April 19, 1950

LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Has the hon. member leave to withdraw the motion?

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   OLD AGE PENSIONS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED PAYMENT AT SIXTY-FIVE ON CONTRIBUTORY BASIS WITH NO MEANS TEST
Permalink

RAILWAYS

PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA

LIB

J. G. Léopold Langlois

Liberal

Mr. J. G. L. Langlois (Gaspe) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, early consideration should be given by the proper authorities as to the advisability of extending railway communications from Mont Joli, county of Rim-ouski, to the Gaspe peninsula via Matane, county of Matapedia-Matane, and Ste. Anne des Monts, county of Gaspe.

He said: Mr. Speaker, this resolution calls for the extension of railway communications from Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts only, since Mont Joli is already linked to Matane by a railway owned and operated by the Canada and Gulf Terminal Railway. I deem it proper to leave it to the government and the proper officers of our railway transportation system to decide the means by which the existing railroad between Mont Joli and Matane may be linked to the proposed extension from Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts. I feel, indeed, that the solution of this problem should be left to the competent authorities in that regard.

The railroad linking Mont Joli and Matane is thirty-six miles long. It was built some thirty-eight years ago by a group of citizens of the district who did not have much money. When the work was completed the sponsors were unable to settle the outstanding accounts, and the line was relinquished to the contractors, who formed a new company called the Canada and Gulf Terminal Railway. The cost of constructing this line, was some $300,000 or $400,000. The Canada and Gulf Terminal Railway overcapitalized itself at $600,000, and received subsidies from the Canadian government and the interested municipalities. Finally it was sold for $1 million to the Hammermill Paper Company, a United States firm whose head office is at Erie, Pennsylvania. The Canada and Gulf Terminal Railway also disposed of some 143,000 acres of timber land which it had received from the province of Quebec. It therefore received a gross amount of approximately $1,600,000, and netted from these sales a profit of more than $1 million.

Since this line belonged to strangers who had no interest in the region other than their own financial success, it never served the public with any degree of satisfaction. I do not intend to elaborate on the many grievances in this respect; I merely mention them at this time to lead the discussion into the various representations made in the past in favour of the resolution which I am submitting to the house today.

Although the previous representations were not in exactly the terms I have used in my resolution, Mr. Speaker, and in some cases did not suggest the same solution to our transportation problem, they were made for the same purpose I have in mind, that is, the economic development of the region, which has been refused the bare minimum of transportation facilities-and this even in this modern age, four centuries after the first white man set foot on the soil of Gaspe. Among the early arid prominent advocates for better transportation facilities in the Gaspe peninsula, I must mention the late Bishop of Gaspe, Monsignor F. X. Ross, who in 1923, at a gathering in the old church of Bonaventure, explained the needs of the region to the late Sir Henry Thornton. On this occasion the bishop concluded his remarks to Sir Henry by saying: "The fate of Gaspe is in your hands." The same short and appropriate sentence was repeated to Sir Henry's successor, Mr. Hunger-ford, in 1932 by Hon. L. A. Taschereau, then premier of Quebec, who wrote: "The fate of

Gaspe is in your hands."

In 1927 the Canadian National authorities refused to recommend the purchase of the Canada and Gulf Terminal Railway at a price equivalent to par on the outstanding bonds, namely, $1,400,000. This figure was then deemed too high. A further refusal at the price of $828,000 was recorded in 1937. In 1941, Mr. A. J. Lapointe, then member of parliament for the federal constituency of Matapedia-Matane, made a fresh attempt, but his efforts were of no avail. One of the arguments put forward by the Canadian National at that time was competition from highway traffic. This argument was particularly weak, since it applied to a region in which the roads are virtually closed to traffic on wheels for a period of approximately six months in the year.

In 1944 strong representations were made before the committee on reconstruction of the House of Commons. During the same year an economic survey of the Gaspe peninsula had been made, and a report was prepared which was later published in the leading Quebec newspapers, such as Le Soleil of Quebec, which had sponsored the survey; La Tribune of Sherbrooke, and Le Nouvel-liste of Three Rivers. Later this survey report, which makes excellent and informative reading, was published in a book, a perusal of which I strongly recommend to those who are interested in this problem. Both in this book and in the report to the committee on reconstruction, the purchase of the Mont Joli to Matane railway line from the Canada and Gulf Terminal Railway by the Canadian

Extension of Railway to Gaspe National was recommended, and also the extension of this line along the coast to Ste. Anne des Monts, and thence via the interior of the peninsula to the magnificent port of Gaspe. This recommendation was supported by La Chambre de Commerce de Matane and the federal and provincial representatives of Gaspe, Bonaventure and Matapedia-Matane. As everyone can now see, it is part of this suggestion that I have unceasingly requested the government to implement since my election to this House of Commons in 1945, and it is part of the same suggestion which the members of La Chambre de Commerce de Gaspe-Nord were strongly supporting when they came to Ottawa last year.

