August 21, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Charles Marcil


Mr. MARCIL (Bonaventure).

Railway stretched its road through Nipis-sing and Algoma, those districts were a wilderness. Look at them to-day ; look at Nipissing, look at Algoma. We wish to repeat along the line of this new transcontinental railway what has been done in Nipissing and Algoma. We want to retain in Canada the citizen of the province of Quebec, because he loves his native country. It is his native soil, in which is to be found everything he cherishes, and in which he has the liberty and protection of his institutions, in which he has prospered and for which he is willing to live and to die, and to remain, regardless of what may be said and what has been said so often, to the last ditch the most devoted and loyal citizen that Britain has at this time. The opening up of this region from Quebec to Lake Abitibi opens up for us a new area, a new vista. While the old country settler, while the Scotchman, the Irishman, the Englishman and the German will go to Manitoba and the North-west Territories, and take up a farm on the fertile prairie where he can raise a crop in the first year, and where he can make a fortune in five years, the French Canadian habitant will go to the wilderness, he will go into the rough woods, he will go where he will have to cut down the trees, to hew out the timber, and where it will take him twenty years, if necessary, to establish a farm that will be a worthy counterpart of the farm that the European settler will find .in Manitoba and the North-west Territories two years after he goes there. Our people are well qualified for this particular section of the country, and for this particular work. They have proved it abundantly in the past, and I believe that what we are doing to-day is one of the most patriotic works which we can d>
for the future solution of the question of Canadian nationality and British supremacy. There are men in this House to-day who will see in twenty years hence rise cities, towns and villages, rise on the whole course of the new transcontinental railway from Quebec to Winnipeg. We have in that country immense water-powers, we have fertile lands testified to by out missionaries, by our explorers, and by all who have travelled through that country. We have magnificent wood of all kinds. We have pulpwood, from which we will in twenty years supply the whole British Empire. We have all the conditions that are necessary to the doubling in our own lifetime of the population of the province of Quebec, and what will he done in the province of Quebec will be done in the province of Ontario. And what we have done in Quebec will, be done in Ontario, but I am speaking now more specially of the province of Quebec. The government of Ontario has realized its duty in that regard. The Temiscamingue Railway which is now building is the first stage towards the invasion of that northern

