January 24, 1910 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Duncan Hamilton McAlister



If it had been introduced by a member from the west or from the, Yukon district the matter might be explained. I do not believe the government have any mandate to get rid of the Intercolonial railway. They have no right either directly or indirectly through the Department of Railways to lease that road to a private company or syndicate. If this government should take it to be their duty to do so and declare that to be their policy, they should dissolve this House and go before the people to secure their verdict. I am quite sure that if they did so, the members supporting this government from the beautiful little provinces down by the sea would be minus.

Their number would be very different from what it is to-day. If I went before the people of my constituency advocating this resolution, I would not get 1,000 votes from the beautiful united constituency of Kings and Albert.
I would like to read a few newspaper clippings in regard to the Intercolonial railway being handed over to a private syndicate or company. The first is from the Toronto 'Globe1 and purports to be the words of Mr. Kobert Meighen, president of the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. It reads:
I would not stand for the control of the Intercolonial railway being given to any corporation. I don't care whether it is the Canadian Pacific railway, of which I am a director, the Grand Trunk, or Mackenzie & Mann, I think it would he wrong. I could give my reasons, but as a railway director perhaps I had better not.
Another business man of Montreal says:
If it goes into the hands of Mackenzie & Mann or any other company there will be a revolution in the maritime provinces. I spent 25 years there, and I know the feeling such a step would arouse.
The Moncton 'Transcript' quotes from the Toronto 'World', a paper also of some account saying:
The 'World' takes up the question not only in behalf of the maritime provinces, but from the standpoint of the people generally. Replying to those who have been crying out against the Intercolonial, it says:
We have ust two things to say to these ex ploiters-and they are exnloiters for themselves pure and simple:
First, the Intercolonial is owned by the people of Canada at large, noc by the people of the maritime provinces as such; that they've put their good eighty millions of dollars in it, both because they engaged to build it as a pare of the pact of confederation, and because they see that it is or can certainly be made a substantial check on the other roads, and, in an emergency, of the supremest importance to Canada as a state and as a part of the British empire
There have been a great many fallacies in regard to the Intercolonial railway, and one of the greatest of these is that the deficits have been due to party political causes. If that be the case, what caused the surplus when the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson) was Minister of Railways and Canals? If the deficit in 1907 was due to .party political causes, what caused the expansion of its revenues nearly threefold since 1907? No doubt the management of the Intercolonial railway has been defective in many respects, but it is equally undoubted that it has become considerably improved since this commission has had control. I am sorry to find my hon. friend (Mr. Black) jump on the Intercolonial railway commission before that commission has had the opportunity to submit a report of its administration and before, therefore, he is in a position to know what it is doing. I think he should have waited until its re-iptort was submitted (before making his criticism. As regards the resignation of Mr. Butler, that is an event which we all must regret. From what I have known of Mr. Butler's control, he has always conducted the affairs of the Intercolonial railway from a perfectly fair and nonpolitical standpoint; but while I agree with my hon. friend (Mr. Black) that the resignation of Mr. Butler will cripple the commission to a certain extent, I cannot go the length which the hon. gentleman did. I think that if Mr. Pottinger had been allowed the same free hand some years ago the Intercolonial railway would have shown in all probability different results.
No doubt that railway has cost the people of Canada some $80,000,000, but in return we have a valuable asset; and the best proof of the value of that asset is the fact that a number of private corporations are doing their best to get hold of it. In my opinion, a good many of the reports we read about that railway are sprung by individuals who are anxious to get control. It would be very unfair to the people of Canada if, after they had met the deficits on the Intercolonial all those years, they should now, when it has a good chance to make a profitable showing, be induced to hand it over to some private individuals. The maritime provinces are to-day on the eve of a great commercial development. Our new Canadian navy, if we should decide to have one, will no doubt be built at St. John and Halifax and will no doubt start a boom in the maritime provinces, and add considerably to the traffic of the Intercolonial railway. In mining and shipbuilding, I look to see a great increase in the near future, and I have no doubt that those shrewd individuals who are trying to get control of the Intercolonial railway are doing so in anticipation of this turn of the tide. But when people talk of what the Intercolonial railway has cost the country, if they will figure out the land grant of the Canadian Pacific at one dollar an acre they will find that that railway has cost the people considerable more than $80,000,000, and yet the people down by the sea have never complained. Then take the enormous sums that have been expended on our canals, and we have suggestions made for millions more of canal expenditure in the near future. So that if the Intercolonial railway has not been a paying proposition so far, neither have our canals. The policy of the government regarding canals is that of free tolls, so that if you add the interest on the ex-

penditure to the annual cost of maintenance and operation you will find that the amount we have spent on our canals is enormous. Yet the people of the maritime provinces do not complain. They realize that the people who use the canals are getting the benefit, and in the same way the people who use the Intercolonial rail-wav are reaping the advantage. We often hear the Canadian Pacific railway held up as a shining light in comparison with the Intercolonial railway. Weil, no one doubts that the Canadian Pacific is a well organized and a well managed road, but I am going to give you some figures showing the rates charged on the Canadian Pacific railway and the Intercolonial railway which may perhaps cause some people to reflect. There are ten classifications in tariff rates on the Canadian Pacific railway, and from St. John to Woodstock, N.B., a distance of 137 miles, the ten classifications are per 100 lbs. as follows:
No. 1, 10 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 2, 35 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 3, 30 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 4, 25 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 5, 20 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 6, 18 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 7, 15 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 8, 16 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 9, 16 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 10, 13 cents per 100 lbs.
While for the same distance, St. John to Amherst, N.S., the Intercolonial railway charges as follows:
No. 1, 29 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 2, 26 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 3, 22 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 4, 18 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 5, 15 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 6, 14 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 7, 11 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 8, 12 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 9, 11 cents per 100 lbs.
No. 10, 9 cents per 100 lbs.
Taking another point, St. John to Perth Jet., a distance of 184 miles, the Canadian Pacific charges: .42 .37 .32 .26 .21 .19 .17 .17 .17 .15, while from St. John to Wentworth the same mileage, the Intercolonialcharges: .33 .29 .26 .21 .17 .16 .14 .14 .12 .11. Just one more case, St. John to -St. Leonards, a distance of 223 miles, the Canadian Pacific charges: .48 .42 .36 .30 .24 .22 .18 .19 .19 .16, while the Intercolonialcharges, St. John to Brookfield, N.S., the same mileage: .36 .32 .27 .23 .18 .16 .14 .15
.14 .12.
These figures show that from St. John to Amherst, which is exactly the same distance as from St. John to Woodstock, the people pay 38 per cent higher freight rates on the Canadian Pacific railway than they do on the Intercolonial railway. This is a matter which ought to be seriously considered bv the hon. gentleman who Mr. McAlister.
presented the resolution we are now discussing. Does he really think that any private company would build these beautiful hotels he sneaks of to develop this great province of Nova Scotia? No, Sir, such companies aTe looking out for themselves, whereas the government is looking out for the development of the whole country. Does he think that if a private company owned the Intercolonial railway it would haul coal as cheaply from the coal mines of Nova Scotia as the Intercolonial railway does?

Full View