March 1, 1916

LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The suggestion of the hon. Minister of Customs seems to be quite reasonable. This, being a public Bill, unless the minister will say that there will

\

be an opportunity of discussing it on some future occasion, it would go to the bottom of the list, and there would be no opportunity of further dealing with it.

Topic:   VALCARTIER EXPROPRIATIONS.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

There will be no trouble about that; I will see that there is an opportunity of discussing it.

Topic:   VALCARTIER EXPROPRIATIONS.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Then I think it is fair to accept the minister's suggestion, and ask that the committee rise and report progress.

Progress reported.

Topic:   VALCARTIER EXPROPRIATIONS.
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TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.

RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.


On motion of Hon. J. D. Reid (for the Minister of Railways), Bill No. 4, to amend the Railway Act, was read the second time, and the House went into committee thereon.


LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Would the minister, in a few words, give the committee; for the purposes of record, the object and scope of the Bill?

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The Chairman of the Railway Commission, Sir Henry Drayton, had been taking up with my hon. friend the Minister of Railways (Mr. Cochrane), a. few days prior to Mr. Cochrane's departure from Ottawa, the question of trying to relieve the situation in the West in so far as the movement of grain is concerned. When I took charge of the department, I found a ldtter from Sir Henry Drayton to the minister. In this letter Sir Henry Drayton explains the situation in connection with the movement of grain in the West, and suggests the passage of a Bill similar to that which I have placed before the House. I believe the best way to explain this Bill to the committee is to read the letter which was sent by Sir Henry to the Minister of Railways. It is so complete, and, I believe, so interesting, that I think it should be placed on record. It reads:

Ottawa, February ISth, 1916.

Re Grain Crop.

Dear Mr. Cochrane;

The Railways have been faced with an exceedingly difficult problem in the transportation of the very large grain crop of the North West.

I make no complaint whatever as to the manner in which the railways have moved the crop during the past season. On the other hand, the movement was extremely good, surpassing all records. It is sufficient to say that from September 1st, 1915, to January 15th, 1916, the railways had transported no less than 53,920 cars of grain more than were hauled in marketing the large crop of 1913, and extending over the whole period required to market it.

I fully realize the importance of the service to the public and the fact that the result could not have been obtained had not the railways been efficient and properly operated. While this is all true, however, the present condition is unsatisfactory and calls for some special remedy.

The Department of Trade and Commerce places the crop (all grains) in the Western Provinces at 723,664,000 bushels, as against 322,056,000 bushels for 1914, and 503,267,000 bushels for 1913. At a low estimate, 300,000000 bushels remain to be carried; and unfortunately a comparatively large percentage of this total, as to which only an approximation can be made, is without proper protection.

The tremendous crop of this year is such that the elevator capacity of the country cannot commence to contain the balance of the crop, even in view of the fact that no less than 191,323 cars have already been transported up to the 15th of January last.

Temporary granaries have at different points been erected, hut over and above the grain in elevators and in temporary granaries, there is a large amount of grain which has been left out all winter, either in stook or already threshed and covered with straw. This grain, while subject to danger of some deterioration, will largely be saved, provided it is moved before the spring rains set in.

The grain on the Grand Trunk Pacific has been largely marketed; and the Board has now no serious complaint of congestion on its lines. This, of itself, does not show any more efficient management on that system, as the crop tributary to this line is much smaller than the volume tributary to the Canadian Pacific and Canadian Northern Railways.

The Grand Trunk Pacific has moved approximately 15 per cent of the present crop, and they will be in a position in the near future to handle grain to a considerable extent that may be offered for transport.

The Grain Commission reports congestion on the following Canadian Pacific Railway Lines: Outlook Branch, north of Moose Jaw; -Empress Branch; Vanguard Branch; South of Lethbridge. There is also complaint as to congestion on the Weyburn-Shaunavon Branch.

The' Grand Trunk Pacific has moved approxi-tion on the Canadian Northern Railway on the following lines: In the Goose Lake District; Moose Jaw-Gravelburg Branch; Saskatoon to Regina. And also state that outside of Manitoba every Canadian Northern point has grain which should be moved.

Again, in so far as delays in the movement which have occurred since the close of navigation are concerned, no complaint is made as against the railways. These delays were largely inevitable. Firstly, owing to the fact that, generally speaking, there was but comparatively little available storage in the East; secondly, that, owing to the war and the commandeering of boats, the supply of bottoms was limited; thirdly, because of the embargoes obtaining largely, and frequently absolutely, at all grain shipping sea ports; and fourthly, congestion of traffic, which was even more marked in the large American terminals than in our own winter ports. In addition to all this, weather conditions and the necessities of the coal movement would, in any event, have prevented any free or general movement of grain traffic.

The situation, however, as I see it, demands

that the ordinary traffic conditions must be departed from, in order to save a large portion of the crop, and the ordinary rules of traffic should be at least temporarily disregarded. The railways should co-operate closely with each other and move the crop as soon as possible, irrespective of the fact that traffic returns of the originating road may be diminished.

