If the Pacific Great Eastern is found acceptable-and both companies have agreed to make a survey of it-and if it were understood, according to the hon. member for North Vancouver, that from Grand Prairie a line would be built to Prince George, I contend that the Canadian National line to the port of Prince Rupert would be left practically high and dry. I ask the Minister of Railways to consider this seriously. One of two things should be done regarding the national line to the port of Prince Rupert. One is that steps should be taken to connect
C.N.R.-Purchase oj Alberta Railways
up their branch lines in Alberta with some point on the Canadian National west of Prince George, so as to ensure that the port of Prince Rupert and the line of the Canadian National will receive a portion of freight developed, or let the Canadian Pacific take over the line. What do we find today? Anybody who has read the wheat records of the past week must realize that a great change has taken place regarding the movement of wheat to the various world ports. We find that the Argentine and Australia are now big competitors with Canada in the matter of wheat. The reason is obvious, namely, that their wheat moves when our wheat is lying in cold storage, in the elevators on the great lakes. The result is that we must turn more and more to the movement of wheat to the Pacific coast. Vancouver has received so far over 80,000,000 bushels of wheat and no doubt she will receive more. The reason is that the port is open for twelve months in the year. The port of Prince Rupert is likewise open for twelve months in' the year and it is nearer to the Orient than any other port on the Pacific coast. It is 480 miles nearer to five big ports in the Orient, for instance, Kobe, Shanghai, Tokyo and others. That being the case, the people of Prince Rupert look upon this development in Alberta with very grave fears; they are afraid that it means the holding up of rightful development or a great delay in the matter of bringing a share of the produce from the Peace River district to the port of Prince Rupert. I believe there is plenty of room for Stewart, Prince Rupert and Vancouver to share in this development; I do not believe the grain will flow through one main channel; it will break up and divide into these three channels if the opportunity is afforded. I trust therefore that the Minister of Railways will satisfy us regarding the future of the port of Prince Rupert. We have a large ocean dock there; we have also an elevator that has been closed throughout the year, and I am sorry to say-but this is the place to say these things; after all, it is the only place where a man can determine whether he has facts or not-that I have it on good authority that last season's shipments of wheat destined for the port of Prince Rupert were changed at Jasper and deflected to the port of Vancouver. I should like to know on whose authority or why that deflection took place. There must be a good reason for it and as the port of Prince Rupert is a national creation, the people expect that at least it shall receive some attention in the big development that is going on and will go on
in the Peace River country. I do think that some clause should be placed in this bill to assure the people of western Canada that there shall be no interference with any extension which the Canadian National might make towards joining up their own line to the port of Prince Rupert, and I would like the Minister of Railways before this bill is sent to the committee to enlighten us as to what he considers the situation will be should this bill pass. I have read the bill carefully and I find that first of all three conditions must be met, and that practically immediately the bill becomes law. Then there are other conditions which are introduced with the word " may," such as, "The company may construct and operate one hundred and two miles," and so on. In other words, they do not need to enter upon that work at all; they "may" do it. Therefore I think we are entitled to be satisfied that the future of the port of Prince Rupert is not in danger and that that port will not be overlooked.
I would just like to draw attention to another feature. The other evening the minister mentioned that certain existing lines in eastern Canada were to be taken over by the Canadian National at a sum running up to about $10,000,000. We have the great Hudson Bay railway on our hands, and I do not think that anybody in this house or anyone in Canada can say definitely that that great engineering work is going to be a success. These will involve heavy responsibilities financially. The Hudson Bay railway is still a theoretical proposition; there is no guarantee that it will fulfil the requirements, and that it will function in accordance with our expectations. The Peace River development will benefit all Canada.
There is one other thing which I think cannot be denied and that is that the Canadian National has in the port of Prince Rupert a port second to none strategically, and second to none as a port itself, because there is no expense attached to it. It is looked upon by ocean captains as one of the finest harbours on the whole coast of America. Therefore I do not think that I am trespassing upon the time of the house when I request the Minister of Railways to see that the Canadian National safeguard the interests of that port and maintain the line running to .Prince Rupert in their own system and make it function, in order to build up the port of Prince Rupert, instead of concentrating the whole movement of grain and all other produce on the line down to the port of Vancouver. I do not think that that is the best think to do either nationally or
C.N.R.-Purchase of Alberta Railways
economically, and I believe there is a moral obligation resting upon this government to see that Prince Rupert will receive the consideration to which it is undoubtedly entitled.
Subtopic: AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS