GIRARD, Joseph

Personal Data

Independent Conservative
Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)
Birth Date
August 2, 1853
Deceased Date
March 30, 1933

Parliamentary Career

November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
  Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
  Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
  Chicoutimi--Saguenay (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 17 of 18)

August 28, 1903


a road which can expect for its first train as much traffic as it can haul ?

What would be the cost of the alternative scheme proposed by the hon. leader of the opposition ? The same amount. He stated that the people of Canada are not afraid to spend their money for useful improvements. What would it cost to improve our waterways, as proposed ? Millions and millions of dollars.

So, we are confronted with various proposals, all of which entail, let us say, to avoid quarelling, all the same expenditure. I think the proposal of the government is the best because it benefits all the provinces in a more equitable way than does the proposal of the leader of the opposition, which would strengthen still more the present system of providing for the requirements of one part only of the country, and besides would leave us at the mercy of the United States.

Praise has been bestowed on the system of local or branch colonization railways. Sir, we have had enough of that system to know what it is worth. It took twenty-five years to build 170 miles of railway from Quebec to Lake St. John ; and for eleven years past, the company has not found the means of building the remaining ten miles to connect Chicoutimi with Ha Ha bay, in accordance with its charter and its most solemn pledges to the government and the public. They cannot be prevailed upon to extend their road west of Roberval, although warranted by the requirements of the settlers and the prospective establishments of large industries at St. Felicien.

And see the Gaspe peninsula which has remained stationary, notwithstanding its natural advantages, awaiting those vaunted colonization roads. See the country to the north of Montreal, the Nominingue, the St. Maurice valley. Why not admit it at once, that system is too slow, surrounded by two many difficulties.

Times have changed ; we have no more that old-time settler who believed himself destined by Providence to a life of privation and suffering, his sole reward to be the honour of having founded a new colony. The struggle for life Has changed : the poor as well as the rich strive now only for comfort. Hence that unfortunate desertion of the country, that aversion of the settler for our forest lands, in recent times, and that wild rush towards the western prairies to the detriment of the older provinces. Since, therefore, it is necessary to build railways in advance to ensure the success of colonization, and since the provinces heretofore have been unable to do better with their railways than follow at a distance in the footsteps of the backwoods settler. I consider it our duty to accept and to further the proposal that is made of providing a great central railway through the finest forest territory remaining to us. I speak from experience. I have partaken of the settler's life in the backwoods ; I know.'

its difficulties. I know what are the views in this respect of the community I represent ; and I think I am the faithful interpreter of every settler in the province of Quebec when I say they rejoice in finding a government providing for them through the forest a royal road which will do away with the misery of old.

Not very many years ago, a man who is no longer with us. laid on the Table of this House the Bill for the first transcontinental road through Canada. What a surprise. What dark forebodings. What conflict of opinions. Millions to be spent, in-suffiicent data, and what not. None. Sir, are better acquainted with that phase of our history than those of my colleagues who were then members of this House. Sir John A Macdonald and his supporters persisted ; the Bill was passed as being a good measure on the whole, nothwithstand-ing imperfections of detail. Twenty years have since gone by. That scheme has been found so beneficial, that even his political opponents are prone to say that Sir John A. Macdonald was a great statesman ; and following in his footsteps, request to be authorized to build a second transcontinental. The new scheme is criticised in the same way as the former ; but the parts are interverted.

History repeats itself and I trust it will do so in this case. Some day Laurier will disappear. Ontario will pride itself in having given birth to Sir John Macdonald and in having his remains ; Quebec will pride itself as to-day in having given birth to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and the country will honour the graves of these two eminent men each with its brazen crown ; the one bearing the letters, C.P.R., the other G.T.It. Around these two graves two great races who have founded Canada will feel themselves more tightly bound one to the other by a common sentiment of national pride.

Sir, I realize that the vote I am about to give will be the most important act of my political life. I represent here enormous interests ; I was elected by an intelligent community to whom I honestly promised to support the government whenever possible. I am favourable to the principle involved in the measure, and I believe it to be superior to all' others which have been discussed in this House, as it decentralizes the commerce of the country, and is more equitable to all its parts. At the same time, the rejection of the Trans-Canada scheme, whereby my best and most devoted personal friends felt greatly aggrieved, might have induced me to oppose this Bill. But. after closely following the debate I am satisfied that the Conservative party would have dealt with the Trans-Canada in the same mood as the cabinet. Besides. I recognize the substantial assistance which this government has given to my county on all occasions, as well as the cqurteous treatment I received at the hands of its members. I am confident that the Prime Minister is taking an ever increasing

interest in the welfare of my district, and I would, for all those reasons, deem myself greatly failing in faithfulness and in honour, should I in such a solemn circumstance of his life, refuse to uphold his views. In so | doing. I believe I am fulfilling my duty conscientiously towards my country, my province, the constituency I represent, and towards my friends, and I entertain the hope that all will be benefited in a large measure by this policy.

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August 28, 1903


(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, I would have been glad to get through with my remarks before the House took recess ; however, at the risk of wearying lion, members, I wish to lay before them a few more facts in connection with this matter.

In the first part of my address, I was endeavouring to show that the idea of building Mr. GIRARD.

another transcontinental through unsettled territories was not a new one ; that it had been discussed for some time past, and that if the government propounded such a scheme it was in response to the urgent demands of the people. The cabinet is charged with undue haste, for entering into this agreement without sufficient information on hand. But, if I am not mistaken, the location of the road is not yet settled, and the government will have to order surveys for which they will be wholly responsible. After considering the data supplied by these various surveys, they will be in a position to select the most suitable location as regards colonization and trade, which it is the object of this road to promote.

As for the section from Winnipeg to Quebec, the most direct line between the two points passes north of Lake Abitibi, whose waters empty into Hudson bay. By following exactly the height of land, the chances are that you would meet the poorest farming lands, and those that are the least favourable for lumbering operations, as in the vicinity of the sources of streams, these cannot be utilized either for the floating of the timber or the generating of power. Besides, the steepest grades would likely be found along that route, and the object it is proposed to attain would be lost. On the other hand, by locating the road further north, all these drawbacks are avoided.

As regards the section from Quebec to Moncton, the great objection is that the government is to parallel the Intercolonial. If my information is correct, there are at present two or three charters granted to private companies to do exactly the same thing, presumably with the assistance of the country. Moreover, as I stated a moment ago, at the time the Trans-Canada was being advocated in the maritime provinces, I got the endorsation and unanimous support of the business men down there in favour of the building of that line. I fail to see what difference it makes for the Intercolonial that it should be paralleled by a government-owned line, or by a company line subsidized by the country. The reduction of the mileage is the all-dominating principle in the matter. Besides, such a road will open up for settlement new districts, well adapted to agricultural pursuits, and which, otherwise, in Quebec, at least, will never be cleared.

It has been stated that the wiser course to follow would be to improve our inland waterways, as they afford the cheapest means of transportation. I followed the discussion on that point with the utmost interest. The arguments brought forward were based mainly on the experience of the United States, and to my mind, the results are not conclusive, but rather contradictory. Certain advocates of that idea laid before the House series of figures going to show that in some parts of the United States the bulk of the traffic goes by way of the water route and not by rail. Other hon. members

have given figures showing that in other parts of the United States with access to the water routes the bulk of the traffic is carried by rail. So that the contention set forth in the first place, although sound apparently, is only partially true as regards the movement of trade in the United States. In order to arrive at a true estimate of the comparative values of the water and all-rail routes, it will be well to observe what is going on in our own country. I refer hon. members to ' Hansard ' as evidence of the truth of my statements.

Advocates of the water route contend that railways cannot possibly compete with it. At the same time they tell us that the Canada Atlantic, a road which parallels the St. Lawrence river, and the bulk of whose traffic will, we are told, consist this year of

20.000,000 bushels of United States grain, is a paying concern, so much so that the suggestion is made that the government should acquire it and utilize it for extending the Intercolonial. Surely, these two propositions cannot be made to agree. If the Canada Atlantic is in a position to haul grain so profitably at the rate of two cents a bushel, despite the competition of the famous water route, the proposed route from Winnipeg to Quebec, taking into account their comparative mileage, could carry the same traffic at the rate of nine cents a bushel. Well then, what does the alleged superiority of the water route amount to ? Wherefore I say, let us consider what is going on in our own country ; we will learn more thereby than from any information gathered from the experience of the United States, which may be applicable to their conditions but not at all to ours.

Things have been so managed in the pasl that the hundreds of million dollars applied to the development of the country's trade have been expended for the especial benefit of southern Quebec, Ontario and the west. The city of Quebec, with its natural advantages, its ideal port, its three railways converging into it, has not received the attention which it should. She is waiting patiently that her children cease to consider her as a stranger, and that common sense be allowed to prevail. .

Nobody complains ; the whole country rejoices ; the western country is growing by leaps and bounds ; everything is done that can be done towards its development. In this connection, one remark I heard seemed to me most regrettable. An hon. gentleman on the other side, discussing the scheme under discussion, exclaimed : What is the

province of Ontario going to get out of this government scheme ? In answer to that question let me put another : What did the province of Quebec get out of our past policy ? I could hardly believe that a representative of Ontario would take such a narrow view of the question. For it should not be forgotten that the future of the whole country is now at stake, and local interests

should not be in the way of the general progress of the Dominion. As a result of the old policy, Ontario has been riddled with railways and improvements of all kinds, and the province of Quebec left, so to speak, to go barefooted. The people of Ontario should in the future show as much patriotism as the people of Quebec have shown heretofore. The prosperity of the country as a whole will ensure that of every province.

