June 4, 1921

CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

The Editorial

Committee got their authority by a certain Order in Council, dated October 4, 1917, which I want to read. I was the minister who made the recommendation:

The minister recommends that a committee of three members of the Civil Service be appointed to consider the suggestions of the Joint Committee on Printing-

I want my hon. friend to listen to their powers as given:

-and take such action as may contribute to the better co-ordination in the preparation for and printing of public documents and subsequent distribution- .

That is, after printing.

-so that the greatest possible economy may be attained, consistent with the public interest, and that three members of the Government be constituted a committee to advise and co-operate with the said Editorial Committee, and whose approval shall be obtained to all measures recommended by that committee before they are put into execution.

That is the primary duty which was put on the Editorial Committ'ee, to cooperate with the Committee on Printing and to see that ,those economies werei practised, both in the printing and in the subsequent distribution of documents that were printed. That remained their sole duty until the Order in Council of June 29, 1920, which in part stated that to them should be given:

Authority to determine the proper disposition of obsolete and surplus publications in store in the various Government departments, as well as in the Distribution Office of the Department of Public Printing and Stationery, and supervise their disposition.

That was an added and late duty which was placed upon them and which they undertook, of course, much later than their primary duties. In the execution of

their primary duties, such as are stated in the first Order in Council, the Editorial Committee have done work which is apparent to Parliament. If the members of the House will get the reports of the two years' work of the Editorial Committee, they will see that they have done splendid work, and that very fine results in the way of economy have come therefrom.

With reference to the action of the Editorial Committee in connection with the matter now before this committee, I am not going to review here Judge Snider's report, and I want my hon. friend and other hon. members, in taking Judge Snider's report into consideration, also to take into consideration the document which I placed on the table of the House this morning as a statement by Mr. Fred Cook and Mr. Lynch, two members of the Editorial Committee, who had the conference at which it was proposed to do certain things with certain of those documents that were supernumerary. Mr. Boudreau and Mr. O'Hara, members of the Editorial Committee, were not in town at the time, and they had nothing to do with that conference. There was a misunderstanding, apparent to anyone who will read the reports, with reference to the conclusions come to by a conference held between Mr. Cook, Mr. Lynch and employees of the Printing and Distribution Department. They have different ideas and make different statements as to the conclusions that were reached. My own view of the matter is that there is not the first item which can be cited to show that there was malice prepense, or that there was any desire to do anything other than was proper and right, and the ultimate result was almost entirely due, I think, to the misunderstanding as to the conclusions come to in that conference. Whether it was from blunder or negligence, or from whatever other cause, I want hon. members, before they make up their minds, to read not only Judge Snider's report, but also the statement I placed on the Table this morning.

I think the whole thing is soluble on the ground, not of a desire to do anything wrong or inconsistent with a desire to do everything right, but owing very largely to misunderstandings and maybe to a little negligence and perhaps oversight. I rose to make that little explanation, 53 that fairness may be had on all sides when both documents are before hon. members for review.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

"Little" explanation?

Mr? SINCLAIR (Guysborough) : I have no remarks to make about the Snider report, but I would like to say that economy may be carried too far by the Editorial Committee. Members are confined to receiving only three free copies of the Hansard. That is not enough. I represent thirty thousand people in this Parliament, and I am constantly getting letters from people saying that a certain debate is of interest to them and that they would like to have a copy of the Hansard containing it, but when I go to the Distribution Office for a copy of it, I am told that I have already received my three copies. That is a kind of economy that I do not think is advisable. There are difficulties of the same kind with reference to other publications, which, I suppose, are accounted for on the ground of economy.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

If my hon.

friend will allow me, it is the Printing Committee, and not the Editorial Committee, that controls that.

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?

Mr SINCLAIR (Guysborough) :

I have a remark to make about the Editorial Committee. I have drawn my hon. friend's attention once before to the fact that they have eliminated fron) the blue book known as Public Accounts that very important part which gives a comparative statement of the expenditures in each department of Government for each year since Confederation. It was one of the most interesting parts of that publication, but those pages have been cut out for the present year. I hope they will be restored next year.