On August 11, 1946, at its regional congress held at Ste. Anne des Monts, La Chambre de Commerce du Bas St.-Laurent passed a resolution strongly urging the Canadian government to implement this unanimously approved petition. I forwarded a copy of this resolution to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier). At this stage of my remarks I believe it is in order to read a translated excerpt from a letter addressed to Hon. J. E. Michaud, then minister of transport, under date of June 20, 1944, by Hon. G. E. Dansereau, minister of public works in the Quebec government. It reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Michaud:

My colleague, Hon. M. Perrault Casgrain, sent me a copy of the brief which is to be presented to the committee on reconstruction of the House of Commons relative to the improvement of communication facilities in, the Gaspe peninsula. I take the liberty of forwarding herewith copy of this brief.

You will surely concur in my view that the existing railroad facilities are not proportionate to the needs of this region, and I fully approve the proposed solution to this problem, that is, the construction of a new railway line from Matane to Gaspe, or the purchase of the Canada and Gulf Terminal Railway and the extension of this line to Gaspe via Ste. Anne des Monts. We must prepare for the post-war period, and, as my colleague the Hon. Mr. Casgrain stated, the development of the Gaspe region will not normally occur if appropriate commercial avenues are not placed at the disposal of its population.

Late in 1947 the Canada and Gulf Terminal Railway was sold to Canadian interests represented by the Hon. J. A. Brillant of Rimouski.

I wish to give now a brief description of the region concerned.

The distance between Ste. Anne des Monts and Matane is approximately fifty-seven miles by road. The topography does not present any obstruction to the construction of the extension of this line, the cost of which should be close to the average for such a line. Most of the population is located along the highway closely following the coast and linking Ste.

Extension of Railway to Gaspe Anne des Monts and Matane, but there are also important colonization settlements ranging from ten to fifteen miles inland, all linked to the main highway by crossroads. From Mont Louis to Matane the whole population of this region is interested in and strongly supports this proposed extension to Ste. Anne des Monts.

I wish to present a table giving in the first column the population of each locality and in the second column its distance from the present railway terminal of Matane:

Population Distance from Matane

Mont Louis ... 1,250 miles 96Riviere a Claude ... 525 86Marsoui ... 500 79Ste. Marthe ... 905 74St. Joachim de Tourelle .. . 1,500 62Sacre Coeur des Landes .. . 500 70Ste. Anne des Monts .. . 4,200 57St. Bernard des Lacs ... 529 65Cap Chat ... 3,240 46St. Octave de l'Avenir .. . 1,210 56Capucins ... 497 37St. Paulin Dalibaire ... 1,200 45Les Mechins ... 1,300 30St. Thomas de Cherbourg .. ... 940 39Grosses Roches ... 756 20Romieu ... 470 31St. Adelme ... 976 17Ste. Felicite ... 1,704 12Total population . .. 22,202

The inland colonization settlements to which I referred previously in this area are as follows: Sacre Coeur des Landes, St. Bernard des Lacs, St. Octave de 1'Avenir, St. Paulin Dalibaire, St. Thomas de Cherbourg, Romieu, and St. Adelme.

These figures, Mr. Speaker, do not include the population of the town of Matane and the municipality of Petite Matane. The statistics used also are not recent. If we take this fact into account, and add the natural increase in the population and the population of Matane and Petite Matane, the population should be in the vicinity of about 30,000 in the region which the extension line will serve immediately.

It must be remembered also that, to consider the whole problem, we must also take into account the population already served by the thirty-eight miles of railroad linking Mont Joli to Matane.

I now pass on briefly to the industries of the region. The lumbering industry and agriculture, with the exception of those localities situated east of Ste. Anne des Monts,

TMr. Langlois (Gaspe).]

where fishing takes second place to lumbering, are the two main sources of revenue in that region. The tourist trade is also quite flourishing, especially during the summer months, but further development of this important and valuable source of revenue is greatly impaired by the lack of proper transportation facilities, particularly during the winter season. Indeed, this region affords the greatest opportunity for winter sports, owing to its rugged mountainous coast and the breath-taking beauty of its landscape. These new possibilities of the Gaspe coast were discovered some years ago by the so-called "white caravan", composed of leading newspaper men of Canada, sports writers and sports experts, who had their first opportunity of seeing Gaspe under the snow.

It is not my intention today to give an elaborate review of our forest operations, since my wish is to be as brief as possible and to avoid repeating data already accurately given in the publications referred to in this expose of our problem. However, Mr. Speaker, I would ask to be allowed to take a few minutes of your precious time to give you some figures; for I deem it to be necessary in order to correct the wrong impression created by a recent report made to the authorities of the C.N.R. with regard to this proposed extension line. I refer to the report made in 1943 from which the Minister of Transport quoted in reply to one of my numerous speeches in the house on the subject, made on August 12, 1946. I did not mention this report in the historical part of my remarks today; I wanted to avoid duplication, since I was going to make a brief reference to it at this stage. This quotation from the report refers to the actual and future development of our lumber industry. I have here the shipping program for the 1947 navigation season for the shipping points of Cap Chat and Ste. Anne des Monts only. I find that the total shipments of lumber, including spoolwood, lath, shingles, pulpwood and so forth, amounted to 57,970 million feet board measure, or 28,985 standards. With the permission of the house, Mr. Speaker, I wish to table this shipping program.

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Has the hon. member leave of the house to introduce this table?

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Do I understand that the hon. member would like to have the table appear in Hansard ?

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
Permalink
LIB

J. G. Léopold Langlois

Liberal

Mr. Langlois (Gaspe):

Yes.

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Has the hon member leave of the house to have the table appear in Hansard?

19, 1950

Extension of Railway to Gaspe

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
Permalink
LIB

J. G. Léopold Langlois

Liberal

Mr. Langlois (Gaspe):

The table is as follows:

Lumber, Spoolwood, Lath, Shingles, etc. from Cap Chat and Ste. Anne des Monts

[DOT] million feet standards

James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end May-S2654 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end May-Local James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end June-S2654 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end June-Local James Richardson Co. Limited, spoolwood, end June-Local Le Magasin General Limitee, lumber, end June-S2595 North Quebec Lumber Limited, lumber, end June-S2570 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end July Ec. 36 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end July-Local James Richardson Co. Limited, spoolwood, end July-Local Le Magasin General Limitee, lumber, end July-Local North Quebec Lumber Limited, lumber, end July-S2570 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end Aug.-Ec. 36 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end Aug.-Local James Richardson Co. Limited, spoolwood, end Aug.-Local Le Magasin General Limitee, lumber, end Aug.-Ec. 37 North Quebec Lumber Limited, lumber, end Aug.-S2570 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end Sept.-Ec. 36 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end Sept.-Local James Richardson Co. Limited, spoolwood, end Sept.-Local Le Magasin General Limitee, lumber, end Sept.-Ec. 37 North Quebec Lumber Limited, lumber, end Sept.-Ec. 38 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end Oct.-Ec. 36 James Richardson Co. Limited, lumber, end Oct.-Local James Richardson Co. Limited, spoolwood, end Oct.-Local Le Magasin General Limitee, lumber, end Oct.-Local

North Quebec Lumber Limited, lumber, end Oct.-Local and export

6,240

1,000

2.500

1,000

1,130

1,200

1.500 1,000 1,000 1,000

2.500 1,000 1,000

1,100

2.500 1,000 1,000

1,000

2,000

1,000

1.500 500

1.500

3,120

1.250

150

600

500

500

1.250 500 500 375 550

1.250 500 500 375 500

1,000

750

750

Total

37,470 18,735

Add:

Various shippers: Birch (squares), lath, shingles, etc.

Lumber, spoolwood, etc

Pulpwood, 20,000 cords

5,500 2,750

5,000 2,500

10,000 5,000

Grand total

57,970 28,985

If in 1947 those two shipping points only could produce that much, with a shipping season cut to five months and the United States and local markets practically closed to our products owing to the non-existence of railway communication, one can easily foresee an immense increase in the production once this extension is provided.

For those who are apprehensive of the possibility of maintaining the cut of our lumber industry at this high level, I beg leave to refer to a report received in 1948 from the provincial department of lands and forests in Quebec, by the district engineer's office of the department of public works at Rimouski. This report was quoted in P.C. 702 of February 24, 1948, authorizing contracts for the reconstruction and extension of the Ste. Anne des Monts wharf, and I quote from P.C. 702 as follows:

That, according to information received from the local office of the provincial department of lands and forests for Quebec, the watershed of the Ste. Anne river and its tributaries cover an area of

about 220 square miles, of which a minimum of 150 square miles is good timber land containing over 1,000,000,000 f.b.m. of merchantable softwood timber.

