August 14, 1903

NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL

RAILWAY.


House resumed adjourned debate on the motion of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the House to go into committee on a certain proposed resolution respecting the construction of a National Transcontinental Railway.


LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. H. R. EMMERSON (Westmoreland).

When the debate adjourned last evening, Mr. Speaker, I was speaking of the benefits which will result to the country, in the way of colonization, from the scheme now under discussion. I was pointing out that the lands along the route of the proposed railway would he very much more enhanced in value, and I propose to dwell for a moment on this point of the question more particularly as regards that portion of the route with which I am familiar. I know that in the province of New Brunswick the sections which will be opened up by this railway are very rich in agricultural and other resources and only require greater railway facilities to become centres of settlement. In those districts there are rich forest preserves, which have as yet scarcely been touched. Only those portions near the streams have been worked, leaving vast regions from which immense stores of wealth can be taken. There are besides abundant mineral resources and a soil well adapted for agriculture. In the constituency represented by my bon. friend from Queen's and Sunbury (Mr. Wilmot) there are rich coal deposits, which only need to be brought into touch with the market. So that from whatever point of view you choose to look at it, the projected line through that province cannot fail to promote settlement, to enhance the value of land, and aid in the development of rich forest and mineral resources. Coming to the province of Quebec, with which I am of course not quite so familiar, I have been fortunate enough to have had placed in my hands a reference, which I think will prove that the portion of that province to be opened up by tbis transcontinental railway is a very promising one. For many years there has been a strong desire on tlie part of people living in that section, who are familiar with its fertility and resources, for railway facilities. In 1884, the then member for Bellechasse in the

Quebec legislature, tlie late Fauclier de St. Maurice, who was one of the leaders of the Conservative party of that day, and far more patriotic' than any possessed by that party to-day, read in the Assembly a letter from the Reverend Mr. G. Boulet, parish priest of St. Magloire, in which that clergyman said :-

I see by the press that you and your friends are working to have a railway built which will pass along the southern front of the county of Dorchester, Bellechasse, Montmagny, L'Islet and Kamouraska. That would be a grand and patriotic undertaking, a most happy conception, one that should long since have been realized.

That is exactly the line to be taken by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway except that it crosses the county at Levis instead of Dorchester.

In rear of the above named counties there is a magnificent valley, most suitable for the construction of a railway. It is neither hilly nor rocky. Starting from Metgermette, sloping down to Edmundston, there is a regular and fertile plain. Any company that would undertake to build a railway there would find all the necessary material on the ground. Cedar and spruce abound.

Well, Sir, Edmundston and the valley that extends to it in New Brunswick, is exactly the land over which the new line is proposed to be built.

Why do not our governments direct their colonizing and improving energies in that direction. The soil is suited to all kinds of cultivation, the climate is milder than the northern one of the Saguenay region.

This is exactly what my right lion, friend the Prime Minister proposes doing, but which the Conservative party of to-dayunworthy descendants of men like Fauclier -will have none of. It was Mr. Fauclier de Saint Maurice who said :

From the south shore of the St. Lawrence is the frontier of Maine, the land must be rescued from its unvisited isolation, and that heart of New Brunswick must be opened, but by an artery that will send its pulsations east and west to give life to the commerce of our country. But it is the federal, not the provincial government that must accomplish the work.

Further on he said :

Unfortunately my influence, humble as it is. goes not beyond the provincial sphere, but some day, men of large views and iron nerves will arise to accomplish the patriotic task, which the letter I have read so recommends, and whomsoever they may be, future generations will bless them.

These were the utterances in 1884 of one of the Conservative leaders of that day, and an eminent litterateur, in whose footprints the Tartes, the Casgrains, the Monks and others of our day were ever proud to follow. This shows the opinion held at that period of the rich resources of that section of the province of Quebec, which hon. gentlemen opposite are now so anxious to decry. From Moncton to the in-Mr. EMMERSON.

terior of New Brunswick, through the counties of Queen's, York, Carleton, Victoria, Madawaska, on into the province of Quebec, there is a long unbroken line of country, rich in agricultural mineral and forest wealth.

