Mr. MICHAEL STEELE (South Perth):
I wish to inquire of the Minister of Railways regarding the coal situation throughout Ontario. Speaking more particularly for the western portion of the province, the people there are face to face with the most serious coal famine they have ever experienced. Of the factories depending upon steam power, some are already closed, and many of them will be compelled to close within a very short time. Householders, too, in both town and country are very short of the necessary fuel, and in many homes the coal bin is empty. I know that the minister has had this matter before him, because through his exertions and the efforts of the Railway Commission some relief was afforded to certain sections, a few weeks ago. The situation, however, is becoming so serious again that I know the people of the provinces will be glad to be assured that every effort is being made to relieve what is a most distressing situation. I should like to inquire of the minister what prospects there are for relief in the near future.