June 10, 1903

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Mr. CLARICE@

Will the hon. minister lay on the Table the information he has obtained from competent persons as to the cost, so that we shall have an opportunity of examining it ?

' The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS. I will send and get the information, and will bring it down at one of the later stages.

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Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY-GUARANTEE OF SECURITIES.
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Mr. CLARICE@

I understood the hon. gentleman to say that the government were willing to guarantee the bonds to that extent after having received information as to the cost of construction. The hon. gentleman has not given us as full information as we would like to have in regard to the cost of construction and equipment.

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Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY-GUARANTEE OF SECURITIES.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I procured through my chief engineer a statement of the estimated cost of construction, and equipment. Then we had estimates from the company's engineers showing what they were basing their calculations upon.

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Mr. CLARICE@

Would it not be reasonable to lay all the information on the Table?

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I think there would be no difficulty in doing that.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

In the district through which this railway passes, west of the Manitoba boundary, how much of the country on each side of the railway, say forty miles wide, is still owned by the Dominion? Have we a large interest in the land ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY-GUARANTEE OF SECURITIES.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

We must have a considerable interest; but to what extent I do not know.

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LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

I may inform the hon. gentleman that we have an interest in nearly all the homestead lands. The odd numbered sections mostly belong to different railway corporations; but all the even numbered sections which have not been taken up are the property of the government.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

The other sections belong to railway corporations ?

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LIB

Thomas Osborne Davis

Liberal

Mr. DAVIS.

Some of them belong to the government, I fancy, but a good many of them to the Canadian Pacific Railway.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

With a good deal of what the hon. minister says in regard to this matter I am sure we all agree. There is no doubt about the urgent need of railway extension in the western part of Canada, and particularly in the vicinity of Edmonton, which I am sure merits all the encomiums which the hon. minister has bestowed upon it. In visiting that part of the country during the past year, I was Mr. CLARKE.

particularly struck with the possibilities of the town of Edmonton and the country around it, and I am sure there is not a man in this House who would bo disposed to hamper in any way the development of railways in that country. At the same time, this is a project which involves on the part of this government a guarantee to the extent of <$9,3(50,000, which, during a period of fifty years after the date of the subsidy, will be considered, I suppose, for certain financial purposes at least, as part of the public debt of this country, because we shall be under obligation for that amount in certain contingencies. Therefore it seems to me that we ought to consider in the first place, whether or not this project is part of any comprehensive scheme which the government have in hand for the development of transportation facilities in this country. It seems to me that we ought to know from the government whether or not it is part of a scheme for railway extension to the Pacific coast; whether or not it is part of a scheme which looks to the development and the utilization of our great national ports and harbours and the development of our ports on the great lakes ; and generally port of a scheme for transporting the products of the west, not only to the Atlantic coast, but to the markets of Europe. This matter was brought to the attention of the House last year, and the right hon. gentleman who leads the House, in the closing days of the session, stated that the conclusion of the government with regard to aid to a line in the west, would be arrived at very shortly. Apparently the decision of the government was somewhat delayed, and putting aside other considerations for the moment, I regret that delay, because I think that the development of railway communication in the west would probably have been advanced much more rapidly if the government had come sooner to a conclusion. We have had in the western part of this country a very inconvenient state of affairs with regard to a large colony from the mother country and we have had the pe pie from this district complaining, not only during years past, as the hon. gentleman has mentioned, but during the past year of the lack of railway communication.

On previous occasions in this House, I have pressed the view that there should be some definite scheme decided on by the government with regard to transportation. I do not believe that any government is justified, at this stage of the history of transportation in Canada, in dealing with that question from the standpoint of 300 400 or 500 miles of railway, but that it should map out some definite scheme and include in it the navigation of our great lakes and the equipment, as national ports, of those ports in Canada which the government may think best deserving of consideration. I do not believe that

any other scheme of aid to transportation *will produce as good results as a comprehensive and carefully thought out scheme, such as I have suggested. I do not know whether or not the government have considered the question in that light. We know that the gentlemen who are at the back of this undertaking are very enterprising and have done much for railway communication in Canada up to the present, and we believe that any legitimate efforts on their part to aid transportation should receive reasonable assistance. But what does this scheme look to in the end ? Does it look to a transcontinental railway V Does it look to any line from the great lakes to the seaboard, by means of which the company operating this railway as far as Edmonton, or it may be in the future to the Pacific c a st, will have a through line of communication to the Atlantic coast, and thus give the people of this country advantages in tlie way of transportation which they would not perhaps otherwise enjoy ? Has the government any of these matters under consideration ? It has had all the time necessary for reflection and consideration and study, which my right hon. friend, the Prime Minister asked for last night in respect of another matter. This matter has been before the government for more than a year, and it seems to me that the House might reasonably have expected that the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals, in announcing this scheme to-day, would have been able to give the House some definite policy, which would cover, not only the 600 miles west to Edmonton, but from Edmonton to tlie eastern seaboard and possibly to the Pacific coast. I do not know whether the speech of the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals is to be regarded as a renunciation by him of the scheme which he propounded in the west some few months ago.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I had only a dream.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

It has been suggested that it might be called a nightmare. I do not think that my hon. friend put it to the western people as a dream.

The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS ANI) CANALS. I used the language any way.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

That it was a dream V

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Yes.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I think that my hon. friend, in his persuasive manner, might have used the expression 'dream' and yet made the people of the west regard it as a possible reality in the near future, if the hon. gentleman bad the power to carry cut that policy which he thought best in the

interest of the country. That is what I have to say with regard to the general features of this scheme. With regard to what might be called the details, hon. geutlemen have asked my hon. friend for information as to the cost of the line, and I think that that is a very pertinent inquiry. I think that he ought to furnish the House all the information with regard to the cost of the line, because we are embarking on a pretty large undertaking ; and while we are disposed to do everything necessary and reasonable for the purpose of furnishing railway facilities to that part of the country, still in the public interest we must be careful that we do not do anything more than is reasonable and necessary in that behalf. I am under the impression that lines have been built in tlie province of Manitoba-indeed I think that tlie lion, gentleman lias so announced-I am under tlie impression that enterprises of a somewhat similar character have been successfully floated, upon which the guaranteed bonds amounted, in tlie first instance, to no more than $8,000 per mile. Tlie lion, minister informed me of what I knew, lint what had escaped my memory at the moment, that there was a subsequent guarantee given by the Manitoba government of a further sum of $2,000 per mile.

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Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY-GUARANTEE OF SECURITIES.
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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Seine of those lines got assistance from tlie provincial government and municipalities. This line gets no more assistance than we are giving it. [DOT]

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The hon. gentleman should place before tlie House all the information of that kind in order that the House may form the conclusion whether or not the sum of $13,000 is no more than a reasonable sum for the purpose of furnishing these railway facilities to which people of tlie west are no doubt entitled. There is another subject on which we should-have a little information and possibly some discussion, and tliat is the question of capitalization. I do not know what the capitalization of this c mpany in respect of this line will am :unt to, but I think the majority of members will agree that we cannot be too careful in seeing that it is not put at so high an am unt that it may be used afterwards as an argument against the control of rates by the government, which is so essential and especially so important to the people of the west. I think therefore that my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals should give us a little more information. I have already adverted to the comparison between the subsidy to this line and other similar lines in Manitoba. The hon. minister forestalled another question which I was about to ask by stating that this is the only assistance which this company is receiving from any government or municipality. I think that I am correct in this.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Yes.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

There is a further question I would like to bring to the attention of the hon. gentleman before going into the details of the measure, and that is whether or not the government are to have any supervision over the construction of this railway, not only as regards the mode but the cost as well ? Is that provided for in this resolution ? If not, does not my hon. friend think that there should be at least such government supervision over the construction of that line, as is usually to be found in the subsidy agreements entered into by the government during the past fifteen or twenty years. I do not know that any further suggestions occur to me at this moment, except that I would like to say to the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals that while we may go on and, with profit, discuss this afternoon some of the details of this matter, I would like the final discussion of it to be postponed until we get a little more information on the questions involved, and also until the return of my hon. friend the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Haggart), who is out of town to-day. I presume there will be no objection to the delay of a day for this latter reason. The announcement made at the close of the sitting last evening did not include, so far as ' Hansard ' shows, the announcement that this matter would be brought up to-day. Otherwise I am sure my hon. friend from Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart) would have allowed his other engagement to stand and would have remained for the purpose of dealing with this subject to-day. As it is, he has gone away without any knowledge that this matter would be brought up. I do not know that he has anything to remark upon it, but still, as he is very conversant with matters concerning transportation, I should like to have him present before the matter is finally passed in committee.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY-GUARANTEE OF SECURITIES.
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June 10, 1903