March 23, 1921

UNION

Michael Steele

Unionist

Mr. STEELE:

The condition is not quite so extreme as it was a few months ago, the price of coal having been considerably ' reduced in the last few months. Let me give the House an illustration of how the high price of coal affects our industrial concerns. From the annual report of the Canada Cement company, I take this reference to the coal supply: [DOT]

For several months the company was unable to secure an adequate supply of coal to keep it running to the required capacity and earnings suffered severely. The president in his address said that the inability to obtain coal was greatly responsible for the smaller business. There was an increase of 540 per cent in coal cost over the year 1914.

That is a reliable ilustration of the increased expense which our industrial plants are subject to on account of the enhanced cost of coal. The higher freight rates and the exchange also add enormously to that cost. In the portion of western Ontario which I represent, three years ago the freight rate on a ton of coal was $2.90; to-day it is $5.29, plus exchange of $1.60, or practically $4 more than three years ago. This means for a town of 4,000 people an additional outlay of from $15,000 to $20,000 per year, most of which goes into the pockets of the United States coal operators and railways. But this is not the only difficulty which our people are experiencing at the present time; there is the additional difficulty in getting their coal at any cost. That there was a real scarcity there is no doubt, but this was partly owing to decreased production and increased demand, not at all to the diminution of our resources. It has been said that for every ten per cent increase in pay granted to the United States coal miners there was a lessening of production to the extent of ten per cent.

We in Ontario-and I am speaking now especially of Ontario-are entirely dependent upon the United States for our fuel, both for our domestic and our industrial needs. The scarcity affects the very foundation of our industrial life, and it seems to me essential that Canada should at once adopt a: policy which will make us independent of any foreign country for our fuel supply and encourage the development of our own coal resources. The scarcity of coal of recent years has been attributed to various causes, principally to labour unrest at the mines, with the tendency among the miners to reduce their output as their wages increased. The lack of cars and motive power on the railways is also a contributing cause. This scarcity of coal will undoubtedly continue for another year at least and will recur at intervals in the future. Let me read an extract from a recent number of the Coal Age, which is generally regarded as a reliable authority on the coal situation in the United States. It says:

The coal companies are figuratively sitting tight and tightening their belts. The spot market is quotable more because of the prices offered by shippers than by business closed. There seems to be a very general feeling- possibly founded on hope-that the buyer is going to stay out of the market until the last minute, and then when he does start to buy the rush will produce another sharp upswing in prices, and that next fall will witness another repetition of serious car shortage.

I believe that that opinion is shared very largely by the coal dealers of this country, based possibly on their experiences of last year, and possibly on their fears regarding next year's supply. What did we find last year? In July coal was being offered retail in western Ontario around $15, and $15.50 a ton; three or four months later it was selling at $22 a ton and almost impossible to be obtained at that price. We all know there was no legitimate reason whatsoever for that substantial increase. But what is supposed to have been the real cause of that sharp advance? It was the scarcity of coal in Canada, especially in Ontario, due to the causes which I have already given. Our people had to have coal, and our dealers felt that they had to pay whatever prices would secure them the coal. While the straight line coal companies were unable to supply our dealers, the independent coal companies, who control a very large percentage of the output in Pennsylvania and the other coal fields of the United States, took advantage of the demands from Ontario and possibly from other parts of Canada also, and would sell coal only when they secured the maximum price offered by any dealer who was urgently in need of coal.

Now, as I have said, that scarcity will return, with all the distressing incidents which we experienced in 1917 and 1918. We all remember those heatless days which were necessarily imposed upon us, when we had to submit to restrictions on the amount of fuel in certain industries, when we were permitted to have only a certain minimum of coal in our cellars, when we were obliged to use bituminous coal instead of anthracite, when we were forced to use wood whenever obtainable, and when even we had to practise the strictest economy in the consumption of gasolene. Those distressing days are sure to return, perhaps not next year or even the following year, but the conditions surrounding our fuel supply are certain to result sooner or later in a recurrence of the 1917 and 1918 inconveniences.

With such abundant resources, and with such urgent need, we should prepare to meet the issue unflinchingly and effectively. And now is the time to do it, not when we are looking for a supply of coal for our furnaces as the cold weather comes on. Now is the time to prepare, not for next winter merely, but for five years from now, when conditions will be more acute, and for ten years from now, when they will be still more acute than they are to-

day. In time of peace prepare for war. In time of plenty prepare for scarcity.

Let me make some further references to the situation in Ontario. One of the substitutes for coal is electric power, and to-day Ontario is using about 1,000,000 horse power of electric energy. It is estimated that each horse power takes the place of about ten tons of coal. Therefore if Ontario were not using that 1,000,000 horse power she would require an additional 10,000,000 tons of coal for her industries. Let us suppose that that was the situation. With the knowledge which we have to-day of transportation conditions on our railways and on the American railways, how could those railways possibly handle that additional

10.000. 000 tons? It would be an absolute impossibility. But some people may say, "Oh, well, we have 1,000,000 horse power of electric energy and we do not need to worry about that." No, we do not need to worry about that. But let us look ahead for another ten years when Canada will require at least 50,000,000 tons of coal instead of 33,000,000 tons as at present; how are we going to provide for that additional

16.000. 000 tons? To-day it requires about

1,000 locomotives and 23,000 freight cars to handle our coal supply, which is one-fifth of all the freight transported by our railways. To handle another 16,000,000 tons would necessitate an increased equipment of about fifty per cent. Are our railways prepared to do that within ten years? Is the Government prepared to increase on our national railways the equipment for coal hauling purposes to the extent of fifty per cent within the next ten years? That is the problem which we have before us if we are going to supply the people of Canada with their necessities in the fuel line fen years from now. Again I say it is time that the Canadian people and this Parliament representing the Canadian people should give serious thought to the problem of our fuel supply in the future.

I have shown that there is an abundance of coal in Canada. Now I come to speak particularly of the needs of Ontario and Quebec, within whose boundaries no coal exists that can be used for commercial purposes. These two provinces, however, are the largest consumers of coal, and sometimes we are almost forced to the belief that in this matter nature seems to have made a mistake. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New, Brunswick have no difficulty in obtaining their supply. Manitoba has had some difficulty; she has suffered in the past, but

with Alberta coal being shipped there in increasing quantities, it would seem that that province has solved its fuel problem.

I would point out that in 1920 Manitoba took 516,198 tons of Alberta bituminous coal, 200,000 tons more than in the previous year. As only 98,629 tons of Alberta coal were consumed in Manitoba in 1916, it is evident that the people of that province are giving the preference to Alberta coal. This is as it should be. The freight rate to Winnipeg on Alberta coal is $5 a ton, and no exchange, a much lower cost than that incurred by the Ontario people when they import American coal. As the Alberta mines have a capacity to produce 12,000,000 tons yearly and as they now produce only about 6,000,000 tons, there is no reason why Saskatchewan and Manitoba need worry about their fuel supply in the near future. The briquetting of Saskatchewan lignites offers another relief, and it may be that these briquettes will in time be commercially available as far east as the upper lakes of Ontario.

As I have said, Ontario and Quebec are the two provinces which are faced by a real fuel problem. Ontario is the one province of the Dominion entirely dependent on the United States supply. Quebec, by water transportation, was prior to the war able to secure Nova Scotia coal as far west as Montreal. While this traffic was arrested during the war, there are indications that it will be resumed and in this way even Quebec may be able to supply

4 p.m. herself with Canadian coal. Ontario alone seems at present completely isolated in respect of her fuel supply -the largest consumer and the most completely cut off from the coal-producing provinces. We consume in Ontario about forty per cent of all the coal used in Canada. The reasons for this are our large population, the gradual exhaustion of. our wood supply, and the extensive and numerous industrial plants in the province. I would like at this stage to read some extracts from a letter which I received from a very prominent retail coal merchant in western Ontario, a director of the Retail Coal Association, in which he outlines the difficulties more clearly than I can. I will read part of his letter. Speaking for the retail coal dealers, he says:

We have learned to our cost that we are entirely at the mercy of the United States wholesaler, both as to the quantity of coal which we can secure, and also as to the quality and price of the product shipped during times of great scarcity. This has been the universal experience of all the coal merchants throughout the country.

The price on Pennsylvania anthracite ranged all the way from $8 to $17 per ton at the mines according as the necessities of the coal merchants might compel him to pay, and if a merchant made a trip to the mines, he found others there ahead of him and the coal was in fact auctioned to the highest bidder.

Moreover, the middlemen were not the only offenders. These prices were actual mine prices from independent mine owners. Ordinary mine run bituminous coal also varied in price during the past season from $3.50 per ton to $12.75 (in extreme cases) per ton at the mines. It was an absolute holdup by the United States operators and the prices demanded from Canadian importers largely fixed the price for the United States citizens themselves, and as a result, a very serious effort was made to have shipments to Canada cut off altogether. You can readily see how absolutely helpless our people would be in such an emergency. This condition, it may be urged, is largely a case of manipulation on the part of the United States operators, but whether this is so or not, the results are exactly the same. Had this winter been a severe one, untold suffering would have undoubtedly followed, as shipments have not been nearly so heavy as in other years. During last fall and summer, when the situation continued so threatening, we endeavoured to get a price on Canadian coal from Alberta, but the best all-rail rate of freight which we could get was $20.50 per ton which, of course, precluded any private individual or company from taking any chances in connection with the undertaking.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

Can the hon. member give the price of coal, mine run, in Alberta at that time?

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UNION

Michael Steele

Unionist

Mr. STEELE:

Four dollars and forty

cents at the mine. So that a real problem exists in Ontario. Now, the question comes to,us, how can this problem be met? I admit at once that there is difficulty in finding any satisfactory solution. We must have coal. How are we to get it when we need it, and how can we reduce the quantity consumed, are the two questions which I think we must consider.

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UNION
UNION

Michael Steele

Unionist

Mr. STEELE:

The question of reducing the quantity consumed would include that of employing substitutes. Undoubtedly, the most promising source of our supply apart from the United States is Nova Scotia, but at present our railways cannot transport coal from that province as cheaply as the railways can carry coal from Pennsylvania, a much shorter distance. What are the possible remedies, then? First, to conserve coal. This is a remedy for many evils, a remedy which the people are slow to take advantage of. But I may be permitted here to suggest some reasons why coal should be conserved, thus limiting as much as possible the amount required.

It is generally assumed that there is enormous waste in the consumption of coal, both for domestic and for industrial purposes. The United States Bureau of Mines say that thirty-five per cent of the coal is wasted up the chimney in the average boiler plant, in some cases much more than that. Even in our homes there is vast waste through the people not having an intelligent understanding of how to fire their furnaces and ranges. A great saving can be effected by a campaign of education among our people along these lines. Another thing which I think might be done to conserve our coal and to reduce the quantity required is to have coal sold by test. Almost everything that we buy or sell nowadays is sold subject to test or according to certain standards; why we should pay the mine owners of Pennsylvania for ash and slate, pay transportation, say, to Ontario, carry that ash and slate into our cellars and from there into our furnaces and then carry it out to the ash heap, is a matter which I cannot understand. I believe the day has come, owing to the scarcity of coal and the efforts of coal miners to sell the whole output without grading it at all, when our Government should protect our people, if possible, by having the coal which is imported in Canada and that which is produced in Canada sold according to test.

Another way and one of the most important ways in which we can reduce the quantity of coal required is by waterpower development. Ontario uses about 1,000,000 horsepower of electrical energy annually, and this is a substitute for about 10,000,000 tons of coal. Therefore, the more electrical energy that we qtilize, the less coal we shall need. With the completion of the Chippawa-Queenston power canal, in Ontario we shall have enough power from hydro-electric sources, it is estimated, to supply practically every plant west of the Trent valley system. The quantity of power required in eastern Ontario and not yet provided for is perhaps comparatively small when compared with that in western Ontario; but possible power development along the St. Lawrence is quite sufficient to meet all needs. While all the power that can be developed there may not be required-

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L LIB

Georges Parent

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PARENT:

When the hon. member mentions "all needs", does he mean for industrial purposes or for heating purposes?

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UNION

Michael Steele

Unionist

Mr. STEELE:

Only for industrial purposes. I think it is recognized that for heating our homes, electrical energy is not. at all suited. It is estimated that about five horse-power would be required for each individual, and that would make electrical energy for heating very expensive. The surplus electrical energy, which could be developed along the St. Lawrence and which would not be needed for industrial plants, could very well be used in the electrification of our railways. Our railways are using about 25 per cent of the coal which is consumed in this country. Every horsepower of electrical energy which can be used on our railways dispenses with the transportation of about ten tons of coal, and that is a very considerable item in our transportation problem. If we can electrify our railways, we reduce the quantity of coal which will be required and also the quantity of transportation service which we are demanding of our railway system. Another consideration which we must not lose sight of is that, as the days go by and as a greater development takes place, electrical energy will undoubtedly be lowered in price, while the price of coal will, undoubtedly, increase. Therefore, it seems time that we should be giving attention to the substitution of electrical power for coal wherever that is found to be practical or possible. As regards the supply of anthracite in the United States, let me point out that Ontario and Quebec have no other source of anthracite available than the United States. It is estimated by the Geological Survey of that country that their anthracite resources will be exhausted in fifty years, and long before that time we can well understand the people of the United States will insist on their anthracite coal being reserved for their own purposes, and probably export will be prohibited. Another possible means of reducing the quantity of coal required is by adopting central heating plants. While I am not prepared to say very much about that at the present time, on enquiry T find that engineers estimate that, by the adoption of central heating plants in the centres of population, the cost of heating our homes and business blocks can be reduced by 50 per cent, so that this is a matter that is well worthy of consideration by our larger municipalities. Another remedy, and one which the Government can, perhaps, do much to apply, is the supplying of sufficient cars to ensure that

