William ROCHE

ROCHE, The Hon. William

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Halifax (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
February 11, 1842
Deceased Date
October 19, 1925
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Roche_(Nova_Scotia_politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=66f24c0b-9975-4c28-8bd5-e438a2f34e89&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
merchant, passenger agent

Parliamentary Career

November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
LIB
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
LIB
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)
January 12, 1910 - September 17, 1908
LIB
  Halifax (Nova Scotia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 298 of 299)


March 21, 1901

Mr. ROCHE (Halifax).

I believe in the Liberal policy and I believe that that policy wisely administered along the lines of the natural resources of our country, will tend to great and lasting prosperity. I believe that our country under Liberal rule will go on in its career of progress and will become a valuable component of the British Empire. I believe that British statesmen and the British people will have confidence in our Canadian statesmen and in their policy, and that united hand in hand we will go forward in our great career of progress, peace and prosperity.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
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March 6, 1901

Mr. WM. ROCHE (Halifax).

I shall not say much on this subject, because I do not profess to have that intimate knowledge of the internal transportation of grain which some hon. gentlemen opposite seem to have, and which every person ought to have in dealing with a subject of this nature. But I am encouraged by the remarks that have fallen from some hon. gentlemen in this

House wlio have made long and strong arguments containing the scantiest modicum of intelligence on the subject. Now, *Mr. Speaker, if there is any subject which the Liberal-Conservative party placed before the inhabitants of Nova Scotia and of the lower provinces generally, it was the prospect that by means of the railway system of Canada, and by means of the improved transportation, our ports would be made the point of shipment for immense quantities of produce from the west on the way to Europe. If I understood the argument of the hon. member for Simcoe it was that the quantity transported by water and by rail to the port of Montreal this year was very much less than in previous years, and from that fact he deduced the ' argument that the means which the government had provided for transporting the grain were not successful, were not proper. Now, I have been led to understand that there was less grain produced in the North-west during the past year than in previous years, and that would account for the fact that less grain was shipped from the port of Montreal, and therefore the long and laboured argument of the hon. gentleman directed against the government would fall to the ground.

Moreover, the hon. gentleman must know that tlie carriage by steamers of different kinds on the lakes does not cover the whole transportation question. He should be able to tell us what proportion the cost of lake carriage bears to the cost of the transportation of grain between the terminal points, that is to say, between the point of production in the west and the point of shipment in the east, wherever that may be. The small cost on a portion of the route may be balanced by advantages on the longer portion of the route, and that would destroy the value of the hon. gentleman's argument. I do not know what the exact amount of toll is between the point of production and Buffalo, or those other ports on the lakes. But there are other considerations, after the grain has reached the place of shipment, and those considerations are connected with the question of Atlantic navigation. We have heard something this afternoon about the tempestuous character of navigation on the lakes, that vessels cannot navigate the lakes with masts. Well, Sir, do modern vessels navigate the great Atlantic ocean with masts ? The great steamers on the Atlantic all dispense with their masts, they do not depend upon sails at all. but entirely upon steam power. Now, if large vessels are to be employed to carry this grain after it has reached the point of shipment, the larger the vessel employed on the longer portion of the route the greater will be the profit of the shipper. I say there is no port in Canada, there is no port in the United States, there is no port in the western world, which affords better

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
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March 6, 1901

Mr. ROCHE (Halifax).

facilities for the shipment of grain across the Atlantic than the port of Halifax.

Perhaps some hon. gentleman may think that I am an amateur on this subject, as some sceptical people thought the other day that I was an amateur on the subject of farming. I know something about the subject of navigation also. Into the port at Halifax there come the largest steamers in the world. I was on board two of the largest steamers in the world in Halifax, one the steamer Pennsylvania, of the Ham-burg-American line. This, the largest ship in the world, came into Halifax without a pilot, and the captain turned her around himself, under my direction, and went out again without a pilot, showing the superior navigating facilities of that port. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is this point, and it is the solution of this question of navigation : We know that the tramp steamers, those that carry the grain in bulk, and nothing else, are the vehicles of communication which make the rates on grain. You cannot bring them up to Quebec or to Montreal in the winter time. They go to ports in the United States because the grain is collected there for them, and they go to those ports in ballast. What is the great difficulty of winter navigation ? It is that these ships have to come out from England or continental points empty, and that is the great difficulty of winter navigation, as the captains tell me. I only repeat what a number of them have told me. They say : We can get no cargo to bring out to United States ports, and we have to depend on the back freight to make the enterprise pay. Here is the solution of it : Bring out the western trade, bring out the freight from England and other ports to Halifax in these steamers and the whole question is solved. You will have back freights which will reduce the rate on grain one-third or one-half, and there is no other port in Canada to which you can bring those back freights. What about the winter navigation of the St. Lawrence ? Did they not try to run a steamer from Paspebiac to Europe, and what was the report we got ? Steamer still in sight, still in the ice ; a week later, relief steamer gone out, steamer still in the ice ; at the end of a month, steamer still in the ice, steamer in sight, and relief steamer in the ice. They will always be in the ice, and they will always remain there while the St. Lawrence goes out, while the Arctic ocean is to the north, and while the Atlantic is beyond. Hon. gentlemen may talk about intermediate points upon the lakes, about one point on Lake Erie and another point on Lake Ontario, but the only solution is to get down to deep water on the Atlantic. Political parties have been trifling with the question all along. An hon. gentleman said that there was an elevator at Halifax. There was an elevator at Halifax, and grain was shipped through that elevator, but

through the carelessness of the Conservative party the elevator was burned down. There is an elevator at Halifax now, a beautiful, capacious elevator, with every facility adapted to the movement of grain. It only requires the grain to be brought there when the superior advantages of the port of Halifax will be at once demonstrated. What keeps it back 1 Why is not the experiment made ? Is it the timidity of the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals, or is it owing to the lack of rolling stock to transport the grain which is ready to go over the railway ? I am told it is the absence of rolling stock, the paucity of locomotives, and a great many other detrimental circumstances which prevented the experiment being tried.

In regard to insurance upon the St. Lawrence, I may say that amongst my other qualifications, I was 21 years in an insurance office, and I know that the insurance companies who want to make money very shrewdly conjecture where the risk is which calls for these high premiums, and they know that the navigation of the channel of the St. Lawrence from the month of October is very dangerous. In the summertime, with a certain depth of water, the St. Lawrence is good enough, but for all seasons of the year, for all depths of water and all sorts of tonnage, there is no port in the world, certainly not on the western hemisphere, that can compare with the port of Halifax. There is another rival springing up, and a rival with which the St. Lawrence will have to struggle, perhaps in the summer time, perhaps in the winter time. I am informed by the captains of these ships which carry grain, that desperate efforts are being made to make New Orleans the terminus of the grain-carrying trade, and that the navigation of the Mississippi is going to be the great rival of the St. Lawrence. They have prepared their elevators, they have a variety of products to give a variety of cargoes, and they believe that they can successfully compete with any means of communication possessed by us ; but, in the meantime, until the question of these rival ports is settled, we must have some outlet for the trade of Canada, and the problem will not be successfully solved except by means of back freights from Europe, which will lessen the rates of freight, coupled with the use of the free port of Halifax, with all those facilities which are necessary to enable the produce to be handled at a cheap rate, and which will prevent the trade from going by any other route.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
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March 5, 1901

Mr. ROCHE (Halifax).

I may inform the hon. gentleman that this is the company which laid the old Atlantic cable.

Topic:   THE PACIFIC CABLE.
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February 28, 1901

Sir. ROCHE (Halifax).

Topic:   MONEY-LENDERS.
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