April 18, 1901

LIB

Jacques Bureau

Liberal

Mr. BUREAU.

Then, as a patriot and not as a politician, I would like to call the attention of the House to Three Rivers, and I state that it is in the interests of the whole Dominion to develop that port to facilitate the export of cattle, paper, pulp and pulp wood from Three Rivers. I wished to show the advantages of Three Rivers so that there may be no surprise if I go to my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works and ask him if he will put something in the estimates to help to develop this great port which I hope, in the near future, will commend itself to the attention of this House.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink
CON

Jean-Baptiste Morin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. B. MORIN (Dorchester).

It seems to be the rule in this debate that every man speaks for his own city. I do not propose to speak on behalf of this port or that; I propose to speak for justice. Nature has shown you that Quebec always was, and is yet, the port for this country. I can remember as far back as fifty-five years ago, when we went to Quebec they were using a horse boat to cross the river instead of a steamer. We had to navigate from one shore to the other on account of the vessels standing six or eight miles up and down the river. That shows that there was something going on at Quebec at that time. Now, many years after that, say fifty years ago, I was in the port of Montreal. Now, I do not propose to run down that port. But what was that port at that time ? There were only a few schooners here and there. History will show it, and I saw it myself. Now, the Minister of Public Works tries to make us believe that the port of Montreal is without doubt the port we have to rely upon. Well, let us remember what took place in 1878. What built up the port of Montreal, what caused such a great increase in the traffic going to Montreal ? It was a result of what took place in Quebec in 1878, where vessels were loaded and unloaded. We all remember the strike that took place there in 1S78, the hon. member for Quebec West (Mr. Dobell) remembers it well. The whole traffic between Montreal and Quebec was stopped, and that was the reason why Montreal has increased so largely in its ocean traffic. To-day the natural circumstances cause trade to flow back towards Quebec where it can be very easily and cheaply handled. In Montreal, if you want a port, you have to make one, in Quebec the port is already made.

Now, the government is talking about building a bridge at Quebec. I would like to give the Minister of Public Works a word or two of advice on that subject. After he has got his piers built for the bridge, let him go on and build a pier below and a pier above the bridge, and he will see the ice stopped at the bridge in the month of December, and it will stay there until the next April. Then the port of Quebec will be free from ice, and he will have navigation of the St. Lawrence the whole winter.

The Minister of Public Works cannot have any doubt of what I say. We all know that as soon as the ice stops at that place where the bridge is to be built, the port of Quebec is clear from ice. Now, with regard to dredging the St. Lawrence, I do not agree with the Minister of Public Works. Before steam power was invented, vessels were coming up to Montreal, sailing vessels and small schooners that drew ten or twelve feet of water. Later on when steam power was invented it became necessary to dredge that channel, and ever since then millions of dollars have been spent on it. If we could dredge that channel once and be sure that the work would not have to be gone over again, there would be some satisfaction in it. But we know that in the old country they are building longer and deeper vessels every year, and every year we shall have to accommodate our channel to their depth. A few years ago vessels that drew 27 feet of water could come up to Montreal easily, but now they cannot. Every summer we read in the newspapers that some vessel has struck the bottom at such a plaee. That shows the necessity of deepening the channel. The Minister of Public Works spoke about deepening it to 30 feet. Well, that would only last a few years, in a few years more we shall be asked to deepen it to 32 feet, and when we shall see the end of it I do not know.

Now, the Minister of Public Works appears to be greatly in favour of canals. For myself, I am not in favour of canals except in some places where they are necessary. Let me give you the history of two canals in the United States. There is a canal that runs from Pittsburg to Philadelphia, 354 miles long. That canal was put into operation in 1847, and in 1858, 60 miles of it had to be abandoned. At present that canal is only operated from Pittsburg' to Johnstown, a distance of 56 miles. The other end of it is operated from Harrisburg to Philadelphia, 104 miles, so that to-day only 160 miles is operated out of the original 354. Now, take the North Branch canal that started from Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania; every mile of it is to-day abandoned. That is the history of these canals. If we consult the reports, we find that from 1869 the traffic on the Buffalo and New York canal has been decreasing. Traffic has also decreased on the Welland canal. In view of these facts, what inducement have we to go on and deepen our canals when experience is so dead against us ? Why not save your money. If you are so anxious to build canals, why not leave the Welland canal as it is and go to work and build a canal from the Georgian Bay and strike the St. Lawrence at some point ? Then you would have a route about 300 miles shorter to Quebec than you will by Port Colborne. The Minister of Public Works also spoke about the north channel below Quebec on the north side of Orleans Island. He said

that channel could be deepened very easily. Well I believe it, but I would advise the minister to leave it alone. Of all the boats that used to go up and down the river at that place, the only ones now navigating it are the boats that haul firewood, that draw four feet of water. In view of these facts there is not much encouragement to spend money on the north side of the island of Orleans. The south channel is good enough.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink
LIB

Onésiphore Ernest Talbot

Liberal

Mr. O. E. TALBOT (Bellechasse).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, a great deal has been said, of late years, about this question of transportation, as also about winter navigation and other public improvements. We have heard a good deal also about the Georgian Bay canal; but I am bound to say that, from what has been hitherto said or written on those various questions, we have been unable to gather any practical solution of the transportation question and to overcome the difficulties which are now confronting us. As every one knows, the United States, a few years ago, closed the doors of their market to our products, and, from that moment, we have been forced to seek other outlets. We have thereby been urged to greater efforts in the way of improving our waterways, our railways and canals.

But, before approaching the question of the impediments or drawbacks met with by ocean-going steamers in sailing up the St. Lawrence, we have first to deal with the best means of reaching the English market and the other European markets, and to see how we can attain a cheaper transportation of Canadian products to those points of consumption. This transportation question, the most important issue before the people of this country in the present moment, has been discussed in a very eloquent manner in the course of this debate. But, Sir, I think it should not be approached in a parochial spirit; nor should we take any narrow view of the matter, or discush it from any sectional point of view or out of regard for the interests of any particular locality. For my part, coming as I do from the district of Quebec and representing here a constituency of that district, I am bound to say that I take a keen interest in all that concerns the interests of the dear old city of Quebec. But this is too important and too momentous an issue for the representatives of that district to feel warranted in dealing with it from the narrow point of view of their sectional interests.

If I understood aright the hou. gentleman who addressed the House, the question is whether Canada can lay its products down cheaper in the consuming market through its national highway than by going through American channels. A good deal lias been said on both sides of the question as to whether the St. Lawrence route offers the cheapest and best means of transportation, and whether it can victoriously compete

with its foreign rivals. For my part, I shall not go into that question, but I shall confine the remarks I wish to offer the House to the lower St. Lawrence; as I am more familiar with that portion of the river than with the great lakes, the canals and the portion of the river between Montreal and Quebec.

In the course of his speech, the lion. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Sir Louis Davies) has not given due weight to the evidence and testimony received from the shipowners and captains in the course of the inquiry held in Montreal with a view to reducing' the insurance rates and ascertaining the best means of improving the navigation of the St. Lawrence and making it safer.

I have gone through nearly all the evidence contained in that bulky volume which is in my hands. I shall confine my remarks to that portion of the evidence given by men with whom I am personally acquainted, and whom I look upon as very competent, in connection with the navigation of the lower St. Lawrence.

I shall (select among others the testimonies of three pilots, one of whom is Mr. LaRochelle, who is the mayor of my town. Mr. LaRochelle has had an experience of thirty years, and he (makes on an average, from forty to fifty tripe, in the season, between Quebec and Father Point. I shall lay particular stress on his testimony, which is corroborated by that of the other pilots who have been examined during that investigation.

The lion. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Sir Louis Davies) dealt rather lightly with the matter when he stated that that examination had been carried on ex parte during the whole summer, without any one having the opportunity of cross-examining the witnesses ; and that if those statements had been made to somebody who would cross-examine them, (a very different complexion would be put on them, and other conclusions would have been reached.

Well, Sir, if we bear in mind the fact that that evidence was given by men having over thirty years' experience in navigation ; by men not only known as good pilots, but as industrious, thrifty and sober men, and men whose services are often secured by the great steamship companies, at an additional cost of twelve dollars for each trip, we cannot help conning to the conclusion that those testimonies deserve consideration at our hands.

Let me give a synopsis of the evidence. We find that twenty-four suggestions were made in the course of that investigation. I shall merely confine myself to pointing them out, with the reasons given by these men in support of their views. What do the pilots say ? They all agree on the absolute necessity of having a whistle at Father Point, and they condemn the existing bombs and guns as fog-signals. In the sec-Mr. TALBOT.

ond place, they say that the Red Island lightship should be moved further south. In the third place, at Green Island, the gun which in foggy weather is heard every 20 minutes, should be replaced by a siren, which would indicate approximately every second minute its position.

In the fourth place, they suggest that the light at Cape Salmon is defective and it should be replaced by a more powerful oue, that is to say a twenty-mile light instead of a twelvejmile light, as it is now. They also pretend that the fog-signal is not in a good position. A fact which is strange enough, but which is easily accounted for, is that the fog-signal at Green Island is more easily heard five or six miles from the shore than it is heard within a mile from the town. The pilots say that the fact that the fog-signal is more easily heard at such a distance is accounted for by the fact that there is a mountain inland, which reverberates the sound before it falls to the level to the St. Lawrence. At any rate, there is a gap here which could easily be remedied.

Another suggestion is to place a permanent fixed light at the lower end of the Traverse at St. Roch. Last year a permanent light was established at the upper end of that Traverse. The pier light placed there last year was a substitute for a lightship. Now, what was the result of that change on navigation even for the present year ? It resulted in facilitating navigation three weeks earlier than last year. The reason is obvious, because the lightship which existed before used to be put in position in the spring, and the government bad to remove it in the fall, before the ice was formed ; while the pier light which was substituted for the lightship is able to resist the current, which is very swift, the ice and all the obstructions of the river.

That shows what can be done with sufficient energy and spirit of enterprise, in the way of improving the navigation of the St. Lawrence. Now, wliat do the pilots want ? They want the government to do a thing, which, as shown by experience, is quite feasible. They ask that the lightship now existing at the lower Traverse at St. Roch be replaced by a permanent pier. While I am dealing with this lightship, here is a fact which shows how useful a new permanent light would prove at that spot. Two years ago the Department of Marine and Fisheries were informed that a steamer had started from Montreal with a cargo bound to England. Forthwith, the department sent a ship to replace the lightship of the Traverse. Now, what may seem most strange is that the steamer steamed away, and saw the government steamer anchored at the Traverse, without the latter having noticed the steamer. This goes to show how negligent and remiss people are at times.

It often occurs that pilots draw the attention of the department to buoys having parted from their moorings and gone adrift,

3353 APRIL 18, 1901 3354

to certain lights being extinct or others which do not work well ; but the suggestions of those pilots are not acted upon as promptly as they should be. The officials should show greater expedition in replacing those buoys and in repairing those defective lights, as considerable damage might result from such negligence. The suggestions made by pilots should be more willingly listened to, under the circumstances.

We are often asked what is the reason of the difference existing between the port of Montreal and that of Quebec. It is sometimes said that the harbour of Quebec did not exist twenty-five years ago. I believe so, but any one who was acquainted with Quebec twenty-five years ago and who now goes back to that city can realize the enormous improvements which have been carried out within the last few years in that city and its neighbourhood from the standpoint of navigation.

I am bound to say, to the credit of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, that, within the last few years certain impediments to navigation have been removed and great improvements have been carried out in that portion of the St. Lawrence. But there remains a great deal to be done.

Another suggestion mentioned by the pilots, is that there should be a gas-buoy somewhere on the middle bank in the lower Traverse at St. Roch. There exists somewhere in that vicinity a bank which is formed by the earth and the sand, which keeps accumulating there. It is for the purpose of obviating the dangers which that bank offers that the pilots suggest to place a gas-buoy there.

They also think that there should be a gas-buoy somewhere to the south of the Pillars, although they say that the light is all right there.

In the course of this debate reference has been made to the large expenditure incurred for the deepening and the improvement of the channel of Lake St. Peter, which is now but twenty-seven feet deep during a certain portion of the year. Well, Sir, I may say that there is just as great an obstacle to navigation below Quebec, and it is an impediment which should be removed at once, if we really wish to improve the navigation of the St. Lawrence and to lower the marine insurance rates on that route. What I wish to refer to here, is the small channel at Crane Island, thirty miles below Quebec, where at low tide, there are but twenty-four feet of water. For several years back the pilots have been asking that this channel be dredged to thirty feet; and if a powerful dredge were sent there, that channel, which is now only six hundred feet wide, could easily be dredged to thirty feet and widened to one thousand feet, so as to allow vessels to pass at any hour of the day or night, and the navigation of the St. Lawrence would thereby be greatly improved.

The pilots further say that the occulting light at Crane Island does not work well, at it is not quite steady, and they suggest that it be replaced by a red light.

It is also stated that in that portion of Craue Island the law fs not enforced. There is a by-law in force that no schooner sailing up or down the river, shall anchor in mid-channel ; but that law is not enforced. If some of the captains of those schooners were fined, or if a strict watch were kept over them either by some government steamer or by some station of observation established near that place by the Marine Department, those complaints would soon be remedied.

They also want a gas-buoy on one of the patches between Crane Island and Belle-chasse. What happened a few years ago ? The pilots had long been complaining about the insufficiency of the light and they wanted a gas-buoy to be placed on the St. Thomas shoal. They complained to Captain Demers who was then in command of the government steamer ; but that gentleman replied that Colonel Anderson had told him there was enough light there. And it was only after the Sarmatian and the Etolia had gone ashore or touched on that shoal that they put a gas-buoy there. Now, I ask, why should we wait till other ships have gone ashore or until other valuable cargoes have been lost on those shoals, which are not located on the chart ? Why not take the means of removing those impediments to navigation, and preventing the recurrence of accidents which would warrant the maritime insurance companies in raising their rates, which are already outrageously high ? They also recommend that the back buoys at Beaumont and on the shoal of Beauport be replaced by gas-buoys.

