April 25, 1921

NAT L

Hon. Mr. McCURDY: (Minister of Public Works)

Nationalist Liberal

1. Yes.

2. Port Alfred, Que., 216.898 cubic yards; Murray Bay, Que., 3.505 cub. yards. At Port Alfred work was performed in the interest of navigation near the wharf of La Cie Generate du Port de Chicoutimi, and at Murray Bay near the public wharf.

3. 220.403 cubic vards.

4. No.

5. Answered by No. 4.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   $38,025,164.43 DREDGE "INTERNATIONALE"
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UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS

L LIB

Charles Marcil

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Bonaventure) :

For a return showing the number of returned soldiers who have purchased farms through the Soldiers' Settlement Board in the county of Bonaventure, the average price paid for said farms, the number of said farms which have been abandoned and the disposition made by the Government of the said farms, the loss incurred, if any, and the names of the soldiers who have settled in the said county, showing the respective localities.

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Subtopic:   UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

For a copy of all letters, telegrams, and other documents exchanged between the right hon. the Minister of Justice and his colleagues concerning the Guelph Novitate raid.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

For a copy of all correspondence, telegrams and other papers exchanged between the right hon. the Minister of Justice and Mr. E. A. D. Morgan, of Montreal, concerning the appointment of judges in the Province of Quebec.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

For a copy of all correspondence and other documents concerning the award of the contract of the Esquimau drydock.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   UNOPPOSED MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
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GASPE PENINSULA RAILWAY FACILITIES

L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maison-neuve-Gaspe) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, in view of the unlimited natural resources requiring development in the GaspS peninsula, better transportation facilities should be established at the earliest moment.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I hope I shall not occupy more than twenty minutes in moving this resolution. I have on another occasion described the marvelous natural resources of the peninsula of Gaspe. It is admitted to-day that this large peninsula is one of the wealthiest portions of Canada, from the agricultural, the fishing and the lumbering point of view. There are also in that peninsula traces of oil, zinc, asbestos

and other minerals. The question which I wish to bring to the attention of the House this afternoon, however, is that of railway transportation. I regret that my good friend the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) has not arrived from Montreal, otherwise he would have supported, with his usual eloquence, my resolution.

As the House is aware, many years ago a railway was built from Matapedia on the Intercolonial to New Carlisle in the county of Bonaventure, the line hugging the shore of Baie des Chaleurs. The distance is about one hundred miles. Later on the Laurier Government aided, by subsidies, another company which built an additional one hundred miles of line from New Carlisle to Gaspe Basin, the finest land-locked harbour there is in Canada. Therefore^ there are two hundred miles of railway in the peninsula of Gaspe following the shore of the Baie des Chaleurs. Fortunately for the English company which controls both lines, they have had a young Scotchman by the name of Gordon, who has been able, in spite of adverse circumstances, of difficulties and obstacles of every kind, to manage the road most economically, but, of course, the receipts of the two companies are not sufficient to provide a first-class service, and there are loud complaints. To make a long story short, last year, at the request of the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil), and at my own, the Railway Commission, headed by the present chairman, Hon. Frank Carvell, went to New Carlisle to investigate the whole situation. The investigation took place at New Carlisle under the chairmanship of Hon. Frank Carvell on April 8. They were to investigate as to the character of the service, the condition of cars, the lack of cars, the cancellation of a passenger train three times a week, thus reducing the service to a tri-weekly service. The grievances of the public can be summarized as follows:

1. The railways have not given a daily mail and passenger service each way between Matapedia and Gaspe. 2. The railways should be ordered immediately to purchase first-class cars, steam-heated and lighted, at least with gas. 3. The Government, not being disposed to acquire those railways, should see that the companies be ordered to ballast their line. 4. The companies should be ordered to make the following improvements and reforms: Replace ties and also rails when necessary; construct new bridges where required; cut down the grades; acquire locomotives that would haul the ordinary tonnage as on other

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GASPE PENINSULA RAILWAY FACILITIES
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REVISED EDITION. COMMONS


roads; build proper workshops and acquire proper tools so that the men working at the engines might be able to do efficient work; erect proper fences along the whole of their line; build additional water tanks; provide sidings at the various stations; build sheds large enough to hold the merchandise which is very often exposed to the weather for lack of space; haul empty cars from Matapedia so as to take care of the outgoing freight; dig drains and cut weeds; acquire facilities for loading live stock; sweep the stations once a day and keep them clean; and make some arrangements to keep the mails under cover at Matapedia, the mail bags now being left on trucks and often left outside over night. This is a brief summary of the complaints made against the railway company. The patrons of the road have suggested two alternatives in case the company would not reform itself-either to put the company into the hands of a receiver, or to have the Government add this 200 miles of line to the National railway system. The Railway Commission sat for a day or so and investigated all the grievances which I have summarized. Be it said to the credit of the company, it was found that in many instances the complaints were somewhat exaggerated. On the whole, it was found that the company was doing its best, with limited financial capacity, to meet the requirements of the public from a passenger and freight point of view. A good deal of evidence was given as to the financial situation of the company, and their statements show that the Atlantic, Quebec and Western Railway Company, which represents the last one hundred miles of the railway, had made in six years a total loss in operation over gross earnings of $245,375, and that the Quebec and Oriental Railway Company, the old Gaspe railway, during the same period had made a net gain of $182,788. But the company, through its able manager, Mr. Gordon, contended that all of this money had gone back into the road in the way of betterments, and I think that the chairman of the Railway Commission and his fellow workers found that this statement was true. I need not go into all the figures. I will quote simply the concluding paragraph of Mr. Carvell's judgment on the whole situation after the investigation. He said: Generally speaking. I found the road-bed from Matapedia to New Carlisle better than I had expected, although it was far from what might be considered an up-to-date road-bed. All the rivers and larger streams were spanned by steel bridges of light construction but still in fairly good physical condition. The rails are 56 lbs. to the yard, but evidently of good quality, and the track well laid. The new ballast was quite evident in many places, and there seemed, to be a reasonable number of new ties added within recent years. Culverts were in many cases very deficient, station houses dilapidated, and the whole road showed unmistakable evidence of financial stringency. The passenger cars are antiquated and should not be used for first-class passenger traffic on any railroad. The engines were light, many of them old. and no doubt very expensive as to maintenance. In fact, I do not think any railway company could hope to carry a large amount of traffic, either* passenger or freight, with the equipment now in use on these roads. A vast amount of evidence was given to the amount of business available along the Gasp6 shore. However, generally speaking, it may be summarized as follows: There is a population of 75,000 with no other means of communication with the outside world by rail. They, of course, to some extent, can carry on business bv water. The fishing industry alone amounts to over $2,000,000 per year. There is a large pulp and paper mill at Chandler on the Atlantic, Quebec and Western. There are enormous forest reserves extending north into the interior for many miles all along the line. The agricultural possibilities are considerable, but nothing like what could be produced were better transportation facilities provided. As a result of our negotiations, the daily train to Gaspe was restored on May 1, and I have heard no complaints about it up to the present time. The passenger equipment is antiquated and only fit for second-class passenger traffic. They require at least Wvo modern, first-class coaches and one chair car to accommodate the business, and, in my judgment, they require at least four modern locomotives, which will take care of the passenger service. They also require an up-to-date machine shop for the purpose of effecting the necessary repairs to equipment, and I see no possibility under the present financial condition of the company of these necessary improvements being provided, unless they can rent the use of some from either the Canadian Pacific or the Canadian National Railway, and, as the traffic is entirely with the Canadian National, it would seem to me to be a good business investment on the part of the latter road to furnish this road with the necessary equipment, both locomotives and cars, at a very reasonable rental. That is the gist of my proposal to the Government. We do not ask-and I say "we," because I speak on behalf of my hon. friend from Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) and myself-that the Government should take over that road; the Government has already enough lame ducks in the National Railway system. But it seems to me that we are quite reasonable in asking the Government to treat generously this important feeder of the Canadian National railways. I say it is an important feeder; that is admitted by the Chairman of the Railway Commission. Mr. Gordon, the manager of the road, who has won the compliments of the commission, states in a memorandum which was addresed to the Railway Commission in the month of February last: The fact should not be lost sight of that wo are responsible for supplying the national railways, without cost to them, traffic yielding in revenue something like a million and a half dollars per annum. Inquiry into this should reveal the fact that we are extremely valuable feeders, and, I think, it was to the interests of the national railways to see that we continue as such and that we get every reasonable assistance so we may be able to develop and encourage traffic by continuing such rates in effect as the traffic can stand. All we ask from the Government is that it implements the suggestion made by the Railway Commission that some of the equipment of the Canadian National railways be rented, if not loaned, to this company, in order to give it a chance to pass over the peak of its difficulties, that is to say, over this period of hard times. We do not want the Government to put the company under the'hammer. We do not ask the Government to take over the road as a lame duck, but we do ask the Government to give this important feeder of the Canadian National system a chance to function, and a chance to develop, by lending to it a few locomotives, a few first-class cars, and a few freight cars. We are not asking anything beyond the recommendations of the Chairman of the Railway Commission. We will be satisfied with that and so will our electors.


UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE (North Simcoe) :

I notice that the hon. gentleman stated that the rails were 56-pound rails, and that he complained that the locomotives on this road were not modern. Would it be possible for the heavy locomotives that are used on the Intercolonial, for instance, to travel over this road with its 56-pound rails?

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Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I would not think so,

but I think on the Intercolonial and the Canadian Northern they have smaller locomotives in their old equipment, which would be quite acceptable for this line of railway.

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Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

The road is not in a

receivership ? ,

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Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Oh, no. In closing I

express the hope that the Government will look into this matter and give it its best consideration.

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Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime Minister) :

The Minister of Railways, to

whose department this definitely appertains, is not in his seat to-day nor in the city. However, the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux) is perfectly justified in going on, as this will be the last day for

159J

private members. Yet the difficulty of adequate reply to the very able presentation which he has made is enhanced by the absence of the minister.

I can only say this: Assuming, as I do, having no reason at all to controvert any of his assertions, that there is much in the case that the hon. member presents, it is only on a par with very many other parts of the country which are also suffering considerably for lack of local transportation advantages. The difficulty of catching up with transportation needs in Canada is very great; great by reason, first of all, of the overbuilding of transcontinental lines, resulting in part in financial obligations at the present time that make it unusually hard to meet local needs such as this one. The financial situation generally is such that the Government, in justice to the country and the country's future, has not been able to consider favourably proposals which ordinarily would strongly appeal as being good business investments from many standpoints. I can only say on behalf of the minister and of the Government that the case presented by the hon. member is well worthy of consideration at the earliest possible date, and that consideration will be given to it. I know of the importance of the peninsula and the importance of the county. Its importance is such that I know any hon. member would be proud to represent it, and I can assure ' my hon. friend from Gaspe that what he has said will be taken into consideration at the earliest possible date.

Mr. ,LEMIEUX: I have only to thank the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Meighen) for the favourable consideration he promises to take of the case. I shall send to the Minister of Railways the memorandum containing the investigation proceedings held by the chairman of the Railway Commission and the statement made by the manager of the company. The demands and suggestions are very modest and, I think should receive the most favourable consideration from the Government.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY - WINNIPEG-QUEBEC SERVICE

L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maison-neuve-Gaspe) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, a more efficient train service for both passengers and freight should he established on the Transcontinental Railway between Winnipeg and Quebec.

He said: Again I shall be as brief as possible. This matter may appear somewhat sectional, and in a way it is; but the country is so large that it is quite difficult to visualize from one point the whole extent of its territory. My resolution asks that a more efficient train service for both passengers and freight shall be established on the Transcontinental railway between Winnipeg and Quebec. As my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) knows, the Government of the province of Quebec has, for about ten years now, been giving very considerable attention to the settlement of that area known as the Abitibi district. This district is immense; the timber reserves are enormous, and it is situated in the famous Clay Belt. The district is especially attractive to our French Canadian settlers in the province of Quebec, and already, through the beneficient influence of the Minister of Agriculture in Quebec, as well as of the Minister of Colonization, the province has been able to contribute from the old parishes an army of some 15,000 young settlers, who are all established between Cochrane and Quebec at various points on the Transcontinental line. Some years ago, that territory was but a "great lone land;" to-day there is quite a development in process. There is particular development in the pulp industry and in saw-mills. There are magnificent water-powers. And, what is even more important than all this, the settlers on the land are able to grow wheat and are anxious to duplicate in that territory the old province of Quebec itself. Now, I do not wish to launch a discussion on the question of freight and passenger rates; I shall confine myself only to the necessities of the district. Though the people are provided with a splendid railway line in the Transcontinental, they find that the rates at present are a very serious impediment to the development of the region.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY - WINNIPEG-QUEBEC SERVICE
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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK (Red Deer) :

Is this territory now included in the province of Quebec?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY - WINNIPEG-QUEBEC SERVICE
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Yes, and it is represented in the House of Commons by my hon. friend the member for Pontiac (Mr. Cahill). His county extends from Timis-kaming up the Transcontinental including Amos and other points. The province of Quebec has divided into townships or cantons the whole of the Abitibi region, and I shall be pleased to send to my hon. friend the last report of the Department of Colonization in Quebec on the progress

made by the settlers there. Indeed, it is something remarkable. As I was saying, the question of rates is the most vital one for the district at present. I know it is equally vital elsewhere, and again I ask the indulgence of the House if I confine myself only to that district.

The reason why I bring the matter before the House is that I happen to know very intimately a man who, though he may be young, may properly be called the father of the region. Indeed, he is its factotum. I refer to Mr. Hector Authier who, one might almost say, selected the site of what is to-day the prosperous town of Amos. He is president of the Board of Trade, he is mayor, he is agent of Crown lands, and he may very well be described as the live wire of the district. He is above all a patriot; he has been going into the old parishes of the province of Quebec and inducing young men to establish homes for themselves in that beautiful country of the Abitibi. And he has succeeded. That district produced last year 100,000 cords of pulpwood and 50,000,000 feet of timber; but, as Mr. Authier writes me, this could be considerably exceeded if there were a proper train service with fair rates. The district is not as well known as it should be. The Quebec side comprises upper Timiskaming, the Abitibi proper, and the basins of the Harricana and the Nottaway rivers. Mr. Authier states- and he is sustained in this opinion by the surveyors and land agents of the Quebec Government-that there are ten million acres of good land fit for cultivation and colonization in the Abitibi. Sir, if at times some people feel blue about the future of this country, let us remember that we have the settlers who constitute our greatest asset. Let us help them by giving them proper facilities and in being fair to them in the matter of rates. The soil which they till enfolds tremendous possibilities. The future of this country lies in its farms. The land is the great asset of Canada. Let us get as many settlers as possible on the land, and the country will take care of itself. In the Abitibi, says Mr. Authier, there are ten million acres of land fit for culture where the Canadians of French descent will thrive and prosper if they are given proper facilities and some encouragement. Now the Transcontinental-and again I am speaking only of that section of country- the Transcontinental, which is a first class line, unequalled in any country in the world, would pay if you first settle the country. The land is there awaiting the

settler. But when the settler has reached the land you must give him fair rates on the railway and provide him with a service worthy of the name. The population, as I stated a moment ago, in the Quebec end of the Abitihi, is fifteen thousand people. It is increasing in spite of the adverse circumstances I am about to describe, and Mr. Authier, who is the factotum of the district predicts that in ten years there will be one hundred thousand Canadians from Quebec located there.

Now I will, in a few words, summarize the gist of the grievances of those hardy settlers. First, says Mr. Authier, we have no cars, or very few of them, and the locomotives are poor. Our timber is being piled up at the stations. That increases the insurance costs and practically discourages and diverts traders from our district. Second, our timber being piled up at the stations because of the lack of cars, in the summer forest fires will destroy that good timber thus piled, and that is another cause of discouragement to the traders of the district. And then there are the excessive freight rates. At present the settler, Mr. Authier says, makes a living out of pulp wood. That gives him a chance, . or rather a breathing spell, until he has cleared his land. Mr. Authier gives some of the rates in the following column:-

From Amos to La Tuque 17 cents per 100 pound, or $8.50 per cord.

From Amos to Grand'Mere 21 cents per 100 pounds, or $10 per cord.

From Amos to Three Rivers 23 cents per 100 pounds, or $11.50 per cord.

From Amos to Hawkesbury, Ontario, 22 cents per 100 pounds, or $11 per cord.

From Amos to Temiskaming, 25 cents per 100 pounds, or $12 per cord.

From Amos to Thorold, Ontario, 32 cents per 100 pounds, or $15.50 per cord.

From Amos to Corinth, New York, 27 cents per 100 pounds or $18 per cord.

From Amos to Watertown, New York, 39 cents per 100 pounds or $19 per cord.

As regards sawlogs the rates are:

From Amos to Quebec 25 cents.

From Amos to Montreal 31 cents.

That is from $7 to $10 per thousand feet in the first case and if $9 to $12 in the second case.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY - WINNIPEG-QUEBEC SERVICE
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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough) :

Who

made those rates?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY - WINNIPEG-QUEBEC SERVICE
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April 25, 1921