Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough):
I have not forgotten, sir, your admonition that our time is short, so that any remarks that I may make on this question will be very brief. I wish to associate myself with the speeches of other gentlemen made here this afternoon, as regards the claims of the Maritime Provinces for better transportation facilities than we have at the present time. A large delegation of business men from the Maritime Provinces came before the Government a few days ago pressing those claims. This matter is of vital importance at the present time to the Maritime Provinces. I submit, Sir, that some concession should be given to the people of the Maritime provinces, as regards especially the heavy articles of traffic. The history of the Intercolonial was pressed upon the Government by that delegation. It was pointed out that it was built to carry out the terms of Confederation; that at the time of Confederation the Maritime Provinces were trading with the New England States; that geography was against the proposed trade with the central parts of the Upper Provinces, and that the Intercolonial railway was built for the purpose of enabling the Maritime Provinces to carry on business with the other parts of the Dominion of Canada. But, if freight rates are to be placed so high that it is impossible for these people to move their coal, steel, lumber and fish, which are the great staples, to the centres of population in the Upper Provinces, of course the benefit of the Intercolonial railway as regards the trade of the Maritime Provinces is largely lost. I wish, therefore, to associate myself with what has been said on that question, and to press upon the Government the vital necessity of giving this matter their best consideration with as little delay as possible.
I also wish to draw attention to the fact that we are proposing in this item to vote $4,117,994 for construction and betterments. We are not told where this money is to be spent. I desire in that connection again to press the claims of my own constituency for a branch railway. The Minister of Railways is familiar with the conditions in that part of the country. I have
frequently brought this matter to his attention. A branch railway in that locality would serve two purposes: it would relieve the congestion on the Intercolonial in Eastern Nova Scotia, and at the same time open up a very important district in the county of Guysborough and the eastern part of the county of Pictou. Ten years ago the claims of that part of Canada were admitted by everybody. My right hon. friend the member for King's (Sir Robert Borden) did us the honor, shortly before he became Prime Minister, of visiting my constituency, and his friends who welcomed him on that occasion understood him to say that if he was returned to power he would construct that branch railway. The claims of that locality, I say, were admitted at that time. The Government surveyed and located a branch line and Parliament voted $1,000,000 to start the work. The Government purchased, at a cost of $100,000, twelve miles of railway already constructed to form part of the branch. But at that point the project stopped. Ten years have now passed and nothing further has been done. I submit that there is no case so urgent as this in the whole Dominion of Canada. There are some 40,000 people interested in the construction of this branch. It is one of the oldest sections of Canada. Canso is one of the oldest towns in Canada. When Halifax was a forest, the seat of Government was at Canso. The people of that locality have contributed their fair share towards the development of this Dominion for the last half century, but they are still, at this late date, isolated from railway communication. The only transportation that it is possible for them to have is a branch of the Intercolonial. I would not ask for the expenditure' of a large sum of money at the present time, with the country's finances as they are, except that the Government is proposing to vote this $4,000,000 for construction and betterments in any case. I do not know where the Government propose to construct these new branches, but I want to say that if there is any branch railway to be made in any part of Canada, there is no more urgent case than that of the constituency I have the honour to represent. For several years past our representations in regard to this proposal have been disregarded; fair play and justice have been disregarded. The money, as I said before, was voted by Parliament; but, not for business reasons, not for the sake of economy, but largely for party and political reasons, the proposal was abandoned. The Minister
of Railways is a friend of mine and I want to appeal to him. When he sits at the Council board to decide what shall be done with this $4,000,000, I appeal to him to submit the dire necessities of the people of Guysborough county, and to press their claims upon the Government. He knows the situation well. He well knows that what I claim is only a matter of cold justice. I wish to say again and to say it most emphatically, that if any expenditure is to be made for the construction of railway branches anywhere in Canada this branch in Guysborough county ought to come first.
Topic: SUPPLY-DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
Subtopic: REVISED EDITION. . 4554 COMMONS