April 6, 1933

LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

The hon. member is misinformed; Saskatchewan did not get $12,000,000.

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CON

John Alexander Sullivan

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Sullivan):

Order; thi3 discussion is out of order. The item has already carried.

Dredging

Maritime provinces, $149,200.

Ontario and Quebec, $215,500.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, $36,800.

British Columbia, $130,000.-Total, $531,500.

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CON

James Langstaff Bowman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOWMAN:

Mr. Chairman, I note that the dredging item for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta has been reduced from $46,800 to $36,800. Will the minister tell me how the reduction is accounted for?

Supply-Harbours and Rivers

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

This is a lump

reduction brought about by the fact that it is proposed this year to operate only one dredge instead of two. It was thought that the reduction could well be made.

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CON

James Langstaff Bowman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOWMAN:

Will the minister tell me whether, in view of the amount set aside, it is the purpose of the government to operate the dredge Winnipegosis on lake Winnipegosis?

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

The appropriation will not permit'the operation of that dredge.

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CON

James Langstaff Bowman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOWMAN:

May I point out that the cutting off of this dredge would be a very serious matter to a large community. The dredge Winnipegosis has been operating on the lake of that name as far back as I oan remember. I came to Dauphin constituency about twenty-three years ago, and during all that time, and perhaps for several years previously, the dredge has been operated. Some members have spoken about the lakes and streams in western Canada-. Lake Winnipegosis is very large, and stands in size next to the great lakes, Great Bear lake, Great Slave lake and lake Winnipeg. Its area is about 2,000 square miles. A very considerable amount of business in the way of fishing, lumbering, and so on, is carried on on the lake. At its south end there is the village of Winnipegosis, with a population, according to the last census, of 976 people, which constitute the trade centre of the lake. The dredge Winnipegosis has for many years kept the harbour at Winnipegosis open. The village is situated at, the mouth of the Mossy river on lake Winnipegosis, and at that point there is a harbour for the boats plying up and down the lake. During the last few years at low water periods it has been necessary to dig a channel out into the lake for a distance of about a mile. That is the only way in which the boats engaged in the fishing business oan enter the harbour. Hon. members will readily appreciate that if the dredge Winnipegosis is not allowed to operate during the coming summer the effect upon the community will be serious. As hon. members know, during the last few years there has been very little moisture in western Canada, and in most of our lakes, even in a large lake such as lake Winnipegosis, the water is extremely low; I am told that at the present time it is three or four feet lower than it is under normal conditions. About a year ago, in the winter of 1931-32, the department spent a considerable sum of money blasting out the bottom of the Mossy river so that the boats might enter the harbour-under the conditions obtaining before that, they had been unable to enter in

safety. The dredge has been operating in the channel to which I have referred, and its operations extend practically throughout the whole season because the high winds keep filling the channel, necessitating dredging operations throughout the whole summer.

In this connection I shall read a letter received from the mayor of the village of Winnipegosis. Under date of February 15, 1933, and addressed to myself, it reads as follows:

I thank you for your letter regarding dredging operations on lake Winnipegosis.

There is no doubt whatsoever but that the channel from the village wharves to deep water in the lake is much too shallow for safe navigation. Unless dredging is done this summer to clean out the entire length of channel, which is a good mile in length, our steamboats at present in the harbour will not be able to get on to the lake for navigation purposes. We had difficulty last fall in navigating, especially in periods of low water resulting from south winds, so much so that as a result of touching bottom the Armstrong Company's ss. Armenon is now on dry dock for repairs as she damaged her stern bearing to such an extent that it requited replacement. She also requires renewing of a portion of her keel which was worn down through scraping bottom.

This work is of paramount importance to this community as without a channel to the lake proper all works will be tied up. There are other works required at various portions of the lake, a list of which Mr. Goodspeed, chief engineer has, including work at two lumber mills on the lake and one channel.

In support of having this work done I would point out that the existence of the village of Winnipegosis rests practically entirely on the products coming in from lake points. There are two lumber mills and two box factories on the lake which bring their production into Winnipegosis. Combined I would estimate that they will produce this year about 250,000 feet of lumber. Our principal industry centres in the fish business, and on account of low water last year it was impossible for the Booth Fisheries Company to operate their tug.

May 1 add that the summer fishing is carried on about 110 miles up the lake, and it is necessary that the fish be brought down by steamboat and barge. For that purpose there has to be a channel of fair depth, and a good harbour at Winnipegosis in order that these boats may ply their trade and the business be carried on. The letter continues:

This resulted in curtailment of operations in the district, but should conditions be such that the Armstrong Fisheries tug is tied up on account of low water, stagnation will result locally. With an -improved channel we anticipate that fish production will be increased this fall, but unless this work is done there is every likelihood that fishing operations will be greatly curtailed, which as you can appreciate will hit this locality very hard.

I feel very decidedly that this work should be done and that the dredge should operate.

Supply-Harbours and Rivers

Our district here has passed through a very trying time, and the unemployment situation is acute. The only prospect we have of relieving this condition is in our lake operations; stoppage of this would he a catastrophe. The mills mentioned, the box factories and the fishing operations employ a great number of men, not only from the village of Winnipegosis but from the surrounding district.

Yours very truly,

C. L. White.

For many years Mr. White has been a resident of that district, and for some time has been mayor of the village. He is reliable, and from my personal knowledge I know the statements he makes in this letter are quite true.

Then, I have a letter under date of March 7, 1933, from the secretary of the Winnipegosis board of trade. It is as follows:

At a recent meeting of the Winnipegosis and district board of trade a resolution was unanimously passed that I be instructed to write you requesting that you do all in your power to have the Dominion government dredge at Winnipegosis kept in operation over the coming summer.

The water in lake Winnipegosis last year was lower than it has been for a number of years. It is impossible to navigate some of the channels of the lake without doing injury to boats propelled by steam power.

Yours respectfully,

W. S. Howatson,

Secretary.

Mr. Howatson with that letter forwarded to me a letter addressed by him under date of March 24, 1933, to Mr. F. G. Goodspeed, district engineer of the department of Public Works at Winnipeg, as follows:

Dear Sir,-

I have for acknowledgment your letter of the ninth instant with respect to the dredge on lake Winnipegosis. This has been placed before the board, and I have been instructed to place before you the following in regard thereto.

Lake operations last year-1932-would undoubtedly have been most difficult had the dredge not operated. As it was, the river and the approach channel were hardly passable during periods of south winds, as was instanced when the ss. Armenon had to lie outside on occasion and get use of the dredge tug to tow in her barge. In addition to this the dredge tug also had to be used in taking out of the river the same steamboat and equipment, as it was too dangerous to operate the steamboat through the shallower water. The result of this navigating this river and channel has put the ss. Armenon on the bank this winter for repairs, including a cracked stern bearing through wheel hitting bottom, and a broken shoe. If this had happened earlier in the season it would have tied up some fishing operations and resulted in lean times for certain residents.

This leads to the fact that this district practically wholly is dependent on the fishing

operations and other industries on lake Winnipegosis. Stoppage of operations through lack of a navigable channel out of this port will have a direct and serious effect on the livelihood of our residents.

I cannot too strongly endorse that statement, Mr. Chairman. Winnipegosis and the surrounding area probably has a population of 1,200 to 1,500 people, in addition to various settlements around the lake, and this population is practically wholly dependent on fishing operations and the perhaps lesser industries that are carried on on the lake. The letter continues:

Appreciating the serious financial situation at present existing the board feels that, although curtailment in dredge operations may be essential, some work must be done here.

May I point out that last year the dredging operations were shortened; they did not take up the whole summer season as in previous years, but were discontinued in the month of September.

The recommendation now is that your dredge operate along the river channel and outside channel for a reasonable portion of the season to make these channels safe for navigation. There is too much at risk with the residents of this district to withdraw all dredge operations.

Regarding the possibility of the water of the lake rising; in a normal year, with a normal rainfall, the lake rises with the spring inflow of water. The evaporation during the summer months offsets this rise. In the present season, wherein we have had a reasonable fall of snow, there will be some drainage into the lake, but owing to the fact that the land is so dry there will not be a normal inflow in our opinion. Against this is the natural decrease from evaporation during the summer, which may bring the water level to what it was last year, or even below that. Our opinion is that only an abnormally heavy rainfall can raise the lake to a safe, navigable level. Again leaving the future of our lake operations in the hands of nature and an anticipated heavy rainfall is too heavy a risk when the livelihood of a large number of people is at stake.

I would therefore request that you give the subject of operating the dredge here further consideration, advising me of your decision.