I do not look upon this scheme as merely one for the purpose of finding an outlet for the rich products of the west. If It were necessary, it would be well perhaps to have it for that alone. But when you combine the other attractive feature, the development of the country, with that of colonization, it certainly is a scheme which must commend itself to the people of our day in Canada. It certainly will receive the plaudits of those who are to come after us, of those who will enjoy the rich benefits which, will result from the accomplishment of this great project.

Now we are told that in northern Quebec there are conditions very similar in character to the conditions which exist in that section to which I have just now referred. There always has been, and is to-day, I believe, a great desire in tlie province of Quebec to colonize its undeveloped country. Away back in 1853, and from that time down, the cry through that province has been, Colonize. The national poet of French Canada gave the watchword to the people when he said, ' Let us take possession of tlie soil.' He wanted them to enter the forest, to open up roads, to establish settlements, and to turn a desert region into gardens of plenty. For fifty years the people have been called upon to push forward colonization projects, but they could not respond to the call. It was easier for their young men, as it was easier for the young men of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to cross over into the borderland, to go into the great neighbouring republic, and as a result tlie New England States contain today, I might almost say, millions of the bone and sinew, of the brawn and brain of our maritime provinces and of the province of Quebec. This is more true of those provinces than it is of the province of Ontario, because in Ontario the people have enjoyed the developing influences of railways. * It is true, they have made many sacrifices to obtain these railways, they have adopted schemes of bonusing railways by the municipalities, and they have had great assistance from their national and provincial governments. But even there the blighting influence of these enticing calls from tlie southern republic has been felt, and this is further true in the maritime provinces and tlie province of Quebec. If these young men could have been kept in our country, they would have helped to build up Canada, they would have found means of earning their way into tlie vast regions of our northern country. This railway now contemplated will do all this for our young men who are now living here ; it will do more, it will invite people from abroad. It will estab-

lisli settlements, It will broaden ont our settled area, and it will increase tlie value of our great domain. This railway will create a highway through the heart of a region which possesses untold resources, the wealth of which, for petty political reasons, the opposition of to-day are willing to deny. They are ready and willing to hold their country up to the wide world as a land confined to a few valleys, the greater portion of which is as barren as the Tartar steppes. I was pained to hear my hon. friend the ex-Miu-ister of Railways refer to his province of New Brunswick in the way he did. lie was willing to hold up that province as one the greater portion of which did not contain resources worthy of consideration. It seems to me lie has not, in that respect, done justice to his own province.

Speaking in a general way, the line from Quebec westward will pass along the northern slope, as I understand it, of the Lam-entinns, and that dividing line will cut through the vast valleys out of which spring the Batiscan, the St. Maurice, the Gatineau, the Coulonge, the Desmoines, and the Ottawa rivers. From the best sources of information that is from men who have travelled over and over again through these great sections, the resources of that country are three-fold-forest, mineral and agricultural. On the Batiscan, away north beyond the parish of St. Narcisse, there fj'fe forests of spruce which extend westward and northward all along that line, in addition to the pine and spruce forests north of the rivers I have just mentioned.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

May I interrupt the hon. gentleman to ask what report he is reading from ?

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LIB
L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

I thought he was reading from some clergyman's report.

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

My hon. friend will pardon me, I am only giving him some information which I am sure will be of benefit to him, because it relates to the province of Quebec.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

I am delighted, Mr. Speaker, to hear his remarks, but 1 thought he was reading from some clergyman's report.

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

Well, it would certainly' be much better if it were from a clergyman's report.

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The PRIME MINISTER.

The hon. gentleman would appreciate it all the more.

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

My hon. friend, I know, likes things tinged with theology ; perhaps he would appreciate still more anything that was tinged with religion, but in this case I am not drawing for him a religious picture. The proposed line will run through a region of country that will supply the pulp industries of the world for a century to come.

