Mr. D. M. KENNEDY (Peace River):
Mr. Speaker, during the course of my address to the House last night, I made a reference to the Australian treaty and its effect on the price of butter and, I believe, on the price of cream. I wired the Minister of Agriculture of Alberta on Wednesday, asking him how the price of cream to the farmers in the fall of 1925 compared with prices in the same months of the previous year. I did not receive his reply in time to quote it yesterday and I, therefore, take this opportunity of doing so. This is his reply:
Cream prices during October, November, December, 1925, approximate 20 per cent higher than for corresponding period of 1924. Prices of butter this month six cents lower than in October. Unable to say exact cause controlling world condition.
I quote that to illustrate further my contention of last night that it is exceedingly difficult to prove that a protective tariff or
The Address-Mr. Kennedy (Peace River)
the lack of one is responsible for a certain movement upward or downward in connection with the price of a commodity, and that many other factors must be taken into consideration.
Last night I referred to certain statements made by the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) in regard to the need for the construction of a coast outlet for the Peace river country. We in the Peace river country are indeed1 gratified that our leading citizens have come to realize the need for that outlet and have expressed themselves so definitely regarding that need and the advisability of doing something, as we hope in the near future. As I have already said, the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition and leading officials of the two great railway systems of Canada are committed to that proposal. The Liberal and Conservative candidates in the last federal election were also very enthusiastic regarding the proposal. I said last night, the attitude taken by those candidates was one of the factors in my nearly losing my constituency, and therefore I wish to read, especially for the benefit of the leader of the opposition, the position taken by the Conservative candidate in the Peace River constituency, because I should like to show him what the people of the Peace river country were led to believe he and his policy stood for in relation to the railway needs of that district. I quoted last night a statement of the leader of the opposition in a speech which he made at Edmonton in regard to this matter, and I will read part of it again because he was not here when I quoted this statement last night. He said:
I have always urged that the north country should have railway relief. I cannot be accused of making futile promises such as the Hon. Mackenzie King promised in the Speech from the Throne at the opening of the last session of parliament, when he stated that he was going to give railway relief to the north country and nothing has been done. This great question has been sidetracked by Senate reform, which subject has been discussed for forty years.
Then there is a quotation of a statement made by the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King at Calgary, and this pamphlet continues:
Compare the statements of the two leaders. Mr. King criticizes Mr. Meighen for amalgamating two bankrupt roads, the Canadian Northern railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific. Mr. King states he is going to colonize the north country; he is going to make it a spear head. I wonder why he did not do this during the last four years with all the Progressive party behind him. He further states that the people of the north will get their coast outlet when they have tonnage and population to warrant same, which is the same old argument you have heard from every politician wishing to evade the real issue of the north.
Mr. King has disregarded the Throne Speech of this
year which contained railway relief for the north, and on the eve of the election he does not even go as far as he did in the Speech from the Throne, but he tells you that as soon as the north country is settled up and has sufficient tonnage, his government will then consider giving you a coast outlet for your products, but for the present the land should be colonised along the lines already built. This means-no coast outlet.
Mr. Meighen states that he will never amalgamate the Canadian National railway with the Canadian Pacific railway without the people of Canada, through
their ballots, instructing him to do so; that he will permit the directors of the Canadian National railway to run the railway and do the directing; that he will support the building of essential branch lines which the west urgently needs, which means, if Meighen is returned to power this puts your entire railway question in Sir Henry Thornton's hands as far as the government is concerned.
Mr. Meighen was the first man on the floor of the House to support the claim of the north for railway relief.
In connection with this pamphlet there are three charts. Chart No. 1 shows the railway service that is given to the three prairie provinces between Winnipeg and Edmonton.
In western Canada from Prince Albert south to the American border, and from Winnipeg west to Edmonton, there is 14,000 miles of railway, or one mile of railway for every seventeen square miles of country. If this mileage ran in straight lines it would start along the American border and cross a distance equal to that from Winnipeg to Edmonton seventeen times, and the line be only twenty odd miles apart, and the last line would be north of Prince Albert.
Let me now quote from the second chart. This chart shows:
The result of the McArthur-Liberal railway administration and four years of Progressive rule.
It indicates that in 65,000 square miles of territory in the Peace River riding north of Edson, only 500 miles of railway have been constructed under the McArthur regime and under four years of Progressive and Liberal administration. And chart No. 3 shows:
That if you had received the same railway development as other portions of western Canada you would have a coast outlet through the Pine pass on the north side of the Peace; you could have a connection to this outlet from Spirit river; you could have the Grand Prairie cut off to Brule, and still have enough mileage left to cross the province of Alberta east and west twelve times, as illustrated by the twelve parallel lines.
The pamphlet goes on to say:
This language is not election language, it is not political tin-horning; it is altogether too mild to represent the true facts of the case, and I challenge any man in the Peace River riding to refute the facts of the neglect and robbery of the north.
Do not get carried away by oratory or platitudes, or rainbow policies of either of the three parties on what Canada needs in the shape of remedial legislation. You confine your thoughts principally to your own riding and think of what the great Peace River riding requires in the way of help, and you vote for the man whom you think is best fitted to intelligently lay your problems before the House at Ottawa.
