February 28, 1934

BAGOTVHXE, QUE., POSTMASTER

LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

For a copy of all correspondence, reports and documents, in connection with the appointment and dismissal of Mr. J. C. Levesque, postmaster at Bagotville, and also for a copy of all correspondence, reports and other documents relating to an inquiry held in connection

Motions )or Papers

with charges made against said J. C. Levesque, including the proof and evidence of all the witnesses heard at said inquiry together with the decision arrived at by the commissioner who held said inquiry.

Topic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   BAGOTVHXE, QUE., POSTMASTER
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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

It may be stated in reference to this motion that there is no correspondence concerning Joseph C. Levesque, because he was never postmaster at Bagotville. I am informed that this man acted as assistant to his mother, who was the former postmistress at Bagotville and was dismissed on August 22, 1931, on account of old age and inattention to duty.

Topic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   BAGOTVHXE, QUE., POSTMASTER
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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

With the permission of the minister may I ask if he has any information or documents relative to an inquiry held *concerning this same person, Mr. Joseph *C. Levesque, when he was acting as postmaster for his mother?

Topic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   BAGOTVHXE, QUE., POSTMASTER
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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

I am not ready to say that he acted as postmaster, but I may tell my hon. friend that the copy of all correspondence, including reports of investigations, and so on, was tabled in the house by the Postmaster General on April 11, 1932, in compliance with an order of the house passed at the request of my hon. friend, himself, on March 7, 1932. If there is any report on Mr. Levesque himself, my hon. friend would find it in the documents then tabled. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the motion might be dropped if my hon. friend is willing.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   BAGOTVHXE, QUE., POSTMASTER
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PASPEBIAC, QUE., WHARF

LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

For a copy of pay lists and accounts for *material in connection with work done on the Portage wharf at Paspebiac, Quebec, in 1933 and 1934.

Topic:   PASPEBIAC, QUE., WHARF
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PEACE RIVER OUTLET

PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST

UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

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

That, in the opinion of this house, the Peace River country should be connected by a direct railway outlet to the Pacific coast.

He said: Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to take up a great deal of the time of the house this afternoon, possibly not the whole of my forty minutes, in going over some of the arguments which time and again have been presented in this house for the last ten years. But as the representative of

the Peace River country I think it is my duty to bring this matter again to the attention of the house and the government. The whole program of railway development in a new country is a very important matter not only for that particular part of the country but for the dominion as a whole. While we have not yet got an outlet to the Pacific coast, certain developments with regard to railways have taken place in the last ten years which have been of importance to the more thickly settled) portion of the Peace River country, and our efforts in that direction and the developments that have taken place for the assistance of the settlers have been of some consequence. However, due to the dry weather in the more southerly sections of Saskatchewan and Alberta and to the difficulties they have experienced in those sections with regard to grain growing, there has been a large influx of settlers from those sections into the newer district of Peace River. Anyone who will study the population of those western provinces will be very much struck with the thinning out of the population in the southern sections that has taken place over a period of years and with the movement to the northern portions of the province of a large number of settlers from the southern sections. The population of the Peace River oountry has in the last ten years increased from about twenty thousand to something like fifty thousand, and of course that is one reason why there has been a constant demand for new railways, new roadis and new schools in that district. But notwithstanding the depression, and that we have, or think we have, a great deal of difficulty in providing new facilities, there is a constant need and a constant demand for these new facilities regardless of what may be happening in the oountry generally. We still have settlers trying to establish themselves at a distance of sixty, seventy-five, eighty and a hundred miles from a railway, and that is not just in a few isolated cases. I will mention Battle River prairie, located eighty miles north of the town of Grimshaw and about a hundred miles by road from the town of Peace River. There we have a large territory, possibly twenty miles square, which is thickly settled and is being developed in spite of the present handicap of low prices, so low in fact that in some cases grain will hardly pay for its cost of transportation to the railway, and in other cases it actually does not pay the cost of transportation. In that settlement we have people who have moved in there from older settled districts where some of them were

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Kennedy

well established. They have come into this newer country in an effort to reestablish themselves notwithstanding the handicaps and difficulties of the situation because, so far as they can see, it is the very best thing they can do. The only alternative for them would be to go into town or into some other district where they would be .able to do practically nothing for themselves and would have to accept direct relief.

Then we have the Hines Creek and Clear Lake prairie country lying north of the Peace river, and passing through to Hudson Hope through the constituency of my hon. friend from Cariboo (Mr. Fraser). There is a settlement there in a section about eighty miles long and possibly ten to twenty or thirty miles deep. Driving through it you would hardly notice that there were any settlers, but if there was anything to draw them together you would soon find large groups of settlers gathering together from the timber and park sections of ' that district where they are trying to hew out for themselves new homes amongst the timber and the bush.

We have also settlements on the south side of the Peace river extending back right to the Rocky mountains. They are mostly new settlers who have come in there from the older districts to make a new start and reestablish themselves so that they may be independent of relief so far as that lies within their power. They have a tremendously difficult task before them, difficult enough for young bachelors, but much more difficult for older men who have families, some of whom have been well off in other days but have come up there to start the battle all over again and provide for their families. Many of them are enduring tremendous hardships and are forced sometimes to ask for relief. But they are doing their very best to reach independence by their own efforts.

It seems to me a tragedy that we have to say in the face of such conditions that we will not go ahead and spend any more money for railways because, forsooth, we are having certain financial difficulties in this country. Over a long period of years in the history of railway development in this country we have made mistakes, and we are now trying to do something to consolidate the railways of Canada and to provide for more cooperation and the elimination of duplication. But, Mr. Speaker, I submit that there is no question of duplication in this instance.

