May 14, 1929

CON

James Charles Brady

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADY:

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

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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.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. FRASER (Cariboo):

I must

congratulate the province of Alberta on being able to dispose of their railways at so fair and equitable a price. I have on a great many occasions pointed out the necessity for coupling up the Peace River country with the western outlet, and I very much regret that such a provision is not contained in this bill. This bill does not do anything to forward in the slightest degree the connecting up of the Peace River country with the western outlet. I think there should be some indication in this bill that it is the intention of the companies who are acquiring the control of the Edmonton and Dunvegan road to connect up the Peace River country with the western outlet. The Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning) a short time ago seemed rather surprised that anyone would venture the suggestion that the Pacific Great Eastern really could carry the freight of that country to the city of Vancouver.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

No, my hon. friend does me an injustice there.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

I am sorry if I do.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Perhaps I might clear up the point so that my hon. friend could then discuss it. The hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Brady) was arguing that grain which moved to Prince George over a railway from the north would go to Vancouver over the Pacific Great Eastern rather than to Prince Rupert. I shook my head, because from what I know of the Pacific Great Eastern it would not be economical to haul grain to Vancouver over that road from Prince George, when it could be hauled over our good grades to Prince Rupert. I do not think it would be economical to haul grain from Prince George ever the Pacific Great Eastern as compared with shipping it from Prince George to Prince Rupert.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

The distance from Prince George to Prince Rupert and from Prince George to Vancouver are the same. Of course under present conditions, with the Pacific Great Eastern uncompleted for eighty miles of its length, it would be impossible to haul grain over that line, but I .wish to make it quite plain that it is not by any means an impossibility to haul wheat from the Peace River country over the grades on the Pacific Great Eastern if that road is properly completed. The completion of that road will have to be undertaken before we can discuss the question

of hauling grain or anything else over it. As a matter of fact the grades over that line are not as high as those on the Canadian Pacific from Calgary to Vancouver, over which they are hauling wheat to-day.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I would hope not.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. L. J. LADNER (Vancouver South):

I have just one observation to make, Mr. Speaker. The time is not opportune to engage in a discussion of the advantages to be gained from an extension to the coast from the Peace River district. We have all enthusiastically supported that. Provision is made in this bill particularly for the ratification of the contract between the two railways and the government of Alberta with respect to the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway. Paragraphs 7 and 8 of the agreement provide specifically for certain extensions. One extension consists of 25 miles of railway from Wembley to Hythe; another, of 15 miles from Whitelaw to the Waterhole district. Paragraph 8 of the agreement provides for the construction of not less than 60 miles of additional branch lines, within a period of five years, of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia 'and Central Canada railways in the Peace River district. Now, my point is that provision could be made, and in my judgment should be made, in the bill to empower these railways, if they consider it expedient or good business, to extend that railway system in conjunction with the branch lines or otherwise, so as to make an outlet from the Peace River district, either at Vancouver or at Prince Rupert, by connecting up with Prince George.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

My hon. friend does not care which -way they want to go; he would have parliament give them a free hand to get through provided they went via Prince George ?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I understand the railway

commission would have something to say as to that; they must give their approval.

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Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

To the route map only.

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Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Is not that the most

important tiling?

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

No, that is a detail.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

If the minister would incorporate that empowering clause, the good judgment of the railways in any event would dominate the situation, and parliament would not likely go against the joint judgment of the Canadian Pacific and 'the Canadian National railways with respect to the route or the method of extension. I urge upon the minister that by cutting off the extensions as set out in the agreement, without any en-

C.N.R.-Purchase of Alberta Railways

abling clauses in the bill itself, is a step which in my judgment makes more difficult the possibility of bringing about a connection between the Peace River district and the coast.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. D. M. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to record in a general way my support of the proposed legislation now before the house. I am not going to say that I am absolutely satisfied with its provisions, I am one of those who have laboured for some time to persuade the government and the Canadian National Railways to act in connection with this matter, both as to the taking over of the Peace river section of the Alberta railways and the construction of a railway out to the Pacific coast. I have declared in Alberta as well as here my disappointment that some provision was not made in connection with the coast outlet. However, to oppose the bill does not, as I see it, get us anywhere nearer a Pacific coast outlet than to allow it to pass; in fact it is just the reverse, in my judgment. I think it has been recognized in all our discussions of this question that one of the chief difficulties in connection with a coast outlet was simply the fact that the Edmonton Dunvegan and the Central Canada Railways which would be part of the system to connect the Peace River country with the Pacific coast, belonged to the province of Alberlta, and it was not expected by anyone in that province or outside of it, so far as I know, that Alberta would build a railway through British Columbia to any Pacific coast port.

Now, to oppose this bill, as I understand it, would simply mean that the Canadian Pacific Railway would get the Alberta railways. It may be that some hon. members, as well as certain people outside this house 'believe that that would ensure the best development of the Peace River country. But I am not convinced of that. I am not insensible to the possible difficulties in connection with the working out of this legislation, that were referred to to-night by the hon. member for North Vancouver (Mr. McRae); but when it ooroes to the question of the Objection he raised, as I understood him, to the House of Commons, possibly not being ready to vote $12,000,000 to build its share of the 600 miles of branch lines for which this railway company will hold charters in the Peace River country, I think it more likely that parliament would provide that $12,000,000, than that we would carry out the program referred to in the correspondence which was brought down yesterday. I find that on September 20th, i92S, Sir Henry Thornton wired the Minister of Railways as follows:

Canadian Press announce Canadian Pacific has made independent offer something less than twenty-five million for Alberta Government Railways and receipt of offer acknowledged by Brownlee Montreal urgently suggest and 1 agree we should announce we propose ask parliamentary authority build line Obed through Grand Prairie northwesterly towards Peace or Pine pass with branch from Sturgeon lake northeasterly towards McLennan and Peace river crossing. Kindly telegraph quickly your views.

Thornton.

That expenditure would not open up anything like the vast area of new territory that the 600 miles would open up, and yet it would cost, not $12,000,000, but possibly $20,000,000 or S30.000.000, if we are to go by the experience in the province of Alberta, and I think they built their mileage just as cheaply as the Canadian National Railways. If that is the only alternative to joint ownership, I would rather wrestle with the problem of joint ownership of the present railways and the problem of future development in the extending of branch lines, because I do not believe this parliament would be likely to vote money for the duplication practically of the present railway without serving any very large amount of new territory.

During the last three or four years the Peace River country has been very, very anxious to see the Canadian National Railways take over the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway. I find also that the Alberta government was very anxious that the Canadian National Railways should buy the Alberta railways, and two years ago, May 3, 1926, according to sessional paper 226A of 1928, I find an offer by the Premier of Alberta, Mr. Brownlee, to the Minister of Railways, Mr. Dunning, in which he argues for the taking over of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway and the Central Canada Railway at a price just a little over $14,000,000. These figures were submitted, not as a final offer, but as a basis for consideration. I may say that the price agreed to be paid for the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway by the Canadian National and the Canadian Pacific must be $20,000,000. Probably I should read one or two paragraphs of this letter:

Dear Mr. Dunning,

In submitting, for your consideration, the proposition that the Canadian National Railways-

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

What is the date of that, please?

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY:

May 3, 1926; sessional

paper 226A of the session of 1928.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

But the letter is early

in 1926.

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C.N.R.-Purchase oj Alberta Railways

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY:

Yes, I am showing just what the Alberta government was trying to do at that time.

In submitting, for your consideration, the proposition that the Canadian National Railways should take over the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway and the Central Canada Railway, I desire to draw your attention to the following:'-[DOT]

1. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, between Wolf Creek and Prince Rupert, was constructed at a very heavy cost as a main artery to serve the country which is tributary to it, and, as this portion of the national railway system is short on traffic, the loss on operation, maintenance, and interest on capital represents a large proportion of the annual deficit on the national railway system. The mileage between the above points is 834.3 and, at $125,000 per mile, which is a fair estimate of the cost at the present time, amounts to $104,287,500 capital investment. If the Peace River territory is not obtained as a feeder for this main artery, it will preclude any possibility of the traffic necessary to provide revenues sufficient .to carry the interest on this capital investment.

2. The Edmonton. Dunvegan and British Columbia and Central Canada railways tap the productive portion of the Peace River territory which has been developed up to the present time, and are a valuable addition to any railway system which assumes the responsibility for the future development of that country. These railways were built as colonization lines and, as such, should have received a subsidy from the Dominion government: in fact, 50 miles between Roycroft junction and Grande Prairie on the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia was subsidized to the amount of $6,400 per mile, and $175,000 was paid to assist in the construction of the bridge across Peace river on the Central Canada railway, which sets out clearly the fact that the Dominion government did partially recognize their responsibility in this respect.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I suggest that the hon.

member put the whole letter on Hansard.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALBERTA RAILWAYS
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May 14, 1929