March 1, 1912 (12th Parliament, 1st Session)


William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)


That is right.
Mr. MACDONALD-It is absolutely essential that the large railway enterprises of the west should be prepared, as they are prepared, to look after facilities and create conditions under which the opportunities afforded large manufacturing interests can come to fruition. How would it be if in all other portions of Canada a railway company would say to a business man: You will have to wait until the next meeting of directors which will take place nine months after this? It is true your project may be a pressing one, and it is in the interest of the railway and of the country, but we cannot do anything in that line until our directors meet next year, or nine or ten months after this. That is the position that every Minister of Railways is in who has to deal with these conditions.
Then, we have another difficulty. We are living in the great freight producing part of the country where the Intercolonial railway obtains the greater part of its east and w'est business. We produce in eastern Nova Scotia to-day something like 10,000,000 tons of coal. We produce a greater quantity of iron and steel than is produced in any other part of Canada. With the Intercolonial railway under existing conditions not a pound of coal can be sent from Nova Scotia west of Montreal so as tc compete with American coal, even with the duty added. Why? Simply because my hon. friend the Minister of Railways, when he carries that coal to Montreal, has to hand it over to the Grand Trunk railway, the Canadian Pacific railway or the Canadian Northern, and the arbitrary division of freight which is always made in the traffic arrangements means that when the new company takes that traffic at Montreal it takes such an additional share of the freight rate that it is impossible to send the coal to Ottawa or anywhere further west than Cornwall, and nowhere up into the Canadian Pacific railway country here. The same thing applies to steel products. You have to levy two prices for the
two railways, whereas, anywhere else in, Canada practically, with the tremendous extent of the Canadian Pacific railway and the Grand Trunk railway systems, the manufacturer who has products to dispose of can put them on the one railway which will carry them to any part of Canada and, by the 'long haul rate, deliver them in competition with foreigners or people from other places under satisfactory conditions. Every man in the maritime provinces is put under the handicap that it is impossible to transport his products west of Montreal.
Then, there is another difficulty that the minister under present conditions is unable to overcome. Gentlemen who live in the west know, gentlemen who live in Ontario know, that the large corporations of the country develop the business possibilities that exist in the vicinity of their railways. They take hold of them, assist them and provide conditions under which they can be developed and made a success of. That is going on all over the country. The Minister of Railways cannot do that. What a. proposition it would be if the Minister of Railways came down to parliament and asked to have placed in his hands a vote of money which he could utilise in his judgment in regard to a question of that kind? No minister has ever thought of it up to the present time, and I am quite sure that no minister would have thought of entering into that arena. Then, there is another consideration. All Canada has contributed to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   FOREIGN.
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