I never made a steel rail in my life, but I believe it will make the very best kind of steel rails. However, if the hon. gentleman has any doubts lie can go down there and have a steel rail made and see how it works.
I wish to refer to some of the remarks made by the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Bell). I believe that the House looks upon the hon. member as one of the ablest men who sits on that side. Certainly his speeches are very clear and forcible. I believe that he has been in advance of his party all along, because in 1891 he discovered and declared that the national policy was a delusion and a snare and that what Canada required was a large measure of free
trade. And the other night, after he had spoken for an hour or two, he came to the conclusion that he had not much, if any, fault to find with the present tariff, and that we should be grateful for it to the government. His actual words were :- Although I am prepared to say this, as a protectionist, that I am not altogether disposed to find much fault in the gross with present system, which is very fair in its effects, and it has done a great deal to maintain the interests of the country.
When we find one of the leading members on the other side giving such an endorsa-tion of the policy and tariff of the government, we need not worry very much about what some of the others opposite may say. I might go on and quote further from the remarks of the hon. gentleman in the same connection, but he fell into one serious error. He declared that every man in this House was a protectionist, to ' some extent or other. That is absolutely not correct. There are men on this side who are protectionists to a certain degree and there are others who wish to be free traders as far as they possibly can. They have to meet upon a ground of compromise. And if a readjustment of the tariff has to take place in the future, I suppose that a compromise will be necessary. And when that readjustment takes place, I wish to say that if I then have the honour to be in this House,
I shall be here asking for a further reduction in the duty on kerosine oil and some reduction in the duties upon tobacco and sundry other things, and I believe that we will all have to meet each other in the spirit of mutual compromise and do the best we can to satisfy each other, consistently with serving the best interests of the country.
The hon. leader of the opposition made some reference to reciprocity and retaliation. The hon. member for South Simcoe (Mr. Lennox) said that all good things were going the way of hon. gentlemen opposite, and he instanced the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton), who believes in reciprocity and retaliation. But the leader of the opposition took good care to declare that he did not believe in reciprocity or retaliation, and his words in this connection are somewhat peculiar. He said I am not prepared to say that we want reciprocity in natural products with the United States at the present time. In that I disagree with my hon. friend from North Norfolk. There was a period during which such reciprocity was desirable, and during which it wouJld have been a benefit to this country. That period may or may not have passed away. That period probably has passed. What I object to, in any principle of reciprocity of tariffs or retaliation of tariffs, is, that it may bind us- to put our tariff down.
That is what was troubling the leader of the opposition. He thinks that reciprocity or retaliation, one or the other, may cause us to lower our tariff in the future'and so Mr. WADE.
admit American goods. There is no spirit, I believe, in Canada to-day in favour of reciprocity. I believe that this Dominion has grown until it has become so lusty that we do not care whether we have reciprocity or not. We feel that we can live without our neighbours to the south. There was a period in the past when it seemed to us in Nova Scotia to be our only salvation. But happily that moment has passed away. When the hon. Minister of Finance was premier of Nova Scotia he inaugurated and carried through such a policy as placed that province on a basis of independence to the United States, and to-day we are prepared to meet the United States on a fair basis, but we are not going to plead for reciprocity now because we can live without them. At the same time I doubt whether it would be wise for us to throw down the gauntlet and say we are going to inaugurate a policy of retaliation. It is not necessary that we should do so, it is not seemly or dignified or statesmanlike. We must meet the conditions as they arrive, and I believe that the present condition will be remedied by the Americans themselves. They are beginning to feel that the consumers of the United States are being bled by the manufacturers, while 85 per cent of our people are being benefited by getting goods cheaper in consequence.
I wish to say a word or two with regard to the Intercolonial Railway, directing my remarks to one or two statements made by bon. gentlemen on the other side. These gentlemen have asserted that this is the only railway in the Dominion of Canada that is not paying to-day. Does any of these hon. gentlemen speak for the Conservative party ? And is he prepared to urge the government to impose the condition that will make the Intercolonial Railway a commercial success-that is to increase the freight rates to make them equal to those of other roads ? Is there a man on the other side who will take that stand ? If that is done, the Intercolonial Railway can be made a paying concern. But I believe the country will back me up when I say that we are under great obligations to the present Minister of Railways (Hon. Mr. Blair) for the change that has taken place in the administration of that road. It is but a few years ago when the service on that road was most wretched, such a service as the travelling public would not submit to to-day. The deficit of the road-then some 863 miles in operation-was larger than the deficit to-day. Everybody knows that the deficit can be wiped out if you make the service less efficient than it should be. To-day, we are operating over 1,300 miles of railway on the Intercolonial Railway system. We have a service on that road that cannot be excelled on the continent, I do not care where you go-a perfect road bed, magnificent engines, beautiful parlour cars, a splendid dining car service, and every possible convenience.
It is known by every one that the freight rates upon that road are very low, lower than a commercial rate. But, Sir, who is profiting by that low rate ? Do not let it be supposed for a moment that the maritime provinces are profiting by it. I tell you that the upper provinces profit most by it, because it enables them to bring their products down to the maritime provinces and sell them in competition with those of the people there. Now, as to this deficit, let me point out one or two items. For instance, the fuel in 1896 cost $408,861, and in 1901 the fuel cost $973,268, an increase of $564,407. The repairs in 1896 cost $815,044, and in 1901 this item amounted to $1,322,001, a difference of $507,957. These two items alone represent an increase of $1,072,364. Then there is the difference in wages. Of course, there had to be an increase in the wages bill with the increased mileage. In 1S96 the wages bill amounted to $863,057, less than in 1901.