, out of money unappropriated.
I was Minister of Public Works when the statute was framed, and it seemed to me then that we could not make it broader than it is. The Be-ceiver General is authorized to make these payments out of any funds that may be available, and I do not know any language which could more completely assure its being paid. Of course, Parliament could not declare that it should be paid out of any part of the revenues, for if money . were appropriated for other purposes it would have to be paid for those purposes. But when it is provided that the money shall be paid out of the unappropriated portion of the revenue, I think that is the widest power that could be given.
I agree entirely with my hon. friend from South Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll) that it is desirable that if the rate of interest is to be changed it should be changed in respect of any dry-dock the building of which the Governor in Council may think it desirable to encourage. Quite a number of years ago, when the Government undertook to aid the construction of dry-docks, the rate of interest was put at 3 per cent. That was afterwards found to be too low, and it was increased to 34 per cent. Then, that rate was found to be too low, except for two or three places, like Port Arthur and Toronto. It has been found difficult to finance these undertakings under present legislation. The Minister of Public Works knows that the Government guarantee on railway bonds a few years ago was 3 per cent, and bonds so guaranteed could he sold nearly at par. But with the increased demand for money and extended opportunities for investment, the rate of interest has gone up, and to-day bonds guaranteed by the Government and bearing 4 per cent will mot bring very much more than 3 per cent guaranteed bonds would bring a few years ago. If the Minister of Public Works sincerely desires to encourage dry-docks, ought not he to take the bull by the horns and make the general guarantee 4 per cent? He knows that in the case of Halifax and Quebec, dry-docks could not be constructed unless the guarantee were 4 per cent, and in order to get over the difficulty the Government has determined to build the dry-dock at Halifax, I believe, to the length
of 1,100 feet, also the dry-dock at Quebec and the diy-dock at Victoria. So far as St. John, Vancouver, Sydney and many other places in Canada are concerned, where it would be of advantage to have dry-docks, it is left to private enterprise to finance the undertakings. If it is to be left to private enterprise, the terms ought to be made liberal enough to make the work of the promoters possible: .
what is said with reference to the extension of the subsidy of 4 per cent to second and third-class docks. But we have no application or request far these in the department iat Jthe present time. Should such an application be made and should it be found impossible to secure the docks on a basis >at 3i per cent, I should be glad to come down to the House again and ask for further extension.
the remarks of the hon. membeir for St. John (Mr. Pugsley) and the hon. member for Cape Breton (Mr. Carroll) that the guarantee of 4 per cent should not only apply to dry-docks of the first-class but to those of the second and the third-class as well. A dry-dock which answers the purposes designed and costs only $1,500,000 ought to receive a guarantee at the same rate of interest as a more expensive dock. Take, for example, the dry-dock on the inland lakes; it is not fair to compel us to build a dry-dock there which is more than sufficient for the requirements of the traffic simply to enable us to get the four per cent rate. Two years ago when the town of Owen Sound granted a bonus of $100,900 for the purpose of constructing a dry-dock in that town, the plans for which were approved and entirely satisfactory to the Department of Public Works, owing to financial difficulties, one of which was the low rate of interest, the proposition fell through. We have stuck to the project and we are submitting another by-law on June 6 under which the town of Owen Sound will give a straight cash subsidy of $10,000 a year for twenty years. I think that if we are willing to go down into our pockets for that amount in order to build a dry-dock which will cost in the neighbourhood of one and one-half million dollars, we are entitled to as much as the other dry-docks, a subsidy of four per cent. I do not see any just reason why the cheaper*class of dry-docks, provided they answer all the purposes for which they are intended, should not be
entitled to the same rate of interest as the larger dry-docks, which are more easily financed and which, in my humble opinion, would be financed even more readily at three and a-half per cent than at four per cent. A first-class dry-dock receives a four per cent rate, a third-class dry-dock receives only a three per cent rate, while the intermediate class receives a three and a-half per cent rate. I think that that is more than an injustice to the poorer class of dry-dock which does not receive the same rate as the others. If the dry-dock were not answering the purposes for which it was intended, that would be an argument against the granting of the four per cent rate, but when it is fulfilling all its purposes I think that it is entitled to the same rate of interest as is granted to the first-class dry-dock. I have not had time to speak to the minister personally on the subject; I received only this morning a letter from Owen Sound asking me to urge this matter on the Government.
That a new section be added as section 3, as follows:
The second section of this Act shall not apply to any agreement heretofore entered into between His Majesty and any incorporated company under the Dry-dock Subsidies Act, 1910, and paragraph (a) of section 8 of the said Act shall remain in full force and effect for the purpose of every such agreement and with respect to every matter and thing connected therewith.
I think my hon. friend will agree that this matter ought to stand. The amendment proposes to change altogether the recommendation which His Royal Highness made to Parliament, which was that paragraph (a) of the section be repealed altogether and that a new law be passed providing for the rate of subsidy at four per cent. My hon. friend proposes entirely to change the resolution and still to keep the old Act in force as to contracts which have already been entered into. Apart from the merits of the ease, I think that if this new section were to be introduced the committee would have to rise and a new resolution be submitted to the House. I do think that my hon. friend ought to be reasonable with regard to aid to dry-docks. We know that when Mr. Monk was Minister of Public Works he wanted to assist dry-docks. When the hon. member for Ar-genteuil (Mr. Perley), was acting for him, I urged upon him that this change in the rate of interest should be made in order to make it possible for the people of Owen
Sound-a very enterprising town, where it has been felt- for a long time that a dry-dock ought to be constructed-the people, of Sydney, the people of Quebec, of Halifax, of Vancouver and of other places, have dry-docks. Instead of accepting my suggestion, he left the rate of interest as it was and provided that there might be paid this subsidy upon a largely increased cost. I pointed out to him that that would not do any good; that the only way in which the increased bonus could be got would be by having the dock nominally cost a great deal more than it actually does cost and that, therefore, it was utterly absurd to make such a change. The hen. member for Argenteuil will remember my having brought his attention to that point. Notwithstanding that, the Government insisted on pushing the Bill through. It had no good result whatever; nothing was accomplished by it. Speaking of docks of the second-class, the dry-dock at Port Arthur is of the second-class, and no dry-dock ever built in Canada has done better work for the country than the one at Port Arthur. Not long ago there was turned out from the shipyard there in connection with the dry-dock one of the most magnificent freight carriers that is to be found in any country, the Grant Morden, a vessel of large capacity, splendidly built, the pride of the people of Canada. In order to secure the construction of a dry-dock there-it was my great pleasure to turn the first sod when I was Minister of Public Works-it became necessary for the people of Port Arthur to make a very large contribution toward the work; I think they furnished a site as well. Works of this kind are of a national character, and the people of the community should not be called upon to impose any burdens upon themselves in order to secure their construction. In the case of Owen Sound, I am quite familiar with all that the hon. member for North Grey has said. Application was made to me when I was minister; I am inclined to think that the contract was actually entered into; at any rate, the town of Owen Sound was prepared to do everything possible to assist in the work. But if a dry-dock at Owen Sound, in connection with the shipping upon the Great Lakes, which is of enormous importance and of enormous magnitude, is as important in respect of Canadian trade as a dry-dock at an ocean port, why should the rate of interest in respect of a dock upon the Great Lakes be 3 per cent, and the rate of interest upon a dock at Vancouver be 4 per cent? What reason can be suggested [ Mr. Pugsley,]
for it, unless it be that the hon. member for Vancouver has more influence with the Government and has been more wideawake in this matter than the hon. member for North Grey? No other reason can possibly be suggested.