Now, what happened last year? While the elevator of the Great Northern Railway was being built, one of the range lights was obscured during the whole summer, owing to the fact that the elevator was built in between two lights, and when they built the last story on the elevator, they shut off everything. The trouble was, that there was but one light to show the vess.els their way, Accidents might have happened, had not the pilots been experienced men. Complaints were made about that obstruction, and yet nothing was done till late in the season, while that complaint could have been easily remedied. Complaints were filed in the department against that obstruction by interested parties, who spoke with knowledge of the facts! Our pilots have their own personal interests at heart. They know very well that the greater the facilities you offer to the navigation of the St. Lawrence, the larger the number of vessels which will reach our ports will be. and the more money they will make. I think that personal interest in this case is a safe guide, and there is every reason to believe that the pilots are right, as their own interest coin-

cides with the interests of the navigation of the St. Lawrence river.

We are told that the aids to navigation are sufficient and cannot he improved, and we have it from the bon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Sir Louis Davies) that, having consulted several captains of steamers, on hoard of their own ships, every one of them declared that they did not know of any existing aids to navigation which could foe improved, or of any aid to navigation not existing which could be put on the St. Lawrence route from Quebec to Father Point. It is idle to shut our eyes to facts. To my mind, it is of the greatest importance that we should make the route of the lower St. Lawrence as safe as possible. We have no fleet which winters in our ports. The first steamers which cross the Atlantic have to sail up the St. Lawrence before reaching Quebec or Montreal ; and, if there are any impediments to navigation in the lower St. Lawrence, it is our duty to remove those drawbacks without any delay, and to devote to the improvement of that route a portion of the money appropriated for the purpose of improvement of navigation. We do really all rejoice in Montreal's prosperity. We are ready to contribute money and to devote our energies to making Montreal the greatest city in the Dominion. There is room in this country for a large number of cities as flourishing, as wealthy and as progressive as the city of Montreal is. Quebec also will have its turn, when the drawbacks which I have pointed out are removed. I was very glad to hear the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Sir Louis Davies) tell us that he intended to propose a very large expenditure, this coming year, for the purpose of remedying the defects which have been pointed out. I am sure that the hon. minister will redeem his pledge, and I am confident that in a not very remote future, with navigation so improved and perfected, the St. Lawrence route will be the quickest, and cheapest, and best route in the world.

We have heal'd it stated this afternoon that before long, the navigation of the river below Quebec would be largely revolutionized by the fact that the channel would be dredged- between He Madame and the Island of Orleans, where there exists actually one of the most dangerous stretches In the navigation of the St. Lawrence. Those who are familiar with the navigation of the lower St. Lawrence, know perfectly why navigators, for many years back, have adopted the south channel in preference to the northern channel. Formerly, when there were no steamboats, but only sailing ships on the river, as the southern channel, that Is the portion of the river between the south shore of the St. Lawrence and the islands which are scattered over a distance of several miles, was much wider than the northern channel, the sailing ships, when tacking about against contrary winds, used to follow the south shore because they could | Mr. TALBOT.

thus more easily beat to the windward and make much longer stretches. Now, navigators pretend that, with steamboats, the northern channel could be used. As we all know, the northern channel offers no impediments to navigation, there being a great depth of water all through ; but I am not prepared to say that the surveys mad^e so far are such as to lead us to believe that the shoal at lie Madame consists exclusively of sand or mud. I hope so, and more than anybody else I would rejoice if it were so ; because, under such circumstances, all the impediments to navigation which have been pointed out by experienced navigators, would disappear, and we would then have a channel entirely safe and free of all obstacles. But I am under the impression that if further surveys are made, there will be found liard-pan and rock under the sand bank, which would prevent the opening of a channel wide enough to allow large steamships to sail up and down at any time during the season.

