feature of the fishing industry will be considered at the proper time. But at the moment I wish to call the attention of the Government to the necessity of providing the fishermen with freezers in various local centres; and I would suggest that those freezers should be organized on the cooperative system. That system has been adopted in the Old Country and is working very satisfactorily there. I again ask the Government to look into this matter and to establish for our fishermen these local freezers to assure them a continuous supply of the necessary bait.
Coming back to the question of natural resources in general, Mr. Speaker, and to the remarks I made at the beginning of my address this evening, namely, the opening up of the interior of the Gaspe peninsula, I claim that in my humble judgment the best asset in the natural resources of Canada it not to be found in the fisheries or the mines, but in the population itself. The best asset of Canada is its population, particularly if it is a population of settlers. Now, Sir, the opening up of the interior of the peninsula of Gaspe would add to that district at least fifty large centres. Many years ago that country was surveyed by engineers and traversed by missionaries and voyageurs, who were unanimous in their view that we had between the two ranges of mountains a splendid valley, with good soil, where there could be planted at least fifty parishes, that could attract settlers and maintain them on the land. Mr. Speaker, is it too much to ask that the pioneer population of Canada, which has shown so much attachment to the land of its ancestors, should be favourably considered in connection with the railway policy of the Government? After all, Canada is the greatest farm on the continent of America, and we must look to the farmer as the mainstay of our country. I claim, Sir, with some pride, that the race to which I belong is above all a race of farmers. Think, then, what the result would be if by the construction of a railway in the interior of the Gaspe peninsula fifty parishes were established; think of the industry of that population, of the increase in its numbers, and of the national wealth it would represent. Leroy-Beaulieu, the great economist-and many who came after him have said the same thing -once stated that the capital value of a man, a woman or a child could be placed at one thousand dollars. Mr. Speaker, I want to help my good friend the Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) in the dilemma in which he finds himself
to-day. He has to find a means of raising revenue to meet the financial condition of Canada, the serious railway problem of Canada, the interest charges on the national debt. The greater the population of the country the greater will be his revenue, because the country is developed in proportion to the extent and activity of its population.
Now, Sir, the fifty parishes which I would like my hon. friend to establish in the interior of Gaspe will soon increase their numbers, because the race from which I spring has demonstrated that, once given a start, it never stops. At the time of the cession of the country to Great Britain the census of Canada showed, according to our historians, a population of 60,000 or 70,000; to-day the French Canadian population of the province of Quebec only is, if my information is correct, about 2,500,000. The same economist, Leroy-Beaulieu, stated a few years ago that the rate of increase in the French population in Canada was unique in the history of the world; that the population was doubling itself every thirty years. Well, that means that in thirty years the French Canadian population of the province of Quebec will be 5,000,000, and in sixty years, 10,000,000. And what is sixty years? Even a century is but a moment in the history of a nation. Now,
I come back to what I said a moment ago: the best asset of Canada, its greatest wealth, is its population-and, I may say, its farming population. Let the Government develop a policy of expansion; let the Government encourage colonization, the taking up of farms, and we need not worry about the future of Canada. These are my last words, Mr. Speaker; I did not intend to speak at such length, but as I was speaking of the population of the province of Quebec, I could not but give a few facts which are in themselves quite illuminative.