I am opposed to this amendment also upon the ground that it is an injustice to the people of St. John. The hon. Minister of Public Works knows very well that there is a contract for a dry-dock at that port in connection with other harbour work of great magnitude and of exceedingly great difficulty. No substantial progress has yet been made in the construction of a dry-dock. When the contract was entered into the people of St. John were asked to put their hands in their pockets and assist the work, and they were willing to do so. They were then put upon the same footing as Quebec, as Halifax and as Victoria. But since that time the Government have chosen to take hold of the dry-docks at these three ports as Government works, and propose to construct them out of the public moneys of Canada. The Government, therefore, will be able to manage those dry-docks and to make the rate for the repairs of vessels just as low as they may think desirable in order to encourage shipbuilding and ship repairing at those ports. But in the case of St. John, the shipping which occupies the dry-dock-and it will be the same at Vancouver and at the ports on the Great Lakes-will be called upon to bear the burden of the necessary interest in order to keep good the securities which will have to be issued upon these docks. These ports are being placed in an unfair position, particularly the port of St. John. The people of St. John find that today the Government are not only taking hold of these docks at other ports as Government works, but are proposing to make them 1,100 or 1,150 feet in length. At St. John the contract is for 900 feet. The people there want it to be 1,150 feet. A contract has been entered into with a company for the construction of a dock of the smaller size, and my hon. friend is now asking the committee to adopt an amendment which will tie his hands in respect to the dry-dock at St. John and compel him to say to the people of St. John: Parliament has tied my hands; I cannot increase the subsidy beyond three and one-half per cent, what it is today; even although I can do so in regard to Vancouver or Sydney, I cannot give you further assistance.* There has been very great delay in connection with the construction of the dry-dock at St. John and with
other work with which the Government has to do in connection with railway terminals at Courtenay bay. I am not going to speak about that, but there has been great and inexcusable delay. Now, my hon. friend, knowing that the people of St. John will come to him and ask the same measure of justice as is being meted out to other cities, and that interest up to four per cent should be given for an enlarged dock, asks the committee to tie his hands so that even if the Government may think it desirable to give four per cent he will be able to say that his hands are tied and he cannot give more than three and one-half per cent. Let me appeal to the sense of reason and fair play of my hon. friend. Let him not treat St. John with a less measure of justice than he treats other places. It is true that St. John is not represented by a supporter of the Government, so far as the city is concerned; but my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen) occupies the position of representative of the city of St. John and the county of St. John as well. So far as the people of the city are concerned, he is my colleague; he represents a somewhat different constituency to what I do because he takes in the parishes of the county as well. I want him to speak on this question. I want my hon. friend to intercede with the Minister of Public Works and ask that this matter shall stand over for a little so that a consultation may be had and so that the hands of the Government may be left free to give the same assistance to the dry-dock at St. John as it is proposed to give at Vancouver, in order that that work may be completed without delay. The people of St. John are getting very discouraged at the delay in undertaking this dry-dock. They are beginning to blame the Minister of Marine. They ought not to blame him, because I do not believe that the delay is his fault. The delay is due to his colleagues who override him and with whom he does not seem to have that influence which one of the ability and the long political experience and the high standing of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries ought to have. I do appeal to my hon. friend now, when this matter is before the committee, to appeal to the Minister of Public Works and endeavour to have this Bill so framed that my hon. friend will be able to go to him and ask him to enlarge this dock to 1,150 feet, making it the same length as the dry-docks at Halifax and Quebec are to be. made, and as I presume the dry-dock at Vancouver is to be made, because the people of that city will not be content with anything less. Let my hon. friend have this legislation so framed that the Minister of Public Works will be free to accede to the demands of the people of St. John and to his demand, and that the work of constructing this dry-dock upon the enlarged scale to which a port of the great importance of St. John is entitled may be speedily undertaken.
friend's point of order is concerned, it does not seem to me that there is anything in it, for two very plain reasons. In the first place, this amendment does not increase the burden upon the public treasury; according to my hon. friend's argument, it diminishes that burden. In the next place, it does not change the appropriation of the money. Therefore, I can see absolutely nothing in the point of order which my hon. friend has raised. So far as docks of the second and third class are concerned, there is a great deal in what my hon. friend from North Grey has suggested. But, as pointed out by the Minister of Public Works, there is not at the present time before the department any application in respect of either the one or the other class.