attention of tlie House to this important ' question. I do not think there has been a matter brought before the House this ses- ; sion of more importance than this question of transportation ; and in congratulating the hon. gentleman upon having brought it to our attention, I wish I could also compliment him upon the accuracy of his statement of the case. But, I regret to say, he made many grievous mistakes. There were many causes operating against the removal of grain to Montreal last year on which he did not even touch. And 1 am quite sure that when these exceptional causes are brought before the House, hon. members will at once understand why there was not more grain brought down the St. Lawrence last year.
I confess that I read the motion of the hon. gentleman with some degree of doubt, because I could not quite see what it was intended to cover. He says that it is now time this government should state its policy in this matter. But I do not think that the government has ever withheld from this House the policy it was intending to pursue. The government has acted upon the policy that every possible avenue that could be utilized for the transportation of grain and other produce, not only from our own great North-west, but also from the north-western states, should be taken advantage of and improved, and I do not care whether those improvements are confined to water navigation alone or extended to a combination of water and rail. We all know that if we depend simply on our water navigation, we will be shut off during the winter months from a very large supply of grain, and,
. therefore, it is desirable that we should make provision ahead by establishing large storehouses at different points. My hon. colleague, the Minister of Railways and Canals, was fully justified in the large expenditure he undertook at Port Colborne. To use the hon. gentleman's own argument, we will be able to bring to Port Colborne steamers drawing 20 feet of water and carrying grain to the extent of 200,000 bushels, and certainly 150,000 bushels, and that grain can be transhipped thence in barges and steamers, not merely carrying 45,000 bushels, as mentioned by the hon. member for Bast Simeoe (Mr. Bennett), but 200,000 bushels, for I maintain that a steamer and two consorts can bring down from Port Colborne
200,000 bushels, and even more. As I figure it out, two barges and a steamer would be able to bring 210,000 bushels from Port Colborne, and we have been told by a most reputable and trustworthy shipbuilder in the west, that that will prove the most economical way of moving grain from Port Colborne or Port Arthur or Duluth or any other point to the seaboard.
The hon. member for Bast Simeoe dwelt at considerable length on what the port of Buffalo has done. But how has Buffalo managed to do what it has accomplished ?
That port obtained command of the grain trade simply through our supineness in years gone by. While we made the Sault Ste. Marie canal 20 to 22 feet deep, and the Welland canal 14 feet deep, when the grain got into Lake Ontario it was shut out from the St. Lawrence canal, because our locks and canals there would not carry vessels drawing 10 feet of water. The greatest draught that could get through the St. Lawrence canals was about 6, 7 or 8 feet, and, under the most favourable conditions, never more than 8 feet. What, therefore, are we doing '! We passed through our ' Soo ' canal 4 000,000 tons of American shipping the year before last entirely free of toll, and then gave it to Buffalo. Why ? Because there was no other place to receive it. Therefore, the government took in hand the work at Port Colborne, in order that that port might accommodate these large steamers, even as large as 6,000 tons, and from there the grain would be reshipped to Montreal, or Quebec or elsewhere. The hon. gentleman laid great stress on the probability of our killing the trade of Kingston and Prescott and other places by these improvements at Port Colborne. But he is not able to see far enough. If we are to get any proportion of our western trade, we shall have a trade not only for our Welland canal and our water navigation-which, I believe, will in the main be the most economical way of moving our crops-but it is probable that our railways will be utilized in order to bring the grain through much quicker, even though it cost a little more. But, as regards the bulk of the grain, I believe there are no advantages on the American side over our St. Lawrence and great lakes. We should not belittle our advantages, but should instead show to the people of the whole continent that our ports of Montreal and Quebec will not only be national ports, but great international ports for the transhipment of grain in ocean steamers, and also for the , transhipment of products from England to the far west.
The hon. gentleman also laid some stress upon the quantity of grain that could be carried through our canals to Montreal, and very much underrated it. He said that no : vessel had brought more than 45,000 bushels through last yaer.
Subtopic: TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.