Was not this motion disposed of yesterday ?
THE ATLANTIC AND LAKE SUPERIOR RAILWAY COMPANY.
Mr. GEORGES BALL (Nicolet) moved that that portion of the eighth report of the Select Standing Committee on Railways, Canals and Telegraph Lines, reporting the preamble of Bill (No. 36) respecting the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway Company not proven, be referred - back to the said" committee for further consideration.
That was another Bill.
I think that was concerning the Ottawa Valley Railway.
I do not think any notice of motion was given, therefore I take the point of order.
operated upon it. It was in good running order. From Yamaska to St. Francis the road was completed and all they had to do was to renew the ties. From Nicolet to St. Gregoire the road was in the same shape. The ties had to be renewed and at St. Gregoire a trestle had to be built. From St. Francis to Nicolet, eighteen miles, the dump was nearly all made and the right of way paid for. I suppose this will compensate for the 61 miles and the 6} miles of road where the ties had to be renewed; so, that you may say that there were twenty-four miles completed, leaving fifty-nine miles yet to be built, and taking the subsidy of $604,000 for that portion it makes about $10,500 per mile. One would think that this road would have been built but it has not. Let us go now to the Baie des Chaleurs. I suppose some of my friends are very anxious to see me go down there. Mr. Galyndez got a portion of the charter of the company revived permitting the construction of thirty miles of the road from Cap Lin to Paspebiac. The government did not grant any more aid because they had no faith in that gentleman. What becomes of the portion from Paspebiac to Gaspe Basin ? There is a company formed to obtain a charter for that part of the road, not with the intention of building it, but to sell to Mr. Galyndez, as they think he is a responsible man to build the road. The name of that company is the Atlantic, Quebec and Western Railway Company. Is this company more bona fide than the South Shoi-e Railway Company ? The Quebec, Atlantic and Western Company have a charter from the Quebec government which they allowed to lapse without even surveying a mile of the road, but this year they came here for a federal charter and the government was good 'enough to grant it. Now, Mr. Speaker, when you know the three companies that were granted subsidies you can easily judge which is the most meritorious. The South Shore Railway did not build an inch of the road, but deceived the government and deceived everybody else. Neither did the other company build the road, but Mr. Galyndez, between the summer of 1901 and the fall of 1902 completed his thirty miles of the road to the satisfaction of the government and to the satisfaction of the people of the vicinity as well. It is not asking too much that this charter should be revived. It may be said that this company owes a great deal of money to labourers. That Is true. But, Sir, these people, if they were not living happy were at any rate sleeping ail right. However, some time ago tlie member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) thought that they lived too happily, and so he put a sword in their hearts and twisted it so as. to shake them up. He created an agitation, called on them to file their accounts with the Dominion government and promised that they would be all paid. Well, Mr. BALL.
since that time these yeople are not sleeping so well. Sometimes they wake up with a great hope that they are going to be paid but the next day they are disgusted when they find they are not. The bon. gentleman (Mr. Marcil) promised them lots of honey and milk, but he has not been able to deliver the goods. He wants to prevent Mr. Galyndez from building the road, and so to kill the cow which gives them the milk, and as for the honey he is acting like the bumblebee, which makes a good deal of noise, but very little honey. If he wants to make his constituents happy I will give him a little bit of advice. The Quebec government owes the company $110,000, and if the hon. gentleman, with his great prestige and influence, brings it to bear upon the Quebec government and persuades them to pay this money to the poor people they will be as happy as possible. Some one wanted to murder the Bill on its second reading and I telegraphed to Montreal to find out tlie exact amount the Quebec government owes to this company. I got this reply from the president of the company, dated the 14th of April last :
Geo. Ball, M.P.,
House of Commons,
By the Conversion Act of 1897, the Quebec legislature converted the Baie des Chaleurs deferred land grant of 800,000 acres at seventeen and a-half cents making $140,000 in cash. Under guarantee agreement company deposited this amount with the government to he repaid as work progressed. About $30,000 was paid on account ,of wages and the balance of $110,000 has never been paid by the government although the work has been done.
It was specially set, aside for payment of wages and help. Had the Quebec government carried out Its obligation no workman would have waited a day for his money. The government refused to pay and refuse to allow the company to use it.
Now listen to this and it is most important :
The Dominion government has never paid a dollar of subsidies to the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway Company.
This government never paid a dollar, although they grumble a good deal and ou tlie other hand they paid lots of money to the South Shore Railway Company without any grumbling.
"While the shareholders have paid up more than half a million of dollars.
The company presented a petition of right to the Quebec government on the 7th of August, 1900, but received an answer on the 16th that the fiat would not be granted to them. So they kept the $110,000 to make a surplus every year.
Now, I would call on the Liberal party to help me to pass this Bill through. I have heard that it is a very fair party. On the 4th of April last I happened to put my hand on a newspaper called ' Le Canada,' and I read on the fourth page of that paper
the programme of the Liberal party. I will read a part of that programme: (Translation.)
Faithful as we are to the traditions of the Liberal party which we represent, we disclaim any idea of enslavement. As stated not long ago, in the House by our leader, Sir Wilfird Laurier, it is not a principle with us Liberals that all minds must be cast in the same mould, that all wheals must revolve in the same groove that we must act like a flock of sheep, and wherever one jumps, the others must follow. That is not our standard of excellence.
Now, gentlemen, here is an opportunity for you to show that you are in earnest. We will see whether the hon. gentlemen are all going to pass through the gap made by the hon. member fur Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) and the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Le-mieux), who have jumped past the wall, so far as the proprieties and the rules of this House are concerned, in their attempt to kill this Bill in the embryo.
Mr. SPEAKER. (Translation).
I would ask the hon. gentleman to address the Chair.
Now, Mr. Speaker, do you not think we deserve to have this Bill granted, after what this paper says about the Liberal party ? I would not sit down without saying a few words in regard to Mr. C. N. Armstrong. I am sure the House would not be pleased if I did not do so. I was here yesterday and heard the discussion, and I heard what some of the speakers said about that gentleman. I do not see what the Liberal party can have against Mr. Armstrong. He never says anything against them-never a word. All I know that he has done for the Liberal party has been that he gave $100,000 of the money of the Bale des Chaleurs Railway to Mr. Pacaud, of Quebec, to bring out the election in favour of the Liberal party ; that is to say, the most of it went there, and the balance went to pay some of his Liberal friends' notes ; and you would be very much surprised if I were to give you some of the names. My hon. friend here (Mr. E. F. Clarke) is afraid I will name some 'of them. He need not be afraid.
Mr. CHARLES MARCIL (Bonaventure).
Mr. Speaker, I must object to this motion on the ground that this Bill came before the Railway Committee, was discussed at length there, and was thrown out both this year and the year before. I am sorry that the time of the House should be taken up again with this question ; but I am unable to allow the statements of the hon. member for Nicolet (Mr. Ball) to go down on ' Hansard ' without contradiction. I represent the constituency which is chiefly interested in this railway, though other constituencies are also Interested in it, and I would not like the hon. gentleman's statements to go unanswered and unchallenged. I have the greatest respect for the hon. gentleman. I
believe he himself is one of the victims of the gentleman he mentioned in his speech, and if I could assist him personally in any way, I would gladly do so. But we are now dealing with the public interests, and it is impossible for me to allow this Bill to go through, and to allow the charter of the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway Company to be revived, for reasons which are best known to the country and the House. The Bill under consideration at present is for the purpose of extending for live' years the powers granted to the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway Company in 1S93-4, which expired in 1899 and were partially revived in 1901. This Bill (No. 3G), is to revive those powers, which gave the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway Company the right to build a road from Gaspe basin to Sault Ste. Marie. The report of the Railway Department says this was done by the company entering into an agreement with certain