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CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

The Editorial

Committee had no more to do with that than my hon. friend.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough):

Who

does it?

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton (Secretary of State of Canada; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

I am afraid

I am entirely responsible for that.

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

Don't do it again.

Amendment negatived.

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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

Too many cooks spoil

the broth.

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Item agreed to. At One o'clock the committee took recess. After Recess The committee resumed at 2.30 p.m.


L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

When the committee rose at one o'clock, three Estimates remained for consideration, Nos. Ill, 555, and 557. Item No. Ill, Railways, Canadian Government, $4,117,999 had been allowed to stand at the request of the member for Westmoreland (Mr. Copp).

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

Being a representative of New Brunswick, one of the three Maritime Provinces, I feel it my duty, not only to my constituents in particular but also to the people of the whole province from which I come, to say a few words in regard to the Canadian National railways, especially that portion which is known as the old Intercolonial railway, from Montreal to Sydney, Halifax and St. John. The feeling of the people of New Brunswick in regard to Canadian National Railway affairs is very pronounced, and I am tempted to address the committee today because of a statement made to the Special Committee on Railways and Shipping a few weeks ago by the chairman of the Board of Management, to the effect that the whole criticism of the Canadian National Railway system began and ended in the eastern section of the railway. There has been considerable criticism as well as a very strong feeling, in regard to the railway situation, on the part of the Maritime Provinces, and matters are becoming graver from month to month since the operation of the road has been practically taken over by the Board of Directors of the Canadian National railways. I am bound to reply to the statements of Mr. Hanna, and I shall do so in no spirit of resentment. That gentleman declared that the criticism from that section of the country was of a small and petty character. Well, I want to tell the Minister of Railways that the delegation of some fifty gentlemen who are interested in industry, in commerce, and in the professions, and who journeyed from that part of Canada to Ottawa to lay their case before the Government, did not come to the Capital for the purpose of indulging in captious or carping criticism. They did not come here to plead a few isolated cases. They came, fifty strong, representing the very best interests of the Maritime Provinces, to lay their grievances clearly before the Government, and I should be derelict in my duty if I did not take this opportunity to

re-affirm and substantiate the arguments which they laid before the Government the other day. It has been felt in the Maritime Provinces that we were in a most unfortunate position because of the fact that we had no representatives from that section of the country in the Dominion Cabinet to represent us in the councils of the Government; and while I want to give the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) due credit for having brought into his Government some hon. gentlemen from the Maritime Provinces, I must say that I had hoped that those hon. gentlemen would endeavour to exercise whatever influence they had with the Government to the end that, if all the demands of the Maritime Provinces could not be met, at least some consideration would be given them at the present time. Now, I do not purpose to deal with this matter at any great length, because, if I attempted to argue the case from all its angles, I am afraid I should consume a great deal of time; and during my short term in Parliament, I have, on different occasions, argued this question to a greater or less extent. Those who have preceded me as representatives of the section from which I come, have also placed our case on Hansard, and therefore I need not go over the whole matter in any exhaustive detail.

The Intercolonial railway, the people of the Maritime Provinces properly think, was built for the purpose of implementing the agreement which was made at the time of Confederation as the sole inducement for the Maritime Provinces, who were reluctant to enter the Union, to join forces with the rest of Canada. The statesmen of the Maritime Provinces at that time were very reluctant about entering Confederation, and the strongest argument that was advanced to induce the Maritime Provinces to come in was the undertaking that a railway would be constructed from those provinces to connect up with the commercial centres of Upper Canada, providing a reasonably cheap rail transportation. Our natural market at that time was found in the New England States, but when the Maritime Provinces entered Confederation, they were, of course, bound by such fiscal arrangements as might be made between Canada as a whole and the United States, and, therefore, the New England markets were closed to us. They were handy markets, the water transportation being comparatively cheap. When that market was

closed to us,, as was pointed out the other day by certain hon. gentlemen, it was obvious that unless we had a reasonably cheap transportation service from the Maritime Provinces to Montreal, Toronto, and the great western provinces that would be founded, the Maritime Provinces would be prejudicially affected, beyond peradven-ture, in entering into the Confederation of Canada. Now I want to say to the Minister of Railways that the freight rates which have been placed upon the commodities of the Maritime Provinces are absolutely paralyzing the trade of those provinces, and, unless some remedial action is taken in this matter, the business interests of our part of this great Dominion stand to be seriously impaired. By the industry, the energy, the pluck, and the perseverance which have characterized the business men of the Maritime Provinces during the last fifty, years, an important trade has been built up in Eastern Canada, and these unduly high rates of transportation, I fear, will only drive these men out of business, and cripple industrial effort. These high freight rates are unfair not only to tno Maritime Provinces, but to the whole Dominion, because, as surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, if the interests of one part of the country are injured, this injury will react on other sections. Unless we can have a reasonably cheap transportation service, our business cannot grow, our trade will be stagnant, and our younger population will naturally seek new fields for their enterprise. Mr Hanna, when before the committee, criticised not only members of Parliament, but apparently every one else who had anything adverse to say in respect of the Canadian National Railways. Lee me say to him, in a spirit of friendliness, that instead of criticising those who rightly find fault with the railways, it would he more to the point if he and his colleagues on the Board of Directors would endeavour to popularize this system of railways fcy providing the people with a more satisfactory service. After all, it is a business proposition: The Canadian National Railways have passenger and freight transportation space to sell, and unless they can offer adequate inducements, the people are not going to use the system. Their facilities must be equal to those that are to be found on any other well-organized road.

In regard to the men who came here the other day and laid their case before the Government, I may say they came here, not

representing any class of political party, but representing the whole people of the Maritime Provinces. I bespeak on behalf of those people the careful and deliberate consideration of the claims made by them. As I said a moment ago, I associated myself with them. They come to the Government, not in a threatening attitude, or even a warning attitude, but with a direct appeal to the Government as the guardians of the people of the whole Dominion of Canada. The Government are just as much the guardians of the people in the Maritime Provinces as of the people in any other section of the Dominion of Canada. We find our Canadian National Railways Board of Directors, talking in a rather resentful way about criticisms coming from the Maritime Provinces. I say that criticism is well deserved. In addition to studying the question of freight rates for transportation from the Maritime Provinces, and deciding upon the rates, the delegates also asked the Government to consider-and I again place myself on record as agreeing with them-whether or not it would be in the interest, not only of the people of the Maritime Provinces, of the whole Dominion of Canada, if the old Intercolonial was operated as a separate unit with headquarters in the city of Moncton, where its headquarters have always been from Confederation down to two or three years ago, when the general management of that railway was practically moved from the city of Moncton, partially to the city of Montreal and more particularly to Toronto. Formerly the people of the Maritime Provinces, had the opportunity of meeting individually the directors and managers of that system, could come to them, and seek redress, and arrange their business, without having to go beyond the confines of our own province. The authority that was given to the management of the road at that time, has been removed from the Maritime Provinces. If we desire the slightest information or have the slightest business to transact, we cannot do it through the officials of that railway at Moncton, but have to go to Toronto. There is not a man with authority to-day in Moncton who has authority to sell a carload of ashes, but he must refer it to the city of Toronto. I say that does not make for the good operation of that portion of the national railways known as the Intercolonial. Referring to the official staff, if you may dignify them by that name, which is supposed to have some control of that section of the railway, very few of those individuals are men

trained on the Intercolonial. We have men who spent many years, some practically their whole lives in working up the interest of the road and who have had experience on that section of the railway, and to-day hardly one of those men holds any position of authority or standing on that road. I have no.criticism to make of the personnel of the staff, but I say it is manned and officered by railway men who have been brought from Toronto or the Canadian Northern Railway system, and placed in charge of that section of the Intercolonial. They do not understand the situation and they do not understand the people. I say it would be very much better for the minister to use his influence with the board of directors, if he has any, to see that the men who from the inception of their railway experience worked on the Intercolonial should be retained with adequate power and responsibility. These men advanced step by step from the time they went into the work on that system until they got into a position where they would have made splendid railway men, but they have been removed, and men brought from outside to fill their places.

