April 17, 1901

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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CON

William Rees Brock

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROCK.

Canada is not to blame for that. I place some responsibility upon the shoulders of the right hon. the Prime Minister, that when he was in England representing this country, he neglected that grand opportunity of using this argument with the British government, and asking them for privileges in their markets as some compensation for having given away those splendid harbours which should property belong to us. I believe that would be a strong argument, an argument that would prevail, aud an argument which would add somewhat to the enthusiasm that seems to be growing in favour of preferential trade between the mother lanid and her colonies. This is a matter which might also be taken into consideration by the commission which has been suggested by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk). There is involved in it great questions that might occupy the attention of the cabinet ministers and of the great minds of this country, who have expert knowledge of matters connected with transportation. Facilities for the proper export of our produce is one thing, but. as the hon. member for Russell (Mr. Edwards) suggested, we have to do something in the line of bringing freight back to this country. To accomplish that we must have population. and to get population we must demonstrate to the people of Europe that we have in Canada vast advantages over the country to the south of us. I do not believe that

even the members of this House who have not been to the Pacific coast can realize the wonderful resources of this country, its enormous extent, and its vast areas of arable land yet unfilled. If this matter is property handled, I believe that before many years there will he such a population in this country as will astonish us, and that even those of us who are growing old will live to be so astonished. Our concern is not only to find the nearest, cheapest and quickest way to the markets of Europe, but it is as well to demonstrate in these markets the richness and the productiveness of our country. A moment ago I spoke of the canned fruit trade, and to give an idea of the possibilities of that industry if we could find a market, I may state that from the province of Ontario alone we could supply all the canned fruits aud vegetables required for the English market. Coming from the interior of the country, as I do, I am not here to advocate the city of Montreal, or the city of Quebec, or the city of Halifax, as the national port. The great question for us to consider is not the merits of any one port, but the general interests of the whole Dominion. If it is desirable to double-track some of our railroads, I believe that the government should assist in that work rather than spend large sums of money upon canals. I believe that the government should take great care, however, to retain in their own hands, that power which I fear they have not now of regulating the freight rates on our railway system.

We have heard a good deal in this House about the insurance question, and about the difficulty of getting vessels to come to Montreal, in consequence of the high rate of insurance. That is a question which like the waters of the great St. Lawrence, will find its own level. Banking institutions are seeking investments in this country, and if there is a good route by way of Montreal or any other, money will be found to seek investment in insurance and in everything else connected with our trade, at a reasonable rate of interest on the investment. Sir, I want more evidence, and I think the country wants more evidence, as to what scheme should be devised for best promoting the trade of the country. I believe that before any expenditure is undertaken either in Montreal or Quebec, a commission should be appointed not only to inquire into this question, but generally to take into consideration the best interests of the whole Dominion, and I believe, Sir, that the recommendation of such a commission would have great weight with the public, and would tend to a proper conclusion as to wliat is best to be done in the best interests of Canada.

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LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. A. A. WRIGHT (South Renfrew).

It may be thought somewhat strange that a person from an inland county should take any material interest in a subject such as this, but it seems to me that this is a ques-

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tion of vital importance to every man, -woman and cliild living in tile Dominion of Canada.

We are told tliat history repeats itself. If that be so, is it not wise for us to look a little ahead and see what is going to take place in the future ? Let us look back a few years, for example, and note what has taken place in the United States. I remember very well when the Genesee valley in the state of New York was one of the great grain-growing centres of the United States. At that time Rochester was called the flour city, because it possessed so many wheatgrinding mills. That has all changed. The wheat growing has left the state of New York and gone to the western states. Comparatively none of that cereal is grown in the state of New York now. A still greater change has taken place. When the wheatgrowing area moved further west, people in New York state got their livelihood largely by raising cattle and manufacturing cheese and butter ; but, in a short space of time these industries also went west. Large manufacturing cities grew up in the state of New York, and the milk which formed the raw material of the cheese and butter factories was absorbed by the population of those cities ; milk trains went in every direction. To give an illustration, only a few years ago, the Standard Butter Company, of Owego, N.Y., manufactured .more butter than any other creamery in the world. To-day that creamery is practically closed, because it cannot get the raw material.

Now, what has taken place in the United States is more than likely to take place in Canada. To-day in the province of Ontario large quantities of cheese and butter are manufactured and exported ; but, we are also growing a large quantity of wheat. But the 'same thing which took place in the state of New York is going to take place in Ontario. Our wheat fields will be in the west ; our cheese and butter factories will be in the east; and in Ontario we shall have other kinds of factories, such as woollen factories and iron factories. We must prepare for these changes. We must provide proper facilities for transporting the manufactured goods which we are going to make in Ontario, in Quebec, and, perhaps, in the maritime provinces, and also for carrying grain, flour, cattle and dairy products from the western plains of this Dominion. In order to do that we must improve the St. Lawrence route, and make it as perfect as possible.