companies named for the purchase or lease of their railways, in whole or in part between the points named. Agreements were made by the company for the purchase of the Baie des Chaleurs Railway, for utilizing the bridge of the Montreal Bridge Company, for the purchase of the Great Eastern Railway between Yamaska and St. Gregoire, and for the purchase of the Ottawa Valley Railway between Lachute and St. Andrews, and ultimately extending to Sault Ste. Marie. This project has fallen to the ground years ago, the company has no legal existence, and the only railway that is operated is the old Baie des Chaleurs Railway. The Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway Company, in 1900, being unable to meet its obligations, unable to pay interest on the amount of money which had been advanced to it, transferred its road over to trustees represented by Mr. Galyndez, mentioned by the hon. member for Nicolet. These trustees have been operating the Baie des Chaleurs branch of the railway during the last three years. The rest of the railway never had any real existence. The Ottawa Valley portion was dealt with yesterday, the Montreal Bridge portion was dealt with by the House last year and was withdrawn from the Railway Committee this morning, so that the only portion of the road, which really has any existence, is the Baie des Chaleurs portion, and that is now transferred to trustees. In face of these facts, is it possible to revive ail the powers of the company from GaspS Basin to Sault Ste. Marie for five years, and to add to these powers the permission to this company to connect with the Grand Trunk Railway, the Jacques Cartier Union, the Grand Trunk Railway Pacific, the Cana-adian Northern Railway, the South Shore Railway, the Algoma Central, the Hudson Bay, the Central Counties Railway Company, the Guelph and Grenville and St. ChrysostOme Railway ? Here is a company, which is to all intents practically insolvent,
whose notes were sold last year, or the year before, in the city of Montreal at auction at five cents in the dollar, after having been negotiated at the Ville Marie Bank, and the negotiation of that paper brought about the failure of that bank and sent its cashier and the broker who negotiated the notes to the St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary for seven years each. These people, represented by Mr. 0. N. Armstrong, who is the chief mover in this instance, are asking parliament to revive the charter. What have they done to entitle them to a revival ? Let me speak of the Baie des Chaleurs section, with which I am most conversant and in which I am primarily interested. They took over that company and gave it a new name. They constructed thirty miles, and the hon. the Minister of Railways and Canals has to-day in his possession affidavits to the effect that $226,000 are due the people of Bonaventure for labour and material and right of way. This company has transferred the road to trustees. These trustees appealed to me after my election to try and induce the Dominion government to revive the subsidy on the thirty miles of road, which subsidy had not been paid, the Dominion government refusing to pay anything to Mr. Armstrong. Overlooking the fact that this company had been used as a political machine against me in the election, and looking solely to the interest of the county I have the honour to represent, I asked the government to revive that subsidy on the thirty miles of road. That was done, but it was especially stipulated that the payments should be made by the Railway Department, first, to the Hamilton Bridge Company for four bridges when erected; in the second place, to the trustees when they made proof of the work they had done; and the remainder to the labourers, according to their claims. These works have been completed as required by the engineer of the Railway Department. These trustees, without putting one dollar of their own money into this new work, secured an advance from the Banque Nationale and are now at the door of the Dominion treasury claiming $136,000 for the completion of this portion of the road, leaving but $1,6,000 to meet the $226,000 claims which I have mentioned. The hon. member for Nicolet (Mr. Ball) appeals to this House on behalf of Mr. Galyndez. I must say that since Mr. Galyndez has operate^ the road, he has paid his labourers and train men, which was a thing unheard of under the regime of Mr. Armstrong. But Mr. Galyndez put none of his own money into the building of the thirty miles. The only work done has been done out of the subsidy voted-Chap. 26 of 1901. It was my duty to oppose this claim of $136,000, leaving only $16,000 for labour. I thought that that was not fair to the people who had built the road. The trustees ask for not only the complet0 subsidies but a double subsidy, when two-thirds of the original work done by the Mr. MARCIL (Boaaventure).
