March 7, 1901

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

My hon. friend says he refers to the summer traffic. Well, if we had attached any such condition as respects traffic in any portion of the year, the Grand Trunk Railway would never have entertained the proposition, and as a result we would not have been able to have made any arrangement with them for securing an entrance into the city of Montreal, and we would not have been able to make that arrangement which, outside of a few red hot and extreme opponents, is approved by the judgment and common sense of the people'of this whole country.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman makes it a ground of criticism against us that we did not do as he suggests we might have done. If the hon. gentleman wants to make a political question out of it, I would ask him to consider the conduct of his own party and of his own government whose policy he has uniformly sustained. I would ask him to carry back his recollection to 1884, when the government of Canada was making, not a business arrangement, but practically giving a bonus of thirty million dollars to the great Canadian Pacific Railway corporation. A modest suggestion was made .to the government and to parliament at that time, that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, in consideration' . of their receiving so munificent a grant from the exchequer of this country, should bind themselves not to expend any portion of the money that they were receiving as a gratuity from the people of Canada, in building up or creating a terminus or termini for their railway in any foreign country. How was that proposition received by the gentlemen whom my hon. friend is associated with, and by the government which he, during Its life, continued to support ? It was treated with absolute contempt, the proposition was voted down, received no sort of favour from the friends of the hon. member. I think when he compares the two propositions, the proposition which he says I ought to have

entertained, and the proposition which was submitted to parliament at that time, it will not be open to my hon. friend to make any great amount of political capital against this government.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Will my hon. friend permit me ? He referred to what he calls a gift of thirty million dollars to the Canadian Pacific Railway. I had always understood that that was a loan, and that it was repaid before it was due.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

This is the amendment which was proposed at that time :

That all the words after the word ' that ' in the said motion be left out, and the following inserted instead thereof : The said resolutions be referred back to the Committee of the Whole, with power to provide as a condition of the proposed advance, that so long as any part of such advances or interest thereon remains unpaid, none of the resources of the company shall be expended towards acquiring interests in railways or railway securities in the United States, with a view to an Atlantic ocean terminus in the United States territory.

I think you could not put anything more clear.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I merely wanted to understand the hon. gentleman, it was not merely a grant in aid of the Canadian Pacific Railway construction that he was referring to, but a loan.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I was referring to the thirty million dollars which was procured by the Canadian Pacific Railway from the government of this country in 1884, and which was not given to them in consideration of any rights that we were acquiring from them, though, no doubt, the grant was secured by the obligation of the company who promised to return the money; but it was all the same a practical gratuity to them, given to them at the time, though it enabled the company to attain a very laudable object, no doubt. The company was receiving this enormous, this splendid grant, from the government of this country, and they declined to entertain the proposition that no portion of this grant should be expended outside of Canada in building up a terminus in a foreign country.

Now, so much for the political bearing of this question. The hon. gentleman then proceeded to refer to a subject which I am glad he has taken up, because it justifies me in taking up some little time of the House in speaking upon it in order that I may, if possible, remove any impressions there may be in parliament, or in the country, with regard to the condition of the canal waterway. The hon. gentleman has convinced himself that we have not what might be called a fourteen-foot waterway; he does not believe that we have more than twelve or twelve and a half feet, possibly we mar have twelve and a half feet, he says,

but when the wind blows from certain directions we surely have not a fourteen-foot waterway. Now, let me state to the House exactly what endeavours have been made, what means have been adopted in order that we might convince ourselves, and that I might be in a position to make a positive statement on the subject to parliament concerning this waterway. As soon as doubts began to be thrown upon the actual existence of this depth of waterway, and that was immediately after the announcement being made that we had a fourteen-foot channel, certain statements appeared in one of the New York papers, and a letter which the hon. gentleman has referred to, was published. They came very shortly after to my notice, and upon my seeing the statement which was made by Mr. Donnelly, I called the attention of the officers of my department to it. I quite agree with what the hon. member from Toronto (Mr. Kemp) has said, that Mr. Donnelly is a gentleman of the very highest reputation and standing. I do not believe that Mr. Donnelly would make such a statement unless he was convinced that it was true. But, all the same, Mr. Donnelly, I am satisfied, from information which has been given to me by my officers, and who must know whether they are right or whether they are wrong, is entirely mistaken in the facts upon which he relied. Mr. Donnelly specifically mentions the particular parts of the canal system which he says are defective, and upon which he grounds his statement. He put us in a position in which we were able to ascertain whether or not what he said was or was not correct. He did not confine himself -and that was very fair and honourable conduct on Mr. Donnelly's part-to a mere general statement, but gave us particulars, and furnished us with the facts, or what he believes to be the facts, which justified him in criticising the correctness of our assurance. Immediately upon that coming to my notice, we asked the superintending engineers of the three different districts into which the St. Lawrence canal system is divided for the purpose of superintendence, to come to Ottawa. They came here, and we asked as to what their knowledge was, and they were asked to tell us whether or not all or any of the statements that Mr. Donnelly made were correct. They were informed that the information which was beiing sought from them was being sought for the purpose of giving a reliable and authoritative statement to 'the public and parliament upon the question, and they were charged, therefore, that they should be accurate to the utmost degree in the answers which they gave. These gentlemen have made their reports to us. i have, in my hand and which I will now read to the House, the compilation from these reports and statements, which the deputy minister gives me in an official manner, so that Mr. BLAIR.

it may appear upon what authority these statements have been made. I imagine that no person supposes that the Minister of Railways can, himself, of his own personal knowledge, know whether there are ten, or five, or more feet of waterway along these routes. All that he can do is to convey to parliament the information which is furnished him by his responsible officers ; but, at the same time, taking care that these officers are charged that the information which they furnish shall be absolutely reliable in every particular. Now, this is what the deputy minister has prepared, and what I would ask permission to read in reference to this subject.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Blair) will lay It on the Table of the House ?

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Yes, I will lay it on the Table of the House. He says :

In order to avoid any misconception as to the depth of water afforded by the new works of enlargement, generally termed a fourteen-foot navigation, it must be clearly understood that the scheme as devised and carried out is based on the construction of locks of such depth that there shall he fourteen feet of water on their mitre sills.

I apprehend that no person has imagined that anything that has been said, either before this government took charge, or since, that there would he anything more than 14 feet, or that we engaged that there should be anything more than 14 feet of water on the mitre sill. Whatever draught of water the water over the mitre sill shall afford shall be tlie draught which the canal system shall afford to the shipping of the lakes.

Allegations have been made, however, that vessels drawing no more than 121 feet have struck in the intermediate channel ways of the River St. Lawrence and doubt has been suggested as to the full efficiency of the works executed. These allegations are most practically met by the fact that the new system has been safely navigated last season by lake vessels drawing from 12 to 13 feet 6 inches of water, an instance being the steamer Arabian, which passed down safely on the 1st December, 1900, drawing 13 feet 6 inches of water. Mr. Wolvin, of the American Shipbuilding Company, Cleveland, has stated that he can answer absolutely for a depth of 13 feet, as one of their steamers had gone through drawing that depth of water.

Sir. BRODEIl. Would the hon. member allow me to ask him a question ? That does not state what time of the year is referred to. The water varies considerably in depth at different times in the year, and when the wind blows from one direction or the other, and it Is very important that we should know whether this was in the spring of the year or later in the season.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

It was on December 1 that this particular vessel passed through drawing 13 feet. My impression is that there were

no vessels which went through the canal, throughout the entire length, until the season was well advanced. Hon. members may rely upon it that we have 14 feet of water on the mitre sill as we assume we have. We have a depth of channel all the way through deep enough to enable you to navigate a vessel which can cross the mitre sill of these canals. There has been no close limit in the dredging of the channel in order that it should just fit 14 feet and stop there. There has been a foot of leeway in the dredging from one end to the other. There has not been a contract that has been executed which has not had 15 feet. That is what the engineers say, and with absolute confidence, so that hon. members will see that the question does not admit of doubt from the standpoint of the men who are charged with the serious and grave responsibility of seeing that this work is properly done, of a particle of doubt. It does not appear, to me at all events, that any doubt can arise in the minds of hon. members of this parliament with advice from this authoritative quarter.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. KEMP.

May I ask the hon. minister if the reports which we have say anything in reference to the depth of water when the wind blows from the east ? It might vary a foot and G inches or 2 feet in depth.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Our officers are thoroughly familiar with the effect of the winds, and they would not be justified in stating that we could furnish a 14-foot channel of water unless we were able to furnish 14 feet of water, and they say that ails was at low water. I was going to say, speaking of Mr. Wolvin, that he was here the other day and had a conversation with the deputy minister upon this subject. I asked, when I heard of this conversation, if the deputy minister had procured from him a written statement, because it would be of interest and value to the members of parliament to have a statement made from such a reliable source upon this subject. He said that he had omitted to do that, but he telegraphed and received a reply from Mr. Wolvin. He is a very large shipper, and the head of the American Shipbuilding Company of Cleveland. He wired on March 5 to Mr. Schreiber :

Your telegram of the 4th reached me here today. I remember stating to you that I am satisfied there was deeper water through the St. Lawrence canals and river than many people claim, as one of our steamers went through this route drawing thirteen feet. You made the statement that you had fourteen feet of water, and I replied by saying I felt there was that draught, but could answer absolutely for only thirteen feet.

(Sgd.) A. B. WOLVIN.

That is Mr. Wolvin's statement. It is unfair and unjust to the canals to say that we only have twelve feet or that we only

have thirteen feet, when we are able to submit a statement to this House that a. steamer went through the entire length of the canals drawing thirteen feet six inches without meeting the slightest obstacle at any point of the route. Writing under date of June 30, 1900, Mr. Ruhidge,

the superintending engineer of tile Sou-laiiges canals, says :

I again desire to state most positively that there is a practical fourteen foot navigation between Prescott and Coteau Landing at low water and during the season of navigation.

That is from Mr. Ruhidge, who has been in charge of that portion of these canals for a long term of years, and than whom no one is better acquainted With the condition of the canals. He is not a person whose report to me might he doubted by hon. gentlemen opposite. I found him in the department and he has been in the same position he now occupies for many years. What right has any one to discount that statement of Mr. Ruhidge ? Mr. Schreiber further says :

As to the existence of certain shoals which were referred to in a letter of the 3rd December from Mr. Donnelly, the inspector of the Canadian Lake Underwriters Association, published in the Montreal Star, the superintending engineer states, in regard to the shoal at the upper entrance of the Galops canal, that it is entirely outside of the new channel, and is located between the old and the new channels.

Those who may have read Mr. Donnelly's statement will recall that Mr. Donnelly speaks of this particular shoal at the upper entrance of the Galops canal as having been tibe place where some vessel went ashore, and he has given that as one of the reasons upon which he bases his condemnation of our channel. Now, when I show that that shoal is entirely outside of the new channel altogether and is located between the old and the new channel, the value of that statement as leading to such a conclusion becomes abundantly clear. Capt. Donnelly referred to the shoal at Sparrow Hawks and to the shoal at Rapide Flat, and Mr. Schreiber states :

There is a deep channel at the west of the shoal ; and at Rapide Plat, vessels have the option of using the canal at low water, in which there is a fourteen foot waterway, instead of the river channel. In order to straighten the channel, however, the shoal spurs will be cut off next season, and indeed, even though at the present time there is a safe channel for fourteen foot navigation various features of improvement may, and no doubt will, from time to time, present themselves in the practical operation of the system, and the public may rest sure that the department will not fail to carry out such further minor works as experience may show to he desirable.

Mr. Schreiber goes on to say :

In March, 1900, the superintending engineer notified vessel-men that they should proceed with caution in traversing the new channels, as

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LIB

Andrew George Blair (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR.

enlargement should be utilized with perfect safety, and it remains confident that the necessary channel ways in the waters lying between the several canals have been formed as required for that purpose, and, further, that such channels have been indicated with care, leaving to pilots and others the necessary mastery of the details of this, as of any other similar navigation in which they may be efmployed, and adhesion to the rules laid down for their guidance. So important a change as is implied by this enlargement will, naturally, tend to create in some quarters a desire that it should fail of its objects, rather than it should be successfully operated, and possibly this attitude may for some little time act to its prejudice. It stands, however, as an accomplished fact, and must be so regarded.

(Sgd.) COLLINGWOOD SCHREIBER,

Chief Engineer.

That is the official statement furnished me by the chief engineer for the purpose of communicating it to the House. I do not know of any other way or by what other means I could give the House more positive assurance.

1 ask boil, members to dismiss from their minds any such idea that we are deficient in respect of our St. Lawrence channel. I am not going to say, I never have said, the officers have not said, that many things cannot be done to greatly improve the channel -to straighten it probably, or to widen it; but we have everything which it was stated we had. We have enough if the people who navigate the channel will use proper care and diligence. We have a good channel, and I think it is only fair aiul just to the men who have done this work that I should take the present opportunity of saying that in various quarters and from men who are fully competent to form a judgment on the question, the very highest testimony has been freely offered to me as to the skill and ability with which this great work has been carried to completion. The men whom I found in the department in charge of the work have continued, and have about finished what was proposed to he done ; at all events, in connection with the main works. They have been indefatigable in their efforts and have exhibited a great deal of skill ; and people who have made a study of these matters and who have such information ns to qualify them to express an opinion, do not form the same inferior judgment as to the character of our channel or our canals or our works generally that some of our own people seem to do. I have reason to believe that the people wlio are engaged in transportation in the United States look upon what we have achieved and at the present condition of our canals, as a matter of grave anxiety and alarm to them. They think we have provided a very adequate and efficient waterway. They recognize, as we do ourselves, that there are some things to be done at the two extremes which do not, however, affect the sufficiency of a 14-foot channel. They recognize that

we have not all the details perfected ; but they do acknowledge that the government of Canada has made a most thorough and efficient channel throughout the whole St. Lawrence route, and they look upon it as a most grave and serious rival of their various transportation routes.

My hon. friend (Mr. Bennett) who has made this motion-I am sorry I shall have only a very few moments to devote to his address-starts out by affirming that the time has arrived when we should stop and ask ourselves what we are doing-or, as he expressed himself in the course of his speech, where we are at-before we spend another dollar. My hon. friend asks us to come to a decision as to what the policy of the government is, because, as he affirmed, not once, but many times', not with any qualification, but in the most unhesitating language, the Canadian canal system had proved itself a failure. Now, why does the hon. gentleman say that ? He is a member of the Canadian parliament, entrusted by his constituents to represent them here in an important capacity. What he says is published in the newspaper press ; headlines can be read this morning in all the opposition papers : ' Canadian canal system a failure- killing the traffic.' That will be read not only at home but abroad, and is it going to tend to our advantage for my hon. friend to utilize the prominent position he holds as a member of parliament to give currency to such a statement, and particularly to do so on the insufficient grounds on which he supported it ? What were those grounds ? What was his reason for asserting that the canal system had been found a failure ? He says that I made a prediction last year in parliament, that I held out great hopes and expectations that we were going to have an enormously increased business this year, and that my hon. friend from Quebec West (Hon. Mr. Dobell) made a similar prophecy. What was the language I did employ ? In another portion of his speech he quoted from ' Hansard' what I said last year, and I leave the House to judge how far that quotation bears out, not the pessimistic, but the absolutely hopeless view which he has taken of this matter, and which he is seeking to impress on parliament and the country. This is what I am supposed to have said, and no doubt did say :

We will see that with Montreal properly equipped, there is no reason in the world why we should not he able to offer sufficient inducements to shippers of grain in the west to prefer the St. Lawrence to any other route.

Well, it strikes me that that is a very conservative. very modest, and very cautious statement. Made in July, 1900, it was by no means to be taken as an assurance that in that year with the season nearly gone, the business was going to be so much greater than it had ever been before. We have not yet got into the year 1901, and do not know

what the business of 1901 will be. It may be better than that of 1900, or it may be worse. If worse, it proves nothing ; it does not prove that the canal system of Canada is a failure-no, a thousand miles away from establishing such a proposition. It proves that we are not yet in adequate condition to compete successfully with the Buffalo route ; and is that a very unreasonable or unexpected thing ? Why, Sir, you cannot change the character of our canals in a day. You cannot expect shippers to equip themselves with barges and other facilities and adapt themselves to the deeper channel in a year or in two years or possibly in more. If our business seems declining on the canals, we can find sufficient explanation in the fact that probably the largest steamers are continuing, and continuing in a greater measure, to absorb the traffic on the lakes, and are necessarily taking away from us a portion of the traffic which we would otherwise have, and which we will have when we are in a position to receive those large ships in our harbours connected with our own canals. It may be three or four or five years before we get into full swing, but there is no doubt, in my mind, that the improvements which are in contemplation at Port CoLborne, properly and efficiently carried out, and In the harbour of Montreal and the route perhaps below, will make the St. Lawrence superior to any other route. Why should my hon. friend use the language of despair ? What .object is to be served by telling us that the canals are a failure ? I do not think that he reasoned this matter out. I do not think he could have informed himself as to the superior advantages of water over all rail communication or the superior advantages of our lake and canal system over the joint lake and railway system on w'klch the shippers from New York, Boston and other American ports have to absolutely rely. These shippers will undoubtedly give us a hard fight, hut as was stated by Mr.< Deputy Speaker (Mr. Macdonald) if we can get down the cost of transportation by the fraction of a cent below the cost by any other route, we will have the advantage, and we surely can do this.

My hon. friend made a number of assertions, and very extraordinary assertions they were. He asked : Why, he asked, do you not stand by the St. Lawrence route V Why is not that your policy V

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CON
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

If that is not our policy, what is or what has been our policy ? That is what I am curious to have my hon. friend inform me upon. Not once but several times did he tell us that the late government had a fixed and definite policy of making the St. Lawrence canals the Canadian water route. Well, what did they do more than we have done ? If what they

did convinced my hon. friend that tliey liad a fixed and definite policy, why should he withhold from us a similar acknowledgment '? He seems to think that because some men of this government expressed the view that it would be an advantage to make traffic arrangements between the Intercolonial Railway and some other system, we were turning our back on our canal route. But I do not apprehend that any traffic arrangements between any two railways is going to fill up the channel we have got or will have the effect of tearing down the locks and rendering it impossible for vessels to navigate our canals. Because, in the city of Halifax, I made a speech in which 1 spoke of getting something from the railways as well as the canals to increase the business of the Intercolonial Railway, my hon. friend takes alarm. And because the Minister of Public Works refers to some other railway undertaking as a means ot inn-easing our carrying trade from the west, my hon. friend is again alarmed. He puts these three statements together, and says you are going around the country holding out terrors to the people ; you are going to favour some other means of carrying grain than the St. Lawrence canals. I must say that I think my hon. friend has not done his superior intelligence justice in constructing an argument of that kind. 1 am aware that he knows better. I would not speak slightingly at all of my hon. friend's mental capacity and powers, because I know they are very considerable, and he has also had the training of a professional man. And I am sure he knows that you could not put these three facts to go flier and draw the logical inference from them that our canals were to be prejudicially affected in the remotest degree.

We are not going to hurt the canal, if, as a matter of policy, we took a dozen other means of getting into the western country. Our canals are there. We are proceeding witli all possible despatch to put them in perfect shape ; we intend to complete the works at Port Colborne. But my hon. friend does not want to see the canals equipped and finished in a proper way. He does not want to see the steamers that are now going to Buffalo invited to Port Colborne. Wliat he does want, I cannot say. I can only draw tile conclusion that he is looking- for a grievance against the government and the Minister of Railways and thinks he lias found one. We are not going to hurt the canals. They will run, I hope, for all time and will be maintained. And if we can maintain those canals and control the business, what harm to Canada or the canals will accrue if the railway companies could, by any process, reduce their ccst of transport to a figure which would enable them to induce traders to ship a portion of their traffic over these lines. That will not hurt anybody and may help the railways.

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LIB

Andrew George Blair (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR.

My hon. friend, drawing a conclusion, told us-and I am going to quote his words because they are the concluding words of a very lengthy address, prepared by my hon. friend with very great care, possessed as he was, of very elaborate notes, and after he had devoted, no doubt, a good deal of time to the collection of these facts, as far as they were facts, which lie submitted to tlie House. This is the conclusion which he draws :

In conclusion, I have only to say that I have introduced this resolution, as I did last year, hoping that it would evoke some little discussion-hoping that any views thrown out in the debate-not any poor views of mine-would be taken up by the press and discussed, and that the gentlemen sitting behind the government and retaining them in their position, would be moved, in a spirit of patriotism, to ask themselves: Is there any means that can be adopted for increasing the grain trade through Canada -not only our own trade, but by taking part of the trade now going through the United States? I believe the solution of the whole question rests on this-that some encouragement should be given both to the Canada Atlantic system and to the Grand Trunk system.

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Bennett) looks with displeasure upon the idea of a member of the government suggesting that some traffic arrangements might be made witli some one of these railways, and has nothing but condemnation for the conduct of the hon. member for Quebec West (Hon. Mr. Dobell), because be thought that the Great Northern Railway would be a useful feeder for the Canadian Pacific Railway to Quebec, and for my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works, because of what he said with regard to transportation on Georgian Bay. But, though lie condemns all this, and says that we are floundering and blowing hot and cold, that we do not know what we are about, that we ought to come to our senses and fix our minds upon something, and have a definite policy-yet, after all this, he winds up his entire address by suggesting that a bonus should be given to the two railways, the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canada Atlantic Railway. Why, is my hon. friend serious when he talks, as he did in the few words that he spoke afterwards about our want of fixed policy, and our want of judgment ? He says :

But, above all things, here and now is the place and time for the Minister of Railways and Canals, before this debate closes, to announce that the government intend for the future, at least for a fixed period of five or six years, to pin their faith to the St. Lawrence canal system, and not introduce any of the side schemes or projects which are now before the public.

That is my hon. friend's serious conclusion to his very lengthy address. I answer to my hon. friend, I say that we are as deeply interested in the success of the St. Lawrence canal system as he or any other member of tliis House. We require no stir or stimulus to induce us to do anything and every-

thing which we may regard as reasonable, and which is in our power, and in which we are satisfied we shall be supported by opinion in this House and in this country, to raise our transportation system to the greatest possible degree of efficiency. We have committed ourselves to it. Whether it was wise or not, it is too late to say. Looking over the field, one might be inclined to think that, with the expenditure of less money, the canalization of the Ottawa river to twenty feet or thereabouts, would, beyond nil peradventure, have given us the absolute control of the western traffic. But we are not discussing that question now. We have laid out our money on the St. Lawrence. As a result of the fixed policy of both Houses of parliament, and of all parliaments, and as the result of united opinion in this country, that money has been expended. I decline to yield to the hon. gentleman and stop in our expenditure till we have perfected that system, in a way which will put us in a position to achieve the best results.

