May 3, 1916

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The bridges would take two or three years to build ?

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Subtopic:   ST. JOHN AND QUEBEC BAIL WAY.
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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

Yes. It would take two or three years to put in the foundations and have the bridges ready for operation. There is not only the question of time to be considered, but never in the history of our country have the materials entering into the construction of bridges been so expensive as at present. Iron is very dear and almost impossible to buy; cement, which is required in the foundations, is also high, and so are the other materials; labour is scarce. Altogether, we felt that it would be better to save the extra amount that we should have to pay, under present conditions, for the construction of these bridges. When this road is completed in February next-and it may be ready for operation before that time-I believe it will be of great advantage, not only to the city of St. John, but to the whole district through which it runs, and of that it will be of great assistance to the Intercolonial and the Transcontinental in getting our freight and passengers into the city of St. John. Feeling that this road was likely to give us an entrance into the city of St. John in the near future, I have been able to induce the Minister of Finance to place an amount in the Estimates for an elevator at St. John, the construction of which will be commenced at once; in fact I intend urging its completion as soon as possible in order that we may have the advantage of it next winter. This will be of benefit not only to the railway but to the people of St. John. As hon. members know, we have not had an elevator in that city since two years ago, when the elevator was destroyed by fire. At present, we intend taking running rights over the Canadian Pacific railway.

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Subtopic:   ST. JOHN AND QUEBEC BAIL WAY.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Is there any power in

the Railway Act to compel the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to grant running rights, or must the matter be one of voluntary agreement?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I do not know whether the

Railway Act would compel them to grant running rights. .

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Subtopic:   ST. JOHN AND QUEBEC BAIL WAY.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Does the minister propose to take power in this Bill to compel them?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

No, I am satified there will be no difficulty about it.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

On what ground does the minister base that statement?

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Subtopic:   ST. JOHN AND QUEBEC BAIL WAY.
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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN:

Reciprocity.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   ST. JOHN AND QUEBEC BAIL WAY.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

This Government is

opposed to reciprocity.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The hon. member knows that we already have agreements by which running rights on the Government railway are granted to the Canadian Pacific railway and vice versa.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

When Mr. Blair was minister, the Government refused to give the Canadian Pacific Railway Company running rights over the Intercolonial between St. John and Halifax, and I believe they have never yet been able to get those running rights. If it is a matter of reciprocity, they may make a deal.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I do not anticipate any trouble in regard to those running rights. If there is any trouble, I can assure the hen. gentleman we will get into St. John at an early date.

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The advantage we shall have by running in from Westfield is that we immediately get into the west side. In addition to that, we run right over to the east side where the Intercolonial terminals are. The Intercolonial railway had a great deal of difficulty in taking over their tracks, grain or other freight consigned to West 'St. John. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company charged such heavy shunting charges between West St. John and the Intercolonial terminals that our freight charges were considerably cut into. By this proposal we can run right into West St. John and over to the Intercolonial terminal.

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Subtopic:   ST. JOHN AND QUEBEC BAIL WAY.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

If it is so easy to get running rights over the Canadian Pacific

railway, why does the Intercolonial not get running rights from the east side to the west side, instead of paying those shunting charges?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The hon. member knows quite well that I am speaking of the terminals. When we run over the eleven miles, we run right through their terminal and on to the Intercolonial; we can leave our freight cars in their own yards or at the wharf. There is no trouible about that. Taking the whole situation as I have explained it, I think it is much better that the road should be completed into St. John at the earliest possible date. It is a much better arrangement than the previous one for all concerned, and I hope, therefore, that the resolution will pass.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I regret very much

that I am not able to agree with the Acting Minister of Railways in regard to this resolution, nor am I able to congratulate him or the Government on the conclusion which has been finally arrived at. It was a sorry ending to what seemed to be a great undertaking, one which was intended to make the city of St. John the chief Atlantic terminus of the Grand Trunk Pacific railway, and the new Transcontinental line which the company was to operate. I also am sorry that I have to charge this Government with having, from the very commencement of the undertaking since this Government came into power, acted, to all appearances, almost designedly, in cooperation with the Government of New Brunswick, to defeat the object originally in view. That is a pretty strong statement to make, but I think this legislation, and the facts, will justify it. Much as I regret to be obliged to make the statement, I feel it is my duty to do so.

What are the facts? When the late Government was in power, we conceived the idea that it would be a very important thing for the Transcontinental railway and also for Canada, that there should be direct connection between the Transcontinental line and the port of St. John. St. John, at that time, had attained such importance as a national port by reason of the accommodation which had already been provided there by the people of that city at a very large expenditure of money, that we believed that its success in that direction had been so marked that it would be desirable in the interest of Canada to have a direct connection between the port of St. John

and the Transcontinental railway, and Grand Falls seemed to be the point where the connection could best be' made. We also felt that it would be of very great benefit to the valley of the St. John river which is a most fertile district, one of the best agricultural sections of the whole Dominion, a district which has been settled for upwards of one hundred years, but which for the most part has been without railway facilities. We thought that if the Valley railway could be constructed all the way from St. John to Grand Falls and be operated as a part of the Transcontinental system, it would be of immense national importance and would give very much needed accommodation locally to a most important section of Canada. At that time, I think in the year 1910, owing to a strong desire upon the part of the people of a large portion of New Brunswick that the Valley railroad should be built, a delegation came to Ottawa and interviewed the then Liberal Government; and after hearing the representations that were made, we arrived at the conclusion that the project was so important that it would be desirable that the Dominion Government should make exceptionally favourable arrangements for the construction of that road.

The proposition which was made to us, and to which the late Government cheerfully acceded, was that the railroad should be constructed from St. John, or from a point on the Government Tailway, to Grand Falls, and that the Government 'should enter into a lease for the operation of the completed Toad for a period of ninety-nine years, agreeing to keep the road in repair, and provide the rolling stock, and to pay to the province of New Brunswick, or to the railway company which should construct the line, forty per cent of the gross earnings. That forty per cent was to be applied towards recouping the province for the interest on the bonds which it proposed to guarantee, amounting, if I remember rightly, to $35,000 a mile. In 1910, the late Government was in office, there was passed by Parliament at the instance of the Government an act giving a subsidy for the line all the way from St. John to Grand Falls. That subsidy was in the ordinary form- $3,200 a mile, but with provision for an increase to $6,400 a mile, in case the cost of construction reached something over $21,000 a mile. It was also agreed that the Government should enter into a lease for the operation of the line in sections as completed. That was the condition of affairs when this Government came into office. Now, what is the first instance of departure from that contract, and of breach of faith on the part of this Government in conjunction with the then Government of New Brunswick, led toy the Hon. Mr. Fleming? And here I may say that at the time it was rumoured in New Brunswick that Premier Flemming had given assurances- assurances which were quite publicly stated by those connected with the Canadian Pacific railway-that, although it was provided by statute that the line should run to Grand Falls, yet it was never intended to run a line parallel to the Canadian Pacific, but that the line would really stop at Andover. It was also looked forward to that at the southern end it should run to Westfield. So, instead of a line Tunning to Grand Falls, to be operated as part of the Transcontinental, this would be a line beginning at a point on the Canadian Pacific at Andover and running to a point on the Canadian Pacific to Westfield, some fourteen miles from the city of St. John. In 1912, the subsidy from ISt. John to Grand Falls was renewed in the following words:

For a line of railway from St. John to Grand Falls, New Brunswick, exclusive of a railway brid.ge across the Kennebecasis river, at or near Perry .point, and two railway bridges across the St. John river, one at or near Mistake, and one at or near Andover; in lieu of the subsidy granted by chapter 51 of 1910, section 1, item 12; not exceeding 228 miles.

This is in the very wording of the statute of 1910, which was passed when the late Government was in power. While that subsidy was renewed to prevent it lapsing, in the following year we find the hand of Mr. Flemming, then Premier of New Brunswick, showing in the legislation, and carrying out what it was alleged was the assurance that had been given to the Canadian Pacific railway that the line should not be built to Grand Falls but should stop at Andover. The Subsidy Act of the previous year was repealed and the following substituted instead, as the minister will find in [DOT] chapter 46 of the statutes of 1913:

To the St. John and Quebec Railway Company, for a line of railway from Andover to St. John, New Brunswick, exclusive of a railway bridge across the St. John river, at or near Mistake, and a railway bridge across the Kennebecasis river at or near Perry point; in lieu of subsidy granted by chapter 4:8 of 1912, section 2, item 2; not exceeding 200 miles.

There we find the first instance of the fact that this Government and the Government of New Brunswick, the latter then led by Mr. Flemming, had decided to abandon that line of the railway which was to extend

from Andover to Grand Falls. That was the first instance of the breach of faith which we find to have taken place. In the year, 1912, the Government, of course, was confronted by the fact that the bridges had to be built and that the railway company could not build them without Dominion aid. It- was provided that a bridge company should be formed and that the Government of Canada should guarantee the bonds of that company for a certain period, and also pay the interest upon the bridge bonds for a period of fifteen years. As further evidence of the fact that there was never any bona fide intention, as it appears to me and as the records show, to build these bridges or to build the line from St. John to Grand Falls, in addition to the evidence I have given to the committee we have the further fact that, during all these years and up to the present time, not a blow has been struck upon the railway north of Andover, nor has there been a blow struck upon the railway south of Gagetown. Some surveys were made of the St. John river and the Kennebecasis river, and surveyors' stakes were driven, but not one blow was ever struck south of Gagetown although it is six years since the late Government made the agreement to which I have referred, and there has since been plenty of time to build the whole railway and the bridges as well. Not a dollar has been expended in construction either north of Andover and north of Centreville in Carle-ton county, nor has any money been spent on construction south of Gagetown. I suppose that this Government and the provincial Government were keeping the matter open until the people of New Brunswick should be wearied with waiting and should be ready to submit to what, I believe, these two Governments have all along intended to do-to make the termini Andover on the north and Westfield on the south. This is what, after all these years of waiting, they are asking the people of New Brunswick to accept as being the final and fixed policy they have arrived at. Better would it have been had they announced this when they came into office years ago, instead of leading the people to believe, as [DOT] they led them to believe in the elections of 1912, that they intended to build this line as part of the Transcontinental system from the port of St. John to a connection with the Transcontinental at Grand Falls. It is true that the Government did intro' duco and have passed in this House in 1914 a Bill to give further aid to the construction of the bridges. The minister

says that this aid was to be to the extent of $3,000,000. No amount is mentioned in the Act, but it was declared to be the policy of this Government to build the bridges and to pay the interest upon the cost of construction for the period of some fifteen years. The minister says that these bridges would have cost some $3,000,000. Well, they would not have cost any more than they would cost now; I doubt whether they would cost very much more now than they would have cost then. Although provision was made in 1913, and in 1914 for the building of these bridges, no steps were taken to that end; no appropriation was asked for from Parliament for that purpose; the matter has remained in a dormant condition. No work has been commenced upon any of the bridges or upon any portion of the line south of Gagetown.

What was the reason why the Government in 1910 entered upon this large undertaking? We realized that the country was going to the expense of building a great transcontinental railway which was to open up a wonderful country, a country richer in resources than that portion of western Canada which is traversed by the Canadian Pacific railway. Wonderful as is that country, we realized that the new district which was being opened by the Transcontinental railway would soon be settled by thousands, nay, by millions of people, and that over that road would be carried untold quantities of our products for shipment to the markets of the old world, in the way of grain and cattle, which can be produced so satisfactorily upon our western prairies. We talked the matter over with Mr. Hays, late President of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. I well remember that there were gentlemen at that time who thought they might be able to convince Mr. Hays that it would be better to bring the line down the western side of the St. John river and utilize the Canadian Pacific railway terminals upon the western side of the harbour. To all these statements Mr. Hays replied: "You talk about our using

terminals jointly with another transcontinental line. Look at Fort William, where we are establishing ' terminals in connection with our transcontinental system, where we have twenty-seven miles of water frontage, where we have elevator capacity of upwards of 30,000,000 bushels. If St. John is to be the freight terminus for our winter business we shall require terminals almost, if not quite, as comprehensive as those which we are constructing at Fort William." He looked over 'Courtenay bay,

and decided that at that place there was an ideal opportunity for developing a port such as the new transcontinental railway would require. Under the Bill which was passed through Parliament in 1910 we provided that the road should go- into St. John upon the eastern side of the St. John river -that it should tap the Intercolonial at Rothesay, run into the city of St. John, and have direct and easy connection with the terminals at Cburtenay bay. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company had prepared a plan of their terminals upon a most comprehensive scale. They thought that they would require for very many years some fifteen or twenty docks, and ample provision was made in the plans to meet these requirements. The plans showed a very large grain elevator, a large immigration building-indeed, all those requirements and facilities which are necessary in connection with the terminals of a transcontinental railway system. I remember that the plans showed trackage extending along the Intercolonial for some three or four miles. They had in contemplation the building of machine shops and a large roundhouse; everything was designed on the most comprehensive scale. This plan is completely destroyed by the arrangement which has been arrived at to-day, and what is the excuse? The minister says that the Transcontinental line has been taken ovier by the Government, and that that is the reason for the change. Well, Sir, we have the statement of my right hon,. friend the Prime Minister that the Transcontinental has not been taken over by the Government. As members of this House know, the Grand Trunk Pacific Company contend that they are not bound to enter upon a lease, because the contract provides that the lease shall begin when the road has been completed, and the road has not yet been completed, as the Government is compelled to admit. All that the Prime Minister has said is that pending the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company entering upon operation of the road the Government is temporarily engaged upon the operation of the Transcontinental system between Winnipeg and Moncton. That is the statement made by the Prime Minister in answer to a question which I put to him at the request of the people of St. John, who have recently ibeen considering the question of the construction of the St. John Valley railway and whether it should be built into St. John on the east or the west side of the river. As 212i

a matter of law, not until the Transcontinental has been completed can this Government legally call upon the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company to enter upon the lease. When it should be completed the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company' wlil be in a position to demand of this Government that they enter upon the lease, which is to be for fifty years from the time of the completion of the Transcontinental-system. Is -it not absurd for the minister to come forward with the reason that he has for the destruction of the agreement which this Government made with the people of New Brunswick? I charge breach o!f faith on the part of this Government- that, by their legislation, by their agreement, by their telling the people that they were going to carry out the arrangements that the old Government had made, they have induced the people of New Brunswick to take upon their shoulders an enormous burden amounting to some $35,000 a mile for the construction of that portion o'f the railway which has been constructed. This portion of the railway could have been built at very much less cost if it were to be used merely as a local road connecting two points on the Canadian Pacific railway. The people of New Brunswick have taken upon themselves this burden, amounting to something like $6,000,000, which is an enormous obligation for a small province with a population of only some 350,000.

My hon. friend says that it would take two or three years to build these bridges. Let me ask him, why did this Government not begin to build the bridges after the legislation of 1912, conjointly with the Provincial Government, when provision was made for them? Why did they not begin to build -them when the legislation was changed in 1914? Why, having placed the legislation on the statute book, did they take no steps to carry out the pledge which they made to the people of New Brunswick that they would construct this valey road on the plans which had been originally agreed upon, and that they would build the bridges? If they had begun, the bridges would have been built by this time. Two years have passed since,the legislation of 1914, four years -since the legislation of 1912 providing for the construction of the bridges; yet the minister tells this committee and the people of New Brunswick that it would take three years to build these bridges; that this would delay the entrance of the Valley road into the city of St. John; that the Government deems it better to

build simply to Westfield and to get running rights over the Canadian Pacific railway. [The minister holds out the hope that there js going to be a connection between McGivney Junction and the Valley road at Fredericton. That connection will be some 34 miles in length. Will he tell me what the grades of that road are, that is, between McGivney Junction and Fredericton, what l,he weight of the rails is, and what is the character of the roadbed.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The character of the roadbed is first-class; at all events, it will be made first-class. Tihe rails are first-class and equal to any on the Transcontinental. We intend to make the connection between McGivney Junction and St. John equal to any other part of the Transcontinental, that is, a first-class road. That is the intention. It is not the intention to make it a side road. We intend to make the road to St. John, so far as the carrying of freight is concerned, a first-class road.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I am glad to hear the

minister say that. He has got to give assurances and do a great amount of work in order to recompense the people of New Brunswick, particularly the people of St. John and the St. John Valley, for the great outrage that has been done to them by the breach of faith of which this Government and the Provincial Government have been guilty. I am glad to hear him give strong assurance as to what he is going to do; but he has not told me what are the grades of the railway between McGivney Junction and Fredericton. I am told that they are very heavy, and I am also told that the roadbed is not first-class, but only second-class. The Canada Eastern is a branch line. It was bought for about $8,000 a mile, and it is in very poor condition to be used as part of the Transcontinental system.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

My hon. friend can hardly

expect me to know all about the grades of every part of the road; but if my memory serves me rightly, the information I received was that the grades are probably a little heavy on that road, but that they are in the right direction; that is to say, that, so far as the freight going to St. John for export is concerned, the grades are in the right direction. Coming from St. John they will probably not be so good as they are going the other way. We all know that the roadbed and probably the rails on this road were not of the best when we purchased it, but we have purchased

fMr. Pugsley.l

other branch lines on which the roadbed was not as good as the roadbed of the Intercolonial or of the Transcontinental. We are now trying to make this connection between McGivney Junction and St. John, and we will make it a first-class road in every way, shape and form, so that we can run our freight over the Transcontinental into St. John on a roadbed and on rails as good ae are to be found on the Transcontinental!. The hon. member criticises this Government for what it has done for St. John.

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Subtopic:   ST. JOHN AND QUEBEC BAIL WAY.
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May 3, 1916