Now, with respect to gas-lighted buoys, which are charged one hundred pounds to the square inch, their use is attended with daily inconveniences. The pilots tell us that those gas-buoys work well only for about ten or fifteen days, although they are placed there and supposed to do service for a month. As a matter of fact, about the middle of the month the light becomes less distinguishable, loses power, and is often extinct before the end of the month. It is also stated that the lights existing in certain portions of the River St. Lawrence are not powex-ful enough, and that they should be replaced by revolving lighs. Shipwrecks have occurred near St. Valier, at the Point, which is in my county. The investigation has shown that the light on the patches at Bellechasse had been mistaken for the light of the mainland, and that explains how it happened that ships, when the pilots had realized too late their mistake, wishing to go northwards, touched upon the St. Valier Point. Measures should be taken to remedy that inconvenience, so as to prevent any confusion in the lights, which, during the night, shine with equal brightness. In connection with the harbour of Quebec, we are often asked : How is it that the large ocean-going steamers go past one of the finest harbours in the world and proceed to Montreal ? There are several explanations of that fact. As everybody knows, Montreal is the great commercial metropolis of Canada, and if Quebec is not now such a great port as it ought to be, all the blame falls on the shoulders of some narrow-minded Quebec men who, on personal grounds now very well known to the public, have prevented that city from having its fair share of the public money. Moreover, these men have been the cause that the millions of dollars spent in that city for public improvements have been partially wasted. And when speaking of the men who are responsible

33D7

for the harm done to the city of Quebec, I need hardly tell the House that McGreevy and Langevin are the guilty parties. The lion. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Tartej knows as well as I do that the millions of dollars voted by this House for the purpose of improving and equipping the harbour of Quebec have either been squandered or stolen, as shown during the investigation that took place in this House. We all know the serious consequences which followed therefrom, and how the progress of that harbour was retarded for several years. But, thanks be to God, those men have disappeared. Another cause which operated greatly to the prejudice of the interests of that city has also been removed. I mean the longshoremen, who used formerly to charge exorbitant rates for the loading and unloalding of vessels ; and matters had reached such a point that shippers and steamship men preferred sending their ships to Montreal to get cargoes.

Those who now visit Quebec, after a lapse of twenty-five years, are struck at the wonderful change which the city has undergone within that period. And in this connection. I am glad to be able to say, to the credit of the harbour commissioners, that the harbour improvements which they have carried out since the present government came into power have largely contributed to the development of the city. Owing to the enterprising spirit of its leading men, the city of Quebec has made enormous strides in the way of progress, and let it be said to their credit, the moneys voted for the purpose of improving and equipping the port are no longer diverted from their legitimate purposes.

It is idle shutting our eyes to the evidence of facts and to the many facilities which the harbour of Quebec offers. As stated by my hon. friend the member for Quebec West (Hon. Mr. Dobell) who holds a seat in the cabinet without portfolio, it is quite certain that when the piers of the new bridge at Quebec are planted, there will be an ice-bridge formed very early in the season ; but that ice-bridge, instead of being an impedient or a drawback, will, on the contrary,-as is the case every time it takes -permit of later navigation in the fail and earlier navigation in the spring between Quebec and the ocean.

This winter, we have had an ice-bridge at Cape-Kouge, and since it has formed, the channel has been completely free of ice. That is tlie reason why I told a friend of mine, this afternoon, that when the new bridge at Quebec is built, and when those two piers are planted, there will be an ice-bridge formed very early in the season, and that it will undoubtedly enable us to have navigation for at least ten months in the year.

As all the hon. gentlemen know, towards the close of the season there is considerable

time lost to shipping between Montreal and Quebec, as the great sea-going steamers have to lie over during the night. Now, that difficulty will be easily overcome, when sea-going vessels will make Quebec, their terminus. Moreover, at Quebec, there are three miles of river front where there are about from 27 to 28 feet of water, close to shore at low tide, and we have docks for the whale distance, and a safe anchorage in middle stream. There would be no expense required in dredging near those wharfs, and the only improvement required would be that of connecting those docks by longitudinal piers, which would allow a larger number of steamers to moor and to load and unload their cargoes.

I could adduce several other facts to show why trade is seeking the port of Montreal, in preference to that of Quebec. For instance, it is a well known fact that steamship companies prefer paying freight to the railway companies for the carriage of the freight collected in the vicinity of Quebec up to Montreal, rather than having to stop at Quebec and taking that freight aboard on their way to Montreal. A few days ago, one of the leading dairymen of the district told me that the steamship companies preferred paying all the freight of his butter up to Montreal, rather than taking it aboard ship at Quebec, although that butter was manufactured thirty miles from Quebec. It is the same with several other lines of goods. It is a common occurrence for Quebec merchants to see steamships loaded with their goods, proceed to Montreal without stopping at Quebec, and those goods coming back later on by rail. Such commercial drawbacks as those could be easily overcome.

I do not find fault either with this government or any hon. gentleman, or with the political party which was at the head of affairs in this country, before the Liberal party came into power. In my opinion, most of the impediments which have thwarted the natural growth of the city of Quebec-and when I speak of Quebec, it is merely from the standpoint of navigation-are to be attributed to the attitude of a certain number of Quebec gentlemen. But, for the present, what I want to impress upon the House-and in so doing, I think I am voicing the sentiments of the hon. gentlemen who represent in this House, that portion of the country in which my owu constituency is inclosed-is that we should first devote all our energies to the work of perfecting navigation between Quebec and the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that in our expenditures of public money, we should aim at overcoming the impediments which exist in that portion of the river, rather than perfecting navigation between Montreal and Quebec. Those drawbacks to navigation in the lower St. Lawrence should first be remedied as ocean-going vessels have to suffer from those drawbacks, before meeting the other impediments on their way.

As every one knows, a good farmer never puts the cart before the horse ; likewise, in the case of navigation, we must beware beginning at the wrong end ; and it would be beginning by the wrong end, not to overcome first the impediments to shipping in the lower St. Lawrence. Those improvements ought to be the more readily carried out as the amount necessary for that purpose is not very large. That is why I would ask the lion. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Sir Louis Davies), in the interest of the cities of Quebec and Montreal and of the country in general, not to turn a deaf ear to our prayers and to listen more willingly to the suggestions made by experienced navigators in connection with the improvement of that portion of the river to which I have confined my remarks. And I am bound to say that the sooner those improvements are carried out, the better it will prove for the country, from the standpoint of the benefits which will accrue to the great industry of transportation of which so much has been said here, as also from the point of view of the maritime insurance and the ill-feeling displayed by shippers who are interested in going to places where they will be best served and where they get better accommodation. This is not a political question, nor one which should be approached in a parochial spirit. It is a question which must be considered from a high national standpoint, as the progress of the country is closely connected with it. As I said, the sooner those impediments to navigation are done away with, the better the people of this country will be able to realize what a great future is in store for Canada, owing to the extent of our marvellous resources ; and the better we will be able to compete successfully with the other countries of the world on the European markets.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink
LIB

Arthur Samuel Kendall

Liberal

Mr. A. S. KENDALL (Cape Breton).

As this matter is mainly of interest to the western part of the country, I have not taken part at an earlier hour in the debate, and I will promise to be very brief in the few remarks I shall address to the House, in the reference to the maritime interests in these projected improvements to the St. Lawrence river. Next to fish, our chief article of export in the province of Nova Scotia is coal. We send from 800,000 to

1,000,000 tons of coal from the maritime provinces to Quebec and Montreal each year. I can take you back to the seventies when the rates were $2.50 to $3.50 per ton, and to the eighties, when the freight rates were reduced to $1.50 and to $1.25. During the last three years these rates have been from $1 to 65 cents. Hon. gentlemen opposite profess to believe that the great development that has taken place in this business was brought about by their policy of imposing a duty on coal, but I think the figures that I have given are due to the improvement of the transportation facilities more than to the duty on coal.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink
LIB

Onésiphore Ernest Talbot

Liberal

Mr. TALBOT.

Further a company which has been engaged in the transportation of coal from Cape Breton during the last five or six years, has offered to convey coal to Boston for 38 cents a ton, the company paying port charges and supplying bunker coal. Let me also point out that coal was conveyed from Cleveland to Duluth two years ago-I do not know what the rates were last year, but I think they were higher-for 25 cents a ton. This was in vessels of 10,000 tons capacity, and would not have been possible unless they had been supplied with return cargoes of grain and iron ore. I venture to assert that before long, as soon as steamers of 10,000 or 12,000 tons capacity are employed in the Cape Breton coal-carrying trade, coal will be conveyed to Montreal for 50 cents a ton, or even less, provided transportation facilities are improved and insurance rates are lowered. I may say, by way of parenthesis, that the high insurance rates during this year have driven the Petersen & Tate boats out of this trade. I was informed to-day that not a single boat which, has been in that trade for the last six or seven years is engaged in it this year. This freight is not to be carried by British vessels, not by Canadian vessels, but almost exclusively by Norwegian vessels. Why is this ? Why it is that Norwegian vessels are able to freight that coal from Cape Breton to Montreal while Canadian and British vessels are withdrawn from the traffic ? This matter has been explained to me. It was stated that the owners of Norwegian ships have a mutual insurance company of their own. They have had considerable experience in this trade, and they discount considerably the reputed dangers of the route.) It looks as though a conspiracy has been hatched against this route by British underwriters, but, the Norwegian underwriters, who have had a large experience of this route, are quite willing to underwrite risks on vessels carrying coal from Cape Breton to Montreal. I wish to point out another feature of the St. Lawrence route, and it is that to-day about

1.000. 000 tons of shipping return from Montreal and Quebec to Cape Breton empty. That means that a tonnage capacity for

