In 1908, June 23rd.
Now, Sir, in view of the fact that the rail-
way will have to be paid for out of the sale of these lands and by the grain and cattle to be produced by the men who purchased these lands, I want to say that we are not here to-day as humble suppliants asking this parliament for favours; we are here demanding our right. This railway is ours, and I maintain lhat no other part of the Dominion has contributed anything towards its building. The grading has all been done, the bridges are all in, and only 92 miles of steel remain to be laid to complete this road. The then Minister of Railways when asked the question in the year 1920 as to the estimated cost of laying this steel gave the figure of 81,750,000. But as material and labour costs have decreased since that time, I presume the work could now be done for.less. I understand of course that a great deal of the road already built has been allowed to fall into disrepair, and that a considerable amount of money will be required to put it again into proper shape, but the least we can expect is that this railway should be completed to the bay and put in running shape and local traffic allowed to develop-the traffic from fishing, mining and lumbering industries. In that way we would get a very fair chance to try out the project and convince those who are still doubtful that it is quite feasible.
I should like to observe that the townsite at Fort Churchill has unfortunately been allowed to pass into private hands. The town-site at Port Nelson is still in the possession of the government, and I trust that the hon. Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) will see that it is retained until such time as it is needed for actual use instead of being allowed to pass into the hands of speculators.
The hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) asked one hon. member on this side of the House what would become of the Canadian National Railways if the Hudson Bay railway were completed and in operation. Now, Sir, that question carried with it the implication that the scheme was feasible, and I was almost pleased to hear the hon. gentleman make the inquiry. It appears to me that those opposing this project are divided into two classes: those who think it is feasible and oppose it because it is feasible-I do not imply of course that the hon. member for Bonaventure is opposing the resolution; he did not say so-and those who, perhaps honestly, think the project is not feasible.
In going over the estimates that we have been dealing with recently perhaps I may be allowed to observe, without appearing sectional in any way, that after carefully elim-
Hudson Bay Railway
mating all the items that could in any way be considered national, and dealing only with those that I could class as gifts or bonuses or subsidies to the provinces, I find the figures are as follows:
Ontario and Quebec $2,775,000
British Columbia 2,295,000
Maritime provinces 1,921,000
Of this amount I might observe that Prince Edward Island gets only the small portion of $33,700 and the prairie provinces-Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta-only $305,377, the total being $7,298,062.
To this total I might add the steamship subsidies, because in looking over them I do not find any of really national benefit. They serve the small ports, and therefore are only of provincial account. The large trans-Atlantic steamship systems that handle our grain and other products are made to pay their way by the freight charges they collect from our grain and cattle. These steamship subsidies amount to $1,128,275, giving us a total of $8,426,337. In looking at those items one may perhaps be pardoned for observing that the prairie provinces with approximately 25 per cent of the population of the Dominion receive only about 3i per cent of that total. This is a further reason why the government should give favourable consideration to the completion of the Hudson Bay railway.
In conclusion, I might refer to the fact that we are approaching a by-election in the constituency of Moose Jaw. I predict that the Liberal candidate will be promising the people that if he is elected the government will complete the Hudson Bay railroad. Therefore I hope the government will express themselves a litttle more frankly on this project, because it is certainly going to be an issue in the Moose Jaw election, and I do not want to see the Liberal candidate making any pledges unless he has the government behind him.
As for the criticisms and the doubts levelled at this project, we are quite prepared to meet them. In fact we have been meeting them for the last forty years. Doubtless there are and always will be such scoffers and doubters, and had it not been that men of vision overruled the skeptics the great country west of the Lakes would still be a fur preserve, the Canadian Pacific railway would never have been built. Indeed, we may go back a few hundred years and say that America would never have been discovered. And as we now criticise those who opposed or supported in their day, these other great projects so posterity will judge us for our decisions here to-day.
Subtopic: MOTION OF MR. ANDREW KNOX FOR CONSIDERATION OF SENATE REPORT