In recent years a good deal of prospecting work was carried out by various companies and individuals in search of oil and base metals. Important discoveries were made, and one base metal mine is in operation near Marsoui, where Candego Mines Limited operates a silver-lead-zinc mill with a daily capacity of approximately seventy-five tons.

Further mining developments of this kind are prevented owing to the reluctance of those concerned to invest capital in such an isolated region.

Before leaving this section on our industries, I strongly recommend to the officials of the Department of Transport and of the Canadian National Railways that they make use of the information in possession of the federal Department of Labour, which information was gathered last fall in the course

Extension of Railway to Gaspe of a survey of labour conditions in my constituency, made at my request by competent officers of that department.

I said a while ago that Ste. Anne des Monts was to be the proposed terminal for this railroad extension, and it is proper, before going into the general considerations that I wish to make before closing my remarks, to give some particulars of its strategic position, since it is to play a very important part in the future development of the Gaspe peninsula.

Located some fifty-seven miles east of Matane and some 146 miles west of Gaspe, Ste. Anne des Monts is the seat of the provincial constituency of Gaspe North. There is a courthouse and jail, a hospital, two convents for girls, and a college for boys. It is the terminal of the Matane-Ste. Anne des Monts mail contract, and the starting point for the Ste. Anne des Monts-Fox River mail contract, a distance of some 114 miles. Being approximately ten miles from Cap Chat and St. Octave de l'Avenir, four miles from St. Joachim, and within some seven miles of Sacre Coeur and St. Bernard des Lacs, there is a population of 10,519 within a radius of some ten miles.

The Perron boulevard, which passes through, links it to Matane and Gaspe. From Ste. Anne des Monts, and proceeding in a southeasterly direction, there is the road leading to the Gaspe national park. This road follows the Ste. Anne des Monts river, and there remain only some eleven miles of road to be built to connect it with the road following the Cascapedia river as far south as New Richmond, county of Bonaventure. Once completed this road will cross the whole Gaspe peninsula, and the distance between Ste. Anne des Monts and New Richmond will be approximately eighty-five miles, through a real paradise for game and fishing. There is also some sixty miles built on the road which will eventually connect this Ste. Anne des Monts-New Richmond road with Gaspe, thus rendering possible access to Gaspe through the interior of the peninsula.

Ste. Anne des Monts is being provided with a sheltered deep-sea commercial wharf, the construction of which, it is expected, will be completed this summer.

Ste. Anne des Monts is situated some forty-five miles by sea from Seven Islands on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, which will be linked by rail with the Ungava iron ore centres, for which Seven Islands will become the sole shipping point. This most advantageous position of our proposed railway terminal, namely Ste. Anne des Monts, cannot be overlooked by anyone

studying its possibilities of future development. When one knows that a regular service by ship can easily be maintained twelve months a year between Seven Islands and Ste. Anne des Monts, one can easily foresee the great advantage it would be if Ste. Anne des Monts were linked by rail with the industrial centres of Canada and of the United States.

Seven Islands possesses no other means of communication with the rest of the world than the St. Lawrence river and its canal system, which are navigable only from the end of April to the end of November. This shipping point is therefore closed to the traffic by water for five months in every year. Even if Seven Islands or Ste. Anne des Monts were not considered quite safe for year-round water traffic-that I do not believe -it is commonly admitted, and rightly so, that the ordinary type of ship, without any special assistance from icebreakers or otherwise, could use these two ports until late in January and as early as the end of March. Thus the use of Ste. Anne des Monts as a point for forwarding the new Quebec iron ore would in this case increase the shipping season for this important metal by three months in every year. The same remarks apply of course to the ore coming out of Havre St. Pierre, where the Quebec Iron and Titanium Corporation are preparing for extensive mining operations, the output of which will be directed towards Sorel.

It might be argued that this suggested method of shipping the ore from Seven Islands and Havre St. Pierre via Ste. Anne des Monts would not be economical, but I strongly feel that it is the duty of our Canadian government to provide year-round shipping facilities for this most important metal in case of national or international emergency. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that Ste. Anne des Monts will in any event become the natural outlet for the manpower, products and materials needed for the new Quebec mining developments.

I wish to close my remarks, Mr. Speaker, by referring to my previous speeches made in this house on this subject, and more particularly to my speech of August 12, 1946. I refer to this latter speech because I then gave general aspects of the problem and referred to publications which cannot be overlooked by anyone desirous of giving serious consideration to my resolution.

