June 10, 1903

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I am quits sure the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Borden) has no intention of conveying a wrong impression, but I think that the rather urgent and pressing way in which he spoke of the production of these papers after what I had said to my hon. friend from Toronto (Mr. Clarke) would tend to convey the Impresison that there was some hesitation on my part in acceding-

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Not at all. 1 beg my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Blair) to acquit me at once of any suggestion of the kind. I assure him that I had not that in mind, because I knew that he has accepted the suggestion at once. I merely mentioned it by way of reiteration.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

I shall be very glad indeed to produce the information the hon. gentleman Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

desires, and will do so, if possible, on the next occasion when the resolutions are taken up. And I see no objection at all to the final passing of these resolutions being deferred until these papers are forthcoming. The hon. member has passed some criticism, not upon the resolutions themselves, but upon what he considers the unsatisfactory attitude of the government with respect to the general question of transportation. And the hon. gentleman seems to be under the impression that it would have been very proper for the government, on the occasion of introducing these resolutions, to have stated to the House just what the general idea of the government was ns to the proper methods of thoroughly and adequately dealing with the question of transportation as a whole. While I can understand my hon. friend's impatience and anxiety to know at what conclusions the government have arrived, or may arrive, upon this question, still, I cannot for myself, perceive that it was at all necessary that we should make the introduction of these resolutions the occasion for any such declaration of general policy. This railway enterprise stands by itself. We know that it has been in the public mind for some time and that the railway has been progressing by degrees, adding to its general plan, reaching out and extending year by year. As it has made progress under the charters it has received, it has been asking for further charter power. I do not know whether, when the Canadian Northern was started in the Rainy River District, it was in the minds of the promoters of that undertaking to continue westward until they reached the Pacific coast. But, if it was not in their minds, their ideas became enlarged, for they have obtained from parliament power to construct all the way to the Pacific. We are not now offering any proposals to parliament beyond Edmonton; we do not ask that asistance be rendered to this railway beyond that point. And we are perfectly safe in asking parliament to assist the undertaking to that point, because, unquestionably, whatever is done in any other direction will not conflict in the remotest degree with this undertaking. If this undertaking stood alone, it would justify the asistance which we are asking parliament to give it, and it is not such a project as might be altered, changed or varied in its character in any degree by any general scheme which the government might find itself able, later on, to suggest to parliament. The government has not yet matured its views with regard to the question of railway policy concerning a transcontinental line. We may be able, before the close of the present session, to give parliament some knowledge on that point, or we may not. But, what I wish to impress upon the committee is that, whether we do or not. it would not affect in the slightest degree the measure which we are now submitting to parliament for assist-

ance to the Canadian Northern between these. points mentioned in the resolution.

I note what the hon. gentleman has said on the subject of capitalization of this railway and

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I was not speaking of this railway in particular, but. of all railways.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Well, what applies to all railways, would, of course, apply to this. 1 am speaking within the knowledge of many of the members of the committee when 1 say that my views on this subject have been expressed upon previous occasions, and generally they are quite in accord with what the hon. member has stated. I think we ought to keep a very watchful eye on the question of capitalization ; and I think that in the Railway Committee, where these powers are conferred, we do the best wo can. When, before this project of the Canadian Northern had fully assumed its present shape, but when it was apparent that they were going to extend their lines over a very considerable portion of our northwestern territory, I called the attention of the Railway Committee, which was very largely constituted at the time-many hon. members now in my eye must have been present on that occasion-to the capitalization, and said : This railway is asking for powers to capitalize at a very large sum, and I think it would be proper for us to have in our minds the absolute certainty that, in some form or other, this company is likely to be aided, directly or indirectly, from the treasury of the country. A result of what took place was that the amount of total capitalization which the company asked authority to issue was very much reduced.

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The MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

It was about cut in two.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

My hon. friend reminds me it was about cut in two. I think it was in the neighbourhood of $46,000,000 or $50,000,000. Speaking from memory, we cut it down to $24,000,000 ; so we made a very substantial reduction, and entirely in view of the thought which the hon. member has expressed to-day. Now, as to supervision during the construction of this work, I may say to my hon. friend that many provisions will be found in the contract when it is entered into which it would not be necessary to include in the resolutions now before the committee. The government will feel it to be its duty to see that it is abundantly satisfied as to the character of the road which is to be constructed, as to the quality of the work done, as to the standard, as to the expenditure, so that the bonds which are issued may be well within, certainly not in excess of, the amount which they would be earning during the progress of the work.

I omitted to say that the road will be a first class road in its character generally, its alignment, its grades, its curves, &c. It is possible to lay down a railway along the route-we have seen the plans and profiles, it has nearly all been surveyed instrumental-ly-and we know that a road from Edmonson to Port Arthur will not exceed at any point a higher grade than one-half of one per cent, or twenty-six feet to the mile. Imagine such a length of railway as this constructed through that country, and only showing a grade of one-half of one per cent per mile. Certainly this is an element of immense value, because they will be able to earn a dollar where another road, with one and a half or two per cent grades to combat, could not earn half a dollar.

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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

Do I understand the hon. gentleman to say that that is the grade on the Rainy River section ?

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Twenty-six feet to the mile.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

Going east ?

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

It is not stated so by these gentlemen to me. The statement is a general one, as it was handed to me. I suppose, perhaps, it was an oversight. The quality of the line, we will see, is very superior. In connection with the question of cost, I may make this remark : This railway will bridge across the Saskatchewan river twice.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

Four times- once across the South Saskatchewan and three times across the North Saskatchewan.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Well, then, the cost of bridge construction will be larger than I imagined.

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CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

That shows the necessity of having the fullest possible information.

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

Speaking of the estimate of $13,000, I think it will occur to anybody who has had any experience in railroad construction that $13,000 is a very low estimate indeed for a first class railway properly equipped.

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

What amount of equipment is covered by the government guarantee ?

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

We stipulate for an ordinary equipment when the line is first built, to be included in the first cost. It would not be reasonable to require such an amount of rolling stock as they would require when the business grew and became very heavy. We treat them upon the same basis as we treat all other railways in their initial stages.

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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

Does this mortgage cover simply the roadbed or the roadbed and equipment ?

43 SO

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The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND CANALS.

It covers all, the terminals and all the property of the railway company. When It was suggested a moment ago that in the province of Manitoba the company was able to construct its line with a smaller subsidy, with guaranteed bonds of $S.000 per mile at first, and then Increased to .$10,-000, it must be borne in mind that that was very far from covering all the assistance which the railway company received. In the first place, over a good many miles of their system they had 0,400 acres per mile ; then from Port Arthur through to the Rainy River district and a portion of the Rainy River district, covering 120 miles, they had from this parliament double the usual subsidy, viz. 6,400 dollars per mile. So the amount of assistance which was given by the Manitoba government was largely supplemented in these various ways.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

I must take issue with the proposition as laid down by the Minister of Railways to-day. He says this is for a local branch, for a small portion of the road, that it is not a part of any general plan. I say we should have a statement here to-day giving us a general plan, showing how the government propose to deal with the transcontinental railway proposition. He has opened wide the door for assistance, and every railroad running through a new country where there are settlers desiring railroad facilities, is bound to be assisted by the government. His statement went that far. He said : Here is a new country, available for settlement, there are settlers in it, and the government feel bound to assist this road. Welt, if they say that in this case, they must say it in all cases ; and they should have been prepared to say today whether this proposition to aid a transcontinental road is to be followed next week by another proposition to aid the Grand Trunk Pacific road. We have no statement whatever in that respect. Now, when the government came down to the House with this proposition, they were bound to come prepared to state their general policy on the transcontinental railway question. They have not done it. I cannot vote for a proposition of this kind. For what has happened ? This railway running from Port Arthur to Winnipeg in the west heretofore has been very largely bonused by the people of this country. When the first portion of this railway was considered in thiq House, I took the position then that if public money was to be put into a road, it should be a government owned' railway, for the only way to solve the railway problem is for the government to own a road from one ocean to the other, a road controlled by the people, and its ratios regulated by the people in such a way that every other road will have to live up to that standard. They should have done that long ago, they should have done that with the Rainy River road, and the minister said Mr. FOWLER.

he had some idea of it in his mind, but he said at the time : This is only a small section, let this go through. Now comes along another section, and he says : We must take this as part of a proposition, let it go through. The country expects something very different from the government. They expect that the government should outline its policy in regard to transcontinetal railways. The only thing to do if they are putting in public money is to build a government road. Hon. gentlemen have heard a good deal in this House about a government owned railway, and they have heard a great deal from their supporters. Some years ago only a few of us took that view, but now there is a growing demand in the country for a government owned railway. This is one of the signs of the times. There are hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House who said that free trade was bound to live for ever, and that the protectionist proposition was not a policy which would last. To-day

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June 10, 1903