The Intercolonial railway was built for strategical and military purposes; it was never intended to pay, and in all probability never will pay. Under the circumstances I have a good deal of sympathy with my hon. friends from the Maritime provinces when they demand that that system should be taken from the control of the Canadian National Railways and operated directly by the Department of Railways and Canals.
hon. friends over there know just about as much as I do about the Progressive caucus, and perhaps a little bit more. There has been some very close contact between the two. Dealing with the problem of the Intercolonial railway we in the west all recognize that a pledge was given in connection with the construction of that line, and there will be no sectionalism displayed in this quarter if the government ever attempts to redeem that pledge. Now, the question raised by the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Gardiner) was a perfectly proper one. We have a right to know what provision is being made for transportation when a large capital investment for the handling of our grain takes
place at Halifax. I would have the hon. member remember this, and I think the minister pretty well bore it out to-night-that most of the interest on this capital investment is paid by the farmers of Canada. It is true that some of the interior elevators are not paying, and I do not think they were ever intended to pay. Interior elevators in the prairie provinces were built primarily to relieve the railway companies through a congested period, they were mot built particularly for the farmers at all, and if they are operating at a loss to-day I do not think the farmers should be blamed. Now, let me allude 'to another question and show why we raise this issue. Canada went to tremendous expense to build a railway from Winnipeg to the city of Quebec. That railway cost an enormous amount of money, and everybody says to-day its construction was a terrible blunder. Well, if the construction of the Transcontinental railway by the Laurier government was a blunder then I say it was a crime not to use it when it was built. That is one of our complaints in the west to-day. And why is that railway not being used? Because the rate over it is prohibitory; it is impossible for us to use that railway at all. And in addition we have expensive elevators and equipment at Quebec that are not being used. Instead of that we are sending 100 million, 150 million or 176 million bushels of grain out through American ports. From the remarks of the senior member for Halifax (Mr. Finn) one would think that the farmers of the west were responsible for that condition. But the fact of this immense volume of grain going out through American channels is one of the things we have been consistently complaining of every year since we have been sitting in this House. We want to see every bushel of it going through, Canadian channels, and I look with hope and pleasure to the day when a large volume of it will go through Halifax, We want to see Halifax and the Maritime provinces develop, and I was glad to hear the hon. member admit that the future of the Maritirnes, the future of central Canada and of the west, were bound up together. We believe to-day that one of the reasons that the eastern industries are not prospering and that so many thousands are out of work is largely because our farmers in the prairies are not able to purchase; and yet we see in eastern papers, and very often in Maritime papers, the suggestion that if cheap money is loaned to the farmers of the west the eastern people will have to pay for it. We see sectionalism in every comer. If we get money
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we expect to put up the securities that will enable us to pay for it.
say for military purposes? If we thought it would be used for those purposes, we would not be pressing for it. We want it for commercial and not for military purposes. We are not looking for war with other countries.
I think the question of freight rates is a very vital one when an elevator is to be built, and I desire to urge the Minister of Trade and Commerce to try and induce his colleague the Minister of Railways and Canals to get a rate over the Transcontinental to Quebec, to enable the elevators and the equipment at that point to be utilized.
committee are quite thankful to the hon. senior member for Halifax (Mr. Finn) for the entertainment which he afforded us this evening. I look upon the elevator at Halifax as a move in the right direction, inasmuch as it indicates a willingness on the part of the management of the railway and the government to create a trade through a Canadian port. For many years Halifax has been clamouring for that through Canadian trade. In the early days, when the board of trade of Halifax worked towards that end, we were cut off by the Grand Trunk system at St. Rosalie; and whilst the Grand Trunk system did provide some grain, which they did not want for their own rails, and gave it to the Intercolonial at St. Rosalie, to be shipped to Halifax, still there was nothing but the grain and heavy traffic that could be obtained from the Grand Trunk, the remainder of the traffic being sent to American ports. Perhaps our western friends are not aware of the fact that grain passing through Winnipeg has to be transported less than two hundred miles greater distance to reach Halifax than to reach the American seaboard.
line to the seaboard is less than two hundred miles greater to Halifax than to the American seaboard; and that is not a very serious obstacle in the transportation of grain. Furthermore, if the management of the railway take into consideration this traffic to and fro,
I see no reason why the products of the west cannot be taken to the Canadian seaboard, and the products of the east taken badk by those same trains. It would be aD interchange of traffic which I believe would be not only beneficial to the Maritime provinces but very beneficial to the whole of Canada.
