April 7, 1908

LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. W. E. KNOWLES (West Assiniboia).

Mr. Speaker, as has been said by an hon. gentleman opposite this afternoon the notice of this motion has been on the Order Paper since the commencement of this session asking that the government should take into their serious consideration the question of transportation' in reference to the Canadian west and especially in regard to the construction in the very near future of the Hudson Bay Railway. It had been my purpose to go on with that motion on the first available opportunity, and I have been watching for such an opportunity for weeks, but upon any occasion upon which I have been present it has not presented itself. Yesterday it was dropped that I might have the privilege which is open to every hon. member of this House of presenting views upon this and similar subjects on the occasion of our going into Committee of Supply.

The proposition which I desire to bring before the House is one which my hon. friend from Saskatchewan (Mr. McCraney) seconded last year and one which I believe he will still endorse. Over a year ago i brought to the attention of this'House this same problem. On that occasion I had a very strong case to make before the House in view of the very congested condition of the transportation facilities in the west. The House will recall that a year ago there was a very much more serious congestion than there is during this present year. Happily this year we have not had the vicissitudes in regard to weather conditions to cause a repetition of the very serious condition of affairs which prevailed a year ago, but I am sorry to have to say again this session that notwithstanding the condition of the season, the favourable weather we have had and the unfortunately small crop, there has still been a great deal of congestion. I have seen at different points in the elevator towns in the Northwest a condition of affairs where men were not able to ship the grain which they had raised for weeks this last fall because of the repetition of this congested condition of affairs, and I must say that I cannot too forcibly impress upon the members of this House the seriousness of a condition of that kind. When we find that men have worked their farms through the summer to the end that they may have the product of the soil to sell, and when we find that when they have that product ready for market they are not able to move it, they are not able to find a purchaser for their grain, it is indeed a most serious condition Mr. FIELDING

of affairs. I myself have stood at many elevator points along the different railway lines and I have seen farmers standing with their hands in their pockets looking up at the elevators and entirely helpless to raise one dollar upon their grain.

However, the condition of affairs this season was not nearly so serious as in the season before. But that does not in any way make me hesitate in my desire to bring this question again before the House during the present session, for I think it would be the utmost folly if we were to say that because last year wre had something of a failure in our crop, and because this winter has been so favourable in weather conditions there has not been the congestion that otherwise would prevail and therefore, we have considered the transportation problem solved. That would be a most foolish policy. I desire on the contrary to say that under these circumstances., while they ensure against a repetition this year of the serious condition of affairs that we had a year ago, at the same time instead of making us less anxious they should make us more anxious, because it is no exaggeration to say that as each succeeding year comes upon us there will always be a greater problem to solve than there was in the year before. The country is filling up by leaps and bounds, and unless, there is something undertaken by the government of Canada in the very near future I am at a loss to know how we will solve this great problem of transportation. We have had during the last few seasons an abnormal increase of our population by immigration. During the year 1906 there came into our country from Great Britain, 97,757 immigrants; from the United States, 63,782 immigrants and from continental Europe, 54,373; making a total of immigrants in 1906 of 215,912. In the year 1907 we had a total immigration of 277,376, a very material increase over the number of immigrants in 1906. And, I am happy to say that the class of immigrants which we have been receiving in recent years belong to the very best class of people we could expect to bring to this country.

I might cite as an instance of this that the settlers from the United States in 1906 brought with them settlers, effects to the value of 49 million dollars, and in 1907 they brought with them settlers, effects to the value of 52 million dollars. And, I may say to those gentlemen who are prone to talk about the balance of trade being against us, that if they consider such an item as this in their calculations it would go a long way to explain how it is that our imports are greater than our exports. If we take 52 million dollars worth of settlers effects brought from the United States alone, it will give us an average per capita for each immigrant of over $800. We are all aware that the immigration during the present year has been larger than it was last year,

and that during January and February of this year (1908) there has been an increase of 61 per cent over the immigration in January and February of the year 1907.