people remains unpaid. I know that there was an understanding with the trustees that they should be paid for the work performed on the last thirty miles, but, as far, as I understood it and as far as the government understood it, that work consisted in putting up four bridges and building two miles of road. These two miles between New Carlisle and Paspebiac are not operated by this company, and yet we see in their accounts a claim for $136,000. It would be unfair and unjust and unbusinesslike to take into consideration this Bill, which was very properly thrown out by the Railway Committee. Some days ago Mr. Galyndez was called to Montreal to testify as witness in the case of John Mason vs. C. N. Armstrong. Mr. Galyndez stated that during the last three years he advanced sums ranging from $3,000 to $8,500 per annum to Mr. C. N. Armstrong, so that Mr. Armstrong has drawn in the last three years out of the Baie des Chaleurs subsidy the sum of $10,000, when $226,000 remained unpaid to the labourers who built the road, the farmers who gave the right of way, the boarding-house keepers who boarded the men, and the merchants who furnished the supplies. I want to point out this fact that nine-tenths of all the claims against the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway are from Conservatives in Bonaventure, who trusted Mr. Armstrong and his company. The hon. member for Nicolet (Mr. Ball) has said that no subsidy has been paid the Atlantic 'and Lake Superior Company. That is the case, because that company has no existence. But the various roads that go to make it up have received $1,643,644 from the Dominion and local governments. They have received from the federal government, $696,145; and from the local governmnt. $947,499; making a total of $1,643,644 for 100 miles; and $226,000 remain unpaid on thirty miles of that road alone. The claims on the seventy other miles I have never been able to induce the government to take up. The people of Bonaventure and Gaspe are anxious to have railway communications. The Conservative gbvernment of 1882 recognized tljat Gas-pdsia is entitled to railway communication and undertook to build the first twenty miles from Metapedia down to Gaspe, provided the cost should not exceed $300,000. No tender Tvas offered below $300,000, and the following year the administration was induced to give over the construction of these twenty miles to a company. That was the beginning of the misfortunes of the Gaspe peninsula and the inauguration of the series of scandals which have since then become a by-word of the railway history of Canada.
I stand to-day representing that const!-, tuency, and I know that the constituency of my hen. friend from Gaspe, which adjoins mine, will ask what I ask. I ask this House do decide that the time has at last come when this government should see to it
that the people of the peninsula of Gaspe, comprising the counties of Gaspe and Bona-venture, should have their fair share of justice, that some of the benefits that have been thrown so liberally, so generously to every nook and corner of this Dominion should be extended to that portion of Canada. The peninsula of Gaspg is inhabited by a hardy, worthy sea-faring people, whose ancestors were among the first to settle in Canada, the land having been discovered by Jacques Cartier himself. It is one of the oldest settled portions of Quebec and of the Dominion. The time has passed when that population should be left at the mercy of these railway schemers, railway promoters and all kinds of charter-mongers. I appeal now to the government to take up this question and to solve it once for all. The road has reached Paspebiac; let it be carried, to Gaspe Basin. That is one of the most beautiful ports in North America. It is open ten months in the year. It was visited in 1860 by our present sovereign, then Prince' of AVales. When ascending the St. Lawrence his ship and the accompanying fleet were caught in the storm, and they sought shelter in Gaspe Basin. Further up the coast we reach Paspebiac from which, during nine or ten months of every year, sailing vessels leave on trading voyages to the West Indies, South America, the Channel Islands and many other parts of the world. We have a magnificent soil; we. have splendid fisheries; we have a climate unsurpassed. The hardy and worthy people living there numbering fifty thousand souls have done their share to build up the Dominion of Canada, they have contributed to the construction of our railways and our . canals; and yet, in some of the remote parts of the peninsula of Gasp4, but for the mail carrier they would be altogether ignorant, so far as personal experience is concerned, of the very existence of this federal government. Is that the justice that should be meted out to these people ? I ask that this motion be thrown out and that the time of this parliament be no more taken up with schemes of this kind; I ask that this chapter in the history of the peninsula be closed; and I appeal to the members of this House to extend to the Gaspe peninsula the justice to which it is entitled.
Mr. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Gaspg).
1 heartily concur in the remarks made by my hon. friend from Bonaventure (Mr. Mareil).
1 know that no more determined champion of our rights could be found, nor one more eloquent. He represents the sentiments and opinions of the vast majority of our electors. The county of GaspS has been denied with a portion of the county of Bonaventure, the benefits of railway communications. I believe the time has come at last when the Dominion government should give our electors the help toward the construction of railways that they require. But 208
the question before you, Mr. Speaker, is not the necessity of getting some help from the Dominion government for building said railway, because I am sure that my hon. friend (Mr. Mareil) and I can succeed in convincing the leader of the House and the next Minister of Railways and Canals that the Gaspfi Peninsula is entitled to its railway. But, Sir, the hon. gentleman (Mr. Ball), who represents the county of Nicolet, my old friend, asks this House to refer back to the Committee on Railways and Canals a Bill which has already been thrown out three times by that committee. I think it would be a reflection on the Railway Committee if this Bill were referred to them again. This question was discussed in 1899, when Mr. C. N.' Armstrong, the chief mover in these railway schemes was present in the committee. I remember very well that Sir Charles Tupper, leader of the opposition at that time, was present. He did not know Mr. Armstrong, but he was simply humiliated on learning there and then the several nefarious schemes of Mr. Armstrong and nothing remained for him to do but to indignantly withdraw his support from him. Later on, Mi-. Armstrong came back to get his charter revived. It was again thrown out by the committee. This year, my hon. friend (Mr. Ball) who, I know, is quite disinterested in his attitude, because he himself has been one of Mr. Armstrong's victims, has tried once more to have this charter revived. The hon. gentleman did his very best to convince the committee that the charter should be revived, but he knows very well that he could not succeed, and even had to withdraw his Bill.
Will the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lemieux) permit me to ask him a question, in case he may not speak again ? Has he heard that the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) resigned because he heard that Mr. Armstrong was interested in the Grand Trunk Pacific Bill ?
The question needsl no answer, Mr. Speaker. To proceed with my argument, I was saying that the principle involved in this Bill has, been voted down by the Railway Committee on three different occasions. I may say further, that the Baie des Chaleurs Railway question was settled by the electorate of the province of Quebec in the election of 1897. Would you believe it, the government of the province of Quebec, in 1897, while one of Mr. Armstrong's friends was Prime Minister-I refer to Mr. Flynn-gave Mr. Armstrong a guarantee of bonds to the amount of $8,000,000, to help him in reviving the very railway scheme that we are now discussing ? The province of Quebec was shocked-yes. it was simply shocked-at the intention of the Flynn government to guarantee such an amount for Mr. Armstrong. And I may say that the verdict of the month of May, 1897, was nothing else but a vote of censure
REVISED EDITION '6627 COMMONS
against the Quebec government for having dared to countenance such a scheme. Therefore, the sentiment of the electorate of my province is opposed to any railway scheme fathered by Mr. Armstrong or by any of his associates. The hon. gentleman has said that some other railway companies have been formed and intended to build the line from Paspebiac to Gaspd Basin. That is the case. When we saw that it was useless to expect anything from Mr. Armstrong, or from Mr. Galyndez, who has succeeded Mr. Armstrong, some of the gentlemen who are interested in the welfare of GaspS Peninsula formed a company and obtained a charter from the Quebec government. Owing to the unsavoury railway schemes which originated in that part of the country during the last twenty-five years, the Quebec government, the Parent government, inserted in the Bill, a clause which was very stringent. The present Act of incorporation was granted under the following ex-pi-ess conditions : 1. That the works authorized by this Act shall be commenced in good talth within a delay of two years from the sanctioning of this Act, such commencement to be evidenced by the construction of at least ten miles of road. 2. That the whole road shall be constructed within a delay of five years from the sanctioning of -this Act. 3. In default of the accomplishment of either of these two conditions, such default shall, pleno jure, mean the forfeiture of all rights, powers and privileges granted by this. Act. 4. This Act shall come into force by the proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council after the company has given evidence of their ability to carry out the works authorized by this Act. The delay for the beginning of this construction expired at the end of March last. On account of the South African war, the capitalists interested in this railway company could not raise the funds on the other side, and they had to ask the revival of their chatter from the Quebec government. They went before the Lieutenant Governor I in Council, as provided by the last section | of the Act, and they gave him positive proof that the company was a bona tide one, and that they had the money necessary to construct the road. They deposited in the Bank of Montreal the sum of $50,000, which was quite sufficient for the preliminary works, and the proclamation