June 9, 1905 (10th Parliament, 1st Session)

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

There is no local subsidy at all. But the point of view of the British government is not perhaps exactly the same as ours; ours would be purely the commercial view, the imperial government would have another view besides. Even though the islands might have a small amount of business, and though for ordinary commercial reasons the contractors might be willing to drop an island, it is conceivable that the British government, for imperial reasons, might feel that the little is-1 land should not be ignored. . That creates some little difficulty, and makes necessary some mutual negotiations in order to maintain co-operation between the British government and ourselves. I fear that if we started a line of steamers from Montreal and attempted to call at maritime ports' as well, we would but add to the disadvantage under which we now labour in our competition with New York. The voyage to a distant point, say Georgetown in British Guiana, would be long, and we would find ourselves entirely beaten in the race with the New York steamers. I am inclined to think that if it becomes necessary to den velop trade in the line suggested by my hon. friend, it would almost involve a separate service. We have been doing something in the direction of trade from Montreal this year by making provision for a line from Montreal to Cuba and Mexico, calling at Halifax, and that is one of the things that we have now in hand, and which it is hoped will be realized. I think if we were to insist on this line of steamers starting from Montreal, calling at the maritime ports, at one or both, and then go on to the West Indies, we would find ourselves at a great disadvantage in the competition; and that would lead to the conclusion that if there is a prospect of business at Montreal to the degree the hon. gentleman suggests. it would necessitate an independent service during the'summer months.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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