I was saying that I was very much surprised to note the intimate knowledge the hon. member had in discussing this question. I was going to say, when he interrupted me, that I must compliment him upon the means he has taken to secure that knowledge, riding up and down the line on a hand car, a locomotive, or a flat car, studying the situation. Possibly if we nad had the privilege of studying the question as intimately as he has clone, we might be able to speak with more authority on the details of the construction. But I would like to remind hon. gentlemen opposite of this statement of the Minister of Finance, that here is a road which we were told a few years ago, was to cost a certain figure and we find out that it has cost aproximately five times that figure. I also want to call attention to the contradictory arguments that have been presented by lion, members opposite on that question, compared with their statements made a few days ago, with regard to the condition of crops and grain in the Northwest. One set of hon. members tell us they don't care about a railway that connects the prairie provinces with the eastern and western waterways, they only care about an outlet to the south. On the other hand, it was the proud policy of the leader of the late government, in bringing forward his Bill for the construction of this railway, that it was to join the cast with the west of this continent^ I submit that these arguments are entirely inconsistent. We claim on this side of the House that our policy has been consistent throughout, our policy is to give the prairie provinces relief at the earliest possible moment. As the Minister of Finance has pointed out, that portion of the road from the prairies eastward to Cochrane has been practically neglected.
Further, the western portion, which would have given an all-the-year-around outlet for the grain to Vancouver and Prince Rupert is scarcely started. That was to be completed in 1911, and there is only constructed a few miles from Prince Rupert eastward, and a short distance
through the Yellowhead Pass. There is an outlet which could have been easily completed in 1911, and which would have given a very material relief to the congested conditions of the grain areas of the prairie provinces.
The hon. gentleman has. told us in criticising the action of hon. gentlemen on this side of the House that all the facts in connection with this railway have been before this country for 4 or 5 years. If they were aware of these facts why is it they did not once raise their voices to have the road completed at an early date? They complain about adding interest to the cost of the road although there has been a delay of two or three years. Any business man will agree that in any constructive work until that work is completed and revenue producing, you must charge up to capital the interest on the money during construction and the longer you delay the time of construction the greater will be the amount of interest charged up. I protest that that interest must be added to the cost of construction which thus becomes $130,000 per mile. Some comparisons were made. The hon. member stated that the Canadian Pacific railway had issued $350,000,000 worth of stock, debentures and preferred stock.
Subtopic: NATIONAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY.