I do not wish to deny Ontario seaports, but the ports which it has now are developing well and in the near future it may have the advantage of all the other ports that may exist in Canada. But if the people of that province want for themselves a channel that will bring to them the fullest measure of prosperity at the expense of the maritime provinces and the western provinces, I think they want a little too much under the circumstances, especially when such a project would mean burdening the whole people of Canada with an expenditure of nearly $300,000,000. This project cannot be seriously considered under present conditions because our finances are not in such a state as to warrant the investment of such a large amount of money in bringing such an enormous scheme to a successful conclusion. On account of the need for economy in public expenditure, many public works throughout the country have been stopped. Many provinces require some money for drydocks and public services. The Esqui-malt drydock is still unfinished and a large amount of money is needed to complete it. In different parts of Canada, there are wharves that are in need of repair, and there are channels to be dug so that they may be deep enough for the steamers that have to pass through them.
If we want to develop our country by providing further water transportation facilities, there is the Georgian Bay canal, which has been mooted for many years back. It would be a useful development for Canada, and it would shorten the route by 300 miles, if it is given preference to the St. Lawrence waterway. By the construction of the Georgian Bay canal, the people not only of Ontario, but of the whole of Canada, will benefit; and in northern Ontario better progress will be made, because the settlers of to-day and of tomorrow will have better transportation facilities in that district than, exist at present.
On looking at the report, which has been laid on the Table of this House, and copies of which have been sent to every member by direction of the Prime Minister, I see that many questions were asked, but the answers that have been given to those questions should have been given more plainly, because, upon those answers, depends the question whether the project of the St. Lawrence waterway is a good thing or not as regards Canada. The question is not so much whether it is right to spend a great deal of money on a project, as whether, when you invest money, under our present financial conditions, good results will he obtained. At pages 183 and 184 of the report, it may be seen that the answers, which were given to the questions put before the commission so as to inform the two governments of the United States and Canada, are not very clear. Question 6, which, to my mind, is a vital question as regards Canada's interests, reads:
What method of control is recommended for the operation of the improved waterway to secure its most beneficial use?
The answer read's:
The commission recommends (a) that such navigation works as do not lie wholly within one country or are not capable of economic and efficient operation withni one country as complete and independent units, be operated under the direction of the International Board as set forth in recommendation No. 7: (b) that all navigation works other than those particularly mentioned in (a) be operated by the country in which they are located with the right of inspection by the International Board as set forth in recommendation No. 8; (c) that power works' be operated by the country in which they are located as set forth in recommendation No. 9.
The "power works" are indeed, Mr. Speaker, the corner stone of the whole St. Lawrence waterways Scheme. No specific method of control is mentioned. That answer is an example of the answers given in the report. We have rio definite answers to any of the most important questions concerning this project. There are no facts available, and what little information we have been given is as vague as the passing clouds. Let me read question No. *9 and the an'swer thereto:
WThat traffic, both incoming and outgoing, in kind and quantity, is likely to be carried upon the proposed route both at its inception and in the future, consideration to be given not only to present conditions, but to probable changes therein resulting from the development of industrial activities due to availability of large quantities of hydraulic power?
Answer. To this question also it is impossible to give a specific answer, in the absence of definite information as to all the factors that will enter into the problem.
St. Lawrence Waterway
I agree with that statement, because the commissioners [DOT] cannot possibly foretell what is likely to happen in the future. The answer continued:
The commission has brought together authoritative information as to the existing traffic between the tributary area and overseas points as well as between the same area and coastwise points on this continent, and has reached the general conclusion that sufficient traffic will seek the new water route, etc.
Now, Mr. Speaker, a " general conclusion " is hardly a substantial enough basis to act upon in an undertaking of such tremendous importance as this, and I am not surprised that the commission cannot say definitely what amount' of traffic there would be. Before embarking upon an enterprise involving, as this work certainly would, an enormous expenditure of money and is, in my humble opinion, a national risk, there should be submitted to the governments, both of the United States and of Canada, something more definite and concrete than the generalities that have been put forward. There should be absolutely reliable information on Which dependable calculations can be made. Indisputable authority based on the carefully considered findings of civil engineering experts should be available. In 1918 the St. Lawrence Power Company, an American corporation, constructed a dam at Massena in the state of New York and the undertaking was opposed by the government of our country. The work was carried out, nevertheless, because the International Joint Commission considered that it was necessary as a war measure; and this House may rest assured that the St. Lawrence will stand to lose a considerable degree of power by the construction of that dam, to the advantage of our neighbours.
As I said the other night, let us be content to develop what resources Providence has given to each province, and let us work together for the welfare of the country as a whole, each province being satisfied with its own and not interfering with others. We have the resources in Canada and it only remains for us to develop them for us to become a prosperous nation. But, I repeat, do not let us try to grab from one another what is not ours. In 1911 Sir Wilfrid Laurier was questioned regarding the construction of the Georgian Bay canal. He said that the work was one of national character and would be carried through for the benefit and welfare of the whole Dominion. He said, " If I could do it to-morrow, I would carry
out that work." And Mr. Pugsley, who was then Minister of Public Works, brought down an estimate of $3,000,000 to start survey work in connection with the Georgian Bay canal. This project was generally supported at that time, and members representing Ontario and the city of Toronto urged the government to carry it through. To-day, however, they have evidently abandoned that scheme and want another one which would involve the country in untold debt, without any definite assurance of success. I think that the Government would do well to consider this matter very seriously indeed before taking any action at all.
Topic: ST. LAWRENCE RIVER WATERWAY