Indeed, in my opinion it is not improper at this stage again to draw the attention of my colleagues to the inventory made in 1937 by the Department of Trade and Commerce of the province of Quebec, entitled "Inventaire des Ressources Naturelles, 1937, Gaspe" and

to another important publication published in 1940 by the American Association of Geologists, entitled: "Possible Future Oil Provinces of the United States and Canada." As I have stated on many previous occasions, this latter publication referred to the Gaspe peninsula as one of the richest regions of Canada, and perhaps of America, in petroleum fields.

It is not my wish to indulge in repetitions of my previous statements with regard to oil possibilities in Gaspe, but I wish to give a brief summary of a recent report on the Gaspe petroleum developments made by Mr. I. W. Jones, chief of the geological surveys branch, Quebec, dated February 23, 1950. This report mentions that four companies are now searching for oil in Gaspe: Gaspe Oil Ventures, Limited; Continental Petroleum, Limited; Peninsular Oil Corporation Limited, and Quebec Oil Developments. These companies have special exploration licences ranging from 8,496 acres to 74,180 acres. Three wells were being drilled in 1949, with the following results: Continental Gaspe No. 1, Galt township, depth 1,380 feet; Quebec Oil No. 1, Joncas township, depth 349 feet; Peninsula Deardorf No. 1, Holland township, depth 4,126 feet. Work was also done on two other wells as follows: Imperial Gaspe No. 1, Fletcher township, depth 6,360 feet; Venture No. 3, Galt township, depth 2,399 feet.

Small quantities of oil were found in Venture No. 3, depth 2,297 feet, up to one gallon per day, and in Continental Gaspe No. 1, depth 928 feet, one-quarter to three-quarter barrels, or 10 to 30 gallons per day. On Imperial Gaspe No. 1 stains of oil were seen on rock at about 2,600 feet.

In November and December, 1949, these three wells were acidized by introducing acid in the well, as is the current practice in oilbearing regions, especially where there is limestone. The acid acts on the lime and makes the rock more porous, thus facilitating the flow of oil.

Acidizing of Venture No. 3 and Continental Gaspe No. 1 increased the flow of oil to about one to four barrels per day. Gas is also coming out of Continental Gaspe No. 1.

Approximately half a million dollars have been spent in the search for petroleum in Gaspe during recent years, but this amount is not great in comparison to expenditures made in search for oil in other parts of Canada. One has only to bear in mind that Imperial Oil alone spent more than $25 million in Alberta before attaining major success, to realize that our search for oil in Gaspe has been done so far on a very minor scale.

19, 1950

Extension of Railway to Gaspe

The main difficulty in increasing this search for oil is the lack of transportation facilities. This is stressed in all the reports made by mining engineers connected with drilling or searching for oil in Gaspe peninsula. Also there is the normal and comprehensible reluctance of those interested in investing further capital in a region devoid of such facilities.

In addition to the silver-lead-zinc mine already in operation in the region to which I made reference previously, it is interesting to mention the results attained in the prospecting operations for copper.

The 1949 annual report of Noranda Mines Limited lends support to the view that their property in Gaspe is taking on real importance. Mr. H. L. Roscoe, general manager, confirmed current reports that the drilling done in 1949 is quite encouraging. Four bands of ore, overlying each other, have been located, with the lowest of these apparently running the best grade. Extensive drilling has been done, and the diamond drill program is continuing steadily.

Drilling before the war indicated 35 million tons of material at Noranda's Gaspe Copper Mines Limited, subsidiary, averaging 0-9 per cent copper. Drilling in 1948 added a further 6 million tons of 1-8 per cent copper grade. Results since then have continued encouraging. Deepening of old holes through 150 feet of barren material resulted in exploration getting into better grade.

The property of Gaspe Copper Mines Limited is located at Needle Mountain in Holland township. As it is not far from the St. Lawrence, construction of a railway to carry copper concentrates to deep-water wharves would not present any great problem.

Though as yet this has not been officially confirmed by either the company or the provincial government, Gaspe Copper Mines Limited have already obtained the permission to build a dam on the Magdalen river in order to supply electric power to their mining operations. There are even rumours that the contract for the building of this dam has already been awarded to a construction company. The tonnage drilled in 1949, some 7 million tons, has an average of better than two per cent copper, and the total tonnage drilled now amounts to over 48 millions tons.

