April 21, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)


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



ment, a few capitalists have also taken tlie means of ascertaining tlie accuracy of those surveys and data The promoters of this Bill, after going to the trouble of making those surveys, have purchased from the Quebec government one thousand miles of limits down in that territory and they have also acquired water-powers. They have, started building a railway and they are putting up a pulp mill, with a force of over a hundred men.
I do not intend to go now into the merits of this Bill, nor do I wish to inquire whether this parliament have tlie power to incorporate this company, or whether we are invading the rights of the local government in so doing. But from the standpoint of the public interest, I am free to say that on the North Shore where there are now only a few fishing settlements, the news that this manufacture was being put up was heard with the greatest satisfaction. This morning, I received several letters from Pointe aux Esquimaux, from Magpie and other places, and these people want to know whether the fishermen, who have no other means of livelihood, could find employment with the company at the Bay of Seven , Islands.
There is no doubt that the whole region of the North Shore will be greatly benefited by tlie fact that this company has acquired this territory and is going to put up those mills ; and on that ground alone, great credit is due to the promoters of this Bill, despite the fact that they are asking for such extensive powers around the Bay of Seven Islands.
It is well known that there are large deposits of magnetic iron ore all along the Moisie river, and that, many years ago, those deposits were worked by Mr. Molson, of Montreal ; but, for the want of transportation facilities, that mining enterprise had to be discontinued. But now, there are many chances of that industry being revived and put on a paying basis.
Some hon. gentlemen object to granting the company the power of carrying on the business of farming and stock-raising. I do not think such objection can be raised in the interest of the settlers. If I understand aright the Bill now before the House, it does not encroach upon the rights of the provincial legislature in that respect.
Now, as long as the provincial law governing the sale of lands is enforced, there is no danger of a monoply being granted, or of this company coming into conflict with the agricultural interests. With the bad record they have been building up for the north shore, which has been described as a barren wilderness, altogether unfit for farming purposes, surely, if this company were not to go into that territory and attempt to carry on a farming business, no private individual, unless he could dispose of unlimited resources, could ever dream of making the attempt. On the contrary,
should the company succeed in its operations, and should its venture be attended with paying results from a farming standpoint, other settlers would undoubtedly follow in its footsteps. As I remarked a little while ago, from the reports of the Crown Lands Department of the province of Quebec, we gather that around the Bay of Seven Islands, there are agricultural lands enough for two parishes to be carved out of them. But that territory is inaccessible except by water in the summer season. Now, the company which is seeking incorporation from this parliament intends to provide communications for the carriage of its agricultural and other products. On the other hand, such settlers as may go into that country will have a considerable market at their door, for the sale of their products, as they will have to supply the wants of all the workingmen in the employ of the company.
I do not think that the powers this company is asking for, extensive as they are, can come into conflict with the interests of the district. Should there toe a monoply, the action of that monopoly would be restricted to the territory to the east of the Saguenay river, which is included in the county which I represent here. I have no hesitation in saying that the people down in the Saguenay region will only be too glad to welcome that monopoly ; the more so as, with the exception of Escoumains and Man-icouagan there is no manufacturing industry at all in that district. As this company is willing to invest its capital down there, it ought to be encouraged to the fullest extent, and we ought to give the people all the necessary powers. Should their venture prove successful, other capitalists are likely to go into that district and invest their money in other manufacturing industries ; for there are many other water powers that could be operated in portions of the country which have not yet been granted.
On these several grounds, I hope that the objections raised may be waived, and that the company will be granted the charter it is seeking from this parliament. From the granting of this charter and the exercise of the powers asked for, there is no danger to be feared from the standpoint of the agricultural interests ; whereas from the standpoint of the manufacturing interests it cannot be fairly claimed that a monopoly is being created.

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