The reports which have been read to this House, containing the information which I am endeavouring to give at this moment, are confirmatory of all that has been said in regard to it in official documents. The province of Quebec have sent out many exploring parties into that section of the country, and in the archives of the province are records showing the great value of the resources of that region, giving full information as to its topography and as to its mineral, agricultural and forest wealth. We cannot shut our eyes to these facts. It is all very well to say there is no information; it is all very well to refuse to accept the information which comes to us from all these sources. In the days when the Canadian Pacific Railway was projected we did not have any such information with regard to that proposed line as we have to-day with respect to the projected line now under discussion.

I think one hon. gentleman stated in the House that in all that region you could not find a tree as large as a man's leg. That is an assertion tending, as I think, to mislead the country. And it is easy to make such assertions. It is easy to deal in a spirit of levity even with important matters like this ; but that spirit should not characterize the utterances of hon. members of this House, especially when dealing with a project of this character. For this is not a question merely of and. for to-day. This is a work for the future of our country, and it is one that is fraught with great possi-'bilities, not merely for us, but for our children, and not merely for us and for our children, but for those who shall come into this country. We are putting forth our best efforts day by day and year by year to influence the best citizenship of other countries to come to our land, where they can build for themselves homes under conditions that offer them every hope of prosperity and happiness. Now, as I understand, there is in the Crown Lands Department of Quebec, information of an official character which refutes the insinuation covered by remarks such as the one to which I have just referred. And, while it may be asserted in this House for a purpose, that that country has no rich timber resources and offers no opportunity for industry, we know that the statement is refuted by the actual conditions prevailing in the province of Quebec. Annually the government there have their sales of timber limits ; and what values are placed by the business men engaged in the great lumber and pulp industry upon the privileges offer: ed at these sales ? We know that the highest prices are obtained by the Quebec government for these timber limits. Business men, looking for investment for their capital, attach greater value to the resources of that country than hon. gentlemen opposite seem to do. The fact that these men place so high a value upon the timber resources

of that region Would alone justify tlie government in deciding that this land must have railway facilities, apart altogether from the grander scheme of furnishing ' spout,' as it is called, for the great grain reservoir of the west through Canadian territory to Canadian seaports. The government should not lose sight, and I am sure does not lose sight of the importance of settling and peopling that timber region, and developing and working the resources of sections which are now, in a sense, isolated and removed from civilizing influence of railways and centres of population. It is objected that these timbered lands are watered by rivers which flow towards the markets of the country, and that they afford channels by which the timber can be more readily and cheaply brought to market than can be done by railway. That may be true of certain strips of land bordering these rivers. But we all know that there are heights beyond, that there are sections somewhat remote from these rivers which the lumberman cannot tap, so that their rich timber resources lie dormant. We know that that country has these great timber resources, or whence come the vast quantities of pine that float down the Gatineau, the Colounge, the Des-inoines and Black rivers ? For a hundred miles beyond the timber limits now leasedand worked, there are pine and spruceforests, as I am informed, but they cannot be worked, because there are no railway facilities, and because, as they lie north of the height of land, the rivers flow northward, and so carry the timber away from

and not to the market. As I understand it, this railway will be on the northern side of the Laurentian range, and it will be to the northern side what the rivers I have named are to the forest wealth of this side of the slope. I am also informed that there are rich mineral deposits, particularly of phosphate, as well as deposits of precious ores. This is, perhaps, in a sense, conjecture. The value of an undeveloped mineral country is, after all, a matter of conjecture and speculation ; until you have your mines actually working, even the fairest prospect cannot be counted upon as a certainty. The geological formation of the Laurentian does not change as you go north ; it is the same great upheaval, and the same conditions prevail. What is to De found in its strata on this side of the range is to be found on the other side also, but in what proportion remains to be discovered. All this will be discovered when this railway shall have made if worth while for the prospector and the miner to undergo the toil and incur the expense necessary. The road, as designed, will pass along a chain of lafies that extends, link by link, from Lake St. John, in the east, to Lake Abbittibi, in the west. That the Lake St. John country is an agricultural region no one can deny. Only those who know nothing about will venture to deny it.

