February 28, 1934

LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

I am supporting both

of them. I believe the Peace River outlet is a particular problem and ought to be given special attention, and perhaps if it were, something might be done. The unfinished part of what is practically equal to a main line between North Battleford and Edmonton, north of the North Saskatchewan river, is also a particular railway problem and ought to be given special attention.

May I say again that although seventy miles of that railway line has been graded, during the last four years not a tap of work has been done on it and the grading is falling to pieces. Although 10,000 settlers from southern Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, southern Manitoba, indeed, from all parts of western Canada and many from the east, have gone into that very productive area and have been trying to hew out homes for themselves, not a thing has been done in the last four years to finish the sixty-nine or seventy miles of road that could be completed without difficulty or much cost to the country. In 1930 we had relief camps in that part of northern Saskatchewan and with seven or eight experts in laying steel, all the government would have had to do would have been to hire a few of those men and there was enough labour there to have those seventy miles steeled, yet it was not done. The steel that could have been used to complete that line has, I understand, been taken out of that district entirely; the ties are there, rotting by the wayside, and the grading is falling to pieces; yet 10,000 settlers are calling out for railway relief and for four years a policy of vacillation has been pursued with nothing accomplished. That is not fair; it is not playing the game; it is not doing what could be done, because that road, when built, will return to the exchequer of Canada every cent that is required for the building of it. There is no question about that road being a paying one. Not a single official of the Canadian National Railways can produce in the House of Commons facte to prove that any line of railways that has been built in northern Saskatchewan has not been a paying road during normal years. Those branch lines have also helped to make a paying proposition of the

* Peace River Outlet-Mr. Bury

main line of the Canadian National between Winnipeg, Saskatoon, North Battleford and Edmonton. There is no argument that the road would not be a paying one. Not only have we seventy miles of grade ready for the steel -and it will not be in that condition very much longer if it is allowed to remain as it is for many more years; in fact, a great deal of work will have to be done on it now to put the roadbed into proper shape-but about forty miles of that road have not been graded. I would like to see those forty miles graded and the seventy miles that are graded, steeled. When those jobs are done, we shall have railway facilities for the people in that part of northern Saskatchewan and they will be encouraged to go ahead and open up more fully that splendid, productive area out of which will come a great deal of trade. The best class of hogs and of cattle are raised there; there are lumber and timber, fish and fur, and further north there are mineral areas. All in all, the districts tributary to this road have a great future and the people who have settled in them could make that future still brighter if they had the necessary railway accommodation.

In conclusion, may I say that I believe we have been told in the house time and again by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gordon), who is also Acting Minister of Immigration, and other members of 'the cabinet, that the government has a wonderful back to the land policy. They want the people to go back to the land. Where were the people to go in western Canada but largely into these northern areas? Much of the land there had not been taken up, they took the government at its word, they went north, they have started their settlement duties, they have a prodigious job on their hands, and the least [DOT]the government can do would be to come to the rescue of those who have taken them at their word with regard to this land policy and have settled in these northern areas, and who must have railway accommodation if they are to make the best of life in that part of Canada. So I hope many hon. members will give this resolution their support; and that the government will find it possible in the coming months to take some of the money that they propose to make use of perhaps in building public works, and apply it to railway construction in northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan. I think i,t would be the worst kind of folly for the government of the day 'to spend fifty or a hundred million dollars in building bridges and roads and public works all over Canada where many of them would not need to be built and have 74726-66J

in the northern parts of western Canada thousands of settlers crying out for railway relief and nothing be done in the way of railway construction. I would say that the construction of branch line facilities opening up these new areas is the question of the hour, and if any money is to be spent on public works during the summer months it should be spent on railway construction.

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

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. U. G. BURY (East Edmonton):

I do not intend, Mr. Speaker, to trespass on the time of the house to any extent. The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) was very properly congratulated by previous speakers on his courage and persistence in bringing this question of the Peace River outlet year after year to the attention of the government and of the house. I trust that some time or other, and we hope in the not too distant future, he will reap the reward of his persistence and realize the hopes which he has expressed' in this house.

The hon. member for North Battleford (Mr. McIntosh) rising to support the motion gave an excellent exhibition of the way in which a man can make one point for the motion and two points for something else; one point for the problem of the Peace River outlet, and two points for the railway problems of his own constituency. Were I to follow the same line and take my hon. friend as a precedent for what I do I should occupy the time of the chamber in dealing with problems relating to my own constituency. I purpose, however, to confine myself entirely to the motion of the hon. member for Peace River. May I say in that connection, however, that it is very wonderful the way in which the memories of some hon. gentlemen operate. They are so keen and so quick to perceive and recall pledges that were given by their political opponents and so absolutely oblivious of the equally strong and clear and emphatic pledges which were given by their own leader and members of their own party.

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

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

That is

not correct. I said all the pledges given by the leaders of all the parties.

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

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURY:

I said some members, I did

not say all the members of the opposition. My hon. friend has not yet attained that position of preeminence in his party that when I speak of some members of the Liberal party or the opposition he must necessarily be referred to.

They are so quick to see the mote in their neighbour's eye notwithstanding the disadvantage of the lumber yards that occupy their

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Bury

own. I have supported the proposal of the Peace River outlet from my first connection with this house in 1926. I also supported it in 1932, and in refreshing my memory on the debate of that year I found such an excellent speech delivered by myself at that time that I was very strongly tempted to bring Hansard to the house and read the same speech on this occasion. I do not kuow whether the rules of the house would permit that or not, but I find it very difficult to amplify to any great extent what I then said.

The people of the Peace River are entitled t'o this concession; entitled to it for a great many reasons. One reason is the size and wealth of the area which they occupy, in veritable truth a new empire in the north. They are entitled to it by reason of the rapid growth of the population of that district and the very considerable numbers to which that population has now grown. They are entitled to it above all by reason of the unambiguous and unequivocal pledges that have been made by both parties in this house, the right hon. leader of the opposition having taken the Peace River outlet as the spearhead, whatever that means, of his policy; so fine a spearhead that when you come to see what has been done you cannot find it at all. It is like a point in Eucdid-has no parts and no magnitude. We have been twitted with the fact that since this government came into power nothing has been done in the direction of a Peace River outlet. Of course everyone knows the conditions through which the country has been going and the financial and economic stress and strain and burden that has been imposed upon the government, rendering it absolutely impossible for any government, however strong its wish might be, to implement so important a promise as the construction of a Peace River outlet. But nothing is said by hon. gentlemen opposite of the years of office of the right hon. leader of the opposition when, notwithstanding his unequivocal promise, absolutely no step in this direction was taken.

It has now been suggested that we should rather encourage a rival policy to the Peace River outlet in the construction of branch lines feeding the country and connecting the outlying districts with the existing Alberta railway. I cannot say that I agree to that. I think our settlement policy was wrong from the beginning. I think the settlement policy of this country should have been as far as possible to confine settlement to the immediate neighbourhood of the railways or where railways were projected and intended to be

constructed. That policy, however, was not pursued. I understand it is one of the major principles of the settlement policy of the present Alberta government, that the principle to be followed by that government is to circumscribe settlement so far as possible and keep it from going too far away from existing or projected railway lines. That is a policy that should have been instituted and rigorously observed from the very commencement. But now we have to deal with an accomplished fact, a condition that has come into existence, and it is impossible to wait for an outlet until connecting branches of railway have raimified into the far distant parts of that great territory. Moreover if any settlement is to be encouraged it can only be by making it profitable, and it can only be made profitable by providing an outlet to the Pacific coast. Where that outlet shall come is a matter entirely for engineers, I am not going to deal with that question. I wish merely to say that my whole and hearty support is given to the motion of the hon. member for Peace River, though I am quite aware and keenly alive to the present financial and economic conditions in Canada, and the other great burdens resting upon the government. I very much feel on that account that any action which can be taken certainly could not be taken this year.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Minister of Railways and Canals):

Mr. Speaker, for an hour and a half I have listened to a very interesting debate on the question of a railway to connect the Peace River section with the Pacific ocean. At once I should like to congratulate the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) and the hon, member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) both of whom are directly interested in this question, on the consistence and persistence with which they have brought it before the house during many years past. The other day I made it my business to check up on the number of speeches made by the hon. member for Peace River in regard to this matter, and I find that from the years 1922 to 1934, inclusive, he has made at least one speech a year. This, therefore, is his thirteenth annual pilgrimage to the shrine, and I hope it will meet at least with as good luck as did the others. The number thirteen is supposed to be unlucky, but on this occasion I hope we shall be as generous in our promises as we have been in other years.

