February 24, 1921

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Mr. QAKVELL@

There is no vote in the Ks-timates for that. The trouble with the St. Charles river proposition at Quebec is a very simple one. The scheme is to construct a clam across the mouth of the river where it empties into the St. Lawrence. There were to be two entrances from the St. Lawrence up into the basins of the St. Charles river. That was to create practically a lake 12 or 14 feet higher than the ordinary level of the river at low tide and, to some extent, higher than the level would be at high tide. The sewage of at least three-quarters of the city of Quebec enters into the St. Charles river above the location of this dam and before the work was started an agreement was made with the city of Quebec by which they were to provide for, the sewage. There was to be a big trunk sewer constructed by which the sewage would be emptied into the St. Lawrence river around and below the dam at the mouth of the St. Charles. It will cost probably $2,000,000. I suppose they had some trouble about financing it during the war but no attempt has been made to take care of that sewage. They have refused to go on with the work until something is done about the sewage. If you build a dam across the St. Charles river and dump the sewage of 75,000 or 80,000 people into the river for a year you will have a pest house ; you could not live alongside of it.

I would not take the responsibility of consenting to go on with the work until something was done about the sewage. With this, I take the same ground that I have taken in regard to St. John and other places. We have about $1,750,000 invested in the St. Charles river work at the present time and it will take another $1,000,000 to finish it. The money we have expended is absolutely lost until the work is completed but I cannot go on and complete it until something is done to protect the health of the city of Quebec.

It will be of interest to the members of this House to know the exact terms of the contract entered into between the city of Quebec and the Federal Government in regard to the work on the St. Charles river, regarding which work Mr. Carvell stated that the city had not fulfilled its obligations and that, therefore, the Government had not gone on with the work. With your permission, Sir, I will read the contract which was entered into between the Government and the city of Quebec:

Before Charles Juge Baillairgeon. Public Notary for the Province of Quebec, residing and practising in the said City of Quebec Came and appeared:

His Majesty King George V, represented by the Honourable Frederick Debartzch Monk, Minister of the Public Works of the Dominion of Canada, the said Honourable F. D. Monk hereto represented by Mr. A. R. Deeary, Engineer of the Department of Public Works, for the district of Quebec, according to a procuration signed by the Honourable F. D. Monk, in Ottawa, dated May 2nd, 1919, annexed to the minute of these presents after having been recognized and signed by the said Mr. A. R. Decary in the presence of the undersigned Notary.

And the City of Quebec, represented by His Worship Mayor Napoleon Drouin, duly authorized for the purpose hereof by a resolution of the City Council of Quebec, at a meeting held on April 19th, 1912-; of which a certified copy is annexed to the minutes of the present contract after having been signed by Mr. Napoleon Drouin, in the presence of the undersigned Notary, part of the second part,

Which said parties have agreed and covenanted as follows: to wit;

Whereas the party of the first part proposes to execute certain works of damming and dredging in the river St. Charles,

Whereas part of the actual sewerage system of the City of Quebec actually discharges in the said river St. Charles,

Whereas the works of dredging and damming in the river St. Charles, if executed, will consequently interfere with the proper discharge of sewers actually deversing in the said river;

Whereas it has been agreed between the parties that a contract would be signed in virtue whereof the said city of Quebec will save the Government of the Dominion of Canada harmless against any claims that rfiay be made with regard to the said sewers.

In consequence, it is by these presents agreed and covenanted as follows:-

1. The party of the second part will, if the party of the first part executes the proposed damming and dredging works in the city of Quebec, save the Government harmless against any claim whatever that may be made in con-

nection with the sewerage system actually deversing in the river St. Charles, or which may deverse in the said river, which sewers are under control of the said City of Quebec.

2. The Government of the Dominion of Canada on the other part will allow the city of Quebec, if said works are carried out in the river St. Charles, permission to discharge the sewers outside, through and at large of the proposed damming works on the said river, towards the St. Lawrence river, permission extending on all sewers which the city will have to construct to regulate the said sewerage system.

Done and Executed in Quebec, under the notarial number six hundred and twenty-nine of the minutes of the undersigned Notary.

In Testimony Whereof the appearers have signed on the fourth day of June of the year nineteen hundred and twelve in the presence of the said Notary, after due reading.

(Signed)

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPLY.
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NAP. DROUIN.

ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.


I have read this contract so that there will be no misunderstanding regarding what was agreed to between the Dominion Government and the city of Quebec. The contract is nothing more and nothing less than that if the Government does the work, the city of Quebec will not hold the Government responsible for any damage which may be caused to the sewers. Therefore, when I state that the work on the St. Charles river at Quebes has been interrupted without any valid reason, I think you will admit, Sir, that my contention, which is that of the citizens of Quebec, is perfectly right. If the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) really has, as is stated, a special place in his heart for the citizens of Quebec, he should prove his good faith, not by throwing bouquets to the people of Quebec but by prompt action in doing justice to the citizens of the province and more particularly of the city of Quebec, who seem to have been boycotted by this Government in the past few years. Besides the claims I enumerated this afternoon, the citizens of the city of Quebec have made another very important claim on the Government. During the riots in the city of Quebec, four most peaceable citizens were killed by the soldiers, who had taken control of the city by order of the Government, issued through the Militia Department. The .Riot Act had never been read in the city before the shooting took place, and the mayor of Quebec, which position I had the honour of occupying at that time, had never asked the military powers to take control of the city, but we asked them to protect their own buildings in case the city police were not able to do so. You, Mr. Speaker, and the citizens of Canada, are familiar with what occurred during the riots, and the unfortunate consequences. I repeat, four perfectly innocent citizens were killed by the soldiers, and a few others were badly injured for life. The parents of the slain, as well as the injured, have made claims on the Government, but their demands have received no consideration. If the Prime Minister really has so warm a spot in his heart for the citizens of Quebec, is not this a good time to prove his sincerity by settling these claims of the victims, and all the other claims which I have set forth this afternoon and evening in my remarks.


UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. GEORGE BRECKEN NICHOLSON (East Algoma) :

Mr. Speaker, may I at the outset associate myself with the remarks that have been made by hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House in commendation of the speeches delivered by the mover and the seconder of the resolution now before the House. May I at the same time extend my personal congratulations to my right hon. leader, the Prime Minister, on his elevation to the highest office in the gift and service of the Canadian people. I should like to be permitted to go a little further and say that I think the House and the country are to be congratulated on the fact that when our great Prime Minister and leader, Sir Robert Borden, who piloted the affairs of this country during the whole period of the war, found that owing to a physical breakdown it was necessary for him to resign, there was found within the Government itself a man whose qualities of heart and mind so eminently fitted him to take up the reins of office and carry on from the point where Sir Robert left off.

I do not think the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Lavigueur) will feel that I am at all discourteous if I do not attempt to follow him in the remarks he has made to the House this afternoon and evening. The first part of his remarks followed the general line that has been taken by members on the Opposition side of the House during the whole debate, while the latter part dealt with a subject apparently in dispute betwen the city of Quebec and the Government, of which I have no knowledge and am consequently unable to speak.

Coming to the debate itself, I think you will agree with me, Mr. Speaker, that in its course it has blazed out for itself a trail that makes it take a unique place in

the annals of Parliamentary debate of a similar character in this country. The House has been in session almost two weeks. We have had placed in our hands by His Excellency the Governor General a legislative programme of some importance, notwithstanding the remarks made by my hon. friend the member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) this afternoon. We were charged also with the responsibility of scrutinizing the record of the Government in the past and their programme for the future. In a word, we had before us in review the whole record of the Government, both in its administrative and legislative capacities. In such a review I think you will agree with me, Mr. Speaker, that it is usually the practice of the Opposition to take some part. As a matter of fact,

I will go further and say that the debate on the Address is looked upon as the opportunity of the Opposition to scrutinize every act of the Government, administrative and legislative. It is looked upon as their opportunity to dig into and pry up, if they can, any weak spot in the administrative or legislative record of the Government.

But what has happened in this debate? It is now well on in its second week, and we have seen one hon. member after another on the opposite side of the House, from the leader of the Opposition down, rise in his place and talk about every purely academic subject under the sun rather than the Address of His Excellency the Governor General. There are two reasons for that. In the first place-and I think this is a matter upon which the House and the country can legitimately congratulate itself-the record of the Government has been such that the Opposition cannot, dig and delve as they may, put their finger on one single act of the Government and say: This is something you should not have done. Nor can they put their finger on one single proposal of the Government and say: This is something you should not do.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

What about the marine policy of the Government?

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON:

If my hon. friend has any fault to find with the marine policy of the Government, it will be in order for him when he speaks in this debate to deal with that subject, but so far, his colleagues who have spoken have avoided anything in the nature of criticism of any part of the Government's policy.