country. We wish in a word to open up Canada. We wish to develop its area; we wish to keep our people at home. We do not wish to meet young Canadians full of brawn and sinew, men of energy, who tell us we must go to the United States for our living; we must go to the United States for our work. We must find work for them in Canada; we want to develop our own resources; we want to make Canada what it should he; we want to put an end to that state of affairs which has existed for so long, when almost as many people from the maritime provinces were found in the United States as remained in the maritime provinces. We want to put an end to the exodus from Quebec which fortunately has stopped during the last five or six years and without saying one word derogatory to the hon. gentleman who has preceded me-the bon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Ganong)-I would say that I was sincerely pained, last night when I saw that hon. gentleman, one of the representatives of New Brunswick, one of the representatives of the people of that province, rise from his seat and blinded by party exigencies and partisan motives, stand up against a project that will be the salvation of New Brunswick. Here is New Brunswick with its magnificent rivers, with its splendid lumber, with its splendid soil, with its population drawn from the old United Empire Loyalist stock, second to none in Canada, second to none in the world. Here New Brunswick for the last twenty years has been going back and back and losing population. We shall pass in a few days in this House a law which shall deprive New Brunswick of another of her representatives. Is it not time for the people and the representatives of that province to rise to the exigencies of the hour 7 I was sorry to see the position that the hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Ganong) took, but the position he took was the natural sequence of the ideas that unfortunately prevail on the other side of the House. He was willing it is true to have a railway through New Brunswick but that railway would have to go to St. Andrews and it should not go to Moncton; that was the qualification which he placed upon it. Mr. Speaker, I represent a portion of Gaspesia. The transcontinental railway is not going to Gaspesia. It is a country which has been deprived of railways for many years. We have in the peninsula 10,000 square miles. We have there at the present time 75,000 people, 25,000 in Gasp6, 25,000 in Bonaven-ture and 25,000 in Matane-75,000 people and practically we are without railways. There are none in Matane none in Gaspe and a limping bankrupt railway in Bonaventure. In the name of the old settlers of the Gas-pesian peninsula, they who have contributed their mite and their share to the building of railways all through Canada, I am willing to come forward now to support this scheme because I feel that it is to the general advantage of Canada. Now, Mr. Speaker, if I were to take the position in this House that was taken last evening by the member for Charlotte, and would have to go back to my people and re d r an account of my stewardship, I would be ashamed to show my face because the people in that part of the country realize that the advancement and progress of Canada can only be assured by the construction of railways. The railway is the modern agency; the railway is the modern level-. Blighted is the country without railways. Blighted is the country through which the shrill cry of the locomotive is not heard. There Is no part of Canada which has not been benefited by a railway; lines have been duplicated between Montreal and Ottawa. They have been duplicated in every part of Ontario. In the western peninsula of Ontario the saying is that you cannot go ten miles in any direction without striking a railway. The result of that is that Ontario and especially the western peninsula of Ontario has become one of the most fertile, one of the most prosperous parts of Canada. We wish to do for other parts of Canada what railways have done there; we wish to increase our territory, and to develop it to the best of our knowledge.
The part of the scheme to which I wish to refer more especially now is that extend ng from the city of Quebec to the city of Moncton because it traverses the part of Canada from which I come. That portion of the road has been greatly criticised, and still it is but a small part of the undertaking, it is a small part; but it is a necessary part. From all time we have heard from experienced men that the port of Quebec was beyond peradventure the great port of Canada, but the port of Quebec unfortunately is closed for some months in the year. The port of Quebec stands second to none in the world during the summer time. You have there a magnificent frontage from Pointe-d-Carcy up to the new Quebec bridge that is building, a frontage of ten or twelve miles, one of the finest harbours you could find anywhere. We are ^bringing this transcontinental railway to Quebec; we are bringing it back to the point from which civilization started in this country, from which the colonization movement began in this country. We are coming back from the portals of the west and of the new land, back to the city of Quebec from which the original explorers of this continent started. We are coming back with the modern locomotive to the rock of Champlain and Montcalm from which the explorers left in bark canoes to cover this continent from end to end. We are as the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) has said, bringing back to Quebec that which Quebec gave to this continent, but unfortunately our climatic conditions are such that we can concentrate the trade of Canada at Quebec for only seven or eight months of the year. We have to find an out-

let for the other months. There is one thing we might have done. We might have been satisfied with the Intercolonial Railway, we might have continued to accumulate deficit upon deficit as did the Conservative party for twenty years, losing probably $500,000 a year. Is there any Canadian in Canada who is not satisfied that the Intercolonial Railway can never be a commercial success 7 Has that not been demonstrated by thirty years of experience 1 Is there any railway man in Canada or out of Canada who will contend that a road which has to cover 700 miles when only 400 need be covered will ever be a success ?
Why should we continue any longer to struggle against nature, to struggle against distance when the Gordian knot can be cut and the problem solved 1 I have not a word to say against the construction of the Intercolonial Railway where it was constructed; at the time it was necessary. The .population of New Brunswick, the population of Quebec, lived along the shores of the St. Lawrence and along the shores of the Baie des Chaleurs. It had not yet penetrated into the interior of New Brunswick or the province of Quebec, but those days are long since gone by. The original settlements which were stretched along the St. Lawrence have now extended to the Maine frontier and beyond the Blaine frontier and are invading the United States. We wish therefore to open up the rear portion of Quebec along the state of Blaine. We do not wish the Canadians who live there and who have lived there for many long years to have to drive 25, 30, 40 and 50 miles to reach a railway station in this modern age of progress in Canada. That is the reason therefore, Mr. Speaker, why this new line is being built; to benefit materially seven or eight constituencies immediately concerned.
There are constituencies in that district represented in this House by Conservative members, and I am interested to know what position those members will take if they undertake to give expression to the feeling that prevails in that district. From there the railway crosses Qie province of New Brunswick. The exact line has not yet been defined; but we can trust to the engineers and surveyors to lay it out properly. The distance to our winter ports will be cut down by at least 100 miles, which is a great gain. From Bloncton to Halifax the road will be doubled tracked, the distance to St. .Tolin will be made much shorter than it is, and we shall have at last a through railway bringing the products of Canada to the winter ports of Canada. Why should we stop at North Bay, and be content that Canada should have some of the western traffic during six months of the year, and lose the whole of it during the other six months ? We know that during the summer time a great deal of the traffic goes by the canals and the railways to Montreal, but that in the winter time the whole of it Mr. MARCH, (Bonaventure).
goes to Portland, Boston and New York. We have constructed elevators at Halifax for the Intercolonial, in the hope of filling them with grain, but they have remained empty. We have spent money to improve the sendee at St. John ; but the task has been beyond us, because we are struggling against nature and against distance, like a man struggling against the current. We want to solve this problem once and for all by taking the shortest and most direct route to the maritime provinces after the port of Quebec is closed, and the proposed railway will take it. We want the people of the maritime provinces to know that they are still part and parcel of this Dominion. We want them to help us to build up our country, and to share in any benefits that may come to the country.
But there is another feature of the scheme which lias been overlooked by our Conservative friends and by the lion. ex-Blinister of Railways and Canals (Hon. BIr. Blair). The hon. gentleman seems to have conveyed to the members of this House the idea that has prevailed for many years that the Intercolonial Railway was built solely for the purpose of connecting the maritime provinces with the old provinces of Canada, and that the sole object of the management of that railway was to see in how short a time a train could be rushed from Halifax to Quebec aud Blontreal. In the Blatapedia valley, in my own constituency, we have Intercolonial trains running at the rate of forty or fifty miles an hour during the night, and stopping at only two or three stations in a run of 100 miles. Thirty years of experience have demonstrated that the Intercolonial Railway as a through line has been a dead failure, and that it should be used for other purposes. Speaking in the name of the people who inhabit that district, I say that we want the Intercolonial to be used for the benefit of the district through which it runs. We want to abandon this phantom race, this attempt to make time and to cover endless distances uselessly. We want the Intercolonial Railway to benefit the district through which it runs. The main line of the Intercolonial Railway is about 837 miles in length, and it has about 500 miles of branches in different parts of the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Hon. members would not probably imagine, but the fact is, that we have not one mile of branch line or of feeders to the Intercolonial Railway in the province of Quebec, although we have more of the main line in the province of Quebec than there is in the maritime provinces. The distance from Blatapedia to Blontreal is 452 miles, which is greater than the distance from Blatapedia to Halifax. We want, therefore, to use this short line which we are about to build for the purpose of local and through-traffic, and we want to utilize the Intercolonial Railway for the development of local and through-traffic where

it can be found. In the Gaspesia peninsula there are at the present time
75.000 people. Build the Matane Railway from St. Octave to Metis, to Matane and ultimately to the Gnspe Basin, assist in completing the Atlantic and Bake Superior Railway, on which $1,600,000 of the public money of this country has been wasted ; assist it to reach the Gaspe Basin, and to secure at once the traffic of a peninsula of
12.000 square miles, rich in fisheries, rich in farming lands, rich in puljf wood. You have there a local traffic which will more than duplicate any through-traffic which you may obtain for the Intercolonial Railway. Build the short line from Fraserville to Matapedia and open up over 100 miles of splendiu country in Temiscouata, ltimouski and Bona venture. Mr. Speaker, that is the first condition that should not be overlooked. Then, the Intercolonial Railway has been brought by the Liberal party up to its present state of efficiency. It is now a railway second to none on the American continent. Its bridges have been strengthened and improved, and some of them have been replaced by new ones. The steel rails have been replaced by larger ones ; the whole roadbed is in prime condition ; and the equipment of the line is in first-class order. It no longer stops at Levis, but runs to the city of Montreal, where it has a binding agreement with the Grand Trunk Railway for 99 years for the transfer of traffic. The future of the Intercolonial Railway is assured. But are we to rest satisfied with what our fathers did thirty or thirty-five years- ago ? We want to improve on their work. We waiit to develop that portion of the country through which the Intercolonial Railway passes. We built the eastern extension to Sydney and to Cape Breton when there were not 100,000 people in the whole of Cape Breton. We have now 75,000 in the Gaspesia peninsula without any railway at all. Develop that district. Develop the whole district along the south shore of the St. Lawrence, where you will find lumber mills and other industries every few miles, as well as on the north shore of the Baie des Chaleurs. At present the peninsula of Gaspesia is a terra incognita to us, almost as much as the far-off regions of Canada. We have had a government railroad running through that country, but making no attempt to increase the local traffic or to develop the resources of the country, whether in agriculture, fisheries or anything else. We have had encouragement from the present government towards that end, but I hope that this House will realize that the Intercolonial Railway, when it was built, had not for its sole object the connecting of the maritime provinces with the old provinces of Canada, but that it was also the intention of the men who built it, that it should benefit the country through which it runs. That can be done, and done easily, and I know that the government of the day,
and any other government that has at heart the interest of eastern Quebec and of western New Brnnswick, will see that what can t>e done in that direction shall be done. The traffic of the Intercolonial Railway is now $6,500,000, of which only one million is through-traffic, and our local traffic could be doubled within the next five years if means were taken to develop it and if all our -energies be not bent on running fast through trains over the road. I intended to give some facts and figures in connnec-tion with the local traffic, but as these were laid before the House yesterday by my hon. friend from Cumberland (Mr. Logan) I shall not take up the time of the House by doing so.
I am in favour of this transcontinental road because it is going to open up all parts of Canada, because it is going to develop new regions, because it will bring the west closer to the east. I am iu favour of it, further, because it will develop the province in which I am more particularly interested, and also because it will give expression to the national aspirations and ambitions of the Canadian people. On the threshold of this twentieth centivy, with the portals of the future opening broadly before us, this, is not the time for a sturdy young nation like ours to hesitate in her march of progress. This is the time for us to be up and doing, and I believe that every man who casts his vote in favour of this measure will have reason in after years to feel proud of what he has done. He will realize that he did something to break down provincial barriers and prejudices, to bring the various provinces nearer together, and to hasten the advent of that day when a citizen of the province of Quebec can go to Fort Simpson and feel that he is still in his own home. I shall not, like the hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Osier), look merely at the mercenary side of the question. I shall not stop to calculate what the extent of our dividends may be or the amount of our earnings. A government which is worthy of its mission, has other things to do than earn dividends. It does not exist for that purpose It exists for the purpose of advancing the interests of the country confided to it, and there is .no project which cau be laid before this House which would do half as much for Canada as this will. It can no longer be said that the Liberal party is nothing but a party of critics who spent their time criticising the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Liberal party, Sir, in the days when that great transcontinental railway was being pro-' looted, were not opposed to the idea, but to the methods employed. There, were no more patriotic Canadians than the Dorions, the Blakes, the Haltons, and our present leader, who took part in the debate on the Canadian Pacific Railway project. AA'hnt the Liberal party is now doing is to give expression to the wishes of the Canadian

people. It is putting another entrenched camp in British North America. Our present transcontinental system is within twenty-four hours' inarch of any American army which would invade this country, but by the projected system we shall be able, in case of necessity, to maintain our communications from ocean to ocean, which we cannot do at present. Ask the Minister of Militia what would happen between North Bay and Winnipeg if difficulties should intervene. Who would guard that immense territory to the north of Bake Superior, that hinterland which divides eastern from western Canada ? But once build this new railway, open up that northern region to the children of our soil, let the Canadians from our eastern provinces invade it, let them know that it is their home, and we shall have nothing to fear. We shall see then in that country what Martha Craig so graphically described in Western Ontario. Martha Craig uses these eloquent words:
On either side, from the placid chore to the foothills of the protecting mountains, stretched fertile lands on which hundreds of thousands of fruit trees flourish. In this earthly paradise live a happy, rich and prosperous people. As we wander through the orchards in the springtime and inhale the delightful perfume of the breezes laden with drifts of apple blossoms, we can hardly realize that a hundred years ago this fertile land was a trackless forest, rhe abode of the Indian and the savage beast. But the hand of time has worked this transformation, using as its instruments the energy end perseverance of the Saxon. Those men who have made the wilderness blossom as the lose are true heroes. Theirs was not one dash of bravery and then victory. No, the battle they fought was waged from day to day from year to year, in heat and cold, without flinching and without, turning back. These are true noblemen and heroes that all men delight to honour.
Those are the men we should imitate. It is in the fields of peace, of human activity, that we must use the energies of our young Canadian nation, and if the time should ever come when we must shoulder the musket, Canadians will be found ready to answer the call. But militarism is not the idea which we must foster in this country. What we require to develop are the arts of peace, and we can never do so more effectively than by putting through this measure, which will double the present inhabited area of Canada, almost double its resources, and unite our provinces in one great and happy land.

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