August 11, 1903

LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

No sentiment there. It was business, it was necessary to have the best conditions they could obtain in order to secure the business. Why should we shorten, straighten and improve the Intercolonial Railway? It is simply because we have set out with the purpose of securing trade for our own seaports, and if we are to secure that trade we must have the best obtainable conditions with regard to our lines of transportation. We must not have to go away around by the sea 120 miles further than a short line would take us; we must not have grades of 621 feet to the mile, but we must reduce tbe distance, reduce tlie grades, improve the efficiency of the road and secure'the necessary conditions so far as it is possible to do so, in order to get the trade that we aim to get. That is Why we dealt with the Intercolonial Railway. But the whole question is befogged by the course which the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Blair) has pursued in talking about this line and that line, and about one line being 10 miles longer than it was represented to be, and about crossing so many gullies, and about this and that difficulty to overcome. We have got to overcome these difficulties; we are putting that road there for a specific purpose, and that purpose is to increase the _ capacity of the road, to reduce the cost of the transportation of the products of the west to our maritime seaports.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, bear.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

That is the object we have in view. The hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Blair) tells us that the Intercolonial will have no business in case this is done except in the winter. Well, I do not suppose it ever had a local business that was a marked source of revenue to it. It is to be regretted that it was put where there was no business to do, and no particular use for a railway, and we have been pottering along with that road and paying deficiencies long enough, and now we want an efficient line of railway.

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LIB

Andrew George Blair

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BLAIR.

When does tbe hon. gentleman think I made that statement?

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LIB
LIB

Andrew George Blair

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BLAIR.

The statement the hon. gentleman has just attributed to me.

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LIB
LIB

Andrew George Blair

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BLAIR.

That the Intercolonial Railway had no local business.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

Except in the winter -would have, I said, in case this other line was built. The hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Blair) misunderstood me. The statement the hon. gentleman made was that in case this short line was built the Intercolonial Railway would have no local business except in the winter.

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LIB

Andrew George Blair

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BLAIR.

I said that this line would have no ocean shipping business except in the winter.

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LIB
LIB
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I suppose that is so.

I suppose it is intended that this transcontinental line shall lay down the products of the west at Quebec during the season of navigation, and when the harbour of Quebec is closed it is the intention to carry that trade to Halifax and St. John, and for that reason we want a good road.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

It has not been asserted that we are going to carry grain to these maritime .ports while the port of Quebec is open, but Quebec is to bo our national port, and while it is open it will do the business that the transcontinental line brings to it.

Now, I think the trouble with my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Blair) is that his view is somewhat circumscribed. He has not yet got out of provincial ideas and a provincial range of vision; he has not ceased to be provincial; he.has not become continental in his aspirations, in his desires, in his grasp of affairs. We regret that the Intercolonial Railway will be injured by this new line; we regret that it is necessary to spend some millions of dollars to rectify the costly mistake that was made years ago, but we are dealing now with a question of rational importance. We are dealing with a question that is national in all its bearings; we are dealing with the question of securing for our own spa ports the business that would naturally go to the seaports of another country, and whether we can do it or not I cannot venture to say, but I do venture to say that we cannot do it unless we construct roads of the very best character with the lowest possible grades.

In regard to that matter, as I was going over to Vancouver a short time agoi I sat in the rear car of the train as we were passing north of Lake Superior, with General Manager McNicol, two or three American railway magnates and a number of railway men, and the discussion turned upon the question of water transportation versus transportation by rail. The subject of *discussion was whether railways could be

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LIB

Andrew George Blair

Liberal

Hon. Mr. BLAIR.

made to compete with water carriers, and Mr. McNicol stated that if the Canadian Pacific Railway over which we were passing had grades of four-tenths per cent per mile (that is 21 feet and a fraction) and some improvement in its alignment, that it could do four times the business it was doing now, and that it could compete with the water route.

Now, Sir, if we build a line from Winnipeg to Quebec, say 1,400 miles long, and if we can secure four-tenths per cent grades; if we lay that road with 90 pound rails, if we put bridges upon it that will carry the heaviest locomotives and trains of cars, each car carrying a load of 50 tons, we can carry, in my opinion, grain from Winnipeg to Quebec for 12 cents a bushel and perhaps even less. The lowest rate that I have known for grain from Chicago to New York was 12 cents per hundred, or seven and two-tenths cents per bushel for a distance of 1,000 milts. Now, if it can be carried at that rate with a profit, and I don't suppose it was carried at a loss, it is a reasonable calculation to suppose that we could carry grain over this road for 12 cents a bushel, if it is the right kind of a road. But if it has 50 feet grades to the mile; if it has a light rail, if it is a second-class road we can secure no business, we cut ourselves off from the conditions that are necessary to secure business, and so we must bear that in mind when we are building this road.

My hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Blair) in the course of his remarks had a thrust at the Globe. He stated that the Globe had an article which said that when this new road was built there would be freight trains and passenger trains on the road passing each way in embarrassing abundance. Well, it is a matter of conjecture, of course, as to what kind of business this road might do. The writer of that article perhaps looked into the future, and he saw Canada with vast developments, with a great increase of population, with a great increase of production, with a great increase of business, with business largely attracted over the transcontinental line, and. perhaps his forecast of the future was not so extravagant after all. We do not know what the result may be; we have been guilty, constantly guilty, of underrating the capacity of our country. This gentleman perhaps overrated a little, but we cannot tell, and I would rather have speculation in that direc-tioii than in the other.