There is another reason. You know, Sir, it is not a difficult matter for any dema-

gogue to indulge in destructive criticism, and to utter all sorts of declamations; but when it comes to a question of offering constructive criticism or helpful suggestions there requires to be something in the nature of unanimity of opinion amongst those who offer such criticism and suggestions. And for the leader of the Opposition to undertake to secure unanimity of opinion amongst his followers on any subject of public importance in this country at the present time, would create a situation that would find a fitting parallel only in the chaotic circumstances surrounding the tower of Babel. He simply could not unite his followers on any single subject of prime importance before the country, and the hon. gentleman knows it.

There is one other reason why the speech from the Throne and matters of a similar character have been studiously avoided. The leader of the Opposition and his followers do not want to discuss anything in the nature of a real and vital issue to-day. It is not in keeping with the arrangement that has been so studiously worked up between my hon. friend the leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar). Notwithstanding all this, however, the debate has served some useful purpose. In the first place, it has shown both to this House and to the country the opposition to this Government in all its naked impotence.

Just analyze the situation for a moment. We heard the hon. member for Marquette this afternoon say that this country was faced with problems of supreme importance, problems that would require the attention of all thinking men if they were to be properly solved. Well, then, what has been the contribution of the Opposition? They have offered nothing but lifeless, meaningless opposition, the still-born product of the leader of the Opposition's political councils, capable of nothing but complete bankruptcy in statesmanship. He leads what is only an apology for what was once a great political party. Mr. Speaker, the debate has served another purpose: it has given an opportunity to the leader of the Opposition-I regret exceedingly he is not in his place

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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An hon. MEMBER:

Too bad.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Well, before I sit

down it is my intention to address some definitely pointed remarks to the hon. gentleman's position and record. I was about to say, Mr. Speaker, that the debate

has given to the leader of the Opposition an opportunity to occupy in the centre of the stage what would seem to be his favourite position, that of perhaps the greatest example of bloodless neutrality that this generation has produced.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Let us just for a

moment review the programme of legislation submitted to the House. The first item deals with unemployment in this country. Now, notwithstanding what the hon. member for Marquette said this afternoon, and notwithstanding the indifference with which that subject has been treated in the House the question of unemployment, I conceive, is of some importance; and every rightthinking man in this country must realize that our social conditions are not going tc be what they should be until measures are found to cope with the unemployment situation. The leader of the Opposition, theoretically, when he is in his study writing books, is supposed to know something about the workingman's problems. But when he comes on the floor of the House of Commons and a great proposition is before him, where does he stand?

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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An hon. MEMBER:

He stands right.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON:

He says, Mr. Speaker, in so many words: "I wash my hands entirely of the question of unemployment. I am not interested in whether the workingman is employed or not; I am neutral." That is the position he takes.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Not at all.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Now, the next question submitted to the House in the speech from the Throne is unemployment insurance and old age pensions. This is a subject of prime importance notwithstanding what has been said to the contrary. It is a difficult problem. Every English-speaking country in the world is grappling with the problem of unemployment insurance and old age pensions, and every Englishspeaking country in the world will continue to grapple with it until it is properly solved. This Parliament has been charged with the responsibility of taking hold of that problem and dealing with it.

My hon. friend from North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt), for whose opinion I have the very highest regard, said in his speech that he hoped this Government and this Parliament would not press the matter of unemployment insurance and old age pen-

sions. I take exactly the reverse position.

I hope that this Government and this House will press the question. Because it is very difficult is one reason why we should take hold of it and try to find a proper solution for it. And, Sir, I will go so far as to say that unless some system can be devised that will remove from the honest workingmen the spectre of the possibility that their families may suffer because they cannot obtain work, then our whole social system will go to pieces. I say again that this is a difficult problem, and it will require the attention of earnest, virile men.

Where does the leader of the Opposition stand with regard to this matter? Again, he virtually says, "I am neutral when it comes to a question of unemployment insurance and old age pensions."

The next item in the speech from the Throne is the question of Canada's position in the League of Nations and of a Court of International Justice. But surely, says the leader of the Opposition, this is going too far. Now, the whole question of the League of Nations and the setting up of a Court of International Justice has arisen out of the war, and it is because the steel has gone to the hearts and souls of millions of people all over the civilized world that there is. a suggestion that we might possibly set up a work of League of Nations and should have a Court of International Justice. But the hon. gentleman says: "Have I not made it absolutely manifest that I have no interest in the war? Why should I have anything to do with a League of Nations or a Court of International Justice?"

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON:

He says again: '1 am a neutral."

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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An hon. MEMBER:

Clever.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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An hon. MEMBER:

You do not like that.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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UNION

George Brecken Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON:

The next point is the tariff.

Topic:   NAP. DROUIN.
Subtopic:   ALBERT DECARY, CHARLES J. BAILLAIRGEON, N.P.
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February 24, 1921