April 17, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)

CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. BLAIN (Peel).

I cannot see why tenders should not be advertised for five or six months before work of this kind is to be done. The acting Minister of Public Works has stated on more than one occasion that there were very few dredges in Canada. In the province of Ontario we are well aware of that fact, because when application is made for dredging at certain noints along the shores of Lake Ontario, my hon. friend answers that there are no dredges available. That has been the case for some years now, and it seems to me

that this should be sufficient warning to the hon. gentleman to give a very much longer notice than he is proposing to give for the dredging to be done at Port Arthur. It is well known that in the province of Ontario there is a very strong feeling against cabinet ministers or members of parliament having to do with public tenders and public corporations. This was one of the chief complaints against the Ross administration-that some of its leading members were identified with large corporations. For instance, the Hon. John Dryden, the Minister of Agriculture, was interested in an American ranch, and there was considerable complaint that he was giving up a large part of his time to the production of cattle in the United States instead of to the department which the people of Ontario were paying him to manage. With this before the hon. gentleman's eye, we would expect better things from the acting Minister of Public Works on taking charge of the department. He has had several warnings from the province of Ontario. There was a special warning on the 2oth January, when the Ross government was put out for actions of this kind and other actions that were not at all creditable. The advertisement for tenders for this work at Port Arthur reads as follows: '
Sealed tenders, addressed to the undersigned, and endorsed ' Tenders for dredging in the harbour of Port Arthur,' will be received at this office until Friday, the 14th April, 1905, for dredging certain portions of the harbour of Port Arthur and channels leading thereto to a depth of 22 feet of water in Lake Superior.
It must be distinctly understood that the department will entertain no claim for compensation on account of towing plant to or from the site of the works, as the prices quoted must cover such towing as well as lost time and all other contingencies usually connected with such works, such as damage by collision with other craft frequenting the harbour, or other causes; also that no tender will be considered from parties who are not at the date of this call for tenders bona fide owners of the necessary dredging plant, duly registered in Canada.
The plant supplied shall be thoroughly examined by an officer of this department, and if it be found to be of an inferior description or deemed unfit to perform the work required, then on receipt of notice in writing from the Chief Engineer of the Department of Public Works, such other plant as shall be approved by him shall have to be supplied within one week from the date of said notice, and in the event of failure or refusal to do so, the department shall have the power to terminate the contract.
Intending contractors must he ready to begin work within ten days after the date they have been notified of the acceptance of their tender.
The advertisement has some other peculiar statements which I will not read.
I have here an advertisement that was published in one of the Toronto papers by the harbour master of the city of Toronto for tenders for dredging, which reads as follows :

Topic:   DREDGING CONTRACT AT PORT ARTHUR AND FORT WILLIAM.
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