At six o'clock, the House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at 8.10.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAMUEL HUGHES (North Victoria).

Just prior to the rising of the House at six o'clock, we were treated to an address from the Minister of Railways and Canals upon this all-important question introduced by the hon. member for East Simcoe (Mr. Bennett). I am sure that I was not alone in being surprised at the unusual weakness of the minister in reply. The time at his disposal was largely occupied in seeking to prove that certain officers in his department had not found any channel in the St. Lawrence that Vas less than .14 feet deep. The minister did not reply to the arguments advanced by the hon. member for East Simcoe, by the hon. member for East York (Mr. Maclean), and by the hon. member for East Toronto (Mr. Kemp). I was more than surprised also at one of the breaks made by that lion, gentleman. We all admire his ability, and as a rule we look for the fairest of l'air-play from the Minister of Railways. But his treatment of the loan of 30 million dollars made by the former government in this country to the Canadian Pacific Railway, his insistence on retaining the expression that the Conservative government had made a ' gift' of 30 million dollars to the road, when the records and data of every description show that it was a loan, and so intended from the outset, every dollar of which was repaid to this country, placed that lion, gentleman in a very unenviable light before the House. Now. what was the effect of that loan ? The effect of that loan was to save the Canadian Pacific Railway to this country and to make it a success. It gave this country a highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, every foot of it on Canadian soil. It opened up our prairies and the great mining districts of British Columbia. Without that loan of 30 million dollars we would not to-day have the north shores of Lakes Huron and Superior opened up as they are, and attracting capital in large volume, as is the case at the present moment. The inexhaustible resources of this country are only at present being disclosed and beginning to be utilized. In short, we may say the Canadian Pacific Railway has made Canada a nation.

The hon. member for East York, in the course of hiis remarks, made reference to the Canada Northern Railway, or that portion of it locally known as the Ontario and Rainy River Railway. In order that any misconception in the minds of hon. members or among the people regarding the construction of that road, may be removed, X will take the liberty of pointing out here that the Manitoba government, up to 1897, had for some years been aiming at a line from the city of Winnipeg to the city of Duluth. The Manitoba government were going to assist that road with enormous subsidies, and were merely going to take a guarantee from the company that the grain should be carried from the city of Winnipeg at the rate of 10 cents a bushel. There was no provision at all about controlling rates at other points on the Northern Pacific line in the province of Manitoba. But that was the policy of the then Liberal government of Manitoba. I may say that my own efforts at upbuilding Canadian ports and Canadian trade have not been confined to the last few years. On that occasion, having the interest of Canada at heart, 1 visited the city of Winnipeg. I need not go into details, suffice it to say that the Liberal-Conservative friends in that province took up the project of having, instead of an American road, an all-Canadian road from Winnipeg to a Canadian port on Lake Superior. That was the beginning of the present line between the city of Winnipeg and the town of Port Arthur. I find in the Manitoba Free Press of November 17, 1897, an interview with myself which I will read to the House. I was asked a question as to how the plan of the Manitoba government to assist a line from Winnipeg to Duluth, with a guarantee of reduced rates for the carriage of grain, would take in the eastern part of Canada, and with my usual frankness

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Some Hon. MEMBERS.

Hear, hear.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (North Victoria).

For I have never found, in any avenue of life, any advantage in hyprocrisy or in trying to play Machiavellian policy, and I find that 1 have done fairly well in pursuing a policy of frankness. I had no reason to change the policy on that occasion, and I said this :

The Dominion government will not be able to support financially Mr. Greenway's railway

mi

scheme, because nine-tenths ot the people are opposed to a road terminating in the United States territory. They have had experience in that line, for in the east we have built up the United States cities, Boston and Portland, and starved our own seaboard cities, Halifax, St. John, Quebec and Montreal. If they must have a railroad let it be to some point on the Canadian lake, Port Arthur or Fort William being much preferable. And then what assurance have the people that the bond required by the Manitoba government re the Duluth route will be fulfilled? Positively none.

Some lion, gentlemen here will hear me out in saying that ten sessions ago 1 drew the attention of this House and country to the fact that we had upon our seaboard some magnificent cities. The hon. member for Halifax rightly stated in this debate that at the port of Halifax we had a harbour that required no money to be expended on it to make it fit for any vessels to enter it. The city of St. John is also possessed of a magnificent harbour. In the Straits of Canso and along that shore there are numerous excellent harbours. Louisbourg and Sydney are historic. These are Canadian harbours that nierely require to be developed to attract to their wharfs the trade of the vessels that rightly belong to them. It has been my policy and the jiolicy of my friends of the great Liberal-Conservative party for many years to develop as far as possible, from a government view point, the harbours I have already named. Why should we not ? We are frequently told by the advocates of railways, those who favour railways in preference to canals, or to water-hauls, and experience also teaches the same thing, that the improvements in railways, in the road-beds, in low grades, In powerful engines and large cars, have reduced the haiuilage of grain to a minimum. I am told that the New York Central has volunteered that, if the state of New York, in case it retains control of the canal, will hand over to the New York Central Railway the sums of money that it will take to enlarge the Erie canal, they will guarantee to haul to New York all the grain that will ever present itself at Buffalo, at cheaper rates than they now haul grain through the Erie canal. 1 am not saying these statements are true, but if they are true, why should we not set ourselves to work to develop our own seaboard ports V Why should we not improve, the grades of our railways ? The superintendent of the Grand Trunk Railway, Mr. McGuigan, has worked a revolution in the Grand Trunk Railway that is not known to the general public. On many of the American roads they can haul, from the city of Chicago to the seaboard, 1.000 tons of freight with an engine of a certain power. A similar engine on the Grand Trunk Railway from Chicago to the seaboard can only haul 800 tons of freight. You can see at once how our Canadian ports and railways are handicapped. Fully alive to their own Interests, as well as the interests of the country, I Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

believe both the Grand Trunk Railway and me Canadian Pacific Railway are reducing tlie grades and putting their roads in such a condition that, in the course of a very few years, they will be able to haul from the west to the seaboard as heavily loaded trains as the American roads.

