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


John Herron


Mr. J. HERRON (Alberta).

Mr. Speaker, I had contemplated speaking at some length on this important question ; but owing to the lateness of the hour I will not occupy more than a minute or two merely to place myself on record as being in favour of the project. But before sitting down I wish to refer to a remark made by the last speaker (Mr. Crawford) with regard to the odd numbered sections. He asserted that the late Conservative government had been largely responsible for keeping back settlement, and otherwise retarding the progress of the country by failing to throw; the odd-numbered sections open to homesteading or disposing of them in some other way. I think that statement comes with very bad grace from a supporter of the present government, which, although they have been in power for twelve years, during which they have had full power to deal with that question, have taken no steps towards throwing the odd-numbered sections open to settlement, or dealing with them in any way. With regard to the Hudson Bay Railway, I do not think that at this late hour of the night it is necessary for me to urge the importance of that great work. The subject has been very ably presented to the House by several gentlemen on both sides of the House, particularly by the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Schaffner) and the hon. member for Calgary (Mr. M. S. McCarthy). I would like, however, to say that one phase of the Hudson Bay route which especially commends it to the favour of the people of southern Alberta, lies in the advantage that it will offer in connection with the shipment of cattle from that range country. Our wild stock raised on the prairies do not take kindly to transportation by rail. It is the long railway journey from Alberta to the sea-coast that takes practically the cream off the business of cattle raising on the western plains ; and if we had a railroad to Hudson bay, it would give us the advantage of a shorter railway journey by 1,000 miles. For that reason alone the people of southern Alberta are specially interested in the building of that railroad. I would be glad to see the government take up the question in a practical way and carry it to a termination, instead of simply using it for political purposes from year to year, and letting it end at that. With these remarks I merely wish to state that I will support the resolution.

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