It is people like you that prevented this country from going ahead. The hon. member is a defeatist or a poltroon, one of those who, after the first world war, began to agitate and to tell the people how unhappy they were, that our country was no good, that we were all broke. That agitator, a man who has meagre political capital, has used this policy of discouragement to achieve his own end. He is one of the men who prevented those railroads from being built. But today I am still pleading for those railroads to be built.
The same argument was used in a letter to my hon. friend from Vegreville a few months ago; a line north of the Saskatchewan river would serve part of his constituency. It was stated that it had not been proved to the satisfaction of the Canadian National Railways that the building of that gap of 39 miles from Bonnyville to St. Walburg and from Heinsburg to Frenchman Butte in Saskatchewan would produce enough revenue to warrant its construction. Well, why did they not use that argument when they built that part of the Canadian National in northern Ontario, where you can travel for a whole day without even seeing a rabbit? If the argument was good with respect to this gap, surely it would be worth something in northern Ontario.
About a month ago two ministers of the crown in Alberta went for a trip on the Canadian Pacific Railway to a place called Marwayne. This will be interesting to the Minister of Transport and to the Canadian National Railways. They told the people of Marwayne that a new bridge was going to be built over the Saskatchewan river at Lea Park, about 35 miles down the river from Elk Point, to provide another bridge between Edmonton and the boundary of Saskatchewan for the transport of agricultural products. And, sir, they stated that in one year over 10,000 head of cattle had crossed the river by ferry to go to the Canadian Pacific Railway south of the Saskatchewan river. That
The Budget-Mr. Dechene business was lost to the Canadian National Railways, and that is only one example. All the grain must cross the river, and so must other products.
There is a line in the province of Alberta that went about half way between the river and what they considered was the productive part of Alberta. Later on the Canadian Pacific Railway came along and obtained a charter to build from the Cut Knife and Lloydminster country, in between the C.N.R. and the river, to Edmonton. I think I would be safe in saying they took 70 per cent of the trade or business in that part of the country. The Canadian National Railways are watching the whole thing getting away from them while we are appealing to the government to have this gap closed. They say that the closing of this gap of 39 miles would not prove to be a paying proposition.
I hold in my hand three resolutions, but I shall not read them all. At the time they were presented I was a member of the opposition, and hon. members know how easy it is for a motion from the opposition to carry in the house. These resolutions are dated 1932, 1934 and 1935. In order to save time I shall read the shortest one, which is dated 1932:
Moved by Mr. Dechene, seconded by Mr. Falconer:
He was the provincial member for Atha-baska. He is still living.
That this assembly regrets the decision of the dominion government not to proceed with the construction of the extension of the Bonnyville-St. Walburg and the Heinsburg-Frenchman Butte lines of the Canadian National Railway lines from Edmonton to St. Walburg and Edmonton to Turtle-ford;
That under existing conditions the farmers of all that great district north and east of Edmonton have no direct access to eastern markets and are compelled to pay a back-haul on all the products shipped out and on merchandise imported into that district;
That a large number of settlers induced to settle in the districts to be served by the proposed lines will find themselves in a precarious position, and a large percentage of them, in need of relief;
That we respectfully urge the dominion government to reconsider the matter and to proceed with the construction of the said lines during the coming season.
The debate continued.
The motion being proposed Mr. Speaker declared the motion carried.
Nothing was done, and I am still here pleading for those settlers. I assure the ministers, the Canadian National Railways and the Canadian Pacific authorities, that I am seeking no political benefit out of this request presented on behalf of those farmers and those pioneers. In spite of that, they made good. With the courage of the western people, with the pioneering spirit of those
men and women, they made good in spite of the fact that they were so far away from the railroads. They came from the dry belt, with nothing whatever when they came there except old, worn-out horses and some wagons and a few head of cattle that were hardly able to walk, and in spite of the fact that they were this distance from transportation facilities they made good. But they still need those transportation facilities for which, sir, I have the privilege tonight to plead.
I may not long be able to speak on behalf of these people in this parliament of Canada. However, as long as God lends me life I intend to continue the work I began, because I was one of the men who went to Edmonton and then came to Ottawa in order to induce the railways run by the government to act on behalf of this great country to the north, east and west of Edmonton. There is an empire in the making there.
