Further consideration of the following motion of Mr. D; D. McKenzie resumed from October 6:
Whereas on the 16th of March, A.D., 1914, this Honourable House passed the following Resolution which was accepted by the Government,-
" Mr. McKenzie moved that in the opinion of this House the time has arrived for the extension of the Intercolonial Railway of Canada into the non-railway sections of the Maritime Provinces within reasonable range of the said railway." See pages 17!3'6, 1737, 1738, 1739 and 1740 of Hansard for the said year, A.D., 1914.
Be it therefore resolved that, in the opinion of this House, the proposals of the said Resolution of the 16th of March, A.D., 1914, should be carried forward to completion at the earliest possible date.
Mr. 0. TURGEON (Gloucester): Mr. Speaker, from time to time the people of the Maritime Provinces through their representatives in this House have asked the Government for better railway facilities, and it is my desire to support the resolution of the hon. leader of the Opposition for the extension of the Intercolonial railway into the sections mentioned by him, for I believe that such extension would very greatly contribute to the development of trunk line traffic. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia we have in the Intercolonial railway our only trunk line, and, of course, it cannot be expected that capital will be attracted for the construction of short local lines, which by themselves cannot be operated at a profit. Branch lines are not built with the primary object of securing dividends on local traffic; their real purpose is to act as feeders to trunk lines. The hon. gentlemen who have already taken part in the debate on this resolution have mentioned that the districts re-
ferred to would all produce freight from which the trunk line would derive great profits on the long haul. Such railway construction would encourage the fish industry on the Atlantic coast-an encouragement that would be not merely for the benefit of the localities themselves, but would be pf national advantage, as it would increase our food production and at the same time provide additional traffic for the Intercolonial portion of our national railways. The hon. member for Kent (Mr. Leger) has mentioned a proposed line between Buc-touche, in Kent county, and Loggieville, in Northumberland county, which would connect two districts at present isolated for lack of railway communication. It was thought a few years ago that a company might build that line. But, as I have already stated in this House, I have been opposed to the construction of branch lines in the Maritime Provinces by private corporations and unless connected with the Intercolonial for they could not maintain themselves. This proposed line would traverse a fine country in proximity to the best fisheries and would be of great benefit to Canada at large as well as to the Maritime Provinces. .
I regret that the Minister of Railways (Mr. J. D. Reid) is not in his seat, as I wish to again bring to his attention the necessity to our national railways of taking over the old branch line called the Caraquet and Gulf Shore railway on the North shore, which I drew more particularly to the attention of the former Minister of Public Works, Hon. Mr. Carvell, in 1917. At that time the Government were taking over a number of branch lines, connecting with the Intercolonial Railway between Moncton and St. John chiefly, but they left out one branch line which would be an excellent feeder for the Intercolonial on the ground that there was a dispute of a few thousand dollars regarding the value of the road. As I stated at the time, I did not make the request with the assurance that there would be an immediate additional revenue derived from its operation in conjunction with the Intercolonial, but looked more particularly to the benefit that such a line would give to the main line between Halifax and Montreal. I pointed out its freight possibilities, and stated that altogether about 1,750 cars of lumber a year would reach Gloucester Junction not for distribution in the neighbourhood, but to be sent through in Montreal, a distance of 533 miles; and in addition, every year we have a large number
of carloads of fish to be transported from Bathurst to St. John, 220 miles, or to Halifax, 300 miles, due to the geographical situation. Therefore by reason of the long haul traffic the Intercolonial would receive during the year a revenue of $200,000 to $300,000 as contrasted with only about $80,000 of revenue to the branch line itself. I said at the time that the receipts of that road could be increased very considerably, and that therefore the main line revenue would also be increased two or three times. That fact has to be considered, and in drawing it to the attention of the Government I submit that the interests of our national railways are being neglected by our continued refusal to take over that line. The Government are losing thousands of dollars every year on (account- of tljeir neglect to take over this line. The acquirement of these branch lines in northern New Brunswick and in Nova Scotia is a matter of great national interest and necessity. The only reason that the minister has ever given for the Government's failure to take over the Caraquet and Gulf Shore railway is that they could not come to an agreement with the owners of that line as to the amount for which it could be bought. I suggested when -the matter was up on a previous occasion, and I suggest again, that arbitration should be resorted to. The owners of this line have intimated to the Minister of Railways their willingness to accept the decision of any board of arbitration appointed by the Government to look into this matter; they would have accepted in advance the decision of the former Chief Commissioner of the Board of Railway Commissioners, now the Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton), I thought at the time that the Minister of Railways would accept that proposal. The owners of this line are willing to-day to accept the finding of any man who has a knowledge of railways whom the Government may select as arbitrator, whether he be a judge of the Exchequer Court or any one else.
The Government lare |always prepared to accept the principle of arbitration when it comes to dealing with large corporations and when large amounts are involved. They did it in the case of the Canadian Northern, and they are proposing to do it in the case of the Grand Trunk in connection with the proposals which they now place before the House. Why not apply the same principle to the acquirement of small lines? Why not do it in the case of the line which I mention and thus do justice to the section of the community