the people of Canada will have their coal transported from the mines to their homes. It is generally acknowledged that much of the scarcity of recent years has been due to car shortage. I am not familiar enough with all the details of that to be able to explain why there should be a shortage; but undoubtedly there has been a shortage, and if it were possible for the Government and our railways to see that there are always sufficient cars at the mines to get the supply of coal which is demanded for our needs, shipped from the mines, very much would be done to relieve the shortage of next winter, and the time to take that action is in the next three or four months, not next fall. As I have said, 33,000,000 tons of coal were consumed in Canada last year, and that was practically all handled by our railways for a greater or less mileage. When I point out that the total number of tons of freight handled by the Canadian National railways last year was only 27,504,000, that gives an illustration of what a tremendous problem it is for our railways to handle our coal supplies. If the Canadian National railways had done nothing more last year than handle the coal of Canada, they would have handled over 5,000,000 tons of freight more than they handled of all freight on their whole system. The railways consumed 7,400,000 tons of coal in 1919, or 38 per cent of the total; our factories consumed 8,000,000 tons in that year.

I was. going to say a few words as to the substitution of oil for coal, but, perhaps, we are not ready in this country at the present time to think of that. It is a substitute for coal as fuel, but the oil scarcity on this continent is even more acute than the scarcity of coal. It is estimated that within five years from now the United States will be purchasing

500.000. 000 barrels annually from the British Empire. They are to-day importing about 100,000,000 barrels over and above their own production. Their consumption is increasing at the rate of

100.000. 000 barrels a year, so that we can see what a tremendous scarcity there is likely to be on this continent.

None of the remedies, however, which I have suggested, meet the urgency of the immediate future. What is concerning the Ontario people at this moment is their supply of coal for next winter. We need

16.000. 000 tons of coal within the next twelve months. How are we going to get it at a price that will not be too oppressive?

Are we to be forced to contribute another $100,000,000 to American interests, while our mines are idle and our railways incurring a deficit of $70,000,000 a year from lack of traffic; or are we going to take such steps as can be taken to ensure that our people'will get the 16,000,000 tons of coal, and at a price which will be as reasonable as it is possible to obtain the coal at? To my mind, we, as a Parliament, should make every possible effort to see that our people are not overcharged for their fuel supplies, even by American producers, and if it is necessary that the coal should be transported from Nova Scotia to Ontario at the cost of transportation I think our Government railways at least should be utilized for that purpose. If that be impossible, if there is no remedy available, the only thing that remains is that the Ontario people will have to be burdened with this enormous cost of our fuel supply for a few years to come, and the burden will gradually become more oppressive. I would just like to raise my voice at this moment in this House in requesting that this question be given the very best and closest consideration. No problem has ever arisen for which a solution has not been found, and if we cannot find a solution for this one, let it not be said that a solution was not found because we did not make an effort to find it.

I have included in this resolution a request that a special committee of this House be appointed to take this matter into consideration. I think that is a wise request. Let us look into the matter; that is what Parliament is for; let us see what information we can get, so that we may be in a position to advise Parliament as to what steps are possible. Then we may expect that these steps, if such are found, will be taken.

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UNION

Daniel Lee Redman

Unionist

Mr. D. L. REDMAN (East Calgary) :

Mr. Speaker, I wish to second the resolution which has just been brought in by my hon. friend from South Perth (Mr. Steele), but before speaking in support of it I feel that not only myself but the House generally should congratulate the hon. member for having brought up this important subject and especially congratulate him for the very great care which he has taken in looking into the subject, and in amassing and putting before the House in such excellent order for the use of hon. members all the information which he has given.

I need say nothing, after the speech of the hon. member, as to the general importance to Canada of this question. I presume that practically the question is this: How far, and to what extent, can we make the supplies of coal which lie more or less at the two extremes of Canada come towards each other with a view to meeting, as far as possible, the requirements of Central Canada? Whatever the interest of the province of Alberta may be in tl?e general question, I think it would be quite true to say that its interest will be greater in regard to the question of how much coal it can sell to the rest of Canada.

I need not say anything to this House, because the information is already in its possession as to the almost unlimited quantities of coal which we ha.ve in that province, nor as to the quality, because we have there all qualities of coal. It is entirely a question, therefore, of the area within which that coal can economically be marketed. In the last few years the market for Alberta coal has been extended through Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We have not yet completely captured the Manitoba market, and many improvements must be made by us in our methods of production, and some improvements in transportation facilities, before that market is entirely ours; but we have proven that our coal can economically compete with Pennsylvania coal in the province of Manitoba, and I think that when we get proper production methods and proper transportation arrangements it will be proven that our coal can more than compete in Manitoba with the Pennslyvania product.