I do not say that these men who were trained on the Intercolonial were not taken care of in some other way, but it would have been much better for that section of the Canadian National railway if these men had been given positions to carry on the work on the road where they had been trained and had had experience.

There is another small matter which I brought to the attention of my hon. friend last year-the operation and use of private cars on that section of the railway. I told him then, and repeat now, that it is not necessary to have as many private cars in operation on the section of the Intercolonial as are in use to-day. We have superintendents and! assistant superintendents brought in from outside, and it seems to be the whole aim to get men in the shops to build private cars, and put private cars on every passenger train running to St. John, Newcastle, Campbell-ton or Montreal. I do not know what it costs the country every time they draw a private car from Moncton to Montreal, but I know it is a large figure. I am not narrow or small in regard to private cars. I readily understand that managers of railways, men who have to do their business along the railway, naturally will take their clerks and stenographers with them, and naturally require private cars to do that business; but I can say to my

hon. friend that this is not the time to add to the number of private cars which are being carried over this road and this for two or three reasons. One reason is that we are not in position to stand the excessive cost of extravagant operation. Secondly I would say to my hon. friend that his Board of Directors have found it necessary to retire 500 or 600 men from the workshops of the Intercolonial railway.

I have been getting daily advice from that district and I find these men are walking the streets, not earning a single dollar, and their families, if they are not in actual want, soon will be. It does not add to the idea of restful conditions in this country which we would all like to see. These men, standing on the platform at Moncton, will see a private car hooked on the rear of a train which is to carry one or two individuals going to St. John, when surely a Pullman would be quite good enough for them. I am not envious of the man who can ride in a private car if he has the money to pay for it, but the people of this country should not be called upon to put their hands in their pockets to pay for the expensive operation of private cars to gratify the vanity of the superintendents, assistant superintendents, mechanical

foremen and other petty officials whose sole ambition, as I said a few minutes ago, appears to be to ride around in

private cars at the public expense. Pullman reservations to-day cost three times as much as a few years ago. For instance, you cannot get a drawing room from Moncton to Montreal for less than $24. Yet, Sir, many of these petty railway officials, if they cannot gratify their ambition with a private car, take up Pullman reservations at the expense of the country, though many of them if travelling on their own account would not incur the expense.

Another ground of complaint is that these private cars are drawn at the end of our trains and ordinary passengers are unable to enjoy from the rear the beautiful section of country they may be passing through. When I brought this to the attention of my hon. friend last year he not only promised to have the practice discontinued, but he told me that it was against the rule. The practice is still continued, and if it is against the regulations somebody must be responsible. I again appeal to my hon. friend to see to it that the railway officials do something to try and popularize the road instead of riding through the country on all occasions in private cars.

I know, Sir, and readily admit, that this is not an opportune time to build or buy railways, but in fairness to the province of New Brunswick I think the Government should take over the St. John and Quebec Railway running from Centreville to the city of St. John. That is the only road in that section of the country not owned by the Federal Government. During the last two or three years we have taken over practically every railway in the Dominion with the exception of the Canadian Pacific, and in doing so have relieved practically all the other provinces of their liability on the railway bonds which they had guaranteed, a liability representing millions of dollars. If it is the policy of the Government to relieve all the other provinces in this way, then I say the province of New Brunswick should be accorded similar treatment, and this railway should be taken over and operated as part of our national system. I have no doubt that my hon. friend has received from the government of the province of New Brunswick a resolution moved by the Premier and seconded by the leader of the Opposition at the last session of the legislature, and passed unanimously, to the effect that it was the duty of the Dominion Government to assume the burden of the St. John and Quebec Railway as they have assumed the burden of other railways in the Dominion.

I want also to draw to the attention of the Minister of Railways a matter that I have no doubt has already been brought to his attention by petitions from a very large section of people in my county who are desirous of railway accommodation from Shediac to Cape Tormentine. A charter was granted some years ago for what is known as the Shediac and Cape Tormentine railway. The people of that locality are particularly anxious to have the line constructed, and I trust my hon. friend will give their request favourable consideration.

