It is my duty to give to the House the explanations to which it is entitled concerning the resignation of my hon. friend the member for the city of St. John, N.B. (Hon. Mr. Blair), as member of the cabinet and Minister of Railways.
In view of the rapid development of the country, of the flood of immigration into the fertile section west of Lake Superior, of the industrial movement in the older provinces, the government have come to the conclusion that a new transcontinental railway, between the east and the west to the Pacific ocean, has become a necessity. To this view the hon. member has always expressed his assent, but a difference of opinion arose between him and his colleagues as to the mode of construction and operation.
No final plan has yet been adopted, though a basis has been reached for the construction of a line to be built and owned by the government through a commission, but to be operated by a company under special provisions to make it a common highway to all railway companies from Moncton to Winnipeg, and for the construction of a line to be built by a company with the assistance of the government from Winnipeg to the Pacific ocean at Port Simpson.
To this plan the hon. member has two objections :
1. To the construction of that section of the above mentioned line lying between Moncton and Quebec, he being of the opinion that such a line would parallel the Intercolonial Railway, an opinion from which we entirely dissent.
2. To the immediate construction of the section between Quebec and the Pacific ocean and to the suggested mode of construction.