The question now is : Why should we not develop and have on our own seaboard winter and summer ports? Why should we not develop the city of Quebec, and why should we not also develop

the city of Montreal ? I maintain that While we are criticising the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway for going to Portland and Boston, we have ourselves largely to blame for that state of affairs. If we had taken proper precautions and had provided approaches to our own ports at Montreal and Quebec, and had provided proper accommodation, I think these roads would have undoubtedly preferred shipping from Canadian ports rather than from American ports. But, Inasmuch as they have already established themselves at these other ports, it now becomes the duty of Canada, irrespective of party, to develop some plan that will recall this trade to our own ports, that will bring shipping again to Canadian harbours, and upbuild our own country instead of upbuilding foreign nations.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. II. BENNETT (East Simcoe).

Mr. Speaker, I presume that lion, gentlemen have exhausted themselves on the subject. The Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) made his reply this afternoon, and I regret he is not in his place this evening. One would have thought that with the matter that had been introduced ou both sides of the House the subject would be considered of such Importance that it deserved a little more in the form of a reply than the hon. gentleman gave it. because the hon. minister simply contented himself with a very extravagant amount of scolding in answer to the questions brought up in the debate. One would have expected, that, when the hon. minister's department and his own method of doing business in relation to large' enterprises had been brought iuto the question, the hon. minister would have attempted to defend his administration, but from the minister came not one word in explanation as to the erection of a large elevator, at a very considerable cost, in the city of St. John, and the minister did not vouchsafe to the House the information whether or not he intended, during the coming season, to attempt to do business by way of St. John. The statement goes today. and is not contradicted by the hon. gentleman, that he, last year, at the city of St. John, for purposes best known to himself, attempted the experiment of freighting grain in that direction at a cost, for 300,000 bushels, of some 810,000 to the country. It may not be a matter of interest

to lion, gentlemen opposite, but 1 think it will be to the country, to know whether this government is going on with that principle of business year after year, whether we are going to see freighted down to St. John large quantities of grain, at a great loss, simply to place the lion. Minister of Railways and Canals in the position that he has been able to justify, in the city of St. John and before the country, the construction of an elevator at that point. Now, the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals waxed very indignant at my statement, that the question was in contemplation of the purchase of the Booth system of railway. 1 would have thought, when the hon. gentleman gave the very stiff denial he did to the statement I attributed to him, knowing as he did the time when such address was delivered by him in Halifax, that he would have produced files of the newspaper published on that occasion, which, I regret, I have been unable to locate as to the date. I think if the hon. minister had produced that paper it would have borne out the fact that the minister held out to the people of Halifax on that occasion what the hon. minister was apparently afraid to place before the House and the country ; that is, that he had the idea in his mind, and that idea prevailed, not only in the city of Halifax, but also in Montreal, that the government would acquire that railway. Now, Sir, extrinsically, I introduce this matter as evidence of the fact that the government contemplate the purchase of the railway ; I introduce the fact that the government have, for some time, advertised for tenders for the construction of a large public work at Depot Harbour. I make this statement on the authority of people who live in the neighbourhood of this place, who have seen the plan, who know what the contemplated work is, and the government have closed a contract, I believe, for the expenditure of a large sum of money, some $200,000, for the construction of docks at Depot Harbour. The government stands in this position, and the Department of Railways and Canals, and the Department of Public Works are in this position, that if they are not spending that $200,000 at Depot Harbour with the view of the government's taking over that railway and the docks, which will be a complement to the railway, they are taking $200,000 of the people's money to construct docks for Mr. Booth at Depot Harbour, which will be exclusively his own, which will be altogether his, and do not constitute a work of public necessity or benefit. I think this afternoon that the statement which was made, that $200,000 is to be expended by the government on large public works of interest to no person else except to the proprietors of that railway, should have been met by the hon. minister, or explained in some manner or other. Now. coming down to the question of our transportation facilities, let me say that the words put into

imy mouth toy the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals this afternoon, of wholesale denunciation and condemnation of the canal system, were not borne out by anything I did say. I say that every man must regret that after such a large expenditure of public-money on the canal system, it is not bearing better fruits. I regret, as much as any man regrets, that our trade has not increased, and is not increasing by way of that system. The hon. minister attempted to make merry, and it was a sorry exhibition, tout X must say that I regret he is not here tonight to express his view as to my idea, that there should be a proposition made to these railway systems, to the Grand Trunk Railway from Midland to Portland, or Midland to Montreal, and to the system from Parry Sound or Depot Harbour to Montreal, or Boston, by way of bonus or bounty for the carrying of grain. Hon. gentlemen are fond admirers of the principle of bounty. These hon. gentlemen, after years of decrying the principle of bounties in this country, at the very first opportunity embraced the proposition that they had denounced for years, and went in for the principle of giving bounties on iron. I say it would be in the interest of the country, in place of seeing the grain of the western states and a large proportion of the grain of our Northwest Territories carried by way of New York, Boston, Baltimore and other American ports, and by American railway systems, that we should endeavour to secure that trade for our own channels at the cost of giving some bounties or assistance. How might that be done ? While on both of these systems from 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 bushels of grain are now being carried, the proposition might be made, that having carried 25,000,000 bushels in a season, all that is carried in excess of 25,000,000 bushels should be paid for at so much a bushel by way of bounty. The result would be. in the first place, that the fact that we were going to carry such a large quantity of grain in a season would tend to the making of contracts far in advance, and the result of making these contracts would be cheaper rates, which would enure to the benefit of those in the west who had produce to transport. Another great advantage would be that if you once attracted trade so that through these two systems there would be an annual carriage of from 50,000,000 to 75,000.000 bushels of grain, the chances would be that trade, once attracted in that direction, would in all probability remain there in the future.

