If I understood the words of my hon. friend, they meant that the Harbour Commission of Montreal were rather slow-that they were moving too slowly altogether; and I presumed when he used those words that he was assailing the present harbour board. I want to answer that part of my hon. friend's remarks. The present Harbour Board of Montreal has existed since the end of the year 1897. It really went into office in 1898. Let us see what it has accomplished since that time. Since the year 1889, the old Harbour Commissioners of Montreal had been fighting together over a plan of improvements of the harbour. In 1889, $1,000,090 had been voted by the city of Montreal to help that commission to do certain works which were considered absolutely necessary to protect the city against inundation aud to provide accommodation for the export trade of the whole Dominion. From 1889 to 1S98 they had been fighting among themselves; they had not agreed upon any settled plan for making the improvements really needed; and only part of the work had been completed-the guard pier in the centre of the St. Lawrence. In 1898, as soon as the present board came in charge of the affairs of tlie harbour, they proceeded at once to have those plans adopted, and they were adopted in June of that year, and were approved by the Department of Public Works. It did not take them ten years or nine years to do this. In five months they got the plans adopted, and they at once proceeded with the works. After starting the works according to those plans, what did they discover ? They discovered that the estimates made by the engineer were below the amount that was needed to make the improvements. They at ouce came before this government and asked for legislation which would enable them to borrow enough money to go on with the improvements in accordance with the accepted plan. This government did not hesitate a moment. In the session of 189S, the necessary legislation was granted, under which the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal were authorized to borrow $3,000,000 to go on witli those improvements. Of course, the contracts had not been given out to a large extent previous to the season of 1898. and I will admit that the works did not proceed during that season as fast as they would have
bour commissioners at Montreal are erecting wliarfs on the high level to provide against inundation. Permanent warehouses will be arranged, which will reduce the cost of handling the freight in the port. All these things, of course, cannot be done in a day. The harbour commissioners do not rent to any company the right to run cars on the wharfs, but the roads belong to the harbour commissioners themselves, and the use of the roads is open to all the railways on paying a certain rental. So. there is no monopoly, there is no preference, and everything is done for the advantage of the port. Now, without going further, there is a question whicli has been treated more or less during this debate, the question whether the port of Montreal has ever been helped by the government and how that has been done. It lias been done in other places. I have in my hand figures procured for the harbour commissioners in Montreal in 1898, when we began the discussion of this question. The report of John M. Wilson, brigadier-general of the United States army, goes to show the following facts with regard to the ports in the United States. Boston harbour has been helped by the Federal government to the extent of $1,271,000 in round figures ; New York, $4,701,000 ; Philadelphia harbour, including Delaware river, $5,000,000 ; Baltimore harbour, $2,500,000. Now, in Canada, what have we been doing as regards the helping of ports out of public money ? We have a statement, which has been filed before this House, in reply to an interpellation by Mr. Lepine, who was a member of this House for the St. Mary's division of Montreal, on the 6th of February, 1893. This shows that the amount of $17.835,420 has been voted by the Dominion government since 1867 in improving harbours, building breakwaters, dredging, &c. According to the list I hold in my hand, it appears that not a cent has been siaent in the port of Montreal by this government or by aiiy government. The only amount that can be said to be charged to Montreal is the debt that was assumed by the government in 18S0 or 1887. of about $3,000,000. which has been spent by the harbour commissioners in dredging the St. Lawrence between Quebec and Montreal. That amount had been levied on the trade and commerce done in the port of Montreal, and it was only fair and reasonable that the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal should be reimbursed for this amount, and that the debt should be assumed by the Dominion government. From that time up to the present, not a single cent has been paid by the Dominion government for improvements in the port of Montreal, and unless the government is disposed to take over the debt of the harbour commissioners that I have .-Just mentioned, and assume the management of the port; the commissioners will have to continue to levy dues upon commerce, and will have to devise some means of obtain-Mr. PREFONTAINE.
i ns' a revenue from the trade coming into Montreal so as to meet the interest on the debt that they7 are authorized to incur.
1 may mention to the House that other countries have expended large sums in improving their ports. There is nothing extraordinary in that. There is no reason why the hon. member for Russell (Mr. Edwards) and the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) should oppose any grants that may be made to the St. Lawrence route, in view of the amounts which other countries have spent in improving their harbours. England has not hesitated a moment in spending at different times $1.000.000, $80,000,000 and $60,000,000 to improve its port at London. Belgium has spent $30,000,000 at Antwerp, and during its last session of parliament has appropriated another $15,000,000 to complete the harbour improvements at Antwerp on the north side of L'Escout. Holland has also spent $72,000,000 at Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Manchester has just spent $68,000,000 in order to afford navigation to seagoing vessels in its harbour without breaking bulk. Denmark, a small country, follows the example and creates a free port at Copenhagen, with a depth of 30 feet of water, at the cost of more than $25,000,000. France has spent $30,000,000 at Havre, $25,000,000 at Marseilles, and $12,000,000 at Bordeaux. In view of all these facts, are we to be blamed for insisting that the St. Lawrence should be made into a condition to accommodate at least the trade of our Canadian North-west, and if possible, to secure the greatest part of the trade of the western states ? I think the question should be discussed from a broad national point of view, rather than as regarding Montreal proper. I admit that the government since 1898 has regarded this question as a national one, and I hope they will still continue so to regard it.
Topic: SUPPLY-THE TRANSPORTATION QUESTION.