The results of the last census are now before us. Ontario and the maritime provinces will lose ten representatives, who will be replaced by ten new members from the west; and yet for only five or six years past have emigrants begun to pour into that country. Where has the missing population of the older provinces gone to ? The west has received a goodly number. However, Ontario praises its northern country, its - New Ontario ' as a paradise on earth. Quebec speaks in the same strain of the Lake St. John, Gaspe and north of Montreal regions. Are we not face to face with a most entrancing problem to solve ?* Should we not urgently adopt a broad policy which, while not interfering with the present system, will enable the older provinces to keep abreast with the increase of population in the west, and to retain in the administration of the public affairs of the country the position to which they are entitled. The government answers : Yes. I believe they are right. The piecemeal policy of colonizing followed in the provinces is not satisfactory. We have the proof before us ; it is necessary that the Dominion government should step in to give a new impetus to the settlement of the country ; a great artery of commerce is required at the right place, to supply all parts of the body with proper nourishment, in order that they may form a well balanced whole. That is apparently the aim of the government scheme.

Information is sought, doubts are raised, as to the character of the land in our northern country. At all events, it is contended that they cannot compete with the lands of the west. The inference would be, I presume, that we shall have to wait until the west is filled up before we think of colonizing the northern parts of Ontario and of Quebec. To my mind, Sir, if I may be permitted to say so, that principle is false and almost unpatriotic.

What information is required to convince people in good faith that our lands in the north, are good, equal to those in the west ? Have not accounts of them been given for two hundred years past by missionaries who roamed over this whole area ? Have not official reports been published by direction of the governments of Ontario and Quebec? Is it assumed that explorers like the Bells, the Sullivans, the Dumais, the Bignells, and others, like McKenzie, of Montreal (who has just returned after discovering there rich deposits of asbestos) is it assumed that all those men have written jokingly, without

leaving their desk, works of imagination as it were ? Have we not the oral testimony of our trappers and hunters, and even of Indians, handed down from generation to generation and preserved in our homes ? All that is' sufficient information to me ; it is good evidence of the fertility of the soil, of the wealth of the forests, of the suitability of the climate, not to speak of the mineral resources of the country, of the fisheries of Hudson bay, which our neighbours to the south seem to appreciate better than we do.

Now, when the scheme for the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway was brought forward, was there laid on the Table of the House information as complete as what is required to-day from the government ? So that, to my mind, these data are sufficient to satisfy the government that the construction of a railway through that region is quite feasible, and practicable. I extend to all skeptically inclined an invitation to visit the country I have the honour to represent. We are there, due north of Quebec, on the brink of the great northwestern table-land, with the Lauren tian range to the south and east of us, and the limits of the province to the north and west. You will find there lands that give wealth and happiness to the settler within a period of a few years. You will find that the crop returns for that district are greatly in advance of those for the rest of the province, equalling at times those for the west, and last year surpassing them. You will find there a small farming community-grouped around the towns of Chicoutimi and Rober-val, two new stars of the north-whose numbers have increased fifty iter cent within the last decade, a result observed in no other part of the province. That is due to the construction of the short line of railway built from Quebec to Lake St. John and which has been fully operated since 1893 only. But at the time, despite the natural advantages of the country, and on account of the distance, the want of means of communication, the people were losing heart. In some localities the parish census has not even shown the average increment. In 1901, eight years later, the Dominion census shows, in that same district, the increase I have just stated. That small community of settlers exported last year six million pounds of cheese, five hundred thousand pounds of meat, two hundred thousand bushels of grain, besides what quantity of those products was consumed on the spot. If a short line of railway from Quebec to Lake St. John has, in the space of eight years, accomplished so much, what may we not expect from a great government railway opening up all at once this whole region ? We are only a few people down there yet; we have only a few acres under cultivation; and there are still 70,000,000 acres of that land, covered *with virgin forest, drained by large rivers, Whose roaring water-falls of incalculable Mr. GIRARD.

power await impatiently to be turned to advantage by the hand of man. As regards education, the seminary of Chicoutimi, the convents, the school of domestic economy, of Roberval-the only one of its kind in the country-and the numerous parochial

schools will show that in no respect are we lagging behind the times.

To return to the great water powers, let us see what is going on on the rivers of Chicoutimi, JonquiSres, Ouiatehouan and Peribonlca. The four pulp mills built on those streams have a capacity of 520,000 tons of manufactured pulp, present output : and the quantity of barked pulp wood shipped out is just as large, making a total of 1,040,000 tons.

The lumber trade is just as large, though the population is only 30,000, and there only four small rivers operated. What enormous business will be developed when the rivers Ashuapmachouan, Peribonka, Mistassini and others will be put to use with the great forests they drain. Not only will these products of the forests be available for export, they may be shipped to supply the needs of the western country, and by themselves would provide enough freight to sustain the railway. Official data confirming what I have just stated concerning this district were received on the day before yesterday at the Department of the Interior.

By the way, Mr. Speaker, let me say one word in reference to some unfavourable comments made on our lands as compared with those of the west. My contention is that our lands are just as valuable, provided they are not beforehand despoiled of their natural wealth. Of course, if in this district which is to be opened up, the present provincial laws were to be enforced, the settler would go west, and rightly so, as he would have a better chance there. But let the Dominion government and the governments of Ontario and Quebec have a conference before taking any action ; and let them study together the best means of putting to advantage this projected railway, and all will come out right.

If, in accordance with the present practice, the timber and the water powers are turned over to outsiders, who despoil the land of all the settler needs to make a living for himself at the outset; if, moreover, the mineral resources are also reserved, then we may expect the same failure there as the returns for the last decade show to have been the lot of the older provinces. But if pains are taken to find out the adapti-bility of the various districts to farming or to lumbering operations, if agricultural belts and forest belts are located along the line, and if the farming lands are sold to the settlers in their natural state, with all the riches they may bear or contain, then our lands will be as valuable ns those in the west. The settler will take them up with the assurance that he will not at the outset suffer from want, for lie will have at his

door the raw material of a great industry which he can put on the market at any time to supply his needs.

Put up the selling price of these lands, if you wish, retain the fees, that will not interfere in any way ; you will not have lost anything, and you will see the settlers come in great numbers as in the west, eaeli township having its period of lumbering at the outset, while farther on, in the parts not suited or not reserved to farming, the lumbermen will carry on their business on a larger scale, but all together working hand in hand for the general welfare of the community. You will see no more of those disputes between the settler and the lumberer, disputes of which we hear so much and which are so harmful ; and the danger of forest fires bi'eaking out will be minimized, as the settler will be just as interested as the merchant in protecting the forest, as well as his buildings, both equally precious to him.

But under present conditions, the settler, especially in those parts where the pulp industry has been carried on, having on his farm only stumps and wood of no value, is anxious to get rid of them as soon as practicable, and his best means of doing so is fire.

Now, if, in the west, the government before selling them to the settler, leased the lands to companies or individuals who robbed them of their original wealth and left them to the settler minus seventy-five per cent of their value, do you think that the tide of immigration towards the west would be as strong ? Why not deal with our wooded lands in the same manner as we deal with our prairie lands ? The time is no longer when the settler meekly believed his lot was to suffer. We shall have to look to him, Mr. Speaker, in our northern country, to render us absolutely independent, commercially speaking, from the neighbouring states. Sir, I lay that suggestion before those in authority ; it is worthy, I believe, of their serious consideration.

Now, on going over the data supplied for the Trans-Canada, as did my hon. friends the members for GaspS and Bellecliasse, and others, I am led to believe that it is in that direction that the grades are the easiest for heavy traffic. The greatest difference of level between Roberval and the western boundary of Quebec is 1,200 feet, spread over a perfectly smooth table land, where there is not a single mountain in sight, not even towards lake Abitibi,-and that according to surveys made especially to ascertain differences of level. With that in view, the promoters of the Trans-Canada had offered to carry all the grain from the west, whatever the loading point (even along the Winnipeg branch) to the port of Quebec or to Ha Ha bay, at the rate of nine cents per bushel. They could afford to do that, as their route would be a direct one, without transhipment, without the use of elevators and the delays they involve. Besides, the

offer was made to carry the settlers free of charge. Under those conditions, there was to be a net profit of $1,416 per train of 30 cars, or 52 per cent. Is it necessary that a railway should bring such large profits to be a paying concern. I do not think so. And those figures were obtained by a capable engineer, Mr. Doucet, and verified by men of weight, such as Messrs. Wm. Price, J. G. Scott, Tanguay and others.

The bon. Minister of the Interior has given as possible a rate of 11 cents per bushel along the road which they propose to follow across the country. These two estimates are of a nature to convince us that, in the absence of a transcontinental water route, inland navigation is not and will not be in a position to compete with the all-rail ropte, especially when we take into account the reduction in mileage and greater speed secured by following the latter route. Now, since the government have the same object in view as the promoters of the Trans-Canada, and will run their railway through the same country, will they not be in a position to offer as low a rate ? Let them follow the same route, and that will settle it.