Further, these railway systems, benefited by the cash concessions which would be made by the government would be in a better position to equip and maintain their roads for the increased trade. Every one knows that in the transportation of all kinds of merchandise through the country large sums of money are spent by the railways and by the shipping interests, which of

course is a great advantage to the country as a whole. The minister (lion. Mr. Blair), spoke of the grant to the Grand Trunk Railway, which enabled them to greatly improve the Victoria bridge, and as a result of which they are now carrying the grain beyond Montreal to Portland. This is a matter to be regretted by all Canadians. The minister (Hon. Mr. Blair) does not admit, as he should, that this was bad policy, and that there was lack of foresight on the part of himself and his colleagues in reference to it. His defence now is, to say to us : Why you did exactly the same thing with the Canadian Pacific Railway, when you gave them large concessions, and you did not restrict them to carrying freight to a Canadian port. Well, one would think that time and experience would teach the Minister of Railways something, and the government having had before them the example of the Canadian Pacific Railway in this respect, we would naturally expect that the aggregation of wisdom which composes the present cabinet, would have learned something, and that their Minister of Railways would not be forced to come here to-day with an idle tu quoque argument. I made this motion partly with the idea that the government would state to the House and to the country, that their policy was that they were going to be bound for a number of years at all events by the St. Lawrence canal system, so that those interested in maritime business might feel a sense of security in investing in vessels in Canada. Unfortunately any one who takes what the minister has said and scans it carefully, will not find a single word to show that the government stands pledged even for the next five years not to acquire the Booth system or the Great Northern Railway, it must be remembered that freighters that would be restricted by their construction to the canal trade between Port Colborne and Montreal, would on account of their limited capacity not be able to compete with the larger vessels for the trade of the great lakes, and of course if the government acquire this railway system it would to a large extent put them out of the business. I Therefore, those interested in the trade in ' Canada are afraid to invest their money in such vessels. I presume the public are to be kept in suspense for some years to come, and that the newspajjers in the meantime will be filled with statements to the effect that the government intends to purchase the railways I have referred to. So long as tlie ministers will go from one end of the country to the other giving their individual opinions as to what the future transportation system of the country will be, there will be uncertainty in the public mind as to the policy of the government. I expected when I moved this resolution that there would be a profitable discussion upon it, and in that I am not disappointed. I regret, however, that the government did Mr. BENNETT.

not give a complete denial to the statements made throughout the country that they intend to purchase the Booth system, and the Great Northern Railway system. At least some good purpose has been served by the motion, and I now beg leave to withdraw it.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
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CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY LAND GRANTS.

?

Mr. R. L.@

RICHARDSON (Lisgar) moved second reading of Bill (No. 17) respecting the Land Grant of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

He said : The Bill which I have before

the House is similar to one which I introduced a year ago for the irurpose of interpreting a clause in the charter of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the brief explanation I gave when I introduced the Bill, I did not go over the ground so fully as I should like to, and if the House will bear with me I shall now go into the particulars a little more minutely. When the charter under which the Canadian Pacific Railway was constructed was made with the syndicate, and ratified by parliament on the 15tli of February, 1881, the land grant to the company (comprising about 25,000,000 acres) was under clause 10 exempted from taxation. That clause 16 is known as the ' exemption clause ' of the charter and it exempts the tracks, rolling stock, road-bed, stations, ground and appurtenances for all time, and the clause concludes thus :

And the lands of the company in the Northwest, until they are either sold or occupied, shall be free from taxation for twenty years after the grant thereof from the Crown.

Now, Sir, the twenty year period contemplated by this clause expired on the 15th of last February. Various constructions have been placed upon the wording of the clause. It is contended by a number of persons, including the right lion, the Prime minister, that * the grant thereof from the Crown ' means the issue of the patents for the land. Although the twenty year period of exemption has expired, the company has not applied for the patents for these lands. The government has been questioned from time to time during the last five years on this matter, and we find from the answers given that only a small portion of the entire lands granted-I think less than 2,000.000 acres- have been patented up to the present time. The company state that they have not even selected all their land grant. The position seems to be somewhat like this. The company have indicated to the government certain districts throughout the North-west Territories where they are willing to select their lands, but no definite selection has been made of a large portion of these lands up to the present time. I was looking up the other day the speech of the right lion, premier, delivered last session, and his con-

tent ion seemed to be, and 1 may say it was also the view held by the late leader of the opposition, Sir Charles Tupper-that the exemption runs from the date of the issue of the patents. If that contention is correct, then inasmuch as the patents have not been issued for this vast land grant up to the present time, the exemption period will extend for another twenty years ; and j if the. delay in issuing the patents is continued, the exemption will go on indefinitely.

Now, I think I shall be able to convince reasonable men, from quotations which I will give to the House, that it was the clear intention of parliament that the twenty years period began when the contract was ratified on the 15th of February, 1881. If that is true, the twenty years period expired on the evening of the 15tli of last month. If there is any doubt on that point at the present time, I claim that it is the clear duty of parliament to say now what that clause meant.