The crop on the Canadian Northern Lines has been very large. Notwithstanding the fact that that Company carried a large percentage of the grain already transported, perhaps 35 per cent, an estimate made by the Company of grain still to be marketed on its lines in the prairies amounted to 53,232,480 bushels, and in elevators adjacent to its system 36,000,000 bushels, making a total of S9,232,480 bushels to be hauled.

The Company has since reported that the total grain still in the farmers' hands and unmarketed amounts, according to its estimate on the 15th instant, to 32,844,000 bushe'.s of wheat, and 15,402,000 bushels of other grain; so that the total grain still in the farmers' hands is reduced from 53,232,480 bushels to 48,246,000 bushels. The result is that the Canadian Northern has on or tributary to its system in the Prairie Provinces 84,246,000 bushels of last year's crop yet to be transported.

The congestion which the Grain Commission complain of as the worst in the country is on the Saskatoon-Drumheller, and De Lisle-Elrose lines, running through what is known as the Goose Lake District.

I should also say that a deputation from this district waited upon the Honourable Dr. Reid, when acting as Minister, and was referred by him to me, with the request that I would see that everything possible should be done to relieve the conditions there obtaining.

The Company advises that in this district and adjacent to its lines, there are 11,732,000 bushels of wheat and 1,945,000 bushels of other grain yet to be marketed, or a total of 13,677,000 bushels.

I take the situation here as illustrating the need of relief, again making no complaint against the Canadian Northern, but merely to illustrate the demands of the district and the necessities of the farmers, which are the more serious, in view of the fact that, generally speaking, there was a crop failure in this district last year.

These thirteen million odd bushe-s represent wheat which has not yet been carried to the elevator, much of which will be subject to damage, unless the grain is moved, as already stated, before the spring rains.

The figures as to grain storage in the district show 7,063,900 bushels, making a total of 20,740,900 bushels of grain to be handled in this district alone.

The matter has, of course, been carefully canvased by the Board with the Company, and the best service Mr. Spencer, the Board's Chief Operating Officer, was able to get the Company to say would or could be given to the district was 150 cars a day. In view of the conditions of operation on the line and the failure of the water supply, which has resulted to a large degree at least from excessive winter conditions, it is extremely doubtful whether the Company could possibly move this number of loads; but, assuming that the Company could load them and should commence this movement

on the 1st of March next, which is probably the best that could be hoped for, owing to the fact that the line has only recently been opened after the winter storms, and that water conditions are still bad, it would take, if the movement was maintained, until the 15th of next July to market the crop ; or, on the other hand, if the amount of grain in storage is deducted from the calculation and only the 13,677,000 bushels yet on the farmers' hands considered, the amount could only be moved by June 1st. This, of course, would be altogether too late to save unprotected grain.

The usual rule is that a company should be entitled to the traffic of its own lines, and to the business of that part of the country which it has opened up by its enterprise and the expenditure of its capital. This rule may be said to be of general application, applying, not only in Canada but also in the United States and in Great Britain. It is fair; but only fair, as it occurs to me, when the company can handle that traffic within a reasonable time. This rule gives the Canadian Northern the benefit of the long haul from the Goose Lake District to the Lake Elevators.

I am very free to admit that it would be foolish to expect the railways to move the whole crop in any given year before the close of navigation; and that, if it was so moved, it would probably be the worst thing that could happen for the farmers themselves, destroying to a large extent the value of their product by the consequent depression of the market price. On the other hand, any condition of transportation which results in the western farmer being unable to market his crop until the following June or July, is just as unreasonaoie.

The condition of the farmers in the Goose Lake district for example, to-day is that in so far as the 13,677,000 bushels of grain already referred to are concerned, they cannot market it, and owing to lack of storage facilities, for which of course the railway is not at all to blame, they will be unable to save a large percentage of it under the present transportation conditions.

It should be possible to increase the movement on this line by proper co-operation between the Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Companies. The Railway Act does not enable the board to order this to be done; and I recommend that the Act be amended on the lines of the amendment now enclosed.

It is extremely doubtful that if the traffic moves under ordinary conditions the Canadian Northern will be able to look after more than 100 cars a day. It would appear, however, that if the maximum number of cars and engines were supplied and placed in service on the branch, and instead of being run through to eastern points, made delivery in the Saskatoon elevator, where weights and inspection can be obtained, and were then taken on by the Grand Trunk Pacific, the movement could be very greatly accelerated.

The grain should move at the present through rates, without additional expense to the farmer. The ordinary rate per mile which the rate from Saskatoon would make should be reduced and the through rate should be apportioned so that a greater mileage return should be given to the Canadian Northern, in order to make its-shorter movement profitable. As the resultant business to the Grand Trunk Pacific would be largely found business, as it has idle engines and equipment, some reduction in the regular

rate would be fair to that company. Apart, however, from any railway concerned, but treating the matter merely in the public interest this action or some similar action is necessary.

It well may be that, as the movement develops, similar joint traffic arrangements will be found necessary at other points, both on the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian Northern lines.

It is but fair to say that what I propose is an extension, and perhaps a radical one, of the joint traffic requirements companies are now subject to, owing to the fact that a single line route, reasonable and direct, has been already provided, and also that the movement, although * by joint operation and subject to the additional handling charges entailed thereby, will nevertheless move at the ordinary rate in so far as the shipper is concerned. The fact that the single direct route is congested and unable to move the traffic, coupled with the exigencies of the situation, affords, however, as it occurs to me, an ample justification for the proposed action.

As to the urgency of the situation, there does not seem to be much room for argument; and, if in your view, that situation can be remedied on the lines proposed, might I suggest that the Bill be immediately introduced and its passage facilitated?

Yours faithfully,

H. L. Drayton.

The Honourable

The Minister of Railways and Canals, Ottawa, Ont.

I thought it better to read that letter, as it is very full and very interesting. I do not think any further explanation is

9 p.m. necessary. Sir Henry Drayton has asked me to submit the Bill to the House and ask the House to facilitate its passage. So I should like it to receive its third reading to-night in order that it may go to the Senate for action to-morrow.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

William Ashbury Buchanan

Liberal

Mr. BUCHANAN:

How many cars are

being moved out on the Goose Lake line each day since the weather moderated.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I do, not know. I discussed the matter with Sir Henry Drayton a few day ago and the line was then in very bad shape, they were only getting it opened. I have here some photographs showing the conditions on that line which might interest my hon. friend.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

William Ashbury Buchanan

Liberal

Mr. BUCHANAN:

I happened to be a

member of a deputation from residents on parts of the Goose Lake line in Alberta, which waited on Sir Henry Drayton on this particular matter. I am inclined to think that the proposal will be of assistance in getting the grain out of that country. At the time the deputation waited on the Chairman of the Railway Commission, in the Acadia andHandhills legislative districts of Alberta, it was estimated that the crop was fourteen million bushels and that two

million bushels had been moved out. As has been stated by the minister, a great deal of grain was stored in the fields and some of it was in temporary storage elevators in some of the towns; the elevators were all full, the side tracks were all filled with cars loaded with grain, and it was practically impossible to get that grain out of the country. Something has to be done. I would point out that the storage elevator at Calgary is very close to this particular district. It is true that to send the grain there would involve -a back haul, but I understand that there is not a quarter of a million bushels of wheat in that elevator to-day, nor has there been at any time since it was opened last fall. It has a capacity of about two and a half million bushels, and it would he of great assistance if the grain could be stored there. Otherwise the grain will have to shipped east, and Saskatoon is one storage point and Moosejaw the other. Moosejaw cannot be reached by the Canadian Northern or any other line tributary to it, because once the grain goes east to Saskatoon it is past Moosejaw. Some effort might be made to carry the grain from the Goose Lake country to Calgary and place it there until the facilities at the head of the lakes are better than they are at present. The farmers in that district are suffering. They have their grain stored in temporary shelters, and if the spring opens inauspiciously they may lose two or three grades on grain stored in that way. Some exceptional effort will have to be made to get the grain out of the country.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The proposed arrangement involves storage of grain in either local elevators or the storage elevators. Does the shipper have to pay the elevator charges or do the railway companies absorb them?

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I have not discussed that

point with Sir Henry Drayton. TKe intention of this Bill is to compel the Canadian Northern railway to put on a very large equipment on the lines in the Goose Lake district, say from Drumheller to Moosejaw, and keep cars rushing backwards and forwards between Saskatoon and that railway. The Grand Trunk Pacific will be ordered to take that grain from Saskatoon through to the upper lakes. If it was all left to be carried through by the Canadian Northern railway the movement would be very slow, and perhaps the line would be unable to do the work.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

But who pays the storage; the railway company or the shipper?

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

I understood from Sir Henry Drayton that, whatever the rate was from any point on the Drumheller section or any other point on the Canadian Northern railway from a point east of Drumheller on to Fort William, the farmer would pay the same rate even if the grain went through this elevator and right through to Fort William. That was the impression Sir Henry gave me, and I suppose the railways would have to absorb any charges in be-, tween. That was the impression the chairman of the' commission gave me when we discussed the matter.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I suppose that this Bill

was suggested by the Chairman of the Railway Commission.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

Yes, he wrote the Bill.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The word "board" undoubtedly means the Board of Railway Commissioners; it means their interpretation of the clauses of the Railway Act. This Bill enlarges the powers of the board.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

Yes.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It enlarges the powers

of the board to deal with special cases in which where one railway company is not able to handle the congested traffic, other railways can be asked to assist in the relief *of that congestion; and the board is given the power to distribute the rates among the different railways.

Mr. REID Yes.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION OF GRAIN.
Subtopic:   RAILWAY ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink

March 1, 1916