I give herewith the distances from Winnipeg to various ports by the proposed line :

Summer ports : (by proposed line). Miles.

From Winnipeg to Ha Ha bay 1,319

Quebec 1,385

" " Portland, via Quebec. 1,735

Saint John 1,785

Halifax 1,951

A difference in favour of Ha Ha bay :


Over Quebec 66

'' Portland 416

" Saint John 462

" Halifax 632

Now', from Ha Ha bay to Liverpool, the

distance is, 2,642 miles.


From Quebec to Liverpool 2,686

" Saint John to Liverpool 2,700

" Halifax to Liverpool 2,300

" Portland to Liverpool 2,789

And if you figure the total distance from Winnipeg through to Liverpool, you get the following results :


From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via Ha Ha

bay (Trans-Canada) 3,961

From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via Quebec

(gov. route) 4,065

From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via St.

John 4,481

From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via Halifax 4,251

From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via Portland 4,524

Consequently, Ha Ha bay and Quebec have the enormous advantage over the other ports of four hundred or five hundred miles.

Now. if you wish to compare these distances w'ith those obtained by the famous water route, here they are :


From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via St.

John, C.P.R [DOT][DOT] 4,689

From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via Halifax, C.P.R 4,548

From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via St.

John, I.C.R 4,948

From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via Halifax, I.C.R 4,654

From Winnipeg to Liverpool, via Portland, G.T.R 4,594

A difference of six or seven hundred miles in favour of Quebec and Ha Ha bay.

If the Grand Trunk Pacific is in a position to haul grain to Quebec at the rate of nine cents a bushel, it should have a goodly share of the grain crop to carry, besides other freight supplied by the cattle trade, the cheese and butter industries, the lumber industry, and other traffic special to it and which does not pass thi'ough the elevators. My conclusion is, therefore, that, on business basis, that undertaking rests on a solid foundation. So much for the summer traffic. But the winter traffic has Its exigencies, and what will become of the navigable routes ? As soon as the winter navigation of the St. Lawrence has been proven to be practicable, Quebec will retain the year round the position it now possesses as a summer port. St. Catharine's bay, at the mouth of river Saguenay, facing Tadousac, will also be benefited in that way. That port, which is never closed, is already provided with wharfs to a depth of thirty feet at low tide. They were constructed by that energetic Wm. Price, at his own expense, for his present requirements and in view of future developments. That seaport, open the year round, would save the risk of one hundred miles of river navigation. Sixty-two miles of railway would connect it with the Quebec and lake St. John at Ha Ha bay, whereto the company owning that road is soon to extend it, thus taking advantage of the subsidies which are at its disposal and fulfilling its pledges to the Quebec government and the people of that district.

The advocates of the river route, with all their calculations, seem to lose sight altogether of the winter trade. The advocates of the Intercolonial are just as forgetful. Allow me, Sir, to lay before you the following statement which seems to me very instructive. After the close of navigation, here is the position of Canada as regards transportation.

Via Canadian Pacific Railway : Miles.

Winnipeg to St. John, N.B

1,989" Halifax, N.S


Via Intercolonial Railway :

Winnipeg to Saint John, N.B

2,248" Halifax, N.S

2,346Via Grand Trunk Railway :Winnipeg to Portland

[DOT] [DOT]. 1,805

A difference in favour of Portland, varying from two hundred to five hundred miles. Under present conditions the winter export traffic divides at Montreal : it may go to a Canadian port by way of the Inter-Mr. GIRARD.

colonial or the Canadian Pacific Railway, or it may go, by the shorter route, to Portland. Portland has the advantage. Just at this juncture, the proposed new line will relieve the situation by bringing St. John as near to us as is Portland. That is where the action of the government is felt and shows its patriotism.

In spite of all that has been said, I fail to conceive how the longest and slowest route can be the easiest and cheapest. I stick to the belief that the most direct route is the shortest and the cheapest. Moreover, I am of opinion, that nations, as well as individuals, should, under all circumstances, unless radically prevented from doing so, control their affairs the year round, independently of their neighbours. Hence the necessity of our taking at once the proper means to overcome the difficulties in our way towards attaining that end.

As regards winter navigation, the observations of residents on the northern coast, which I visited, last year, seem to point out clearly to the fact that the river St. Lawrence is easily navigated the year through from Tadousac to Blanc Sablon. If I may be allowed, I would suggest to the government that, in order to complete their present scheme, they should see to the settlement of that much controverted point: the winter navigability of the St. Lawrence to Quebec. It would be a good plan to establish at once observation stations along the north shore and at Belle Isle, to ascertain from day to day the condition of the river in winter time. That question should be taken up at once by the government. The practicability of the scheme is being denied. I contend, with a great many others, that it is quite feasible. But the point should be settled at once, and I trust the government will not delay doing its share towards settling it. The experiments carried on between Murray bay and River Ouelle, and between St. Catharine's bay and Tadousac, on a small scale, are a beginning ; but there is need for more.

