Yet, though the land was worth nothing until the road was
built, the hon. gentleman lias estimated it at tile price which it might afterwards have brought. He forgot to say also that the Canadian Pacific Railway are taking from the Canadian government as part of their land grant nearly 2,000,000 acres of land in a country which was arid, upon which hardly a blade of grass would grow, Intending to spend some $7,000,000 or $8,000,000 in irrigating it, and so giving it value and making it useful. In giving a land grant, we were doing exactly what the people in the United States did-giving a part of the land in order to have it all developed. We did it successfully. The Finance Minister did not say a word about it, he did not say one word finding fault with giving the land for the purpose of building that magnificent work of which we are all so proud.
Now, I may be asked, What scheme do you propose? We are told that the people of Canada are ambitious, that we are on the top of the wave of prosperity, that we are anxious to develop every section of the country. In my opinion, the transportation question is the most important one to settle. Cheap means of communication are essential to our development. I may be asked: What scheme do you propose instead of that submitted by the right hon. gentleman. There are a great many propositions, but none of them involve the absurdity of the proposition of building a line from Winnipeg to Quebec and Quebec to Moncton. It is alleged that we need to do justice to the Grand Trunk Railway Company, which has been a great benefit to the country, and has expended large sums of money for which its stockholders have received no return. If it is necessary to give that company an opening to the North-west, if it is necessary, as northwestern men say, to correct what they allege are excessive rates, for goodness sake, let us adopt a sensible plan instead of that proposed by the right hon. gentleman. Let it be left to experts to decide upon which is the best plan and most likely to develop our resources. Let us have some engineer to report upon the subject. Let us not go into this enterprise without any figures, without a single survey, without any technical knowledge of the country. Let us, before making this jump, obtain the fullest possible information. If the Grand Trunk people wanted to get into that section of country, their first proposition was the most sensible one, namely, the extension of the Ontario system of railways to Winnipeg and from Winnipeg to Port Simpson. I think the company's proposition had some merits to commend it, but the government loaded them down for no other reason but political reasons. Why did they force the Grand Trunk Railway Company, if they wanted to go in and develop Manitoba and the North-west, to build a railway to Quebec? Wliy did they force them to take over the Quebec bridge? Why did they Hon. Mr. H AGO ART.
force them to build useless lines of railway in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia? Do the company want to do so? Is it in the interest of the people of the North-west ? No, the people of Manitoba want to get the highest possible price for their grain, they want the cheapest possible mode of carriage for their wheat to the point of consumption. They do not want to load down the people of this country with the enormous debt which is proposed by the right hon. gentleman. Wbat is the debt? The distance from L&vis to Moncton, ns stated by the Prime Minister, is 425 miles.
But he added the curvature, and his statement was that from Ohaudiere Junction, giving what he called a liberal estimate, it was 425 miles. Estimating the cost at $35,000 per mile, you get $15,000,000. The distance from Quebec to Winnipeg is 1,400 miles, and estimating the cost at $35,000 a mile, you get a total amount of $49,000,000. Then there was the little calculation in reference to interest that has to be paid on cost of construction. When I made a statement the other day, I had not read the articles of agreement, I thought the government would pay interest on the money during the construction of the road, and that that was an expenditure not to be calculated in the amount of 3 per cent to be chai'ged to the company. I find upon looking at the agreement that the debentures are issued and guaranteed by the government ns the road is constructed, and that the company become liable for the 3 per cent on the expenditure on the eastern section from the time the government pay over the money. That was the statement of the Minister of the Interior to-day when he corrected me in my calculation. Take the calculation of the Finance Minister. Making a moderate estimate of $35.-0C0 per mile for both of these sections, it amounts to an expenditure of $50,000,000. They have to pay interest. Never mind about our glorious surplus of $15,000,000. By making an actuarial calculation and applying that money we have in hand at; the rate of 3 per cent or 34 per cent interest, what will it amount to? The Finance Minister forgot that he lost interest on it from the time of payment to the time that he expended the money. There is 3 per cent upon $49,000,000.
