May 17, 1911

LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

Now, my hon. friend takes the railway side of it, as he accused me of doing a moment ago. I have discussed this matter with a good many people in the west, men who ship goods. The railways contend that they can handle all the traffic, but a good many shippers contend that they cannot get accommodation even now when they need' it. What the western production is to-day is hardly-an indication of what the traffic will be-

in three or four years. I may be wrong, but I believe J would be recreant to my duty as a public man if, having an opportunity to connect the eastern and western sections of this great system by merely lending the name of" the government to the proposal, I did not take advantage of the opportunity. To my mind the traffic in the next five or six years when these two roads are completed will be ample to keep all the three railways busy, running to their full capacity for the most part of the year. I believe further, and I think western people will agree with me, that we can improve our waterways, and there will still be sufficient traffic for the railways and the waterways. Now, this is not all done in the interest of the west. A railway train bringing a load of wheat from the west must take back a load of goods from the east in order to give a fairly good freight rate. I am not such a little Canadian that I am afraid the transportation facilities of Canada will not have all they can do when they are up to the requirements of the country. The man who has a carload of wheat in the west will send it to the ocean port by the line that will take it at the best rate, and ,'in the quickest time; and if Canada has the courage to give these facilities we will get the carrying trade, and the country that has the carrying trade is the great country of the world. Now let me point out further that the people of the east have as much interest in this line as the people of the west. It must be borne in min'd that one train load of implements going to the west pay the railroad perhaps twice as much as a train load of grain going to the east, owing to the different classification of the freight. In order not only that the west should have good facilities for getting its products to the east, but that the east should have good facilities for getting its products to the west, I say again that I would not be doing my duty if I were to neglect an opportunity of securing this line for the country. It is my (belief that in the next five or six years the increase in the western traffic will be something that we cannot now understand. There is not a man in this House, who has not lived in the west for years, who can realize the marvellous advance of that country in the last ten years. The most optimistic neonle never thought that the west at this moment would have reached the proportions it has reached, and only the fringe has yet been touched. I may be perhaps too optimistic, but I have the fullest confidence that when the Grand Trunk Pacific is built, and when the Canadian Northern is built, when our transportation facilities are completed, including the Hudson Bay railway, there will still be traffic sufficient in Canada to keep all these lines busy, and people will even be asking for better accommodation Mr. GRAHAM.

I believe also that Canada occupies a natural position ton 'this continent, Inot onlv to do her own carrying trade cheaper than anybody else, but is in a position to offer facilities to our neighbours to the south that will give us a part of their carrying trade from the east to the west and back again.

I come back again to my statement that this proposition to connect the east and the west by this through line, simply by loaning the name of the government to aid them to get money more cheaply, is an opportunity that parliament cannot afford to let go by. Now, as to the eastern section, it is a belief held by most Canadians who have looked over the matter carefully during the last two or three years, that there are abundant signs of great development in eastern Canada during the next four or five years, and a government that does not rise to the situation, and- refuse to wait until the opportunity comes and has gone, is not doing its duty to the people. Governments make mistakes, but I believe that the country west and east demands greater transportation facilities, that the rate of wages of the -man working on the farm, and in the shop, as well as the profits of the proprietors, depend on the speed and cheapness of their. transportation facilities. Those are my views. I believe that in a few years to come we will -see in the east a development scarcely second to that in the west, and it is our duty to endeavour to conduct the trade down through -our own Canadian territory to Montreal, Quebec, St. John and Halifax, and do everything we can to stimulate the efforts of our own people. We are side by side with a great country with a very -much larger population, and we are doing our best to maintain our position on this continent.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

What development does the minister speak of in the east?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

A -general development in the east. People do not understand, even in Ontario, that there is as much land in the newer parts of Ontario yet untilled as there is now cultivated in the older portions of the province. This railway will run through the southern portion towards the centre of the clay belt; the Grand Trunk Pacific will run through the northern portion. When the Timis-kaming Northern and Ontario Railway was being projected, many people laughed at it, and said it would be merely a colonization road. But the result has been that Ontario has developed, and has been shown to possess some of the richest mineral areas in the world. If we go further east we will find the same wealth in Quebec, in Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, where there are besides vast areas of good agri-

cultural land that are not being cultivated as they ought to be. These provinces are making efforts through their provincial governments to attract immigration to open up their natural resources. Nova Scotia has a mineral wealth that we in Ontario know very little about, acres and acres of which have not yet been uncovered. I do not know what the future has in store for the little province of Nova Scotia, but if we do our duty as Canadians to assist her, as well as New Brunswick, which has also great mineral resources besides her agriculture and timber, we shall see the eastern part of Canada rivalling the west in prosperity. I have sufficient faith in the country to believe that if we have courage, Canada in twenty years from now will have assumed such proportions in the life of the world that we who are now discussing these questions will be surprised even at our own modesty.

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CON

Edward Guss Porter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PORTER.

If we just take care of it. The United States have developed along the lines the minister has just indicated Canada is to develop. The United States, we may say, is fully developed to-day; all her natural advantages have been exploited. She has made more rapid progress than any other country. We will have three transcontinental railways in Canada for a population of 8,000,000 and the United States, with all its development and with a century of time, should, according to the same ratio of population, have about twenty transcontinental lines to carry its commerce, which is absurd. Canada is capable of great development in wealth, commerce and trade if we only take care of it, and do not allow it to get into the hands of the Americans through reciprocity or some other mistake of this government, but the minister will see that his argument does not lead to the conclusion he would have us believe, that is, that we should have three transcontinental railways to take care of the traffic now or ten years from now or that the present railway facilities are not sufficient for our present needs. On the contrary it proves by comparison with conditions in the United States, and their development, that we do not need a third road at this time. I agree that the Canadian Northern railway, having lines constructed in the west, and also in the east, it is vitally important to the Canadian Northern that these two systems should be hooked up together, and that this Bill should help the Canadian Northern railway in such a way that they would be willing to reciprocate. It might be well to add another declaratory clause: And

whereas there is likely to be a general election in 1911, and the Canadian Northern railway will likely contribute generously

to the campaign funds, therefore, it is desirable to pass this Bill.

Bill reported.

Mr. GRAHAM moved the third reading of the Bill.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Mr. Speaker, we all agree that this country is now experiencing a period of unusual development, although that development is no greater than is justified by its great resources, and by the enterprise and industry of its people. The Minister of Railways is inspired with a spirit of optimism. I think every Canadian is so inspired, but what I object to is that the minister should develop the spirit of optimism just at the period when this House is about to adjourn for a couple of months and that he should insist on that spirit ot optimism running its full course in this particular matter, without that due consideration of the measure which otherwise it would receive. Optimism is a very desirable thing in public men in a country like Canada, in a very interesting stage of its development and progress, but there are other qualities which are just as necessary or which should at least accompany that optimism. Some of these are a reasonable regard for business methods, a reasonable amount of foresight, a reasonable amount of caution in pledging the resources of the country. The circumstances under which this Bill has been introduced, and under which it is being pressed to an unusually speedy conclusion in this House do not indicate that the sovernment is seized of all these qualities. The Bill was introduced at a very late period. My hon. friend received a very great inspiration in the west last year. He returned from the west some time in September. Why is it that this optimism with which he was then inspired did not prompt him to introduce this measure earlier in the session? It is undoubtedly true, as the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) pointed out, that this measure has not received the consideration which it would probably have received if it had been introduced three or four months ago. But we also find that the methods of the government in introducing this Bill are otherwise not quite up to the standard which we might expect. There has been almost a complete lack of information on two points, first as to the necessity of the road and, secondly, as to its cost. When I speak of the necessity of the road, I couple with that the extremely meagre information that is embodied in the Bill with respect to the route over which the road is to be constructed. As to the cost, I repeat that if it had been my privilege to introduce a Bill like this for the consideration of the House of Commons, and if I based my claim that the Bill

should be passed on the statement that the road would cost on an average $50,000 a mile, I would have considered it my absolute duty to bring the report of at least one, and probably more than one engineer of standing who would state to the House of Commons that in his belief a road built up to that standard would cost that amount. I must repeat that I do not think the minister has treated the House of Commons with proper respect when he asks them to assume thdt the road will cost that amount, he himself having given no more attention to that particular phase of the question than what he has explained to us in the course of his remarks upon this Bill. The route is exceedingly indefinite. I repeat that it was the duty of the government to have given us at least ten or twelve points which this road might have been expected to touch between Eideau Junction and Port Arthur. I have not heard advanced any reason why that should not be done.