I omitted to say, when discussing the railway situation in the province of New Brunswick, that a study of the railway statistics will show that less public money has been expended on railways in New Brunswick per capita than in any other province. Therefore, I submit that my province is peculiarly entitled to the most favourable consideration of my hon. friend in regard to railway facilities.

I promised that I would not detain the committee long, an$l therefore I have spoken very briefly on these very important IMr. Copp.J

matters, but they are worthy of, in fact they demand, deliberate and sympathetic consideration by the Government, and I sincerely trust that I will have the active support of all other members from the Maritime Provinces in regard to what I have laid before my hon. friend. We are very proud of the Maritime Provinces which we may consider as one of the three great sections of the Dominion, the others being the two important provinces of Quebec and Ontario in the centre, and in the West the vast Prairie Provinces.

Their business interests are similar in many respects, _ but at the same time they are easily divisible into three separate districts, and the only way we can make Canada prosperous is to keep these three sections working together in harmony and in the best interests of all. I trust that something will be done by the Government or by the Board of Management to alleviate at once the conditions which prevail in the Maritime Provinces with regard to railway matters; otherwise our business interests may be paralyzed. I again appeal to the Minister of Railways; I appeal to those who come from the Maritime Provinces to support the just claims of the people of that part of the country-not because I advance them, but because they are the views put forward by the delegation, fifty strong, which interviewed the Government the other day in regard to this matter, with which views I have the honour to associate myself. I trust that the Government will take this matter up and not only give it consideration, 'but see that proper relief is afforded to the Maritime Provinces in this regard.

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UNION

James McIsaac

Unionist

Mr. McISAAC:

I wish to bring to the

attention of the Minister of Railways certain grievances, certain handicaps or disabilities, under which the people of the province which I have the honour to represent are suffering. In the first place, there is at Georgetown a wharf which has not been used for some time. It is a valuable property; there is a valuable warehouse on it, but it is out of commission and the people are very anxious that the necessary expenditure should be made in order to keep it in a good state of repair, because while it has not of late been used very much it may be required in the near future. Then, they have some grievances with regard to the early closing of the stations at Montague, Cardigan and Georgetown. Passing from this, I wish to point out another hardship from which the people are suffering. I have received

numerous telegrams and letters with regard to the summer time-tables which have been put into force on the eastern section of the Prince Edward Island Railway, from Charlottetown to Souris and Georgetown. Freight trains are run between these points only tri-weekly, whereas they have hitherto always had in summer a daily freight service. A number of merchants of Georgetown, Souris and Montague have sent me telegrams pointing out that if this schedule is continued it will practically put them out of business. I suggest that an improvement be made in this regard.

Then, the booking station at Bear River on the eastern line, about half way between St. Peters and Souris, is about to be closed, so it is reported. That station has been there ever since the opening of the road; a prosperous farming community has been built up on both sides of it, and if the station is now closed there may be nothing else for these people to do but to leave there and move somewhere else. It would mean that there would be no booking station between St. Peters and Souris, a distance of some twenty-five miles. On behalf of the people of this district I urge the minister to take this matter into his serious consideration.

But the paramount question with regard to transportation is the standardization of the remaining portions of the Prince Edward Island Railway. These matters have already been brought to the attention of the minister; figures have been placed before him as to what the probable cost would be. The improvement which has resulted in the export trade of the province and in the cultivation of the farms since the inauguration of the car ferry across the straits and the partial broadening of the track is an indication of the benefit which would accrue from the standardization of the remaining portions of the road. The progress and advancement have been so marked that they constitute the greatest possible argument in favour of completing the standardization as soon as possible. It is stated that an annual saving of about $81,000 would be effected by the completion of this work and the obviating of the necessity for making transfers from the narrow gauge to the broad gauge at Charlottetown, Summerside and Borden. Another consideration is the fact that ties have already been laid on 60 per cent of the road-bed and are ready for the broad-gauge rails. The cost, therefore, of completing the work would not be so very great; it is estimated

-I think fairly correctly-that $600,000 would finish everything.

