April 25, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Pius Michaud


Mr. PIUS MICHAUD (Victoria, N.B.):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say just a few words with reference to the management of the Intercolonial railway, confining myself to the operation of the Transcontinental railway. I am aware of a great many facts, because I live by the side of this railway and I know what is going on. I can assure the Minister of Railways that during the last six months, not one week has passed without a wreck taking place on that line between Levis and Moncton. I know as a fact that one day there were three trains wrecked on the west side of Edmund-ston and two between Edmundston and Moncton. I am giving these facts because I am aware that the minister is not informed of what is going on so far as this particular branch of the Transcontinental is concerned, I am sorry that the hon. minister has not been properly informed in regard to the management of this railway during the last few months. The people in that section have refused to ship their goods along that line because they never reach their destination. Let me cite an example. Not very long ago a carload of wheat was shipped along that line. There was a big wreck between Moncton and Edmundston and eight cars went into the ditch; the car loaded with wheat opened up, and the wheat scattered all along the track. I have already drawn the attention of my hon. friend to the condition of the road-bed of this particular railroad, and I hope he will take my remarks into consideration, because in a few months from now this railroad will not be able to be operated. There are a great many people working as employees of that railroad between Moncton and Levis. We were accused this afternoon by the hon. member for Rimouski (Mr. Boulay) because people from New Brunswick were working in the province of Quebec. So far as the operation of the railroad is concerned, it is not only the people from one particular province who have the say in the matter; it is the people of Canada. I know a great many of our employees are from the prov-[Mr. Turseon.l
ince of Quebec and are now residing in the province of New Brunswick, but we find no fault except that we like to receive our proper share so far as the number of employees on the road is concerned. The Minister of Customs has said this afternoon that if we are short of good men we can go into the province of Ontario and get competent employees there. We have one good man from Ontario, that is the Minister of Railways. I am sorry he has not 'been well for the last year or two, but we are glad to see him back in good health. I trust he will see his way clear to appoint people from his own province if he cannot find men in the lower provinces, and that he will not go too often to the United States for employees, because I am sure Canada produces as good railway employees as any other country in the world.
I wish to draw the attention of the minister to the International railway connecting St. Leonard and Campbellton, in the province of New Brunswick. I happened to travel on that road last year and this year, and if I told my hon. friend what I saw in a day or two he would be very much surprised. There are water tanks all along that line of railway which have been frozen since last December, so that they cannot be used until the warmer weather comes, and in the meantime a pumping system has been installed. The men are digging holes along the brooks and rivers and connecting the engine by hose with the water in the brook or river and pumping it in. It takes about two hours to fill up an engine, and while the employees are not to blame because they are paid for their extra time, the travelling public have to suffer on account of the delay in filling up the engine with water. I would like the minister to take this matter into consideration. There are no dining cars and no sleepers on that train, and during last year it never arrived on time. It is due at St. Leonards at 4.20 p.m. to connect with the Canadian Pacific railway and the Transcontinental. The public are getting tired of the management because they have not the proper accommodation, and they are not getting their goods shipped to their points of destination. They have to travel by train because there are no highways between the two places I have mentioned, and they are punished by having to travel on that railroad. There is some talk about the Government taking over all the railways of Canada. From my experience during the last year or two, I think it would be the most unfortunate thing if the Dominion of Canada or the

Government were to take hold of any branch railway. I had a great admiration for the Minister of Railways some time ago, when he mentioned to me that it was his intention to buy out many branch lines of railway; he was sincere in his statement, but the people of New Brunswick are no longer anxious to see the Government operating any branch lines as feeders for the Intercolonial railway. We have had very bad management and we do not wish any more branch lines to be bought by the Government.
In conclusion, I hope my hon. friend will consider the operation of the International railway and of the Transcontinental between Levis and Moncton. The people along the line travel as little as they can because they never reach their destination at the proper time, the trains being slow in leaving and late in arriving at destination. I wish'my hon. friend would take up the idea of running an express between St. Leonard and Campbellton some time next month. He should give us an opportunity to prove that if we had an express between these two places we could make it pay very well.

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