In the discussion on the resolutions I pointed out that with regard to the building of this road for a distance of four or five hundredi miles north of Lake Superior, that is undoubtedly unnecessary at present. I say so for the reason that I understand the Canadian Pacific Railway can to-day accommodate over that portion of its lines five times the traffic that is offered, and we have the Grand Trunk Pacific in process of construction there, thus giving us three railways north of Lake Superior. I imagine that when these three roads are completed they will be able to carry from ten to fifteen times the traffic that will be offered for many years to come. I regard the construction of these roads there under these conditions as an economic waste. If you waste the money of Canada in building railways where they are not needed, you must necessarily deprive of railways other parts of the country that are justly entitled to them.

I desire to emphasize that this measure contains no assurance that the traffic which will be gathered by this system in western Canada will be brought all the way over Canadian routes to Canadian ports. It is idle for me to repeat my remarks on that subject. It is true the measure does embody a stipulation for an agreement to that effect, but if that agreement should not be fulfilled by these two companies I do not know what can be done about it, except possibly it might be a ground for parliament to take some step against the companies by way df retaliation or punishment, but whether such a step could be taken with advantage to the people of Canada is very problematical.

Another point is this; when the measure for the construction of the National Transcontinental railway was brought down I Mr. BORDEN (Halifax)

urged, and others on this side of the House urged, that as the people of Canada were financing that road to the extent of more than three-fourths of its entire cost, it would have been proper that the people of Canada should have some direct interest in it. I estimated at the time that the government of Canada financed the National Transcontinental railway to the extent of nine-tenths of its cost. The people of Canada received no interest whatever in the common stock of the road, while the Grand Trunk Railway Company which assisted to a very limited extent in financing the project received the entire common stock of the Grand Trunk Pacific amounting to $25,000,000. I also pointed out that while that common stock represented no present investment of capital it would, through the progress and development of the country, ultimately acquire very great value. It seemed to us on this side of the House that the people of Canada by reason of the financial aid they were giving to that undertaking should have some direct interest in the value which would be created in that common stock by reason of the progress and growth of the Dominion. I admit that in the present case the conditions are not quite similar. We asked that the Grand Trunk Railway Company should be called on to indemnify the government against the guarantee which it was giving for the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific, and our motions in that regard were denied. That which was denied in the case of the Grand Trunk is carried out in this case, because the Canadian Northern does, by the terms of this agreement, indemnify the government and the people of Canada against any loss which may accrue by reason of the guarantee of the bonds of the Canadian Northern Ontario railway; so that the two cases are not quite similar. But notwithstanding that difference, inasmuch as this government is giving very important financial assistance towards the construction of this railway it would have been proper for the government to insist that the people of this country should have some direct interest in the common stock of this railway as a consideration for the aid given. The interests of the people of the Dominion have not been safeguarded in that respect nor in the other respects I have mentioned.

In conclusion I wish to say that I do not pretend to doubt that the road, as the country increases in population and development, will be a financial success, but in the net result the people of Canada, while they get the advantage of the transportation, have no 'further control of the rates than that which already exists through the Board of Railway Commissioners. And although the common stock of this railway will no doubt

some day reach the very high standard which the stock of other great railways in Canada has attained, and although we are contributing to the building of this road by pledging the credit of .the country to the extent of about $37,000,000, the people of Canada in the end will have no direct interest whatever in all that enormous value which will come to the promoters of this road. I regret that the measure was not introduced at a time when it would have been possible for parliament to have given to this proposal the consideration and discussion which its magnitude deserves.

At six o'clock, House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to say a few words on this question before we finally dispose of this Bill, if for no other reason than to put myself on record as to some of the views I hold regarding this and similar questions. This session will certainly go down to the history of the Canadian parliament as one in which we have been very prodigal in our provision for expenditure, and our assistance to railways. It is true, we have good times, the country is being developed rapidly, and the people do not feel the pinch of want very much. But that to my mind is no justifiable reason why we should go it too extravagantly in the meantime. I have been looking over what we have committed the country to during the present session and what we propose to commit it to before the session is ended, and I sum up the commitments in the following figures. First, our estimates, main and supplemen-taries, amount to $156,000,000, a provision for the expenditure of one year which certainly is a record-breaker, being away and above anything that Canada has ever been called upon to expend in any year up to the present time; and when one remembers that this is proposed by a party who, before they came into power, were notable for their desire for stringent economy, one realizes the wonderful difference there is in some men between professions and practice. Then, we are committing the country to an expenditure for the Canadian Northern railway of at least $37,000,000 for the first building of thp road, and about $1,250,000 for the two years interest -which will be borne by the country before there is anything renaid by the company. We have also on the notice paper some resolutions providing for the leasing or taking over or building of 445 miles of railwavs in the eastern provinces as branches of the Intercolonial railwav. This will cost us. at the rate which we haye estimated the Canadian

Northern will cost, namely, $35,000 a mile, about $15,575,000; making in all, for these railway projects, saying nothing about the railway subsidies of whicu I presume we shall^ have some before the session ends, $52,575,000. This, added to the estimates, makes a sum total of $209,800,000 that we are during the present session, committing the country to either in the expenditure of cash or in credit. That is a very large amount of money. Perhaps the development of the country may justify it; perhaps it may be necessary; but to my mind we have not had submitted to us sufficient evidence to convince me at least that thi3 heavy expenditure is amply justified. I know that the west is developing rapidly; I know that there will be an important trade to be handled in the future; but in my judgment the provision we have already made will be quite sufficient to handle that trade for years to come. I agree entirely with what the hon. leader of the opposition said with regard to the portion of the Canadian Northern railway passing around Lake Superior, where one railway could) handle nearly all the traffic if it were run to its capacity. It seems to me it is not the height of wisdom to provide for building three railways, and tne cost of maintaining the tracks when one could do the work. Therefore, I look on that expenditure as one which is not justified by circumstances, and which a good business man would have avoided in the interest of the country. We have been obliged to do this on very scanty information. I happened to be attending a committee meeting during the time the Minister of Railways made the most of his speech, and I did not hear all he said; but 1 read most of it afterwards, and I thought the information he gave was very meagre, and very unsatisfactory to any business man who wanted to satisfy himself as to whether we were doing the proper thing or not, One of the questions that interested me was: What

did the Canadian Northern up to the present time cost per mile? I do not know whether that information was given or not. Perhaps the hon. minister will say now.

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

No, it was not given.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

It seems to me that was a very important item of information that we should have had, because it would have enabled us to determine with some kind of approximate accuracy whether or not we were proposing to give too much for the building of this portion of the Toad. The next question was: What is its bonded

indebtedness? Was that given?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

That was not given.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That is another item of information which I think the House ought

to have had to enable us to determine about what the portion of the road already built has cost. Then we could have judged whether the country was giving too large a subvention for the portion of the road proposed to be built. The next question was: What subsidies in land or money have the Canadian Northern Railway Company received or are they to receive for any portion of their road, and how much per mile does it amount to?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I gave that information.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Can the hon. minister tell me approximately what it amounted to5

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I cannot tell how much per mile. There was a subsidy, I suppose, of $6,400 per mile, for the portion between Montreal and Hawkesbury; but that has not been earned, as that portion has not yet been constructed. Then the Quebec legislature gave it a land grant, but that has never been earned, and will have to be revoted. The Ontario legislature gave for a portion of the road from Sudbury west 4,600 acres per mile.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

For how many miles?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM.

I forget the distance. Then there are ten miles that will become part of this line and on which the Ontario government gave a guarantee in connection with the Toronto terminal. Those are the subsidies from Ottawa to Hawkesbury that had been paid to the Canadian Northern railway.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

We ought to know what assistance this company has received for the building of this railway. We ought to know its indebtedness per mile and the actual cost of the road. All these things we ought to know before deciding whether or not the estimate of the cost of building that portion of the railway not yet built is too high or too low. But we are simply asked to go it blind and put this Bill through on the most insufficient data. That is not the way to treat the representatives of the people. What the road cost per mile, what is its indebtedness per mile, both by bonds and other indebtedness, what subsidies in land or money have been given or remain to be given, what the company has received in every shape or form Tor these portions of the road-all these things we ought to know. Then the question which interests me is: are we giving the company too much? We know that we give subsidies to railways of $3,200 per mile or $6,400 per mile, according to the cost of construction. But we have had a great many miles built without subsidy, from which the people are getting all the benefits they can expect from this line. Are we giving too much? I heard it said not long ago in Toronto that Mr. SPROULE.

the Canadian Northern railway is one of the most fortunate railways in Canada because its bonded indebtedness is very much below that of any other railway. How did this company build its various lines? It built them through the subsidies given and by selling its bonds. The owners of this system put very little of their own money into it, so that whatever the railway costs, was paid through the assistance given by the various governments in this country and through selling its bonds. I heard an eminent financier say that if the Canadian Northern railway were as successful in the future as it has been in the past, it will not be long before it will have between five and six thousand miles of railway on which practically there is no indebtedness except the bonded indebtedness. The owners of this system will be among the richest railway men in the world without having put much of their own money into it. Are we helping them by this proposal to a greater extent than we ought, to build that portion which we are told it is so desirable to build? I think we are giving entirely too much, and I am under the impression that such is the opinion of the bulk of the people. Our people have pretty well come to the conclusion that we have reached the time when we should cease subsidizing railways because, although we have many railways to which we have given extensive subsidies, not one of them will carry a pound of freight a cent cheaper than if we had given nothing. These railway men may become rich, their shares may go to 240 or 250, their bonds may sell at a high premium, they may pay large dividends, but the users have still to pay high rates for freight and traffic. Just look at what the Canadian Pacific railway got from the country. Look at the dividends it is paying and the prices quoted for its stock and bonds, largely due to the assistance given by this country, but how much benefit has the country received from that railway on account of this assistance? The more we give, the less we get in return, and the day has passed when we should be so lavish with our assistance, without getting any consideration in return.

There is another question in this connection that interests me, more particularly as a resident of southwestern Ontario. It is said that this system will be beneficial to the whole country. Perhaps in one sense it may. But many years ago I said the building of railways through the hinterland had practicailv side-tracked line and the trade of the country southwestern Ontario almost entirely. Southwestern Ontario was until quite lately on the great highway of commerce, but to-day it is simply on the branch east and west is being carried away past it, although it is one of the most wealthy and most thickly populated parts of the Do-

minion. Southwestern Ontario paid proportionately a larger share of this .money than any other section of the Dominion. What does she get in return? Practically this expenditure has Teduced the value of her farms, destroyed her towns and cities and injured her ports in the Georgian Bay. It has practically impoverished southwestern Ontario for the benefit of the back part of the country. Indirectly that policy is doing good, but every additional line we build there is an additional highway that injures the southwestern portion of Ontario. What do we get in return? Little or nothing. The trade is being carried by our ports, our cities are being dwarfed and we are put on the branch lines instead of being the ere at highway of commerce which we W'ere heretofore. _. . I do not think that we should look with any favour on this proposed heavy expenditure. In my opinion the people are not getting any substantial benefit proportioned to the assistance we are giving this road. I think the government would have been well advised had they arranged, when giving this lavish support, to get some reduction in the freight rates. Had they been the good business men they profess to be, they would have made an effort in that direction.

It seems strange that, after all we have given for railways in this Dominion, stuff can be hauled twenty-five, thirty or forty miles with horse teams as cheaply as it can be carried by railway. Two years ago I had some light machinery to bring from a place about thirty-five miles this side of Toronto. I inquired at the factory what it would cost me to lay it down in Toronto and was given a figure, but was told that if it was all the same to me they could send it to Toronto a little cheaper by horse team than by the Grand Trunk railway. So it was carried thirty-five miles by horse team and put on the railway over which it had to be carried to reach its destination, and it was done cheaper than the Grand Trunk would carry it, and transfer it about half a mile to the other road. That means that there is something wrong with regard to the service the railways of this country give the people.

Well, we are called upon to pass this Bill. Is there any urgency _in it? The Minister of Railways says' there is, but he has not told us in what that urgency consists. We have no information, but we have pushed the measure through in a very short time. Why, if a man were buying 100 acres of land in a section not thoroughly known to him he would take more trouble about it than we are taking about this arrangement that is going to cost the country about $37,000,000. I presume the explanation of 'urgency' in this Bill is that we are near an election. It takes money to run elections, and the government must get money from some source. We know where these funds have come from in the past, and where they are likely to come from in the future.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL.

The hon. gentleman should tell us where they come from?-

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I could easily give the facts as to some, and there is a good deal more that we could clear up if we had a little of the information that the hon. gentleman and his friends could so easily give. In years gone by when Sir John Macdonald proposed to build the Canadian Pacific railway, he and his party were turned out of power because it was claimed they received or were to receive $50,000 for election purposes out of the assistance given to build that railway. How many times has this government got that amount twice over to run their elections from railway corporations and not a word about it? Would they dare to take the people into their confidence and tell how much they got in the past from the Canadian Pacific railway to run an election?-how much they got from the Canadian Northern?- how much they propose to get from the Canadian Northern out of this scheme when it is passed? I am sure that if they did, it would not be worth their while to go to the country, for they would be wiped out so suddenly they would scarcely know what struck them. That is one of the great reasons for 'urgency.' That is one of its great aims, in my opinion. The people of this country ought to know that, so that they might govern themselves accordingly when the day of reckoning comes. We would like to be able to give them that information clearly, but we cannot do it because we are denied the information. So, it is because of the approach of an election that it is important to put this through. I suppose the government will put it through, but we would like the people to know what is being done with their money, the lavish way in which their funds are expended and the reckless way in which they are committed to the burdens of taxation which must be borne for all time. And when in possession of that information, I hope that when they go to the polls, they will record their votes against this very 'economical' government that, a few years ago thought $43,000,000 expended in one year meant bleeding the people white, and to-day give us to understand that $156,000,000 of expenditure is stringent economy.

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CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAKE.

I do not wish to detain the House at this stage of the proceedings, but I desire to say just a few words in the way of protest against this legislation and of comparison with other legislation that might be introduced. Rumours have been rife during the past two or three years that

it was the intention of the government to hand over the Hudson Bay railway to the Canadian Northern Bailway Company. In consequence of these rumours the strongest expression of opinion came from the people, especially the people of the west, and that expression of opinion was so strongly opposed to the proposed action that the government proposals in that respect were headed off. Now, apparently, we find that the government are determined to do something by way of making a gift to the Canadian Northern Railway Company. What can the reason be? The hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) has suggested reasons. It appears to me extremely probable that if the government had been allowed to hand over the Hudson Bay railway to the Canadian Northern Railway Company, we should not be asked to pass this legislation for them. This is making a gift to the Canadian Northern Railway Company. I speak advisedly when I say it is a gift because it means millions of dollars to that concern. And it may mean a very great burden upon the people-not less a burden because it hears the form of a guarantee for this company. For my part f would very much sooner see sums of money given outright rather than these enormous guarantees we are making, and which it appears to be the policy of the government to make to these railway companies. When this legislation is passed, I think we shall find that the people of this country are bound to the extent of somewhere near $100,000,000 of guarantees for undertakings by private companies. And we know that occasionally government guarantees have to be met. We had an example of that in the case of the Quebec Bridge Company. When the bonds were guaranteed for that bridge, it was never believed that the people would have to pay the guarantee, but the disaster to that bridge brought about a condition under which the government had to pay the money that was lost.

I wish to make a comparison between the providing of an additional transcontinental railway and the providing of a new outlet by means of the Hudson Bay railway. The people of the Northwest for many years' past have been demanding an entirely new outlet for the produce of their country. They have the very highest hopes of the benefit to be derived from the building of the Hudson Bay railway. It is nearly three years ago now that the Prime Minister gave his word to the people of Canada that that railway should toe built immediately. Up to the present time nothing whatever has been appropriated by this parliament for the construction of that road.

It was only on the 8th of the present month that the first sum appeared in the Mr. LAKE.

supplementary estimates for the commencement of that work, and up to the present moment parliament has not been asked to appropriate anything for the purpose. The sum which appears in the supplementary estimate is merely the sum of $2,000,000; that is all the government proposes to appropriate at present. If they only appropriate that amount each year, it will take fifteen to twenty years before that railway is provided for the people of the Northwest. There is an urgent demand for the construction of that railway by the people of the Northwest. The leader of the opposition this afternoon has demonstrated that there is no urgent demand for the construction of a third transcontinental railway. He has pointed out that the two railways now provided for, the Canadian Pacific railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific are amply sufficient at the present moment, and that all the freight which will toe offering for many years to some will not half equal the capacity of those t-wo railways. I think it would have been better for the government to provide for the Hudson Bay railway than to make this additional provision for another transcontinental railway which is not immediately needed. I yield to no man in my confidence in the great possibilities of our western country, but I think that at the present time the government should apply the public revenues for the extension of railway communication where it is most urgently needed, and that I believe is the Hudson Bay railway.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN ONTARIO RAILWAY-GUARANTEE OF BONDS.
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CON

Gerald Verner White

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WHITE (Renfrew).

I was unfortunately unavoidably absent this morning when-this Bill was discussed in committee. In looking over section 1, I find that it does not state through what towns this line of railway will pass, and I would like to know from the Minister of Railways whether it " is to pass through the town of Pembroke. The Canadian Northern surveyors have been in that neighbourhood for some time, and it has been the impression that the road was going to pass through that town. Pembroke being one of the most important towns in the Ottawa valley, I w'ould like to have the assurance of the Minister of Railways that the Canadian Northern will pass through that town.

Topic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN ONTARIO RAILWAY-GUARANTEE OF BONDS.
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May 17, 1911