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


William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. D. STAPLES (Macdonald).

I understand how unkind it would be on my part if I were to inflict a long speech on the House at this late hour. But I feel that I should not be doing my duty to the constituency I represent in this House, or to the province from which I come, if I did not at least say a word or two to show ' that I am most desirous that this road should be constructed at an early day. We have listened to many good speeches this afternoon. Some of the speakers have introduced some new thoughts; others have resurrected a great deal of old thought, but while it is old it is good, and upon a question of this kind we do not lose anything by refreshing our minds with what is already in ' Hansard.' The feasibility and the practicability of this road, as well as its great necessity, have been thoroughly established by what has been said to-day. Therefore, I shall not deal with that phase of the question. It has now come down to a matter of policy-it resolves itself into this: where are we going to get the money to construct this road ? We heard the policy of the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Sifton) when he madfi a speech in this House a few days ago. I listened to that speech, and I want to ask hon. members what is there in it after all? What was there in that speech more than has been presented to this House time and time again? That speech was published in the daily papers throughout Canada and in the United States and even abroad-for what purpose I am not at this moment going to say. I believe it was all prearranged. And as to what it cost to get this great publicity Mr. TURRIFF.
through the press of the world, I shall not say anything at this moment. But I will say that if one of the new members of the House, or one of the members who are not in the habit of speaking often had made the same speech that the hon. member for Brandon made, it would simply have been thrown in the waste basket.
As I listened to the policies enunciated by the hon. gentleman who preceded me this afternoon, I thought that, after all, there was another policy by which this government could very easily save the money necessary to build the Hudson Bay Railway. If they would only exercise a little more economy in the various departments, it would not be necessary for us to set aside any of our lands to provide for the construction of this road.
Take for example the Saskatchewan Valley Land Company deal. If the people of this country had received value for that land for which the recipients received $1,-
750,000 that would have gone a considerable distance in constructing the Hudson Bay Railway. If the government had pared down the unnecessary and gorgeous expenditure in equipping the ' Montcalm,' if those on that boat had drunk out of a ten cent cup Instead of a $12 cup and that money had been used for the construction of this railway it would have built a few miles. It has been proved over and over again in this House and In the Public Accounts Committee that the government have been building wharfs throughout this country where there were no people, where there was no water and where there was no business. If they had used this money to construct the Hudson Bay Railroad they would have found lots of produce and many people there, and the money would not be lying idle as it is when used in the construction of such wharfs. If they had even used the $400,000 expended on the North Atlantic Trading Company for which the people received no value, it would have been some assistance. They might have used the money that has gone to the middleman in the Moncton land deal, or the large sums that have been made out of the Robbins Irrigation Company. Mr. Knowles stated this afternoon that the government had not sold any of the people's land for $1 an acre, but if he investigates he will find that 9,450 acres were sold for $1 an acre. 380,000 acres were sold on long credit to other irrigation companies, and in this case alone the middleman got $1,145,000. Why should that not be taken for the Hudson Bay Railway ? We have also the Galway Horse and Cattle Company deal. Here the people of Canada received only $600, but the man who got the land turned it over within a few days for $20,000. That would build at least a mile of the Hudson Bay route. Take the Blairmore townsite for which the people of Canada received only $480, but the persons who got the townsite to-day value

it at over $200,000. That would Have built 10 miles of the Hudson Bay Railway. We find that the Militia Department is to-uay spending $6,000,000 for a service that used to he carried on for $1,000,000. i womu suggest to the hon. the 1'rirne Minister that we should have a little less war and a tew more miles of Hudson Bay Railway. I am one ot tlie eleven who voted against the appropriation of $300,000 to get in the tn.u end of the wedge committing this country to $6,000,000 or $7,000,000 for the reclaiming of the Plains of Abraham. If they had taken even that $300,000 and used it in the construction ot the Hudson Bay Railway instead of blowing it up in fire-crackers, as some of my hon. friends say, the people of the western provinces at least would have been very mnch more pleased. Then we come to the Marine Department. If you took some of the money you have been paying to those Americans who have been coming here at $75 a day and used it to bund the Hudson Bay Railway, the people would have been much better satisfied and the gov: eminent might have used a portion of it to pay Canadians who could very well show the Minister of Marine and his officials how to change a single entry system of bookkeeping to a double entry system. It is only a few nights since we had in the House a vote for a ten-year subsidy of $200,U00 per year for a steamship line running to Prance. For what purpose V As far as I can ascertain from tne French treaty, we as Canadians, especially we farmers, get no great value lor that $200,too a year. It will simply be paid into the cotters of the company operating the service, and this for the purpose of assisting France to place her goods on the Canadian markets, if this had been used for the construction of the Hudson Bay Railway, it would have been of much more benefit to the farmers of the west.
Hon. gentlemen say we have not given away any of our lands. What have we been doing with our timber ? Where has it gone ? Imagine yourself taking a train at Halifax and riding to the city of Vancouver, a distance of 3,000 miles and seeing on one side of the track for a distance of half a mile, a belt of timber and you will have some idea of the quantity of timber owned and controlled by the hon. member for Dauphin and the Imperial Pulp Company, the president of which is the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Manitoba. But they are not satisfied with giving away the land and timber, take our fisheries for example. If you can imagine yourself riding from Halifax to Vancouver, and viewing for that distance a lake twelve miles wide, you will have some idea of what has been given away to a few persons for a mere pittance. If these national assets had been so dealt with that the people received a fair value for them instead of their being given away, we would have more than enough 203
money for the construction of the Hudson Bay Railway. The policy that I would suggest to the government for the raising of the necessary funds for the construction of the railway would be to cut out the middlemen, do away with the graft system and give the people value for the money collected from them In taxes.

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