August 31, 1903

CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are taken up, I wish to direct the attention of the government to an item which reads as follows

Chicago, August 30.-Anthrax, dreaded by cattle owners and fatal in most cases if it obtains a foothold in the human frame, has been reported to the health department as having broken out in a herd of cattle on a stock farm near Palatine, in this country. The department has taken steps to protect the milk supply of Chicago. i

As there is a pretty extensive trade being done over the Grand Trunk Railway in handling cattle coming eastward from Chicago, it seems to me a matter of importance that this should be attended to at once, as our regulations are such as to make it quite possible for this disease to be imported into Canada. Therefore, if the attention of the hon. Minister of Agriculture has not been directed to the matter, I take this means of drawing the attention of the government to it, so that he may be advised of it 'as soon as possible.

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CANNING INDUSTRY-BRITISH COLUMBIA.


Mr. THOMAS EARLE (Victoria, B.C.) Before the Orders of the Day are called, I would ask whether any information has been received from the agent of the Fisheries Department in British Columbia in regard to the matter that was brought up on Friday ?


?

The PRIME MINISTER.

I am not aware that any such information has been received. The question of my hon. friend will be brought to the attention of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries as soon as he comes in.

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NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.


The 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, and the motion of Mr. Puttee in amendment thereto, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Boyd.


CON

Adam Edward Vrooman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. E. VROOMAN (South Victoria).

Mr. Speaker, it is my intention to be as brief as possible in discussing the question that has engaged the attention of the House for the past two or three weeks. My excuse for speaking at all is, the importance of the subject, and representing as I do an important and a highly intelligent constituency, and one that keeps a keen outlook on matters current in the political world, I felt that they might require from me more than a silent vote. I shall not presume, Mr. Speaker, to offer any information on this great question at this stage of the debate.

I shall avoid as far as possible statistics and details, and shall content myself with giving expression to convictions forced upon me in listening to this discussion.

Each session since I have had the honour of a seat in this House, I have heard discussed, and discussed with great ability, the transportation question. In listening to those discussions I learned to realize the importance of this question. I learned that it was one of great magnitude ; that it was a complex question, and one that pressed for an early solution in the interests of this great country. I began to understand somewhat of the disadvantages our freight carriers laboured under. I began to see that we, as Canadians, were not in a position to compete with our neighbours to the south of us for the carrying trade of the west to the eastern sea board ; and all because our great highways of commerce, our waterways and our ports, were not developed and equipped as they should be. Mr. Speaker, I saw how important this question was to the producer of the west ; how that every man, woman and Child in that great country were intensely interested ; how that great country, only yet in the infancy of its development, was destined to become the producer of the great bulk of the foodstuffs for the feeding of this vast empire. Sir, it seemed to me that the solution of the transportation question consisted in so developing our great natural highways of commerce that those products could be placed on the markets of the world at the very lowest cost, in the shortest possible 'time and in the best possible condition. Such, Sir, is the question that has been, and is

now awaiting solution at tlie hands of this government.

Mr. Speaker, when the government concluded to hand this whole question over to a commission of experts, and promised to the House the appointment of such commission, every member of this House and *every man in the country who thinks on these things at all, believed it was'a wise course to pursue. It can easily be understood that members of the cabinet might not be experts on a question of this kind. Even if they were, other duties might prevent them from ffiving that attention to the subject that it deserved. It was therefore a matter of some surprise, Sir, when the government intimated their intention of bringing down a Bill and dealing with the question themselves. So, Sir, we have the Bill and the contract before us.

The right hon. leader of the government, in presenting this Bill to the House, said there was a feeling throughout the country, that was universal in every Canadian heart, that the time had come when Canada must have another transcontinental railway. Well, Sir, I have moved about among Canadians, and I must say that I have not discovered that feeling, nor have I met with any person who suggested such an idea. I thought we had arrived at that period of development in our history when railways would be built according as that occasion required. What I had expected was that this commission wopld have been appointed at once, and when in due time it brought down its report, the government would deal with it in whatever way seemed to them most proper. The government, however, have seen fit to ignore the railway commission completely and undertake to build a transcontinental railway without any previous inquiry into the matter. We who oppose that policy axe declared to be opposed to all railway development. Because we do not see eye to eye with hon. gentlemen opposite .they taunt us with being against the building of any railway. Let me tell hon. gentlemen, opposite that we on this side are as anxious for the development of the country as they are and more so. The history of our party in the past affords abundant proof of that assertion. No party could be more willing that railways should be built whenever aud wherever it can be Mr. VROOMAN.

shown that they are necessary, but we cannot agree with hon. gentlemen opposite as to the necessity of this scheme at all, more particularly because, even if the proposed railway be built, It will not effect the object intended.

I am opposed to this scheme, and I shall attempt to state briefly, a few of the reasons why I intend to vote against it. In the first place, I am opposed to it because it will not answer the purposes for which it is undertaken. It will not cheapen freight rates. In Introducing this Bill, the right hon. the First Minister said :

We consider that it is the duty of all those who sit within these walls by the will of the people, to provide immediate means whereby the products of these new settlers may find an exit to the ocean at the least possible cost.

The solution of the transcontinental problem involves our ability to place upon the markets of the world the products of Canada at the lowest possible cost and in the shortest possible time.