It is reliably figured that the lands in the provinces of Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan w'hich are not yet tilled, will when brought under cultivation result in the reaping of the harvest of almost inconceivable magnitude ; that if we take the grain land which as yet is not settled and if we figure that on the basis of it producing only one half of what the present cultivated acreage does, even on that basis there will be 2,000,000,000 bushels of grain raised in the three new west provinces. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the outlook in that country is very bright, and that for the moment we are justified in passing on to this very urgent matter of attempting to solve the great transportation problem in preference to taking up the subject which the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) wished to discuss this afternoon. I might also remind my hon. friends on both sides of the House that the facilities for handling the grain in the way of transportation accommodation are very little better than they were twenty-three years ago when the last spike was driven on the Canadian Pacific Railway. I fail to see how any hon. gentlemen on either side of the House can say that the government is going too fast, as they sometimes say when they talk about the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific. These hon. gentlemen may express themselves similarly with regard to this proposition that I have the honour to bring before the House this afternoon, and they may say that Canada can afford to go slowly, but I say that in view of the fact that we have very little more facilities for transportation than we had twenty-five years ago, the criticism is, in all fairness and justice, not properly advanced that the government of Canada has gone too fast in making provision along the line of transportation facilities. It comes to this, that with regard to the production of grain just as with regard to the production of any other staple you may have for the world's market, if you cannot find a reasonable and convenient market for the thing you are producing the rules of trade and commerce very soon cause the production to cease. You cannot for ever expect farmers in the Northwest to be producing grain they cannot sell. You cannot expect they will go on producing that for which they cannot find a ready market any more than you can expect the man who runs a factory to keep on producing goods when he is not able to find a convenient market for the product of his factory. And with regard to the Northwest Territories, Providence has cast our lot along agricultural lines just as in Ontario, to a very large extent, the lot of that province is cast along

manufacturing lines. The wealth of Ontario is largely bound up in the great cities where the manufacturing industries are centralized, while just as truly are our lines cast for us along agricultural pursuits. That is so ordained by nature and it is only by developing our resources along that natural line that we will be able to attain the true destiny for which the great fertile prairies were created. After all, without the slightest comparison that may be odious, I leave it to any hon. gentleman present if it is not a fair proposition to make, that if there must be any industry encouraged first in the Dominion of Canada, we first should encourage the agricultural industry. I recall reading in a recent life of Peel that he said : We would no doubt rather have com fields than cotton factories ; we no doubt would rather have an agricultural population than a population engaged in manufacturing industries, but Providence has decreed otherwise and statesmen are powerless to prevail against it. So I may say with regard to the Northwest Territories, that it is always going to be for the blessing of Canada that Providence has ordained that that country shall be a great agricultural country and the supporter of a great agricultural population which in morals, in intelligence, in industry, and in every desirable feature you like to speak of, is always recognized throughout the world as the best and most desirable population that any nation may aspire to possess. And, when we speak about solving the problem of the agricultural community the words can scarcely be out of our mouth before we learn that it is the transportation problem we have to solve, and that when we talk about agricultural problems in that country of great distance it amounts to the same thing as referring to the transportation problem. I must remark here that I read, very carefully the platform of the leader of the opposition announced in the city of Halifax, and it was with regret I found that for us in the west he had no utterance to make with regard to how we were going to solve that great problem. I should have been very pleased had he on that occasion taken hold of the great national question of the Hudson Bay Railway, or the great national question of transportation for the movement of our grain in the west, and if he had presented to us in definite words that we could have understood some solution by which he thought we could address ourselves to the carrying out of this great task which lies upon us as a nation. I say it was with regret, that in the platform of the leader of the opposition announced in the city of Halifax, I was not able to find any treatment of this important subject.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would ask my hon. friend whether he has found out what

the government platform is on the question ?

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

I am trying to find that out this afternoon. However, since the Hudson Bay Railway became a great national question, the government as far as I am aware has not undertaken to consolidate and present their policy in the clear and well defined words which we find for example in the Halifax platform.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

I have not said that I am altogether satisfied with the way in which the government have addressed themselves to the transportation problem of the west : I would like to have seen them move a little more quickly.

Coming to the specific matter about which I wish to speak this afternoon, I wish again briefly to give the distances from various settled points in the Northwest by way of the proposed Hudson Bay Railway, in order that the figures may be again placed on * Hansard.' Generally speaking, the use of the Hudson Bay Railway will save about the distance from Fort William to the sea ; that is to say, the distance from the centre of tl^e wheat country to Fort Churchill is about the same as the distance from the centre of the wheat country to Fort William, and the distance from Fort Churchill to Liverpool is about the same as the dis-, tance from Montreal to Liverpool, which means that the distance from Fort William to Montreal will be saved. The various distances are as follows :