How are these people going to be able to establish themselves,-and I think that would be a good thing in the interests of the whole

country,-if they are not able to earn money; if there is no new government money, if you like, coming into the district so that they may earn something by their own efforts to pay their expenses and help reestablish themselves? How are they going to be able to establish themselves with the low prices that prevail to-day? It seems to me that the government must assume some responsibility in the matter of enabling these people to establish themselves. The situation calls for something more than direct relief, if they are to be given any encouragement in their efforts to establish themselves and get some satisfaction out of their lives. We have throughout that whole country a type of people generally who hate to take relief, and will only take it as a last resort when they are absolutely forced to it, and because of that fact I am very anxious to see the government undertake to do something in their behalf.

I mentioned a little while ago the question of duplication, but I submit that there is no real question of duplication here. That whole country has been surveyed, and surveyed in such a way that it is possible to lay out a plan of development of the Peace River country, covering ten times the amount of land that is now under cultivation, and without a single mile of duplication in the whole thing. We know exactly where the branch lines ought to be and where the main outlet ought to be, and where the branch lines and the outlet should be fitted into one another so that we will have one harmonious whole when the railway project is completed.

This afternoon, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to say that we ought to vote in this house a sum of money to carry through the whole railway program at once, but I am asking for a gradual development looking towards the completion of that outlet so as to give the settlers who are there an opportunity to establish themselves under reasonable com ditions. The financial argument crops up at once but I submit that this is not as serious to-day as it was a year ago. There is talk everyhere of a general recovery. The speech from the throne stated that there was evidence of a return to permanent prosperity. While that statement may be a little strong, there is certainly evidence of a return of something better than we had a year ago. Because this is true not only of Canada but of countries like Great Britain and the United States we have reason to believe that this recovery will continue. I hold in my hand the monthly review of the Midland bank, and I should like to quote from a speech of the

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Kennedy

Right Hon. Reginald McKenna. Among other things he says:

World trade may still 'be disorganized, the exchanges chaotic, international dealings hampered by prohibitive tariffs, quotas and other restrictions; yet, notwithstanding all these obstacles, often described as insuperable, the trade of this country by universal. acknowledgment has for many months been making steady and gratifying progress.

And again:

The supply of an adequate quantity of money is now seen to be as certain in restoring trade and employment as the curtailment of the required' supply is certain to restrict them.

And again:

The word inflation is in constant use as a term of reproach; but just as deflation may be good or bad according to the conditions at the time it is put into operation, so also with inflation.

He continues:

We have seen a revival of business and a * return to employment, accomplished by a comparatively slight rise in the price level;

He was dealing with the matter from the standpoint of monetary operations but the point I desire to make is that he stated that there had been a general recovery and improvement in prices. It is acknowledged everywhere that if we can get an improvement in prices we shall be able to start out of this depression. I think it is generally acknowledged that recovery is on the way in the United States. Prices have risen there as well as in Canada, We have seen a rise in the prices of farm products, hogs and wheat as compared with those prevailing a year ago.

I think the legislation before this house as well as other things that have happened in connection with the monetary policy give a definite indication that the financial question is on the way to a solution and that to some extent we are leaving the depression behind. This being so, I hope that we shall be able to arrive at a partial solution of the great problem of an outlet for the Peace River country. It seems to me that keeping people unemployed when they are willing to work is a great waste which should be eliminated in the near future.

In connection with the question of the duplication of railway mileage, I desire to say again what I have said before. The survey made of the Peace River country by the engineers shows that when this outlet is completed there will be an average of 6,000 acres of economic land to a male of railway as compared with the average of 5,000 acres for the three prairie provinces. I think this answers any argument as to duplication. I

think on the whole our yields of grain and other commodities have been a little higher than those of the three prairie provinces. This indicates that the construction of this railway should prove to be a reasonably economic proposition. A survey has been made of. 2,000,000 acres along one of the proposed routes of this outlet and this shows that the land is suitable for agricultural purposes. I do not know of any instance in Canada where a development has been so well planned and where the results have been predicted with such certainty. There has been a careful study made of the cost of construction, the relation of branch lines to one another and the value of the land.

There has been developed to-day in the Peace River country about 1,000,000 acres of land out of a total of about 10,000,000 acres of economic land. Five engineers, Fairbairn, Gzowski, Hill, James and Sullivan, surveyed this route in 1925, and their report shows a total of about 8,500,000 acres of economic land. Some years ago the Department of the Interior issued a pamphlet on the Peace River country and this showed the total number of economic acres as 10,000,000. I think the latter figure is just about right, but whether it is 8,500,000 or 10,000,000 acres does not matter. The fact is that 1,000,000 acres have been developed.

I should like to deal with some of the arguments advanced in the report of the engineers against the construction of this line. I do this because I submit that the arguments advanced at that time can be shown to be not entirely sound to-day. It is impossible for anyone to sit down and state what will happen in the future. These engineers did their best but I do not think their arguments apply to-day. They stated that there would not be a sufficient density of traffic to make the railway pay at anything like the then existing rates, which were 39 cents .per hundred pounds. Another argument was advanced to the effect that grain traffic does not pay. They stated that as the traffic from the Peace River country would be mostly grain there was every reason to expect that the railway would not pay very well. I should like to submit a few figures to the house in this connection. At pages 66 and 67 of the steam railway statistics of Canada for 1932 is given the total gross earnings of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canadian Northern Railway, the Northern Alberta Railway and other railways of Canada. The mileage and so on appears on page 54. I have worked out a table showing that the total gross earnings per mile of line on the Canadian National

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Kennedy

Railways is $6,377. These are the earnings for the year covered by the 1932 report. The Canadian Pacific earned $7,246 per mile of line, while the Northern Alberta lines earned $1,812 per mile.

