It is a small balance of the subsidy granted. We find by actual calculation that the subsidies paid fell short by the amount of a mile and a half of what was voted, and of the length of line which they built.
14. To the International Railway Company of New Brunswick (formerly the Restigouche and Western Railway Company) for a line of railway from the western end. of the ten miles of Its railway, as already constructed from Caimpbellton towards a point on the St. John river between Grand Falls and Edmundston, not exceeding 67 miles, being a reyote, and in lieu of subsidies granted by chapter 4 of 1897, chapter 7 of 1899, item 42 of section 2 and chapter 8 of 1900, item 22 of section 2, 67 miles.
59. To the International Railway Company of New Brunswick for a line of railway, in addition to and in extension of the line of 67 miles mentioned in item 14 of this section, to a point on the St. John river between Grand Falls and Edmundston, not exceeding thirty-three miles, 33 miles.
Oh, no. The additional item (No. 59) to which I have referred, is in addition to the previous vote. I may say, generally, with regard to these votes, that they will be found to correspond almost exactly with the mileage. Where the difference has been very slight, a few miles, we have not put the additions in by special vote, but where the addition has been considerable, we have put in a separate vote to indicate it. So tbat the
-OCTOBER 19, 1903
revote substantially corresponds with the mileage previously voted. There may be a difference to the extent of three or four miles in one case, but not beyond that.
Has the work been actually commenced in every case of a revote, or is this just hanging out the sign ? Surely we should not vote subsidies year after year unless there has been some earnestness shown by the parties getting these subsidies in going on with the work. I would like to ask if work has actually been commenced in each case, and surveys and estimates of the cost made ?
I think in some cases the work has not actually commenced. But I do not think that should be a reason for refusing to subsidize a road. The work in many instances is slow,- the promoters having difficulty in getting the necessary capital. We have to be patient, and give them time. If the promoters have a reasonable hope of carrying on the work, we should not refuse the subsidy, if the enterprise on its merits deserves it.
Is there any limit, or is it the intention to vote and revote the subsidies for all time ? There ought to be some evidence of good faith on the part of the promoters. I am not now criticising the character of the scheme at all; but I think we should have some information as to the policy of the government in matters of that kind. I do not think the Minister of Finance would be prepared to say that this parliament should vote and revote these subsidies year after year as often as they lapse, unless something has occurred in the meantime.
In the first place, this parliament should only vote subsidies to the most deserving cases, and they should be bona fide cases in which men propose to | go on with the work. Surely the hon. gentleman does not advocate our going on voting bonuses to parties who in many cases are endeavouring to sell them out. To vote and re vote these bonuses has a tendency to give these promoters opportunities of making money out of these schemes. I do not think it is standing in the way of any proper enterprise to say that no subsidy should be voted to a railway project unless it has life in it, or unless its promoters are prepared to go on with it. I can understand cases in which unforeseen circumstances might arise ; but I do not think the hon. gentleman should ask us to pass any one of these revotes without giving us reasons for the delay in going on with the work.
It is not merely a question between the promoters and parliament. Even where the promoters might not exercise due diligence, as some might think, the community is interested in
the railway ; and if one company has failed, perhaps others associated in the enterprise might make it a success. We must not forget that these enterprises are for the benefit of those portions of the country through which they run, and the people residing and owning property there ; and if the promoters do not make satisfactory progress, that is no reason for refusing to grant aid, not merely to the promoters, but to the people of the country through which the railway runs. I am sure my hon. friend would not want to do that.
No, I am too good-natured for that. The hon. gentleman has made the best possible argument in support of my contention, in saying that the people are chiefly interested. Why should persons get a charter for a railway, and get a subsidy voted, and then hold back the enterprise year after year instead of giving the service to the people ? The Minister of Finance should not ask this House to revote a single subsidy where there has been ample time to go on with the work, without giving some reason why it has not gone on.
With respect to the railway described in this item, I may say that the first ten miles are completed, and the remainder are under construction. That is a line running from the Baie des Chaleurs to St. John river to connect with the Bangor and Aroostook Railway.