I think I have shown by statistics that the future of the country is dependent on the northern country ; in that country lies our hope.

In that way, Sir, do I appreciate in a general way the scheme which the government has just laid before this House. I would have preferred the Trans-Canada. I did all my power to gain my point with the government; they deemed it their duty, in the interest of the country at large, to propose something else. I must give them full credit for acting in good faith ; I am satisfied that they were moved under the circumstances by very serious reasons. At any rate it is much better to accept the present proposal than to bring the Trans-Canada scheme before the House, with chances of having it rejected. The Trans-Canada may fairly claim the credit of having helped on the passing of the present

scheme to a great extent. Their prospectuses have several times been quoted from before this House. The country reaps the benefit of the work effected and money expended by the promoters of that scheme. It is a satisfaction to those who devoted their time and energy to ensure its success. That scheme is not dead ; it is only postponed. If it was necessary that twenty years should elapse before the Canadian Pacific Railway be paralleled, at the rate things are going, within ten years from now, the Trans-Cana'da will have to be built.

My district may have benefited in a greater measure from the Trans-Canada scheme than from the one under discussion; but the government are aware of what is going on there. They know that within two years, the stream of settlers which is pouring into that district, and which they have helped to such an extent for the last seven years, will come to a standstill if railway is not extended from Roberval westward. Already we have settlers 70 miles away from the railways. The government are aware that an important company is awaiting a decision in the matter to begin utilizing the enormous water power of St. Feli-cien. They know that it is necessary the railway should be pushed on from Chicoutimi to St. Alphonse to open up for general trade the magnificent seaport of Ha Ha bay to which I have referred. They are satisfied that the river Saguenay should be deepened as far up as Chicoutimi, or even Shipshan, in order to promote the great, industries of Chicoutimi and those in course of creation at the point I have just named, and at the Grande Decharge. The government know that it is proper to provide a winter steamboat service on the Saguenay, from St. Catharine's to Tadousac. They are aware that the extension of the Roberval road to James bay, in connection with the present line, would almost be equivalent to the Trans-Canada. They realize all that, when undertaking the construction of the proposed line. They assume the whole responsibility. We are awaiting their action with confidence. On the other hand, I recognize,-and I wish to say so now,-considering all the government have done for my district in the last three years that I have been here co-operating with them for the promotion of colonization, agriculture and dairying, I recognize that they are favourably disposed towards my constituents and that they are not lacking in the means to forward their interests.

In a quiet way, millions of dolllars are at stake just now between Seven Islands and Peribonka. With men, such as our millionaire, Wm, Price, generous and able successor of Price Brothers & Co., who were the founders of my district in conjunction with the first settlers ; with the Chicoutimi pulp works, those of the Ouiatcbouan and Peribonka ; with Mr. Wilson, a son of Ontario, who has such a faith in the future

of our district that he has gone thither to lay the foundation of a great carbide, iron and pulp industry ; with Mr. B. A. Scott, lumberman of Roberval, and the Seven Islands, Portneuf and Rscoumains companies, who together control millions of British, United States and Canadian capital; the government will find it an easy matter to build a road that will meet the requirements of that country to the north of Quebec and ensure its prosperity and wealth.

So, I thrust that this policy will give satisfactory results. At any rate, I see that the leader of the opposition has also declared in favour of building a line of railway from Winnipeg to Quebec, on the same plan as the government, with this difference that he would use it rather as a colonization road, while the government have in view both a colonization road and a trade route. Both agree in ignoring the proposal of the Trans-Canada. The leader of the opposition did not even find fault with the government for having discarded it. The inference is that he approves of the government having done so, and that he would have acted similarly under the circumstances.

The hon. member for South Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart) referring to the Trans-Canada and the Grand Trunk Pacific on the 26th of May last, said :

It is a road from Quebec, I gather-for we get pamphlets about it every day-and it is to run through to Manitoba and the Northwest. I do not know who the promoters are or anything about it. But, if the Grand Trunk Railway propose to build a road into that section of the country that is another matter. The Grand Trunk Railway has done a great deal towards the development of this country, and the stockholders of that concern have had but meagre return on the money they have invested. Anything the Canadian people can do in return for the great benefits that that company has yielded to this country ought to be done, other things being equal. If they propose to build a road which -will open up a new territory in the North-west, and make a connecting line with Quebec, I would rather see it assisted than any other scheme I hear proposed. (3446 of Debates.)