Then we come to the wider question, a question on which I am not going to have the temerity to-day to make any prohesies or to give any promises, and that is whether or not Alberta coal can come further east than Manitoba. We might, however, consider for a moment the factors which would influence such a result. In the first place, the question of the cost of production might well be looked into. It is a significant fact that while most of the fundamental products, grain, for instance, have been reduced in price during the last year, the price for coal has not only stayed up but has even increased. The Dominion Government has assumed and exercised a certain amount of supervision and control over the labour question in the Alberta mines, and that question is an important factor in the cost of production. In fact, the cost of production of Alberta coal, has almost doubled in the last few years. It is now [11t. D. L. Redman. East Calgary],

given at something over $4. The coal itself, as far as the leases are concerned, has practically no value unless it can be sold, so the cost of production is simply the labour and the equipment which brings it forth. A committee of this House could well consider this question, as the Dominion Government has already assumed some control in regard to the question of the cost of labour that is involved in the production of our coal.

But the more important matter, in fact the real question in considering the market which our coal could reach, is the question of transportation. Here again, we find that transportation rates have not gone down this last year, and again we are met by the question of labour. Now whatever may be the relation of market transportation costs generally. I would like to say this: A

proposal has been made from Alberta in the last two years that during the summer months, when the' freight cars in Alberta and Western Canada are not being used in transporting the grain crop, and when there is not any congestion, when there is, in fact, not sufficient traffic to keep our railroads busy, these cars could be economically used in bringing our coal eastward at a considerably reduced rate as compared with the rate which prevails throughout the rest of the year. I think it has been proven that that can be economically done. It would cheapen the cost of production in that it would give labour all the year around to the miners; it would avoid congestion in the winter time, when the transportation of all products is more difficult, and when the grain is coming eastward. If some such arrangement as this were made, I think it would enable us perhaps to widen our market, and in any event deliver our coal more cheaply throughout the province of Manitoba.

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UNION

William Findlay Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (South York) :

Does my hon. friend mean to say that freight cars used for the transportation of grain can be used economically for the transportation of coal?

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UNION

Daniel Lee Redman

Unionist

Mr. REDMAN:

Oh yes, we do that out

there. In fact, in Western Canada we use box cars more than any other kind for shipping coal. I have only to add that I think a parliamentary committee would be an excellent organization to consider such a subject as this. I can think of no argument why committees of this House should not consider more subjects than they do.

I think myself, and I think other hon. members agree, that our time is often much

better spent in getting together in a committee and going to the root of some question, than in making or listening to general remarks in this House on many subjects.

So that, having regard to the importance of the subject, not only to-day but in view of future needs, I would seriously urge that the resolution brought forward to-day by the hon. member for Perth (Mr. Steele), be very favourably considered by the Government. i

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L LIB

Duncan Campbell Ross

Laurier Liberal

Mr. D. C. ROSS (West Middlesex) :

I

desire to say just a few words on this urgent and important subject. The whole question has been so well discussed by the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. Steele) that there is little left to be said except perhaps from the Ontario viewpoint. The facts are plain, I think, to every hon. member who comes from that province. The question of fuel supply has become one of the most important and one of the gravest of all the problems that confront our people to-day. The situation is this. The wood supply in Ontario, particularly in the older sections of the province, has almost entirely disappeared. Electrical energy has not been developed to such an extent that it may take the place of wood, and as a consequence we are more dependent every day upon the supply of coal we get, not only for our industries, but for our homes as well. The difficulty of obtaining a supply of coal for these purposes is not only increasing, but increasing rapidly. To a large extent, it is true that our industries are in greater need of a steady supply of coal than are private citizens, but, on the other hand, there is an increasing demand for coal for domestic purposes for the reason I have already mentioned, namely, the depletion of our wood supply. Coal is being used to-day not only in our urban centres, but by the farmers as well. The farmers throughout the western part of Ontario are using coal to a large extent, and therefore a proper supply has become essential for three purposes: first, for use in the homes; secondly, for the purposes of industry; and thirdly, for lighting a great many cities and towns throughout the country. We are in an unfortunate position as a province in not having within our borders any natural resources such as are found in the East and in the West. That is our difficulty.