The three per cent payable by the company commences seven
years after the construction or the handing over of the work and after the company commences to operate. Then, for seven years we have to pay interest on the amount ourselves. During the next three years if the company earn the amount they are obliged to pay the interest, but if they do not earn it, the unpaid interest for three years is capitalized at three per cent. Then the lion. Minister of Finance calculates the distance in the mountain section to be about 450 miles which, at $30,000 per mile, would cost $13,500,000. For seven years we pay upon that amount. We pay the full amount of the expenditure for the purpose of constructing the road from Winnipeg to- Quebec, we pay the full amount of the expenditure for the construction of the road from Quebec to Moncton, we hand the road over to the Grand Trunk Railway Company and pay the interest upon the cost of construction for seven years, and if the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company are not able to pay the interest during the three years succeeding the seven years term, we add that to the capital account and charge them three per cent upon it. How that obligation is going to cost the people of this country $13,000,000 or $15,000,000 is the most extraordinary tiling I ever heard of. Surely we are expending the money in the construction of the road. We pay out the money for the interest upon it for seven years and these sums of money put together will impose an obligation upon us, as I calculate it and as it is calculated by the hon. Minister of Finance, of $70,000,000. Then, for the purpose of gratifying the people of Quebec who do not really want the road, which will be of no public utility to them, and for the purpose of expending $15,000,000 in the province of New Brunswick we are called upon to add to the debt of this country in the next seven or ten years an amount equal to more than $75,000,000. I will venture to say that when the road is completed you will find that the sum of money expended for the purpose of carrying out this contract with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company will not be $75,000,000 because, as I said before, it is impossible that the road can be constructed for that amount. Having the experience and the knowledge that we have at present as to what roads cost in that section of the country and knowing that the expenditure of the Canadian Facific Railway for the construction of the road from North Bay to Fort William was $00,000 per mile, I do not think it is possible to leave that road in the first-class condition which it is proposed to do with ordinary gradients, not gradients of twenty-one feet to the mile, but ordinary gradients of fifty-two feet to the mile, for less than $125,000.000. What could we do with an expenditure of $125,000,000 ? What works for the development of the country could we construct with that money ? We could have a road, as the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
originally proposed built to Fort Simpson. We could have our waterways enlarged to meet modern requirements which call for a depth of twenty feet, we could have the Georgian Bay canal built, we could have communication between the port of Montreal and tlie city of Quebec and the whole navigation of the St. Lawrence put in first-class condition. I will leave it to the people of this country to say which they prefer. If it is the question of transportation that is first in the minds of the people, if that is the all absorbing question, if it is a question as to what will tend to the development of this country more than anything else, seizing the present moment and making, if you like, a lavish expenditure for the purpose of developing the country upon the lines I propose will accomplish more to render the resources of Canada available than anything else. Cheap transportation will divert the trade of any country from one road to another. We have the experience of the United States. A half a cent a bushel will divert the trade from New York to Baltimore, or to Philadelphia, or to Boston. The expenditure for the building of the Georgian Bay canal would be justified by the results, the parties who Built the canal would get a good return for their investment and you would be enabled to transport to Montreal wheat delivered at Fort William or Port Arthur for five cents per bushel which is nearly the present rate. The whole scheme of transportation ought to be thought out. The government of the country ought to appoint their experts for the purpose of doing it. They ought not to jump in with wild cat schemes for the purpose of developing the country as they pretend it is for that purpose, but there ought to be a thorough investigation, first, to ascertain what the results of any such scheme would be. I am confident that if a commission of experts, men who have studied the question, commercial men, engineers, looked into this proposition not a single man from one end of the country to another would be in favour of the scheme as proposed by the right hon. the leader of the government. We are told that boards of trade are petitioning in favour of it, that the Board of Trade of Toronto and the Board of Trade of Halifax have petitioned for it. I have a great deal of respect for the boards of trade but I have more respect for the intelligence of the people of this country either as exemplified by representatives on this side of the House or by the right hon. gentleman and his supporters on the other side of the House. I have a great deal of respect for boards of trade. Is there any feeling in the country in favour of this proposition Was there any agitation in the country in favour of it ? The hon. Minister of the'Interior read letters in favour of it. I could read letters' to the contrary. He quoted partial remarks by newspapers and he quoted my hon. friend from East Grey
(Mr. Spi'oule) as a supporter of transcontinental roads. He quoted my hon. friend from East Grey as saying that it would require fifteen or sixteen transcontinental roads in the prairie section of the country. What the hon. gentleman said was that to meet the requirements of the people of that section of the country and to carry out their grain in a couple of months it would require fifteen or sixteen transcontinental roads. Do they require anything of the kind ? For the purpose of the trade of that country it would be sufficient to erect elevators in the different sections of the country and large elevators at the ports on Lake Superior at which the grain is received to be shipped out for consumption in foreign countries. That is the proper system to adopt. No railway will put upon its road rolling stock sufficient to move the whole crop of the country in two or three months. It would pay no company in the world. If there was proper rolling stock, and if the elevators were sufficient to store the grain, there is sufficient railway accommodation in that section of the. country at present. The commercial requirements of that country when they arise will be satisfied by railroads which are in existence, and by other railroads which will be developed by the people themselves. There is no necessity for the government entering into such a project, it may be necessary to develop new parts of the country to build railways, but there is no part of the Dominion so well served with railways now as Manitoba and the North-west. I venture to say that there is not 1,000,000 bushels available for sale in that section of the country which has not at present been carried by railroads to the point of shipment. The Minister of the Interior said that the Montreal ' Gazette ' had stated that it was in favour of a line from North Bay to the Pacific, with such branches as the company thought it commercially wise to construct, and that the ' Gazette ' stated that no one would have successfully attacked such a proposition. The Minister of the Interior gave that ns the opinion of one of the leading commercial papers of Canada, the Montreal ' Gazette,' in favour of this scheme, but he forgot to read this portion of the 'Gazette's' article :
This wild project should be dropped until there is time to find out what it means in the country financially and when that Is made plain and thought over by prudent men it will be probably dropped altogether. It is to be regretted that the Grand Trunk project has had these political features appended to It.
That is exactly the view of a great many members on this side of the House. The Grand Trunk Railway came to parliament with a plain commercial proposition. They were anxious to enter into the North-west to compete for the carrying of the immense products of that fertile country. They came with a proposition of their own, but for Hon. Mr. HAGGART.
political reasons, and for political reasons alone, they are loaded down with two useless propositions, namely, the road to Quebec and the road to Moncton. I hope yet that the right hon. gentleman will drop the scheme. I appeal to him not to risk the financial position of the country in an expenditure so ridiculous. If the country north of Quebec has the resources lie thinks, let us develop it as we have been developing it in the past, and as Ontario has been developing the Temagami district ; let us develop it locally toy roads through that section of the country. I have proved conclusively that there is no necessity for this road in New Brunswick. It is a useless appendage. It is a destruction of property at present owned by the government of the country. It will entail on us a loss of nearly $00,000,000 out of the $72,000,000 we have invested in the Intercolonial Railway. You are destroying one portion of your property by erecting a new property. You are giving no better line to accommodate the commerce of the country. Your scheme is ridiculous.
The Minister of the Interior talked about other railways having running rights over this line. The ex-Minister of Railways fully showed the absurdity of that. One would think it was a new power that was given to railroads. Why, the Railway Committee of the Privy Council can grant running powers to any railroad In Canada on any other railroad. What was the object of putting it In this charter and agreement, when it is in the law of the land already ? And yet, the Minister of the Interior told us that the agreement would never have been signed if that clause were not in it. As tlie Minister of Finance truly said, this power may he used as a lever for the purpose of making proper freight arrangements; witli other' roads. It enables a company that lias running powers over another road to make satisfactory arrangements for the carrying of their freight or the exchange of traffic.
You have it in tlie statute, and it is embodied in the new Railway Bill. The Railway Committee of the Privy Council have the power to grant running rights over any road in Canada to any other road on such conditions as they think right and equitable, and the Railway Committee of the Privy Council lias frequently exercised that power. _ Independent of that, some railroads have it in their charters. You will find it in the new Railway Commission Bill.