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

The land is exactly of the same character as the land to the westward. The soil is watered by a similar source, and enjoys similar conditions conducive to fertility.

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L-C

Gilbert White Ganong

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. GANONG.

Is this road supposed to go from Quebec to Lake St. John ?

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LIB
L-C

Gilbert White Ganong

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. GANONG.

Then why is Lake St. John- included in the description of the route of this road ?

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LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

It does not go to Lake St. John. There is a road now to Lake St. John. This road goes from Quebec. 1 refer to Lake St. John as the eastern extremity of a region which is rich as an agricultural section, and I say that there are continuous links of lakes running eastward from Lake St. John, that the Lake St. John region is known to be rich and that the country surrounding the other lakes to the westward is of the same character.

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CON
LIB

Henry Robert Emmerson

Liberal

Mr. EMMERSON.

My hon. friend from Torouto (Mr. Brock) shakes his head. Anybody who knows nothing about it is in a position to deny, but those who understand it, those who have information upon the subject, are not in that position. There is one thing that is known and known to a verity, and that is that there are very many rich farms to the north of us on the Gatineau river, along the Desert, and on the Baska-tonge. Even to-day, without these facilities, the pioneer has gone in and he has demonstrated that there can be carved out in that region rich and flourishing sections of agricultural country. I am informed that only the other day there left the city- of Montreal a colonizing expedition to visit this rich, this fertile, this splendid section of country, and I fancy that the very anticipation of this line of railway is what has induced these adventurers to go into that section of the country. They want to pre-empt the land for future occupation, they have gone there for that purpose, and already the fruits of this scheme are becoming evident in the province of Quebec. There are away north in sections of the country not penetrated by others than the explorer fine farms that have been snatched from the wilderness by the lumber operators. These farms are well situated, only that they require facilities for marketing. They are situated on the shores of lakes or streams or on the slopes of the hillsides. All this is evidence of the fact that there are in the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick-I shall not refer to the province of Ontario as we are all familiar with what has been said in respect to that province-lying alongside the proposed route of this road lands rich in forest wealth and having prospects of rich mineral resources. These require development, and in their development settlements will be established and new constituencies created. In the province of

New Brunswick we are complaining and suffering to-day from the fact that we are losing at this redistribution a seat in this House. In the province of Ontario, they are losing, 1 think, six representatives, and if it had not been for the results of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the Algoma district, Ontario would have lost more than six. Now, these provinces, in order to retain their representation, must have the development of those sections of country which are now lying dead and dormant. The hope of New Brunswick lies now upon its great interior, in the development of its mineral resources, in making marketable its rich forest wealth and in the creation of rich agricultural districts. Decade after decade they are losing their representatives on the floor of this House. There must be something done to arrest this decay, and the same is true in respect of Ontario. If the Canadian Pacific Railway could establish settlements and assemble population to the extent of thousands and tens of thousands in the Algoma district to the north of the Nipissing, surely these other provinces by reason of this scheme, this railway, being projected through them can establish settlements, can make additions to the population, and effect the maintenance of the status of the provinces in the Dominion. Now, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that where so much has been said on this subject I will be only wearying the House and worrying myself if I were to attempt to elaborate more on this subject. It is fruitful of discussion, and I am sure, in a sense, very profitable, but there are other features of this scheme with which I desire to deal, and they are practically the features which while it is not sectional, will affect in a marked degree the constituency from which I come. I have said that the leadership in the criticism and condemnation of the Bill now under discussion comes from a gentleman who has for many years been the leader from New Brunswick in the councils of the executive of this Dominion. A gentleman who has held a very high position not only in his own province, but in the cabinet of the Dominion, and who has wielded a very marked influence, and I am bound to say worthily wielded that influence. The very fact that he criticises and condemns this measure, as hon. members know, must necessarily have an influence.

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August 14, 1903