July 17, 1908 (10th Parliament, 4th Session)


Lorenzo Robitaille

Independent Liberal


Then, let us consider this point : What is the effect of Mr. Parent's friendship with Mr. Davis ? A part of it can be summarized in this form :
Discount on bonds, $188,721.
Unpaid shares (unaccepted cheque), $119,900.
Excess on bill as established by affidavit, $105,000.
Certifying of Davis' bills by engineer incompetent and uncontrolled.
Obtaining the contract for 150 miles of construction on the Transcontinental, Quebec to New Brunswick.
It is useless to say that every one knows how estimates are made. No one can make an estimate exact to the dollar. I have done some contracting work myself, and I have seen cases where the estimate has been made at $7,500 for a certain piece of railway work, two-thirds of a mile, when we did it for $3,000 odd. We know that contractors work at less than cost and yet, somehow, they make piles of money.
It is useless to say what effect all this has upon Parent's standing in the district of Quebec, this acceptance of little favours which can be used for electoral purposes. If I were good friends with Mr. Davis I would go round with my bag. But I understand the other man would have it. Well, we shall have a chance to meet him.
Well, Mr. Speaker, -the bridge is down. Some tell us that we should not cry over

spilt milk. What is to be done for the future ? If the government desires to stand in a logical and honest position before this country, its duty is to appoint a committee of independent engineers to study the most advisable site for the future bridge. In this resolution there ought to be a sum of $25,000 or $30,000 appropriated to defray the expenses. This committee of experts should make comparative estimates between the present bridge site and railway terminals in the city of Quebec and the site and terminals if the bridge is built by the island of Orleans.
I may say that several prominent engineers who have no political influence admit that the latter plan is the most practicable for the development, not only of Quebec city, but also of that portion of Montmorency county which is known as the Island of Orleans. If the government is going to pursue the present plans for terminal facilities they will have to do it on ground artificially made. When these estimates have been made up, let them be reported to parliament with the plans suggested, not leaving every tenderer to make his own plans. Further, I would suggest that there should be a committee to superintend and control the work during the whole period of construction. When plans are finally adopted, call for tenders. I claim that the latter suggestion should receive some attention from the government; as to the rest, they can do as they see fit.

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