In regard to the operating ratio I find that the Canadian National, with earnings of about $6,000 per mile of line, had an operating ratio of 95-96, while the Canadian Pacific had a ratio of 80-70. The Northern Alberta lines, with gross earnings of only $1,812 per mile, just about one-third the earnings of the other two lines, had an operating ratio of 79-13. I know none of these lines is doing very well to-day in the way of earnings, but I am saying that notwithstanding the argument with regard to the density of traffic; notwithstanding the argument with regard to the unprofitableness of the grain traffic, as set out in the report of 1927, the Northern Alberta lines showed a better result from the standpoint of the operating ratio than either the Canadian National or the Canadian Pacific.

I am not going into the question of why this should be so. There may be certain matters of grades which would account for it, or it may be due to other factors, but notwithstanding the fact that all the railways are having difficulty in connection with earnings the Northern Alberta railways, a large portion of which are operating in the Peace River district, showed a better result from the standpoint of the operating ratio than did either the Canadian Pacific or the Canadian National.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

Would the hon. gentleman permit a question? He spoke of the development of wheat acreage. Is the hon. member in favour of the agreement to curtail the wheat acreage?

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

That is another question, but I will say that I am in favour of the wheat agreement. I distinctly said so the other day, and I do not know why I should be asked that question again. The problem of settlement on the land does not involve the question of wheat. I am giving the results of the operation of the Northern Alberta railways with the traffic that is available. The problem of settlement in the Peace River country to-day is a problem of the development of homes in that country, and that will be the problem for years to come as far as new settlers are concerned. Unless something happens with regard to the world demand for wheat there must be a change in the development of new countries from what we have had for the last twenty years or so in western Canada.

My hon. friend has brought up the question of whether there is room for the development of this new country. One argument is that some settlers are moving from districts where they were farming large acreages into a country where they are going to farm small acreages under different conditions. Another argument is that we have a first-class country for producing hogs, and there is plenty of room for the development of this industry in Canada in connection with our export quota.

One of the reasons why I mentioned grain, and one reason why I said the railway was paying, is that grain constitutes about four-fifths of the total traffic on the Northern Alberta railways. It is not the same year by year but that is about the figure. For instance, in 1932 the grain traffic amounted to about 350,000 tons, while the grand total was 525,000 tons. On the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National grain constitutes about one-fifth or one-sixth of the total tonnage.

Years ago it was said that railways built north of Edmonton would never pay for their axle grease. A survey of the Peace River country was made by a man who has since passed away, I believe, James M. Macoun. In his report-which I believe was suppressed -he informed the people of Canada that the Peace River country never would be fit for white men unless they were ready to accept very low standards of living. Then we had the report of the five engineers, which threw cold water on the railway development for which we were asking in 1925. In spite of everything, however, the Peace River country has developed, and it has justified the construction of the railways which some people did not expect to pay for the axle grease they used. To-day, in spite of the difficulties encountered in a new country, they are making as good a showing, so far as the operating ratio goes, as are the two main lines of railway in Canada. I believe it is going to take a number of years to work out the solution, and by the time that is done and the outlet is completed probably we will have a general improvement in conditions. We have people in there who are anxious to establish themselves in homes in that new country, people who wish to be independent of relief, who wish to be self-supporting, and who have sacrificed everything people should be expected to sacrifice in order to be in a position to settle in that country.

In spite of the difficulties that may exist I would like to see the government take hold of this matter and begin construction; extend branch lines, if necessary, in order to give rail-

1034 COMMONS

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Mackenzie

way service to those who have settled along the probable route, and complete the outlet as soon as it is financially possible and economically wise to do so, which I think will be in the not far distant future. I say that not a single statement, discouraging though many of them appeared at the time, that has been *made against this development has been borne out by the facts in a reasonable way, and I submit that this construction is absolutely justified.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Hon. IAN MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre) :

Mr. Speaker, I desire to occupy the attention of the house for only a few moments in order to lend my personal support to the resolution that has been moved, with commendable fairness, by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy).

On looking over the debates of former years I find that the situation in the Peace River territory was very carefully discussed in this house in May, 1932, when the hon. member for Peace River submitted a resolution very similar indeed to the one moved this afternoon. At that time the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) made what I thought was a very fair reply. Again last year I believe the hon. member for Peace River introduced another resolution in this house which went to a division and was lost by a considerable majority.

I must congratulate the hon. member for Peace River for being at least consistent on one point since he took his place in this house. I find, on looking up the records, in 1922 in the first place he brought this whole question to the attention of this chamber aadi as a result of his representations at that time I find that a sum of $50,000 was voted for a reconnaissance survey of the Peace River area, this sum being increased: to $75,000 in 1923. I find also from the records that in 1924 a meeting was held in -the office of the then Minister of Railways, the Right Hon. George P. Graham, at which meeting there were present to di-scuss this whole question of the Peace River development the late Sir Henry Thornton; Air. E. W. Beatty, K.C., president of the Canadian Pacific Railway; the Hon. Mr. Greenfield, at that time Premier of Alberta; the late Hon. Verner Smith, at that time Minister of Railways of Alberta; the late Air. W. F. Maclean, then one of the members for Toronto; the present member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) who has just sponsored the resolution, and the late Hon. John Oliver, then Premier of British Columbia. It was agreed at that time that certain surveys should be made and as a result of the agreement arrived at a report

was made in 1925 which was, I believe, tabled in this chamber early in 1926. This report was signed by five engineers and, as the house is aware, it recommended the Obed route.

Very briefly I wish to reiterate what I said on this whole question in 1932, and that i3 that- an obligation of honour rests upon all parties represented in this house in regard to t-he construction of an outlet from the Peace River area to the Pacific coast. I desire again to place upon Hansard the declarations made, first, by my own right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King), second, by the then leader of the Conservative party, now leader of the Senate, and, third, by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) in his Winnipeg speech in 1930. Speaking in Edmonton in 1924 my leader said this:

I pledge myself that as soon as it is humanly possible the great Peace River country will be given that measure of railway relief that will bring to the pioneers of that country the outlet they have been so long denied, and will open up the country for prospective settlers.

I find that about the same time the Right H-on. Arthur Aleighen speaking a-lso in Edmonton, on October 1, 1924, made the following statement:

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 he was going to give railway relief to the north country, but nothing has been done.

Then the present Prime Minister, speaking in Winnipeg in 1930, used these words:

We pledge ourselves to the improvement of the whole scheme of Canadian transportation northward by the completion of the Hudson Bay route, and the construction of such branches as may be necessary to render it most readily available to every part of Canada; to the Pacific slope by a Peace River outlet, and east and west by the development of the St. Lawrence waterways, and we pledge ourselves to aid existing traffic channels and to increase port facilities.

Since that time, as the house is aware, comprehensive surveys have been made of the entire project, as a result of which there has been unfortunately a lack of unanimity among the engineers in regard to the best route to be followed; but I agree entirely with the representations made by the hon. member for Peace River, in the first place in regard to the great value and the richness of the soil of what is a veritable empire itself, in the second place in regard to the necessity of doing something constructive to assist the settlers who are in that territory. I think the minister will agree with me that those

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Fraser

settlers, of whom there are now 40,000 or 50,000, are in that area to-day as a result of representations made to them by various governments, some being made by both governments of British Columbia, some by both governments of Alberta and some by both governments of the dominion. I believe today, when we are going to consider entering upon gigantic projects of public works in the near future, there is, regardless altogether, first, of partisan considerations and, second, of the various reports that have been made by railway engineers, an obligation of honour resting upon this chamber to carry out the promises that were made, as long ago, I believe, as 1924, ten years ago. If the government is to consider in the near future a system of public works, I would make this recommendation to the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion), and I said this two years ago. I believe the line from Prince' George to Finlay Forks could, according to the report of Major Crysdale, be constructed for $6,000,000 and construction costs will be lighter to-day than they probably will be at any time in the future. I appreciate the fact that the wheat policy of Canada is being changed by the wheat agreement, and at the present moment I do not want to be critical of that agreement, for I quite realize the significance of the question asked by the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid), because in the old days those who believed in the Peace River development believed in it essentially on account of the wheat growing possibilities of that area, but I agree with the hon. member for Peace River that it has great potentialities in addition to wheat growing. Therefore I recommend to the government that they take into serious consideration the advisability of including in the public works project they are about to undertake, the construction of a Pacific coast outlet.

I do not see how members from eastern Canada can ask us from the west to support any scheme for the development of the St. Lawrence waterway when they refuse to lend their support to the building up of what, to my mind, is of far greater importance to the dominion and contains far greater possibilities for the enrichment of our Canadian nation. Therefore I trust that in the same constructive way as that in which I have endeavoured to support the resolution of my hon. friend, the Minister of Railways will join all parties in this chamber and the government will take steps as soon as possible to build the very much needed outlet from the Peace River country to the sea.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST
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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. FRASER (Cariboo):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a few words in support of the motion of the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy). First, it is rather surprising to me, in looking over the records of last year, that after all the splendid arguments that have been brought to bear upon this question, not only by the hon. member for Peace River but by others, a similar resolution moved last year received the support of only thirty-nine members of the House of Commons. That being so, I think there must be something wrong or something lacking in the arguments that are being adduced in support of this resolution. I am wondering whether we are not looking at the question from too limited a viewpoint. The general support of the question has been from an agricultural viewpoint, or probably not so much that, but, to be more specific, from the point of view of raising wheat and other grains in that district. Probably too much stress has been laid upon that angle, and I propose to say a few words on some of the other potentialities of that important area.

In the first place, I am not surprised that under present conditions the government should find it hard to justify itself in providing probably $20,000,000 or $25,000,000 for the purpose of increasing the production of wheat in the Peace River area when they have already on their hands something like 140,000,000 or 150,000,000 bushels of wheat that they cannot dispose of. Such an attitude is not very strange and, as I say, I am not surprised that there should be a certain amount of hesitation and cogitation in regard to this project before they put more of this country's money into the construction of a Peace River railway. And that is not the whole trouble that this government may have in considering this question, because after all every member of this house knows, and nearly every person in the Dominion of Canada should know by this time, that the railway problem is the largest and most serious single problem facing the dominion, so I can readily understand that there should be a certain amount of hesitation. At the same time I admit that we are probably looking at this question from too limited a viewpoint. I want to assure the house in the first place that there are immense opportunities in the Peace River country for the development of the live stock industry. That is important for the dominion; it is particularly important as far as the province of British Columbia is concerned. Let me call the attention of the

1036 COMMONS

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Fraser

house to the situation with regard to the production of live stock there. British Columbia is a very large importer of live stock products. At the present time we produce about 50 per cent of the amount of beef that we consume in British Columbia, and that notwithstanding the fact that in the central area, which I represent, we have the largest stock producing range area in the Dominion of Canada. With regard to hogs, you do not have to go to London to find a market for Peace River hogs, because British Columbia raises only ten per cent of the hogs she consumes. A similar situation exists as to butter; there are immense possibilities for the production of butter in the Peace River country. British Columbia consumes 20,000,000 pounds of butter a year, and we are actually producing at the present time about 5,000,000 pounds. So there are enormous opportunities for agricultural expansion apart from the production of wheat. By the way, in referring to the Peace River country I am speaking of the British Columbia area. The hon. member for Peace River is better qualified to speak of the Alberta area than I am, and perhaps is as well qualified as I am to talk about the Peace River area in British Columbia, because he lives closer to it and comes in contact with it oftener than I do.

With regard to the production of hogs, I want to submit a clipping from the Peace River Block News, the only paper published in the British Columbia area of the Peace River country. Let me say first that I have seen these hogs being shipped. I want the house to understand that the Peace River country is a new country, and there are very few diseases amongst the live stock in there. The stock that has been brought in has been well and carefully selected; it is well bred and well fed. I never looked at a prettier line of hogs than I have seen coming out of that country, and I am sure you would find they grade very high in Edmonton. Here is the latest information I have with regard to hogs produced in that country, taken from the Peace River Block News, published in Dawson Creek, the issue of February 7 of this year:

On January 30, the day the Peace River hogs were sold. $8.85 was paid for bacons. Dawson Creek Cooperative Live Stock shipping association shipped out 123 hogs which averaged $16.10 per hog net.

Then it goes on to say:

The Peace River district shipped 1,756 hogs on this train which sold for about $25,000 or an average of roughly $14.25 gross.

That is in Edmonton. Then it goes on:

In December, bacons -were selling at $4.75 on the Edmonton yards so that the last shipment realized over double as much as a month previously. When the price of $2.75 paid 13 months ago is compared with returns of January 30, 1934, the benefit of the British quota is still more apparent. The price paid 13 months ago for a 220 pound bacon hog was $2.75 per one hundred pounds, less 80 cents per hundred pounds freight and commission which would net the shipper $4.38. The same hog at $8.85 would give $17.71.

Note the difference in price, just four times as much as it was a year ago. I submit that there will be a tremendous expansion of all branches of the live stock industry as soon as proper railway facilities are provided for this country. Not only that, but that industry will afford a splendid market for the grain that grows so luxuriantly there. In the Peace River country they do not consider they have had a crop of wheat at all unless it averages forty bushels to the acre, and of oats 125 bushels to the acre is not uncommon. They have plenty of feed; the country is healthy and with proper care can be kept healthy; the stock that is in there at the present time is of first-class quality, and I have no doubt that the people in there who are raising live stock are intelligent enough to see that diseases are kept out. Let the members of this house never forget that they should not confine their thoughts to wheat when thinking about the development of the Peace River country.

There are other things besides live stock along the route of the proposed railway- and let me say that I never talk about the Obed route; there must have been something wrong with the engineers when they indicated that as a proper route by which to tap the Peace River country. I have always believed that the (Peace River country should be opened up only along the Peace river itself.

The house should not overlook the fact that in the valley of the Peace river there are almost unlimited quantities of timber awaiting some means of transportation.

In the area will be found all the water power necessary for the manufacture of the timber.

But in my opinion wheat and live stock and forestry are comparatively only side issues in the development of the Peace River country. Coming as I do from a district which is vitally interested in the development of the mining industry', I consider that the mining possibilities of the Peace River country offer magnificent opportunities for the investment of money and the employment of labour.

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Fraser

Let no man forget that the mining industry when it is active and prosperous, when minerals are at a fair price, is the largest employer of labour of any injdustry and is also the largest consumer of all kinds of goods. From that point of view the mineral resources of the Peace River country are entitled to attention. What is the extent of the mineralized part of that area? It must be remembered that it is largely an unexplored country and it is difficult to give an accurate idea of just what the mineralized zone may be, but as nearly as I can judge it is 50 miles north and south and 150 miles east and west, or 7,500 square miles. This zone is very highly mineralized, and might produce any kind of mineral, particularly gold. What other commodity in the world to-day commands the attention that gold does? All through the Peace River area-and I am not speaking of the agricultural area but of that portion tributary to the Peace River and through which all these streams run- there is a highly mineralized section, capable of immense mineral development. In that area there are at least 7,500 square miles. So far as mines are concerned that is a tremendous area. Not only are there lode mines, but there are placer mines as well. In the area to which I have referred there are probably 500 miles of gold producing rivers and streams. If they would produce gold a few years ago sufficient to give a man a living, what will they do to-day?

I could give an illustration of the difference that the price of gold has made in the production of that comlmodity in my own community, because I am surrounded on all sides by exactly the same kind of gold bearing streams. Twenty or twenty-five years ago we had 400 or 500 prospectors working up and down our rivers. Those men made their living entirely by rocking or sluicing the banks and benches of the gold bearing streams in that area. They did not make a great deal of money, probably only a dollar or a dollar and a half a day, but they were able to eke out an existence because living was quite cheap. During the years of high wages those prospectors drifted away from their occupation oecause they could get better wages doing other work. To-day, however, on account of the depression these prospectors are coming back, and I want to tell you that in my own business, last year, I bought from just these small producers something pretty close to 1,000 ounces of gold. I do not purchase gold in large quantities at all. If a man has forty or fifty ounces he will never come to me

with it, but lie will send it right straight through to the assay office. All my purchases are made in quantities valued from $5 to $50. Despite the small purchases however I obtained an amount approaching 1,000 ounces. That is all new money. The activity is due partly to the depression, because these men, who are active enough to undertake the work, are doing the very best they can to keep off relief. I have known dozens of them, personally, who have come to me and told me that they were tickled to death to be able to make enough money to buy grub for themselves for another couple of weeks.

That is the condition which might be duplicated in the Peace River country, because there are just as many gold bearing streams in that country as there are in my own community. That is not all the placer prospects there are in the Peace River district by any means, because there is the Omineca section in which placer operations are going on at the present time. Large sums of money are being expended there in opening up placer mining properties. They are providing labour, and they have to haul their stuff with tractors through woods, where there are no roads at all, both in winter and summer for a distance of about two hundred and seventy-five miles. If the railway were put through the Peace River country transportation would be brought almost to their doors at least, that is the way they would feel, because they would have to travel a distance of only fifteen or twenty miles to reach a railway. One can imagine the difference it would make to the work of the placer miners. But that is not all.