20.000. 000 bushels of wheat returns empty from Montreal and Quebec down the St. Lawrence. Hon. gentlemen will observe that for a grain-carrying vessel, the dangerous part of her voyage between Liverpool and Montreal is in that part of her voyage between Cape Breton and Montreal, and that steamers carrying coal from Cape Breton to Montreal and returning traverse 1,400 miles in which the dangers are, and that the risks which the underwriters refuse to take are mainly in that part of the voyage. Now, strong practical business men are today considering the advisability of building elevators at the port of Sydney and utilizing the empty tonnage from Montreal to bring down grain to that port. If this project is carried out it will save ocean ships the

expense of risks, to which tire underwriters object, to the extent of 20,000,000 bushels capacity. I may also point) out that Messrs. Mackenzie & Mann are to-day developing one of the finest coal properties in the world. The coal properties which they have in Inverness county are probably as good as we have in Cape Breton county, and both these gentlemen have told me that with the 14-foot canals it will be possible to carry coal all the way from the Strait of Canso, Cape Breton, right through the St. Lawrence route, and up the great lakes to Port Arthur, and to bring return cargoes of grain and iron ore. I also wish to point out that the successful working of our iron industries in Cape Breton will depend largely on getting some ores which we have not at present at command. We have a large quantity of ore of certain grades, very valuable ores indeed, but even now we are importing, to mix with these ores, other ores from Santiago, Cuba. The managers of this industry are now looking up supplies of iron ores in Ontario to mix with their present supply.

This brings me to a matter which appears of some importance to this industry. That is the question of a 20-foot canal from the Georgian Bay and down the Ottawa river. Of course, we recognize that this is a matter that will require the expenditure of an enormous amount of money. It is placed at $40,000,000 or $50,000,000. The Manchester canal was built for a distance of twenty-nine miles at a cost of $75,000,000, to do a very limited business, a business which could be easily measured, but to construct from the Georgian Bay a 20-foot waterway to Montreal will cost $50,000,000. Our imaginations can scarcely picture the amount of work which in all probability such a project would have to perform within a measurable time. Its importance as a market provider for Cape Breton coal and as a source of supply of iron ore is so great that my best efforts must be directed in favour of this great project. I wish to make another remark, and it is about the port of Quebec. No one, I suppose, will, for a moment, deny that the port of Quebec has commanding advantages, and we believe that when great 15,000 or 20,000 ton steamers come into this trade, Quebec will show that it has paramount advantages. I do not know how feasible it will be to keep the ice out of the St. Lawrence river from Quebec down to the gulf, but-and I make this statement no*t on my own responsibility, but on the responsibility of a score or so of the most experienced mariners with whom I am well acquainted, and on the responsibility of a number of the captains of sealing steamers which go into the Gulf of St. Lawrence every year-that during two months every year, and during three months in most years, it will be found impossible to successfully navigate the 106

Gulf of St. Lawrence, even though you can successfully navigate the stretch of river between Quebec and the gulf. I would like to refer to a remark made a short time ago by the lion. ex-Minister of Railways and Canals {Hon. Mr. Haggart). He deprecated the large expenditure which has been ma&e on the Intercolonial Railway. Well, I think it is thoroughly understood to-day that the Intercolonial Railway cannot be made a successful traffic road unless a further amount is expended on the road to cut down the grades. I also wish to point out that the larger part of the expenditure on the Intercolonial Railway during the last year or eighteen months has been on that section between St. John and Truro, and between Halifax and Truro, and Truro and Sydney. To-day that section of the road is groaning under the freight it has to carry. Still further expenditures of money are necessary on the Intercolonial Railway, and if that hon. gentleman could go over the road and! see the condition of the trade, he would at once come to the conclusion that further expenditures are in every way desirable and justifiable.

We were told by some gentlemen to-day that we should have foreign trade, that we should build our ships and if necessary that a bonus should be given for that purpose ; and that we should sail our own ships. Well, Sir, in order to carry on the shipping business from a Canadian basis, most every one will admit, that we must have return cargoes. If we cannot get return cargoes imagine our position in competition with the British ship-owners who do get such cargoes. The British shipowner in Manchester sending out a vessel hunting for return freight will sell his goods where he can get that freight. He will send a ship to Alexandria, Egypt, or to Cape of Good Hope, or to Australia, to get the goods he requires at home, provided that at these ports he can sell the products of' British manufacture. He will seek cargoes in those countries in preference to Canada, if here is denied an opportunity to exchange his own goods for those he is ready to purchase. Suppose we own our own vessels and we are ready to load them with coal, or iron, or pulp, or any other of our natural products, and suppose we send these vessels abroad, they certainly will be at a great disadvantage as compared with ships that can secure return cargoes from the ports whence they sail. It has been prominently brought out to-day that the great industries of Canada, our natural resources, are those upon which we should bend our greatest energies. * Important as our manufactures are, the, development of our agricultural lands, of the products of our forests, our fisheries, and our mines, are of infinitely greater importance. We have not heard a word to-day of the future upbuilding of this country by the development of manufactures. Our at-

