March 10, 1902

CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

That, in fact, two or three vessels went up to Fort William to get cargoes, that they were unable to get them, and that they had to remain there.

Topic:   ST. CATHARINE'S WATER SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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LIB

William Forsythe McCreary

Liberal

Mr. McCREARY.

I dare say that may be the case. Owing to the trouble caused by the serious rain fall that we had in Manitoba, the farmers were not able to thresh the grain. If you ask the 20,000 men who went up there to help thresh the grain, they will tell you that they could not get employment when they arrived and that many of them returned home again, but, a very few days after the boats were loaded for the last time at Fort William there was enough grain to fill up these elevators again. The hon. gentleman for East Assiniboia (Mr. Douglas) put the matter in a nutshell when he said that on the 2nd of November there were 5,000,000 bushels of grain in the elevators in our country and that during the entire month of November they had just moved out about 5,000,000 bushels, consequently all the wheat threshed during November must have been bought at six cents anyway a bushel less than it was worth. My own county is not as much affected by this question as some other parts of the province of Manitoba, but during the last two or three weeks before I came down here, I happened to be on a little missionary tour in the county of Lisgar. That is one of the largest grain producing counties in the west. 1 met with many farmers there and discussed the question with them. I tell you, Sir, it was pretty hard to talk Liberal principles in view of the fact that across the boundary they were getting six to sixteen cents a bushel more for wheat than our farmers were. I endeavoured to find an explanation for this. The explanation is not due entirely to the car shortage. There are many reasons for it. The town of Snowflake where I had a meeting is situated in the southern part of the county and right across the line is the town of Hanna in North Dakota. The price of wheat was six to sixteen cents a bushel more there than it was in Snowflake. I asked a farmer ' how is that ' ? He said there are different reasons. I said ' What about the rate,' He said 'Well the rate from Snowflake to Port Aruthur on the Canadian Pacific Railway is 16 cents.' ' What is the rate on the Great Northern from Duluth,' I asked. He said : ' the rate is 17 cents.' I said : ' It cannot be the railway.' ' No,' he replied. Well, what is the reason ? One farmer said the reason was that the millers of Minneapolis were booming the price on account of shortage of feed in Nebraska and South Dakota and they were paying ?26 a ton for

bran, and consequently they wanted to grind the wheat and sell the bran and make a /profit that way. Another man said there was no restriction whatever on the farmers selling to them wheat in the United States, and consequently the competition there was more lively. While these may be some of the reasons they still do not explain the great discrepancy in the prices. My own impression is, that before this question is finally settled, we will have to select a body of men who will act as a commission to decide on these matters. They must be men who understand the business, and they will have to study the elevator system at Duluth and follow it up over the branch line of the Canadian Northern and the Northern Pacific throughout this prairie country, in order to asser-tain why there is this difference in the price. I think our present Grain Act was not sufficiently considered at the time it was passed, and I believe a good deal of amendments could be made to improve it. The member for Saskatchewan (Mr. Davis) said he thought our grain Act could be worked out all right, but I think the Minister of the Interior when he returns intends to bring down important amendments to this Act. For instance, one clause provides that if a car is placed on a siding for a farmer he can only have a limited time to load that car, and if he exceeds that time it is taken away or there is a charge for demurrage. The time given to the farmer in many cases is not long enough. Another clause of that Act provides that if you make a request to the Canadian Pacific Railway for a loading platform, they are given three months in which to construct that loading platform when it should be constructed in three days. Five men could easily build it in three days am1 consequently that clause in the Act is of very little use. These are some suggested amendments to the Act which should be looked into carefully. No doubt when the minister (Hon. Mr. Sifton) brings his Bill to amend the Act, all the questions which have been brought up to-day will be discussed at greater length. There is another phase of this question which seriously affects our western country. A large number of these farmers who are now coming into Manitoba and especially along the Sault line in the North-west, are men who have large means and some of whom bring in five or six cars of mules and horses. They are going into the country to raise wheat as a speculation. They have followed that occupation down in Dakota and Minnesota and they have been making money out of the raising of wheat alone. The moment they come in there and see our farmers with from 5,000 to 10,000 bushels of wheat lying in the warehouses and unable to get cars to carry it out, they are at first disposed to treat the matter as a joke. They cannot understand the situa-Mr. McCreary.

tion at all. They say : If the Canadian

Pacific Railway cannot supply you cars to ship your wheat what is the use of raising it. If some of these men who are possessed of large means get it into their heads that our railway system is such that we cannot get the wheat out, then they will not come into our country at all. It behooves the government of the day to look seriously into this phase of the question, because it is a very important matter to the people of Manitoba and the North-west. I have noticed since I have come to this parliament, that there has been a very lengthy discussion on some occasions on comparatively unimportant questions. Last year the cultivation of beet-root sugar was discussed for one or two days in the House, and it is, I think, a question which need not be seriously discussed in this country. But here is a question of vast importance to this country. We have 100,000,000 bushels of grain raised by 400,000 people, and we have to solve the problem of populating our Great North-west, but I remark how very few of the hon. gentlemen opposite are present in the House to hear the discussion of this vital matter. I regret indeed to say that the seats are very poorly filled on either side of the House. I think, Mr. Speaker, that the question should be very seriously considered by us all, and I trust that the government will do something to relieve the situation.

Topic:   ST. CATHARINE'S WATER SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. N. BOYD (Macdonald).

I quite agree with the last speaker (Mr. McCreary) in his statement with regard to the empty seats in this House when such an important matter is being discussed. This is a question of greater importance to the Northwest and Manitoba than anything that has been brought before the House during this session or any session for the past five years, and yet, how many of the ministers of the Crown are in their seats at this moment V Just three. We have only three ministers of the Crown present notwithstanding that their supporters are bringing forward this question which is perhaps the most important that can engage the consideration of the people of this country. And, Sir, the minister who is leading the House to-day is the man who used the words, or who supported the men who used the words quoted by my hon. friend from Assiniboia (Mr. Douglas) when he said that Manitoba and the North-west was a home for buffaloes and coyotes, and that, if the Canadian Pacific Railway; was built it would not pay for the axle grease used on the wheels. We cannot expect that any interest will be taken in this question by that kind of men. That is the position we find this government in to-day. This is a question that has engaged for months past the attention of the whole people of Manitoba and the North-west. The papers have been full of it, and nothing has been said

on the question to-day that has not been published in the press throughout the country since November last. I thought, judging from the remarks of the member for East Assiniboia (Mr. Douglas) that he was paving the way as it were to make it easy for the government to support the Canadian Pacific Railway in their proposition with reference to their $20,000,000 outlay. I will not say that this is the case, nor will I say that it would be wise in the interests of the country as a whole that this should not be done. But, Mr. Speaker, I wish to call the attention of the House to the fact that when I had first the honour to speak in this House in 1893, I remarked to the present Prime Minister who was then in opposition : That if the Liberal party

would admit that they had made mistakes about that western country; if they would say that they did not understand the capabilities of that country, and in order to show their repentance propound the policy that they would go so far as to build another railroad into that country; they would retrieve their position a great deal. But the present Prime Minister shook his head, and a number of the Liberal newspapers amongst others the Ottawa ' Free Press ' castigated me for suggesting such an outrageous doctrine. We now find, Mr. Speaker, that the foresight of the Conservative leaders who opened up that country has caused them to be regarded as the real benefactors of the North-west, and probably some of the old time Liberals view with regret the fact that the pessimistic prophecies they made with regard to that country have, like some of their other prophecies, turned out to be false. We have to-day the spectacle of the supporters of the Liberal government pointing out to that government that the prophecies of the Conservative leaders made in days past, have already been fulfilled.

The question, as I say, is one of the greatest importance to Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, and to the whole of this country, and I regret, beyond words of mine to express, how little interest is being taken in it by the members of this Housed If it related to some trifling bridge, or breakwater, or oyster hatchery, of some scandal, the seats would be full, and each ear set so as not to miss the slightest sound. But here is a question involving millions to the people of this country, and there is general indifference. There is no use of this government trying to shirk responsibility in regard to this question, nor the Canadian Pacific Railway Company trying to shirk responsibility in regard to it ; because it was well known during the whole of last summer, while the crop was growing, what might be expected, and the Canadian Pacific Railway should have provided-and it was the duty of this government to see that they did provide-the necessary equipment to take the crop out of the country. This government has enacted the Grain Act, and

must assume all responsibility for the working of it; and when any man in this House says that that Act has proven a success, and is working satisfactorily, all I can say is that he does not know what he is talking about, because it is working most unsatisfactorily. Whatever idea the hon. member for Eastern Assiniboia (Mr. Douglas) may have had when he was putting that Act through this House, it has certainly failed to accomplish the object for which it was enacted. It is such an Act as was never applied to any other business. In what other business is a man compelled to take out a license before he can do business ? The grain dealers say : In order to protect ourselves we have found it necessary to do as we have done ; and what has been the action of the grain men ? This government should look into this matter, because when they were in opposition they declared that they would remove all such restrictions and combines. A greater combine never existed than exists in that country to-day, under the very Grain Act passed by this government. It -works just as the hon. member for Eastern Assiniboia has described ; and, as the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. McCreary) lias said, some six or seven millions of dollars have been taken out of the pockets of the people of this country in connection with it, and not all on account of the shortage of cars. Wherever there was an independent buyer, the grain combine would send one or two men to raise the price on him to such an extent as to put him out of business unless he was willing to join their exchange. I will cite one case which happened at the town of Douglas, thirty miles west of Car-berry, where there was- an independent buyer. At that point on a certain day the price of wheat was 61 cents a bushel, while 60 miles nearer to Winnipeg, at a point where there was not an independent buyer, it was 51 cents a bushel. This is the way matters have worked under the grain Act of the government. Flat warehouses are useless to meet the case, because the Act provides that they must be built to hold two or three car loads. The result is that a man must be put at each warehouse to look after it, and there goes your warehouse-the expense will eat it up.

Mr. Speaker, there is one way to get over this difficulty, and if the government will not adopt it, I will introduce a measure into this House, so that we shall have them put on record, and see exactly what they intend to do. That is, that they shall demand of the railway companies that they shall provide cars for the farmers at all times, within a reasonable time. If you compel the railways to do that, and put a penalty on them if they do not do it, you will have no more trouble with elevators, blockades or anything of the kind.

Topic:   ST. CATHARINE'S WATER SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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Mr. C. B. HE YD@South Brant

I would like to ask the hon. gentleman a question. How many cars

would it be necessary for the Canadian Pacific Railway to have on hand to do as he wants done-to have a car whenever any farmer wants one ?

Topic:   ST. CATHARINE'S WATER SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, and when we did prophesy you would not believe us. I am not prophesying the number of bushels of grain that will come out of that country ; but I say that the Canadian Pacific Railway or any other railway going into that country to move the crops should be prepared to meet the necessities of the case ; and I am not submitting anything unreasonable. The western states, which control matters of that kind, and not the central government, have such laws as I have mentioned, and have solved the grain difficulty in that way, because they compel the railway companies to give the farmers an equal number of cars with the elevators. When that is done, the farmer can sell to whomsoever he pleases ; and I now ask the government-because it is evident that the measure for aiding the Canadian Pacific Railway is coming down- to see to it, before any further concessions are made to that company, that the farmers shall be protected in the way I suggest. When they do that, there will be very little further difficulty in regard to prices or anything else.

The hon. member for Saskatchewan (Mr. Davis) spoke of double tracks. If we have to wait for double tracks, it will take longer to double track the road between Winnipeg and Port William than it would to build a new road. Three years would not see that portion of the road double tracked.

I could give many details to show the iniquitous working of the present grain Act, but I feel that it would be merely taking up the time of an indifferent House- because the indifference of the House is displayed by the empty benches we see today-and I will leave the responsibility with the government. It was well known that the abundant crops which we have had was coming ; and you need not suppose that that is the only abundant crop we are going to have. We have had many crops equal to the lact crop ; but the acreage under crop is increasing both in Manitoba and the North-west Territories ; and the people of Manitoba and the North-west Territories are going to hold the present government responsible for protecting the farmers.

I want to say a word to the hon. Minister of Public Works in regard to this matter. Instead of talking about spending three hundred millions or so on the Georgian Bay canal, he had better give a little consideration to keeping the Lake Superior ports open. That is something that is being done in other northern countries. One-fourth of the amount of money which it is proposed to expend in some directions, if spent in building the proper kind of vessels, would keep open, probably the whole winter, Fort William and other ports on Lake Superior Mr. HEYD.

which can be reached by railroad lines. This is a matter which should engage the attention of the hon. Minister cf Public Works, and I trust that the members from Manitoba and the North-west will be able to bring such pressure to bear upon him and the government that they will feel obliged to give some attention to that matter.

Topic:   ST. CATHARINE'S WATER SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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LIB

Onésiphore Ernest Talbot

Liberal

Mr. TALBOT.

Would the hon. gentleman from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) tell us whether that is not the same speech he made in Lisgar during the last campaign ?

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Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

I am not like the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Talbot). I can make more than one speech.

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Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. W. O. EDWARDS (Russell).

I have no intention of taking up the time of the House at any length on this question, but as it is one in which we are all interested I wish to give my view of the situation. It is not only gentlemen from the west who are interested in the development and the general welfare of our great western country. We all have a deep interest in its future, for on its development and progress depends in a very large measure the prosperity of the whole country . And in considering this question-which Is a very fair one to bring before the House-we should not look merely at one side of it, but discuss it in a reasonable manner from every point of view. The hon. gentleman who last spoke (Mr. Boyd) appears to be under the impression that no matter how great may be our development in any given year, that development should be foreseen by the Canadian Pacific Railway and the other railway companies, and the Canadian government, and every possible preparation made by them to meet it. He seems to think that they should provide every possible facility to meet an extraordinary development of trade without any regard to the risk that their expectations might fail entirely in realization and the requirements be far less than anticipated. What are the conditions to-day not only in Canada but over the entire continent of America ? We are told that in the United States a commission regulates this question. Well, Mr. Speaker, there is no commission in the United States, there is no body of men-

Topic:   ST. CATHARINE'S WATER SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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CON

Nathaniel Boyd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYD.

I did not say anything about a commissioner controlling this matter in the United States. I said it was under state law.

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LIB

William Cameron Edwards

Liberal

Mr. EDWARDS.

Well, I say that there is no man or body of men who could have foreseen and been ready for the immense commerce that was developed on the North American continent this past year. Why, two years ago the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Grand Trunk Railway, the Canada Atlantic and all the other railway companies went into building cars as rapidly as they

could, but the expectations of the railway companies, not only in Canada but in the United States, have been greatly exceeded, and the development had been such as to tax these carriers far beyond their capacity, even with all their preparations. I defy any hon. member of this House to name any railway company on the continent of America which has been able to supply all the cars required of it in the past six or nine months. I have no desire to underrate in the slightest degree the importance and the necessity of attending to the requirements of Manitoba and the North-west to the greatest extent possible, but I wish to point out that while Manitoba and the North-west are a great portion of Canada and the North American continent, they are not the entire country. There are other interests which are also entitled to some consideration.

What has been the position ? Simply this, that great and small shippers have had to wait all the way from one week to months for the car supply they required. That has been the condition throughout the entire breadth, not only of this country, but of the United States. To show the great stress to which our carriers have been reduced, let me point out this one fact. Every car which has gone into the United States from Canada has been coralled there, and our Canadian railways have not been able to get them back. For weeks and weeks and months and months these cars have been kept there by the American companies. That is the position. Manitoba and the North-west having doubled their products, naturally have suffered and they have all our sympathies, but I would like to throw out a suggestion. In the short period of time between the harvesting of the crop in the North-west and the following winter, It is perfectly impossible for any railway system to move all that crop, and it will become more and more necessary, as that country develops, for a very large portion of its grain to be stored there until the following year. One of the great difficulties is that the people of Manitoba and the North-west themselves have not taken the means to take care of their own grain ; but they will have to provide against the inevitable and do this, for it is certainly perfectly impossible that any railway system nr government can supply the means of tak.ng care of the whole crop of that country in the short time demanded. It would be just as reasonable To expect them to take care of all the produce of the eastern portion of Canada and supply warehouses for it. While the government and the Canadian Pacific Railway are doing everything possible, the people of that country must do something for themselves. The farmers must provide means for holding, their crops until these crops can be shipped. Besides it is an unwise policy, from a business point of view, to insist on the grain being moved into warehouses and forced out of that country so rapidly. The inevitable effect of such a policy would simply be to weaken the price. Let the farmers make some provision to take care of their grain so that they may command the best prices, and they will then be much better off than they could possibly be, even if they had all the facilities they ask to be furnished with by the railway companies and the government. I simply wish to point out the situation as I understand it, as a business man. I know what it means, for I myself have suffered severely. I venture to say that I have suffered to a far greater extent than many farmers put together, but I do not necessarily jump to the conclusion that it is the fault of the government or the railway companies. Not at all. It is in the interests of the railway companies to facilitate, in every way possible, the requirements of the shipper, and they are doing their very best to meet these requirements. They are doing that for their own profit. I know what car building has been going on. Why, in the past two years car building has gone on to an extent that it never did before, and if the business of America develops in the next two years, as it has done in the past two years, it will be perfectly impossible for the railway companies to overtake the business.

Topic:   ST. CATHARINE'S WATER SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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Mr. C. B. HE YD@South Brant

I do not pretend to be a practical man on this question but I have listened with a great deal of interest to what has been said, and can approach this subject with an open mind. I think that our farmers, who seem disposed to lay the blame on the Canadian Pacific Railway and the government, are not as reasonable as they would expect other people to be. I do not see how they could have expected either the government or the Canadian Pacific Railway to have prepared facilities for bringing their grain to market as rapidly as they would wish. How can they expect one or two railway companies or a government to move the entire crop of the North-west and Manitoba in the short period of three months. It seems to me that in expecting this, they are very unreasonable. They must give us time to realize what a tremendous country we have in that North-west, and make adequate provisions to remove all that grain. There is a great deal in what was said by my hon. friend from Russell (Mr. Edwards) that the people of Manitoba and the North-west should assist a little more than they are doing, instead of looking to the government to relieve them of the necessity of doing anything to help themselves. The farmer of Ontario has to make provision to take care of his stuff and to sell it when the market is right. But our friends in the North-west want to make no provision at all ; apparently they want everything to be provided by the government or the railway, so that they may be saved the expense of

building barns to store their own grain. I think they are a little unreasonable.

Topic:   ST. CATHARINE'S WATER SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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LIB

William Forsythe McCreary

Liberal

Mr. McCREARY.

I submit that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Heyd) has no justification for any such impression in any speech that has been made here. The statements made were statements of fact-that such a state of affairs existed; and the government is asked to look* into that state of affairs and, if possible, provide a remedy. There is not a man in the North-west but gives full credit to the Canadian Pacific Railway for the work it has done this year. I myself cited the figures showing that they had moved 35 per cent more wheat and 125 per cent more oats than up to the same time in 1899. One of the remedies the hon. gentleman (Mr. Heyd) suggests is that the farmers should be encouraged to build granaries for the storage of their wheat. No doubt, that is one of the things that the government would consider, and possibly, recommend. The hon. gentleman should not state that we condemn the Canadian Pacific Railway or that our farmers are unreasonable in their demands, for nothing is intended to be conveyed that would justify such an impression.

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Subtopic:   WHEAT BLOCKADE IN MANITOBA.
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Mr. C. B. HE YD@South Brant

I gather from the addresses made here to-day that the Canadian Pacific Railway was condemned because they had not omniscience to foresee the tremendous development that would take place in Manitoba and the North-west and make provision in rolling stock to move the whole crop within three months. But none of these hon. gentlemen told us what the Canadian Pacific Railway would do with this tremendous equipment if, instead of the enormous crop that was gathered, there happened to be a poor crop and no need for these transportation facilities. These are things that must be reconciled. We must not expect too much of the Canadian Pacific Railway. I was out in the North-west country this year. I was in places where wheat fields had extended as far as the eye could see; and it was plain to me that one railway, or two railways, or even six railways, could not move the crop that had been gathered. Our friends must be reasonable. They are anxious that we should provide them with railway and shipping facilities so that then-grain may reach distant markets, but they do not want to do what they might do. They want to impress it upon us that they are the country. But they must do a little do not want to do what they might do. They want to bring the money back to Manitoba and then go to the United States and buy their agricultural implements.

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LIB

William Forsythe McCreary

Liberal

Mr. McCREARY.

Then, let us ship our grain by Duluth.

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Mr. C. B. HE YD@South Brant

The Ontario farmer and the Quebec farmer and the agriculturist in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia do not care two Mr. HEYD.

pins whether you move your grain from Manitoba in 3 months or not. They are not interested in that question, for you are competitors with them in the market.

Hon. Mr. ROSS (Victoria, N.S.) I beg the hon. gentleman's (Mr. Heyd) pardon-we are interested in the general prosperity of the country.

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Mr. C. B. HE YD@South Brant

I am willing to admit that we are all interested in the general prosperity of the country. But I am dealing with a phase of this question which has been presented to us by one of the hon. gentlemen who spoke. He objected, apparently, to any attempt to develop any interest In the country except that of raising grain and building up the North-west, while the interests of Ontario and the North-west are not exactly identical. We are quite willing that they should raise grain in the North-west; we are quite willing that the people of Ontario should be taxed to carry that grain to the European market. But we want the people of the North-west to buy their agricultural implements from the people of Ontario, and not go to the people of the United States to buy them. Therefore, holding the views I do, I think the people of the North-west should modify their expectations considerably. And, I would not be willing to tax the people of Ontario and Quebec to build railways and assist them in marketing their products in Europe, unless they are willing to assist us in securing the Manitoba trade.

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LIB

James Moffat Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS.

I would like to ask the hon. gentleman (Mr. Heyd) one question. Is it a fact that the manufacturers of Canada can sell agricultural implements at a much lower rate in foreign countries than they do in Manitoba and the North-west Territories ?

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Mr. C. B. HE YD@South Brant

I am not in the agricultural implement business, but I do not believe they do.

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Mr. A. W.@

I do not rise with the hope of adding anything to the debate, as the ground has been pretty well traversed, but to enter a protest against some of the remarks of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Heyd) who has just taken his seat. He says that the people of the eastern provinces are not interested in the moving of the grain from the North-west. That is a remarkable statement.

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Mr. C. B. HE YD@South Brant

I did not say that. I say that we are not interested in the same direction as the people of the North-west.

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March 10, 1902