April 29, 1901 (9th Parliament, 1st Session)

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The MINISTER OP PUBLIC WORKS.

I desire to say at first that when I spoke the other day I did not wish to put an unfair interpretation on the action that had been taken by our friends from the Northwest. I think that in this connection they are going very far indeed. The preamble of this Bill, as all members of the Railway Committee will remember, had been adopted ; there had been a vote, but the preamble of the Bill had been adopted by a majority of seven, therefore the very principle of the Bill had been adopted. Then the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. McCreary) created a very good impression in favour of his Icelandic friends from Gimli. I was favourably struck by his appeal, and both the Minister of Railways and myself agreed that the Canadian Pacific Railway could properly be asked to extend twenty miles further this year a line that they had started building, and of which they had built, I think, twenty miles. It was unanimously resolved to adopt an amendment making a condition for the granting of this charter that the Mr. SCOTT.
Canadian Pacific Railway should build twenty miles more this year. That was agreed to unanimously, and the Bill was voted by the House. Now, my hon. friend from Saskatchewan (Mr. Davis) came up the other day and asked that a new condition be put into tbe Bill, namely, that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company should he obliged to build sixty miles of a railway m another direction. Now, I know there are some hon. gentlemen from Quebec who are anxious to see the Canadian Pacific Railway build branch lines in their! constituencies, my hon. friend from Lahelle (Mr. Bou-rassa) for one. I know that he and some others have pressed us very hard to use our influence with the Canadian Pacific Railway to get them to build branch lines. Suppose some of those hon. gentlemen should rise in their seats and say : Before this charter is granted the Canadian Pacific Railway must build a branch in my riding. We sympathize deeply with our friends, but is it a fair precedent to ask this House to adopt . Of course they will realize immediately that instead of promoting the object they have in view they would simply defeat it. Perhaps they would permit me! to say that the Canadian Pacific Railway have never given any specific pledge that they would build tliis sixty miles. I know that communications have taken place since we met the other day. This morning I saw Mr. Drinkwater, who is acting president, and he told me that their intention was to build that Great North-west line as soon as they could. Explorations are'not yet completed, and it is not fair to ask them to bind themselves in the Bill to do so. Of course I do not speak for the Canadian Pacific Railway here, I happen to live in Montreal, and am not in very close touch with them. But Mr. Drinkwater stated to me this morning that he has understood from Mr. Shaugh-hessy that they would build that line as soon as possible. But the surveys are not completed and they cannot consent that that clause be inserted in the Bill. I think with this explanation our friends could allow the Bill to pass.
Ml-. MeCREARY. In regard to this Bill, I am sorry indeed to have to disagree somewhat with my colleagues from the west. The history of the Bill is this, so far as I can recollect. The first Bill that the Canadian Pacific Railway submitted to the committee was a Bill asking for five years in which to complete the North-west Central road, without any condition and1 without promising any extension of that road this year. That Bill was introduced, I believe, by tlie hon. member for Provencher (Mr. LaRiviOre). Tbe Minister of Railways and Canals, the hon. member for Western Assiniboia (Mr. Scott), myself and others spoke upon the subject, and the Bill was finally referred to a snb-committee, which brought in a report by which the company was bound to complete twenty miles this

year, and to have tlie time for completion of the road limited to three years instead of five, so that the Bill as brought in by the Canadian Pacific Railway was materially changed. I supposed that the Bill was at an end at that time. It was taken into consideration in the committee, as it should have been taken into consideration now, that the Canadian Pacific Railway are being punished for a sin, probably, that they did not commit. The Canadian Pacific Railway have only had that charter three or four years at the outside ; prior to that time, and when the whole dereliction of duty took place, it was in the hands of the Great North-west Central road, so that the Canadian Pacific Railway had not exercised very much delay in the construction of the Northwest Central. I submit that if there was any argument why sixty miles of an exten-tion should be asked, it should have been made either on that Bill or on some other Bill relating to that portion of the country, such as the Saskatchewan and Western, where they were granted an extension of time. That is the occasion upon which the sixty miles should have been demanded by the members from the west. But having been dealt with by the committee and that Bill having passed the House after coming from the committee, I submit it is now at an end.
Now, with regard to this particular Bill which I speak of, and the amendment which was inserted at my suggestion, the line lies In the same territory, it is part of the same line that Bill (No. 26) covers. When they asked for a charter from Teulon in a northwesterly direction to Sifton's Landing, I brought to the attention of the committee the fact that 6,000 or 7,000 Icelandic settlers who had gone in there on the west side of Lake Winnipeg in October, 1875, had been promised by the then government a railway, and this was a condition of their settling there. But they have never yet had any railway, the excuse given being that it was timber land, that it was a difficult country in which to make a road, that there was no prairie land. Consequently these Icelandic settlers have not been able to clear up and cultivate their farms because they have not been able to get a road, and the timber would not pay them to clear up the land. With the assistance of the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Railways and Canals, we got the Canadian Pacific Railway to consent to a clause that the road from Teulon to Sifton's Landing should not be constructed until they had built a certain portion of the line towards the Icelandic settlement. I submit that in the amendment to the Bill, the town of Gimli should not be stated, it should, if possible, be to the Icelandic river, or to a point thirty miles north of Teulon ; that would not take it up to the Icelandic river, but sufficiently far to be considerably useful. AVhile I would be pleased to assist the members for Saskatchewan and Assiniboia in their commendable efforts, I do not think this is the proper time for bringing up that matter. They might almost as well say to the Canadian Pacific Railway : You shall not build this road from Teulon to Sifton's Landing or up to the Icelandic settlements until you have constructed an elevator at Fort William, or a wharf somewhere in Nova Scotia. One matter does not agree with! the other matter, they are not on all fours. Next year when this Bill comes before the House for another extension, or the year after, I will be willing to put up as good a fight as any one for the settlers in the Qu'Appelle valley. But, I submit, that just now, it is not proper for parliament to compel the Canadian Pacific Railway to do something for which they are not guilty, and in the second place I submit that the time is not opportune.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
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