April 7, 1908 (10th Parliament, 4th Session)


William Erskine Knowles



I have not said that I am altogether satisfied with the way in which the government have addressed themselves to the transportation problem of the west : I would like to have seen them move a little more quickly.
Coming to the specific matter about which I wish to speak this afternoon, I wish again briefly to give the distances from various settled points in the Northwest by way of the proposed Hudson Bay Railway, in order that the figures may be again placed on * Hansard.' Generally speaking, the use of the Hudson Bay Railway will save about the distance from Fort William to the sea ; that is to say, the distance from the centre of tl^e wheat country to Fort Churchill is about the same as the distance from the centre of the wheat country to Fort William, and the distance from Fort Churchill to Liverpool is about the same as the dis-, tance from Montreal to Liverpool, which means that the distance from Fort William to Montreal will be saved. The various distances are as follows :
From To Montreal. . To Fort Churchill. DifferenceMiles. Miles. Miles.Winnipeg 1,422 945 477Brandon 1,555 940 615Mcosejaw 1,823 817 1,006Medicine Hat 2,082 1,076 1,006
The distance from Fort Churchill to Liverpool is 2,946 miles and the distance from Montreal to Liverpool is 2,927 miles, being practically the same. The distance from New York to Liverpool by the northern route is 3,07,9 miles. Thus there will be. generally speaking, a saving of distance by the Hudson Bay route, as proposed between 950 and 1,000 miles. This saving in distance will be of course a great advantage in every direction. It will mean a saving in time and in charges, while the route will afford, what is very important, another outlet for the products of the west. The number of miles of railway that will require to be constructed is at present only 470 or 475 miles, just about one and a half the distance from Toronto to Montreal. That seems a small matter when we consider the importance of moving the wheat Mr. R. L. BORDEN.
harvested in the western country every year. With regard to the saving of charges, I wish to refer to the treatise on the subject compiled by Mr. J. A. McKenna under instructions of the hon. Minister of the Interior, and published by the Department of the Interior. This treatise is regarded as an authority on the subject. At page 51, Mr. McKenna says, with regard to the saving on wheat :
The freight upon grain from the wheat belt to Hudson bay would 'approximate ten cents a bushel, the same as to Port Arthur; the additional 15 cents from there to the Atlantic sea-board would be saved to the farmer, and this, of itself, represents a fair profit to the wheat-grower. Assuming an export trade of 20,000,000 of bushels, which can easily be handled in two months of the season by the proposed railway the saving of 15 cents a bushel, being the difference in cost of freight from Port Arthur to the Atlantic sea-board, would amount to $3,000,000.
That is with regard to wheat alone. Now let me read what Mr. McKenna has to say with regard to the saving and profit in the transportation of cattle :
A very important feature in connection with a railway which secures quick access to the sea is with relation to the shipping of cattle to the European markets; this great industry is at present seriously handicapped in consequence of the long journey to be endured under present conditions. It is admitted as a well recognized fact, that cattle shipped to the Atlantic coast arrive at the shipping port in poor condition, emaciated by long days of rail travel. It is also admitted that on the sea journey they gain rather than lose in flesh, if put on board in good condition. Experience proves that after three days of rail travel cattle will deteriorate; that three days is about the limit of the time during which they can travel and maintain the condition in which they are placed on board. This being so, cattle could be transported to Fort Churchill without loss in flesh, and the voyage to Liverpool would improve this condition rather than the contrary. Therefore, this great industry alone would find in the Fort Churchill route a solution of the difficulty under which those engaged in the business of cattle shipping now labour.

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