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


John Gillanders Turriff



I think it most important that we should get the road. And I
would be perfectly satisfied to have the government build and lease the road giving all other companies running powers over it, or make arrangements with one of the companies to build the road and make provision, by placing the road under the Railway Commission, that every company should have running powers. But I have not seen anything in Canada, so far, to make me very much disposed to continue in the future in the line of government built and government operated railways.
I think the road should be built as a main line, as another outlet and inlet for the trade of the country. I think one good result of its operation would be to bring us into closer communication with the mother country. I think it would do a good deal to increase and foster the business between Canada and Great Britain, for it would furnish a short and direct route the western terminus of which would be light in the heart of the great western country. I believe also that it will pay for itself as a colonization road. Let me just point out the change that has taken place in a few years. I can remember very well-and it is not so many years ago-when none of us thought that great country north of the Saskatchewan river right up to near Edmonton was of any value. But the more we explore that country and the more we learn concerning it, the more we come to the conclusion that in that country which at one time, was thought of little value, we have vast stretches of rich agricultural land. The construction of this Hudson bay road would not only develop 475 miles of a colonization road, but you must remember that the sea line on the west side of Hudson bay will be made tributary to the railway which would assist in the development of that whole country and assist very materially in having it thoroughly prospected. And l think there is no doubt that when ft is prospected you will find it a country rich in minerals. I believe that until you go away beyond where it is possible to grow anything in the far northern country, there is no part of this Canada of ours where, if you build a road for 500 miles, it will not of itself produce traffic enough to make that road a paying business. In every other part of the country we find we have vast resources not only of agricultural lands but of timber and minerals. We have a very good example of that in New Ontario, a country which, at one time, people thought was too rough to be any good, but as soon as they built a railway into it they found it was all right, making the railway a paying concern from the start.
At this late hour, it is neither desirable nor necessary for me to speak longer. I trust the government will take this important matter of the Hudson Bay Railway at once and will give us some definite pronouncement on the subject. I do not very much care how the road is built. I do not care very much whether the land is

sold oil pre-emption for $3 per acre or a certain quantity of land set apart to build tlie road. We are not concerned very much about the details; what we want is to have the road started. For it will take three or four years to build the railway, as we can work with advantage, probably, only from one end. The sooner it is begun the sooner it will be completed. I am satisfied that, before it is completed, every one of the roads now existing will be taxed to its uttermost. Though, by the Hudson Bay route, we may not be able to get out a great deal of wheat the same fall it is grown, we shall be able to get out many millions of bushels, and, for the rest, it is only a matter of storing it a month or so longer than it is stored at Fort William. And, as a route for cattle, there is no comparison between this and any other. It is so much cooler and the land haul is so much shorter that the cattle can be landed in better shape than if sent by the St. Lawrence, by New York or by any of the Atlantic ports. So, in conclusion, I trust that the government will give us some assurance at an early day that this matter will be taken hold of at once and carried to a successful completion in the course of the next few years.

Full View