I tabled a few minutes ago a report showing shipments of lumber made in 1947 from Cap Chat and Ste. Anne des Monts. The shipments from these two shipping points amounted to only 57,970 million board feet or 28,985 standards. The lumber industry is the most important one in our region, and our production could be increased if our producers could ship all year round to markets

Extension of Railway to Gaspe in Canada and in the United States. As it is, our shipments are confined to a period of five months only, and the American markets are practically closed to our producers owing to lack of railroad facilities. In this respect it is worth noting that since the American markets are restricted to dressed lumber, our producers cannot sell on this market, because dressed lumber cannot be shipped by water without deterioration in transit.

I therefore strongly urge that a complete and thorough survey of the proposed extension be made now, so that the construction may be started in the very near future. I repeat that there is a natural obstruction to the construction of this railroad line, and the cost of building it would be relatively low.

Upon the construction of this extension depends the assurance of a sound economy for this region of Canada which I have the honour to represent in the house.

In conclusion, through you, Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister, to the government and to my colleagues in this House of Commons: "The fate of Gaspe is in your hands".

(Translation):

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
Permalink
LIB

Antoine-Philéas Côté

Liberal

Mr. A. Phileas Cote (Matapedia-Matane):

Mr. Speaker, if I resort now to my native tongue it is, first of all, to ensure its continued use, and maybe also because in this parliament it is unusual to speak French and to be understood by the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. St. Laurent), as is the case now, and also, I hope, by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew). It hardly seems possible that having spent twenty-five years of wedded life with his charming wife, who speaks and understands French so well, he would not have learned the beauties of the French language.

I have no wish to delay the progress of the debate on this motion which has already been discussed by the house. Still, I believe it to be my duty, as the member for Matapedia-Matane, to show this honourable house that the people of my constituency are broadminded. If there were to be any opposition to this measure it should normally come from the member for Matapedia-Matane and from the splendid inhabitants of the town of Matane which is the terminal point on that line.

I would also point out to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) that we who live in Matane, which is located in the lower St. Lawrence region, are not opposed to his St. Lawrence seaway project, although some claim that to make the St. Lawrence navigable as far as Toronto would be detrimental to Quebec. I make it a point of telling him that we have no objection to the Matane railway

[Mr. Langlois (Gaspe) .1

going as far as Ste. Anne des Monts. The Matane board of trade and the Matane city council have already furnished evidence thereof. As their representative, I am anxious to reiterate their wishes.

However, if I may be permitted-I direct this request to my good friend and colleague from Gaspe (Mr. Langlois) and my good friend the Minister of Transport-to make a slight correction in the motion although I do not intend to move an amendment, I would say that before pushing the Matane railway as far as Ste. Anne des Monts, the Canadian National would be better advised to start by buying the Mont Joli-Matane railway, for the simple reason that this line has never given satisfactory service to date. It was the centre of a series of speculations which may have served private ends, but were never in the interest of the users.

For my part, after the election of 1945, I had to fight to get the company to reduce its freight rates. Thank goodness I succeeded, but only after many sacrifices and numerous attempts. The freight rates between Matane and Mont Joli were brought down to the level of the C.N.R. Since then, the company has been reorganized. It made a few improvements, but I am convinced, as are many others, that because of its set-up it is physically impossible for the management to give the people concerned with this 26-mile stretch the kind of service provided in other parts of the country.

If, after buying this part of the railroad from Mont Joli to Matane, the Canadian National should want to continue to operate this railway, we, the people of Matane, would surely have no objection to their doing so.

I wish to add something to the splendid speech made by my colleague.

(Text):

He has surveyed the situation thoroughly. I am not going to repeat anything that he has said, but if I am not mistaken he may have overlooked two small details which I believe are of paramount importance. One is that I do not see why there should be anything scandalous in an endeavour on the part of the government or the C.N.R. authorities to take over a stretch of line twenty-six miles long, and even extend it to Ste. Anne des Monts, with low revenue from freight rates and a small volume of business for a period of time, when the same thing was done at much greater expense for Churchill. I will not mention of course the great success that my colleague, the hon. member for Chapleau (Mr. Gourd) had in having a line constructed there. I hope it will prove to be an asset. Even if the extension now proposed is not such a great

financial endeavour I would say that it should be done not only on a sentimental basis but also on the ground of national importance. I emphasize that because such a course cannot be followed by parliament, by the government or even by the C.N.R. unless the matter is proven to be of national importance.