This is not the first time that this matter has been brought up in this House. Last session, the hon. member for Maisoneuve (Mr. Lemieux) brought it up some time in the month of June, and in reply to birn at that time the Prime Minister of the day

(Sir Robert Borden) remarked that the question was a most important one which we must look pretty squarely in the face. He declared that the then Government or future governments would have to look this matter squarely in the face. I do not know what the right hon. gentleman meant by that statement, but I do feel that the present Government and past governments as well have dallied with this question too long, and the situation has become too urgent and acute for us to leave it in its present state. I think, therefore, that the motion of the hon. member for Perth is most opportune. I am not going to go into details in regard to statistics on the subject. The mover of the resolution has already done that, but the fact remains that we import half as much coal as we produce, and as the late Prime Minister said, the questions seems to be to a large extent one of transportation. Not only from the standpoint of Ontario but from the point of view of the nation as a whole, I would urge the necessity of something being done at the present time in this matter. It is all very well to say that the question of transportation is so large *-and undoubtedly it is-that we are having great trouble in connection therewith at the present time. But as a Parliament trying to serve the needs of the Canadian people, it is incumbent upon us to meet the difficulties that face us, no matter how formidable they may be. It is the duty of this Government, and if the Government fails to shoulder its responsibility in the matter, then it is the duty of Parliament, to find a remedy for this urgent problem.

What is our position? I contend that as a nation-for we claim we are a nation- we are most unfortunately dependent upon others for those things which we should provide for ourselves. We have 71 per cent of the available coal supply in the British Empire, and we have 11 or 12 per cent of the coal production of the world, and yet, in these two great industrial provinces, we are absolutely dependent on our neighbours to the south. The people of Ontario, therefore, and particularly the poorer classes, look not only with misgiving but with positive dread upon the advent of fall and winter. Eight or nine years ago they could buy coal for their homes at a price ranging from $6.00 to $6.50 per ton, but during the last winter we have been paying in Ontario, in the county of Middlesex anyway, as high as $23 and $24 for a ton of anthracite for heating purposes, and as high as $16 per ton for soft coal. Now, this state

of affairs should not be permitted to continue if we want to have a contented and prosperous people in Canada.

If we want peace and happiness, it is desirable that we reduce the cost of living, and this particular problem touches every home in the province of Ontario. But the difficulty lies not only in the question of price, although that is of exceeding importance. When the ordinary labour man has to pay $23 for a ton of coal to warm his little home and give comfort to his family, it is quite a slice out of his wages of, say, $15 or $25 a week, and one or two tons will not heat the ordinary home. As I say, however, the question is not only one of price; there is the prospect of our being absolutely debarred from getting coal at all. Any little difficulty occurring between us and our neighbours to the south would place us in a very hazardous situation. Should their supplies become depleted, as has been pointed out, or should a strike occur across the border, the result might be that these two great provinces would find themselves absolutely without coal for heating or industrial purposes. That is a most undesirable situation, yet it was the situation in which we found ourselves in 1919. I find in the report of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), for the year 1920 a statement in regard to the fuel supply of Canada in that year. That statement says:

Almost immediately after a strike occurred in the bituminous coal fields of the United States. To meet this situation, the export of coal from Canada was prohibited except under license. The Fuel Controller, Mr. C. A. Magrath, did not have an organization to handle the situation, so the Canadian Trade Commission undertook the work, at the request of the Government, under the direction of Mr. Magrath.

It was necessary to immediately ascertain what stocks of coal were in the country, the quantity available on wheels on Canadian railroads, and the minimum requirements of central Canada for the remaining months of the coal year.

After investigation of Canada's needs, Mr. Magrath proceeded ,to Washington and succeeded in inducing the United States authorities to allow Canada a supply of one hundred and twenty-five cars per day, provided that the coal was distributed in accordance with priority ratings, established by the United States Fuel Administration.

The arrangements made were quite satisfactory, although Canada never received the 125 cars per day, as promised: such industries, public utilities and institutions as were short of coal receiving sufficient supplies to keep them operating and heated. Fortunately the strike was settled about the middle of December and anxieties in regard to the coal supply for Canada were greatly relieved. *

I think that the very reading of this extract from the report of the right hon.

gentleman is a sufficient argument to justify the motion made by the hon. member for Perth. These things occurred in 1919; they may occur again this year, and the probability is that we should be absolutely without coal for either our industries or our homes. If such were the case, we should have to go hat in hand to the people of the United States and ask them, in their kindness of heart,-and I admit that they are large hearted-to give the Canadian people a sufficient supply of coal to keep them from freezing during the winter months and to ensure that the wheels of our industries would not be stopped.

