expeditions dispatched to investigate the possibilities of Hudson bay were possibly coloured by political consideration or the decision influenced by the vested railroad interest affected by the proposal. We, however, know that the Hudson Bay Company's boats have traversed these seas for a couple of hundred years, and I have also read in the ' Gentlemen's Magazine.' an English publication, vol. 52, page 547, of date October 29, 1782, a quotation from the Paris ' Gazette ' of an expedition to Hudson bay by a small French squadron under the command of Admiral De La Perouse. This squadron consisted of the ' Sceptre,' 74 guns, and two frigates ' L'Astree ' and * L'Enga-gente' under the command of Chevalier Langle and the Sieur Joillie, having on board a detachment of 250 land forces with two 8-in. mortars, 300 shells, and four field pieces, that they sailed from Cape Francois on May 31, 1782. and on July 17, 1782, they arrived at the mouth of the strait, that they had neither charts nor pilots, but that they entered the bay, captured Fort Prince of Wales and Fort York, which is at the mouth of Nelson's river and after looting the several forts they sailed away having captured valuables to the amount of twelve millions of livres, which would represent about five hundred thousand pounds sterling.
The fact that a vessel of this class, a sailing vessel of course, of 74 guns could go into the bay in 1782 at that time of the year, accomplish what it did, and get out safely, would convince any ordinary man that both the straits and the bays are navigable for vessels of a larger draught. It convinces me that ordinary steamboats with proper appliances could navigate those waters much earlier than the dates mentioned.
It is twenty-two years since the route was first officially examined, and the long delay in coming to a favourable conclusion affords another proof of the false perspective in which suggestions of transportation alterations are seen .
Last year several hon. gentlemen on both sides spoke favourably of this matter.
Quoting from 'Hansard.' page 901, on March 30, 1906,1 find the hon. member from Souris (Mr. Schaffner) used these words:
I do not see how any one can look at that inland sea and not come to the opinion that Providence had a very wise thing in his mind when he put Hudson bay there. It was to oarry out the products, not only of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, but also of the Northern United States.
The hon. member for East Assiniboia, as reported in ' Hansard,' page 908, March 30, 1906, expressed the hope that a railroad to Hudson bay would shortly be built and that such road would receive substantial aid from the Dominion government. The hon. member for East Assiniboia agreed with the hon. gentleman from Souris that such a railroad was a necessity, and would be a valuable Mr. CASH.
additional route for the whole of the western country.
Hon. Walter Scott in his address to the electors of Saskatchewan, in his last campaign said :
We have been obeying the direction of the Saskatchewan Liberal convention to urge the Hudson bay road project on the federal authorities, and not without success. I have now received assurance that the Dominion Government admit this project to be a national undertaking, and that they will not deny their responsibility. In other words, the Dominion Government will take measures to procure the construction of a railway from a point in Saskatchewan to the Hudson bay.
The policy of recognizing the Hudson bay route has actually received the endorsement of this government, and the people of the west have been officially informed of this fact by the gentleman who occupies the position of Premier of Saskatchewan.
Referring to this announcement as made by Hon. Mr. Scott, the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Lake) reported in ' Hansard,' page 909, March 30, 1906, said in the House that he hailed this statement by Mr. Scott with infinite deljght and that he regarded the pledge made by the .Dominion government to undertake the work as one which wouid satisfy all the people of the [DOT]west.
Dealing with the subject from a practical standpoint, one only has to quote from a speech delivered in the Senate, on March 16 last, by Hon. Mr. Perley, a practical farmer in the Northwest.
After alluding to the difficulty and loss occasioned to the wheat grower by reason of the long and expensive haul from the wheat fields to the sea, the honourable senator said : ' Freight from Wolseley, Saskatchewan to Fort William is 10 cents a bushel, from Wolseley to North Bay it is 22 cents ' ; concluding his remarks the hon. gentleman said ' export from the Atlantic sea-board by rail is entirely out of the question.'
The freight rate upon grain from the belt to Hudson bay would approximate 10 cents a bushel : this is a freight the farmer could afford to pay, but the additional 15 cents necessary to get the grain to the Atlantic sea-board is prohibitive and of itself represents a fair profit to the wheat grower.
The saving in freight to the western farmer by reason of an outlet at Hudson bay, is represented by appalling figures. Assuming an export of 20,000,000 bushels of wheat to European markets via Hudson bay, the saving at 15 cents, being about the difference in cost of freight from Winnipeg to the sea-board which would thus be obviated, amounts to no less than $3,000,000.
When one pursues these figures and calculates the legitimate measure in foreign demand for Canadian wheat, the amount saved to the western farmer who has the
facilities of shipping via Hudson bay reaches a colossal sum.
I contend that the people of the west, having been invited by the government of Canada to settle in and cultivate that important territory, are entitled to facilities whereby easy access to a shipping port may be secured, without being compelled to surrender a large proportion of the results of their industry in payment of freight charges for unnecessary long hauls.
Are the advantages gained through the efforts of the Immigration Department, with their accompanying vast expenditures of money to be made, nugatory by failure to appreciate a proposition that is self-evident? When one reflects upon Canada's great western heritage, with its vast natural resources, its inexhaustible vitality, its great areas, its millions of acres of grazing lands, the industrial and commercial genius of its enterprising and aggressive people, the conclusion reached cannot be that all these should go for nought, or be in any manner compelled to fall short of their greatest realization by the mere incident of neglect with respect to providing intelligent transportation.
It is a principle of political economy that legitimate demands of commerce for an outlet at the point of least resistance, cannot be long delayed, and never ultimately frustrated. If the products of the west can be brought 1,000 miles nearer a European market via Hudson bay, then that point becomes, as a matter of course, the natural outlet.
The question may be asked, are not the people of the west entitled to their natural transportation advantages? I believe they are, and I regard it as the paramount duty of the government to recognize this principle.
An outlet at Hudson bay for the products of the west will annihilate a quarter of the distance from western Canada to Europe, bring uncounted millions of acres in the wheat belt a thousand miles nearer to market, and cut in half the annual transportation cost of 50,000,000 bushels of grain.
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 all 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, bruised and emaciated by long days of rail travel. It is also admitted that on the sea journey they gain rather than lose 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 of 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.
Subtopic: PEAKER BROTHERS.