April 1, 1924

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Sixty-nine, which the

Canadian Pacific Railway has filled in the meantime. What accounts for the balance of some 130 or 137?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES
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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I did not make a

memorandum of the mileage that was dropped but I will submit a statement showing that.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES
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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

I want to make just a few remarks before the resolution is carried. Some years ago a scheme similar to this was projected by Mr. Gutelius when he was manager of the Intercolonial railway, but this one seems to be in a different location. There seems also to be some question as to whether a shorter or a longer line is necessary or advisable. There is no question as to the power of the Railway Commission in this matter, and in practice there has been no question in regard to the making of arrangements between the two railways. As a matter of fact one exists to-day in relation to a- piece of road from Westfield, IS miles from the city of St. John, over which running rights have been given to what is commonly known as the Valley railway and technically known as the St. John and Quebec Railway. There was no difficulty in making an arrangement in this regard, and the power of the Railway Commission was not invoked. The railways came together, and the Valley railway, which is operated by the Canadian National railways, runs over 15 miles of the Canadian Pacific railway line. Had the Canadian Pacific Railway refused to come to terms the Railway Commission would have done justice in the matter. .

I want to emphasize the railway situation as it exists in New Brunswick. Years ago the National Transcontinental line was built with the very best object in view, but it was carried diagonally across the province, and it has not to any practical extent benefited what it was intended to benefit, the port of Halifax in the province of Nova Scotia. Nor has it benefited to any extent the port of St. John in New Brunswick. Because of the location which was selected by the government of that day, it was thought by the people of New Brunswick to be necessary

C.N.R. Branch Lines

to build a route to serve exactly the portion of the province which the National Transcontinental failed to serve, and the province proceeded to build the St. John and Quebec railway. As all other enterprises were overtaken by stringent financial necessity caused by the war, so was this one, and the result is that the end near St. John is uncompleted so tjjat the road runs over the Canadian Pacific railway rails for 15 miles. The northern portion is also incomplete, and this road which was intended to have tapped the National Transcontinental at Grand Falls has never reached that point; it stops at a place called Centre. I wonder whether the Minister of Railways has been made aware that the amount of money which he projects for this line to reach the state of Maine would carry the St. John and Quebec railway from the present northern terminus to Grand Falls and connect with the National Transcontinental there. The arrangement which could be made, and which I think in the interests of the country ought to be made, would be to get the Canadian Pacific Railway to accept running rights over the railway which then would be owned partly by the province of New Brunswick and partly by the Dominion of Canada. The Canadian Pacific Railway, instead of running its line through the state of

Maine, would get better grades, with a slightly longer route, and would run entirely in the Maritime provinces within Canadian territory. The amount of money that would build this switchline would complete this other road,

and the province of New Brunswick, which to-day is carrying a deficit because the road is leased to the Dominion government on a forty per cent arrangement, has to take from its limited revenues $260,000 in order to square the accounts of the railway. It had in the previous year to make up a deficit of $250,000. This will go on, there is no relief in prospect, and yet by the expenditure of the sum that is proposed in the bill to-night the province might be relieved of that obligation and the Canadian National Railway would function as it ought to have functioned from the first in that province-by following the Valley railroad route instead of running diagonally across the province and conferring no benefit upon New Brunswick and practically none upon Nova Scotia. In other words, we are invited to build a line that will be of some service for a certain purpose, but I think only a limited service. If the country has so much money to spare, why does it not spend it in

New Brunswick where it would do the most good? If it wants to assist the people of the county of Carleton and Victoria, why does it not do so by carrying the Valley railway to the place it ought to reach? It would do infinitely more good to that section of the country than by building it where the government now proposes. I am sorry we have not to-day a statement from the responsible head of the Canadian National Railways system that the construction of this line is vital to the conduct of the business of the National road. When this is forthcoming I shall not oppose the project, for I would not put my railway opinion against the considered railway opinion of the head of the road. But I want to know very definitely that that is the view of a practical railway man, and that the vote is for railway purposes, not merely a portion of the pork barrA for my own province. I am not going to vote for the expenditure of money in my own province unless I am satisfied of the useful results that will probably flow from it. I am prepared, and have suggested to the government, a mode of spending the money which will indubitably produce useful results and will relieve the province of a very serious burden. The government must take the responsibility of spending this money in which direction they choose;

I have made my position as clear as it is possible for me to state it.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Graham thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 26 respecting the construction of a Canadian National railway line between Ivinigsclear and the St Croix river in the province of New Brunswick.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Mr. GRAHAM moved the adjournment of the House.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   BILLS PROPOSED TO AUTHORIZE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRANCH LINES
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MR. SPEAKER-EXPLANATION

LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Before the House adjourns I feel in duty bound to give an explanation of the statement I made last night to the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke), a3 I think it might be misconstrued against him. When I said, "His explanation will serve him with his electors." I meant that his explanation would serve its purpose. I would be sorry if anyone should think that I did not treat the hon. gentleman with courtesy.

Motion agreed to and the House adjourned at 10.50 p.m.

Questions

Wednesday, April 2, 1924

Topic:   MR. SPEAKER-EXPLANATION
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April 1, 1924