I might express a further opinion, sir, that the addresses delivered this afternoon from all sides of the house and all sections of the country have been, with one exception-and

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Manion

it was not a very great exception.'-absolutely moderate and non-political. The exception I fear I shall have to point out was that of the hon. member for North Battleford (Mr. .McIntosh)-

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

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

I thought that was coming.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

-who finds it difficult to get away from politics at any time, even on an occasion like this, when two-thirds of his time was used in speaking for his own constituency, and one-third for the Peace River outlet. He permitted himself to get into the political field rather extensively.

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

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

Killing two birds with one stone is pretty good work, isn't it?

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Attempting to kill a number of birds with one stone was what the hon. member was trying to do. The hon. members for Peace River and Vancouver Centre have pointed out that in the past all parties have promised some relief to this new land or last empire of northwestern Canada. On a number of occasions the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Mackenzie) stated that this is an obligation of honour upon both parties, and in his statement I think there is a good deal of truth. After all, however, it must not be forgotten that during the last four years conditions in this country have been of such a character, due to general world conditions, as to bring us to the realization that circumstances alter cases and, therefore, may sometimes be permitted even to alter promises. While it is true that in that northwestern, section of our country my right hon. leader made promises-at least, it is so stated, and I have not found anything to justify a contradiction-I must draw to the attention of the house the fact that conditions have been such that I doubt if any government would have been justified, hereof ore, in spending money upon the construction of the road.

I was particularly interested in the speech of the hon. member for Cariboo. I am not saying this simply because he spoke from this side of the house, because it is a fact that members from all quarters of the house have supported the project. But the hon. member did bring into the picture a number of very interesting new points, and described vividly and in 'most interesting fashion the north country of British Columbia, leaving the description of northern Alberta to the hon. member for Peace River. In my view the hon. member for Cariboo delivered a most inspiring address, from the standpoint of that section

of the country, in support of the resolution; of the hon. member for Peace River. The hon. member for Laprairie-Napierville (Mr. Dupuis) did what so many hon. members from Quebec do to inspire the rest of us- although, not always with success-when he delivered in English an excellent speech in support of the resolution. He did say in his remarks that he did not suppose we would give even sympathetic consideration to the resolution. Well, I shall at once dispose of that by saying that the hon. member for Peace River has always had my sympathy, coming as I do from a section of 'Canada sparsely provided with railways and, like the Peace River country, in proportion to area not well supplied with population. I feel that I am particularly qualified to sympathize with the hon. member in his desire to have these 40,000 people served by a railway.

Of course in a country of such vast proportions as Canada railways are very necessary. The fact remains however that the money required to build them reaches such large amounts that even a few miles of railway constructed through a section of the country such as would have to be traversed in building this outlet runs into huge sums of money. The various estimates as to the cost of building the outlet run all the way from 813,000,000 to $80,000,000, according to the number of branch lines constructed. Various investigations have been made into the proposal now before us. References have been made to some of them this afternoon. Four routes have been mentioned as possible methods of getting out of the Peace River territory into other parts of Canada. One, which was more or less generally condemned by at least two or three hon. members, was the so-called Aggie-Obed route, where there would be a back haul of some considerable distance. But the routings which were recommended in some of the earlier investigations made by the Canadian National Railways- although I do not think the Aggie-Obed route was supported in the earlier investigations by the Canadian Pacific Railway- were the Monkman pass route, the Pine pass route and the Peace pass route. The latter, I believe, is the one which has received the greatest amount of support from hon. members this afternoon. In connection with that outlet it is only fair to say that the late Sir Henry Thornton and Mr. Beatty discussed the matter with me on various occasions. They took the attitude that now would not be an appropriate time to spend a large sum of money upon this project, because-at least some of them took this attitude-it would take at least ten times the

1046 COMMONS

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Manion

traffic now offering in that district to enable the road to pay its way. That was the summing up of their correspondence with me, and also the summing up of some of the reports made in regard to the project.

Four different reports have been made. The last one was in 1932, when a committee of engineers was appointed partly, if not altogether, at the request of myself. The commission was composed of Mr. Gzowski, of the Canadian National Railways, Mr. Fairbairn, of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Mr. Crysdale, as the third man, not appointed by the province of British Columbia, but whose appointment was agreed to by that province. Although the commissioners did not visit the section in connection with the making of the report, aill had previously visited the section, on various occasions and were familiar with the problem. Their report was tabled in this House of Commons and on a number of occasions has been referred to in debate. These gentlemen took the attitude that they could not make a recommendation. While their findings have already been placed on record, although not in this debate, for the sake of the present record perhaps I might be permitted to read a brief synopsis of their report. They say:

At the time the 1925 report was made, local Interests were mainly concerned in obtaining a western outlet to cheapen their freight cost to the Pacific, and supply further railway mileage in the district. Since that time, a reduction of freight rates has been accorded them, now substantially equalling rates which would obtain if a western outlet were in use.

Further on they say:

In view of the above, our conclusions are:

1. No western outlet is justified for the present, as the existing railway furnishes the most economical route. It will take many times the present traffic to justify another railway outlet.

2. The Obed route for a western outlet is the most favourable from a railway economic standpoint, considering the present phase of the railway situation.

3. We recommend that the matter of a final route be decided when the question is a practical one, believing that by the time the volume of traffic has reached a point where a western outlet is justified, general and possible local conditions may have materially changed. When the decision is imperative, the whole situation should be reviewed, in order to appraise all the contributing factors, including the potential traffic which may accrue from the lands beyond the definite areas included in this report.

That in brief was the report of the Crysdale committee, if I may term it such, signed by J. M. R. Fairbairn, chief engineer of the Canadian Pacific; C. S. Gzowski, chief en-

gineer of construction, Canadian National Railways, and C. R. Crysdale, consulting engineer. I am quoting it from the unrevised Hansard of March 14, 1932, when I put it on Hansard during the discussion that then took place.

After that report was made public both Sir Henry Thornton and Mr. Beatty informed me that they agreed with it. They took the attitude, as has been taken by others, that what was needed more than a direct outlet was more branch lines in that territory. In that regard I have noticed that Mr. Brownlee, the premier of Alberta, appearing not very long ago before the royal commission on transportation, generally known as the Duff - commission, which was investigating the whole railway problem of this country, gave some opinions which I think it is well to put on Hansard, Mr. Brownlee being a particularly able statesman and a man who does speak to a large extent for a considerable portion of the province of Alberta. He is quoted as follows:

All I will say is this: So far as our provincial government is concerned we would not say that there is such a necessity for that outlet

He was speaking of the Peace River outlet:

-that in a time of financial difficulty the matter should become an urgent one. We do believe that what is far more urgent is that there should be a moderate expansion of branch lines in order that the railways may secure the full benefit of the potential development that is there and the settlement that has gone in. Settlement has gone into the Peace River country to a very large extent in districts fifty or sixty miles from any railway, and as a provincial government we urge very strongly that the small expenditure necessary to provide branch lines to enable those who have gone in to develop their holdings and to make a contribution will be far wiser at the moment than any coast outlet.

He also referred to a telegram from Grande Prairie to the Duff commission with reference to this outlet, and said:

I have not read it, but I assume you will find that that telegram differs somewhat from the opinion that we have expressed. We have not so far been able to bring ourselves in line with the views either of the people of Vancouver or of the people immediately at Grande Prairie that the expenditure on another line of railway through to the Pacific coast, so far as this province is concerned, is a necessity. It may be that the development in the northern part of British Columbia would seem to justify a line of that kind, but we would certainly emphasize strongly that what we conceive to be the needs of the Peace River country will best be served by branch lines rather than by such an extension.

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Manion

I quote that merely to show that there is a difference of opinion in regard to the matter, and for that reason I cannot help but feel that it is a little difficult for a government to promise immediately, under present financial conditions, to undertake such a task as the building of a road from the Peace River territory whether by one route or the other, at a cost of from ten to perhaps fifty million dollars. The two great transcontinental railways still take the attitude that they cannot afford to make any heavy capital expenditures, nor can they permit themselves, they still submit, to go into any branch line construction. They are quite willing-naturally they would have no objection-that the dominion government itself, if it wishes, as a government should construct this line, whether by the Peace pass outlet or any other. By the way, on the last occasion on which I discussed this question with the two then heads of the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National, they both did favour the Peace pass route along the Peace river and then cutting down to join with the Pacific Great Eastern which, as has been pointed out here this afternoon, last year made a profit on operating for the first time in many years. But they do not admit that they would agree to making the railways in any way responsible for the expenditure of one dollar to make that connection. Therefore, if anything were done, it would be entirely a problem to be faced by the government and the people of Canada at this time and perhaps for some time to come.

It is worth remembering that during the years that have gone the railway rates from the Peace River area, both to Vancouver and to Fort William, have been lowered considerably. My hon. friend from Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) and my hon. friend from Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) know that very well, but as some others in the house may not know the facts I shall place the rates on Hansard in order to keep the record full enough so that the question may be fairly well understood:

Rate on Grain from Grande Prairie to Fort William

(Per 100 pounds)

1922

1925

Cents

63)

43

35)

In other words, the rate in 1925 and since that time has been a little over one-half the

rate existing in 1921. Here are the rates from Grande Prairie to Vancouver for the same quantity of wheat:

Rate on Grain from Grande Prairie to Vancouver

(Per 100 pounds)

1922

1924

Cents

58i

43

28

In other words, the rate in 1925 was considerably less than half the rate in existence in 1921. The rates which I have just given, namely, 35) cents per 100 pounds from Grande Prairie to Fort William, and 28 cents per 100 pounds from Grande Prairie to Vancouver for 1925 are still the rates in existence between those points.

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

Olof Hanson

Liberal

Mr. HANSON (Skeena):

Is the rate the

same to Prince Rupert as to Vancouver?

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I imagine it is.

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):

Yes.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

My hon. friend from Peace River confirms my own understanding.

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

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Has my hon. friend quoted the rate from Edmonton to

the coast?

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I have it here, having sent out during the debate to get it. I hoped that it would show that the rate from Edmonton to the coast was about the same, but I find that the rate from Edmonton to Vancouver at the present time is 20 cents as against the rate from Grande Prairie to Vancouver of 28 cents; and that the rate from Edmonton to Fort William is 26 cents, as against the rate from Grande Pirairie to Fort William of 35) cents. I have also here the rates per 100 pounds from Saskatoon to Vancouver and to Fort William, and I might as well give those. From Saskatoon to Vancouver the rate is 24 cents, as against the rate from Grande Prairie to Vancouver of 28 cents; and from Saskatoon to Fort William the rate is 22 cents, as against the rate from Grande Prairie to Fort William of 35) cents.

So there is no doubt that the people of Grande Prairie and of the Peace River country generally are up against pretty heavy rates in the shipment of their products. Of course, we cannot forget that Canada in the past has built too many railways. We built three where two would have been ample. We have had so much duplication and unnecessary competition from coast to -coast in

lots COMMONS

Peace River Outlet

Mr. Manion

Canada that, as someone expressed it here this afternoon, the railway question is, as this house knows, the greatest problem without exception that Canada has to face at the present time. He would be a courageous man who would take the attitude that Canada has not too many railways, too many canals and too much duplication of various other kinds of facilities and utilities.