JANUARY 29. 1926 Ml
* The Address-Mr. Kennedy (Peace River)
I pledge myself if elected to use my best endeavours, first, to secure a coast outlet for the north immediately; secondly, to secure branch lines to feed the coast outlet; thirdly, to secure railway relief for the settlers in the district lying west of the Pembina river and for settlers in the McLeod river and Shining Bank districts, and for the riding generally which I consider shamefully neglected, as shown by my charts.
In another circular letter the Conservative candidate had this to say:
As I pointed out in my railroad pamphlet, you have only one-seventh of the railroad mileage to which you are entitled as compared with the mileage which other parts of western Canada are enjoying. Yet Premier King pledges himself to spend $30,000,000 to complete the useless Hudson Bay railway and apparently did not even think about your railway needs. He did not give you any encouragement for a coast outlet nor for the 'building of a railroad through the Mosside Belvedere and Fort Assiniboine district, both of which problems will be given my personal consideration.
Another letter deals with the question of the Edmonton, Dunvegan railway and claims that it should be taken over by one of the two great railway ss'stems, the Canadian National being the preference of the writer. Let me quote. This was the programme:
Five million dollars at least must be spent on betterment work on the Dunvegan system when it is taken over by either the C.P.R. or C.N.R. Would taking out the crooked steel and laying new steel increase the payroll? Would giving the whole line a two-foot life of ballast from Edmonton north take any man ofF the spare-board or give them back their rights? Would the construction of a proper telegraph line, up-to-date in every respect, advance and better the position of linemen, operators, etc., and would men be employed in constructing this? Would the necessary alteration of the entire water system be of any importance to McLennan? Would the construction of proper engine-houses, trainmen's quarters, enginemen's quarters, sanitary living quarters for operators, all of which railway employees through America enjoy except the Dunvegan, be of any importance to McLennan? Would the construction of 2.500 miles of new railway anywhere in the north country be of any interest to the railway crews of McLennan and to their wives and families and to every man, woman and child in the north country?
Now I was not ready to compete in promises of that kind with the candidate of the Conservative party. I took the ground that we required one outlet, the best that we could possibly find, and I still believe that the construction of that outlet in the near future is sound from the point of view of the Dominion as a who-le. The Peace river district is a proven country, a country capable of large development, and it is a country of rich soil and splendid climate where mixed farming is making rapid strides and where the people are producing the best grain as well. In 1923 we raised and shipped out of the country about 3,000,000 bushels of wheat and other grain. The years 1924 and 1925 were not quite so good owing to the dry weather that prevailed. In 1924 we shipped over 5,000 head of cattle
and 10,000 hogs from the Grand Prairie district alone. The total shipments of all stock north of Edmonton ran close to 3,400 carloads. In five Alberta creameries operating or tributary to the Dunvegan system the provincial dairy commissioner computed the production at 763,723 pounds being an increase of 68 per cent over the production of the previous year, while the factory value was estimated at 30.7 cents per pound. Including Pouce Coupe and the 'Canadian National lines there was 8427,800 worth of creamery butter produced north of Edmonton last year. Dairy butter and home consumption would run this well over the half million mark. We have in this country a class of settlers who went 300 miles from a railway to establish themselves. They faced the difficulties inseparable from the hauling in of supplies that distance from railway communication, and they endured hardships for a good many years. They fought against a freight rate disadvantage of almost 50 cents a bushel on grain but they were able to establish themselves and to hang on until railway construction came closer to them, so that the whole Peace river country in Alberta is, for a new district, fairly well supplied for the time being. But right across in the province of British Columbia there is a large area that is not supplied at all with railways having to depend upon the road running through Alberta. We have half a system, which runs northwest for a distance of about 500 miles, but we need the other half running southwest to the Canadian National in order to develop the province of British Columbia and give a good railway service to the people there especially in Pouce Coupe and the district lying west of that in the Peace river block. I understand that the whole project can be completed for approximately ten or fifteen million dollars. There is a difficulty in the way, of course, in the ownership and operation of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia railway, but I believe that in the near future this difficulty will be cleaned up, and in my opinion the best interests of all will be served by the operation of that system in conjunction with the Canadian National Railways.
Now, the right hon. leader of the opposition in his amendment states that there is nothing in the Speech from the Throne-
-designed to enlarge the volume of employment in Canada.
I submit, Mr. Speaker, that there is. Last night I tried to show what railway construction meant in employment and general prosperity so far as the ordinary people were concerned from 1900 to 1913; I tried to
The Address-Mr. Kennedy (Peace River)
show later how the cutting down of that programme-which of course was necessary to at least some extent-was one of the great factors in the unemployment which prevailed during the latter part of 1913 and the following year. Completion of the Hudson Bay railway means something in enlarging the volume of employment. Surely the fact that steel will be required for that purpose will have something to do with improving the condition of our steel industry. I submit that the policy which we have been following for the last few years is altogether too drastic in relation to the needs of the settlement of the northwest. Last night I showed that we spent about 1800,000 a day in capital undertakings of this kind up until about 1913, when apparently we got frightened and said, "We won't spend any more." It may be that the programme of 1913 was too ambitious, but the abrupt cutting down of development along that line was a little too drastic. Then of course the war came and we had another period of free expenditure, followed by another sudden cessation. It seems to me, Sir, that from the standpoint of the employment needs of the Dominion a reasonably steady programme of construction of new lines of railway that may reasonably be expected to be succesful undertakings from the economic standpoint is something that is not only in the interest of the Peace river country but of the Dominion as a whole.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY