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


Angus Alexander McLean

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. McDEAN (Queens).

It really seems to me in looking at the map that every man east of the Bay des Chaleurs ought to hold up his hand for the construction of a railway to Fort Churchill, provided they are convinced of the navigability of Hudson straits for even five months in the year. The industrial communities of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island would thereby secure easy access to the northern part of this continent for their manufactured products by securing direct water shipment and avoiding the heavy tolls charged on the different railways, while so far as regards the agricultural interests of Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, contiguous to the route, there is every reason to suppose that they would be able to find a ready market among our own people for all they have to sell. Take for instance this present year, the parliament of Canada has voted over $2,000,000 to supply seed for the west and the only difficulty that came to public notice in the way of securing oats from Prince Edward Island, was as to the procuring of freight rates. If the people of Prince Edward Island were convinced that they could supply even a proportion of the needs of the west, they would be perfectly willing to pay their quota towards the construction of a railway to Hudson bay, provided always that the people of the west would be wiling to pay their quota of the cost of a tunnel under the straits of Northumberland and thereby securing a complete circle of inter-communication between the Island province and Central Canada.
Mr. WILBERT MeINTYRE (Stratheona). At this very late hour, I do not propose to take up time discussing this question at any length. I had intended giving some statistics, but former speakers have used most of them, and I do not intend to repeat them to the House which must be somewhat weary of listening to statistics to-day. The question of transportation is one of the most important questions with which the western country has to deal. For the last five or six years we have had every year to suffer to a greater or less degree from what is knows as the transportation blockade. The acuteness of that blockade was not so great this season for various obvious reasons, but it does not require any prophet to foretell that the first abundant harvest will again bring on this transportation blockade in a much more acute form than we have ever experienced it in the past. The conditions this year were very favourable to the railway. The crop in some part was injured, the prices were very materially lowered, and consequently the export of the grain was not great. But I say again that' it does not require any great reflection on the part of anybody to see that, with our present conditions of producing grain, we shall have another transportation blockade just as soon as any very great quantity is prepared for export.
Now, another feature that we have to reckon with in tbe west is this : whereas we have already had these blockades, we have only begun, one might say, the occupation of raising grain in that country. We have alienated from the government somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80,000,000 acres of land, and we had in cultivation in 1906
8,000,000 acres. We have over 40,000,000 acres of land occupied by settlers. With these facts before him, any one on a moment's reflection will see that an enormous output must necessarily follow when we begin operations seriously.
Now, as to the method of building this road, I am not going to go into that in detail. But I believe we have had amply proven here to-day the feasibility of building tbe road, the suitability of the country through which it is to run, the availability of the port which it reaches, the possibility of storing tbe grain there, and the feasibil-

[DOT] ity of tlie water route from that point to the European market for a reasonable number of months in the year. I believe that these facts in the main are plain to every member of the House. It is the duty of this government to see to it that that road is constructed and that the government has absolute control over it. I could go very much into detail in this matter, but all I wish to do is to add my expression to that of others and to statements that I hope the government at the earliest opportunity, will have this road constructed.

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