July 16, 1924

LIB
PRO
LIB
PRO
LIB
PRO
LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

My hon. friend has no right to make such a statement in the House unless he can substantiate it, and I challenge him to do so.

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PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

I would say this in reply to my hon. friend: My information was so direct as to the real source of this opposition that

Supply[DOT]-Hudson Bay Railway

I could not help but think there was some ground for believing the statement.

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LIB
LIB
PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

That is probably beside the question. Nevertheless there is a big cry in the city of Montreal against the Hudson Bay railway. There is the Bank of Montreal, there is the Hudson's Bay Company, there is the Montreal Harbour Commission, and there is the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. These are all opposed to the development of ports on Hudson bay, there is no question about that. There is not any question about that, and I would be happy to think that we only had this parliament to deal with. In fact, I have it on the word of members of this government that there are underground wires which are making it very difficult for us-

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LIB
PRO
LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

Let the hon. member substantiate his statement, or else give us the names, so that we will have something to go upon. It is only hearsay evidence.

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PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

It is getting under the skin

of my hon. friend when we touch Montreal.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

There was propaganda

in the Montreal papers regarding it.

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PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

I think I have an article here that would substantiate all I have said from the lips of the Premier of Quebec. However, that is by the way. I will deal with that a little later on. Premier Taschereau opened out in a tirade against the West for demanding the Hudson Bay railway some short time ago, and as I read that article, in which he charged the West with having created all the national problems in Canada, he went on to say that after the East had built all the railways in Canada, we were demanding branch lines and the Hudson Bay railway, I wondered if the Premier of Quebec knew that the Canadian Pacific Railway had sold three hundred and fifty million dollars' worth of resources given to them by the Canadian people, ninety per cent of these resources being in western Canada. The appraised value of the Canadian Pacific railway is $500,000,000, and yet they have sold three hundred and fifty million dollars' worth of resources that have been given them. And now we have the Premier of Quebec telling us that the East has been building the railroads in western Canada. I will go further and say that the 296

land grants given to the old Canadian Northern were almost equal to the railway itself. So that eastern Canada has not built the railways in western Canada, and western Canada has made wonderful contributions to eastern Canada. It is easy to give away something that does not belong to you. The eastern politicians freed the Canadian Pacific Railway from taxation from time immemorial, and the exemption will run for another twenty years. It has been estimated that we have lost in the non-payment of taxes somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50,000,000, while eastern Canada collected taxes from the railroad. These are the things that are grinding the people of the West every day. The people out there have been going out of business. About five hundred people have left my constituency in the last few months, simply because of the conditions surrounding the production of grain and live stock, and on account of lack of transportation, the high tariff and many other things which produce these conditions.

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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES:

What good would it do to spend millions of money on an impossibility?

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PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

I will deal with that right now to satisfy my hon. friend and for the benefit of my hon. friend from St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Marler) I will quote from an article which appeared in a newspaper, which states that the Montreal branch of the Engineering Institute of Canada appears to have had quite a pleasant time at its last monthly meeting. The article continues:

The subject was the Hudson Bay railway and all the good Montrealers present took a hearty kick at the project. When they objected to any money being spent in making Port Nelson into an ocean port, none of them appears to have blushed. Of course, Montreal has been made an ocean port by virtue of expenditure-

And I direct my hon. friend's attention to this:

-that make any possible outlay on the Hudson Bay route look like the proverbial thirty cents.

That is true. If there is any port in Canada which can with less grace oppose this expenditure, it is Montreal, where hundreds of millions have been spent to make it an ocean going port. I am not complaining, but we are still spending millions of dollars on the St. Lawrence route, one of the most dangerous routes in the country. The article continues:

They also had the nerve to object to Port Nelson because it is only open part of the year and because the route of the port wall be subject to differential rates in insurance-arguments that would have been equally valid against the development of the St. Lawrence route. One of the critics was a Mr. Tair, "a marine engineer" who knew all about it.

Supply-Hudson Bay Raihoay

Of course.

It would, he declared, be impossible to navigate any cargo vessels to Port Nelson, or as near there as they could get, for more than six weeks a year.