Now, Mr. Chairman, these are the principal things that weigh upon the people of Prince Edward Island so far as the matter of transportation facilities is concerned; these are the handicaps and disabilities under which they suffer. The inauguration of the car ferry in 1918 was the first practical step towards the solution of the problem of affording adequate transportation facilities between Prince Edward Island and the mainland. It is urged that an additional car ferry be supplied at an early day. On that phase of the question I am not going to dwell at the moment; if we get the remaining portions of the road standardized we can afford to wait for a time for the additional car ferry. But I believe that the increase in production in the agricultural province of Prince Edward Island would be so great as to fully justify the additional expenditure on a second car ferry.

In addition to what I have already said I desire to present further reasons in order to convince this committee beyond the possibility of doubt that the people for whom it is my privilege to speak and the province which I have the honour to be a representative, are unquestionably entitled to the transportation improvements for which I plead. Prince Edward Island although the smallest province of the Confederation, is the most populous according to area and the wealthiest according to population. It is the garden of the Gulf, the gem of the northern seas. It is a land of peace and plenty where a generous soil under moderate climatic conditions reacts readily and yields abundantly to the activities of industry and intelligence. It is the home of sturdy men and comely women where the visitor receives a welcome and hospitality is dispensed in princely fashion.

In this province there are no gigantic mountains, nor foaming cataracts thundering over lofty architraves but there is spread out on every hand quiet, restful, soothing pastoral scenery. It is a land of pearly brooks and shimmering streams, flawing rivers and winding bays. Here the summer heat is tempered by the brineladen breezes which are wafted from the foam-flecked St. Lawrence or Strait of Northumberland, and which impart the glow of health to the cheeks of our youths and maidens. If you would see our province at its best, you should visit it in the summer season when you will see the fields

clothed in their richest green, the ripening grain waving in the wind awaiting the sickle's sharp edge and the trees laden with their luscious fruit. Here there is abundant opportunity for rest and recuperation; here the overworked may speedily regain renewed vigour and mental activity.

Not infrequently those seeking health, rest and renewed vigour travel long distances and spend sums of money altogether out of proportion to the benefits received, but here, within easy reach is an elysium where they may at moderate cost benefit to a greater degree than at any resort to which they might travel. Surf bathing, boating, shooting, angling and other forms of recreation of the best kind are available in ample supply. For those who may prefer the later months when the shadows grow longer and the maple leaves assume their autumnal tints will be found attractions equally as agreeable. I am inclined to believe that if my good friend, the Minister of Finance, Sir Henry Drayton, would again visit our province at this particular season and avail himself of the opportunity afforded to investigate the succulent bivalve, his heart would soften and he might be disposed to loosen the federal purse strings and place at the disposal of the Minister of Railways, the money necessary to carry out the transportation improvements that I earnestly plead for.

If the Government will issue bonds to the people of Prince Edward Island and borrow the necessary money from them, I am sure, in twenty-four hours, they will get all that is necessary to carry on this improvement. Therefore, if the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Railways will visit Prince Edward Island, perhaps a little later in the season when the country is at its best, they will be so carried away that the case will be won and we shall not have to plead any more for this essentially necessary improvement in our transportation facilities.

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L LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Queen's, P.E.I.) :

I regret that this item did not come up earlier in the session in order that questions which affect transportation in the East could be more fully put before the com-, mittee. I do not wish at this time to take up any of the time of the committee unnecessarily by going into details. I rise at this time just to support what has been said by the hon, member for Westmoreland (Mr. Copp) and the hon. member for King's (Mr. Mclsaac), to bring to the notice of the Government conditions that exist in eastern Canada, and more especi-

ally in Prince Edward Island in connection with our transportation system. I am not going to repeat what has been said in previous debates during the session. The matter has been placed clearly before the minister by delegations of boards of trade and also by hon. members of this House. In a previous discussion I had an opportunity of placing a statement on Hansard myself. I simply ask the minister to give these matters consideration and to put into effect, during the coming year, the request to finish the standardization of the railway.

In carrying on the argument, I wish also to say that the delay in doing this work is delaying development in Prince Edward Island. In 1909-10, as the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) will remember, development in railways in Prince Edward Island was undertaken. A branch was built to Murray Harbour. This was to be followed by, and a contract was let for, a branch railway to the New London section. Those are our best and largest sections which are distant from railway facilities. When the standardization of the railway was undertaken, this work of development was stopped until the railway would be built to the standard gauge. These sections expect that work to be done. I had the honour a year ago, to present a petition, from another section to the Minister of Railways through the Governor in Council, asking for a change in the present facilities along the branch that runs from Mount Stewart to Georgetown. Under present arrangements that train i& brought in on the north side of the river in a very roundabout way, duplicating the train that runs to Souris. It is requested by the people-and I think it is an economical proposition for the railroad -to divert that line at Birt's crossing, build about twenty miles of new road tiirough a level and good farming section to Mount Herbert and come in across the bridge to Charlottetown over the Murray Harbour railway. This will be a saving in distance for the people who are served by that line; it will enable the operation of the railway to give the service in a shorter time; it will be a saving of time, and also a saving in cost of operation. It will be economical from the standpoint of operation. It will also be a great help in developing one of the finest sections in Eastern Canada, namely, through the Montague, Fort Augustus and Lot 48, section of Prince Edward Island. I commend this to the attention of the minister. The development that is being demanded by our people in that way is held back on account

of the standardization not being completed.

I know that we have the sympathy of the Minister of Railways in our demands; I know that he is ready to carry on the work, and I think, with a little co-operation with the Minister of Finance, we can expect results during the coming summer. I leave the matter with the minister to carry out.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough):

I have not forgotten, sir, your admonition that our time is short, so that any remarks that I may make on this question will be very brief. I wish to associate myself with the speeches of other gentlemen made here this afternoon, as regards the claims of the Maritime Provinces for better transportation facilities than we have at the present time. A large delegation of business men from the Maritime Provinces came before the Government a few days ago pressing those claims. This matter is of vital importance at the present time to the Maritime Provinces. I submit, Sir, that some concession should be given to the people of the Maritime provinces, as regards especially the heavy articles of traffic. The history of the Intercolonial was pressed upon the Government by that delegation. It was pointed out that it was built to carry out the terms of Confederation; that at the time of Confederation the Maritime Provinces were trading with the New England States; that geography was against the proposed trade with the central parts of the Upper Provinces, and that the Intercolonial railway was built for the purpose of enabling the Maritime Provinces to carry on business with the other parts of the Dominion of Canada. But, if freight rates are to be placed so high that it is impossible for these people to move their coal, steel, lumber and fish, which are the great staples, to the centres of population in the Upper Provinces, of course the benefit of the Intercolonial railway as regards the trade of the Maritime Provinces is largely lost. I wish, therefore, to associate myself with what has been said on that question, and to press upon the Government the vital necessity of giving this matter their best consideration with as little delay as possible.

I also wish to draw attention to the fact that we are proposing in this item to vote $4,117,994 for construction and betterments. We are not told where this money is to be spent. I desire in that connection again to press the claims of my own constituency for a branch railway. The Minister of Railways is familiar with the conditions in that part of the country. I have

frequently brought this matter to his attention. A branch railway in that locality would serve two purposes: it would relieve the congestion on the Intercolonial in Eastern Nova Scotia, and at the same time open up a very important district in the county of Guysborough and the eastern part of the county of Pictou. Ten years ago the claims of that part of Canada were admitted by everybody. My right hon. friend the member for King's (Sir Robert Borden) did us the honor, shortly before he became Prime Minister, of visiting my constituency, and his friends who welcomed him on that occasion understood him to say that if he was returned to power he would construct that branch railway. The claims of that locality, I say, were admitted at that time. The Government surveyed and located a branch line and Parliament voted $1,000,000 to start the work. The Government purchased, at a cost of $100,000, twelve miles of railway already constructed to form part of the branch. But at that point the project stopped. Ten years have now passed and nothing further has been done. I submit that there is no case so urgent as this in the whole Dominion of Canada. There are some 40,000 people interested in the construction of this branch. It is one of the oldest sections of Canada. Canso is one of the oldest towns in Canada. When Halifax was a forest, the seat of Government was at Canso. The people of that locality have contributed their fair share towards the development of this Dominion for the last half century, but they are still, at this late date, isolated from railway communication. The only transportation that it is possible for them to have is a branch of the Intercolonial. I would not ask for the expenditure' of a large sum of money at the present time, with the country's finances as they are, except that the Government is proposing to vote this $4,000,000 for construction and betterments in any case. I do not know where the Government propose to construct these new branches, but I want to say that if there is any branch railway to be made in any part of Canada, there is no more urgent case than that of the constituency I have the honour to represent. For several years past our representations in regard to this proposal have been disregarded; fair play and justice have been disregarded. The money, as I said before, was voted by Parliament; but, not for business reasons, not for the sake of economy, but largely for party and political reasons, the proposal was abandoned. The Minister

