I wish to speak for a few minutes in support of the amendment. This suggested railway runs through a part of my constituency, and the people living along the route that the rails will follow have sent quantities of letters to me asking me to work against any further postponement of the building of this railway. Hundreds of these people are hauling their grain from twenty to twenty-five
miles, and no one who has not hauled produce for twenty to twenty-five miles over a rough trail can have any appreciation of what sort of a task that is. It means not only a great waste of time in the summer when farmers should be spending all the time they have on field work, but a great hardship, particularly so in the winter time when most of their grain is hauled. These people have been in that part of the country for a good many years; they went there on the promise of the railway being built, and if that promise had not been made, the country would not have been settled. It is because promises have been made that railways would be built in so many parts of western Canada that we have to-day settlers living such distances from present-day railways, and this is unfair to these people.
We have heard a great deal about the necessity for bringing a large number of immigrants into the country, but I for one think it would pay us more to emphasize the need of providing the means by which to keep the present settlers that we already have. Because of promises that have been made in the past and not fulfilled, because of assurances in years gone by that railways would be built in this place and the other, while no attempt was made to carry out these undertakings, we are now losing our population. It does not matter how many settlers we bring into the country, or where they come from, when they live fifteen, twenty, twenty-five and thirty miles from a railway, they will not remain on the land. If settlers come into the country with the idea of building homes and being successful within a short number of years, we cannot hope at all to keep them if we do not carry out the promises we make. It is well known that in Alberta, where they do not get a crop every year, it requires on an average one crop in every three to pay for landing the produce at the seaboard. So that if you do not provide transportation facilities to farmers who are now living between twenty and thirty miles from a railway, you are only adding to the expense of growing grain; and besides that you are increasing the discontent of those who are already dissatisfied. No matter how much advertising you may do through Government agencies, so long as we have dissatisfied people at home who cannot make a success of their business because of the lack of transportation facilities, we cannot hope to secure new settlers, because those who are already 102
on the land here will do their level best to keep their friends, their relations and their acquaintances in different parts of the world from coming and settling in this country.
A questionnaire is in circulation in the neighbourhood through which this railway is supposed to be built, and in it questions are asked as to how many years ago a railway was promised, what was the amount of produce and stock raised in that part of the country, the number of miles people have to travel to get to the railway, and the cost per bushel for hauling produce that distance. And one rather interesting question is as to the number of. people who have left in the last ten years because the railway had not been built through this part of the country. I would call that last question particularly to the attention of hon. members, because it is one that should be seriously considered. If we are going to give the railway company the right to postpone indefinitely the building of this railway, then we are simply deferring the time when we shall be able to induce present settlers to stay on their farms. If we do not guarantee them transportation, and that within a reasonable time, we can expect to see settlers in the next ten years leaving in greater numbers than they have left in the past decade.
Topic: CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY