April 7, 1908

CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

The government can take any lands not disposed of.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF.

Yes. The hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Lake) spoke about the building and operating of the road as a government road because he did not think that the traffic of the three different roads in that part of the country could be accommodated over this line provided it was built by a company.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

I consider it would be very much better to have it operated by the government.

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Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF.

I would like to point out that my hon. friend took a different view a few years ago when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway proposition was before this House and when his leader proposed, as an alternative plan, a patch work railway, one part of his scheme being the leasing of the Canadian Pacific Railway from Fort William to Winnipeg and giving other companies running powers over it.

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Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

The hon. gentleman is wrong. I advocated government operation at that time, and do still.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF.

In that case, I withdraw my statement. But the great majority of members on the other side of the House endorsed the plan of their leader, which was to lease the road from Fort William to Winnipeg to the Canadian Pacific Railway, assist in having it double tracked and allow all companies running powers over it. If that were feasible in that case, it would be as feasible to have traffic running arrangement over the road to Hudson bay though that road was owned by one company.

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Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

May I ask a question? Would the hon. gentleman have the road to Hudson bay owned by a company or by the government?

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF.

I think it most important that we should get the road. And I

would be perfectly satisfied to have the government build and lease the road giving all other companies running powers over it, or make arrangements with one of the companies to build the road and make provision, by placing the road under the Railway Commission, that every company should have running powers. But I have not seen anything in Canada, so far, to make me very much disposed to continue in the future in the line of government built and government operated railways.

I think the road should be built as a main line, as another outlet and inlet for the trade of the country. I think one good result of its operation would be to bring us into closer communication with the mother country. I think it would do a good deal to increase and foster the business between Canada and Great Britain, for it would furnish a short and direct route the western terminus of which would be light in the heart of the great western country. I believe also that it will pay for itself as a colonization road. Let me just point out the change that has taken place in a few years. I can remember very well-and it is not so many years ago-when none of us thought that great country north of the Saskatchewan river right up to near Edmonton was of any value. But the more we explore that country and the more we learn concerning it, the more we come to the conclusion that in that country which at one time, was thought of little value, we have vast stretches of rich agricultural land. The construction of this Hudson bay road would not only develop 475 miles of a colonization road, but you must remember that the sea line on the west side of Hudson bay will be made tributary to the railway which would assist in the development of that whole country and assist very materially in having it thoroughly prospected. And l think there is no doubt that when ft is prospected you will find it a country rich in minerals. I believe that until you go away beyond where it is possible to grow anything in the far northern country, there is no part of this Canada of ours where, if you build a road for 500 miles, it will not of itself produce traffic enough to make that road a paying business. In every other part of the country we find we have vast resources not only of agricultural lands but of timber and minerals. We have a very good example of that in New Ontario, a country which, at one time, people thought was too rough to be any good, but as soon as they built a railway into it they found it was all right, making the railway a paying concern from the start.

At this late hour, it is neither desirable nor necessary for me to speak longer. I trust the government will take this important matter of the Hudson Bay Railway at once and will give us some definite pronouncement on the subject. I do not very much care how the road is built. I do not care very much whether the land is

sold oil pre-emption for $3 per acre or a certain quantity of land set apart to build tlie road. We are not concerned very much about the details; what we want is to have the road started. For it will take three or four years to build the railway, as we can work with advantage, probably, only from one end. The sooner it is begun the sooner it will be completed. I am satisfied that, before it is completed, every one of the roads now existing will be taxed to its uttermost. Though, by the Hudson Bay route, we may not be able to get out a great deal of wheat the same fall it is grown, we shall be able to get out many millions of bushels, and, for the rest, it is only a matter of storing it a month or so longer than it is stored at Fort William. And, as a route for cattle, there is no comparison between this and any other. It is so much cooler and the land haul is so much shorter that the cattle can be landed in better shape than if sent by the St. Lawrence, by New York or by any of the Atlantic ports. So, in conclusion, I trust that the government will give us some assurance at an early day that this matter will be taken hold of at once and carried to a successful completion in the course of the next few years.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. D. STAPLES (Macdonald).

I understand how unkind it would be on my part if I were to inflict a long speech on the House at this late hour. But I feel that I should not be doing my duty to the constituency I represent in this House, or to the province from which I come, if I did not at least say a word or two to show ' that I am most desirous that this road should be constructed at an early day. We have listened to many good speeches this afternoon. Some of the speakers have introduced some new thoughts; others have resurrected a great deal of old thought, but while it is old it is good, and upon a question of this kind we do not lose anything by refreshing our minds with what is already in ' Hansard.' The feasibility and the practicability of this road, as well as its great necessity, have been thoroughly established by what has been said to-day. Therefore, I shall not deal with that phase of the question. It has now come down to a matter of policy-it resolves itself into this: where are we going to get the money to construct this road ? We heard the policy of the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) when he madfi a speech in this House a few days ago. I listened to that speech, and I want to ask hon. members what is there in it after all? What was there in that speech more than has been presented to this House time and time again? That speech was published in the daily papers throughout Canada and in the United States and even abroad-for what purpose I am not at this moment going to say. I believe it was all prearranged. And as to what it cost to get this great publicity Mr. TURRIFF.

through the press of the world, I shall not say anything at this moment. But I will say that if one of the new members of the House, or one of the members who are not in the habit of speaking often had made the same speech that the hon. member for Brandon made, it would simply have been thrown in the waste basket.

As I listened to the policies enunciated by the hon. gentleman who preceded me this afternoon, I thought that, after all, there was another policy by which this government could very easily save the money necessary to build the Hudson Bay Railway. If they would only exercise a little more economy in the various departments, it would not be necessary for us to set aside any of our lands to provide for the construction of this road.

Take for example the Saskatchewan Valley Land Company deal. If the people of this country had received value for that land for which the recipients received $1,-

750,000 that would have gone a considerable distance in constructing the Hudson Bay Railway. If the government had pared down the unnecessary and gorgeous expenditure in equipping the ' Montcalm,' if those on that boat had drunk out of a ten cent cup Instead of a $12 cup and that money had been used for the construction of this railway it would have built a few miles. It has been proved over and over again in this House and In the Public Accounts Committee that the government have been building wharfs throughout this country where there were no people, where there was no water and where there was no business. If they had used this money to construct the Hudson Bay Railroad they would have found lots of produce and many people there, and the money would not be lying idle as it is when used in the construction of such wharfs. If they had even used the $400,000 expended on the North Atlantic Trading Company for which the people received no value, it would have been some assistance. They might have used the money that has gone to the middleman in the Moncton land deal, or the large sums that have been made out of the Robbins Irrigation Company. Mr. Knowles stated this afternoon that the government had not sold any of the people's land for $1 an acre, but if he investigates he will find that 9,450 acres were sold for $1 an acre. 380,000 acres were sold on long credit to other irrigation companies, and in this case alone the middleman got $1,145,000. Why should that not be taken for the Hudson Bay Railway ? We have also the Galway Horse and Cattle Company deal. Here the people of Canada received only $600, but the man who got the land turned it over within a few days for $20,000. That would build at least a mile of the Hudson Bay route. Take the Blairmore townsite for which the people of Canada received only $480, but the persons who got the townsite to-day value

63S1

it at over $200,000. That would Have built 10 miles of the Hudson Bay Railway. We find that the Militia Department is to-uay spending $6,000,000 for a service that used to he carried on for $1,000,000. i womu suggest to the hon. the 1'rirne Minister that we should have a little less war and a tew more miles of Hudson Bay Railway. I am one ot tlie eleven who voted against the appropriation of $300,000 to get in the tn.u end of the wedge committing this country to $6,000,000 or $7,000,000 for the reclaiming of the Plains of Abraham. If they had taken even that $300,000 and used it in the construction ot the Hudson Bay Railway instead of blowing it up in fire-crackers, as some of my hon. friends say, the people of the western provinces at least would have been very mnch more pleased. Then we come to the Marine Department. If you took some of the money you have been paying to those Americans who have been coming here at $75 a day and used it to bund the Hudson Bay Railway, the people would have been much better satisfied and the gov: eminent might have used a portion of it to pay Canadians who could very well show the Minister of Marine and his officials how to change a single entry system of bookkeeping to a double entry system. It is only a few nights since we had in the House a vote for a ten-year subsidy of $200,U00 per year for a steamship line running to Prance. For what purpose V As far as I can ascertain from tne French treaty, we as Canadians, especially we farmers, get no great value lor that $200,too a year. It will simply be paid into the cotters of the company operating the service, and this for the purpose of assisting France to place her goods on the Canadian markets, if this had been used for the construction of the Hudson Bay Railway, it would have been of much more benefit to the farmers of the west.

Hon. gentlemen say we have not given away any of our lands. What have we been doing with our timber ? Where has it gone ? Imagine yourself taking a train at Halifax and riding to the city of Vancouver, a distance of 3,000 miles and seeing on one side of the track for a distance of half a mile, a belt of timber and you will have some idea of the quantity of timber owned and controlled by the hon. member for Dauphin and the Imperial Pulp Company, the president of which is the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Manitoba. But they are not satisfied with giving away the land and timber, take our fisheries for example. If you can imagine yourself riding from Halifax to Vancouver, and viewing for that distance a lake twelve miles wide, you will have some idea of what has been given away to a few persons for a mere pittance. If these national assets had been so dealt with that the people received a fair value for them instead of their being given away, we would have more than enough 203

money for the construction of the Hudson Bay Railway. The policy that I would suggest to the government for the raising of the necessary funds for the construction of the railway would be to cut out the middlemen, do away with the graft system and give the people value for the money collected from them In taxes.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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LIB

John Crawford

Liberal

Mr. JOHN CRAWFORD (Portage la Prairie).

No question is of more interest to the people of the whole country to-day than transportation. That question is at the bottom of practically all the agitation there is, particularly in the western country today. It affects not only the movement of our crops but every other line of business. It not only affects the farmers and the labourers on the farms, but it affects every line of business throughout the whole country. I consider this is a more important proposition at the present time than anything we have to consider. I do not wish to speak at any length but I think it is only right that I should at least make some correction with respect to some of the remarks which have been made by previous speakers. I noticed that the hon member for Calgary (Mr. McCarthy) and the hon. member for Qu'Ap-pelle (Mr. Lake) tried to misrepresent the conditions which surround this undertaking with reference to the acts of the present government. One hon. gentleman undertook to say that the mileage was increased more than it ought to have been owing to the route which was taken in the direction of Hudson bay, or owing to Messrs. Mackenzie and Mann not trying to get to Hudson bay. I notice that it was suggested in the order in council of 1882 that the proposed road would be about 800 miles long and if you will look at the route of the Canadian Northern Railway you will find that, in reaching Hudson bay, it covers a distance of about 800 miles. I have just one complaint to make. In all the business which has been done in connection with the matter they seem to have lost sight of the fact that when the land grant was originally given in connection with this road it was given for the sole purpose of getting a completed road. The orders in council one after another bear that out. The complaint I have to make is that no provision has been made in that direction. The present government may not be so much to blame as their predecessors in that regard owing to the fact that the arrangement provided that so much of the land grants should be handed over as every twenty miles were constructed. Whenever twenty miles were built a proportionate amount of the land grant was handed over but there was no provision made for the completion of the road. Messrs. Mann and Mackenzie or the Canadian Northern people should go on and complete the road. They have had sufficient to do it and I think it has been a great mistake that proper and sufficient provisions were not made surround-

ing the contract. In 1885 an order in council was passed providing that this road could be built practically anywhere the company chose to locate it. They could start anywhere and tap the Canadian Pacific Kailway. The order in council provided that in so far as that portion of it in Manitoba was concerned, the builders of the road were entitled to 6,400 acres per mile and that they should also receive 12,800 acres per mile in the Northwest Territories. The land grant would not have been along the line of railway if it had run in the direction that hon. gentlemen opposite have been talking about to-night. Throughout the different orders in council they make provision for the giving of the land grant to be selected not particularly along the line of railway, but the order in council passed in 1885 provides that in so far as the location of the land is concerned it is entirely at the disposal of the Minister of the Interior. Then having regard to the fact that they could start anywhere, build anywhere that would be advantageous to the company and that they could get into the Northwest Territories and select the land grant anywhere they pleased, goes to prove that the argument of my hon. friend's opposite, in so far as land grants are concerned, are not in keeping with the facts.

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?

Mr. M. S.@

McCarthy. What is the date of that order in council?

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LIB

John Crawford

Liberal

Mr. CRAWFORD.

May 11, 1885. The order provides that they can build from any point and in any direction that may be considered advantageous to the company and that the minister is to he sole judge as to the selection of the land.

Now, I will leave that feature of the situation. This proposed railway is the foundation of practically everything in connection with the business of the west at the present time. Its construction not only affects the moving of our grain but it affects the marketing of it as well. During a discussion which took place in connection with the working of the Grain Inspection Act the other day the bankers of the country took the position that owing to the condition of transportation they were not prepared to make advances and they gave that as a reason for cutting off credits to the grain dealers. The grainmen stated that before my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) made his announcement at the beginning of the session with reference to the assistance which the government had given to the banks the whole grain trade of the country was practically tied up because the grain dealers who were buying grain throughout the country could not get a dollar from the banks on account of their inability to get the grain which they had purchased and stored in interior elevators moved. When the announcement was made by the Finance Minister that he had made certain arrangements to assist the banking institutions to provide funds for the removing of Mr. CRAWFORD.

the grain.it relieved the situation immediately. Anything that is going to bring about better transportation facilities is of the greatest importance to the people of the country. As to the question of what advantage we may derive from the construction of this road it does not appeal to me from the point of view of dollars and cents quite so much as it may to other hon. gentlemen. It may present itself to them in that light owing to the parts of the country from which they come. I cannot see that we are going to derive an advantage even of 10 or 15 cents a bushel in connection with the shipping of our crop. I speak of the Manitoba part of the situation.

To the more western part of the country it would be of greater benefit but taking it on the whole I do not think the project would result in as large a gain in the matter of reducing freight rates as has been represented by some hon. gentlemen. The fact is that at certain periods grain is being taken from Winnipeg to Liverpool for about fifteen cents a bushel and it is not at all probable that it can be carried much cheaper than that by the Hudson Bay route. It is far more probable that when the Grand Trunk Pacific is in operation the result will be that the eastbound freight rates will be lower than they are to-day. I see that the rate quoted from Chicago to New York, a 900 mile haul, is sometimes as low as ten cents a hundred pounds when navigation is open, and there is water competition, and fourteen cents per hundred during the winter months which is about the highest rate charged for that 900 miles of railway transit. If they can haul wheat from Chicago to New York at a rate of about 8 -40 cents a bushel it would seem that the railway rates in wheat in this country should be lower than they are to-day. When we remember that the Grand Trunk Pacific will have practically a level grade, especially going eastward, there is no doubt that the cost of transportation will be reduced, and it is therefore not likely that the construction of the Hudson Bay route will give us the advantage in the reduction of of about 8'40 cents a bushel it would seem to anticipate. At the same time the construction of this railway will be of great advantage to us, for it would give us more facilities for moving our crops and that is a most important feature. It would seem to me that if the road were constructed from Calgary to Edmonton or any other point in the west to Churchill, the grades obtained would be such that the cost of operation would be extremely light, and the freight rates would be as lowr as you could possibly expect in any railway haul. No doubt there are certain seasons when the navigation on Hudson bay will not be as favourable as in others, but undoubtedly in some seasons the weather will be so open as to allow our moving the greater portion of the season's crop by this route. I believe the undertaking to be feasible and that the country need have no hesitation in assuming

the responsibility for it. In fact the whole western country demands it and the people will not he satisfied until it is carried out. As to providing the means for constructing the railway, the idea suggested last year by the Minister of the Interior when he was discussing his land Bill is nearer to my view than the scheme suggested by the ex-Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton). I am not in favour of tying up the lands in this country from settlement in any form, and in my opinion the sooner we get settlers on the land the better. If there is one thing more than another which in former years retarded the progress of the west it was the fact that the Conservatives adopted the policy of reserving the odd sections for these railway grants, thus necessitating sparse settlement and driving out many of the early settlers who would otherwise have remained in the country. I am inclined to favour the policy of the Minister of the Interior under which the sale of lands at so much per acre would create a fund to build this railway; I would certainly prefer that to reserving large tracts of lands for railways for any length of time. Then I am of opinion that the government should construct the railway and own it. However, I am not in favour of government operation and I think the line should be leased and running powers reserved so that it may be kept practically as a highway for the people of Canada. As to the terminals at Fort Churchill, I think they should be built and maintained by the railway companies who interest themselves in the trade there. I would remark that the conditions in western Canada have a direct effect upon the conditions in all other parts of the country. The manufacturers of the east suffer if the farmers in the west are depressed, as we could see last year when the little damage caused to the crops was so exaggerated as to bring about financial stringency in the country. . The fact is that there was more money made out of the crop in the west last year than any other year's crop we ever had. There was more money made to the acre than was ever made before, but the slight damage done to the crop was made use of to the detriment of the whole country. There are no hard times in the west to-day, and if you consult the loan companies there they will tell you that they never had their interest paid as well as it was paid last year. I have a statement taken from a Winnipeg paper to the effect that two or three loan companies collected 90 per cent of their interest before the first of March this year much better than they did last year. When I was in the west a short time ago I was told by some of the bank managers that their accounts had never been in as good shape as they are at the present time. There is no danger for the future, conditions vary so much in different sections it is hardly possible to expect any reverse affecting the 203i

whole country. I think the future of the country is assured, and we cannot too soon meet the necessity of providing for that future. It is coming faster than we can provide for it, and nothing that we can do will go further to serve the people than increasing the means of transportation.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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L-C

John Herron

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. J. HERRON (Alberta).

Mr. Speaker, I had contemplated speaking at some length on this important question ; but owing to the lateness of the hour I will not occupy more than a minute or two merely to place myself on record as being in favour of the project. But before sitting down I wish to refer to a remark made by the last speaker (Mr. Crawford) with regard to the odd numbered sections. He asserted that the late Conservative government had been largely responsible for keeping back settlement, and otherwise retarding the progress of the country by failing to throw; the odd-numbered sections open to homesteading or disposing of them in some other way. I think that statement comes with very bad grace from a supporter of the present government, which, although they have been in power for twelve years, during which they have had full power to deal with that question, have taken no steps towards throwing the odd-numbered sections open to settlement, or dealing with them in any way. With regard to the Hudson Bay Railway, I do not think that at this late hour of the night it is necessary for me to urge the importance of that great work. The subject has been very ably presented to the House by several gentlemen on both sides of the House, particularly by the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Schaffner) and the hon. member for Calgary (Mr. M. S. McCarthy). I would like, however, to say that one phase of the Hudson Bay route which especially commends it to the favour of the people of southern Alberta, lies in the advantage that it will offer in connection with the shipment of cattle from that range country. Our wild stock raised on the prairies do not take kindly to transportation by rail. It is the long railway journey from Alberta to the sea-coast that takes practically the cream off the business of cattle raising on the western plains ; and if we had a railroad to Hudson bay, it would give us the advantage of a shorter railway journey by 1,000 miles. For that reason alone the people of southern Alberta are specially interested in the building of that railroad. I would be glad to see the government take up the question in a practical way and carry it to a termination, instead of simply using it for political purposes from year to year, and letting it end at that. With these remarks I merely wish to state that I will support the resolution.

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Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON (Selkirk).

Mr. Speaker, on this very important question, that of the Hudson Bay Railway, I desire to

-occupy the attention of the House for a very short time. In the session of 1880 chapter 69 of the Statutes of Canada shows that a charter was passed for the Winnipeg and Hudson Bay Railway. After this charter was passed the promoters made application to the Manitoba government for assistance to the road. After several years of negotiations, finally in the year 1886 the legislature passed a Bill guaranteeing the bonds of the road for the first forty miles from Winnipeg at the rate of $6,400 per mile, taking the land grant as a security. I might say here that the Dominion government had given a land grant to the company providing that for that portion of the line which was in the province of Manitoba, about 200 miles, the company were to get 6,400 acres per mile, while for that portion outside of the province of Manitoba, about 500 miles, 12,800 acres would be granted to provide for extra difficulties supposed to exist In the construction of the road. The company went on and built the first forty miles. They did the grading, laid the ties and rails, but put on no ballast, and never operated any portion of this section. The ties rotted on the ground, the culverts and bridges were destroyed by fire and weather, the rails lay along the dump, and the only use made of them for about fifteen years was by the farmers along the line who occasionally hitched on to one and used it as a weed killer on their summer fallow. This forty miles remained from 1886 to about the year 1C00 in the condition I have just mentioned. About that time Mackenzie and Mann got possession of the charter and started to reorganize and complete the line, already graded. They also added about twenty miles, taking the line to Oakpoint, a settlement on the east shore of Lake Manitoba which is now the terminus of the Hudson Bay Railway in Manitoba.

Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, and I think I speak for a very large number of the people of the province of Manitoba, the present location of the Hudson bay road from a point on the Canadian Northern Railway Prince Albert branch, to the Pas on the Saskatchewan river, will never be a satisfactory route for the province of Manitoba. This line starts about thirty miles west of the western boundary of Manitoba, and if completed to Churchill on the Hudson bay would have its terminus to the east of the eastern boundary of the province. In other words, taking Portage la Prairie as the centre of the province our grain and other exports would have to go 170 miles west to this point and then come back east to Port Churchill, about 300 miles, an extra haul for the province on all its exports and imports of 235 miles. If Manitoba is to get any benefit from a Hudson Bay Railway a line will have to be built from Winnipeg .north between Lakes Winnipeg and Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

Manitoba or the east side of Lake Winnipeg which is the best route of all for Manitoba as well as being 200 miles shorter than any other route. In addition either of these two routes would open up a large extent of new and unoccupied territory which is capable of carrying a large population when the land is cleared. Most of this territory is covered with bush which would help the farmers to clear up the land by enabling them to take'out pulp wood and ship it by this railway.

There has never been any doubt in the minds of the Manitoba people as to the benefits of a Hudson Bay Railway to that province but the difficulty in the past has been the owning of the charter by people who could not convince the capitalists of the feasibility and profit of putting money into this railway.

My hon. friend the leader of the opposition seems to doubt that any pronouncement has been made by any member of the government on the question. Let me refer him to what the hon. Minister of the Interior said during last session when introducing his Lands Act:

The government is fully convinced of the propriety of giving the Northwest an additional railway outlet by way of Hudson bay at the earliest possible date. The government believes that with the increase in production of the west now in progress, such an additional outlet will be urgently needed as soon as the railway can be built, even if it were commenced at once. At the same time it realizes that public opinion throughout Canada could scarcely be expected at the moment, in view of the great obligations already incurred in connection with railway enterprise, to sanction the additional obligation that would be incurred by the construction of a railway to Hudson bay, unless special provision were made to meet that obligation. It believes however, that there will be no objection from any quarter if the funds acruing from the disposal of preemptions in the three prairie provinces, under the terms of the proposed land Bill, shall be considered as a provision in place of the land grant stated in the Act to meet the burden upon the credit of the Dominion as a whole that must be assumed at an early date-if not immediately-if a railway is to be in operation to Hudson bay in time to meet the urgent need which is now in plain sight for an additional and shorter railway route from the prairies to tide water.

Now, if this should be agreed to by the government, there is nothing to hinder surveys being made during the coming summer and operations commenced and contracts made in the spring of 1909. This road could be finished in two years as there are no special difficulties along the route. This would help the situation a good deal

63S9

as it will most likely be five years before tbe Grand Trunk Pacific is finished. While the line is being built, I would suggest that the government put up elevators with a capacity of say twenty millions so that when the line is finished it would at once become useful in relieving a situation which must become acute every fall until relief is furnished in this way. In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, even after this line and the Grand Trunk Pacific are finished,, there will be enough business to keep all the roads busy for twelve months in every year.

