April 8, 1924

LIB
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

I suggest that

hon. members get their copy of this annual report and read it. It may be said that we have not the money to do these things, but if the Canadian Pacific can afford it the people of Canada can afford it; that is my answer to that argument. The Canadian Pacific is a great railway. It has enormous resources, it has good management and a splendid board of directors. But the Canadian National as it is to-day has seventy per cent of the strategical advantage of the transcontinental railways of this country.

C.N.R.-Branch Lines

They have it at Montreal, acquired by the Grand Trunk, sixty or seventy years ago. They have it in the St. Lawrence district, at Toronto, in the Niagara river district. Their advantage in those sections is so great that the New York Central had to duplicate their lines right through. The Grand Trunk crossed the Detroit river and carried that strategical advantage right to Chicago, and the greatest earning railway in Canada to-day is the old Grand Trunk between Chicago and the St. Lawrence and New England ports. We also have a lot of the strategical advantage of the West. We have it in the mining country of northern Ontario, in the ownership of either the Dominion or the province. We have the advantage also in the Rocky mountains. Our pass is the best pass through the Rockies, and we would share it on terms with the Canadian Pacific if they should feel like approaching us. We hear a lot of talk about the harbour of Vancouver, but there is another harbour called Prince Rupert, and it is going to be one of the great ports of the Pacific, so we have the strategical advantage there too. It is true we have to cross the Canadian Pacific tracks to get to Vancouver, but some day that may be adjusted. The National Railways are surprising the world to-day by their success and by the excellence of their administration. I would like to point out also that it might be conceived that if the Canadian Pacific Board became dissatisfied with this country they might undertake to sell their road on the New York or London market. Of course they say it is the last thing they would do, that they are actuated by national reasons in maintaining the line as it is. But the temptation is always there to take the money for it, to cash in and distribute the proceeds among the shareholders. They would make that distribution to-morrow but for the wise provision made by Sir John A. Macdonald. Nobody knows why he did it, but for all time the condition is imposed on the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to maintain that road for the service of the people of Canada. Whether or not in a court of law they could be made to deliver the goods I do not know, but it certainly is the one thing that keeps the Americans from buying out the Canadian Pacific. .

I say to the Minister of Railways, go on with your extensions wherever they can be justified, wherever the president can give a substantial reason for the expansion of the system. I believe that the Canadian people, including a great many Conservatives, will support him in a policy of that kind.

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PRO

Andrew Knox

Progressive

Mr. KNOX:

I want to compliment the

hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean) upon the manner in which he has faithfully and, if I may say so, tenaciously, stuck to his belief in public ownership. If any man in this House deserves the title of father of public ownership of railways, I think it is the hon. member for South York.

The district through which this branch line goes, forms part of the constituency which I have the honour to represent, and cannot I feel sure, be surpassed in productiveness in any part of the West. The people went in there some fifteen or twenty years ago and settled forty-five miles, or even further than that, from the nearest railway. They did so, of course, in the belief that the railway would ultimately go through, but during all these years they have been hauling their grain long distances. In 1921 this twenty-four miles of line was built from Melfort to Ridgedale. Even before the steel was laid, elevators were going up, but no sooner did the steel get through than elevators sprang up at the three stations on that piece of line, almost over night-sprang up like mushrooms. I am sure that they have been a paying proposition ever since. It is now intended to extend this line out to Nipawin, a distance of another seventeen miles, six of which are already graded. I know the district very well, and have no hesitation in saying that this extension will be a paying proposition. There is just one thing that occurs to me: There is a district out further east which is likely to be left without transportation service. A delegation came down here last year to make representations in the matter and I had hopes that some provision would be made for service there. This line going up to Nipawin will still be a considerable distance from the district further east to which I refer. We do not want our railway lines to parallel each other. The Canadian Pacific has a charter through this country and I think we should keep in mind that the lines should be as far apart as possible so that some one of them will give a service to the people to the east. That country to the east is very thickly settled and very productive, but a great many of the people still have to haul their grain a considerable distance. I shall not speak at any further length except to say that there can be no doubt whatever as to the advisability of getting a line through this district.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Graham thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 40,

C.N.R.-Branch Lines

respecting the construction of a Canadian National Railway line to Mile 41 of the Mel-fort Branch near Nipawin, in the province of Saskatchewan.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

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PEBBLES, NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN


Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways) moved that the House go into committee to consider the following proposed resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide for the construction of a Canadian National Railway line from Peebles on the Canadian Northern Saskatchewan Railway, southerly to a point in or near township 10, range 8, west of the 2nd meridian, in the province of Saskatchewan; mileage already graded, 20 miles; estimated mileage including existing grading, 22 miles; estimated cost $300,000. Motion agreed to, and the House went into committee, Mr. Gordon in the chair.


LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I will put on Hansard

the memorandum in connection with this line:

. Cost

Peebles South, Mile 0-22.

Grade now ahead of track-20 miles.

Proposed in 1924-2 miles grade; 22 miles track. $300,000

It is proposed during the year 1924 to add two miles to the existing 20 miles of grade and to lay the track on this 22 miles and ballast and otherwise complete the line, at an estimated cost of $300,000. When this is done, it would not be the intention to extend this line any further for at least some years.

The grade on this line started in 1919 and was completed by the end of the season of 1920, and during that year the greater .portion - of the track material was delivered. Since 1920 no work has been done on this line.

This branch runs through a good agricultural area mostly grain growing, but at the south end has some mixed farming. This territory produces good crops when rainfall is sufficient, but is subject to dry seasons which make short crops. The land is practically all taken and mostly settled except south of Mile 20.0 where there is some unoccupied land. The crop in 1923 in this district was very good.

The justification for building this line is that approximately $216,000 has already been spent towards its completion, which is now earning nothing, and it is estimated that when the line is completed as far as proposed there will be an annual business of 660,000 bushels of grain furnished to it, a great deal of which now goes to our competitor, and in addition to the grain there would be about 150 cars of inand out bound freight, consisting of live stock, coal, lumber and merchandise. It is computed that the farmers would save an average of about 16 miles haulon the 660,000 bushels of grain referred to per year,

and if this is taken as worth 3 cents per bushel per mile hauled, it would mean an annual saving to them of $79,200. The freight from this line would be all of a long haul character, thus feeding other lines of the system.

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IND
LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

It is a memorandum given to me by the Canadian National Company, for which Sir Henry Thornton is responsible.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

I am glad that fact has been given out. I had not heard it before.

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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

I think this is the fifth session in which I have pleaded for the construction of this road, and I am very pleased to see the matter in the state of progress it is in at the present time. The statement given by the minister is absolutely correct. If there is any error in it, it is that the memorandum is a trifle too conservative. I have been well acquainted with this particular district for twenty-three or twenty-four years, so I should know whereof I speak. I am rather regretful that the government or the management of the railways did not consider it advisable to continue this road to its objective, that is to the coal fields to the south. True, as the minister has said, I believe that all the benefits he enumerated will accrue to the people in that district, and more perhaps, but there is still quite a large area further south which, as the memorandum states, is not completely settled. This area would be better settled if the road was continued. Settlement has taken place in that country largely because of the prospect of a railroad going in there. It is the child of a former administration, and at one time we had the ties and steel sufficient to lay eleven miles of the grade along that railway. But that was removed for some cause or another, although a promise had been distinctly made to us that the material would not be removed. The people in that part of the country were keenly disappointed likewise the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Millar), the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Morrison) and myself, that this material was removed. To-day we have a vote of 1300,000 to supply the material that was taken from us; so really this is a revote. I shall ask the minister, when we get into committee on the bill, what the prospects are for the continuance of this road southerly to the coal fields. I also wish to point out that while it is true that considerable revenue will accrue to this road if constructed only to the point at present indicated, the latter part of the road-there is only six or seven miles of it in my district- yvill be the greatest revenue producing part of the 'line, and if the road were continued farther south, it would produce revenue proportionately. I do not expect there will be any criticism of this resolution. If criticism develops later on we shall have to meet it when the bill itself is brought down. I would recommend to the consideration of the minister and of the House the extension of this road to the coalfields.

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

Although this branch line

is in the constituency I have the honour to

C.NJI.-Branch Lines

represent-with the exception of a very few miles that extend into the riding of my hon. friend who has just spoken-I should not make any remarks on the proposal at the present time were it not for the fact that the unexpected happened last year when the branch line bill met with sudden death in the Senate. For that reason I think it desirable to supplement the explanation of the minister and of the member for Assini-boia (Mr. Gould) by a few statements of my own.

Let me state first of all that I know this district quite well. As the minister has stated it is well settled. It lies in the territory between two Canadian Pacific branch lines, which are about forty miles apart and run almost parallel east and west. The intention is to cut that territory north and south by this proposed Canadian National branch line. Hon. gentlemen can readily see that if that territory now lies between two branch lines of the Canadian Pacific, practically all the freight goes to that company. This may not be of great importance and yet it is a traffic that is well worth having if we wish to build up our government railways. For the information of hon. members I should like to place on Hansard extracts from two or three letters received from residents of the district. The first is from a communica.-tion sent to me on behalf of the People's Committee, and it reads as follows:

We have had 14 miles of grade since 1919. This has been made ready for track laying twice, even to the extent of staking. The steel and ties have been lying at Peebles since February, 1921.

Regarding the returns-

You will see now that the minister's statement is quite conservative.

-with this 14 miles completed a committee got together and made the following estimate. Grain alone, even in these poor years, amounts to 500 cars of 1,000 bushels and years like '15 up to 900 cars, saying nothing of coal and cattle, besides other cars that would come in. The returns on the grain and cattle would not be for the 14 miles alone but would be figured freight to Port Arthur, as all this is now shipped by C.P.R., by Areola, Stoughton and Reston-Wolseley lines.

Now another paragraph:

The people are so in earnest regarding this work, that, failing to get a favourable decision from the railway authorities, they are going to ask they be allowed to do this work themselves, the railway to furnish only a work-train and supervisor and to overcome the difficulty of funds will ask for an arrangement to have the expense charged up against freight from this line. This is just the outline of the plan at present.

That shows the anxiety of the people to have this branch line built. I am not saying that their plan is at all feasible, but it shows 73i

the anxiety they feel in the matter. Let me now read an extract from a letter written by Mr. Fred Baldwin:

I would ask you to put before the minister the fact that on an ordinary year there is at least 500 cars of grain that find their way to other railways, to say nothing of thousands of heads of stock that are raised in the Moose mountains and adjoining districts and all other trade that naturally comes in its trail. Also an item worth mentioning, the line would tap a district where there seems to be a splendid supply of good gravel, which is also a great asset for ballast and should not be lost sight of.

I shall now give a short extract from another letter received from Mr. Arthur J. Boyer, of Montmartre, Sask. which says: .

The construction of the Lampman-Peebles branch is very necessary as it will serve a large district, practically all under cultivation and from which the Canadian Pacific Railway Company now draw all revenue from outgoing grain and incoming freights of coal, lumber and other merchandise.

Now, Mr. Chairman, it might not seem necessary to spend much time on these branch lines if it were not for the remarkable arguments that have been presented by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Mar-ler), the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Denis), and the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Church). I imagine that if these hon. members had an opportunity of spending even one week in the middle of winter among the farmers of that district they would alter their opinions as to the necessity for this branch line. If they saw those farmers hauling their grain for a distance otf sixteen, seventeen and eighteen miles in cold weather, making a total journey altogether of thirty-two, thirty-three, or thirty-five miles, I have a high enough opinion of the hon. members in question to believe that they would change their attitude very quickly. It is very easy for a person who lives within a few minutes' walk of a railway station, and who is not compelled to undergo such hardships as do the farmers I have referred to, to say "We cannot afford money for this purpose. Times are too hard, money is too scarce. We will support only those branch lines that are absolutely necessary". "Absolutely necessary" is such an indefinite term that I imagine it can be twisted into a reason for opposing any of these branch lines.

Now, just a word in reply to the hon. member for Joliette. I deplore the frequency with which comparisons are made between the East and the West, between one province and another. The tendency is to cause friction between such provinces, between the East and the West. But sometimes we are compelled to take notice of some statements that are made. For example the hon. member

C.N.R.-Branch Lines

read a statement going to show a greater mileage of railways in the western provinces than in eastern Canada in proportion to population. I think that may be taken for granted. You cannot have the same mileage in a sparsely settled country just being opened up for settlement as in older and more densely populated sections containing populous cities like Montreal and Toronto. It would be like expecting to find on the head of a child as many gray hairs as there are on the head of an old man. Now, as to the amount of money that is spent in the West let me give an explanation which is not intended for the benefit of the majority of members but for the information of a few who seem to have a wrong impression. On March 27, I asked these questions:

What is the amount of money exepended for rural mail delivery in the three prairie provinces?