In addition to the placer miners there are the lode miners. When one surveys the possibilities for lode mining he is simply staggered. I want to say that the whole 7,500 square miles is just as capable of production as the particular section about which I am now going to speak. It is just as capable of producing large quantities of gold and providing employment for many men. By the way, in passing let me say that in British Columbia we have, as hon. members from British Columbia know, what for the last ten or fifteen years has been described as a white elephant. I am referring to the Pacific Great Eastern railway. The year 1933 was the first year since the construction of the railway that it has paid operating expenses. This year on the operation of the railway we had a profit of $73,000. That is a very satisfactory result when we remember what has been happening since the road was first built.

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Fraser

What is the reason for the change? What made it possible for the Pacific Great Eastern to make a profit?

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Gold.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER (Cariboo):

Nothing else but gold. Only one thing has been responsible, and that has been the activity in the gold mining portion of that district. Just to show hon. members what a little change it takes in industry to take a railway out of the red and put it on a paying basis may I say that in Barkerville, one of the most active areas, probably an area of ten square miles-not more than that-is the one which is under investigation at the present time. I do not think there is much more than double that amount under investigation in the Bridge river country. On account of the activity in the mining industry these two small areas have brought that railway from a non-paying proposition to a paying proposition. Is it not well that this house should be reminded of conditions of that kind when we are talking about the Peace River railway. I think we should have our attention directed to the possibilities for mining in the Peace River country. Do not forget what 7,500 square miles of area means in a placer mining country. There are good rivers which will produce employment on their benches and bars for placer mining. We have the Finlay, the Parsnip, the Peace and fifteen or twenty of their tributaries throughout the whole of their length.

The one particular prospect to which I shall direct the attention of hon. members in connection with lode mining, is that located at Mount Selwyn, at the junction of the Parsnip and the Finlay rivers. Mount Selwyn is one of those large, barren looking mountains that anyone may see in British Columbia in almost any quarter he may travel. But the fact that it contains minerals makes considerable difference. What are the prospects or possibilities for that little section at the junction of the two rivers I have mentioned?

I refer to the point where the Parsnip and the Finlay rivers meet, and from that point run together as the Peace river.

I shall now direct my attention to statements made by mining engineers who for the last twenty or thirty years have been examining the property. At this point I shall outline some of the results of their investigations. These men are men of good standing, and men whose opinions should be respected. They are men who have nothing to gain by giving out information which is more or less unreliable. The estimated tonnage in the one property at the junction of the two rivers I have men- ,

tioned is 1,384,000,000 tons of ore above the level of the Peace river. Some hon. members have heard of Canadian mines which go down three or four thousand feet below the level of the present stream. There is no reason why the ore in Mount Selwyn would not go to any conceivable depth. It might just as well go six or seven thousand feet below the rivers as it towers four or five thousand feet above the river. One engineer has made the statement that if the ore averaged $2 a ton, it would be the largest mine in the world. A number of assays have been taken, and of 63 assays the ore averaged $4.28 on the old valuation of gold. Also four hundred samples of that same ore ran from $4.70 to as high as $12 a ton.

I could elaborate, Mr. Speaker, on the possibilities of mineral production in the Peace River country and in the territory contiguous to this proposed railway at much greater length than I have done. Probably I could write such a good prospectus that many hon. gentlemen listening to me would wish to subscribe and take shares in some of these properties; but I do not propose to go any further. All I can say is that I am amazed that this situation should remain as it has done before this parliament, where it has been under continuous discussion for the last ten or twelve years, with nothing done. After the house has had the advantage of listening to the case presented year after year by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) the situation still remains as it was ten years ago. It is amazing. The biggest surprise I got out of it all was when I turned up the records to-day and found that on a proposition of this kind only thirty-nine members of the house were found supporting it and all the rest opposing it.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that the development of the Peace River country does not rest only upon the production of wheat. It is time that greater attention was paid to the other possibilities of the Peace River country and that we forget about wheat. I would not be at all alarmed over the possibility of an extra production of wheat because the people in the Peace River country are all intelligent-they would not be there if they were not

and they know just as well as we do what the situation is regarding wheat. They are not going to grow wheat when they cannot sell it. Do not believe for one minute that they are going to grow a lot of wheat when they know perfectly well that the market cannot absorb it. They will turn their attention to other kinds of production, and there are all kinds of things that can be

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Dupuis

produced in that' country in addition to wheat. I have very much pleasure, Mr. Speaker, in supporting the motion of the hon. member for Peace River.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. VINCENT DUPUIS (Laprairie-Napier-ville):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to say a few words in favour of the resolution which has been moved by my hon. friend from Peace River (Mr. Kennedy). Sometimes it may be thought in this house that the people of the east and their representatives are not interested in the problems of other parts of this country. That certainly is not the case, and if my humble voice can destroy any prejudices in that regard I shall feel that I have not spoken in vain.

This year I had the advantage of making my first trip to the west. En passant, may I say that I shall always remember that trip and the kindly way in which I was received by my fellow-citizens of French and English origin and by those of Liberal and Conservative belief. I might add that the Progressives also were kind enough to facilitate my trip through the west.

