The Prime Minister of Canada uttered these significant words in 1924. For six long years the people of the Peace River country and the people of British Columbia, who depend upon those great natural resources have been waiting for the implementing of the words of, at that time, the greatest and most important man in Canada.
Let me go a little further and speak about some other ministers of that day. I refer to the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning), at that time Minister of Railways. As reported on page 2212 of Hansard of 1927, the then Minister of Railways had this to say:
"Mr Dunning: Only a relatively limited
number of the farmers are now a long distance from existing lines of transportation, and the problem is really one of providing a more economical way to the markets of the world.
Then he said that in order to assist in the development and settlement of the Peace River country and to encourage immigrants, the problem is one of providing a more economical outlet to the people already there and within a reasonable distance of the existing lines of railway.
What does the acting Minister of Immigration say? And I am glad to see the minister in his place, because I know he will stand up and say just what he said in 1927. Unfortunately, however, actions speak louder than words. I would have been delighted to see that before to-day he had urged the final solution of the great problem of the Peace River country:
Hon. Charles Stewart: I am a strong
advocate of the outlet to the coast and 1 support the suggestion that there be a survey made with a view to having the route definitely settled, this year if possible.
Thus we find three important _ cabinet members of the government realizing the importance of solving the problem of this great inland empire. If I am to judge tonight of what they have done I must bring in a verdict of disapprobation of their lack of vision and understanding regarding not merely Peace River and British Columbia but Canada as a whole. What a wonderful chance was given to the present government and the Canadian National to solve this problem. The Canadian Pacific, understanding the potentialities of that great country, of its own accord took up the solution of this problem and bought from the Alberta government the railway lines, at what price? At the very price dictated by the Alberta government. What is the inference to be drawn from that? It means that the Canadian Pacific realized the importance of controlling the wonderful wealth of that great territory.
How far have we proceeded towards getting an outlet from the Peace River to the Pacific by the amalgamation of the two great transcontinental railways? I should like to know.
I doubt very much whether the agreement entered into between these two great transcontinental railways is going to solve the problem wihch it was within the power of the present parliament of Canada to settle on its own initiative. What has happened since the agreement between these two great transcontinental railways was made? In September 1929, the Canadian chamber of commerce, representing not merely the whole of Canada, but also the British Empire, England, Scotland and Wales, paid a visit to the Peace River country because of the wonderful stories they had about it's wealth and fertility. Who were the members of the Canadian chambers of commerce who went to the Peace River country in 1929? Whom did they represent and what was the result of their visit to that country? I will briefly mention who were the men and women who comprised the Empire chambers of commerce who visited the Peace River country. It was the largest, the most influential and most representative body of business men and women within the empire. Why did they go in there? Why did they choose in 1929 to spend a week, nay, ten days visiting the Peace River country? The answer is this. Already the fame of that country had gone abroad. What was the result of their visit? I am going to add to the words of the Prime Minister in 1924, of the Minister of Railways and Canals and of the Minister of Immigration and Colonization in 1927, the words of the president of the Canadian chamber of commerce on his return to Calgary from the Peace River country. If I used these words myself I would probably be looked upon as exaggerating, but Mr. Birks, of Montreal, the president of the Canadian chamber of commerce, after visiting the Peace River country from Spirit river to Grande Prairie, to Dawson Creek, Rolla, Beaverlodge, Peace River, and back to Calgary, asked what he thought of the Peace River country, replied:
"We were amazed and thunderstruck at the immensity and wonderful fertility of this great Peace river country."
He was amazed; he was thunderstruck. What did S. P. Gundy, of Toronto, say on his return from that visit? If there is one practical man who could not be carried away by emotion I think it is this very gentleman; and here are his words:
"Never in our lives have we met such people, or enjoyed a trip like this. Wherever I go
Topic: SUPPLY-PEACE RIVER RAILWAY OUTLET AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE FOR COMMITTEE