These are the facts as I see them, and I do not wish to labour the point. Prices are every year going higher. This is a natienal question. It is not a question as to whether this government can supply the people of Canada with coal at a profit. Coal is an absolute necessity for the people of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. They must have coal, and the Government must get it for them even if the getting of it by the Federal authority involves some expenditure. We do not usually, as a Government, undertake enterprises in oreder to make money out of them. We do not operate our educational systems in order to make money; we do not supply seed grain to the farmers of the West on a money making basis; we do not make grants to agricultural fairs in order to make money for the people of Canada, or rather to put money directly into the treasury; we are operating a system of publicly owned railways and we are certainly not making money out of those. If the public needs of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec-our two most important and most prosperous provinces from an industrial point of view-require that the Government should do something of a concrete nature, the Government should take the matter in hand in some practical way. An adequate supply of coal is an absolute necessity for the preservation and efficient conduct of our industries, and the maintenance of domestic and social life in the province of Ontario-almost to as great an extent indeed as the British navy is necessary to the existence of the British nation. And yet when this vital matter is brought up somebody wants to know whether it is not going to cost money. In my opinion the hon. member for South Perth (Mr. Steele) has presented facts which are absolutely beyond question; and even if it does involve an expenditure of public money some method should be pro-

vided whereby coal can be brought from our eastern and western mines to supply the needs of the Canadian people. What does the present situation mean in other ways? We are now paying out some ninety or one hundred million dollars to the Americans for coal. We talk about the adverse balance of trade, and the adverse exchange rate. Well, the Minister of Finance declares that we will be able to meet the indebtedness involved by our present national debt if we will only adopt throughout the country the slogan "Buy in Canada." Very good, here is an opportunity to carry out this slogan. Let us buy Canadian coal for our necessities and avoid the sending out of ninety or one hundred millions of dollars to the American people. Let us spend that money in the purchase of Canadian coal and thus help our own miners and labourers. I am not trying to advance any definite method of settling this problem because I do not know enough about the details of the situation. What I do contend is that we have to make a start somewhere, and I think the - suggestion advanced by the hon. member (Mr. Steele) is a good one. Let a special committee be appointed to deal with this matter; let scientific men be brought before that committee and examined-technical men from the Department of Mines, miners, coal operators, railroad men;-and let us in consultation with them endeavour to reach some solution of this troublesome problem. I have very great pleasure in supporting the motion.

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. FRANCIS HENRY KEEFER (Port Arthur and Kenora) :

I want to join in the compliments which have been extended to the hon. member for South Perth for the labour he has expended in getting the data which he presented to-day and the very able manner in which he supported the motion. I do so with great sincerity knowing what work is involved in the preparation of such data. I think that the request made for a committee is one that should be supported by every member. I would like to join in the statement of the member for Calgary (Mr. Redman) that there is not enough use at present made of hon. members in connection with committee work. Very important subjects come before us that might very well be handled in committee by members of this House. We have seen the benefit of that in connection with the Soldiers' Pension Committee. The members of the House include men who are very able in their different professions or

business callings; and, in my judgment, questions such as these could be better handled by these men getting together and considering them in committee, because of the time they could then devote to the work, than they could be handled by the Government, who from pressure of public affairs have not the time. After giving careful consideration to the subjects brought before them they could make their recommendations to the Government which could act upon them or not as it saw fit; but surely beyond all question some valuable opinions and suggestions might be obtained by adopting such a procedure. I sincerely hope the hon. member will be successful in obtaining a committee to consider the subject dealt with in his resolution.

The hon. member mentioned several possible solutions of the coal problem. To my mind there is only one solution of that problem for Ontario and Quebec and that is to burn Nova Scotia coal. There is no use in talking about bringing western coal to Ontario and Quebec-the source is too far away; the mines are situated eight hundred miles from Winnipeg and from that city it is four hundred miles to the head of the lakes, involving a journey of twelve hundred miles by rail to the lakeside ports. Before the war the freight rate on coal at cost was half a cent per ton per mile. That figure would easily be doubled now, so that the carriage of western coal for a distance of twelve hundred miles to Lake Superior would involve a charge of $12 per ton to start with. With such a handicap as that the carriage of western coal to the East is out of the question. But if we take Nova Scotia coal the situation is entirely different. From the mines of Nova Scotia to tide-water there is practically no rail haul, or a very trifling one. From a conversation I had with the member for Cape Breton North and Victoria (Mr. MacKenzie) I ascertained that a few years ago the Nova Scotia coal mines were only producing a small quantity-a little over half a million tons; but last year they mined ten times that former output. It is a strange fact that these mines should be shut down to-day. Why is that? One cannot understand it. Are there no orders, or is there some profiteering going on? What is the reason for the cessation of operations? Let us get at the facts. We know that there is a demand for this coal, and we know the demand is not decreasing in Canada; we

revised Edition.

know that there is plenty of coal in Nova Scotia; let us ascertain why it is not available.

