Peters, assistant freight traffic manager of the Canadian Pacific at Winnipeg, states that up to the end of October over 72,000 head of cattle had been shipped to Liverpool from western Canada, and he expected a further 10,000 head to be shipped that season. The freight rate on these cattle would be about 60 cents a hundred pounds in car lots from Winnipeg to Montreal. The rate from Calgary to Fort Churchill would be about the same as to Winnipeg, and the distance about equal, so that this 60 cents a hundred pounds could be saved to the shipper if he could put the cattle on board at Hudson bay, and he would also prevent the shrinkage which would otherwise occur, by reason of the additional rail journey from Winnipeg to Montreal.
Upon the 82,000 head of cattle shipped to Montreal from the west during the past sea-
son, the saving in freight alone, $6 a head, or in round figures $650,000, would be equal to about 20 per cent of the selling price.
That has reference to the saving in freight charges alone ; and it is said by experienced cattlemen that to these you can add $2 a head for the saving of shrinkage in the cattle from making the rail journey so much shorter.
We now come to the question of the land through which this railway will have to pass. Iu my speech of last session I went into this subject more fully than I propose to do to-day, because the character of the land is not something that has now to be proved, but is generally accepted. We have had expert evidence given on this subject before different committees of the House during this session and last session, and I think that not only to lion, members of this House but to the whole country it is no longer a debatable question whether or not the country through which it is proposed to build this railway is of such a nature that the railway is feasible. It is recognized to be a country through which the building of a railway would not be difficult. A great deal of the country is of limestone formation, which is the ideal kind of land upon which to lay rails. There is sufficient timber to furnish ties in abundance. And there are resources which would bring a great deal of profitable traffic to the railway. Besides the short distance over which a railway has to be constructed, 470 miles, surely justifies me in saying that the construction is from every point of view, feasible, and one which would bring such profit to the farmers of the Northwest Territories that there can be no excuse for delaying the work any longer.
I beg to refer to a document published by the Senate entitled ' Our Fertile North Lands.' On page 89 you will find particulars regarding the nature of the country. I have had the pleasure of discussing this question with different engineers who have been over that territory, and they tell me- especially Mr. Thibaudeau, an engineer who has recently been out there-that in every way it is an ideal country for railway building. There are great stretches in it of first-class argricultural land. For an extent of 200 miles north and south and an indefinite distance east and west there are great resources which would yield profitable traffic. There are timber, mineral and agricultural lands, and when we get to the bay itself we find good fisheries such as cod, salmon and lake trout. As regards Fort Churchill, it is one of the best natural harbours in the world. It is deep, well sheltered, easily kept open during nine months of the year, and there would be very little cost in fitting it up beyond the building of elevators and wharfs. On pages 45 and 46 of this book to which I have referred. I find that the writer, Mr. McKenna, quoting from Mr. Thibaudeau, thus describes some of the advantages of Fort Churchill harbour :
It can be kept open all the year by the employment of ice-breakers. Last year, 1906, the harbour closed between December 5 and December 10. The conditions in January, 1907, were as follows: In the bay at Fort Chuchill the ice was II inches thick. It extended for a third of a mile from the shore into the bay. Ice was much thinner in the bay than in the harbour. There was some floating ice about a quarter of a mile from the edge of the bay ice. This is sent in by a northerly wind; should the prevailing winds blow from any other direction, there^ would be no floating ice. Beyond this floating ice there was clear open water straight away into the bay and beyond. This was the general condition up to and including January 2, 1907. An icebreaker similar to either the north or south now in use between Quebec and Levis would, by making two trips a week, keep the harbour open the year round.
The entrance to the harbour is about 2,000 feet wide, with a minimum depth of water of ten fathoms. Vessels drawing 36 feet draft could enter the harbour and anchor within 200 yards of the west division, to a point 3,500 feet south of Fort Prince of Wales. The bay outside the harbour also affords good anchorage; there is ample depth of water.
A vessel drawing 24 feet of water can come within 150 yards of the east side of the harbour, from its mouth to a point 150 yards south of Battery beacon. There is also good anchorage south of the point east alluded to (150 yards south of Battery beacon) for 2,000 feet by 800 feet in width for vessels drawing 24 feet of water. Opposite Battery beacon for a distance of 2,500 feet across the harbour there is a minimum depth of 24 feet of water.
He then goes on to speak of other places in and outside the harbour where there is splendid anchorage. The great question, of course, occurs to us at this point, and that is the navigability of the straits. This is also dealt with in the treatise to which I have referred. I shall not take up time by going into the details, but there seems to be no doubt that the straits are safely navigable at least four months in the year. A great many of the old Hudson bay navigators put a much longer period of time during which the straits are open to shipping. We have data on this subject dating back about one hundred and fifty years, for ships have gone into the bay as many and even more years back. And when we reflect that in this present age we have our ice-breakers, our modern steamships which can break the ice themselves, and with the aids to navigation such as telegraph stations, lighthouses and other facilities, there does not seem the slightest doubt that the Hudson bay straits could easily be open for shipping at least four months in the year. My own opinion is that they may be kept open much longer.
So far I have discussed the question from the view point of the west. Let me point out that it would also be profitable for the eastern provinces. In the territories, in the next fifteen or twenty or a hundred years,
we shall inquire great quantities of steel. This is called the steel age, and in the construction of our buildings and bridges and other works of development, including railways, we shall require no doubt immense quantities of that product. Is it not very advisable, therefore, that ships should come direct from the steel plants in Sydney, laden with their products, and discharge in Fort Churchill, which is but a few hundred miles away from the centre of the Northwest Territories? Not only does this apply to steel but to all those other products which are placed upon the market by our fellow citizens in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton or even Prince Edward Island. Take, for instance, fish and other products raised in these provinces, they could be laid down at Fort Churchill very cheaply and in that way help not only the west but the east.
I now come to deal for a few minutes with the question of who should pay for the Hudson Bay Railway. My hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) seemed to lay it down as a foregone conclusion, that the money should not come out of the exchequer of Canada. I wish to be the last to raise the question of the east against the west or the west against the east. There is no profit in that kind of discussion, but I would be wanting in my duty to my constituents, if I did not say very frankly that, in my humble opinion, the people of the west are contributing very much to the exchequer of the Dominion and are not receiving one scintilla of profit in return except what they get back in the shape of expended revenue. It would not be unreasonable therefore to ask our friends in the east to seriously consider this question, whether it would not, in some way, tend to equalize the burdens of this nation we are trying together to build up if a return were made to the west by undertaking some great national enterprise such as this. It is very seldom that this matter is touched upon in this House, but this afternoon I am goiug to speak for a moment or two frankly along that line. When I spoke last session on the subject of the Hudson Bay Railway, I said that we of the west were willing to pay a certain amount of revenue and, incidentally-as there is no use denying-a certain amount of protection, that we might help our sister provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and the rest to develop their resources and build up their industries to the end that we might, together, eventually make a great nation in Canada. But I wish to recall What this House does not often hear, and that is that we are agriculturists, and while there are many agriculturists in Ontario and Quebec and the other older provinces, yet our people do not profit from the building up of manufacturing centres as do the agricultrists in the eastern provinces. The agriculturist in Ontario may find the burden of the tariff bear somewhat Mr. KNOWLES.
heavily upon him as a consumer, but he always has the consoling thought that he is building up at his very doors, a great market-in Toronto it may be, London, or Hamilton, or Halifax, or Sydney, or Quebec or Montreal-building up a great market to which he may bring his produce. But there is no such consolation for us, there is no' such compensation for us. We have to find our market on Liverpool prices, and anything that -\ve contribute for the building up of Canada-I want to say here and I say it without fear of contradiction-we are paying for the purpose of building up the nation and there is no selfish advantage whatever. In view of that fact, would it be a very unreasonable principle to lay down, that, in the administration of the affairs of this country, the west should be more generously dealt with than she is, and that in the administration of the affairs of the country there should be a freer hand in dealing with the west because she has no such compensation as that of which I have spoken in the case of the people who live in the east ? Of course this is not necessarily to be applied toward the building of the Hudson Bay Railway, but I contend that It is not an unreasonable principle to lay down.
My hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) suggests-and I confess that I have nearly made up my mind that there is something in the idea-that the Hudson Bay Railway is not to be built out of the exchequer of Canada. The hon. gentleman suggests an arrangement which he outlined. He said : Let us keep one-tenth of the lands and wait until they are worth $10 and $12 an acre, and then sell them and reimburse the exchequer of Canada for the cost of building the road. To me it is a very unwelcome task to differ from such an eminent and hon. gentleman as the member from Brandon ; still, in my humble way, I do differ from the position he laid down, and I will tell you why. For one thing, I am against tying up ten per cent of the land. We have had such a curse upon us from tying up lands for the Canadian Pacific Railway that not ten per cent, or even one per cent, would I favour tying up for the days to come. I can show you school districts, Mr. Speaker, that have to close the doors of their schools and could not educate their children because of the tying up the lands of the Canadian Pacific Railway as these lands could not be taxed. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Sifton) went further, and took advantage of the opportunity to say that, in his opinion, the odd-numbered sections which had been tied up as being in the railway belt, should be thrown open for settlement without the preemption. I do not agree with the hon. gentleman in his expression of opinion on that point either. The governmnet has already announced itself-the announcement having been made last session that it was in
favour of the pre-emption clause in the Consolidated Land Bill which was brought down, and I have no reason to believe that the government has changed on that point. For my part, I was a supporter of that feature, and am still in favour of it. That Bill provides that the present settler in the Northwest shall be given opportunity to become possessed of a farm of not only 160 acres but 320 acres. Let me give, very briefly, my reasons for favouring this plan. In the first place, we must admit that the best land, speaking generally, is gone. Of course, there is a great deal of good land left, and not homesteaded? 1 am not trying to give a black eye to the land not taken up-but there is no denying that, generally speaking, the choice land has been taken, as is only natural. Therefore, it is to be considered whether there is not an arrangement to be made by which a man, if he cannot get as good land as the homesteader of the past got, many receive 'more of the land that is not so valuable. And we say that it is to be given on residence duties as proposed, with the payment of $3 an acre, that removes any objection that may be raised that the land is going to the speculator. As I am on that subject, I wrish to say what my opinion is in reference to the pre-emption clause. My hon. friend from Brandon brought this subject up. I have no hesitation in saying, as a western man, and one in touch with western conditions, that the opposition to this provision of the measure comes from the great land speculators of the west. Let me read an article from the Regina ' Standard,' which hon. gentlemen opposite, no doubt, will listen to with great respect- and, on the point referred to I think the ' Standard ' is right. I read from the issue of March 5 :
Hon. Frank Oliver's new land measure, which was mentioned in the Speech from the Throne in the House of Commons
I am not sure they are right about that.
-and which is shortly to he up for consideration, was the subject of discussion, it is learned, at a meeting of a number of business men at the city hall yesterday afternoon, at which John Ridington, formerly of the Winnipeg r Free Press,' but now representing the corporations interested, and attached to the staff of the Pearson Land Company, dealt with the pre-emption provisions of the Bill and endeavoured to work up a feeling against these pre-emption clauses with a view to haying pressure brought to bear on Mr. Oliver, through letters to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, to break the determination of the Minister of the Interior to have the pre-emption clauses inserted. Mr. Ridington's mission was not crowned with much success, apparently, for the meeting broke up without any action being taken and the whole question was referred to the business men's committee of the board of trade.
It is gathered that Mr. Ridington's main objection was to the pre-emption clauses of the Oliver Land Bill.
I could read you other reports and items from the public press which go to show that this opposition comes from the great land speculators. I myself was waited upon by a gentleman, who, I think, is the largest land dealer in Winnipeg, and he asked me to give my opposition to these Bills. He said : Witli all our thousands
and tens of thousands of acres of land, if the Dominion government is going to throw open the odd-numbered sections to enable men to get their quarter-section by means of pre-emption, it would ruin our market. I remember his saying to me : If the government must give the settler another 160 acres, don't talk about $3 an acre ; we want $15 an acre for our land, and when you talk about $3 an acre it makes people say our price is ridiculous. I could cite many cases of men identified with the land interest in the west, having taken a similar view to that of my hon. friend from Brandon, that the pre-emption feature should not he carried out, but that the land should be kept only for the individual homesteader. There is this also to be remembered that previously when homesteaders went into that country they had the privilege of purchasing another quarter-section in addition to their homestead from the railway company or the Hudson Bay Company'. That privilege is now gone. The railway lands are nearly all sold, the Hudson Bay lands are virtually all sold, so I have no hesitation in saying, speaking only for myself, that for these reasons, the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) to the contrary notwithstanding, the pre-emption clause should stand.
Mi-. SPROULE. That is the pre-emption clause of $3 an acre?