tention has been directed to the development of our natural resources, and if we build our own ships to export these natural products, we must provide for return cargoes. I believe that the government has had an intimation this session from the Atlantic to the Pacific, that they should keep the ship of state headed towards freer trade. We must cut down our tariff duties. We are prepared to take our place in the commerce of the world, prepared to export our great natural products, but in order to do that to advantage we must cut down our tariff, so that we can purchase abroad, because if we purchase abroad we will be able to sell abroad to the best advantage. We must bend to the axiom, ' If you want to sell, you must toe prepared to buy.'

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Murray

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS MURRAY (Pontiac).

I do not intend to detain the House very long in discussing this question, and more particularly so as there are a good many empty benches at this late hour, but I see two or three of the ministers present, and perhaps I may be able to impress them with the importance of proceeding at once with the construction of the Montreal, Ottawa and Georgian Bay canal. I shall not go into the rival merits of Montreal or Quebec harbours, but I will say that the Georgian Bay canal is a work of prime national importance and of vital necessity. I represent a constituency that to a large extent remains undeveloped. We have only fifty miles of railway in that county, for which the county is indebted to the sum of $200,000 in granting a bonus. Hon. gentlemen will therefore readily understand that my constituents are deeply interested in the early construction of the Georgian Bay canal. My predecessor, Mr. Poupore, dealt with this subject in the last parliament, and he presented it to the House in a forcible and intelligent way. He went into the details and spoke of the merits of the scheme, and I believe made out a strong case in its favour. I understand the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte) referred to the can-alling of the French river at an early date. I may say that I travelled with the chief engineer on the Parry Sound road on his return from making a survey on that river, and I understood from him that the work was quite feasible. Of course, that would be part of the Georgian Bay canal system. I do hope that the government have decided to go on with that great national waterway. We have the St. Lawrence canal system, we have the Booth railway system, carrying the products from the west, and in the Georgian Bay canal we will have a means of transportation that will be of incalculable benefit to this country as a whole. The member for Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) told us how cheaply the Booth system was able to carry wheat and other freight. We have also the Canadian Pacific Railway, but we require the Montreal, Ottawa and Georgian Mr. KENDALL.

Bay canal to open up this great northern country. I believe it was stated by the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte) that it would cost $60,000,000 to make a 20-foot channel.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

I do not know the cost of it.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Murray

Liberal

Mr. MURRAY.

Well it is to approximate that, and suppose it does cost $60,000,000, that money will come back speedily in the way of revenue, because it will increase the population and it will enormously develop the resources of that great country. And, Sir, these resources are vast indeed. Within a short distance of Pembroke where I live, in the district back of Fort William there is a good showing of iron, also at Bristol and other places ; and at Temiscamingue there is a silver mine in operation. The resources of that great northern country are as yet unknown and undreamt of. If we have the Georgian Bay canal, then of course, other arteries will reach back to the interior, and the wealth of that region will be placed at the disposal of capital and labour. We knew nothing of the nickel deposits of Sudbury before the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but look at the great work which is going on there now. So it will be with this great northern country when the Georgian Bay canal is built. There are, of course, rival schemes, but every man with any feelings of patriotism must admit that the construction of this canal is a national necessity. I trust that the government have decided not only to canal the French river, but that they have also decided to continue that scheme to its completion. I am here as a supporter of the present administration, because I believe that they are an honest government and a business government. From my early history in the country, and I am not a boy, I have heard talk of the Georgian Bay canal, but the time for talk is over and the time to get down to practical work has arrived. I am in hopes that we have now a practical government. They have given evidence of that already, and I trust they will give further evidence of it by completing at an early date this great undertaking.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

At this late hour, I would ask the permission of the House to withdraw the motion to go into Committee of Supply.

Motion withdrawn.

The MINISTER OF FINANCE moved that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply at the next sitting.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Permalink

Motion agreed to. The MINISTER OF MARINE AND FISHERIES moved the adjournment of the House.


19, 1901

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

What business will be taken up to-morrow ?

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Subtopic:   19, 1901
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The estimates of the Minister of Public Works, or the estimates of the Minister of Militia.

Topic:   SUPPLY-THE TRAN SPORT ATION QUESTION.
Subtopic:   19, 1901
Permalink

Motion agreed to, and House adjourned at 12 o'clock midnight.



Fbiday, April 19, 1901.


April 18, 1901