What amount of money is expended in the postal

districts of the province of Ontario?

For the benefit of the member for Joliette who is not in his place, let me say that the amount that is expended in Ontario for this purpose, was given as $1,602,595, whereas the expenditure in the three prairie provinces was $190,000.

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

Has my hon. friend got the postal revenue derived in those provinces?

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

I have not all those figures but I will give certain other figures. Some reference was made to the amount of freight. Let me tell hon. gentlemen that in the busy season, in the fall of the year, a train containing forty carloads of wheat passes through Winnipeg eastward every thirty minutes, or a little better than that, night and day. I think that statement should be an answer to what hon. gentlemen opposite have said in regard to the question of freight. And I think it will answer the statement of my hon. friend from South Oxford (Mr. Sutherland), and prove that all the freight in the country does not originate in an acre of stone quarry.

Mr. MARLER I do not know I am sure what urged the hon. member who has just spoken to direct certain remarks against me.

I am not opposed to all the branch lines. If he had taken the trouble to read the few remarks I made the other day he would have seen that I stated then, as I state now, that each branch line should be looked into on its merits. My hon. friend need not get palpitation of the heart thinking that I am going to oppose this particular line. It will probably relieve him very much now when I say that I believe this branch line is one of those that

fMr. Millar.]

are necessary, and I have taken the trouble, as far as my capabilities will permit, to look into this particular line, and I am quite ready to approve of it, either on this resolution or on the bill itself. But the statement which I made quite clearly in this House the other day, and which I make quite clearly again, is that I will oppose any branch line that does not appear as meritorious as this one. Why should the hon. member take exception to my remarks on that account? I have not sat still, as most of the members of the group directly opposite have done, and refrained from raising my voice against particular lines. Those hon. members opposite have been exceedingly quiet, and they have not raised their voices against any branch lines in the programme brought down. They have not opposed anything. They have swallowed holus bolus every single line up to the present time. And why? Because they were afraid if they did not keep quiet they would not get their own branch lines. That is the attitude they have taken, and it is all very well for the hon. leader of the Progressives (Mr. Forke) to point to me, as he did the other day. Hon. gentlemen opposite have been very careful to talk about economy, but they are not quite so careful to preach economy when considering lines that are not necessary, and which, I believe they know are not necessary, in other parts of the country. The only reason is that they are afraid if the first resolutions do not go through, those in the middle of the programme will not go through, and they want to get their own branch lines.

I have explained my attitude clearly and distinctly, and that is my answer to the statements of the Progressives in this House. I will oppose every branch line that I think is not necessary or economical. I believe that this branch line is a meritorious one.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Notwithstanding some of the arguments that have been advanced in favour of this resolution, I am still of my original opinion, which is the same as it was last year, that this is a meritorious line and ought to be built, and the only pity is that it was not considered on its merits last year and put through.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Graham thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 41, respecting the construction of a Canadian National Railway line from Peebles southerly in the province of Saskatchewan.

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Motion agreed to, and bill read the first time. C.N.R.-Branch Lines


GRAVELBOURG-NEIDPATH EXTENSION


Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways and Canals) moved that the House go into committee to consider the following proposed resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide for the construction of a Canadian National Railway line from the end of steel at Mile 109 on the Gravelbourg Extension of the Canadian Northern Railway to Mile 120 at Neidpath, in the province of Saskatchewan: mileage already graded, 11 miles; estimated mileage including existing grading, 11 miles; estimated cost, $144,000. Motion agreed to, and the House went into committee, Mr. Gordon in the chair.


LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The memorandum I have with reference to this line reads as follows:

Cost

Gravelbourg Extension, Mile 109-120.

Grade now ahead of track-11 miles.

Proposed in 1924-11 miles track $144,000

It is proposed in 1924 to lay the track on the 11 miles of grade now completed ahead of the end of steel, thus completing the line to the town of Neidpath, and there to leave it for the time being, at least. v

In 1920, the grading was finished as far as Neidpath, (Mile 120.0), but the track was oniy laid as far as Mile 109.6. In 1922 the line was practically finished, including the buildings, fencing, etc., as far as Mile 109.0, with the exception of about 30,000 yards of ballasting, which remains to be done to this point.

This branch runs through an undulating country well suited for grain growing, and a large portion of the land is under cultivation, giving a good production of wheat and other grain.

The justification for building this line to Neidpath is that already one-third of the money necessary to complete it has been expended and is now earning nothing. Besides this it is estimated that when complete this line will ship 480.000 bushels of grain each year, in addition to about 70 cars of in and outbound freight, composed of live stock, coal, lumber and merchandise. About 8 miles on the average will be saved in road haul to the farmers for this 480,000 bushels of grain, which if computed as worth three-quarters of a cent per bushel per mile hauled, would make an annual saving to the farmers of $28,800 for grain alone. The portion of this line already built has always been a large and consistent shipper of grain, which is of a long haul character, and thus would add materially to the business of other lines of the system. *

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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

I do not rise with the intention of opposing this line at all. It runs through the district I represent, and I would like to say, before going any further, in answer to a question that was addressed to this part of the House, that I at least did raise my voice in regard to one branch line that went through this committtee. It was a line of which I made a fairly complete study, and I think I placed my views on Hansard. It is almost impossible for a person to make an intensive study of eveiy branch line that comes up for discussion in this House, and for that reason ' it is up to other members to do a little work and to reveal a little of the conditions that

they think are detrimental to the welfare of the country. In regard to this individual line, possibly hon. members will recall that this line has been proposed for a number of years.

It is running through a rich, arable country.

I do not like to eulogize the country, as some of our hon. friends from Nova Scotia have done when they have likened their country to the garden of Eden.

Referring to the garden of Eden, I remember it had no branch lines; the only part of the story that was interesting to me was that telling of the people that were in it, and I would not like to tell the members of this parliament that we have people of that description, because someone might want to bring in a bill banning that territoiy. I say it is a good country, and it grows a splendid amount of grain. But I want to show the members of this House what has been said in regard to this branch line, and for that reason I would like to place on Hansard what was said in 1921 by the then representative of Swift Current. Mr. Argue said:

I understand that in 1918 this line was promised to +He r^eo^le of the district, end they wrer t.nld that, it would be completed by 1920; that is to say, it would ultimately reach Swift Current; but on account of the war and for various other reasons construction has been delayed.

Not only did Mr. Reid and Mr. Hanna sanction this line, but also the late Mr. Kennedy. When I spoke to him about the matter -and I think his statement will be found in Hansard-he said that the line would be completed as far as Swift Current. I might quote further from Hansard of May 6, 1921:

Mr. Argue: I would like to have a more definite statement from the minister with reference to the branch line in Saskatchewan to run from Gravelbourg to Swift Current, on the Canadian Northern. In 1918 we were promised by the president of the company that the railway would be in Swift Current in 1920, and we have been very patient so far in waiting for the road to be built. Now the grade is up to Neidpath-

-which the minister mentioned a moment ago.

__and steel is laid to within ten miles of that point.

The farmers of that district have made arrangements, and laid all their plans, to build an elevator at Neidpath, but they were advised that it would be better to wait until they could get some more definite assurance with regard to laying the rails on that branch. What I would like to know is whether the rails would be laid on the branch in time for these people to get out their wheat this fall. There is something like 40,000 acres of grain which will be marketed in Neidpath providing the elevator can be built so as to store the grain until it can be got out. I would like the minister to give me that assurance so that the farmers can go ahead with the arrangements for building the elevator with the certainty of being able to take out the grain this fall.

Mr. Reid: In speaking to Mr. Hanna about the matter he mentioned that they would lay this ten miles this year for the reason that an elevator would

CN.R.-Branch Lines

be built, and it was for that purpose the rails would be laid. I am quite satisfied that it is the intention of the Canadian National Railway management to lay the ten miles in question and I feel satisfied from the way Mr. Hanna mentioned it to me that there is no doubt it will be done. Unless something unforeseen should happen it is the intention anyway to lay the rails before that time. The 50,000 tons of new rails which were purchased are now being rolled and sent on to the main line. The rails thus released will go on to the branch lines and the branch in question is one of those that will be taken up first.

So hon. members will see that the people had been promised this line for several years. Now there is a prospect of its being completed. When introducing this resolution the Minister of Railways stated that this line would be completed this year, but that the branch line programme is to extend over three years. I would ask him, does this preclude the possibility of any further extension of the line for the next three years?

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LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Of course, every session

parliament can do as it pleases. It depends on the programme approved by parliament and on the recommendation made by the Canadian National Railway Board as to the necessity of the line.

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April 8, 1924