How would it be if we would introduce a little real information? I will refer to Commander Gordon about whose reliability there is no question. He investigated the Hudson straits. Commander Gordon in his voyage of 1886, following instructions to proceed to the mouth of Hudson strait on July 3rd, pushed through the strait, calling at some of the stations established in 1886. He crossed the bay from cape Southampton to Churchill and arrived in the harbour on July 29th. The voyage appears to have been made with comparative ease from Halifax to Churchill, Nelson and return. In 1886 Commander Gordon found the strait navigable about a month earlier than in 1885. In his conclusion, respecting the season of navigation he takes into consideration the main question of the object of the expedition, namely, that practical navigation in the straits can be kept up during July, August, September and October. He mentions those four months during which the straits can be kept open.

Then I would refer to Commander A. P. Low, and on one will question him. He is a practical engineer, a man of world wide repute almost. Hudson strait never freezes over and the official expedition of 1903 under the command of A. P. Low, has established an important fact of two open currents always flowing in the straits; one along the north shore in and westward bearing the ice drift of Greenland, so that ships entering could go with ice drive; one along the south shore outward bearing the raft ice of Hudson bay so that the ships going to sea could also go with the ice drift. In both cases, therefore, it was found that the ships could navigate the straits with the ice drift, not against it.

Then we have Captain Bernier, another well-known man, whom no one will question. Captain Bernier, the well-known arctic explorer and navigator says:

With wireless telegraphy in a station at the entrance of Hudson bay, the opening of navigation could be made in the first week of July by informing the steamers which side of the straits to pass on, so as to find clear navigable water.

In a former interview Captain Bernier had made the statement that Hudson bay and strait are open to navigation the year round, but as far as the strait is concerned, icebergs block the way in places according to where the current into and out of the bay drives them. With wireless stations established, so that ships could be directed in their course, the

Hudson bay ports would rank amongst the most important on the continent, owing to the very appreciable difference to Europe, compared with that of other ports.

I just draw my hon. friend's attention to the statement of Captain Bernier that the straits are open for navigation the year round.

I have a whole lot more of these citations. My hon. friend from King's (PJE.I.) submitted what he thought was very interesting information regarding the straits. I have compiled my information from these reports which I have gathered from all over Canada, from practically every engineer of whom we have a record who has visited the Hudson bay. I got a report from these different engineers, so that I have not confined myself to one trip or one ship but I have reports of some thirty or forty different engineers, who have made the trip through the Hudson straits.

Bishop Lofthouse, who has spent more than twenty years in mission work throughout what was the district of Keewatin, says that the Hudson straits are just as safe for navigation, or will be when they are properly lighted, as the straits of Belle Isle, more so in fact; for there are more accidents at Belle Isle than in the Hudson straits.

J. W. Tyrrell, who has gone through the straits several times writes:

The strait can, in my opinion, be relied upon for unobstructed navigation from July 15 to November 1, with a possible extension of two weeks at either end.

___I would say that the proposition to open up a

route for commerce through Hudson bay and strait, is, in my opinion, a wise and perfectly feasible move, both because of the service it will render in developing the local resources of the country, and because of the additional transportation facilities it will afford for the products of western Canada.

Mr. Tyrrell has also said:

As to icebergs, they are occasionally met with in Hudson straits, being sometimes carried in along the north shore by the prevailing current from Davis strait, but they are by no means of frequent occurrence and not one tenth as numerous as off the strait of Belle Isle.

Mr. G. Halcrow, a retired factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and a resident of the Pas, who has lived forty-five years or more in the Hudson bay district, eight of which have been spent on the bay, has passed through the strait several times. His opinion is that navigation by that route is possible eight months in the year.

The most quoted authority we have to-day on the navigability of the Hudson strait is Dr. Bell, F.R.G.S. He gives his opinion, after nine years of navigation in these waters, having made seventeen trips to Hudson bay with the several government cruises. He says:

It is impossible that there should be at any time in the twelve months difficulty in navigating the

Supply-Hudson Bay Railway

straits, for they are upon tide water, and more than that, the waters of the Gulf stream come back this way from the north of the coast of Europe. There may be some little difficulty near the shore at some time of the year, but I do not think it will ever be necessary to have ice-breaking boats. Why, navigation through the straits should be particularly easy, because, while there may at times be floating ice, there are no rocks and no islands upon which to go ashore.

