June 1, 1921

?

An hon. MEMBER:

One is a lawyer

and the other is a gentleman.

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L LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

My hon. friend may have some clear idea as to what a gentleman is. He may think that he is one.

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Item agreed to. Canadian Government railways-toward any deficiency in receipts and revenues necessary to meet working expenditures for the twelve months ending December 31, 1921, the management of the railway being hereby authorized to apply receipts and revenues towards payment of the said working expenditures, 57,000,000.


L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I want to take a minute or two of the time of the committee to draw the attention of the minister to a question which I consider of national importance -and that is the desirability of patroling the Transcontinental railway in the interest of preventing forest fires. I must tell the minister that during the year 1920 one engine alone set over twenty-five fires, and one engine in the space of 18 miles set forty fires. This must be due to negligence on the part of somebody. It is not a merely local question, it is one which affects the

entire country through which the Transcontinental runs from Quebec to Cochrane. I am told, and have reason to believe, that from La Tuque to Cochrane the road is not patrolled at all. I have taken a lot of trouble to gather information on this matter and I would like to acquaint the committee with some of the details I have learned as to the damage done by fire in that particular region. During the investigation of the railway situation by a committee of this House I put a question to Mr. Mitchell and I asked him where the deficit in the operation of the railway came from, and he told me in the territory from Port Arthur east. Now most of the traffic which is obtained for this railway from Port Arthur east is from forest products. The request I desire to make is that the Transcontinental railway be put under the control of the Board of Railway Commissioners, and that the regulations that were passed by the board on July 4, 1913, when my hon. friend the Minister of Finance was Chief Commissioner, shall also apply to the National railways. I clipped from the Montreal Gazette of May 20, a report of another fire set by the Canadian National railways. It is as follows:

"The Canadian National railways are not only using up our income tax, but they are also responsible for serious losses In our forests."

Those were the words of Mr. Elwood Wilson, chief forester of the Laurentide company, used by him after detailing his experience in passing through a considerable area of wooded farms in which great damage had already been caused by fire.

This fire is yet in progress and is threatening the homes of many settlers and farmers in an area of approximately four square miles In the vicinity of Proulxville and St. Narcisse.

The Are originated last week, and it is stated by Mr. Wilson that, although information of the outbreak had' been given to officials of the Canadian National railways at Garneau junction, no effort was made to combat the fire then, with the result that it spread until now it will require the organized efforts of several hundred men to limit its progress.

At this hour of the night I do not want to go into details, but there are certain things which I should like to bring to the attention of the minister. At a convention ol all the managers of the various forestry associations which took place in Montreal last January the principal complaints made were against the national railways of setting fires to the limits through which the lines ran. The chief of the Ottawa River Forest Protective Association, Mr. A. H. Graham, was present. The chairman of the convention asked him if he had any remarks

fMr. Bureau.]

or complaints to make as to the ravages caused by forest fires in his district. Now, I am going to quote Mr. Graham's remarks to show that it is possible for a railway to run through a forest without causing any great damage, and to illustrate the interest taken by the Canadian National railways in protecting forests from fire as compared with the interest taken by the Canadian Pacific Railway. In reply to the invitation of the chairman, Mr. Graham said:

Mr. Chairman, we are not so greatly concerned In connection with the matter of the methods followed by the Canadian Government railways, as we have none of their lines in our territory. However, I can say this, the railway Ares can, to a very great extent, be controlled or prevented entirely, through the exercise of proper precautions. We have about 100 miles of C. P. R. line in our territory, and I think that all our Ares, occurring during the last three years, those started by the railway run about three or four per cent of the whole; and the area burned in any one Are has not exceeded an acre. X think that is a pretty good record for any railway to maintain, and so far as we are concerned, we are perfectly satisAed. We have nothing whatever to say against the C. P. R.

The Chairman (Brigadier General J. B.

White) : You are satisAed with the system this railway has adopted? You And they take prompt action in case of Ares, and assist in every way in extinguishing those which they were not able to prevent altogether?

Mr. Graham: We get absolutely strict and satisfactory action from the C. P. R.

I do not want to be understood as desirous of criticising the Canadian National railways administration; I am simply bringing this up as a national question. Sir George Bury stated at this convention that the traffic from an acre of well-timbered land was worth the accumulated traffic of an acre of wheat for eighty years, because you have to bring in men, supplies and equipment and that from that traffic and the outgoing freight more revenue accrues to the railway than from a similar acreage of wheat.

I might also refer to a statement made by Mr. Sturgis, nlanager of the St. Maurice Forest Protective Association, who, speaking after Mr. Graham, said that the record of Mr. Graham was different from his, and that in his territory, through which the Transcontinental ran, the right of way was really dirty. Now, I do not ask you to take Mr. Sturgis' testimony for that. If the minister or any of the officials of his department have travelled over that railway they must have seen that the weeds on the right of Way have never been cleared, for you can walk knee deep through dry grass and weeds. To show the minister what damage has been done I have had

photographs taken at every five miles and you can see on each side of the Transcontinental spaces of one, two and three miles absolutely bare. Out of 292 fires in 1920 152 were set by the Transcontinental railway. To show that there must be some lack of supervision I took the trouble to ask the superintendent to give me the number of each engine and the fires it had set from May 7 to October 11, 1920. Here is the record:

Engine No. 1942

6 fires,1932

6 "313 25 "1888 12 "5516

2 "1927

4 "Engine No. 2801

3 fires.3269

2 "3227

4 "1921

2 "

During that year they burned 41,876 acres of forest land and other property valued at $53,560.