I weis very glad indeed to hear my hon. friend and colleague (Mr. Finn) express himself in regard to industry. We on this side of the House believe in protecting our industries, but not by high and unreasonable protection. I protest just now against the protection given to automobiles. It is beyond all reason that you can go across the line and buy a machine for half of what it costs when you have to buy it in Canada. That protection is not as it should be.
I believe firmly in a moderate protection. I think that in some cases the manufacturers have taken advantage of protection, and I suggest in such cases a commission or organization of some kind should be established to control that sort of thing, in order to give us the products of our factories at a reasonable price. But if we threw this country open to free trade we would become depopulated and would be nothing. It would almost mean going over to our friends to the south of us. WTe must have population, and we want to be a thriving people. We must have a prosperous people to feed1 and clothe, if we would improve our country. We can only get the people by giving work to workmen and establishing factories in every corner of Canada, thus keeping our people at home. I am quite in accord with the remarks of my hon. colleague from Halifax in that respect. That is the policy which I understand is accepted by my friends in this comer of the House.
I cannot give the exact tonnage, but I can confirm what my colleague stated, that the increase has been very large. The ships, with the exception of a few of the very large liners such as the Mauretania and the Olympic have been calling at Halifax, largely because of the immigration regulations in the United States. The tonnage of ships calling there has been very large, and it- has been of very great advantage to the port. Some of the vessels land cargoes and others simply land passengers. The increase of cargo landed at Halifax has been considerable. It was brought out, I think, at the time the delegation was
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in Ottawa that nearly one hundred per cent of the imports into Canada were coming in under the preference given to Canadian ports. This of course applies to Montreal and Quebec in summer and to St. John and Halifax in winter.
The reason I asked the question was that if grain were to find its way down to the port of Halifax in larger amount than at the present time, it would naturally make the ratio of outgoing freight greater than the amount coming back. I think some hon. member in this chamber a few days ago commented on the fact that about eighty per cent of the cargo space was taken on boats leaving the port of Montreal going out, and about forty per cent of the space coming back. It was out of all proportion. If we are going to establish a condition like that at Halifax, for instance, outgoing boats there will have to carry the burden of transportation to the ultimate port. The incoming boats will not. Therefore, since the hon. member mentions the matter of tariffs-and I do not think Cobdenism should have been discussed under this particular item to-night
he will not mind if I make the comment that moderate tariffs have killed the industries in the Maritime provinces. On the other hand, if we increase the British preference, the return cargoes into the port of Halifax will help to pay the cost of transportation.
I must apologize to the House for being responsible for the introduction of a second budget debate. I had thought, after twenty-four days of the budget, we would probably all be willing to forget it. I should like to say a word with regard to some of the remarks that the senior member for Halifax (Mr. Finn) made regarding the question which I put to the minister. Personally, I should be very glad to see the day when most, if not all of our grain, would be going through Canadian ports, but, as has been stated before, the question is one of transportation. I put the question to the minister in order to try to ascertain if there was any possibility of getting our grain through the port of Halifax. If so, I am quite sure I would be only too willing to support such a move. The senior member for Halifax (Mr. Finn) read us quite a lecture. In fact I fel-t that I had been properly spanked. Under the circumstances, however,
I do not feel that I hold any grudge against him, but we must come down to the question of transportation rates, and that is the problem I should like the minister to explain to
the House before this vote passes. What is going to be done in the way of transportation rates that will in some measure give grain from western Canada an opportunity of going through the port of Halifax?
Yes, but the hon. member who asked the question knew all about that. He was not talking about the National Railways. In fact, there is a kind of penchant to put everything on the Canadian National Railways when you cannot find anything else to put it on. I agree with my hon. friend; he was right there, but nevertheless the rate to Halifax for a bushel of grain from Winnipeg is just as cheap as to Portland, and if hon. members will route it to Halifax, it will be carried.