I have no doubt that I shall be told that this is a remarkable proposition ; I shall probably be charged, as I have been on other occasions, with being a socialist because I ask parliament to determine what that means. I bow very often to the views held by the leader of the government in many matters ; but when he says that we would be interfering with vested rights if we were to interpret this clause, I judge from a perusal of his speech of last year that the vested rights he is afraid of interfering with, are those of the bondholders of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Without assuming to criticise the position which the right hon. gentleman takes upon this question, let me, as one who has lived in the North-west for nearly twenty years, who has witnessed the development of that country, who has seen the people there bear the burden and heat of the day, who has witnessed the hardships of those people, and has always felt a great deal of sympathy with them-let me say that I think they have vested rights, and it is their vested rights that ought to be respected. When those people settled in that country and took up land, they doubtless had read this contract with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and doubtless had clearly understood that at the expiration of the twenty years period they would not be obliged, as they are to-day, to bear a double burden of taxes. When a settler in that country takes up his quarter section, he is obliged to pay taxes for schools, for roads, and for local improvements ; and inasmuch as the section adjoining his belongs to the railway company, and is included in this land grant, and is therefore exempted from taxation, the burden that falls on the settler is just double what it should be. And I want to appeal to members of this House and ask them, what must be the feelings of those settlers when they discover that though the twenty years period is now up,

yet, by the interpretation placed upon this clause by leading members of this House, they are obliged to go on and pay taxes for another twenty years ? I want to appeal to the members of this House in the name of these settlers ; I want to speak of the vested rights which they have ; and I think that notwithstanding the views which many may j hold, and honestly hold, on this question, those who consider the hardships which those settlers have endured must recognize that the first duty of parliament is to the people who settle on the land, and to whom that country practically belongs.

I said that I would endeavour to show, by the position which parliament took upon that question some twenty years ago, that it was clearly and definitely understood that the twenty years period began when the contract with the company was ratified. Let me first, however, make a slight reference to the fact that when parliament grants a title, it may be what is known as a title by statute. Title by statute is recognized in Great Britain as being quite as good as title by patent. I claim that it is not necessary that patents should issue in order that the title to these lands should be vested in the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. When the contract was ratified on the 15th of February, 1881, to all intents and purposes the land became the property of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

I shall be told, no doubt, and correctly, that the lapd was not at that time all set aside for the use of the company, and this section will, no doubt, be quoted to me- and I may just as well deal with it now :

Section 9. Upon the construction of any portion of the railway hereby contracted for, not less than twenty miles in length, and the completion thereof so as to admit of the running of regular trains thereon, together with such equipment thereof as shall be required for the traffic thereon, the government shall pay and grant to the company the money and land subsidles applicable thereto.

, I admit that that is quite a strong section, and will be used against my argument with considerable effect ; but for the last four or five years, I have endeavoured to obtain [DOT] from parliament information as to when . this land or any portion of it was set aside . for the use of the company, and I must \ confess that I have been absolutely unable ; to get that information.

: As I said at the outset, the Canadian

* Pacific Railway Company, seeing the , strength of their position, seemed to get the i government to fall into line with their view, } and not to issue patents to them ; so that 5 they will claim that the land has not been i set aside or made available for them up to L- the present time. If I were able to find out [ exactly when this land was set aside, it i might make some difference to my argus ment.

t But the point is this, that the Canadian , Pacific Railway have had as much use oi

tliat land grant as if they actually had it in their possession from the first moment, and I will show you how. In addition to the vast subsidies which we gave that company, in round cash, completed railways, exemption from taxation, exemption from duty on the materials that entered in the construction of the road-in addition to all these subsidies, we exempted their lands from taxation. And, in my opinion, inasmuch as they have not chosen to take up that land, but still have had the benefit of them, the time lias come when they should pay their share of taxation. Let me point out that no sooner was the ink dry on the contract than the Canadian Pacific Railway raised $25,000,000 in land on land grant bonds. They mortgaged their entire land grant and raised the money required to go ou with their work. Therefore, I say they had the use of these lands just as much as if they had taken possession of them at once. That being the case, Why should not parliament interpret that Act as it should be interpreted, taking all the circumstances into consideration, and declare that twenty years' term of exemption at an end.

The night bon. gentleman who leads the House told us last year that it was a .question for reference to the courts, and lie said: Let the municipalities take ouit a writ against the company and sue for the taxes. But I would point out that as these lands are up to the present unpatented, it is legally impossible for any municipality to take any action. Had the government issued the patents, as it should have, at least after 1885-6 when the road was completed, the exemption would have expired in 1906, and there would not be such a serious grievance. But the patents never having been issued, these municipalities are not in a position to effectually or satisfactorily collect the taxes.

Further, I do not think it would be quite fair to expect any municipality to undertake a lawsuit with the Canadian Pacific Railway. These municipalities are not wealthy and have not the resources to enter into litigation with that powerful company, winch litigation would be very costly, as it would be carried to the last court of resort. Why should not the government itself, if it is bound to have it that way, obtain a legal opinion and relieve the municipalities from that task ?

But I say that we ought not to take the risk of referring it to the courts. I have discussed this question with lawyers. Of course, the committee of the Privy Council might take a different view. They might look at the political aspect, they might read the speeches delivered at the time the contract went through, and give a decision according to what they thought was the * understanding of parliament. But I am informed that the courts are apt to rely upon the wording of the Act and the technical construction of the clauses, and that being Mr. RICHARDSON.

the case there would be extreme danger, if this matter were referred to the courts, of its being decided against the people. This is a case in which the interests of the people suffer to such an extent and in which the meaning of parliament is so clear that no risk ought to be taken. Why should this idea of vested interests be held up to terrify us on every occasion ? If the wording of the contract were clear and distinct, if tlhere could be no doubt that the exemption should date twenty years from the issuing of the patents, I would not ask parliament to place any interpretation on the Act. But the wording may appear to 'some miindls slightly ambiguous. I think that to any one who reads the clause in connection with the debate which took place in parliament, what was meant Is perfectly clear. If that be true -and I think I shall be able to satisfy almost any one by quotations from ' Hansard' that it is-why should parliament not now say what its intent was on the 15tli of February, 1881 ?

Parliament is supreme. What do the people of Canada send a representative to parliament for if not to see that they are justly dealt by ? Why should we think of the bondholders in Holland or any other country.

Topic:   CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY LAND GRANTS.
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March 7, 1901