It must be admitted that world conditions in general and Canadian conditions in particular have been improving during the last few months. To my mind there is no doubt that conditions are on the upgrade. It is my belief that within a few short years, perhaps in one or two, conditions will be back practically to normal. But at the moment I should not like to take it upon myself to say that conditions have approached' so nearly to normal that as a member of this government I could promise to start forthwith the building of this railway.

I took a briefer part in the debate last year than I have done to-day. At that time I was perhaps more frank than polite in replying to my hon. friend; I told him that we could not give this matter any consideration. I did not mean that as a short answer, although, and perhaps quite rightly, my hon. friend was annoyed. I thought it better to say just what I thought on the matter, that it was beyond the realm of possibility at the time. I believe that conditions to-day have improved so much that, without promising immediate construction or anything of that sort, I can promise that the matter will be given fair and honest consideration.

During the past few months both the Canadian National and the Canadian Pacific Railway have been able to show better earnings than they have shown for some time. From about 1928 the returns for these railways started to go down and dlown until we began to think there was no bottom to the pit into which they seemed to be descending. But six months ago, for the first time in two or three years, railway earnings started to increase; that is, the earnings for each week of this year began to show an improvement over the earnings of the corresponding week last year. This improvement has continued for almost six months without interruption, and this in spite of the fact that our grain has not been selling very well throughout the world during the past year. Our wheat sales have not been such as to satisfy most of us, whether from the west or from the east. The earnings of the Canadian National Railways for the month of January and the first three weeks of February show an increase of sorne-

thing over 83,000,000 compared with the corresponding seven weeks of the previous year. I am sure that all members, from whatever portion of the country they may come or to whatever party they belong, will be pleased to know that our railway situation has somewhat improved. Whether we or some other party is in power, the fact remains that the people of Canada have been placed in the unfortunate position of having to pay the deficits on that great system. In the past these deficits have amounted to huge sums and I am very happy to be able to state to the house and to the country that the railway situation appears to be steadily improving.

Last year the hon. member moved a motion similar to the one he now moves, and it was voted down. In 1932 the hon. member moved a motion which was slightly different in its terms. His motion of 1932 read as follows:

That, in the opinion of this house, in the best interests of Canada, it is desirable that the construction of the Peace River outlet should be commenced at the earliest possible date.

I believe I am correct in stating that the resolutions of this and last year are the same.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Yes.

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

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

The hon. gentleman confirms that statement. His resolution this year 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 intend to move in amendment, seconded by the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) that three words be added to this resolution. There may be some question as to whether they alter the meaning, but I think they would make the resolution more acceptable to myself, to the members of the government and to hon. members on this side. I hope my hon. friend will accept this amendment and that the house will give it unanimous support. My amendment is:

That the resolution be amended by adding the following words: "when circumstances

permit."

The resolution will then read:

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

This amendment is not moved with any desire of blocking the resolution, but rather to call attention to the necessities of the present financial situation. May I point out that a resolution which was voted down last year by a vote of 133 to 39, I believe it was,

Peace River Outlet-Mr. Kennedy

is not in a much better position to be accepted by the house this year. The opposition last year came from all sections of the house just as did the support, in lesser degree. I have the greatest sympathy for the hon. member (for Peace River and I desire to give some encouragement to him and to the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser). I suggest therefore that the hon. gentleman accept the amendment on>

the understanding that it means exactly what it says; that when circumstances permit, which we trust will be in the very near future, every consideration will be given this project.

Mr. MdINTOSH: Is the minister's conclusion with regard to the Peace River outlet the same as his conclusion with regard to all branch line facilities?

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I have no desire to enter into a discussion of my hon. friend's project. If the hon. gentleman will ask me again on some suitable occasion, I will answer him.

I do not think we should muddy the waters, so to speak, by drawing the Saskatchewan river into the Peace.

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

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Peace at any price.

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. D. M. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I think I should reply to one or two of the arguments which have been put forward and also indicate my position with regard to the amendment. During the course of the debate it was stated that we should forget all about wheat. I believe that the best type of railway is one near to agricultural, mining and lumbering activities.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER OUTLET
Subtopic:   PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY FROM DISTRICT TO PACIFIC COAST
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February 28, 1934