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


Duncan Hamilton McAlister



My hon. friend knows that the sale or lease of the Intercolonial railway to a private corporation would cause great loss and inconvenience to the large industrial plants in Sydney and other points in Nova Scotia. It seems to me that the object of this resolution is to induce the government to give over $80,000,000 worth of railway to a private corporation without a quid pto quo. and would make the rich richer and the poor poorer. What is wanted in the maritime provinces is population, and those who are advocating the sale of the Intercolonial railway would do much better by urging on this government and the local government of Nova Scotia a more energetic immigration policy as regards that province. What we require is not to get rid of the Intercolonial, but to bring in a larger immigration.
There is_ one thing I have not spoken of and that is the accommodation we get by the Intercolonial railway. Members from the west do not appreciate this, but if they lived along the Intercolonial they would. I may say that in the little town of Sussex where I live, we have an express train that leaves every day for St. John, stopping at every station, and returning the same day, and that service is just as good as any street car service you can find in any city. I would like to ask the hon. member for Hants (Mr. Black) if he thinks we would continue to enjoy that luxury if the Intercolonial was handed over to a private corporation. I do not think so. If the- Intercolonial had been charging the same rates last year in the province of New Brunswick as the Canadian Pacific railway, we would have had to pay $1,874,878 more for freight, and $120,331 more for passenger rates. If we had paid the same rates on the Intercolonial as are charged by the Canadian Pacific railway in New Brunswick last year, we would be $2,000,000 out of pocket. That is a question that needs to be seriously considered. I am surprised at this hon. gentleman advocating the lease or sale of the Intercolonial. I travelled through my constituency last fall during an election

campaign, and in almost every farm yard I saw Massey Harris machines, a Massey Harris reaper, a Massey Harris mower, and what doe3 that mean? It means that the people in the lower provinces are netting the advantage of cheap freight rates on their agricultural machinery that comes from Ontario. Now, I do not think we should denounce a railway that procures us these favours, but we should rather encourage it. To be sure the purchaser of this machinery paid the freight rates, but he g<?ts them cheaper on the Intercolonial than by the Canadian Pacific railway, that is a known fact. Now, the freight trains per train ton per mile last year on the four principal railways of Canada were as follows : Canadian Pacific railway, -778; Grand Trunk railway, -672; Canadian Northern, [DOT]873; Intercolonial, -584. The Intercolonial, therefore, carries freight much cheaper than the other roads, and the people who pay for the freight get that much advantage over people shipping by the other roads. It is the people who use the goods, of course, who ultimately pay the freight, but the people of Canada as a whole get the advantage of the cheap freight rates over the Intercolonial, just a3 they get the advantage of free tolls over the canals. I am sure there are other gentlemen from the maritime provinces who will oppose this motion of the hon.member for Hants; if they do not I should be ashamed of them. I think the hon. member for Hants would have been better advised if he had supported the motion moved the other day by the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Emmerson) in favour of the Intercolonial acquiring the branch lines in close proximity to it. I think that policy would prove an additional source of revenue to the Intercolonial, and it would enable the management to reduce the freight rates on the branch lines. Very few people, I think, realize the fact that goods shipped to western points are not shipped over the Intercolonial, but over the Canadian Pacific railway, and if these branch lines were absorbed by the Intercolonial, there would be much less cause of complaint on the part of local shippers.

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