March 15, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG (East Lambton) moved:

That in the opinion of this House, attention be given to the development of the coal resources of Canada, and the delivery of this product at the lowest cost, in order to meet the urgent need for this fuel for manufacturing and domestic uses: and
That a committee composed of members of this House be appointed to investigate our present sources of supply of anthracite and bituminous coal. The dependability of such sources, and whether the prices .paid by the Canadian consumer is fair and reasonable, and to also inquire as to the methods of mining and delivering Canadian coal in the best and cheapest way to all parts of the Dominion, for the purpose of giving employment to our workmen, freight to our transportation companies, and thus effecting a saving of money now spent for this commodity in other countries.

Fuel Supply
He said: Mr. Speaker, the resolution is one that deserves the consideration of every member of this House. There is no question as to the need of the development of our coal resources. Next to the United States, Canada has the largest coal reserves in the world. Their exploitation is in its infancy. The extremes of our east and west have large coal fields. Central Canada, the area where the need of coal is acutely felt, holds the key to the situation. This area, comprising all the province of Ontario and that part of the province of Quebec from the Ontario boundary east to Montreal, is the centre of the Canadian manufacturing and population density. Its main source of fuel for a long time has been the coal fields of the United States, which are nearer to it by rail and water routes than the coal fields of western Canada, or those of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the east. We have only to look for a few minutes at the facts contained in the Statistical Year Book to convince us that the coal mines of Canada contain an unlimited supply of fuel suitable for our needs, and that the only problems to be solved are those of transportation and the regulations governing the mining and handling of this product, including its proper standardization and analysation. The Canada Year Book at page 26 contains the following statement:
Canada's coal resources are only now being exploited to any considerable extent, the estimated total reserves available amounting to one trillion, two hundred and thirty-four billions, two-hundred and sixty-nine million, three hundred and ten thousand metric tons, approximately one sixth of the world's reserve; over eighty-five per cent of the Canadian reserves are in Alberta. The total estimated reserves constitute one-quarter of the amount of coal available in North and South America.
Then again on page 62 this statement appears :
The anomaly of this situation is heightened if we consider that Canada's present coal consumption is about thirty-five million tons annually as against reserves of one trillion, two hundred and thirty-four billion two hundred and eighty nine million metric tons, sufficient for an unthinkably long period at the present rate of consumption. The coal production in 1923 amounted to 16,990,571 tons, valued at $72,058,986, or an average of $4.33 per ton. This represented an increase of 1,833,140 tons or 7.8 per cent in quantity as compared with the previous year. The production was obtained by mines in which were employed on the average of 30,300 men at a wage cost of approximately $42,321,990.
Referring to the production during 1923, Alberta held the first place among the coal-producing provinces with an output of 6,854,397 tons; Nova Scotia followed closely with 6,597,838 tons; the output of coal from the mines of British Columbia and the Yukon

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