This is a very familiar question to me and one on which I have been expressing opinions for the last twenty years in and out of this House. For many years I found it difficult to get anyone to appreciate the great importance of the question, because we were not then faced with the prospect of embargoes on our importation of anthracite coal from the United States; we could get it in abundance, and therefore it was difficult to impress on the people of Ontario and Quebec the desirability of our being independent in every respect, particularly in regard to our coal supply.
It is rather disappointing to me to hear the suggestions made that after' helping to develop the hard coal deposits of the United States, and now having reached the stage when we may be denied any further supplies of their anthracite, we should start in to develop their soft coal and continue our dependence for our fuel upon a foreign nation. No doubt they are a very friendly people and quite willing to deal with us while we have the money to pay for the coal they send, us, but the day may come when we will be thrown back on our own fuel resources, and then I am confident we shall regret the extent to which we have neglected to develop our own coal deposits.
Our transportation facilities-our railways and canals-are built with the idea of developing our trade east and west. Now, is it not the sane and proper course for us to utilize these instruments of transportation to meet the necessities of our people, particularly in the matter of fuel supply? I was very much disappointed with the figures given by the hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) in regard to the limited production of coal in Nova Scotia. It will be readily understood that
Supply-Trade and Commerce
every business man has to limit his production or output to his market. That is the situation in the Nova Scotia coal-fields. We have unlimited quantities of coal under ground, but our market is limited; we can sell only 7,000,000 or 8,000,000 tons a year, and consequently the output is limited. But if we can assure the coal owners of Nova Scotia of a bigger market it will be no trouble for them to double their output. Many of the mines now open are only working single shift. With the demand doubled it will be no trouble for those mines to work double shift and produce double their present output, and if this supply is not sufficient to meet the fuel requirements of Ontario and Quebec, more mines can be opened. So hon. members will see that Nova Scotia can produce as much coal as may be required to meet thefuel demands of Ontario and Quebec or of any other part of Canada. We have in Nova Scotia limitless quanities of coal at tidewater, capable of being transported to any part of this country. But those who have invested money in that business are looking for a proper return from what they have put into it, and it is up to the business men of Ontario and Quebec, and up to the government, so far as they can help in that direction, to arrive at some method by which this coal can be brought into the central provinces and used to meet the needs of the people in the matter of fuel.
A good deal has been said about briquetting. We have passed the experimental stage of briquetting in Nova Scotia. We have briquetted coal; it is a splendid fuel of which hundreds of thousands of tons can be produced in our province if there is a market for it. I imagine it is just as good a fuel as anthracite, particularly in open fire-places; it makes a more cheerful fire, being more like wood fire than anything you can get by using anthracite. We have also passed the experimental stage so far as coking is concerned; we have coked hundreds of thousands of tons of coal, and the product thus obtained has been used in the different cities of Ontario and Quebec with highly satisfactory results. This question is one of the most important that the House has had to discuss, and being an old coal miner myself, I am glad to have this opportunity of saying something with regard to it, particularly with regard to our coal in Nova Scotia. There is talk of having coal shipped to Montreal, and there converted into coke. What is the matter with converting it into coke at the pit mouth? If there is danger from ignition in the yarding of large quantities of coal, that danger does not exist in con-51
nection with coke. In the process of making coke the sulphur is removed and it can be piled mountains high without any difficulty on that score. We should all stand up, more or less selfishly, for the development to the fullest extent of the resources of our own country, and you will pardon me, I am sure, if I express the ambition we have that our coal should be converted into coke in the part of the country in which it is produced, thus giving our people the advantage of that further development. Coke is much lighter than coal; very much larger quantities of it can be carried by water, and the units of heat in your cargo will be much greater than if coal is carried. I suggest, therefore, that the manufactured article rather than the raw coal, be transported and yarded at different centres. Then you will have a fuel suitable for any use, whether for furnaces or for stoves, for heating or for cooking. I am sorry to appear as if I were delaying the estimates of the minister, but this is a very important subject, and I am glad to have an opportunity to express my views upon it. We cannot too soon be independent of outside countries for such a necessity of life as our fuel supply.
Topic: PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic: SECOND READINGS