I might say further that my idea would be to give every railroad in the west running rights (under the Railway Commission) over this road from some fixed point, to which they would have to build as soon as this is done, and not before, will the relief for which the west is looking be provided. I would point out another fact, Mr. Macoun of the Department of Agriculture, in giving evidence before tbe Committee on Agriculture, a few days ago, told us of a belt of good land north of the province of Manitoba, through which the Hudson Bay Railway must run on its way to Churchill, of about 100 miles square or 6,400,000 acres. This belt will support 20,000 farmers giving each 320 acres. A few years ago 20,000 farmers in Manitoba raised 50,000,000 bushels of wheat, so it is easily seen what this belt when settled will do for the Hudson Bay Railway. As tbe government are likely to appeal to the people in the near future, I would like to see a plank for the building of this road along the lines I suggest, put in their platform, and from what I know of the people of the county of Selkirk, my majority instead of 500 as at the last election, would, I am sure, reach 1,500. At this late hour, Mr. Speaker, I will not at any further length discuss the subject under consideration.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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CON

Angus Alexander McLean

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. McDEAN (Queens).

It really seems to me in looking at the map that every man east of the Bay des Chaleurs ought to hold up his hand for the construction of a railway to Fort Churchill, provided they are convinced of the navigability of Hudson straits for even five months in the year. The industrial communities of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island would thereby secure easy access to the northern part of this continent for their manufactured products by securing direct water shipment and avoiding the heavy tolls charged on the different railways, while so far as regards the agricultural interests of Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, contiguous to the route, there is every reason to suppose that they would be able to find a ready market among our own people for all they have to sell. Take for instance this present year, the parliament of Canada has voted over $2,000,000 to supply seed for the west and the only difficulty that came to public notice in the way of securing oats from Prince Edward Island, was as to the procuring of freight rates. If the people of Prince Edward Island were convinced that they could supply even a proportion of the needs of the west, they would be perfectly willing to pay their quota towards the construction of a railway to Hudson bay, provided always that the people of the west would be wiling to pay their quota of the cost of a tunnel under the straits of Northumberland and thereby securing a complete circle of inter-communication between the Island province and Central Canada.

Mr. WILBERT MeINTYRE (Stratheona). At this very late hour, I do not propose to take up time discussing this question at any length. I had intended giving some statistics, but former speakers have used most of them, and I do not intend to repeat them to the House which must be somewhat weary of listening to statistics to-day. The question of transportation is one of the most important questions with which the western country has to deal. For the last five or six years we have had every year to suffer to a greater or less degree from what is knows as the transportation blockade. The acuteness of that blockade was not so great this season for various obvious reasons, but it does not require any prophet to foretell that the first abundant harvest will again bring on this transportation blockade in a much more acute form than we have ever experienced it in the past. The conditions this year were very favourable to the railway. The crop in some part was injured, the prices were very materially lowered, and consequently the export of the grain was not great. But I say again that' it does not require any great reflection on the part of anybody to see that, with our present conditions of producing grain, we shall have another transportation blockade just as soon as any very great quantity is prepared for export.

Now, another feature that we have to reckon with in tbe west is this : whereas we have already had these blockades, we have only begun, one might say, the occupation of raising grain in that country. We have alienated from the government somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80,000,000 acres of land, and we had in cultivation in 1906

8,000,000 acres. We have over 40,000,000 acres of land occupied by settlers. With these facts before him, any one on a moment's reflection will see that an enormous output must necessarily follow when we begin operations seriously.

Now, as to the method of building this road, I am not going to go into that in detail. But I believe we have had amply proven here to-day the feasibility of building tbe road, the suitability of the country through which it is to run, the availability of the port which it reaches, the possibility of storing tbe grain there, and the feasibil-

[DOT] ity of tlie water route from that point to the European market for a reasonable number of months in the year. I believe that these facts in the main are plain to every member of the House. It is the duty of this government to see to it that that road is constructed and that the government has absolute control over it. I could go very much into detail in this matter, but all I wish to do is to add my expression to that of others and to statements that I hope the government at the earliest opportunity, will have this road constructed.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. W. FOWLER (Kings and Albert).

Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate the House upon the very lively interest they seem to take in this very important question-I think it would require some stretch of imagination on your part to see a quorum in the House at this moment. That is regrettable. This is a question of great importance not only to the west but to the east as well. And notwithstanding the insinuation made by the hon. member that the east does not take the interest it should in western questions, I must say that the eastern part of Canada has in every case shown a very great interest in the west and all that pertains to the west. Sacrifices have been made ; they were not deemed sacrifices because of the overpowering interest which the east had in the west. From the very foundation of our confederation, the eastern provinces of Canada have been interested in the west. We in the maritime provinces do not fix the western boundary of Canada at the St. Lawrence river, nor do the older provinces ns a whole fix their boundary at the great lakes. We extend our boundary to the Pacific ocean. It was the. dream of that great statesman. Sir John Macdonald, and of the statesmen who surrounded him, as soon as confederation was formed, that the Pacific ocean should be the western boundary and the Arctic ocean the northern boundary of this great Dominion of ours. I say that we of the east are and ought to be interested in the questions of the west. And the question of the Hudson Bay Railway is a very important question to the people of the east and the west. There can be no doubt that the time is not far distant when the means for carrying the products of that great country will be found insufficient, even with the new Transcontinental road which is now under construction. And I do not believe that a more feasible route for a new transportation line can be found than by way of Hudson bay. For my part, though coming from the extreme east, I am very strongly in favour of the construction of this road, and the opening of another outlet for the products of our country. The government that was in power in '1881 had the same idea-I believe it_ was in 1881 that the first order in council was passed in respect to this matter. Then there was to be an alternative route, as has been pointed out. Mr. w. McIntyre.

Changes have been made which have altogether changed the idea of the men who passed that first order in council. As has already been pointed out by the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. S. J. Jackson) the route that is adopted at the present time going to Erwood and thence by Ee Pas towards Churchill is not the shortest route to Hudson bay. The first route intended, by the order in council, the route that obliges them to pass east of Lake Manitoba, would be, as I understand it, the shortest route between Portage la Prairie and Churchill. I was somewhat amused at the statement made by the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Crawford) that, as far back as 1885, by order in council, the Minister of the Interior was given power to place this land grant where he pleased. I can understand how hon. gentlemen opposite after the assertions we have already made with respect to the conduct of this government regarding land grants for railways, would make very strenuous efforts to get out of the hole in which they were placed by the conduct of this government toward this particular railway proposition. They have stated again and again that not an acre has been given by this government as land grant. But they are met with the statement that the government revived a land grant, which was the same as giving it originally, because the grant had expired, and they were not obliged to renew it. And not only had the grant expired, but the object for which it was given had expired, the object being a railway to Hudson bay and they had changed the route so that the object no more existed than did the grant itself. They revived the land grant for another purpose. Not only did they revive the grant, but they increased tremendously the area from which it was to be selected, so as to allow the company to choose land not necessarily more fertile, but infinitely more valuable by reason of the large settlement that had already taken place in the vicinity. My hon. friend from Portage la Prairie says they were authorized to do this by reason of the order in council which was passed by the Conservative government in 1885. Now the only section which gives the Minister of the Interior any discretion with respect to where these lands should be located is section 7. I have a certified copy of the order in council before me. The sections preceding sections 7 state in detail where these lands shall be taken from; section 7 goes on to say :

And any deficiency in the area of the land which the company may be entitled to receive arising on account of any portion of land hereinbefore described being occupied by actual settlers

Mark the condition:

-establishing legal rights thereto or which might be set apart by the government for Indians under any treaty, or arising from

any other cause, of which the Minister of the Interior shall be the sole judge, shall be made up from such lands as the Minister of the Interior may from time to time designate.

That is the deficiency shall be made up. But there are some eight and three-quarter million acres of land from which the selection shall be made, provided for by the preceding sections. We find that instead of confining themselves to the lands originally set aside for the purpose of selection they go over 200 miles west of that to the extreme western boundary of the province of Saskatchewan. I have here a map which shows that and you will observe, Mr. Speaker, just how far they have gone from the area originally set apart. This was done not because there was not suflicient land of good quality, ' fairly fit for settlement,' in the terms of the order in council, but because settlement had already taken place in this particular district and those lauds were very much more valuable and much more saleable on that account. So gentlemen who had this railway to build were able to get 6,400 acres of the best land in the country in districts in which there already was settlement in sections not set apart. $6 an acre would be a fair value for this land and on 6,400 acres this would make a very acceptable subsidy indeed. in addition to the $40,000 a year for 20 years which was also guaranteed for the construction of this road. Such a good thing was this, so valuable were these concessions to the Canadian Northern Railway, that they were not particular whether they observed the desire to cover the distance between the two points in the most direct way; they did not care how much the line varied from the straight because the variation would simply increase the amount they were to receive. I have here a map which shows the line, and you will observe how it is constructed. Did anybody ever see such a wobbly straight line as that? Every wave in that line cost this country from $250,000 to $500,000. Those were expensive wobbles, but you see the longer the distance the more land they get. In Manitoba they got 6,400 acres a mile and outside of that province 12,800 acres a mile. The actual distance they made in the journey to Hudson bay would be only 150 miles, but they had journeyed 320 miles in order to make that 150 miles. This was done because they were getting 6,400 acres per mile and were allowed to select that from the very best lands in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Taking the 12,400 acres allowed in Saskatchewan at $6 per acre, they would receive $75,000 a mile for building this road. It seems to me that this is a matter for which this government deserves the censure of the people of Canada. They have taken from the public lands, the public domain of this country, land to aid a company in the construction of what is simply a local line.

Then they have the nerve to stand up here and say they have never alienated one acre of the public lands of this country. My hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Staples) might have added one or two other items to the list he gave of savings which the government could have made to procure funds for the building of this road to Hudson bay. He might have suggested that the government could have used the $5,000,000 or $6,000,000 that to-day lie at the bottom of the St. Lawrence river in the ill-fated Quebec bridge. If this had been devoted to the Hudson bay road it would have fairly well built the line from Le Pas to Hudson bay. It would have been much better for the country if it had been used for that purpose.

While this discussion has been mostly carried on by western members, it seems to me that at least one eastern man should state to the House that so far as he was entitled to speak for the east the east was in favour of anything which would make to the betterment of conditions in the western country.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. PRANK OLIVER (Minister of the Interior).

Mr. Speaker, before the question is put I wish to congratulate the House, the west and the country at large on the unanimous expression of approval of this project in which we are all, especially in the west, so deeply interested. It is very fortunate, I am sure, that after some four months of a strenuous session it is possible to hold a discussion on such an important question in the House and not have any division of opinion as to the merits of the main question. This is fortunate for the project and for the country. I do not propose to discuss the question myself as it has been discussed at such length and so ably during the day. I might, however, refer to one point suggested by Mr. Fowler, that the road had been lengthened very greatly from what was first intended. I shall not dispute that, but I would point out that the decision of the question whether the road has really been lengthened, depends on the points taken. If the initial point is to be Portage la Prairie or some point in the older part of the province of Manitoba and the usefulness of the road is to be confined to that district, then the road has been lengthened by being taken west of Lake Manitoba instead of between Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg. But if the road is intended to serve the western country generally, then this change in the route has very greatly shortened the road. That is to say the route has taken a shortened dis-stance between the centre of the wheat fields and Fort Churchill as compared with the route which would go direct from Portage la Prairie to Fort Churchill. Last year, when this question was up for consideration, the premier informed the House that the government had the matter then under consideration and that lie hoped to

be able to make an announcement with regard to it before the close of the session. Unfortunately he was called away and did not return before the close of the session; therefore the government was not able to. reach any conclusion on the subject and he was not able to make any announcement. I am at liberty to say that the question is now under the consideration of the government and that a conclusion has not been reached is not because of any dilatoriness in regard to the question at the hands of the government. I think it will be agreed that the subject of transportation has been dealt with and is being dealt with very energetically on the part of the government and very satisfactorily to the country at large, and if no conclusion has yet been reached in regard to this question of the immediate construction of a railway to Hudson bay it is not because of any lack of sympathy with the project or any lack of intent on the part of the government to deal witli the question, but because other matters have hitherto been more pressing. However, it is again hoped that before the end of the session it will be possible for the government to make an announcement upon this question.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Carleton).

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I'1 regard to the general question, the subject is one of intense interest to the people of the west. That is perfectly apparent to any gentleman who has gone to the west and who knows how thoroughly the people of Manitoba and the two other provinces are convinced that the Hudson bay route will give to them an outlet which is absolutely necessary to the full and complete development of their country. It is only a question of the requisite information and we are informed that the government have in their possession at the present time information which justifies them in coming to the conclusion that the Hudson Bay route is a reasonably practicable and feasible route for a reasonable number of months in the year as the hon. member for Strath-cona (Mr. McIntyre) very well put it tonight. If that is the case why have they not effectively dealt with the matter during the last twrelve years ? Why is it that they did not take some steps to give a practical illustration of the sympathy which was dwelt upon so much here to-night by my hon. friend the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) ? Sympathy is a very desirable quality, but action is a much more desirable quality on the part of the government in regard to a great transportation question of this kind. Let me point out to the minister one illustration of that. In 1904, four years ago, there was the same unanimity in this House in regard to the application of the British preference only to goods which entered Canada by Canadian ports. There were the same delightful expressions from even greater statesmen than the Minister of the Interior, from the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and from the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and we know very well that in so far as the application of that principle is concerned the matter is exactly in the same position as it was when that motion was passed by the House. If that is a fair omen of what the people of the west may expect from this resolution, 1 do not know that they have any very great cause for satisfaction after what has taken place. There was on that occasion in 1904, a unanimous resolution of the House and yet the government have paid absolutely no attention to it, except that the terms of that resolution have been incorporated in the statutes of this country to be brought into operation at some indefinite and unknown time in the future, described by the Prime Minister as dependent upon the completion of the National Transcontinental Railway. Four years have elapsed, we do not know how many more will lapse before effect will be given to that resolution, now four years old, and if the people of the wmst are to wait for a similar length of time before any action is taken by the government in regard to this railway, it does not seem that the hon. member for West Assiniboia has made quite so impor-

tant or great a stride towards the goal on the present occasion as some hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House seem to imagine.

The subject recalls the discussion on the tunnel between Prince Edward Island and the mainland which was alluded to by one of my hon. friend from the island ; it is simply a question of getting the requisite information as to whether or not this is a feasible route. This government have been in power for twelve years and assuming the worst default that you are entitled to assume in regard to their predecessors, I think that they long ago should have acted upon the information which has been available. Now, we are assured by the Minister of the Interior that the government have . it under consideration, and I suppose that we must content ourselves with that unless some other gentleman of the treasury benches is inclined to go a little further than the Minister of the Interior has done.

Motion as amended, agreed to.

Topic:   SUPPLY-RAILWAY TO HUDSON BAY.
Subtopic:   PEAKER BROTHERS.
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ADJOURNMENT- BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE.

April 7, 1908