of Railways is a friend of mine and I want to appeal to him. When he sits at the Council board to decide what shall be done with this $4,000,000, I appeal to him to submit the dire necessities of the people of Guysborough county, and to press their claims upon the Government. He knows the situation well. He well knows that what I claim is only a matter of cold justice. I wish to say again and to say it most emphatically, that if any expenditure is to be made for the construction of railway branches anywhere in Canada this branch in Guysborough county ought to come first.

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L LIB

Onésiphore Turgeon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

Mr. Chairman, as I have already on many occasions expressed views and made suggestions similar to those just expressed by the hon. members who have just spoken on this important question of the Intercolonial Railway and its requirements, I will merely say at present that I endorse all their statements and suggestions.

The hon. Minister of Railways has already acceded to some important requests of mine for my county, and as I wish him to leave a good name somewhere in Canada when he retires from office, I say to him that the Maritime Provinces is a land of gratitude as well as solicitude, and anything he does for it will be highly appreciated.

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

Just a word in reply to the several members who have spoken. With reference to the remarks of the hon. member for Westmoreland (Mr. Copp), I was present in the Committee when President Hanna made the statement that the only criticism of the Canadian National Railways came from east of Montreal. I was Sorry that he made the statement; I think it would have been better if it had not been made, because it does not promote good feeling to make remarks of that kind. I was also present when the very large and influential delegation were here a few days ago in connection with the Intercolonial Railway. The hon. member will recollect that among other things they objected to the head office of the Canadian National Railways being in Toronto, or at all events, they objected that complaints had to be taken to Toronto for redress, instead of to Moncton, as in the past. They also complained very much about the high freight rates, and about not having a manager at Moncton, as in the past. They also objected to the Railway Commission having control over rates, as they have of course, over all

the other railways. They also brought up the question of the Government taking over the St. John Valley railway. Several other matters also came up. I must say that I was very much impressed by the statements made by several members of that delegation. The Prime Minister also stated that he was very much impressed with the representations that had been made, and that the matters asked for by the delegation would be considered by the Government in the near future. I think the hon. member, therefore, will not expect me to say anything further on these matters to-day, but I can assure him that the several requests of the delegation will be considered by the Government at the earliest possible moment.

Now I wish to refer to what the hon. members from Prince Edward Island have said with regard to the closing of Bear River station, the daily service on that line being changed, and one part of the line being served with a tri-weekly service, instead of a weekly service, as those are matters of operation I shall bring them to the attention of the management immediately, with the request that they look into the matter and, if possible, reconsider the action that has been taken or is about to be taken.

With reference to the narrow gauge, I am sorry that this year the Government could not see its way clear to make the change from the narrow to the standard gauge system, but it was felt that financial conditions were such that we could not undertake that this year. However, next year when we are considering the estimates we will take that matter up and deal with it then. I hope that we may be able to consider it favourably and proceed, if not with all the work, with part of it.

In conclusion, I would say that these matters will be looked into and given the attention of my department and of the Government at the earliest possible moment.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guysborough) :

What

about the Guysborough branch?

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UNION

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Unionist

Hon. Mr. REID:

I am sorry there is

nothing in the estimates for that this year. I should have liked to be able to put it in for the hon. member, but I think he will have to leave that over until next session.

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L LIB

James Alexander Robb

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

The Canadian National Railway Board, in 1918, for purposes of defence, decided to transfer a certain mileage of Canadian rails over to France. How many miles of rails were transferred to France, and has the Canadian Government been paid for them?

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June 4, 1921