As I said before, we have a choice of deciding between two companies for the building of this road. My opinion is that if the government should decide to give any assistance for that purpose, the company which is entitled to the preference is the Grand Trunk Railway Company. That company has done a great deal to open up this country, they have spent a great deal of money, and have received very littlte return for it. (3448 of Debates.)

Should that hon. member, au ex-Minister of Railways, were in power to-day, would he think otherwise ? In the Senate, Sir Mackenzie Bowell, leader of the Conservative party seconded the motion to grant the charter of the Grand Trunk Pacific. All that goes to show that that company has powerful supporters on all sides.

I am satisfied that the time has come for northern Quebec to have its equitable share. I am convinced that the northern country

Is the comer stone of our country's commercial independence, and that the plan of the government is the most practical means of maintaining the present political balance In the country and increasing our prospects of trade in the future. I consider that the scheme laid before us is a good one, and on the whole is deserving of the country's approval. One of the promoters of the Trans-Canada, a Conservative of Quebec, wrote to me, last week : * From the national standpoint, there is no doubt in my mind that the policy of the government for the building of a road from Quebec to Winnipeg is a good one and will greatly benefit the province as well as the whole of Canada.'

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August 28, 1903

Mr. JOSEPH GIRARD (Chicoutimi and Saguenay).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, while realizing how precious is the time of the House at this late period of the session, I deem it my duty to explain-and I shall do so as briefly as possible-my position on this very important question which is submitted to our consideration. I shall take advantage of the British fair-play to address the House in my native tongue, counting that my English speaking colleagues will soon find my remarks translated in the revised edition of 'Hansard.'

As the various aspects of the government's policy have already been dealt with in the numerous and able speeches previously delivered, I shall confine myself, in order to avoid repetition, to making some observations of a general character.

For eleven years past I have taken an active part in politics, I have followed closely public affairs, and it struck me that we were confronted with a great problem. For three years back. I have had the honour of attending the debates of this House,

and here also I noticed that this same problem, which is that of our means of transportation throughout the country, was being frequently discussed by the leading men and by the great papers of Canada, in connection with the enormous increase in our production, in our trade in general and in the needs of colonization. Everywhere, public opinion was awaiting impatiently the solution of this ever increasing difficulty.

Various plans were being discussed, the most important of which, to my mind, were the improvement of our inland water routes, the building of our canals, the proposed extension of the Intercolonial to the great lakes with a view to constructing a new transcontinental road, and the scheme for the building of a second Canadian Pacific Railway, all undertakings of a costly nature, requiring millions of dollars to be carried out. I followed closely the discussion which took place oil that subject, both by listening to the speeches and by reading ' Hansard,' as I was anxious to obtain a full grasp of the question. Speakers on both sides of the House have taken great pains, and I think I am in a position to decide knowingly, intelligently and consi'ceutiously on that great issue now before us.

In 1901, the charter of the Trans-Canada was revised by the House, with some amendments and subsidies granted for the first sixty miles west of Roberval.

The hon. member for Saskatchewan, during the session of 1902, expressed himself as follows as regards the difficulties in the way of transportation of western products eastward

What we want is a continuous line of railway, which can be operated twelve months in the year, and double track if necessary. Last year four hundred thousand people in the west produced 100,000,000 bushels of grain. We are going to get people in there at the rate of 100.000 per year, and in eight or ten years the production of that country will be increased to 400,000,000 or 500,000,000 bushels. Wheat will have to be carried to the seaboard, and that cannot be done over our canals when they are frozen up six months in the year. What we want is to be able to put our wheat on the car and run it through to the seaboard. There has been too much money spent trying to create an artificial port-trying to make an ocean port out of something that was never intended to be so by nature. If half that money had been spent on the port of Quebec in providing proper facilities there-where we have a port that can float the largest ship that will be built in the next twenty years-and if we had a railway running from the centre of the territories right into the port of Quebec, from where our produce could be shipped twelve months in the year, you would not hear anything about the car shortage we hear so much about at present.

What we want is a continuous line of railway from the west to some ocean port, and Quebec is the proper place.

A prophecy which events are carrying out to-day. In the course of last year, the promoters of the Trans-Canada railway decided to form a company and laid before

the country the question of the expediency of building in the northern part of the Dominion a new road from Port Simpson, on the Pacific coast to Quebec, Ha Ha bay and Chicoutimi, in the east, as summer ports, and the maritime province ports as winter terminals, by means of the Intercolonial. Quebec and St. Catharine's bay, near Tadoussac were also contemplated as winter ports at some future date. Once the winter navigation of the St. Lawrence has been made practicable, which, I hope, will be pretty soon.

The road as projected, ran from one end to the other, through entirely new districts of the west, Ontario and Quebec districts abounding in wealth of various sorts. By means of branch line to Winnipeg, it gave the whole country the benefit of the shortest route, of the lowest gradients, and besides an all-Canadian route both as regards its location and its terminals. We were thus made entirely independent of our good neighbours to the south, who, under present conditions in Canada, profit immensely by the improvements we carry out, without ever showing us any gratitude.

Important meetings were held at Quebec attended .by the leading men of both parties for the purpose of considering the scheme, which was unanimously pronounced to be superior to all others heretofore laid before the public. It was decided to start a movement in Canada to spread the idea and have it accepted if possible.

Then it was that a further scheme for tlie building of another transcontinental railway was launched before the people. It was to be undertaken by the Grand Trunk Railway, to have its starting point in Ontario and to reach the west by way of Winnipeg. In the eastern part of the province the present system of the Grand Trunk was to be utilized.

I had the honour of being one of a delegation of the Trans-Canada sent to the maritime provinces to discuss both schemes with business men there. We met the boards of trade of St. John, Moncton, Truro and Halifax ; also members of this House and men .of high financial standing.

The discussion which took place was a business-like one; the feeling seemed to be general in favour of building at once, a new transcontinental railway, farther north, along an all-Canadian route both as regards its terminals and its location. Some boards of trade, particularly that of Halifax, passed very strong resolutions in that sense. At these meetings the expediency was discussed of building another line from Quebec to the maritime provinces, the Intercolonial being too long to enable the ports in those provinces to compete successfully against Portland. That idea appeared to be accepted generally.

About the same time, the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Talbot) visited the west, meeting a great number of business men in

various cities ; and from- newspaper reports and other sources, the idea was gathered that there also public opinion was unanimous as to the necessity of a second transcontinental, provided it was all-Canadian.

Such was the state of public opinion at the opening of this session, and I arrived here firmly convinced of the immediate necessity of a new transcontinental further north. The Trans-Canada scheme was, to my mind and to that of many others, the most practical. While public opinion was thus concerning itself with this important question, and while some were favouring the construction of a Canadian transcontinental railway, and .others favouring the improvement of inland navigable routes and the building of new canals ; and others still favouring tiie extension of the Intercolonial, the government were discussing the same question in their secret councils. From time to time utterances of some prominent men would give us an inkling of what was going on. On certain days reference was made to the extension of the Intercolonial westward, while on other days, the question under discussion was that of a common trunk line for all the railways from Quebec to Winnipeg : hints thrown out to the public as to what the government were doing. The request for a charter on the part of the Grand Trunk Pacific for the construction of a transcontinental was the first step towards feeling the pulse of the House. The Trans-Canada stepped in ; the struggle between the various interests was often a hot one ; but the north and east gained ground, and the original scheme was amended to meet their views. The plan of building a transcontinental railway through the northern country was accepted, and both the public and the House were awaiting anxiously the action of the government.

Finally, the government have come to a decision, and having satisfied themselves as to the necessity of a second railway throughout Canada, they requset the House to sanction the decision they have come to as a result of their investigation ; that is to say the building of a new all-Canadian route, as demanded by public opinion..part-of which to be built by the government and to be free of access to trade generally, and the remainder to be built by a company, with the idea of utilizing it both as a colonization road and a trade route.

The question is put.

At one o'clock House took recess.

House resumed at three o'clock.

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May 1, 1903


Perhaps I could give some explanation as to the principle which my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Haggart) refers to. If I remember well, the last budget which was submitted to this House by the Tory government, had included in it many items for the ljuilding of these wharfs. The hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Haggart) who was a member of the then government probably knows more about the principle on which these items were based than I do. The principle pursued by the present government is probably the same principle that guided the late Conservative government. I may say that the local government has built a special boat for the navigation of Lake St. .John to help on colonization, but the local government has nothing to do with the building or amelioration of wharfs in these inland waters, and that is probably why the federal government came to the help of the local government in order to contribute its share to the development of colonization in that district. I hope that this explanation will be satisfactory to my hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Haggart).

Topic:   SUPPLY.
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April 21, 1902


(Translation.) At the present time the Chicoutimi company has no means of transportation of its own. The goods, as soon as they are manufactured, are piled up on the wharf and placed on board the steamers or railway. But as to the company which is now seeking a charter from parliament, what they want is the power to own steamers and to give shipping

facilities to a locality formerly considered as inaccessible by water. My hon. friend (Mr. Fitzpatrick) said that this place had never been visited by oceanic vessels. Quite a number of vessels have entered the bay ; it is a safe harbour of refuge. As a matter of fact, the only argument put forth to show that oceanic vessels cannot enter the bay is the sad wreck of a French steamer which had made for the bay without knowing the way. The wreck took place at the entrance of the bay.

On section IS,

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