issued. They went to work immediately, and I may say that during last winter they surveyed the whole line from Causapscal to Gaspe Basin. Then they came before this parliament in order to get a federal charter. To that federal charter was appended another condition, that not only this company should build in the interior of Gaspesia, but should build a branch line extending from Gaspe Basin to Paspebiac, following the shore. Therefore, this company has obtained from this parliament, with the help of my hon. friend from Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil), and through our common efforts, legislation under which this Mr. LEMIEUX. company will be obliged to build, not only in the interior, but also on the shore, thus giving to the people of the coast the link which was missing between Paspebiac and Gaspe Basin. But, Sir, as the hon. gentleman from Bonaventure has said, there are some difficulties in the way. The shore portion of the peninsula is a very difficult piece of work to construct, in the sense that it is very hard to build a line across so many rivers running into the Baie des Ohaleurs between Paspebiac and Gasp6 Basin. Therefore, the cost of construction, as will be shown by a report which has been prepared by a very intelligent surveyor and engineer, is very heavy. We intend to ask the government, and to insist, that this company be given a subsidy which will enable them to build that portion of the railway. In 1898, at my own request, the hon. the leader of the House inserted in the statute the ordinary subsidy given to railway companies, to be given to any company that would build that portion of the line extending between Paspebiac and Gasp6 Basin. Any company could have been formed and, within a delay of five years, could have taken that -subsidy. Well, no company was formed, because no company thought that the ordinary subsidy would build that line. I hope this year that, after seeing the report which will be presented to the government, they will be disposed to be more liberal and give to that section of the country the relief promised for so many years. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I conclude by saying that the Bill fathered by my hon. friend from Nicolet (Mr. Ball) should not be referred back to the Railway Committee, but the hon. gentleman and his friends should unite their efforts with ours in order to obtain from this government the help to a bona fide company which will enable it to build the section from Paspebiac to Gaspe Basin.
The member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) has told a long story about all the Bills that were rejected. I do not want to follow him, but I may mention that none of these Bills were presented to this House by himself. As regards what the hon. member for Gasp6 (Mr. Lemieux) lias said about the guarantee that Mr. C. N. Armstrong got from the Quebec government, I can give some interesting details about it. The Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway Company at that time included Mr. PrSfontaine as a member, and Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Pre-fontaine made an arrangement with the Flynn government by which that government should guarantee the interest on $-S,-000,000, and they passed a deed of sale. But before the thing could be carried out, an election came on and the Flynn government was defeated. The company applied to the succeeding government to ratify the deed, but the government pretended that it was not legal, and they could not carry out an illegal contract of the late government.
So alter a year or so of hesitation, being compelled by their friends more than by the company to come to terms, the government decided to pass a Bill of reference and to refer the question to the court of appeal, with the promise that if the court of appeals declared the contract made by the late government legal they would consent to carry it out. The Bill was passed and the question was referred to the court of appeal. The late Mr. Duffy and Mr. Archambault, then Attorney General, were both ministers of the government, and they appeared on behalf of the government, while Mr. Flynn, the exPrime Minister of Quebec, took the other side. The court decided unanimously that the deed was legal, and that the government must carry it out. In spite of that they have shown no disposition to carry it out. The company, during the time that Mr. Prefon-taine was one of its directors, appealed for permission to sue the government and compel it to fulfil its contract, but they never could get a fiat from the Quebec government. That is the history of the scheme that hon. gentlemen are denouncing. I see that Mr. Armstrong is denounced. He was denounced yesterday by people who followed him as long as they could get something from him, but, now that they see that they cannot get anything more out of him, they will do nothing. I heard a list of railways read in which Mr. Armstrong was interested. I was very much surprised not to hear that he was in the Grand Trunk Pacific. It is only, I suppose, the hon. ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) who heard that.
Motion (Mi-. Ball) negatived.
QUESTIONS. STEAMER 'ALASKA.'
1. Have the government .purchased the steamer ' Alaska,' of Morrisburg ?
2. If so, when wa,s the money paid for same and what was the price ?
3. When was said steamer built, and what is she to be used for ?
Subtopic: STEAMER 'ALASKA.'
1. Under consideration.
2. Price asked for $3,000.
3. Sweeping the channel and locating range lights, from Montreal to Kingston.
Subtopic: STEAMER 'ALASKA.'