I should like to emphasize that point because I think it was overlooked. It is of course of national importance. It is of national importance on the basis of sentimental loyalty to this part of our country. No one should forget for a moment-and I hope no one does -that the Gaspe peninsula is the cradle of this continent. I think it should be done if only as a gesture of recognition for those who have pioneered in that area for so long a period of time and nearly starved to death. I think recognition should be granted to them in this way because it is the proper time and way to do it. It is the most vital thing that can be done to bring about proper communication in order to assist in the development of that particular part of the province of Quebec and Dominion of Canada.

The second reason why it is of national importance is that we must build up Canada from one end to the other. That is becoming more apparent every day. It should be done to strengthen national unity and in order to give this part of the country a break and the opportunity to develop its natural resources. The natural resources of that particular area, as has been demonstrated by my colleague, are of such great importance that they should be drawn to the attention of the membership of the house, and hon. members should realize that they will do no harm to anyone but on the contrary will do good to everyone by helping to develop that part of our country.

I do not want to emphasize any of the angles that have been so brilliantly expounded by my colleague. I believe it is not necessary to say much more to establish that the development of this region is of national importance, that the development of a railroad there is of national importance, and the same thing should be done for Gaspe, with its more brilliant prospects, as was done for Churchill.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

You will have to put the Conservative party in power to get that.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

That is impossible.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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LIB

Alcide Côté

Liberal

Mr. Cote (Malapedia-Malane):

This will not wait that long.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I might add something to the two brilliant speeches that have just been delivered by the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Langlois) and the hon. member for Matapedia-Matane (Mr. Cote). At the

Extension of Railway to Gaspe outset I should like to commend the hon. member for Gaspe for his brilliant advocacy of this resolution. This is not the first time he has placed a resolution of this nature on the order paper, and neither is it the first time that he has discussed at some length the merits of an extension of the railway along the north shore of the Gaspe coast. I commend him for the great confidence he has in his constituency, that part of the province of Quebec which is so dear to him. I should like also to thank the hon. member for Matapedia-Matane (Mr. Cote) for his contribution to the debate in both English and French. The resolution now before the house reads:

That, In the opinion of this house, early consideration should be given by the proper authorities as to the advisability of extending railway communications from Mont Joli, county of Rimouski, to the Gaspe peninsula via Matane-

I pause there for a moment, because on reaching this point anyone reading the resolution would immediately feel that it should be accepted, for the simple reason that there is now an extension of a line from Mont Joli to Matane, namely the Canada and Gulf Terminal. So on the strict interpretation of the resolution thus far I believe the house would have to accept it. But then it goes on to say:

-county of Matapedia-Matane, and Ste. Anne des Monts, county of Gaspe.

I take it what the hon. member really had in mind was the construction of a line from the present terminal at Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts; and on that point I think I should bring to the attention of the house two matters which I believe are of great importance in reference to railway construction. The Canadian National Railways, with which I am particularly associated and for which as a rule I speak in this parliament, approach projects of this nature from the standpoint of certain particular aspects. That is, before entering upon a project of this nature the Canadian National would want to know, for instance, whether the natural resources were such that the line would be a paying proposition; or, again, whether the density of traffic would be such that the line, if constructed, would be profitable. They also would like to know the cost of the project since there are lines which because of the terrain cost tremendous amounts of money, while others cost much less. As a rule the Canadian National looks upon new construction in a businesslike way, and when it can it likes to obtain some sort of guarantee that the minimum volume of traffic to be expected would justify consideration of the project.

What I have said heretofore deals with the attitude taken by the Canadian National

1698 HOUSE OF

Extension of Railway to Gaspd Railways. Over and above that, however, there are other considerations which must be looked into. New railway construction, I think, can be placed in two categories. The first is construction which the Canadian National feels it should recommend on the basis that it will improve or round out the system, or that it will serve additional territory, or that it will act as a feeder to an established line, and also that it can be economically justified. The second category is the construction of what might be regarded as colonization or development lines, which the railway could neither construct nor operate without assurance that any losses would not have to be borne through its ordinary operations.

That, I think, is the general approach one must make to new railway construction. If I were to leave it at that, however, I would be challenged, as indirectly as I was challenged a moment ago by the hon. member for Matapedia-Matane, who asked, "Well, what about the case of my hon. friend from Chapleau (Mr. Gourd), who was able to have a line constructed from Barraute to Kiask Falls?" The position with respect to that line was entirely different, I believe. The situation with regard to the Barraute-Kiask Falls line was that the Canadian National Railways obtained in advance the assurance of a minimum volume of traffic which would render the line a paying proposition. As far as the Churchill railway is concerned,

I would say that came within the second category I mentioned a moment ago; and I should like to discuss that point in a moment as it relates to the extension to which my hon. friend has referred.

