Coming from the north country and being very closely allied with its interests I wish to speak on this question for a few minutes. We who went to northern Ontario before the advent of railroads are thoroughly familiar with its problems. We had hoped in past years that the provincial and the Dominion governments would be the chief agents in developing the great industries of northern Ontario. I was a member of a delegation which interviewed Sir Adam Beck and asked him to get the Hydro Electric Commission to develop power in New Ontario. We were flatly turned down on that occasion. We were told that the Hydro Electric would not undertake the development of power in the north country; it would cost them more than it would cost private interests. At that time we were paying $250 per horsepower in the mines but to-day as a result of development by private interests it costs only from $50 to $60 per horse-power. There would not have been a wheel turned in the north country to-day if it had not been for the ingenuity and the energy of private.interests. I believe that if it were possible the Ontario government and the Dominion authorities should come in and carry on development work; but if they will not do so why should private interests be debarred from doing the necessary development? I say here to-night that there would not have been many mines discovered in northern Ontario if we had relied only on the provincial or federal government. Every mine discovered there has been discovered by a prospector, the pioneer of the north country.
mine was discovered by any. government. Both the Larose and the McKinley-Darragh mines were discovered by prospectors, not by the Whitney government. The provincial government, it is true, sent a prospecting party to co-operate with the prospectors. They also started a property known as the Provincial Mine, but it was not followed up and it turned out to be a dud. Since then the provincial government have entirely abandoned the policy of prospecting the north country; they have left it entirely to the prospectors, who are deserving of credit for the energy and heroism which they have displayed. I want to say another thing for those prospectors. In that country we are greatly indebted to prospectors who go into remote districts and make discoveries, although they have no money and scarcely anything but a grubstake. They have to take in their train a canoe in the summer or a dog-team in the winter. It costs twice the price of the ordinary express on the National Railways. That is what the National Railways do to assist prospecting. It is almost impossible for some of the poor prospectors to take their equipment from Cobalt to a point west of Red lake. Some interest must be shown in the prospectors.
We have attached great importance in past years to the work of the pioneers in agriculture. The agricultural area in our country depends entirely upon the mining area. You cannot send your agricultural products out of our country; the agriculturists have to depend upon the mining people for a market, and mining and agriculture in our part of the country go hand in hand. Since I came to that country more than a hundred thousand people have been brought in. If the government do not intend to do something in this connection they should give private ownership an opportunity. I am not speaking particularly in favour of this railroad or against it, but I am in favour of allowing private enterprise an opportunity of building up a greater northern Canada.