But it is generally admitted that this new railway cannot possibly assist in reducing the rates. Those who support it do not contend that it will have that result. On the contrary they all admit that it will not be able to compete with water rates. There can be no doubt, as has been shown in this debate, that all-rail transportation cannot compete with water-ways or with combined water and rail routes, and I have much pleasure in endorsing the stand in that respect taken by the hon. member for St. Mary's division of Montreal (Hon. Mr. Tarte, in whose opinions on this question I have confidence, because ever since I have had a seat in this House he seems to have given It a great deal of study and has become possessed of a great deal of valuable Information on it. He gave in his speech the other day some figures, to which I would draw the attention of the House, as proving the point I have just made :

The distance from Chicago to Buffalo by rail is a little over 500 miles, and the distance by lake is 889 miles. In spite of that, the lake vessels are carrying from Chicago to-day about 40 per cent of the flour and 70 per cent of the wheat.

So that these lake vessels carry 70 per cent of the whole of the wheat carried, more than twice as far as it would have to be carried

by the railways. The bon. member for Norfth Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) would lead us to infer that the reason why railways cannot compete with water routes was because they were not sufficiently well constructed, and that if they only had better roadbeds and larger locomotives, the result would be different. But that is not the position which .he took upon the 26th of May, and I am bound to assume that he was honest in the position he then took. Of course, he may have changed his mind, but when we remember that the railways between Chicago and New York are the best equipped systems in the world, it is difficult to account for that sudden change. And if we are going to build a railway through this north country up to Winnipeg which will be equal to the systems between Chicago and New York it will cost, not $28,000 per mile, but $60,000. Bet me further quote a few words from what the hon. member for St. Mary's division said :

In 1902, between Chicago and New York, the rates are as follows : By lake and canal,

S'll ; by lake and rail, 5(54; and by all-rail 9-88.

Or nearly double by all-rail the rates by water. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that the railways from Chicago to New York are perfect in construction, the rates are nearly twice as heavy as the rates by water although the distance is more than double, so that the hon. member for North Norfolk need never expect to build a railway to Winnipeg through that northern country which will carry freight in competition with the water route. The idea is preposterous. Inasmuch as the proposed railway route ignores and will not utilize our waterways, it cannot possibly be the cheapest route and will not alter the present rate of freight. So that after this railway is built and all this money is spent, we will be just where we were before, so far as rates are concerned, our freight carriers will be labouring under just the same disadvantages as now, and the transportation commission will still have the same problem to solve.

I oppose this government scheme again because it has not been shown that the line from Levis to Moncton is a necessity. On Friday evening, when the hon. member for Lambton (Mr. .Tohnston) was speaking, he made us of these words :

As this debate goes on from1 day to-day the policy of the government gains in strength.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I do not know how it happens but I have arrived at the very opposite conclusion. It is nothing extraordinary that doctors should differ, but in support of the position I take, let me quote from the Toronto ' Evening News,' which is not unfriendly to the present administration. In fact, its managing director and editor is a great admirer of the Prime Minister, and would not like (o see him come to grief in this great scheme which he lias launched on the country. When this project was first given to the country, the editor of the Toronto ' News' criticised it very favourably. But time passed on and the leader of the opposition put his scheme before the country. This editor has investigated, and has found the comparison so unfavourable to the government's project that he has become concerned for the prestige of his hero, the Premier of this country. He went out and tried to observe the way the wind was blowing, and then he came in and wrote in this strain of the government's policy :

The most doubtful feature of the government's transcontinental railway policy is the projected extension of the air-line from Quebec to Moncton. There is no doubt that construction over this route will be costly. It is not at all clear that satisfactory grades can be obtained. It is possible that the new road will hardly excel the Intercolonial in carrying efficiency, and that years will elapse before It develops any considerable local traffic. In the meantime we impair the revenues of the Intercolonial, discredit public ownership, and obtain in return neither local nor national advantages at all commensurate with the expenditure which must be shouldered.

And further down he says :

It seems, therefore, to be clear that the government's policy would be improved, although at some additional cost to the country, if the Moncton extension were abandoned, and the Intercolonial carried to Parry Sound.

Evidently he was coming to adopt the policy of the leader of the opposition. The very next day this editor returned to the consideration of this subject, showing that he is very much concerned about it. And this is what he said ;

Two points stand out clearly on consideration of the transcontinental railway situation. The

done, and will solve it for all time to come at a cost not more than half that which the scheme of the government will cost. It is a scheme that will utilize instead of rendering useless-as the government scheme will do-the Intercolonial that has cost this country so much ; it is a scheme that will utilize our valuable waterways, thus reducing freight rates to their lowest point ; it is a scheme that will introduce four trunk lines of railway into 'Winnipeg' and the west, and thus prevent congestion and blockade ; it is a scheme of which it can be said that every dollar put into it represents a dollar's worth of assets to this country, it is a scheme that will be a paying one from the start; it is a scheme that will bear investigation : the more you examine it the better it appears. Sir, I congratulate the leader of the opposition upon the completeness of his policy. It seems to me that by it all the conditions of this intricate problem are fully met. I oppose the government scheme because, while it will not solve the most pressing question of the day, it will, by its immense cost to the country, hamper, retard and prevent development in other directions for years to come. I hope, sir, that the government will change their mind and will withdraw this Bill and this contract, and reintroduce one upon the lines laid down by the leader of the opposition. If they cannot do that, then, before taking a vote on it in this House, they should go to the country and give the people an opportunity to speak, and it is there that we on this side of the House can safely rest our case.

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LIB

Thomas Murray

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS MURRAY (Pontiac).

I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I do not intend to occupy the time of the House at any great length, because this subject has already been discussed very fully, and everything that can be said upon it on either side of the House, has been said. Strong arguments have been advanced on both sides of the House, long exhaustive speeches have been made upon the question, but naturally I feel interested in this very important question as my constituents are deeply interested in the question of transportation because they have been rather unfavourably situated in the past in that respect. I represent perhaps one of the largest counties in the province of Quebec, the county of Pontiac, which commences at Quyon and extends up to the height of land, and if there is one country in the Dominion of Canada that labours under a disadvantage on account of lack of transportation ..facilities it is the county of Pontiac. My constituents a long time ago gave a large amount by way of subsidy to the Pontiac Pacific Junction Railway, but up to the present time that road is only extended up as far as Waltham. In the upper portion of my constituency they have no railway facilities at all. Of course they have a branch railway from Mattawa in Ontario to Te-Mr. VROOMAN.

miscamingue and Kippewa in Quebec. Well, Sir, as I have already stated this is a question that my constituents are very much interested in and they naturally expect to hear from me in this debate. The question of economy in transportation is one that should engage the serious attention of every hon. member of this House, no matter whether he be a Conservative or a Liberal. This is a question which should be discussed apart altogether from party politics. The hon. member for Bothweil (Mr. Clancy) is a very plausible speaker. I had the honour of a seat with him in the local legislature and I know that he is an able man and a plausible speaker. I had the pleasure of listening to the arguments which he addressed to the House the other day during which he said that we should discuss these questions upon their merits, but, from his standpoint and from the standpoint of many other hon. members, there did not appear to be any merits at all in the scheme propounded by the government, but that all the merits were in the scheme propounded by the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax). If I were disposed to take the same objection I might apply it in the opposite way and say that there were no merits in the scheme proposed by the hon. leader of the opposition. But, as I have already pointed out, we ought to look upon this as a question above party politics. I do not believe that I shall ever appeal to the electorate to send me back again to this House.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

Is the hon. gentleman (Mr. Murray) going to the Senate ?

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LIB

Thomas Murray

Liberal

Mr. MURRAY.

I can tell the hon. gentleman (Mr. Hughes, Victoria) that I would not take a seat in the Senate. I believe I could have got there before now if I had desired to do so but I would not take a seat in the Senate because I do not believe in the institution. I can tell the hon. gentleman another thing, and that is, if I were offered a seat in the cabinet to-day I would not take it. I do not say that I am worthy of that high honour. I do not say that I have the ability to occupy such a high position, but I have made up my mind to retire from the political arena, and, if I may say so, to go into obscurity as far as politics are concerned. But, I feel it to be my duty while I am a representative of the people, and while I represent the county of Pontiac, to raise my humble voice in matters of this kind. I do not want to go into figures or facts, but when we consider both of these propositions upon their merits I fail to see where the opposition have made out a case. 1 will admit that the scheme which the government has propounded is quite new to myself and that it is quite new to the people, but this is a time for the people of Canada to go forward in the march of progress. I am not a lawyer or a doctor-I have not the

advantage of the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Vrooman) and who has delivered such a painstaking address, but i am a practical business man and viewed in the light of my experience as a business man I would ask this House in the first place where would Ontario be today if it were not for the Grand Trunk Railway, and where would Canada be today if it were not for the Canadian Pacific Railway. I have heard hon. gentlemen on this side of the House complaining of the exorbitant charges that were made in connection with the Canadian Pacific Railway, but notwithstanding that I say the national side of our country has been greatly advanced by the construction of that railway. Where would the North-west Territories be to-day, what would be the state of our iron mines along Lake Superior, of our nickel, silver, and gold mines if it were not for the Canadian Pacific Railway V In the light of our experience with that great transcontinental railway I think we can view with favour this proposition which is designed to open up a part of Canada which is comparatively valueless at the preseut time because of the lack of transportation facilities. Perhaps we have not all the information we would like to have in regard to that country but this scheme will help along the march of progress and I think Lhe country will be of the opinion that the government have not grappled with the question an hour too soon. It may be considered by some people that this proposition has not been matured, but when it is remembered that the Grand Trunk Railway Company, which is a strong financial corporation, believe that it is going to be a paying enterprise, I think the government are justified in saying : Well, if you consider it a wise proposition we are prepared to meet you. The government did meet the Grand Trunk Pacific and they have made what they considered to be a good bargain. People may calculate and say it is going to cost a great deal more money than the sum which has been stated but that is only a surmise. I contend that the government have made an excellent bargain with the Grand Trunk Pacific. They are going to ouild a railway from Moncton right through to the Pacific coast and they are going to open up new country. We do not know any thing at all about the hidden wealth of that country, but we know there is good land adjacent to a great portion of the route to be traversed. I know that in the upper end of my county there is an immense quantity of land available for settlement waiting for railway facilities. We little know the riches that we possess. We little knew what we possessed along the Canadian Pacific Railway and we little know what we possess in this northern country to be opened up by this new railway. Providence intended that country for some purpose. When I first went to Pembroke 317

some forty years ago the surrounding country was looked upon as being comparatively valueless, but it is now, I may say, the garden of Ontario. I know what I am talking about when I say what has happened there is going to happen all along the line.

I do not undertake, to say that this new railway is going to cheapen the cost of taking wheat from the North-west Territories to the sea-board, but it will give us a new line of communication between the east and the west and it will develop sufficient local traffic to make it self sustaining. The Grand Trunk Pacific people think so themselves. In that view I am strongly in favour of the project that the government have propounded to the House. It is true that a member of the government, the hon. ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair), did not see the question exactly as his former colleagues have seen it. He took issue with them. He is very much interested in the Intercolonial Railway. Ho has adopted certain views and those views he has carried to the extent of resigning from the cabinet.

I do not find any fault with him for that, he lias a perfect right to carry out his convictions and I do not pretend to criticise him. 1 have had the very highest opinion of the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals.

I believe he was honest in his convictions, when, because he could not fall in with the views of his colleagues, he withdrew from the government. He has a perfect right to do that. That is his privilege. As far as the ex-Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte) is concerned, he spoke largely the other evening about developing the great water-ways of the country. I am to favour of that myself. I do not want to take up the time of the House by going into that feature of the question at any considerable length. I introduced a motion in the early part of the session in connection with the Ottawa and Georgian Bay canal. 1 want all the railways we can get in Canada, if we want to make this country what it is destined to be, if we want to populate the country, if we want to see our resources developed, we have to encourage all these enterprises. We should not be afraid of the cost. Suppose that it does cost $100,000,000 or $150,000,000, what is that compared with the revenue this great country will derive from the outlay ? Some hon. gentlemen talk about cheap freights. I say that what we want are people. Give us population; give us plenty of people. This new line will have passenger traffic as well as freight traffic. We do not know what the character of the scenery in that country may be. We do not know what amount of tourist traffic there will be, but if this line is built it will attract a great many travellers and it will also attract settlers by which the country will be peopled. I do contend Sir that if there is one thing more than another which should engage the attention of parliament it is the improvements of our water-ways. That

country which would enlarge its water-ways and develop them to the greatest extent so as to secure economy in transportation which tends to the prosperity of the country will have done for its citizens, its producers and its consumers alike the greatest possible good. I say then that this Ottawa and Georgian Bay canal, which is an old scheme, should have received more serious consideration at the hands of the government of the day and the parliament of this country.

What did Sir John Macdonald say in his time when I brought up my motion in that connection. He said :

The Ottawa ship canal and the Pacific Railway must be constructed. No voice will be raised against the great national work which will open up the western states and colonies to the seaboard.

He put that scheme hand in hand with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Then, Sir, we come to Mr. Alexander Mackenzie and what did he say :

I am perfectly satisfied that the Ottawa valley presents the greatest facilities of any route upon the continent for the transportation of the products of the North-west to the Atlantic ocean.

These men were sound in their views. They looked at the situation as statesmen, not from a sectional, a selfish, or a party standpoint. They looked at it in a national spirit, and that is the way that such questions should be viewed. Any member in this house who, looking at that great stretch of inland water navigation that nature has placed there for man to develop, and considering the difficulty that now exists in moving the bulky products, the cereals of the North-west to the seaboard, says that this Georgian Bay canal should not be constructed does not understand the situation. If we had a 20-foot water-way vessels could be employed of 18-0 feet draught, and carrying some 8,000 tons of freight from Bake Superior to the seaboard at a dollar a ton, or $8,000 a cargo, so that we would have a rate of three cents a bushel on wheat. Is there any other stretch of water navigation or railway line that can compete with that ? No, Sir, there is not and cannot be. Nature has done almost everything for us and it is left for us to do the rest.

Then, Sir, let us consider the value of the water-powers along that river. You talk about protection stimulating manufactures. Why, Sir, these water-powers will be the greatest stimulants to the manufacturing industries that we could have. Two hundred and fifty thousand horsepower can be developed on that line. See what that will mean, think of the pulp mills and grist mills that will be erected between here and Mattawa. We can have all kinds of machinery run by electricity. That is what the effect of this construction will be. Hon. gentlemen may laugh, but I am talking common sense, I am talking facts. I am for business every time. I am

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LIB

Thomas Murray

Liberal

Mr. MURRAY.

not a lawyer, I do not study up what I am going to say. I say it from my heart, I am sincere and I believe that if there is one matter more than another which should receive the attention of Canada it is this very important question of Improving the water-ways. This will not be a canal ; it will be a series of stretches of river navigation. Book how the ships will be sheltered, no danger, no risk at all, they will be sheltered from the winds and the storms to which they would be exposed on the 'great lakes. Then, looking at it from a military standpoint, we will have a system of inland navigation which will be of great value in connection with a system of national defence and a great protection to our shipping. From every standpoint I say the Ottawa and Georgian Bay canal should be constructed, and I appeal to hon. gentlemen on both sides of this House to take up this matter. In 1898 a report of a Senate Committee was published on this project. That is one thing for which I give the Senate credit- I do not give them credit for much, because I consider the Senate a useless piece of government machinery-but I do give them credit for giving that question some attention. I asked for a copy of that report, and not being able to get one, I addressed a letter to the Chairman of the Printing Committee, asking him to have a number printed for further circulation. In the course of his address the other day my hon. friend the ex-Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Tarte) made reference to this question. He made a personal inspection of the French river, and was instrumental in having a survey and an approximate estimate of the cost of a canal on that river prepared. He was very enthusiastic on that matter. I accompanied him from Pembroke down the Ottawa to Arnprior, and naturally, at Bryson and other places where he stopped, people were anxious to meet him, and they gathered in large numbers. The hon. gentleman then gave the impression that the construction of the Canal was to go on immediately, that surveys were to be made along the route and the whole project was to be taken up. I am sorry to say that the other evening when he spoke lie did not go quite as warmly into the subject, although he was very much in favour of improving our water-ways. He referred to the St. Rawrence. He strongly favoured spending money along the St. Bawrence, and at Montreal. I did not like the ring of his speech when I compared it with the enthusiastic manner in which he spoke to my constituents when I accompanied him through Pontiac.

I am satisfied that the. hon. leader of the government, although he has not pronounced himself as strongly as did some former premiers of this country. Sir John Macdonald and Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, has foresight enough and has statesmanship enough to see the necessity of going

on with this project. All I hope, Mr. Speaker, is that in considering- 'this railway which is about to be built-and I am satisfied that it will be carried in this House, I am satisfied that if the leader of the government and the leader of the *opposition should both explain to the House their different policies and the vote .should be taken then and there that would be the result- all I hope is that this Georgian Bay canal project will not be lost sight of. I trust that if this railway is constructed parliament, ratifying the agreement and the country approving of it, its construction will not retard the building of the Georgian Bay canal.

Now, Sir, I do. not know that it is necessary that I should take up the time of the House at greater length.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The hon. gentleman has not touched the railway scheme yet.

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LIB

Thomas Murray

Liberal

Mr. MURRAY.

I think I have. I have said that 1 think it is a national necessity and that we cannot move too fast. X endorse the sentiments of my leader ; I say it is the. time for action, not the time for delay, that we should not delay in order to hear what that section of the country is like. We know that the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway people, as business men, are giving the project due consideration and are undertaking it as a business enterprise. The government lias met them and met them in a businesslike way. I do not want to talk at as great length as my bon. friend who has just interrupted me (Mr. Sproule). I could talk all day on the railway project and on the absurdity of the proposition of his leader. Why, Sir, this may he a project which is not very much matured, but I consider the jiroject of the leader of the opposition abortive. The idea of utilizing the Intercolonial Railway ! Have we not got tiie Intercolonial Railway already ? The idea of utilizing the Canada Atlantic Railway ! Have we not got that already ? And the idea of utilizing the Lake Superior section of the Canadian Pacific Railway ! The tiling is monstrous and an absurdity and if the leader of the opposition and the hon. gentlemen behind him think that the people of this country are going to support such a proposition they are .making a great mistake. If the hon. leader of the opposition had come down and said that, considering the efforts and the surveys made in connection with the Ottawa and Georgian Bay canal, considering what the present government has done in making surveys of the French river, no question of transportation should receive precedence over the construction of the Georgian Bay canal, then I would be with him and there would be some sense in that. But there is no sense under the sun that I can see in the proposition that lie has submitted to the House. The lender of the opposition may be a very clever man, I respect him. and I am sure that lie lias the respect of every other mem-317i

ber on this side of the House. So long as he retains the position of leader of the opposition, he is a credit to Canada. I believe hon. gentlemen could not have selected a .better man as leader of the opposition, and I hope the country will keep him there for many years, and I think they will. He has brought forward a duck-and-drake proposition which I as a business man look on ns absurd. What good will it do in the way of opening up the back country ? What we want to-day is a policy for opening up territories which are not yet opened up. We know toy experience that that is a national necessity, and that is the kind of policy I am in favour of. Mr. Speaker, I will not say any more.

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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. A. PRINGLE (Cornwall and Stormont).

Mr. Speaker, we have just been entertained to 'a very forcible speech from the hon. member for Pontiac (Mr. Murray). He was careful at the opening of his speech to assure us that he was retiring from public life. He was most particular to emphasize that before he made the statement that he supported this scheme of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. His speech certainly had the merit of brevity, and I will endeavour to follow him in that respect. But, Sir, while lie got up to speak in support of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, he devoted his whole time and attention to the Georgian Bay canal. He told us nothing whatever in regard to the merits of the Scheme of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, except that the road was 'to run through a country which was entirely unknown. He said that he himself knew nothing whatever about the wealth of the 'country through which tills line was to go. It was refreshing to hear one hon. gentleman on the other side of the House give the hon. ex-Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) Credit for honesty in life convictions. We have heard repeatedly in this debate hon. gentlemen who- have been followers of the exMinister of Railways and Canals, instead of meeting by argument the very 'able arraignment which that hon. gentleman made of this transcontinental railway scheme, meeting it by abuse. We had the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) and other lion, members on the other side of the House*,standing up in their places, and, instead of meeting the 'arguments of the hon. ex-Minister of Railways and Canals, devoting their time to abusing the ex-minister; and I say again tlmt it was refreshing to hear the statement coming from the hon. member for Pontiac that lie considers that Mr. Blair was thoroughly honest in iris convictions.

Now. Mr. Speaker, we all acknowledge that during the past two or three years there has been a discussion in regard to the congestion in the North-west Territories. We on tliis side of the House take no pessimistic view as to the future of this great country. We as a Conservative party have

always been optimistic as to the future of Canada. We acknowledge that the resources of the North-west Territories alone are sufficient for the building up of a nation. We recognize that we have in that great country over 191,000,000 acres of land, equal to the area of Great Britain and France, two of the richest countries in Europe. We recognize that of this vast area only 1,000,000 acres were under crop last, year. So that practically only one acre in every 200 lias come under 'the domain of the plough; only one-half of one per cent of the soil of the territories has yet borne a crop; and yet that comparatively small area last year yielded a very large crop both of wheat and other cereals. I say we have recognized that, and the Conservative party are ready and always have been ready to meet such occasions in the proper spirit and in the proper manner; and when the government announced through the Governor General that ' the whole question of transportation and terminal facilities continues to occupy much attention, and my government will immediately appoint a commission of experienced men to report on the subject.' we on this side of the House considered that the government were taking the proper step. When we heard the address of His Excellency the Governor General, we could And no word therein in regard to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.' or any other great transcontinental line. If it had been the intention of the government on March 12 to enter into an enterprise of this sort, to enter into an expenditure which is estimated to cost the country from $100.000.000 to $120,000,000, that should have been foreshadowed in the speech from the Throne. But there is not one word in the speecli from the Throne which could give any hint or idea that the government intended taking up the question of a great transcontinental line.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I intend just for a moment to follow up what occurred from the 12tli day of March. On May 19 tire Privy Council submitted recommendation's to the Governor General for His Excellency's approval. Although these have been quoted before in this debate, I think it is well for me to call attention to one or two points in them :

The minister submits that it may be assumed that grain and other products will naturally seek their markets by the cheapest routes, and therefore the method of attaining the object desired should be to make the Canadian routes cheaper and more convenient than conmeting routes.

The minister further states that the questions to be considered are complicated and involved, including among the objects, to be sought tho transportation of western products from place of production to the markets of the world.

This involves the consideration of their transportation : -

From place of production to Canadian seaports.

From place of production to the western ports of Lake Superior.

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

From the western ports of Lake Superior to Canadian seaports.

From Canadian seaports to Europe.

From place of production through Canadian ports on the Pacific.

As it affects the products of the eastern provinces of Canada it invokes their movement

To the seaports.

From the seaports to Europe.

It is obvious that before any satisfactory conclusion can be reached upon these questions a thorough and comprehensive inquiry should be made regarding :-

The conditions of original shipment and the possibilities of improvement in the conditions surrounding such shipments.

The storage requirements of lake, river and ocean ports.

The harbour facilities of the inland lake3, rivers and Atlantic ar.i Pacific ports.

The conditions with regard to the navigation of the St. Lawrence route, and, generally, any improvement, enlargements, or other matters affecting the more economical and satisfactory uses of any Canadian channel of transportation by land or water.

The minister further states that in making such investigation attention should not be confined to routes and facilities which are at present utilized, but, if necessary, new surveys should be made to determine whether any more economical and satisfactory channels of transportation by land or water can he opened up.

The forces operating against the attainment of all Canadian transport, namely :-*

Competition by United States railways ;

Competition by United States vessels from Lake Superior ports ;

Diversion of Canadian products through eastern outlets to Boston, Portland and other United States ports, should be investigated, and the best and most economical methods used by cur competitors should be carefully studied and leported upon.

The minister apprehends that in 'these circumstances it devolves upon the Dominion government to consider and adopt the best possible means of promoting such measures as may enable Canada to control the transportation of its own products, and it is thought that the most efficient method of conducting such an inquiry and obtaining the required information is by means of a commission of competent and experienced experts who may be appointed and authorized under the provisions of chapter 114 of the Revised Statutes of Canada.

To that report the Conservative party took no exception. They consider that the government were taking the proper means to solve the transportation problem; but shortly after this address of the 19tli of May, we heard rumours of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway scheme. Application was made to parliament for extension of the Grand Trunk Railway from North Bay west. A Bill to incorporate the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway subsequently came before this House and the Railway Committee. The Grant! Trunk Pacific Railway had no intention whatever of building from Moncton to Quebec nor of extending from Quebec westward to North Bay. What they required was the right to build from North Bay westward, but for political reasons these other portions of the road were tacked on to the scheme. So late

as July the 11th, the lion the Postmaster General (Hon. Sir William Mulock) sought to keep up the idea that the government . were still considering the reference of the question of the problem of railway transportation to ail expert commission ; but almost immediately afterwards, we heard rumours of the government proposing to build the road from Moncton to Winnipeg and of1 dissensions in the cabinet. On July the 10th Mr. Blair's resignation was tendered, but kept secret. On July 15th his resignation was announced, and on July 30tli the Prime Minister introduced1 the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Bill and declared that there was no time for deliberation or investigation. What was it that changed the opinion of the members of this government during that short time ? On May the 19th we had this address. On that date, the government were certainly well settled in the view that the whole matter should be referred to this commission on transportation. On July the 11th, the Postmaster General, as I have said, kept up the fiction that the government were still considering the question of referring the transportation problem to an expert commission. They named as chairman, Sir William Van Horne, and I may be permitted just to quote some statements made by that gentleman in connection with this matter. In Toronto, on August the 5th, he was interviewed, and in that interview he said :

The Canadian Pacific Railway, tlie Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, or any other all-Canadian route, will never voluntarily carry a carload of wheat fiv the all-railway route around the great lakes to an eastern Canadian port for shipment abroad, for the simple reason that it *will never pay any road to do so. Not will the transportation problems In the west ever be solved by the constvu"tion of an all-Canadian route from coast to coast.

Sir William was, moreover, of opinion that, as far as the development of the west was concerned. there was no need for any other transcontinental line. The idea of a line having t.o be built for strategic purposes he characterized as the result of the bogey which now and again seized upon some minds through an excess of fear of the States.

Have wc not already,' asked Sir William, ' an all-Canadian line from Quebec to Vancouver ? Doesn't It run entirely within Canadian territory ? Pot a line to bn built away up along the north for the Dtirpuse of tapping the west would be altogether futile Very little grain at all comes down from the part of the Dominion through which it was proposed to run that line. The Canadian Pacific Railway may take a carload of wheat out of it now and again. But I state this emphatically that, no all-Canadian line. I care not by whom it is built or run, will voluntarily draw a single carload of wheat east of Port Arthur over Its tracks. We occasionally take one when the traffic by boat is congested, in the winter, when any special need arises. The usual practice, however, is to convey wheat by boat through I.ake Erie canal.'

Before we commit this country to a scheme of such magnitude it is only right that the people of Canada should be given an opportunity to fully consider it. What chance is given them ? The scheme is brought down at the end of the session, it never received any consideration until it came before this House on July the 30th, and if, as is generally reported, we are to go before the people within a few months, what opportunity will the people have to decide on this measure ? The decisiop will have been taken out of their hands, for by that time this parliament will have passed the Bill and bound the country to the construction of this transcontinental line. The ' right lion, the First Minister says that a line of railway from the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of the' Pacific is a national as well as a commercial necessity. One would infer from that statement that such a road does not exist now. But we all know that it does. We all know that we have a road from ocean to ocean on Canadian territory, so that this bogey raised by the right lion, gentleman lias no foundation and we need pay no attention to it. I notice, as the debate goes on, that our friends on the other side are not paying any attention to this bugaboo of the bonding privilege. They see that the whole tiling is utterly ridiculous and that the people look upon it as a most ridiculous argument for the construction of this road. But when did the right lion, gentleman discover that this proposed line is an urgent and immediate necessity ? On March 12th, when this House opened, he had not discovered its pressing necessity. On May 19 when this address, regarding the transportation commission was voted, lie had not discovered it. He seemed only to have become aware of it on July the 30th. I say, Mr. Speaker, that this proposed road is not an urgent and' immediate necessity. I have no) desire, even for a moment, to belittle the great resources of the Dominion.

I have just as much faith in the great resources of this country as any man in this House.

I have no doubt that in the northern part of Quebec there are great elements of wealth. I believe also that in certain sections of the northern part of Ontario there may be great wealth, but we know nothing whatever about it. Would it not have been better to liave tins transportation commission go on and make a thorough investigation of the transportation problems of this country ? Would it not have been better for tlie government to take a little time ; to have an amount of money appropriated for tlie purpose of sending survey parties out to have that country thoroughly explored to the end that we may know exactly what we have in that northern region, before plunging into a scheme of this magnitude. involving a cost to this country as I said before, from $100,900,000 to $120,000,000?

958

Chicago to Buffalo via lake 889.

Buffalo to New York via N.Y.C.. .. 440

1,329

Difference in favour of St. Lawrence route and port of Montreal 371

Now, Sir, a great many members supporting the government have tried to convince themselves, and have tried to convince this House, that the grain of the west will be carried by rail. We can get no more convincing argument on this question than the commerce that passed through the American and Canadian canals at Sault Ste. Marie, and see what grain comes down through those canals. We find that in 1902 there were 76,730,965 bushels of grain passed through the American and Canadian canals at Sault Ste. Marie, showing, at any rate to my mind, conclusively that the grain of the western (country will follow the water route. But that grain is only a part of the products which pass through those canals. We find that of grain other than wheat there were 27,740,822 bushels, and 8,910,240 barrels of Hour passed through those canals, showing that the water route is able successfully, not only to compete with, but to take away from the railways which are running out of St. Paul and Minneapolis the freight whicji

leaves those cities for the east. Now, we find these distances :

Miles. Miles.

Duluth to Depot Harbour via lake.. 644 Depot Harbour to Montreal via rail. 379

1,023

Duluth to Buffalo via lake 997

Buffalo to "New York via N.Y.C.. .. 440

1,437

Difference in favour of Montreal 414

- Miles.

