June 9, 1905

CON

Angus Alexander McLean

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. McLEAN.

Railway and steamer rates. As there is a subsidy given to the steamer, the Minister of Trade and Commerce could regulate that. It is a recognized practice with the railways to grant a cheaper rate on goods intended for exportation than on goods intended for con sumption in Canada. If that principle were applied to the trade between Prince Edward Island and the West Indies, it would be a great boon.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I was under the impression that the railway rates in that region were pretty moderate, and that no grievance could arise on that account either as against either the Intercolonial or the Prince Edward Island Railway. Sometimes the criticism is made that the charges are too low.

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CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

I do not think the minister (Mr. Fielding! was in the House when I made a statement which he will find can be verified. Take a car of cattle from Prince Edward Island and land them in Halifax and the freight on those cattle to Halifax will amount to $65. The distance is about 200 miles. You can take a car of cattle from Guelph, Ontario, and land it in Halifax, after a trip of 1,000 miles, for $65.

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LIB
CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

That lias nothing to do with the question I am discussing. I am simply showing the minister that we do not get the benefit of the long haul to Halifax. We want a rate per mile over these 200 miles the same as is charged over any other part of the Intercolonial, and more especially if these goods are intended for export. I do not think that is an unreasonable suggestion, and I hope the minister will try to have it carried out.

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LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. A. JOHNSTON.

I venture to suggest to the hon. member for Prince Edward Island (Mr. Martin) that if he makes a calculation he will find that the rate charged on the Intercolonial between Pictou and Halifax is lower than the rate charged by any other railway in Canada. I think he will also find that the higher rate charged between Charlottetown and Halifax is due, to a large extent, to the steamboat charge between Charlottetown and Pictou. That is unfortunate. But I want the hon. member to recollect that a few years ago a proposition was made to this parliament to bring about a state of affairs which would result in lowering that rate. The hon. gentleman was not here at the time, but a number of his friends from Prince Edward Island appeared before the Railway Committee of this House and protested against any interference with the present system of transportation between Prince Edward Island and the mainland.

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CON
LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. A. JOHNSTON.

The proposition was to establish a rival line of steamships, a rival line of transportation between Prince Edward Island and the mainland, and delegations appeared before the Railway Committee from all parts of Prince Edward Island protesting against any interference with the present system of transportation.

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CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

I do not know what the hon. gentleman's remarks have to do with the question under discussion. I think a transportation company was incorporated, the Act passed this House and was sent up to the Senate, where it was given a three months' hoist. The hon. gentleman says the Intercolonial is not responsible for these rates ; I think it is. I know that the Intercolonial is the route over which this freight goes, and I know the Intercolonial is the road' which charges these rates.

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LIB

Alexander Johnston

Liberal

Mr. A. JOHNSTON.

Does the hon. member mean to say that the Intercolonial charges a $65 rate from Charlottetown to Halifax ?

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CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

A part of that rate is paid to the boats, about $15 or $20 would be the water charge, the Intercolonial would charge the rest. It is the short hauls which

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make the rate from Prince Edward Island so high.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

My hon. friend lias to recognize tlie fact that Prince Edward Island is an island-for the present, at all events, until certain events happen. Now if he is correct in his impression that the ralway rates on the Intercolonial and Prince Edward Island lines are excessive, that is a matter for investigation. I am glad my hon. friend takes that view, for sometimes we have to fear criticism, not in the maritime provinces, that the rates on these roads are too low. I am glad the hon. gentleman puts forward the other side of the question I think, however, he will find on inquiry that the railway rates on the Intercolonial and on the island are not excessive, they are probably as low as the railway rate's for an equal distance in any other part of Canada. If that is not the case, then it is a proper subject for investigation ; because, while we are trying to run the Intercolonial as a public convenience, we have certainly no desire to charge rates higher than those which are charged by a private company. I think it will be found on examination that ii there is a difference between the Intercolonial and Prince Edward Island railway rates on the one side and the company rates on the other, for a given mileage, it is in the way of higher company rates.

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CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

It is the short haul rates which we complain of. As to Prince Edward Island being an island, the province can't help that. We joined the confederation at the urgent request of the other provinces, but I do not know that they appreciate us now, they do not at least show it in the treatment they give us. On our side we are losing our population, we are losing our trade, and I am sure the Finance Minister does not desire that. I think this is one of the means that will check it, and if the Minister will take that means, he will do a service to the province; if he does not, the population will continue to decrease. VVe have lost 18,000 people since the census of 1891. taking into account the natural increase, when there should be a large increase.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

Coming back to the question before the chair, I notice that the government seems to be taking power to subsidize a line of steamers from either St. John or Halifax, or from both. I understand that the subsidy has heretofore been paid to a liue of steamers from Halifax by way of St. John, and thence on to the vv est India Islands.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

From St. John to Hal-irax and the West India Islands.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

Now I understand the government have under consideration the idea of running this line of steamers only from Halifax, and leaving out the port

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CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. MARTIN.

St. John. Now I wish to draw the minister's attention to this point ; These two cities are rival cities, they are both looking out for trade ; and after so many years of a service between Halifax and' St. John and the West India Islands, assisted by the government, I do not think it likely' that either of these cities will quietly submit to seeing an advantage given to the other. I think the minister can rest assured that if he limits this service entirely to the city of Halifax, he will find an agitation at once started for another service from St. John, and that instead of one subsidy he will be called upon to provide for two subsidies. 1 think that is a very likely thing to occur, and I know the hon. gentleman has no desire to waste the resources of this country in subsidizing more lines than are necessary. Even at the expense of perhaps saving a day's time in this voyage I do not think it would be wise to limit the service to the one city only. It might be that the government would meet all interests better and save money to the country by continuing the service as it has been in years gone by, and not now taking it away from either one city or the other and giving the rival city a decided advantage over the one which is not to receive the service. That is the only point I desire to make, and I draw the hon. minister's attention prominently to the fact that he can rest assured from'what I know of the people living in the city of St. John that they will not quietly submit, but that they will at once begin to agitate and continue to agitate until they secure the service which has been provided for them in bygone years if it should be taken away from them.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Just a few words in respect to the freight rate question. I did not understand my hon. friend from Prince Edward Island (Mr. A. Martin) to complain of the rates in the sense in which the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) has referred to his remarks. We have the statement of the ex-Minister of Railways and Canals to the effect that if the rates were the same on the government railways as they are on the other lines of railway, instead of having a deficit, the government would be able to show a surplus. No doubt hon. members on this side of the House will find fault with the administration of the government railways because they charge rates that are complained of by the hon. ex-Minister of Railways and Canals. If the government are charging a lower rate on their line of railway than other lines are charging then I think other roads will have good ground to complain. As I understand my hon. friend from Prince Edward Island he complains that it costs the same amount to transport a car of cattle from Prince Edward Island to Halifax, $65. as it does to carry it from Guelph to Halifax, and that therefore an unfair charge

is imposed upon the people of Prince Edward Island.

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CON

Alexander Martin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALEX. MARTIN.

I did not complain particularly of the rate on the car to the other point, but I complained of the high rate charged on the people of my province.

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L-C

Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

Quite so. But the hon. Minister of Finance must not run away with the idea that we in Ontario do not complain in the same way. They complain in every province of the Dominion of the rates which are charged by some railway companies for the short as against the long haul. That is a general complaint throughout this country; farmers and shippers all over this country are complaining. They think it is unreasonable and that is one of the very questions which the Railway Commission should inquire into and readjust. This has been the complaint all over this country for years. Personally I take the view that if the railway companies did not take advantage of their lower rates for long hauls tliev could not give the rates they give now for short hauls, that if they charged high rates on long hauls that would be cut out by American competition.

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June 9, 1905