The first thing to be done is for the government to make arrangements to provide facilities for the navigation of the St. Lawrence from the sea to Quebec and Montreal, so as to avoid the enormous insurance rates which have to be paid at present. Then, in the eastern portion of the Dominion we have wonderful facilities for manufacturing. We have such splendid water powers that Mr. WRIGHT. .

we can manufacture more cheaply here than in other parts of the Dominion. The construction of the Georgian Bay canal, which, I believe, will be constructed, will afford us a large addition of water power. Take the town of Cornwall, which has such large factories, or the town of Yalleyfield, and COte St. Paul, just outside of the city of Montreal. These places could never have had an existence if canals had not been constructed in their neighbourhood, furnishing them with water powers which the factories have utilized. Although the hon. member for Norfolk said that we would have difficulties in our canals such as they have in the Erie canal, and that the vessels would have to go so slowly and be so small that they could never compete with the railroads, I must differ entirely with him in that respect. The Erie canal is narrow for its whole distance, whereas the Georgian Bay canal will have large stretches of river navigation with a great depth of water, and only in the vicinity of waterfalls will the vessels have to go slowly. When that canal is constructed, such large water powers will be developed, that our manufactures will receive another impetus, and in the eastern part of the Dominion we shall be able to manufacture goods for the -western part of the Dominion, where they will grow grain and raise cattle.

With reference to the difficulty of loading and unloading cattle at the port of Montreal. I believe the time is not far distant when we shall not export our live cattle ; but they will be slaughtered here, giving employment to our people, and the hides and offal will be kept in the country for the benefit of our tanners and other manufacturers. When that is done we can export our chilled beef to the old country ; and, although we have no cases in Canada of rinderpest or pleuro-pneumonia such as they have in other countries, it will make no difference whether the authorities in the old country think we have them here or not, because we shall be exporting the chilled beef, which will go cheaper and better, and there will be more employment in our own country.

I do not propose, at this late hour of the night, to detain the House any longer ; but I believe this is a subject in which every man in Canada, no matter where he resides, is interested. It makes no difference to me whether the shipping facilities are greater in the city of Quebec or in the city of Montreal. What we want is cheap and excellent transportation for all the goods we manufacture in Ontario and the eastern provinces, and the very best and cheapest transportation for the products of the prairie provinces and the far west. I believe the time is not far distant when the head of navigation will not stop at Montreal, but will be carried farther west, and, perhaps, reach Fort William. That will be when our canals shall be deepened so that they will

compete with tlie railroads, and make them give us lower freights.

We all know that things are changing every day. It is within our recollection when a car could only hold 20,000 pounds, whereas to-day cars are manufactured that hold 73,000 to 80,000 pounds and some that will hold even more than that for the carriage of coal. The time was when an engine would only draw about twenty of these cars holding 20,000 pounds each, hut now there are these immense moguls which will haul 43 cars holding 70,000 pounds each, and the consequence is the railway lines can handle our freight much cheaper. And if we have cars and vessels that are growing in size, we must have large canals, and improved waterways and bring our waterways further into the interior, so that vessels can come right into the very centre of our country, where its products are grown and carry them at the lowest possible rate. I believe that the time is coming when our navigation will be deepened, and larger vessels will come further into the interior, and when that day comes an era of prosperity will dawn on us far exceeding anything yet dreamed of.

Hon. WILLIAM ROSS (Victoria, ISf.S.) At this late hour, I do not intend to take up much time, and would not have risen only it does not seem to be known in this House that we have a province called Nova Scotia and a harbour called Halifax. I was amused at the description of the New Brunswick harbour, where the smallest rise of the tide is about 30 feet. Why, in the harbour of Halifax, the ordinary rise is from 3} to 4 ieet, and the spring tides do not rise more than 0 feet. Besides that harbour is open all the year round, and within an hour from the time a steamer turns her face to the entrance, she is out in the open sea with nothing in the world before her except the vast expanse of ocean until she reaches the other side. But coming to Quebec or Montreal, once she passes between Cape North and Cape Ray and trims along the Magdalen Islands, she has to move slowly and cautiously and pick out her way in order to preserve life and property. Nothing of that kind is required in entering the port of Halifax. It is all very well to speak of those fresh-water ports, but it seems to me that the speeches made in connection with those ports were to some extent also a little fresh. When you come to speak of a harbour that is closed in the month of November and not open again until the month of May, there is no comparison between it and the harbour of Halifax. And not only are the ports of Quebec and Montreal closed during the winter season, but when they are open they are expensive ports. The pilotage is expensive, and I know that there would be a larger trade between Nova Scotia and those ports, were it not for the pilotage and other expenses which deter 103

vessels from going there to exchange cargoes. If you want to bring trade to Montreal and Quebec, you must cheapen everything in connection with the shipping of goods, and in that respect the harbour of Halifax is 50 per cent cheaper than either Montreal or Quebec. The great draw-'back to Montreal is the amount of improvements required to make it a successful shipping port. Nothing of that kind is required in Halifax. The harbour is deep and requires no dredging, and there are no rocks or shoals or other impediments in it. You can almost put your hands on the decks of the steamers as they come up and down outside our wharfs. We have every facility, and when those other places are asleep in the winter time you will see steamers running in and out of Halifax just as they do in summer.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

What does Halifax need then to build up its port ? Why does not trade go there now ?

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LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Hon. Mr. ROSS.

The trade is there now. The number of steamers that go in and out of the port of Halifax every day of the Week shows that it is.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

Why then does not the trade of Canada go to so magnificent a port ?

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LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Hon. Mr. ROSS.

The reason is the length of the haul by railway, which of course deters freight from going to Halifax.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

The hon. gentleman's proposal then is to get lower railway rates.

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LIB

William Ross

Liberal

Hon. Mr. ROSS.

What we require is lower rates over the Intercolonial Railway and greater speed in the transit of freight. Of course we are not advancing in this country in respect of our transit facilities as fast as they are in other countries, so that there is a great deal for us yet to learn in that respect. But I did not rise except to let the House know the advantages of the harbour of Halifax, which are superior to anything on this side of the Atlantic under British possessions.

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Mr. G. W.@

FOWLER (King's, N.B.) I had not intended to take any part in this debate, but I notice that the most important harbour in all Canada has not yet received any attention. I refer now to the harbour of St. John, N.B.

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LIB
CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

The hon. member for Victoria says it is a mud hole.

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LIB
CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

It is not hid behind a bank of fog, as Halifax is, for a good portion of the year. It was only a short time ago that a steamer was obliged to lie to for two or three days outside Halifax as she could not get in on account of the fogs.

REVISED edition

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LIB
CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

My hon. friend is too oitl *to get excited and I trust lie will keep cool. He lias bad a long experience that ought to enable him to receive matters of that kind in a different spirit. It is* passing strange that the winter transportation question has not yet been discussed. We have been talking altogether about the harbours of Montreal and Quebec, and the rival claims of these two have been held up. I do not think that there should be any rivalry in this matter between Montreal and Quebec. Let each try to get the largest proportion it can of this trade and divert it from the American ports to which it is now going. For that reason any reasonable expense which this government is called upon to expend for this purpose would be well expended and well received by the country. I believe, notwithstanding the fact that the hon. member for Toronto (Mr. Brock) spoke rather disparagingly of the Idea, that the foreign trade of this country should be carried from our Canadian ports, even if by doing so you should not get the nearest port of shipment. I think that the important thing for this country is that our trade should go to European ports from our own ports and not from those of foreign countries. And I think that every effort that it is possible for this country to make to that end should be made. Suppose that we were at difference with our friends to the south of us, what position would we be in if we had no means of transport in the winter from our own ports ? Our trade would be paralyzed. We have to surmount by artificial means whatever difficulties we have in this country. We have many examples of that being done. Take, for instance, the manufacture of sugar. The immense quantities of sugar made in continental Europe are made under the bounties given to assist the sugar-growers of those countries as against the competition of the AVest India Islands. So with us, if we have natural difficulties to surmount, let us surmount them, and let the country pay for their removal so far as they can be removed. 1 am here in hearty accord with the claims advocated by the hon. gentlemen who have spoken on behalf of Montreal and Quebec. But we must not forget that we have a winter port question. A great deal of our grain must be shipped in the winter, and it cannot be shipped from the port of Montreal or the port of Quebec, notwithstanding the ice-breaking machines of which we have heard. Until those machines are perfected, and in use at any rate, we must use our maritime ports. I do not believe in the spirit of rivalry between Halifax and St. John. But St. John has the advantage over Halifax that it is so much nearer the grain centres of the west and

the port of Montreal. I think it is unfortunate, if the policy pursued by the Minister of Railways (Hon. Mr. Blair) has the effect of injuring the port of St. John. I have seen many things to recommend in the policy of the minister in connection with the Intercolonial Railway. I believe in the extension of the road to Montreal. The country may have had to pay too much for it, but that is a matter of detail. But the hon. gentleman's policy with regard to the Canadian Pacific Railway has seriously affected the ports of St. John and Montreal. The idea advanced by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier of a commission of men who are to grapple with the situation and who understand the conditions to inquire into the case, is a good idea. But the government should act at once and appoint this commission, not allowing political motives to influence them in the selection. If they will, without considering politics, select the men, three or five of the men best qualified to sit upon a board, and these gentlemen take into consideration not only the question of summer transportation and the canals but also the winter transportation and the question of the maritime ports, they will be able, I am convinced, to work out a scheme that will be for the benefit of Canada.

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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

As there are many hon. gentlemen desirous of taking part in the debate, and as it is now nearly twelve o'clock, I move that the debate be adjourned.

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IND
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The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES.

To-morrow.

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Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned. On motion of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, House adjourned at 11.50 p.m.


April 17, 1901