I would direct that to the attention of the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. McBride), who thought that ships would have a terrible time ia getting through the straits.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier-and I am sure my hon. friends will not question his authority-speaking at Niagara Falls on September 18, 1908, said:

We have undertaken the construction of another railway, the Hudson Bay railway. The Hudson Bay railwav, I am sure, does not appeal very much to the people of Welland county. It concerns more the people of the West. But I say to you, gentlemen of Ontario, and you will agree with me, that what concerns one portion of the community concerns every part of the community. Now, we have come to the conclusion that this railway is a necessity, owing to the condition in which our fellow -citirens in the West are placed.

And do not forget that this was in 1908. We need it many more times to-day.

This railway will give an alternative or optional route.

This is what my hon. friends from some eastern ports fear:

At the present time all the wheat as soon as it is tracked is sent out to lake Superior. We want to provide another railway by Hudson Bay route. There will then be the present route and the Hudson Bay route, and the man who raises wheat and cattle will have two outlets for his production. We have been asked: "Are you not going to hurt the trade of the St. Lawrence if you do that?" Oh ye of little faith! the trade of Canada is too great even for these two outlets.

I wonder what has happened to the vision and courage of the politicians and statesmen of to-day. When the statesmen of the day thought that it was necessary to build a bridge at Quebec across the St. Lawrence river, they called together the engineers of the country and they set them to work to design a bridge to span that great river. They made the attempt and when the bridge was partly up, what happened? It fell into the river, taking down with it some seventy souls to an untimely grave. Did the people of that day throw up their hands in holy horror and say: The risk is too great; we cannot take the chance? No; they had vision and courage. They called their engineers together and said: We have faith in our engineers, we believe that they can build this bridge. They tried it again and when it was almost completed, it fell into the river, taking with it twelve more 2965 *

souls to an untimely grave. Did they then say: The element of chance is too great; we cannot take the risk? No, they exhibited the courage and vision which Sir Wilfrid Laurier exhibited in his time. They said: We have faith in our engineers. The engineers made the third attempt, and there the bridge stands to-day as a monument to the ingenuity of man, the greatest structure of its kind in the universe. We are all proud of it, proud that it was designed by Canadian engineers.

When the Panama canal had been attempted by three or four different governments and corporations and after $140,000,000 had been spent on it, when the world considered that it was impossible to build a canal through the torrid zone of Panama, did the United States government say: The chances arc too great? No, they exhibited the same courage and vision which Sir Wilfrid Laurier exhibited, and they said: We believe it can be done. The result is that that canal stands to-day the greatest engineering project of its kind in the universe.

When the Canadian Pacific railway was being mooted and being discussed in this House in 1875, 1876 and 1877, such men as Alexander Mackenzie said: Why, it will

never pay for the axle grease that will be used on the wheels. He was not considered a fool; he was considered one of the greatest statesmen of this country, and yet those were his views at that time. Will anyone say that the Canadian Pacific railway has been a failure? Let me tell the House that the element of chance was ten times greater in building the Canadian Pacific railway than in the Hudson Bay railway. What was known of western Canada in 1875? There was a little colony in the Red river valley and they came in by the Hudson bay. Had they met the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Marler) or the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff), they would have landed them at Montreal or Halifax and walked them across the continent. The only means, however, of connection for over two hundred years was by the Hudson bay.

I have often said this-and I think there is some truth in it-that this country was settled from the wrong end. If this country had been settled from Hudson bay rather than from Quebec, we would have had a heritage that would have paid off our national debt, in fact all our bond indebtedness, provincial and federal, without any trouble at all. I think it was the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Graham) who made the statement some time ago in this House about how some of our forefathers had cleaned up as many as a

Supply-Hudson Bay Railway

hundred acres of hardwood bush in eastern Canada and who ended up with broken physique, gnarled hands and twisted backs. What for? To make prairie. They cut down the greatest heritage that this country has ever known to make prairie, while there were hundreds of millions of acres of it out West waiting to be developed. Those instances are by the way; but I wonder sometimes what happens to the courage and vision of our statesmen and politicians. When the question is one of an investment in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, the courage and vision seem still to exist, but when the question is one of an investment at Port Nelson of $2,000,000 something happens. What is it? I can only conclude that it is selfish prejudice; that you fear the route.