Take, for example, the city of Ottawa. The freight on bituminous coal amounts to $4.85 from the mines.

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UNI L
UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

From the mines in Pennsylvania. The nearest mines you can get soft coal from are located from one hundred to one hundred and fifty miles from Buffalo. In some cases, however, the coal comes from as far south as Maryland. After the coal has been brought to the St. Lawrence river it comes in over the Grand Trunk or the Canadian Pacific to Ottawa. By the time it reaches this city the rate amounts to $4.63. On top of that you have to pay the exchange on that American freight, and on the American price of the coal, and there is also a duty of fifty-three cents. So there you have five to six dollars which in part could be saved by using Nova Scotia coal. Now, we had Nova Scotia coal coming up to Montreal for ninety cents a ton and less before the war. While that great struggle was on the boats were all commandeered and the business temporarily dislocated. Prior to the war Nova Scotia coal was much in demand in Boston; I am told that city gets a large proportion of its coal from the Nova Scotia mines. Why cannot that coal come into our lake ports, why cannot it pass Montreal? The freight rate by water is very different from what it is by rail, let me give you an illustration. For years we have been taking coal from the lake Erie ports, carrying it to the head of the lakes for use by the Canadian Pacific or the Canadian Northern railway, at as low a rate as twenty-fice cents a ton, a distance of nine hundred miles. This low rate is feasible because of the return cargoes of wheat- thirty or forty cents was the normal rate on coal, but during the war it rose as high as a dollar. Now, however, freight rates are coming down. If you go up to the lakeside towns you will see immense stock piles of coal annually made by the three railways.

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L LIB

William Daum Euler

Laurier Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Will the hon. gentleman permit me a question? Can he say what proportion of the coal consumed in Montreal comes from the Maritime Provinces? Does it amount to any large per centage?

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UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

I have not the figures for Quebec, but so far as our water-borne

coal in Ontario is concerned, I can give you some information.

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L LIB
UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

It would be for Montreal. The water-borne coal brought to Ontario amounts to 4,614,000 tons bituminous-

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L LIB
UNION

Francis Henry Keefer

Unionist

Mr. KEEFER:

I take it that that would practically all come from United States ports. Of that about 1,000,000 tons goes up to the head of the lakes, for the Grand Trunk Pacific, the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian Northern railways. Then, 425,000 tons of anthracite is taken to the head of the lakes. The hon. member for South Perth has already giveri the total amount of coal coming in by rail and water; I need not repeat them. But the point I want to make is this: You can bring that coal from Nova Scotia up to Montreal for from fifty to ninety cents a ton. You can take coal from the Erie ports to the head of the lakes for forty cents a ton. Now, you have four or five dollars to play on. How is it that- we cannot get that Nova Scotia coal anywhere in Ontario for at least a maximum freight of somewhere about a couple of dollars? One of the difficulties, of course, to-day is that these coal boats have to break bulk. That coal has to be elevated at Montreal and then reloaded in the smaller ships. I think that nearly every member of this House knows my views on this question of transportation. The solution is to allow those coal boats to come up through the St. Lawrence route as deepened and enlarged. When they can sail up to any port on lake Ontario and deliver their coal and thus be not far from any towns in the interior of Ontario, then you will get cheaper coal; but I doubt if you will get it until then.

When we have as a competitor a freight rate by rail for 150 miles that costs us practically three or four dollars a ton as well as the duty, there must be a solution of the problem of bringing this Nova Scotia coal to Ontario points, but it cannot, as suggested, be by rail. The distance is too great and you cannot get away from the per ton cost per mile on a railway.

This country has yet to awaken to what it is losing every year by not improving its water-borne transportation through the St. Lawrence. Our people do not yet realize what this means. The best minds in the United States have realized it, and

they have made the statement-which I am perfectly certain is true-that it would pay these two countries to build that canal and scrap it every year, throw away the capital cost because that is what we are expending as wasted for lack of that water-borne traffic in relation to various commodities. Of course, we are only touching coal to-day.

Now, we should quickly prepare to get some coal in. Our Canadian mercantile marine ships are built as bulk carriers, and some of them adapted to the size of the St. Lawrence canals, and to-day they may be looking for cargoes. It would be well to have this question considered in that way. There are other existing types of boats that could carry coal up through those existing canals to the Great Lakes. When you once are able to send coal right through you would have return cargoes of grain and other products of the West, and a low freight established. Few of us have any conception of the number of ships that are occupied all the year round bringing coal up to the head of the lakes from lake Erie ports even under present conditions.

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March 23, 1921