There is no point of order, as I understand it. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Stevens) asks the Chairman what item we are on. It is Fredericton, increased accommodation to- $46,500. I think perhaps the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) is just coming to that.
Mr. MACDONALD-It is absolutely essential that the large railway enterprises of the west should be prepared, as they are prepared, to look after facilities and create conditions under which the opportunities afforded large manufacturing interests can come to fruition. How would it be if in all other portions of Canada a railway company would say to a business man: You will have to wait until the next meeting of directors which will take place nine months after this? It is true your project may be a pressing one, and it is in the interest of the railway and of the country, but we cannot do anything in that line until our directors meet next year, or nine or ten months after this. That is the position that every Minister of Railways is in who has to deal with these conditions.
Then, we have another difficulty. We are living in the great freight producing part of the country where the Intercolonial railway obtains the greater part of its east and w'est business. We produce in eastern Nova Scotia to-day something like 10,000,000 tons of coal. We produce a greater quantity of iron and steel than is produced in any other part of Canada. With the Intercolonial railway under existing conditions not a pound of coal can be sent from Nova Scotia west of Montreal so as tc compete with American coal, even with the duty added. Why? Simply because my hon. friend the Minister of Railways, when he carries that coal to Montreal, has to hand it over to the Grand Trunk railway, the Canadian Pacific railway or the Canadian Northern, and the arbitrary division of freight which is always made in the traffic arrangements means that when the new company takes that traffic at Montreal it takes such an additional share of the freight rate that it is impossible to send the coal to Ottawa or anywhere further west than Cornwall, and nowhere up into the Canadian Pacific railway country here. The same thing applies to steel products. You have to levy two prices for the
two railways, whereas, anywhere else in, Canada practically, with the tremendous extent of the Canadian Pacific railway and the Grand Trunk railway systems, the manufacturer who has products to dispose of can put them on the one railway which will carry them to any part of Canada and, by the 'long haul rate, deliver them in competition with foreigners or people from other places under satisfactory conditions. Every man in the maritime provinces is put under the handicap that it is impossible to transport his products west of Montreal.
Then, there is another difficulty that the minister under present conditions is unable to overcome. Gentlemen who live in the west know, gentlemen who live in Ontario know, that the large corporations of the country develop the business possibilities that exist in the vicinity of their railways. They take hold of them, assist them and provide conditions under which they can be developed and made a success of. That is going on all over the country. The Minister of Railways cannot do that. What a. proposition it would be if the Minister of Railways came down to parliament and asked to have placed in his hands a vote of money which he could utilise in his judgment in regard to a question of that kind? No minister has ever thought of it up to the present time, and I am quite sure that no minister would have thought of entering into that arena. Then, there is another consideration. All Canada has contributed to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
There are some gentlemen who come from other parts of Canada who have made us listen to grain Bills and other questions affecting the farmers of the west for days, and we would like at least for one night if the hon. gentleman will bear with us while we entertain them with our little needs and necessities. If my hon. friend (Mr. Staples) is getting tired I am perfectly willing to excuse him. He may go and I can assure him that we will not do anything unlawful while he is away. We in Nova Scotia have contributed our part, and we were glad to do it, to aid in the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway. We are to-day contributing in an equal degree to construct the Grand Trunk Pacific, both of which enterprises have never touched our province, one stopping at St. John and the other at Moncton. We are guaranteeing and pledging the credit of the country to an enormous extent to ensure the construction of a third transcontinental, the Canadian Northern, with the continental system of which our prov-
ince has no connection. With the exception of Prince Edward Island, which is isolated as an island and is therefore impossible to be connected directly with a railway system, we are the. one province that is not in touch with any transcontinental railway system. We have ail these disadvantages by reason of the fact, but we are confined to one railway-the Intercolonial railway. What I say to the minister is-and this is the point that I have been waiting to make-that he is the only source to which we in eastern Nova Scotia can look for consideration in regard to our railway necessities and I say to him that he should provide for these necessities and, if "he fails to do so, I urge upon him to give to these railway systems, by an arrangement with them which would be equitable, and in the country's interest, opportunities for coming into our province over the line of the Intercolonial railway so that they could take part in the business life in which we are interested and we could go to them and say: Here is a business proposition, will
you take hold of it and will you go on and give those facilities which the government of the Dominion do not see their way clear to provide? There is the issue-to my mind a plain and simple idea-that the minister must satisfy the needs of the province of Nova Scotia, as they have been recognized by the late government, and provide such facilities as will enable her industrial opportunities to find full fruition, or he must give to the transcontinental railway lines an opportunity to come into our province and make such an arrangement as will enable us to obtain from them those facilities which we think are in our interest and would be in the interest of any railway enterprise that was operating in Nova Scotia.
Will the hon. gentleman mention any railway that could have been taken over on the standardization fixed in that statute ?
Mr. KYTtE. The resolution introduced by the late Minister of Railways at the last session was to give him authority to taike over such railways as were available and were not provided for by the statute passed in 1910. I regret that the present Minister of Railways has not introduced a similar resolution, because it would then be some guarantee to us that his intentions in regard to taking over these branch lines of railway were good. [DOT]
Yes, when they are supplemented by statute as it was the intention of the late minister to do had it not been for the unexpected dissolution of parliament last year.
I rose to impress on the minister the desirability of resuming these negotiations opened by the late government. I cannot accept the statement of the minister that only such railways as will guarantee a surplus in their operations should be taken over by this government. The only trunk railway we have in the province of Nova Scotia is the Intercolonial railway and that province has contributed very largely towards the earnings of the road, a large share of the surplus of last year must be credited to that province. If these railways were paying institutions there would not perhaps be the same demand that they should be taken over, but while the government is undertaking large expenditures from which profits cannot reasonably be expected, there is no reason in the world why the department should not carry out a similar policy with respect to railway operations and give us the benefit of this policy in the maritime provinces.
I am glad to see the item for improvements at Hampton, but I regret that the item of $15,000 which was placed in the estimates by the late Minister of Railways has been omitted. That was for the construction of a spur from Hampton station to Hampton village. The cost was to be about $40,000 and it would give very great and needed accommodation. I hope the 'minister will look into it personally.
In connection with the item of public highways there is a highway approaching Mulgrave where the Intercolonial railway crosses the highway in two places. For a number of years negotiations have been going on between the local authorities and the Intercolonial railway to divert the highway so as to avoid accidents in that locality.
Several deaths have occurred at these crossings, which are very dangerous. The difficulty could be avoided by diverting the road so as not to cross the railway at all. At- present the road crosses the railway twice, whereas if it could be built along the northern side of the railway it would not cross the railway at all. The question of who should bear the cost of' building this piece of highway has been before the government of Nova Scotia and the Department of Railways for some time. As the minister will have money to expend on public roads now and as he will have only himself to deal with on behalf of the Intercolonial railway and also on behalf of the road expenditure, he will be in a position to decide this vexed question.' If he would do so he would be conferring a great benefit on that locality, and would probably save a great deal of expense in future to the railway in the way of claims for accidents.
There is another place on the Intercolonial railway, not very far from the place referred to by my hon. friend, which I would ask the minister Jp consider at the same time. I refer to the crossing at Sylvan Valley in Antigonish county, where several persons have been killed and numerous accidents have occurred. Some years ago, an electric bell was placed there, but while at first it seemed to be an improvement, it has not given satisfaction. The reports in the department will show that this is a place where there should be an overhead bridge. It would not cost very much, and would remove the danger that now exists.