Andrew George BLAIR

BLAIR, The Hon. Andrew George, P.C., K.C.

Personal Data

City of St. John (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
March 7, 1844
Deceased Date
January 25, 1907
lawyer, lecturer

Parliamentary Career

August 25, 1896 - October 9, 1900
  Sunbury--Queen's (New Brunswick)
  • Minister of Railways and Canals (July 20, 1896 - July 20, 1903)
November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
  City of St. John (New Brunswick)
  • Minister of Railways and Canals (July 20, 1896 - July 20, 1903)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 40 of 41)

March 6, 1901


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.

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March 4, 1901

1. Hogan & Macdonald.

2. $395,000. M. J. Hogan, 114 Metcalfe Avenue, A. R. Macdonell, Westmount, Montreal.

3. The Kunkin Bros., Construction Co., Cleveland, Ohio $447,399 80

W. J. Pourpore and M.

McAuliff, Montreal. . . 475,000 00 H. T. Dunbar, Port Colborne

532,237 93Mann, Simpson & Turner, Montreal

553,600 00Geo. Goodwin, Ottawa. . 631,000 00

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February 26, 1901


I regret to say that my experience convinces me that with regard to the motion I intend to move, and the reasons that impel me to move it, the House would, to some extent, be taken by surprise in entering upon a debate on the question this afternoon. Therefore, I think it is better simply to give notice of my indention on the next occasion on which this House is moved into Committee of Supply, to propose in amendment to the motion to go into Supply, the following resolution. And I wish to declare here that in moving that amendment, I expect the government to receive it as a friendly one-that is, one not inspired by any political reasons, and which should not be received as a vote of want of confidence, because if it is moved as an amendment to going into Supply, that is simply because that is the only way of obtaining a fair expression of opinion on a proposition of this kind.

There are many precedents, which the older members of the House may remember, for the course I am taking, which I might quote. I wish, therefore, to announce now that on the next occasion when the motion is made for this House to go into Committee of Supply, I will move this resolution in amendment.

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February 25, 1901


gentleman (Mi-. Monk) that the lists have not been transmitted to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.

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February 21, 1901


Minister of Finance asked the provincial authorities to suspend action on the Bills until he could make inquiries as to their effect, the Dominion government being interested as bondholders of the trust, and the interest on the bonds held by the government being then in default. The matter was referred by his direction to the trust and he was informed by the secretary of the trust that the effect of the Bills would be to diminish the revenues of the trust by some $4,000 or $5,000 a year, and that the trust were opposing the passing of the Bills. In consequence of the representations made by the trust the Bills were dropped and no further action on the part of the Dominion government'was necessary.

5. The trustees named by the government of Canada at the meeting of 12th February, were: Messrs. Paul Galibert, Thomas A.

Trenholme and Charles Meunier.

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