Dealing now with the new construction which my hon. friend would wish to have carried on from Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts, one must first look at the cost. The information I have is that the cost would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $8 million. That is a substantial amount of money to expend on new railway construction. I do not want to refer to the route that would be followed, because the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Langlois) dealt with that. He also dealt with the question of population and with the natural resources; ar.d unquestionably there are extensive natural resources in that part of Quebec, as well as a substantial population. Whether or not the density of traffic and the business that would be obtained through the construction of this line would be sufficient to ensure its economical operation is another matter. From the studies made by the Canadian National it would appear that such would not

be the case. It would seem that the construction of a railway in that area as an entity separate from the Canada Gulf and Terminal would result in a substantial operating deficit. Assuming that all the traffic passing over the Canada Gulf and Terminal interchanged with the Canadian National, if it were called upon to construct this new line, is new traffic, the deficit to which I referred a moment ago would be cut only in half.

The conclusion from the remarks I have made, of course, at first sight would be that from the standpoint of prospective earnings the line in question could not be operated at a profit, nor would it have sufficient feeder value to justify it on that basis. However, at the outset of my remarks I said there were two categories in which new constructions could be placed, those which from the point of view of the Canadian National might be expected to be profitable, and those which should be considered from another aspect. So the whole question of whether or not this railway should be constructed would depend upon whether it could be justified upon grounds other than those I have mentioned. It may very well be that the arguments advanced by the hon. member for Gaspe would warrant additional consideration to that already given. I am happy to be able to say to him that following his remarks and those of the hon. member for Matapedia-Matane I shall be glad to give consideration to these additional reasons which he has placed upon Hansard. It may very well be, and I think it is so, that the time is not now-by "now" I mean immediately-for the construction of a railway such as this. I think the day will come when it will be possible to give more careful and more immediate consideration to the construction of this line. When that day is here I can assure my hon. friend no one will be happier than I, should I occupy the seat and the position that I occupy now, to introduce in the house a bill which would give to the population of the Gaspe coast a line in accordance with their wishes, in accordance with the natural resources, the density of traffic and the population, and which would serve the needs of the people.

In conclusion I return to the resolution, and say that I do not think there can be much objection to its acceptance since the larger part of it at least is completed, that is the part which refers to the line extending from Mont Joli, county of Rimouski, to Matane. In so far as the other part is concerned, I have no hesitation in declaring to you, Mr. Speaker, that the extension referred to will receive proper and I hope adequate consideration.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

I said we would have to do the job.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

I told you that you would never have the chance.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Dion (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

If the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Langlois) speaks, he will close the debate.

(Translation):

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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LIB

J. G. Léopold Langlois

Liberal

Mr. J. G. L. Langlois (Gaspe):

Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to add anything to the remarks I made at the beginning of this debate. I only wish to thank my hon. colleague from Matapedia-Matane (Mr. Cote) for the generous support he gave me when my resolution was introduced. My hon. colleague had already given me all the support I needed when this request was made. Indeed, last year, I was delighted when, with his usual eagerness, he agreed to join me in meeting C.N.R. authorities. On that same occasion, my hon. colleagues from Rimouski (Mr. Belzile) and Bonaventure (Mr. Arsenault) also gave me their valuable support.

I want to tell my colleague from Matane that he has my unconditional support in so far as the objections, restrictions and conditions he has made are concerned, and I want to point out that, from the beginning of my remarks, I have stated that I was willing to let the authorities concerned, that is, the federal government and the Canadian National Railways, decide how they could most profitably make the people of the Mont Joli to Matane area benefit from railways already at their disposal.

I should now like to answer the remarks made by the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) who, a while ago, pointed out that that part of the railroad mentioned in this resolution has already been built. If my resolution mentions the building of a line between Mont Joli and Ste. Anne des Monts, it is precisely because the line joining Mont Joli to Matane belongs neither to the federal government nor to the Canadian National Railways.

That is why I am of the opinion that the government itself, and not a private company, must take over, not only the line between Mont Joli and Matane, but also the one which it is proposed to build to serve the district between Mont Joli and Ste. Anne des Monts.

I thank the minister for having extended his support to this resolution. I also wish to thank him for having assured my colleague from Matane and myself that our remarks will be carefully considered by his depart-

Soldier Settlers

mental officials and that he will give them his closest attention.

(Text):

Topic:   RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   PROPOSED EXTENSION FROM MONT JOLI, QUE., TO THE GASPE PENINSULA
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April 19, 1950