February 16, 1934

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS


The house in committee of supply, Mr. Smoke in the chair. Harbours and' rivers-Nova Scotia-under contract-Cow Bay (Port Morien)-breakwater replacement, $17,600. Yarmouth harbour-dredging, $41,000. Essential undertakings - Blandford - breakwater-wharf replacement. $4,500. Black Point-harbour protection, $3,600. Supply-Harbours and Rivers-N.S. Broad Cove Marsh - breakwater-wharf replacement, $12,500. Halifax-repairs to wharfs and replacement of machine shop at R.C.N. barracks and H.M.L. dockyards, $25,000. Phinney's Green-wharf, $4,900. Port Dufferin (John Yogler's shore)-breakwater, $4,900. , Port Mouton - breakwater replacement, $6,900. , Trout cove (Centreville)-breakwater extension, $4,200* . . Harbours and rivers generally-for maintenance of services, no new work to be undertaken, $225,000.


LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

When the committee rose at six o'clock the minister had just stated, if I understood him correctly, that the reason this small amount was placed in the main estimates for the province of Nova Scotia was that this money had to come out of revenue, and that he had to economize because the affairs of this country were in such bad shape when the government took office. I will admit that I am getting old, Mr. Chairman, and that I am old-fashioned ; I am willing to admit that my memory is bad, but I do not ask you to take my word. If you look at the votes and proceedings or Hansard or the public accounts for 1929 and 1930 you will see that when the budget was brought down in 1930 the Liberal government had a surplus over expenditures of some $82,000,000. So I do not see why to-day, after this government has been in power for four years and my hon. friend has been Minister of Public Works for that length of time, he should say that they can only spend this small sum of money in the great province of Nova 'Scotia because of the condition of affairs when they took office. Let me remind the minister that Nova Scotia is one of the maritime provinces, a province whose men go down to the sea in ships and do business in the great waters. The expenditure in that province has been reduced year by year so that now it is dowm to a minimum, and the minister says the reason is the policy of the government previous to 1930.

The minister was not satisfied with that; he had to drag in the railway question. He stated that the fact that the Liberal government had spent money on the railways of this country was another reason why he had to economize in his expenditures on public works. W ell, sir, I do not want to go outside of the items under consideration, but the expenditure on railways had or has nothing to do with the expenditure on harbours and rivers. We all know, however, that when the Liberal party took charge of this country we had only two streaks of rust from Vancouver to Halifax, and that by their policy the Liberal party built up a railway in this

country. In 1921 the deficit on the railways amounted to $90,000,000, butt when the Liberal party went out of office the railways wrnre practically paying their own way. With a Conservative majority in the Senate and a Liberal majority in this parliament we could ask for the construction of the Sunnybrae-Guys-borough branch line. Therefore I say that the minister should not try to camouflage the fact that so Htitle money is spent either in the province of Nova Scotia or elsewhere, because the same condition applies in every province. Why should the minister drag in the railway question or the fact that these amounts of money must be spent out of revenue?

I do not want to go into details, Mr. Chairman, but the minister should not pretend that this bluebook sets out all the money that is to be voted for public works; the Minister of Public Works knows the details better than I do, and he knows that in the last three or four years tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on public works by way of relief. I have no hesitation in saying that, so far as the province of Nova Scotia is concerned, in a large measure that money was wasted and never reached the people who should have received that so-called relief.

Before six o'clock my hon. friend tried to make out that this vote is small because the revenue is small. Who is to blame because the revenue is not greater? That is entirely due to the policies of this government. My hon. friend knows that in 1928, 1929 and 1930 the revenues of this country were expanding; he knows that in 1930 we had a surplus of $82,000,000, as I said before. The minister knows that trade has decreased under this government by at least seventy-five per cent. My hon. friend and his associates have so restricted Canada's trade that I cannot blame him for reducing expenditures. I pity him.

I pity members of the government because they have not seen the necessity for expanding our trade but instead, in order to satisfy certain interests within their own ranks, have endeavoured to restrict trade. As a result trade has dropped, and instead of having a total trade of over two billion dollars as under the Liberal government we have the condition with which we are only too familiar, both in regard to our trade with Great Britain and our trade with foreign countries. That is the reason the minister has to go to the council and to the treasury board and receive this little pittance for his department. I want to say to my hon. friends opposite that so far as the public works of this country are concerned, and so far as the maritime provinces, those great provinces of New Brunswick,

Supply-Harbours and Rivers-N.S.

Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia are concerned, we bring new money into this country every year. We go down to the sea and every dollar that we bring in from it is new money which is spent in this country, money which we derive from foreign countries-money for the produce which we take from the sea and export. I want to say to my hon. friends opposite that to-day we have a situation in Nova Scotia due mostly to the actions and policies of this government whereby we are so constricted and handicapped that the people of the province of Nova Scotia, in the fishing section of this country, are practically starving. Again I appeal to the hon. member for Pictou, again to the hon. members for Halifax, and to the hon. member for Cape Breton North-Victoria who will no doubt agree with me that the greatest fishing area in his native province borders his own constituency. I appeal to the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis and to every other hon. member from the province of Nova Scotia, and I say to them, "unite." I say that because I have no influence with this government-I do not want to have. Unite among yourselves and show the government that there is a great opportunity in the province of Nova Scotia, that there is connected with that province the greatest natural resource of this country-the fishing industry. How are hon. members going to improve the conditions when they vote- well, how much do they vote for my hon. friend's constituency? How much do they vote? Let me see, now-not a dollar for Annapolis-Digby, not a dollar for Cape Breton North-Victoria-not a dollar in the estimates. There is nothing in the estimates for Cumberland.

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Mr. SMI PH@Cumberland

I beg your

pardon; there is.

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LIB
CON
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Yes, $4,900 for the great

county of Cumberland. When the hon. member for Cumberland sat in this parliament with a Liberal government in power between the years 1925 and 1929 what did the estimates show, despite the fact that he was sitting in the opposition?

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CON

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

When .my

hon. friend has completed his remarks I shall tell him what this government has done for the county of Cumberland by way of public expenditures.

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LIB
CON
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I say that my hon. friend

must admit that when he sat in opposition to the government the Liberal party certainly made greater provision in the estimates for the county of Cumberland than is made to-day.

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CON

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

I do not admit that, and I do not think it is true.

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Mr. DUE F@

Perhaps I had better send for the estimates. The fact remains that although the hon. member is an influential member in the party opposite all he can get in the main estimates for his own county is $4,900. I say this, that we can never expect the province of Nova Scotia to get out of its present condition, and never expect any part of that province to get anything when the government is willing to spend only the small amount appearing in the estimates before us.

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CON

Lewis Wilkieson Johnstone

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHNSTONE:

Mr. Chairman, since

my hon. friend speaks about estimates, may I say that the estimates are given by the district engineer in Cape Breton, but there is nothing in them for Cape Breton North. But the district engineer is allowed so much and that money is distributed between the counties of Cape Breton North and Victoria.

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I am very glad the hon.

member for Cape Breton North-Victoria has called that fact to my attention, because I had intended to deal with it. With thait in miind I shall ask the minister to give the committee the list of estimates submitted to him and his department by the engineering branch of the province of Nova Scotia. I know that not only he but every other member in this House of Commons from Nova Scotia has submitted recommendations to the engineering department of the province, and the result is found in these paltry amounts appearing in the estimates. I should like the minister to give us the recommendations sent to him from the engineering department at Halifax.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds) :

Mr. Chairman,

the hon. member must know that I have not that information with me; I do not carry it with me. I have only the information as to the estimates presented to the committee.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It is not producible.

Supply-Harbours and Rivers-N.S.

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CON

Robert Knowlton Smith

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SMITH (Cumberland):

I had not expected to delay the passage of the minister's estimates, but because of the vociferous and stormy denunciation of the government we heard shortly before rising at six o'clock I think that in the interest of accuracy it would not be amiss for me to say a few words with special reference to the county I have the honour to represent in this house. I should not want the house to interpret my remarks to mean that I am perfectly satisfied that everything has been done that should be done with respect to public expenditures in the county of Cumberland or in the province of Nova Scotia. Furthermore I unhesitatingly say we anticipate that other expenditures will be made, perhaps in the very near future, which will more than make up for any delinquency there may be in the vote now before the committee.

In less than two years after this government took office upwards of 8100,000 was expended on public works in the county of Cumberland. The money was spent on wharves, harbours, harbour improvements, breakwaters, public buildings and other public services. In a period of less than three years that expenditure has amounted to upwards of $130,000. If the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough reads the papers I feel sure he will have observed that within the last ten days, through governmental action there has been given to one of the industries in the town of Amherst, which is in the county of Cumberland, a contract for upwards of half a million dollars. That money will be expended to the benefit of the town and tlhe people living therein, and will in a measure help to relieve the unemployment problem with which we are faced. Another firm in the constituency of Pictou has been given a contract of upwards of half a million dollars as well. I have not all the figures before me concerning expenditures in the province of Nova Scotia, but I have figures for one or two counties where expenditures have been made since July, 1930. I find that in the constituency of Digby-Annapolis over $600,000 has been expended. In order to be fair to the committee I should say that $250,000 or $300,000 of that was voted before the change of government. In the county of Halifax approximately one half million dollars has been expended. As I say, I have not had time to secure the amounts for the other counties in Nova Scotia, but I do assert that in the main the expenditures by this government since August of 1930 have been just as great relatively speaking as those made in the past by any government in Ottawa. I do not think that we have any

reason whatever to complain of the treatment accorded by this government. I should like to repeat before I sit down, as I said at the beginning, that I do not wish my remarks to be interpreted to mean that we are completely satisfied with everything, and that we feel that everything has been secured which we need. Far from that, but I do say that under the stress of world conditions the government has dealt fairly with us, so far as the expenditure of public money in the province of Nova Scotia is concerned.

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CON

Thomas Cantley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CANTLEY:

Mr. Chairman, I should like my deep-water friend, the commodore of the Lunenburg fleet, who with the full consent of all the great powers still maintains his position as Lord High Admiral of the LaHave, Georges and Grand Banks, to know how fully I appreciate his self-sacrificing, disinterested and forceful expression of interest in my constituency. The member for An-tigonish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff) was most flattering in his references to my native county-all in good taste, and all within the strict bounds of truth. My gallant friend, however, in his zeal to berate the government, forgot for the moment that later we shall have supplementary estimates before us; also that old adage that all things come to those who wait. But may I also remind my hon. friend that if he will refer to the full list of public works in the county of Pictou receiving assistance at this time and be content to await the incoming supplementary tide he may perhaps then see that the county of Pictou is still floating in high water. If his constituency be not then equally fortunate I can assure him that he will have as sincere, if less vigorous an expression of my sympathy. That is all I can do for him under the circumstances.

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February 16, 1934