I went to the Peace River district, where I have quite a number of relatives and friends who have gone out there from my own district. It is undoubtedly true that to make such a trip gives one a far better knowledge of the actual situation than one can acquire by reading books, historical and geographical, on any country. I was surprised to find that the district of Peace River is a real country by itself, rich in soil and natural resources, in mines and in timber, and possessing also many other resources which hon. members who live in that part of the country are better able to enumerate than I can. Of all the places that I had the pleasure of passing through I can truly say that none seemed to me more fertile, if I except the Red river valley, than the Peace River district itself. To judge by the way the farmers there are going in for mixed farming, it is a real province of Quebec. But as the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) said a moment ago, though Providence has blessed that country with a fertile soil and great natural resources, what advantage can the people derive from their production when prices are so low? During my trip I noticed that eggs, for instance, were given to the village store for five cents a dozen in exchange for goods. Butter, when they could sell it at all, was sold at from six to ten cents a pound. They produce not only wheat but a large quantity of oats, but they could not sell their grain

at a reasonable price last summer, and one of the reasons for the poor return to the farmer was the cost of transportation. If I am well informed, it cost from five to six cents a bushel to carry the grain from the Peace River district only as far as Edmonton. At that time oats was selling at 24 cents a bushel. When you deduct the cost of transportation and the cost of production, the farmers might just as well do as some of our labouring men do-declare a strike, and just produce for themselves. That reminds me, Mr. Speaker, of a little story that I heard when I was out there. I was talking on this very subject of the prices of farm products when a farmer told me that just before I arrived all the hens of the district had met together and declared a strike. The rooster decided that with the prices being received for eggs it was useless for the hens to go to so much trouble to lay them, and so the hens decided not to lay any more. Perhaps, when he speaks again, the hon. member for Peace River will tell us just what occurred. With the prices these farmers are receiving for their products they might just as well follow the decision reached by the hens.

It is a pity that any district with so many possibilities for future development, with such interest for the newcomer should be cut off from civilization simply because this government refuses to spend sufficient money to construct this outlet. I know the government consider this matter from the financial point of view; their purse is empty after having spent so much for the construction of the Hudson Bay railway which did mot bring the desired results. They have been forced to cancel a contract already entered into for the expenditure of $50,000,000 to develop the Canadian National Railways terminal in Montreal. I know the government will say that they cannot spend money at this time but I think there should be at least a vote of sympathy. I do not think I need be a prophet to say what the government will decide to do. I am afraid they will vote against this resolution. As the hon. member for Cariboo said a moment ago, only thirty-nine members supported a similar resolution moved last year. At least the government should give a vote of sympathy to this resolution. They should admit that the principle of this resolution is sound, that an outlet should be built in the near future. I am afraid the building of such an outlet will not be in the hands of the present government, but the matter would be there for the next government to take into immediate consideration. Even though the government decide

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Munn

that this thing is impossible at the present time, they should look to the future. An administration should not build just for the present, it should build for the future. The future of the Peace River valley is one which should not be overlooked or discarded by an inconsiderate vote. I should like to see this resolution pass unanimously so that when the time comes when the government feels that this outlet can be built, the construction will be started immediately to enable the development of the natural resources of this district. The citizens of this particular section should be afforded the opportunities to which all citizens are entitled, no matter where they live or what may be their race, religion or party.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST
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LIB

Albert Edward Munn

Liberal

Mr. A. E. MUNN (Vancouver North):

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to congratulate the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) upon introducing this resolution once more. Even before I came to this house I was a supporter of the building of an outlet from the Peace river. I desire also to congratulate the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) who has introduced a new light into this discussion. I hope more hon, members from the east will follow the lead of the hon. member for Laprairie-Napierville (Mr. Dupuis) and make a trip into this country. Once they do that I think they will take a different view of the whole matter. It is not my intention to take up mutih time; I desire only to go on record as being in favour of the building of this outlet just as soon as finances will permit. I appreciate the fact that it is not likely the government will attempt to put through a vote to build the Peace River outlet this year, but they should give the matter sympathetic consideration. It should be put on the agenda so that at some time in the future either they or their successors will construct the promised outlet to the Pacific coast.

The hon. member for Cariboo referred to gold. The Pacific Great Eastern Railway runs through his and my ridings, and I can confirm every statement he made in this regard. This railway made an operating profit in 1933. It has been referred to as a white elephant, but that term is now out of date. With the help of th'e miners, I think it is going to get itself out of its difficulty. In the Bridge River district two new mines were opened during 1933 and I think I am safe in prophesying that there will be three or four, and perhaps five new mines opened up during this and next year. They have not even started in that district, and the same applies to Quesnel,

near where my hon. friend lives, where they have hardly scratohed the surface.

The hon. member for Laprairie-Napierville referred to the fertility of this district. It might be interesting to the house to know that in British Columbia there are more fertile acres than in the whole of Japan. In addition we have unlimited natural resources such as gold, silver, copper and timber. The largest copper mine under the British flag is in my riding. In addition, there is the wonderful climate. We ask those from eastern Canada to give us support in this move. I ask the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) not to turn down this resolution but to give a promise that 'this outlet will be built just as soon as we are out of the woods financially.

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LIB

Olof Hanson

Liberal

Mr. OLOF HANSON ('Skeena):

In rising to support this motion, Mr. Speaker, as I have supported similar resolutions ever since I have been in this house and long before I came here, I wish to associate myself with what the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) said with regard to the resources of the Peace River country. I was one of the first to go into the Peace River country; there were very' few settlers when I was there in 1905. I saw the possibilities then, and since that time, with railway facilities promised by all political parties in Canada, settlers have been pouring in. The hon. member for Cariboo has ably described the development that has taken place. I shall not take up any further time in adding to what has been said already; I simply wish to associate myself with the resolution.

Mr. CAMERON R. McINTOSH (North Battleford): Mr. Speaker, I intend to make

only a few remarks on the resolution now before the house, which reads: .

That, in the opinion of this house, the Peace River country should be connected by a direct railway outlet to the Pacific coast.

I think this is an important resolution; it was before the house last year and we have it up for consideration again this year. Last year the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) received a certain amount of support, but that support was not very strong or very encouraging. The fact that the resolution is introduced again this year proves that the hon. member has a good deal of courage, of persistence and of fidelity to duty, and any member of parliament who does not possess these qualities would be better off back home or doing something else. It seems to be the experience of many members of the house that though we debate a matter for years, though a question may be brought up

Peace River Outlet-Mr. McIntosh

in. parliament many times, no matter what government is in power action is delayed. I congratulate the hon. member for Peace River on bringing in this resolution once more, and I also congratulate those who supported the resolution last year. I do not know how many will support it this year. I hope it will1 be supported by a good many hon. members, and I hope that many hon. gentlemen to the right of the Speaker will lend their support also.

