April 14, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)



fully discussed by several gentlemen who are deeply interested in that country, and the partner of the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Osier), Mr. Nanton, seconded the resolution. I am not going to say whether this is feasible or not, but, if it is feasible and if it should transpire that it should be necessary in the future for the government to extend the road to the Pacific coast, they should adopt the policy of reserving these passes with that end in view. But, there is another factor in connection with this charter to which I wish to draw attention. As you are aware, Mr. Chairman, a bargain was entered into between the Manitoba government and the Northern Pacific Railway, which bargain was passed also by this government. That arrangement was something like this : The Manitoba government leased from the Northern . Pacific Railway Company for a period of years the company's lines in the province of Manitoba, having a mileage of 350 miles for which they were to pay an annual rental of $210,000. The Manitoba government released those lines to the Canadian Northern Railway Company, and a bargain was made that on certain bonds issued by the Canadian Northern line the government were to guarantee interest to the extent of $20,000 a mile on 300 miles, and on certain other bonds covering 1,000 miles of road, the Manitoba government were to guarantee interest at the rate of $10,000 per mile. That is 1,300 miles in all on which interest is guaranteed. Out of the receipts of the railway company they were to pay, first, the running expenses of the road, secondly, the $210,000 rental to the Northern Pacific, and thirdly, they were to pay interest on these bonds, amounting to about $14,000,000, but in default the Manitoba government had to pay any arrears of interest accrued. Should there be a surplus at the end of two years that might be applied to a reduction of freight rates. This was the consideration for which the Manitoba government became the endorser of the bonds of the company so that the farmers of the western part of Manitoba should get a material reduction in freight rates. The reduction was to be 2 cents a bushel on wheat on the first year's operation. If the road proved a paying concern, there was to be a further reduction in the rates. This Bill goes on to say that they should have power to bond the road for $25,000 per mile, not only on any lines to be constructed, but also on the lines now constructed, and the question arises: Is that $15,000 extra per mile to
be in addition to the 1,300 miles for which the Manitoba government are responsible as endorser ? If it is, it seems that in addition to guaranteeing the interest on what is provided for in the agreement now that government will have to become responsible for the interest on $15,000 per mile extra and there will be no opportunity of gaining any further reduction in freight rates.

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