Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):
I believe the
first were filed in 1907. In the first place the charter was for a canal of nine feet. Then it was raised in succession to twelve feet, eighteen feet, twenty feet and twenty-two feet, and to-day they are asking for a canal of twenty-four feet. The last plans I believe are with the department but have not yet been o.k.'d by it. Therefore a company could not go ahead and construct the canal until its plans have been o.k.'d by the government. Now my -hon. friend (Mr. Thorson) has said that some 300 miles will be cut off the voyage of a ship to Port Arthur and Fort William by the construction of this canal. I believe that is correct. And as freight rates are based to a great extent on the time it takes to carry freight from one point to the other, that fact would naturally make a large saving in the cost of transporting commodities from central or middle western Canada to the ocean ports.
In connection with this point may I read a paragraph from a report issued by the United States Department of Commerce, entitled Great Lakes to Ocean Waterways. The paragraph in question is to this effect:
For vessel costs a 7,600-ton, dead weight, oilburning, cargo vessel may be taken for illustrative purposes. The fixed charges and operating costs of such a vessel are approximately $700 a day.
Now if the construction of the Georgian bay canal will cut off thirty-six hours between Montreal and Fort William on the return trip that means 72 hours or three days, or $2,100 on a cargo ship of 7,000 tons, which saving in time will materially reduce the freight rates.
I believe that we should have a full discussion at the present stage of the bill, a full discussion in committee, and a full discussion after the bill gets back to the House,
Georgian Bay Canal Company
because if this canal is built it will mean a great deal to the whole of Canada. As my hon. friend from Fort William (Mr. Manioc) said this afternoon there would be some eighteen states in the adjoining republic affected by it. The report from which I have quoted gives the names of those states, and as a matter of fact I believe there are more than eighteen of the central and western states in the country to the south affected.
In going through the report referred to I found that taking thirty-four of the export commodities and thirty-four of the import commodities of the United States, and if there were a great lakes to ocean waterway large enough to accommodate ships of from six to seven thousand tons, forty-four per cent of the trade of the United States would go out that way, and twenty-five per cent of its imports would enter by the same route.