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L LIB
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

I can give the hon.

gentleman particulars of the amounts paid. The amount paid out by the St. Maurice Forest Protective Association for the season ending December 31, 1920, was about $51,000. This sum was contributed to as follows:

By Cash, Brown Corporation Assessment 1920, $9,893 37

Laurentide Co. Limited

" " 8,867 20St. Maurice Lumber Co

" " 6,594 40St. Maurice Paper Co

" " 6,134 40Belgo-Canadian P. & P. Co. Ltd

" " 3,669 73Wayagamack P. & P. Co. Ltd

" " 3,587 20Union Bag & Paper Co

" " 1,526 40Tourville Lumber Mills Co

" " 1,185 20J. A. Rousseau

" " 310 40Rodney L. Turner

" " 72 00William Copping

" " 194 40J. H. Dansereau

" " 120 00Reed & Company, Limited

" " 160 00Ellwood Wilson Company

" " 156 80Manouan Lumber P. & P. Co

" " 36 00E. B. Eddy & Co. Ltd

" " 80 00G. C. Pich4

" " 25 00Cie Bois RlviSre Blanche

" " 17 50W. H. Weber

" " 3 50St. Maurice Paper Co. Ltd Assessment 1919Wayagamack P. & P. Co Rodney L. Turner Union Bag-Paper Co Manouan Lumber & P. Co J. A. Rousseau C. C. PichO

" "Cie Bois RiviSre Blanche W. H. Weber

" "Canadian National Railways Quebec Government Appropriation and Fire Fighting 1920

Cash in Bank, January 1, 1920

1,507 97

2,476 23

I should add that the Canadian National railways paid in addition to the $167 other amounts totalling about $2,000.

The appeal that I want to make to the Minister of Railways on behalf of the lumbermen in that district is that the Transcontinental be brought under the jurisdiction of the Railway Commission, that the regulations contained in the order made by the commission when the Minister of Finance was Chief Commissioner should apply to the Transcontinental the same as

it does to the other railways, and that the Transcontinental should be made to patrol its right of way and pay its share of the cost whenever men are called upon to extinguish these fires, which would enure both to the benefit of the Transcontinental and the people of Canada.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

The hon. member knows that when the Canadian National Railway Bill becomes law the Canadian National system will be subject to jurisdiction of

the Railway Commission. But I am surprised at the statement of my hon. friend that there is any misunderstanding and that the order to which he refers does not apply to the Transcontinental railway. I gave instructions to the chairman of the Board of Railway Commissioners that if any complaints were made against the National Railway systems the hoard were to act as they would in respect to any line which was under the board's jurisdiction. Now, I did not understand until the hon. member brought it to my attention a few days ago that that order was not in force. I will send for it to-morrow and take the necessary steps to make it applicable to the Canadian National Railways.

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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Can we expect the Act

respecting the Canadian National Railway Company to be soon put into effect?

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

As soon as we can

arrange it the board will be constituted and the whole thing put under one management. That will be done at an early day.

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

I do not want to delay the

committee in the passing of these items, but the hour is now late and we do not want to sit here all night. I have no objection to all these items passing except one, upon which I may have an opportunity to discuss the Canadian Government Railways when we next go into committee.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

All right, we will leave one item.

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

With the understanding that we may discuss the Canadian Government Railways on that item?

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UNION

Item agreed to. To provide for -the purchase, at prices not exceeding the amounts herein specified, of the following railways (the debt of each railway to the Canadian Government railways to be cancelled) ; interest on the purchase price of each to be payable at the rate of five per centum per annum from the date of taking possession to the date of transfer of title: (Such of the said railways as are within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada are hereby authorized to sell their respective assets and undertakings accordingly) :- York and Carleton railway, $18,000.00-, revote, $4,5001; Moncton & Buctouche railway] $70,0100, revote, $70,000'; Caraquet & Gulf fhore railway, $200,00(0, revote, $50,000; interest estimated-from date of taking possession to March 31, 1922, not exceeding (including revote $39,0000, $47,500*-$172,000.


L LIB

Onésiphore Turgeon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

This vote contains an item with respect to the Caraquet and Gulf

Shore railway. A delegation interviewed the Minister of Railways last winter with regard to the proposed extension of the line from Tracadie to Newcastle. The minister was not able to promise that the road would be constructed but he did say that a survey would be made during the summer. I trust that that will be done so that during the course of next year there will be better results from the operations of the railways in that part of the country. When in 1911 the Caraquet Railway was provided for by the Government of that day, the extension of line from Tracadie to Newcastle was also contemplated, but nothing has been done, the war intervened, and conditions have been unfavourable to any action. I do not blame the Government so much for not proceeding with the matter during the war, but I hope that the minister will now have the necessary survey made with a view to taking action. At the same time I suggest that he have a survey made with regard to an extension from Caraquet to Point Mrcel, where there is one of the finest hrbours in the Maritime Provinces. This is a distance of only seven miles, and I hope that when the minister is making the survey for the other line he will have this matter also attended to.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

All right.

Progress reported.

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) :

Before the House adjourns, I desire to give notice that later in the day the Prime Minister will move:

That on and after Friday, the third day of June instant, until the end of -the present session, the House shall meet at Eleven o'clock in- the morning of each day except Sundays, and that in addition- to -the usual -intermission ait Six o'clock, P.M., there shall be also, an intermission every day from One to Three o'clock, P.M. and that the various committees of the House be at liberty to sit during the sessions of the House.

It has been suggested that the noon-day adjournment should be from one to two o'clock. That is a matter that might be considered by hon. gentlemen.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Might I ask the right hon. gentleman when he expects prorogation?

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

We have had hopes for Saturday, and with a little co-operation-

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June 1, 1921