Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).
Mr. Speaker, the right hon. leader of the government (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier), in his closing remarks, said that a new star has arisen but he did not say whether it was in the east or in the west. I presume that he meant that it indicates the approach of the wise men. If that which we have before us is an indication of their wisdom I may be excused if I would say that I have great doubts as to whether that star has arisen yet or not. That star indicated an overflowing treasury, an abundance of wealth and a desire on the part of hon. gentlemen opposite to spend it and spend it freely. I leave it to the people of Canada to judge whether or not it is another evidence of the wisdom of the government. The Prime Minister described the speech of the leader of the opposition, as being not so much an attack upon the policy of the government, as a defence of his own policy. Well, in so far as it was a defence of his own policy, it was an answer by the leader of the opposition to allegations made against it which were devoid of fact and logic. Gentlemen opposite indulged in all kinds of wild statements about the proposition laid down by the hon. leader of the opposition, and it was the duty of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Borden) to refute these statements. But, it is not the policy propounded by the leader of the opposition that is on trial before the people of Canada to-day. It is the policy propounded by the government that the people of Canada have to consider, and notwithstanding that, it may truly be said that the Prime Minister applied himself today. not to defending his policy, but in trying to detract from the acceptance which the policy of the leader of the opposition has found from the people of Canada. The policy proposed by the leader of the government commits the country to the expenditure of millions of dollars, to an increase in the public debt, and to heavy burdens which must be borne by the people for many years in the future. And, Sir, the country will judge the government by the policy which they have laid down, and not by the policy of the leader of the opposition. The right hon. gentleman taunted us, that we have never dared to crystallize our opinion, by moving an amendment. Why, Mr. Speaker, there is an amendment in your hands now, and there was an amendment moved not so long ago in this House, setting forth the opposition's views on this question, and how in the face of that, the Prime Minister could make such
a statement, is something that I cannot understand. One of our amendments has already been dealt with, and another very cogent one is before the House now, and it must be voted upon by the ministers and their supporters whether they like the ordeal or not. The right hon. gentleman told us, that the policy of the opposition was many-sided. Well, we are not ashamed to say that it has many-sided virtues, and we are quite confident that its many-sided virtues will receive the commendation of the people of Canada. The trouble with the policy of the government is, that it has only one side, and the only side it has is that it burdens the country with an enormous expenditure. Let us inquire into a few of the many-sided advantages which the proposition of the leader of the opposition will confer upon the people of the country. It develops the transportation routes now in existence ; it increases the transportation facilities which we have been spending money to perfect for years past ; it does not side-track the wealthy towns and cities of Ontario and Quebec as does the government scheme; it assists in building them up and bringing trade through them; it confers benefits on the people of Ontario, of Quebec and the maritime provinces; it builds up the great ports of the Georgian bay, and of Lake Huron and of Lake Superior; affords accommodation to the people of Manitoba and the North-west right through to the Pacific ocean. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the policy of the leader of the opposition's many-sided, and every side of it has a virtue in it, and every virtue it possesses will commend it to the intelligent judgment of the people of Canada. I regret that I cannot say the same for the policy of the government. We are told that no madder scheme could be conceived, than ' that the government should operate the Canada Atlantic Railway. We were asked, where would that line get its freight if it did not depend on the United States for it. But, is that an unmixed evil ? If we have the United States supplying that line with freight would that fact alone not aid it to give a better service for the transportation of home freight ? Wouid it not add to the earning powers of that line ? Would that be any objection to the scheme ? Why, Sir, I believe that is an additional recommendation in favour of the proposal that we should take over the Canada Atlantic Railway. And, if the Canada Atlantic Railway is handling the freight of the western states to-day, why should it not handle it if the road passed under the control of the government ? I submit these considerations to the right hon. gentleman in the hope that he may revise his opinion in this respect. Then the right hon. gentleman told us,'that the essence of the government scheme is another railway between the east and the west. Let me point out. to him that we are going to get another railway into the North-west in a very short time, without a
dollar of cost to the people of Canada. I see it stated tlmt the Canadian 1'acilic Railway is double tracking its line both east and west from Rat Portage, and they hope in the near future to have a double track from Port Arthur to Winnipeg. That affords practically another railway into the country, because when they reach Lake Superior, the great distributing centre of that western country, it is taken by the lake fleet of steamers and transported to the Georgian bay, where there are a dozen railways ready to carry the produce to the east, and distribute it to the markets of the world. That double track line will give to the people of the North-west, without the expenditure of a dollar, all the advantages that the most sanguine could hope from the government scheme, which is bound to cost us millions and millions of dollars. Let me ask the right hon. gentleman, if the scheme proposed by the leader of the opposition does not contemplate giving additional railway accommodation to the people of the western country ? In what light does the right hon. gentleman regard the purchase of that portion of the Canadian Pacific Railway from North Bay to Sudbury, or Port Arthur. If three railway companies used that one track which is only used by one company now, would there not be three railways going into that country, instead of one as at the present time, and we can secure all that for less than one-third of the cost entailed by the scheme of the government. The right hon. gentleman has asked if the plan proposed by the leader of the opposition is cheaper than the plan proposed by the government. Well, the data furnished by the leader of the opposition to-day ought to be satisfactory evidence on the point that his scheme would cost at the outside $60,000,000 to bring it to its full fruition, as compared with at least $120,000,000 which the road proposed by the government would cost. Hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House, have calculated that the government proposal will cost all the way from $13,000,000 to $120,000,000. Of course the $13,000,000 estimate is only the interest upon the expenditure involved in the undertaking, but if you apply any reasonable calculation, you will find that it will cost $120,000,000 of somebody's money to build that road. It will, therefore, be seen that the cost of the scheme proposed by the government will be at least double the cost of the scheme proposed by the leader of the opposition. and will afford no greater advantages. Indeed, in my opinion, the government scheme at double the price, will not be so advantageous for the people of the country as that proposed from this side of the House. I believe, Sir, that the more the people understand the scheme proposed by the leader of the opposition, the more it will meet with the approval of the people.
The line proposed by the hon. leader of the opposition, the right hon. gentleman says,