I think these two communications will indicate to the minister the real seriousness of closing down the operation of this dredge during the coming summer. The very fact that that dredge 'has been in operation for probably twenty-five or thirty years, and that it is now proposed to take it out of operation when the water is at the lowest level it has been for possibly forty or fifty years, indicates the seriousness of the situation. I trust that the .minister will take these representations into serious consideration. It is not a minor matter; it involves as I have said, the interests of 1,200 to 1,500 people in the neighbour-

Supply-Harbours and Rivers

hood of Wiunipegosis, in addition to a large number of settlers around the lake, which is one of the largest we have in the whole Dominion of Canada. I trust that if the figure which is under discussion is not sufficient 'to put that dredge in operation during the coming summer the minister will see to it that provision is made in the supplementary estimates for a sufficient amount to keep it in operation so that the channel may be kept open.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

My bon. friend,

both on this occasion and previously in conversations with me, has, I think, made out a good case in favour of his contention. I cannot assure him that we will make provision for it, but I will give his very strong argument further consideration.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

Maritime province dredging, item 124, is $149,200. Could the minister tell me where that money is to be expended?

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CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

In item 116 I see an amount for Shippigan, $25,300, which is in the constituency represented by the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot). I cannot understand what his objection can be at the present time-

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LIB
CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

and why he is objecting to other expenditures in different parts of the province of New Brunswick. If ever there was an expenditure in New Brunswick which was not justified it is the expenditure at Shippigan, and here we have an item of $25,300 to continue the work. We had previously an appropriation of $80,000 for Caissie Cape, Kent county, a work which has cost now in the vicinity of $100,000, and was never justified in the world, while other parts of the provinces were neglected under the administration of which he was a representative. No expenditure is allowed for repair of wharves at Pointe du Chene, and nothing for Barachois, one of the French Acadian districts. We have on record the hon. member for Gloucester criticizing, wanting to know how much was spent in this district of Barachois; the people of that district long have desired a wharf, a place to handle their lobster fisheries-

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LIB
CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

-a portion of the county

in which no provision was ever made by the previous administration. I want to say to

the hon. member for Gloucester that under this present administration expenditures have been made to provide for these fishermen who have been duly shown to be justified in making the applications they have made. They have been provided for under the present administration as they never were provided for under the government which preceded it. And when the hon. gentleman, if he has the privilege in later years to go into those towns in Westmorland county and tell the good people along Northumberland straits what he told them in previous years with regard to what has been done for them, and criticizing the present administration, I want to tell him that he will meet with just the reception and the criticism he deserves. He cannot go to that district and criticize the present administration which has done so much for the fishermen of Westmorland, whom the previous administration never helped.

Let me say, Mr. Chairman, that many expenditures made by the previous administration cannot be justified. I might mention this item of $25,300 for Shippigan, which is required to complete work that was begun by the previous administration. The facts are here; many unjustifiable expenditures were made in the province of New Brunswick simply for political purposes, while other constituencies such as my own have suffered simply because they were represented here by members who were in opposition to the government. I do not understand how the hon. gentleman has the nerve to stand up in this house and attempt to justify the expenditure of $25,300 for Shippigan. The same thing applies in Kent county, where over $80,000 was spent in order to construct a wharf and breakwater for about six or eight fishermen. That was the biggest steal ever put over in the province of New Brunswick.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

I am somewhat surprised at the heat with which the hon, member for Westmorland has discussed an item which was passed about an hour ago. He should have been in his place then. I have not criticized, either during this session or any other session, the expenditure of money in the province of New Brunswick. I asked for information, to which I have a right as a member of this house. To-night I asked the minister for information with regard to the expenditure at Shippigan, which my hon. friend says is not justified. If that is so let him have his battle with the Minister of Public Works, because I never recommended that expenditure.

Supply-Harbours and Rivers

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CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

Your administration made the first expenditure.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

The hon. member is wrong when he says this money is required to complete work started by the former government. That is not true. The Shippigan wharf was built years ago, and lately there has been a demand for an addition.

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CON

Otto Baird Price

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRICE:

The other government justified it and started the expenditure.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

That addition is demanded in order to afford the shipping interests greater facilities. Last year nine steamers were loaded at Shippigan with wood pulp for different parts of Canada and the United States. Those steamers could take on only part of their cargoes at the wharf; then they had to lay out. I did not recommend an addition to this wharf, and I know the minister will support my statement. I did recommend an expenditure of some $2,500 for improvements to the wharf which would allow these steamers to load there. I have not uttered a word of criticism with regard to any expenditures in the constituency of Westmorland. I asked for information, and that information was given to me. Let me tell the hon. member that if I feel like going into the county of Westmorland, to the Cape Bald district, I will go without any fear of him or the people living there.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I should like to get some information before we adjourn. I should like to know where this $149,000 is to be expended.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I am sorry I cannot give my hon. friend full information as to where this money will be spent. The program is only tentative; it i# still under consideration, and details will have to be settled later.

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April 6, 1933