A promise made is a debt unpaid, and this debt is not paid. I fear that what the exMinister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) has said is all too true and that this government has no intention of building the road. I feel sorry for the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) because I think he wants to complete it but his hands are tied by underground wires which we cannot tap. In conclusion I want to express the hope that the government will very seriously consider this question and regard this fund as a trust fund. The people of western Canada consider it as such, and if we want to maintain that unity in Canada which I am sure the minister and the government have at heart, if we want to retain confederation, the Hudson Bay railway must be built.

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. ROBERT FORKE (Brandon):

I want to protest against the idea that a vote of this kind is an expressoion of want of confidence in the government. It has been the custom no doubt when a motion to go into supply has been moved to consider any amendment proposed thereto as a want of confidence motion. That may have been true in connection with the budget or other important debates of that kind but the day is passing when this shall continue to be the practice. It is an absurdity that a government in a minority of the whole House should look upon a vote of this kind as indicating a want of confidence, and there must be some change in our mode of procedure in such cases to allow any hon. member to move a motion of this kind without incurring the charge that he is proposing a vote of want of confidence. When we look at the Mother of Parliaments we find that a government that has been defeated time and time again still carries on and no one thinks that anything wrong has been done. When a motion is intended to be considered as a

[Mr. Ward.l

want of confidence it should be clearly worded to that effect and in that case no government would retain its position five minutes after such a vote was carried.

I have a great deal of sympathy for hon. members opposite and I know that there is abundant excuse for much of the irritation which has been evident on both sides of the House during this debate; under the circumstances that was inevitable. But in justice to the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Knox) some explanation is called for. Hon. members on this side of the House, having this project in view this session, have hesitated to introduce a motion of this kind for the very reason I have stated: they considered that it might be regarded as a want of confidence motion. But the representatives of western Canada have a duty to discharge by their constituents who have sent them here and in bringing forward this matter they are only endeavouring to fulfil that duty. It must be remembered that there are at least a million people in the western provinces who consider this project, not in the way hon. gentlemen opposite consider it but with an earnest desire to see the work completed. Would hon. gentlemen think it right that the voice of that million should not be heard on this floor? Of course not. And that is why the matter has been brought forward in this House at the present time, although possibly the circumstances may not have been the most auspicious. The Minister of Customs (Mr. Bureau) I think it was stated that fifteen or sixteen occasions had presented themselves when the resolution could have been moved. I admit the truth of that statement, but I have clearly explained why the motion was not previously made; hon. gentlemen on this side did not want to have it thought that they were moving a want of confidence resolution against the government.

I hope that any unpleasant feelings which have been engendered wall soon disappear; I am sure that any unpleasantnesses have already been forgotten. Naturally the members on this side feel strongly on this question, although hon. gentlemen opposite have rather ridiculed the project. I have no hesitation, however, in predicting that the Hudson Bay railway will be a reality in the not far distant future, no matter who builds it. Of course, oceans of evidence can be adduced on both sides of the question, but with modem equipment and scientific inventions available I have no hesitation in expressing the belief that this undertaking will be successfully completed at no very distant date and will prove profitable. I almost hesitate

Supply-Hudson Bay Railway

to say a word with reference to the Minister of Railways, who I think is a little irritated to-night, but I can assure hon. gentlemen that there is no member on this side of the House who has any hard feelings whatever in this matter.

Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways and Canals): Let me hasten to assure the hon. gentleman that I am r ot irritated. I am not anxious to sit heTe all night, but I can stay as late as anyone else. I do want to correct one wrong impression which has been left by some of the younger speakers, who may not have been born after I became a friend of the Hudson Bay railway but who certainly grew up after that. As a matter of fact I signed the first contract for the construction of the Hudson Bay railway; I turned the first sod in connection with the work; and I do not mind being lectured for what may be termed a dereliction of duty, as one hon. gentleman put it. An hon. gentleman asked where the courage had all gone. Now, I think that the hon. member for Prince Albert did make a mistake in introducing the subject in this way. I say so decidedly, and for this reason: Under our practice such a motion cannot be considered as anything else than a vote of want of confidence.

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July 16, 1924