The other day a man who should know-let me mention his name; it was Mr. Sweezey from Montreal-wrote an article in the press in which he pointed out that the tremendous coal resources out west were not going to remain idle. He is one of the experts in this line. He said that with the immense quantity of coal we have in the west and in Alberta, power could be produced cheaper at those mines than could even be produced with white hydro, and he should know. The Calgary Power Company is building one of its largest units west of Edmonton, at Lake Wabamun. It will be completed shortly and will eventually develop some 350,000 horsepower right on top of a coal mine, because they know that the coal available is so extensive that it will last almost forever, and such a plant is so much cheaper to build and operate.
I should now like to speak about gas. When the natural gas question comes up I may have something further to say on it. When I come from home to Edmonton I drive through the Redwater oil field, and almost as far as you can look you can see the gas burning. They have to do it. When they hit the oil they pipe the gas away from it in another pipe, and they have to burn the gas to get rid of it. They have no way of using it. Well, they are doing that. They are burning the gas while we are talking about bringing it to the people of the east who need it.
When I was a young fellow 52 years ago,
I went down the Athabaska river. It was a great trip. Old Captain Shott was the captain. His name was Fosseneuve, but because he was the first man ever to shoot the rapids of the Athabaska they called him Captain Shott. The name remains even to this
day. His children and his grandchildren are called Shott. We went down the McMurray. It looked as if you were at the end of the world. I never thought I would reach there, but I did, and I am the representative of those people in this house tonight. I think of Fitzgerald, McMurray and Waterways. There you will find the greatest reserve of oil in the world. I refer to a report of the United States bureau of mines and of our own bureau of mines in Ottawa.
The officials will tell you that this is not a dream, nor is it a guess. They have found bituminous sands all over the country. They estimate that at least 500 billion-not million-barrels of oil will be available when they have found the way to separate the sand from the oil. It can be done. I said in this house some years ago that if these reserves had been in Germany at the time of the second world war they would have used the oil for their war machinery. All this potential is just 350 miles from Edmonton.
There is also there enough tar available to pave every road, street and lane in Canada. We continue to import tar from Trinidad and other places. Billions of tons of tar are available. Do you wonder at my asking for the floor tonight in order to bring this matter once again to the attention of the people of Canada and their elected representatives? This is the dream of my youth, the prosperity of this great land to the north and to the west with its vast possibilities. This is the great challenge to our young people.
I remember talking over the radio a short time ago in answer to an agitator, a demagogue who told us we could not do anything. I said we had heard that story back in 1920 after the first great war, and we heard it after the second world war. I say to them now that you do not have to look to the east, west, north or south; you merely have to look at what is staring you in the face in this wonderful land of ours with its incredible resources and indescribable wealth. This is indeed a challenge to our young men and women. I wish I were young so I could devote some more years of my life to bringing about the completion of the railway lines and help to develop Canada's resources for the welfare of the whole country. God in his wisdom knows best.
The other day I picked up a great newspaper, the Toronto Star Weekly. I found an article written by Harold Hilliard. The author writes from Skagway, Alaska, following a tour through the northern part
The Budget-Mr. Stanton of Alberta. I should like to quote one paragraph from this article:
The railroad proposal closest to reality is one which the federal government and the Canadian Pacific Railway have under active consideration. It involves a 350-mile extension of an existing line which terminates at Waterways, Alberta.
That is in the constituency of Athabaska.
It will be pushed north to the shores of Great Slave lake in the Northwest Territories. Here Consolidated Smelters of Trail, B.C., a Canadian Pacific Railway company, is reputed to have proven what may be the world's greatest deposit of lead and zinc.
The railway to develop Great Slave lake should be built from no other place but Fort McMurray-Waterways, because that is the end of the navigable water on this route. I hope there is some truth in the plan as outlined in this paper.
I hope I was not wrong in asking for the floor tonight; I know I am speaking under a handicap. Hudson bay to the Pacific, Port Arthur and Fort William to the Pacific; that is the country to develop, 1,000 miles of it. Millions are waiting for this through transportation line which should have been built long ago. We are surprised that Americans come here; perhaps they will build the line if we are unable to do it.
I should like to conclude my remarks with a thought I expressed on a previous occasion, and which now comes to mind again, sir. My thought refers to the incredible wealth and beauty of the land and the lakes which will soon be free from their shroud of ice and snow under the smiling sun of Alberta. The province is frequently referred to as sunny Alberta. When the beneficent being who attended to the work of all creation, who cast the stars, the comets and planets into limitless space and created all earth, and who then created men and women to inhabit it came to rest on the seventh day and cast a look upon his work and declared himself satisfied, I am sure that at that moment he had a glimpse of the beauties of the Athabasca and Peace river country.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE