But why ? Is there any particular reason why, for instance, this grant should be made, as under subsection (a), for a road of three miles in length only ? It may be, as I said, simply a grant for a siding to a mill.
There seems to be something very peculiar about this subsidy. This is a road of only three miles long ; when we granted the subsidy before, it was for a line of considerable length. I fail to see for what good purpose the government can give aid to such a line as this. Surely it cannot be for any great commercial purpose. It cannot be for the purpose of opening up the country. It is more likely to my mind to be for the purpose of aiding some private individuals. It bears very much that construction upon the face of it. A line three miles long into a new country would seem to be of no value whatever as a colonization road, and it is only for five purpose of colonization that we on this side of the House, at any rate, consent at all to granting these subsidies. Now it is due to the committee that some better ex-
planation be given before this item is allowed to pass. We ought to know who is going to benefit by it. Certainly the general public is not going to benefit; a road three miles long into a new country is not going to be of material benefit to the country at large, it is not going to operate as a colonization road ; and it is going to benefit some private individual let the minister say who it is, and let us judge whether the enterprise to be benefited by this subsidy is of sufficient importance to warrant the government taking public money to promote private interests.
I do not know that there is any private individual who is going to be benefited, it is for the benefit of the whole country. The road will be 100 miles long, and will open up woodlands of nearly 10,000,000 acres, which are at present inaccessible. These portions which are to be built now are merely stepping stones, and will form part of a road which will be eventually 100 miles long. So far as I know, there is no mine owner or mill owner who is to be benefited, only the general public.
I understand that three sections of a road are being subsidized. I would like to know if these three sections form one continuous line, are connected with each other, or are they separate portions of a railway, or are they simply branches off what is intended to be a
main line. I think we ought to know whether any good purpose is to be served by the payment of this money I confess it seems to be surrounded with a good deal of secrecy. To my mind, if they are separate sections, they will answer a very small purpose indeed. If they are to constitute a continuous line of 21 miles, then some justification might be given. So far as I am concerned, I am very much opposed to this system of subsidizing railways, unless for colonization purposes into a new country.