I understand, about four years. It was, I think, three years ago this last winter that, travelling westward from Winnipeg, I met gentlemen on the train who were delegates and had been down to Winnipeg to interview the Canadian Pacific Railway officials. I had considerable talk with these delegates, and they explained the situation as I am endeavouring to explain it to the House. They met Mr. Whyte, the general manager, and other repesentatives of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in Winnipeg, and placed the case before them as I have stated it. These representatives of the company said that the company would build the road into that country as soon as it was able to do so. It seems to me an entirely . reasonable proposition that, when the company come here and ask power to construct 100 miles of road into a portion of the country where there are few people and where, so far as I am aware, there is no person particularly anxious to have the road built, we should make it conditional upon the granting of this charter that the company should spend their money first iu the portion of the country where railway communication is very urgently needed. The hon. member for Saskatchewan (Mr. Davis) the other evening read a petition, which I have in my possession, but which 1 will not take the time to read again. He stated, and I believe stated correctly, that at the present time in the district through which the projected North-west Central line runs, there is a production of wheat amounting to about half a millon bushels a year. There is something like 50,000 acres of land under cultivation there, and there are many settlers. All that wheat, or the greater part of it, has to be transported an average distance of 25 or 30 miles. That is not the worst of it, the wheat has to be transported across the Qu'Appelle valley, the banks of which are 240 or 250 feet high. So I say that even if we are creating a precedent in this matter, it is a very good precedent to create.
Now, the hon. Minister of Public Works, the other evening, made some remarks about the general attitude of the North-west members towards the Canadian Pacific Railway to which I wish to refer for a moment. I think it would be unfortunate for the North-west Territories if the impression was allowed to be created in this House that the members from that country were unduly hostile to the Canadian Pacific Railway or were ready to oppose any proposition that the company may bring before parliament. Speaking for myself, I-I was about to say T resent that imputation, but perhaps some more moderate word would be better. However, X do not wish the impression to prevail in this House that I am willing to
take action with regard to any proposition brought before the House by the Canadian Pacific Kailway that would have the effect of denying to that company full and entire justice. X think I am willing at all times to do the company full justice. In proof of that, I can point to my action upon a matter that has been before the House twice already this session, a matter affecting the Canadian Pacific Railway and seriously affecting the North-west Territories and on which strong opinions are held by the people of the North-west Territories. I refer to the Canadian Pacific Railway land tax exemption question. When that matter was brought before parliament in a way which I did not think just to the Canadian Pacific Railway, I did not hesitate to place myself on record in a way which was undoubtedly not in accord with the feeling's of a large majority of my constituents. So I think the Minister of Public Works was not quite just in the remarks he passed respecting the attitude of the North-west members towards the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. I am willing at all times to accord to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company a full measure of justice, but when they make propositions before this parliament which I think are not entirely .in the interests of the Northwest people, I am going to retain my liberty to take a stand against such propositions at all times. I think in this proposition now before the House, there is every reason to ask that the action which I suggest this afternoon should be taken, and if the hon. gentleman wlio is promoting this Bill is not prepared to announce that the agreement, which I understand has been given by the Canadian Pacific Railway authorities, will he carried out, then I am going to ask him to defer the consideration of the Bill to a future occasion.