From To Montreal. . To Fort Churchill. DifferenceMiles. Miles. Miles.Winnipeg 1,422 945 477Brandon 1,555 940 615Mcosejaw 1,823 817 1,006Medicine Hat 2,082 1,076 1,006

The distance from Fort Churchill to Liverpool is 2,946 miles and the distance from Montreal to Liverpool is 2,927 miles, being practically the same. The distance from New York to Liverpool by the northern route is 3,07,9 miles. Thus there will be. generally speaking, a saving of distance by the Hudson Bay route, as proposed between 950 and 1,000 miles. This saving in distance will be of course a great advantage in every direction. It will mean a saving in time and in charges, while the route will afford, what is very important, another outlet for the products of the west. The number of miles of railway that will require to be constructed is at present only 470 or 475 miles, just about one and a half the distance from Toronto to Montreal. That seems a small matter when we consider the importance of moving the wheat Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

harvested in the western country every year. With regard to the saving of charges, I wish to refer to the treatise on the subject compiled by Mr. J. A. McKenna under instructions of the hon. Minister of the Interior, and published by the Department of the Interior. This treatise is regarded as an authority on the subject. At page 51, Mr. McKenna says, with regard to the saving on wheat :

The freight upon grain from the wheat belt to Hudson bay would 'approximate ten cents a bushel, the same as to Port Arthur; the additional 15 cents from there to the Atlantic sea-board would be saved to the farmer, and this, of itself, represents a fair profit to the wheat-grower. Assuming an export trade of 20,000,000 of bushels, which can easily be handled in two months of the season by the proposed railway the saving of 15 cents a bushel, being the difference in cost of freight from Port Arthur to the Atlantic sea-board, would amount to $3,000,000.

That is with regard to wheat alone. Now let me read what Mr. McKenna has to say with regard to the saving and profit in the transportation of cattle :

A very important feature in connection with a railway which secures quick access to the sea is with relation to the shipping of cattle to the European markets; this great industry is at present seriously handicapped in consequence of the long journey to be endured under present conditions. It is admitted as a well recognized fact, that cattle shipped to the Atlantic coast arrive at the shipping port in poor condition, emaciated by long days of rail travel. It is also admitted that on the sea journey they gain rather than lose in flesh, if put on board in good condition. Experience proves that after three days of rail travel cattle will deteriorate; that three days is about the limit of the time during which they can travel and maintain the condition in which they are placed on board. This being so, cattle could be transported to Fort Churchill without loss in flesh, and the voyage to Liverpool would improve this condition rather than the contrary. Therefore, this great industry alone would find in the Fort Churchill route a solution of the difficulty under which those engaged in the business of cattle shipping now labour.

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Mr. F. W.@

Peters, assistant freight traffic manager of the Canadian Pacific at Winnipeg, states that up to the end of October over 72,000 head of cattle had been shipped to Liverpool from western Canada, and he expected a further 10,000 head to be shipped that season. The freight rate on these cattle would be about 60 cents a hundred pounds in car lots from Winnipeg to Montreal. The rate from Calgary to Fort Churchill would be about the same as to Winnipeg, and the distance about equal, so that this 60 cents a hundred pounds could be saved to the shipper if he could put the cattle on board at Hudson bay, and he would also prevent the shrinkage which would otherwise occur, by reason of the additional rail journey from Winnipeg to Montreal.

Upon the 82,000 head of cattle shipped to Montreal from the west during the past sea-

son, the saving in freight alone, $6 a head, or in round figures $650,000, would be equal to about 20 per cent of the selling price.

That has reference to the saving in freight charges alone ; and it is said by experienced cattlemen that to these you can add $2 a head for the saving of shrinkage in the cattle from making the rail journey so much shorter.

We now come to the question of the land through which this railway will have to pass. Iu my speech of last session I went into this subject more fully than I propose to do to-day, because the character of the land is not something that has now to be proved, but is generally accepted. We have had expert evidence given on this subject before different committees of the House during this session and last session, and I think that not only to lion, members of this House but to the whole country it is no longer a debatable question whether or not the country through which it is proposed to build this railway is of such a nature that the railway is feasible. It is recognized to be a country through which the building of a railway would not be difficult. A great deal of the country is of limestone formation, which is the ideal kind of land upon which to lay rails. There is sufficient timber to furnish ties in abundance. And there are resources which would bring a great deal of profitable traffic to the railway. Besides the short distance over which a railway has to be constructed, 470 miles, surely justifies me in saying that the construction is from every point of view, feasible, and one which would bring such profit to the farmers of the Northwest Territories that there can be no excuse for delaying the work any longer.