Now, I do not know but that perhaps my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Blair) would have looked with a somewhat greater degree of favour upon this scheme if the road had gone to St. John, and it would perhaps have served the purposes of the country just as well if it had. I do not know as to that, Imt the government were bound, in my opinion, to adopt a course that was fair and impartial. They could not properly discriminate between Halifax and St. John in

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favour of the one and against the other, and they have adopted a plan which will serve the purposes of both, and if St. John wants to meet these conditions for reaching this business, let them promote the construction of a road up to this short line and nobody will have any objection to that.

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LIB
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

Let that road be improved and made first-class, and let them get the business at that point. The government, I think, acted with perfect propriety in placing the eastern terminus of the road at Moncton, from which point both St. John and Halifax will be accessible, though the advantage in distance will be in favour of St. John.

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LIB
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

Well, you want to cut that off. Now, Mr. Speaker, a good deal of criticism has been indulged in by the hon. gentleman in regard to the increase of our debt. We are to add $15,000,000 to it by the construction of the section from Moncton to Chaudiere Junction, and untold millions by the construction of the line from Quebec to Winnipeg, and by the guarantees of the line west of Winnipeg. I did not hear the hon. gentleman make anything of the fact that this was in reality a mere lease to a railway company, and that the company was to pay interest on the cost of the line. We shall have some little burden on the country, of course. We shall have interest to pay for seven years on the cost of the line from Moncton to Winnipeg, and probably some little interest to pay on our guarantee of a portion of the cost of the line west of Winnipeg. All this may amount to $14,000,000 or $15,000,000; hut that is a small consideration in comparison with the benefit to the country resulting from the construction of this transcontinental line,

The hon. gentleman refers to the premier's statement with regard to this road as a national line, and intimates that the premier paid no attention whatever to the commercial side of the question-that this had no bearing with him, but that the national consideration wholly governed his course in the matter. This was not a fail-presentation of the views expressed by the premier. The premier did, as he .was entitled to do, lay due stress on the importance of the construction of this road from a national standpoint, for the purpose of having a railway on our own soil from ocean to ocean. He took high ground in that respect, a ground which I think the country will support him in taking. But he did not lose sight of the commercial aspects of the case -far from it. While dwelling on the national importance of the road, he pointed out at the same time that its commercial re-266J

suits would be in the highest degree important and satisfactory.

The hon. ex-Minister of Railways enters into a financial statement with regard to this road, and estimates its cost from Moncton to Winnipeg at $35,000 per mile. Well, it is impossible to say whether that estimate is a correct one or not ; the probability is that it is excessive. You must bear in mind that this is a question of the construction of a railway without equipment. The cost of equipment adds very largely to the cost of a railway line. This line is simply to be constructed and handed over to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company, and that company is to place the equipment upon it. I do not believe that this road will cost over $30,000 a mile from Moncton to Chaudiere Junction, and I doubt very much that it will cost more than $30,000 per mile, or even that, from Quebec to Winnipeg. The hon. gentleman, in reckoning the burdens that will rest on the government in connection with the guarantee of the western section, assumes that the government guarantee will amount to the cost of building the road. He overlooks the fact that the guarantee of the government is to cover merely three-fourths of the cost of the road, and that when the government advances this guarantee, it takes over the security of the road and its equipment, including what the company has put into it, so that the security is ample.

The hon. gentlemari refers at some length to the question of the stock. What is there about this stock question ? There is to be $45,000,000 of stock. Of that, $20,000,000 is to be preferred stock, which goes into the equipment of the road, and $25,000,000 is to be common stock. The hon. gentleman would lead us to suppose that that will all go into the pockets of the shareholders and directors. What will it be used for ? Why, Sir, the company will require money with which to build elevators, to improve the road, and for various purposes in connection with the operation of the road. It will require money to carry out its stipulation with regard to providing vessels and shipping facilities at each end of the road. That is what that stock is set apart for-$20,000,000 of preferred stock for equipment, and $25,000,000 of common stock to be used for these various purposes to which I have referred.

The hon. gentleman regrets that it is not the Grand Trunk Railway that is going into the west, but the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Well, it strikes me that there is a distinction without a difference. I think we shall be thankful if we get the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway into the North-west, with the stipulations and conditions with which it is hedged round-with all these stipulations which place it absolutely in the hands of the government, as to the operation of the road, as to its maintenance, as to providing facilities at each end of the

road for the transaction of business, and as to not discriminating against Canadian ports and in favour of American ports. The hon. gentleman asks what that condition about discrimination amounts to. He says the company will send their agents through the North-west, and will quietly secure freight and have it shipped with their own connivance to American ports. Well, this company enters into a solemn agreement not to discriminate against Canadian ports. But he tells us that we have no penalties by which we can enforce the fulfilment of this agreement. Is the whole thing ended when this Bill passes? We have to go on and perfect the conditions by a lease ; and what does this agreement say in regard to that ? It says :

The said lease shall also contain such other eonvenamts and provisions, including proper indemnity to the government in. respect of the working of the railway, as may be deemed necessary by the government to secure' the proper carrying out of this agreement.

Does not that cover the ground ? The hon. gentleman surely could not have read that. The government have a most carefully prepared agreement here. After reading it over and over again, I cannot see any point that has been neglected. I pronounce it a perfect agreement. The time that has been devoted to the perfection of this scheme has not been mis-spent or wasted.

N.ow, Mr. Speaker, 'I have got through with a sort of rambling criticism of my hon. friend's speech, and I have my own speech to make yet. As it is now a quarter to eleven, and as the newspapers have not been able to insert anything that has been uttered here for the last hour, I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.

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August 11, 1903