Port Arthur to Depot Harbour 510

Distance to Midland, about 510

New York to Liverpool 3,105

Montreal to Liverpool 2,821

Difference in our favour 284

Now, Mr. Speaker, wbat is being done to-day by the Canada Atlantic Railway is certainly evidence that the rail and water route is the cheapest and best route from the west to the east. We find that during last year some 20 million bushels of grain were carried from Depot Harbour to the eastern ports, and the hon. member for Bothwell has suggested that that was largely American grain from Chicago. The Canada Atlantic Railway would have been able to handle five to ten times that quantity if they had had elevator facilities in Montreal for that grain. The distance from Milwaukee, from Chicago, from Duluth, is shorter to Canadian ports, to the port of Montreal, than to the ports of Buffalo and New York. In other words, a bushel of grain can be carried cheaper from those ports to the Georgian Bay ports than it can be carried to the port of Buffalo. All the ports on the Georgian bay -can be made trade centres for grain. If this scheme which the government proposes were feasible, and if the proposed route could carry grain, as they pretend it could, from the west to the east, then it would simply mean the destruction of these Georgian Bay ports, which are now enjoying such a large and profitable trade from the carrying of grain.

Now, Sir, we have two great routes from the west to the east ; the all-water system through our lakes and canals, and the lake and rail system. I am sorry to say that owing to this government not being abreast of the times the all-water system is not doing the work that it should do. In what position is a large vessel leaving Port Arthur -and Duluth and arriving at the eastern end of Lake Erie ? We have no elevators at Port Colborne. They have twenty-two elevators at Buffalo, the most modern and up to date elevators. Vessels of the class that I have mentioned cannot get through the Welland canal, and they have no way of discharging their cargo except by discharging it at Buffalo. If we had modern elevators at Port Colborne we would find that the class of vessel which carries 300,000 or 400,000 bushels of grain would come from Fort William or Port Arthur and unload into these elevators and that the grain would then be carried in a smaller class of vessels from Port Colborne to Montreal and Quebec. But, unfortunately, we have no facilities whatever. With a very moderate expenditure of -money flip 'Welland canal could be so improved that vessels drawing 22 feet of water could pass through that canal. As we all know when they pass through that canal they go to Kingston Mr. PRINGLE.

and discharge their cargo there in elevators and there would then be only a short distance to be traversed betweeu Kingston and Montreal or Quebec. I concede at once that from Kingston down it is a physical impossibility to get the channel of 22 feet in depth. We have done all we can do from Kingston down in giving a channel of 14 feet. I see passing every week the Wol-viu steamers. These steamers are carrying grain from Chicago to Quebec for three cents a. bushel, and some of the gentlemen connected with that company have told me in conversations *which I have had with them that if we had a proper depth in the Welland canal and if we had proper elevator capacity at Port Colborne, grain could be carried for less than they are now carrying it for, in the class of vessels which they have to use to go through the St. Lawrence canals. I have statistics here in regard to the amount of grain that is passing through the St. Lawrence canals, and I am sorry to find that it isl such a small quantity. If the St. Lawrence canals were improved, if we had adequate elevator capacity at Port Colborne ' and the Welland canal enlarged, 1 am satisfied that a very much larger quantity of grain would pass through to Montreal and Quebec.

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LIB

Arthur Samuel Kendall

Liberal

Mr. KENDALL.

What is the tonnage of the steamers plying between Chicago and Quebec ?

Topic:   NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
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CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

I cannot tell the hon. gentleman the exact tonnage.

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L-C
CON

Robert Abercrombie Pringle

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PRINGLE.

They carry 00,000 bushels. They draw 13 feet 9 inches of water fully loaded. At this season of the year we have rather high water. They are able at present to go down drawing 13 feet 9 inches, but a little later on they will have to lighten tlitir cargoes very considerably. We get lower water during the later part of August and iu the month of September. We have spent $80,000,000 in building -our system of canals. The distance between Port Colborne and Mbntreal is 3G7 miles, out of which there are 63 miles of canals, the balance being made up of lake and river navigation. If improvements could be made in the Welland canal and if instead of a system of 22 locks there were only half a dozen locks and a depth of 22 feet, this larger class of vessels -might go through to Kingston and discharge their cargoes there.

At one o'clock. House took recess.

House resumed at three o'clock.

Mi-. PRINGLE. Mr. Speaker. When the House adjourned at one o'clock I was dealing with the shipping of grain along the water routes. I find Mr. Speaker from statistics that last year there were shipped from the -two Canadian Lake Superior ports,

Fort William and Port Arthur, 35,525,793 bushels of grain. Of this total 13,500,054 bushels, or 38 per cent, were shipped to1 Buffalo and Port Huron, the balance, 02 per cent, going to Canadian ports, as follows

Port. Bushels.

Owen Sound 1,308,160

Midland 8,316,972

Depot Harbour 3,515,760

Point Edward 192,901

Meaford 972,684

Goderich 2,759,484

Kingston 4,985,176

-Mr. SPROULE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. I want to know if it is allowable to conduct the business of the, House of Commons without any Ministers of the Crown or any one to take charge of the House being present 7 I think it is a most unusual thing.

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LIB

August 31, 1903