I beg to refer to a document published by the Senate entitled ' Our Fertile North Lands.' On page 89 you will find particulars regarding the nature of the country. I have had the pleasure of discussing this question with different engineers who have been over that territory, and they tell me- especially Mr. Thibaudeau, an engineer who has recently been out there-that in every way it is an ideal country for railway building. There are great stretches in it of first-class argricultural land. For an extent of 200 miles north and south and an indefinite distance east and west there are great resources which would yield profitable traffic. There are timber, mineral and agricultural lands, and when we get to the bay itself we find good fisheries such as cod, salmon and lake trout. As regards Fort Churchill, it is one of the best natural harbours in the world. It is deep, well sheltered, easily kept open during nine months of the year, and there would be very little cost in fitting it up beyond the building of elevators and wharfs. On pages 45 and 46 of this book to which I have referred. I find that the writer, Mr. McKenna, quoting from Mr. Thibaudeau, thus describes some of the advantages of Fort Churchill harbour :

It can be kept open all the year by the employment of ice-breakers. Last year, 1906, the harbour closed between December 5 and December 10. The conditions in January, 1907, were as follows: In the bay at Fort Chuchill the ice was II inches thick. It extended for a third of a mile from the shore into the bay. Ice was much thinner in the bay than in the harbour. There was some floating ice about a quarter of a mile from the edge of the bay ice. This is sent in by a northerly wind; should the prevailing winds blow from any other direction, there^ would be no floating ice. Beyond this floating ice there was clear open water straight away into the bay and beyond. This was the general condition up to and including January 2, 1907. An icebreaker similar to either the north or south now in use between Quebec and Levis would, by making two trips a week, keep the harbour open the year round.

The entrance to the harbour is about 2,000 feet wide, with a minimum depth of water of ten fathoms. Vessels drawing 36 feet draft could enter the harbour and anchor within 200 yards of the west division, to a point 3,500 feet south of Fort Prince of Wales. The bay outside the harbour also affords good anchorage; there is ample depth of water.

A vessel drawing 24 feet of water can come within 150 yards of the east side of the harbour, from its mouth to a point 150 yards south of Battery beacon. There is also good anchorage south of the point east alluded to (150 yards south of Battery beacon) for 2,000 feet by 800 feet in width for vessels drawing 24 feet of water. Opposite Battery beacon for a distance of 2,500 feet across the harbour there is a minimum depth of 24 feet of water.

He then goes on to speak of other places in and outside the harbour where there is splendid anchorage. The great question, of course, occurs to us at this point, and that is the navigability of the straits. This is also dealt with in the treatise to which I have referred. I shall not take up time by going into the details, but there seems to be no doubt that the straits are safely navigable at least four months in the year. A great many of the old Hudson bay navigators put a much longer period of time during which the straits are open to shipping. We have data on this subject dating back about one hundred and fifty years, for ships have gone into the bay as many and even more years back. And when we reflect that in this present age we have our ice-breakers, our modern steamships which can break the ice themselves, and with the aids to navigation such as telegraph stations, lighthouses and other facilities, there does not seem the slightest doubt that the Hudson bay straits could easily be open for shipping at least four months in the year. My own opinion is that they may be kept open much longer.

So far I have discussed the question from the view point of the west. Let me point out that it would also be profitable for the eastern provinces. In the territories, in the next fifteen or twenty or a hundred years,

we shall inquire great quantities of steel. This is called the steel age, and in the construction of our buildings and bridges and other works of development, including railways, we shall require no doubt immense quantities of that product. Is it not very advisable, therefore, that ships should come direct from the steel plants in Sydney, laden with their products, and discharge in Fort Churchill, which is but a few hundred miles away from the centre of the Northwest Territories? Not only does this apply to steel but to all those other products which are placed upon the market by our fellow citizens in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton or even Prince Edward Island. Take, for instance, fish and other products raised in these provinces, they could be laid down at Fort Churchill very cheaply and in that way help not only the west but the east.

I now come to deal for a few minutes with the question of who should pay for the Hudson Bay Railway. My hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) seemed to lay it down as a foregone conclusion, that the money should not come out of the exchequer of Canada. I wish to be the last to raise the question of the east against the west or the west against the east. There is no profit in that kind of discussion, but I would be wanting in my duty to my constituents, if I did not say very frankly that, in my humble opinion, the people of the west are contributing very much to the exchequer of the Dominion and are not receiving one scintilla of profit in return except what they get back in the shape of expended revenue. It would not be unreasonable therefore to ask our friends in the east to seriously consider this question, whether it would not, in some way, tend to equalize the burdens of this nation we are trying together to build up if a return were made to the west by undertaking some great national enterprise such as this. It is very seldom that this matter is touched upon in this House, but this afternoon I am goiug to speak for a moment or two frankly along that line. When I spoke last session on the subject of the Hudson Bay Railway, I said that we of the west were willing to pay a certain amount of revenue and, incidentally-as there is no use denying-a certain amount of protection, that we might help our sister provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and the rest to develop their resources and build up their industries to the end that we might, together, eventually make a great nation in Canada. But I wish to recall What this House does not often hear, and that is that we are agriculturists, and while there are many agriculturists in Ontario and Quebec and the other older provinces, yet our people do not profit from the building up of manufacturing centres as do the agricultrists in the eastern provinces. The agriculturist in Ontario may find the burden of the tariff bear somewhat Mr. KNOWLES.

heavily upon him as a consumer, but he always has the consoling thought that he is building up at his very doors, a great market-in Toronto it may be, London, or Hamilton, or Halifax, or Sydney, or Quebec or Montreal-building up a great market to which he may bring his produce. But there is no such consolation for us, there is no' such compensation for us. We have to find our market on Liverpool prices, and anything that -\ve contribute for the building up of Canada-I want to say here and I say it without fear of contradiction-we are paying for the purpose of building up the nation and there is no selfish advantage whatever. In view of that fact, would it be a very unreasonable principle to lay down, that, in the administration of the affairs of this country, the west should be more generously dealt with than she is, and that in the administration of the affairs of the country there should be a freer hand in dealing with the west because she has no such compensation as that of which I have spoken in the case of the people who live in the east ? Of course this is not necessarily to be applied toward the building of the Hudson Bay Railway, but I contend that It is not an unreasonable principle to lay down.

My hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) suggests-and I confess that I have nearly made up my mind that there is something in the idea-that the Hudson Bay Railway is not to be built out of the exchequer of Canada. The hon. gentleman suggests an arrangement which he outlined. He said : Let us keep one-tenth of the lands and wait until they are worth $10 and $12 an acre, and then sell them and reimburse the exchequer of Canada for the cost of building the road. To me it is a very unwelcome task to differ from such an eminent and hon. gentleman as the member from Brandon ; still, in my humble way, I do differ from the position he laid down, and I will tell you why. For one thing, I am against tying up ten per cent of the land. We have had such a curse upon us from tying up lands for the Canadian Pacific Railway that not ten per cent, or even one per cent, would I favour tying up for the days to come. I can show you school districts, Mr. Speaker, that have to close the doors of their schools and could not educate their children because of the tying up the lands of the Canadian Pacific Railway as these lands could not be taxed. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) went further, and took advantage of the opportunity to say that, in his opinion, the odd-numbered sections which had been tied up as being in the railway belt, should be thrown open for settlement without the preemption. I do not agree with the hon. gentleman in his expression of opinion on that point either. The governmnet has already announced itself-the announcement having been made last session that it was in

favour of the pre-emption clause in the Consolidated Land Bill which was brought down, and I have no reason to believe that the government has changed on that point. For my part, I was a supporter of that feature, and am still in favour of it. That Bill provides that the present settler in the Northwest shall be given opportunity to become possessed of a farm of not only 160 acres but 320 acres. Let me give, very briefly, my reasons for favouring this plan. In the first place, we must admit that the best land, speaking generally, is gone. Of course, there is a great deal of good land left, and not homesteaded? 1 am not trying to give a black eye to the land not taken up-but there is no denying that, generally speaking, the choice land has been taken, as is only natural. Therefore, it is to be considered whether there is not an arrangement to be made by which a man, if he cannot get as good land as the homesteader of the past got, many receive 'more of the land that is not so valuable. And we say that it is to be given on residence duties as proposed, with the payment of $3 an acre, that removes any objection that may be raised that the land is going to the speculator. As I am on that subject, I wrish to say what my opinion is in reference to the pre-emption clause. My hon. friend from Brandon brought this subject up. I have no hesitation in saying, as a western man, and one in touch with western conditions, that the opposition to this provision of the measure comes from the great land speculators of the west. Let me read an article from the Regina ' Standard,' which hon. gentlemen opposite, no doubt, will listen to with great respect- and, on the point referred to I think the ' Standard ' is right. I read from the issue of March 5 :

Hon. Frank Oliver's new land measure, which was mentioned in the Speech from the Throne in the House of Commons

I am not sure they are right about that.

-and which is shortly to he up for consideration, was the subject of discussion, it is learned, at a meeting of a number of business men at the city hall yesterday afternoon, at which John Ridington, formerly of the Winnipeg r Free Press,' but now representing the corporations interested, and attached to the staff of the Pearson Land Company, dealt with the pre-emption provisions of the Bill and endeavoured to work up a feeling against these pre-emption clauses with a view to haying pressure brought to bear on Mr. Oliver, through letters to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, to break the determination of the Minister of the Interior to have the pre-emption clauses inserted. Mr. Ridington's mission was not crowned with much success, apparently, for the meeting broke up without any action being taken and the whole question was referred to the business men's committee of the board of trade.

It is gathered that Mr. Ridington's main objection was to the pre-emption clauses of the Oliver Land Bill.

I could read you other reports and items from the public press which go to show that this opposition comes from the great land speculators. I myself was waited upon by a gentleman, who, I think, is the largest land dealer in Winnipeg, and he asked me to give my opposition to these Bills. He said : Witli all our thousands

and tens of thousands of acres of land, if the Dominion government is going to throw open the odd-numbered sections to enable men to get their quarter-section by means of pre-emption, it would ruin our market. I remember his saying to me : If the government must give the settler another 160 acres, don't talk about $3 an acre ; we want $15 an acre for our land, and when you talk about $3 an acre it makes people say our price is ridiculous. I could cite many cases of men identified with the land interest in the west, having taken a similar view to that of my hon. friend from Brandon, that the pre-emption feature should not he carried out, but that the land should be kept only for the individual homesteader. There is this also to be remembered that previously when homesteaders went into that country they had the privilege of purchasing another quarter-section in addition to their homestead from the railway company or the Hudson Bay Company'. That privilege is now gone. The railway lands are nearly all sold, the Hudson Bay lands are virtually all sold, so I have no hesitation in saying, speaking only for myself, that for these reasons, the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) to the contrary notwithstanding, the pre-emption clause should stand.

Mi-. SPROULE. That is the pre-emption clause of $3 an acre?

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

Yes, with settlement duties iu connection. I am in favour of that and wish to be judged accordingly. In the administration of lands in the Northwest the government, I think, should not be too afraid of exercising generosity to the settlers. It is a matter of pride to me personally, without wishing to bring politics into this discussion that this government has never given away an acre of land to a railway company, or any other company except in the case of that bargain, which in my opinion was a good bargain, with the Saskatchewan Yalley Land Company, under which that company undertook to settle lands that before that time had been barren. Apart from that they have sold no land to any land company or for that matter have sold no land at all.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

What about the land they gave to ranching companies at a dollar an acre, one-fifth of all their holdings ?

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

My hon. friend is mistaken. No land was sold to a ranching company at $1 an acre.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

If it was not, the information given to the House was incorrect. Three companies had the option of taking one-liftli of their holdings at $1 an acre and they bought over 10,000 acres at this price.

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

My hon. friend no doubt is quite sincere in what he says, but he is altogether mistaken.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

If there is any mistake it comes from the government because they gave the information to the House.

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LIB
CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Will he say that McGregor & Hitchcock did not buy 9,450 acres, one-tenth of their holdings of grazing lands at $1 an acre and pay for it?

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

That is two against one, anybody else? My hon. friend will have to admit that, I am right when I say that these people did not go on the market and buy land at $1 an acre. I will admit that under the grazing lease the holder can buy a small amount of land for home and corral purposes, but that is different from going on the market and buying outright. I am glad my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Poster) spoke witli reference to that McGregor & Hitchcock lease. The hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) spoke of the Robbins Irrigation Company.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

No, I spoke of the cattle ranching company.

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

I will therefore qualify my remarks by saying that the government has sold semi-arid lands under the Irrigation Act at $3 an acre, $2 to be spent in improving the land. This is quite different from saying that it is sold at $1 an acre.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
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CON
LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

No, the hon. member refers to lands sold under the home and corral provisions of the grazing regulations.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Permalink
CON

April 7, 1908