May I say also, Mr. Speaker, that I really do not think hon. members should be afraid to rise in their seats and support a resolution of this kind, because it has a direct connection with their own pledges which were given in 1930. All these pledges have been read to the house time and again, but there is no reason why they should not be brought up every day of every session until there is an election, because it only brings hon. gentlemen opposite face to face with what they said they would do or would honourably try to do not only for the Peace River country but for other parts of northern Canada as well. I find, Mr. Speaker, in the pledge presented to Canada in 1930 by the Conservative party, when they appealed to the country and won the day on the ballots cast in the election, the promise to improve the whole scheme of Canadian transportation northward by the completion of the Hudson Bay route, and the pledge to construct also such brandies as might t>6 ILGCSSScLry to I*C ndcr that route most readily available to every part of Canada. In that same pledge they promised to build a Peace River outlet to the coast.

So we have a pledge dealing with this Peace River outlet, with the Hudson Bay railway and with branch line development in northern Saskatchewan, in order to make those areas more productive and more settled. But no action was taken by the government following the debate last year; no action has been taken, despite its pledge and the statements that were made in the house a year ago when this resolution was being considered. It would appear that the main reason for this lack of action is the general railway situation in Canada. No doubt the government will repeat the statement that the railway situation is mot hopeful, that the tonnage is not large, that the railways are going behind, and that trade is not heavy enough to warrant any future construction of rail facilities. We find the government taking cover behind this general statement of rail policy, with the result that during the past twelve months nothing, has been done by way of rail extension.

May I submit, Mr. Speaker, that apart from the mineral, timber, water power and other resources of that huge area, we must not forget the human element, which is perhaps of the greatest importance. There are thousands of settlers in that area who have come from different parts of Canada, and of course if they lack rail facilities they lack any connection worth speaking of with the outside world. In my opinion the government ought to do something to alleviate the distress of those settlers, and that is why I have risen this afternoon to say a word in connection with this resolution, as I did last year. I was one of the thirty-nine who supported the resolution then introduced, and I am quite ready to support it again.

After all, the constituency of North Battle-ford which I represent in this house is in very much the same position as the Peace River district. I think perhaps the railway problem in this constituency, upon which I have touched time and again in this house, is just as acute as the problem of the Peace River outlet, if not more so. In 1930 hon. members opposite made the pledge that if their party came into power there would be railway development carried on in northern Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba and northern Alberta. The government have been in power for four years now, but there has been no railway construction undertaken and no branch lines built. As a consequence men and women who have trekked from southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba into the upper part of northwestern Saskatchewan are to-day without adequate transportation facilities. They are in the north hewing out homes for themselves, keeping off relief, trying to raise families and to do their duty by the state, and looking for rail development which has not come. Personally I think if anything at all can be done to help these people, it ought to be done.

The problem in North Battleford riding is a part of the Peace River problem.; there is no doubt about that. When I touched upon that problem in the house in my speech on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, I referred merely to a petition numbering 500 names, from the North Battleford constituency. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) was in his seat that day and apparently he thought I was going to read the 500 names. I had not any such intention; I wanted merely to read the preamble of the petition and to refer to its importance, when the Prime Minister rose and objected to a member reading a petition. It was not the kind of petition he thought it was; apparently he jumped to the

1042 COMMONS

Peace River Outlet-Mr. McIntosh

conclusion that it was a petition to the House of Commons. It was not a petition to the House of Commons; the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) if I remember correctly, has a copy of it, as I have, and it was quite legitimate for me to mention the petition before the hon. members of this chamber and, if necessary, to read parts of it without any objection coming from the Prime Minister or any supporter of the government or of the party opposite. I was prevented, however,, by a humbug argument, as it were, from referring to that petition, and that is why I think the matter should not be entirely dropped and why I take advantage of the present opportunity not only to say something in favour of the resolution, but also to deal with a counterpart of it concerning the "Northland" in northern Saskatchewan.

The Minister of Railways on a later occasion answered a question with regard to more railway accommodation in the northern part of the constituency of North Battleford by making a statement which will be found at page 643 of Hansard of February 16. I believe it is the kind of general statement which the Minister of Railways usually makes to a question of this kind. I do not know whether he can make any other answer or not. Perhaps he is in earnest and really cannot make any other answer, and if so we shall have to abide by that decision. But his answer was that I knew quite well the position of this railway north of the North Saskatchewan and in between North Battleford and Edmonton. I certainly know it quite well, but that is no reason I should not bring it up again in parliament to find out whether the government had any new policy on it. My reason for bringing it up was to discover whether the government or the Department of Railways had during the summer formulated any new policy with regard to the construction of that line, and I was quite sincere in the question I asked at that time. The minister went on to say that he had written me because I had brought the matter up time and again in the house and had also written him time and again about it. That was quite right. Then he went on further to say:

He knows that the matter has to be submitted to the management of the railway, and when the management are deciding to recommend to the government and parliament the building of branch lines the railway he is supporting will be given consideration along with others.

That is tantamount to an admission that this branch line railway connecting the country north of the North Saskatchewan river and between North Battleford and Edmonton will not be built until there is a general program

[Mr. McIntosh.1

of branch line building throughout the dominion. I do not think that is fair; I believe there is such a thing as making a special case of a particular railway problem, and I believe this is just as much a particular railway problem as is the Peace River outlet.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Which of them is the hon. member supporting at the moment?

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST
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February 28, 1934