Cambrian formation is in Canada and the remainder is in the United States. The 15 per cent in the United States we find in the great Mesaba range, upon which to-day the prosperity of the United States depends in regard to steel and iron products. Our balance of trade is adversely affected to the extent of over $300,000,000 by the importation of American ores during a period of twelve months.
Under the system of bounties on certain mineral products, there was paid out of the federal treasury up until the year 1911 the sum of $17,000,000. At that time a great number of blast furnaces were established' in Canada, at Hamilton, Port Colborne, Midland, Parry Sound, Deseronto, Ojibway, Port Arthur and Sault Ste. Marie, but many of these have ceased to operate as a result of the discontinuance of the bounty provided.
The advantages to be gained by the use of our own ore are apparent to anyone who has given any thought to the subject. Sufficient investigation has been made to demonstrate that there are iron ores in Canada in sufficient tonnage that could be made available immediately by some preliminary treatment. I urge that the federal Department of Mines should conduct experiments to demonstrate an efficient method of bene-ficiating our low grade iron ores, and assistance by means of a bounty would encourage the installation of extensive plants and permit Canadian furnaces to utilize Canadian ore. Researches have been conducted in the state of Minnesota to demonstrate the most economical metallurgical methods of bringing our low grade magnetites up to merchantable grades. The United States Bureau of Mines at Duluth have been experimenting on ores similar to our own, but of much lower grade, giving from 20 to 27 per cent iron content. I think the department could well make use of experiments so conducted, as they have extended over a period of years. Extensive areas have been explored in many parts of Canada, and I have no reason to doubt that concentrates of merchantable ores will be found in these ranges. This is particularly true of northern Ontario, which on more than one occasion has been referred to as the breaking point between eastern and western Canada.
The development of the iron ore industry would increase the revenue of our railways. It is estimated that at least 65 per cent of the tonnage of the railways in the United States is derived from the products of the (nines. It would help to solve the question of providing tonnage and earning power for
the Canadian National Railways. It would stimulate the development of all our mining activities, and the increment in the revenues of Canada that the proposed bounty would require would amount to only a very small tax. I would urge the Minister of Finance to take advantage of the opportunity of granting needed assistance to this industry, particularly in view of the fact that the Ontario government in 1924 passed what is known as the Iron Ore Bounty Act, for the very purpose of assisting this industry. It is to be noted in this connection that the treasury would be assuming no responsibility if no iron ore was produced). I suggest it is worthy of a trial to ascertain whether the producers with the aid of a bounty could make a success of the enterprise or not. The advantages are numerous, and the disadvantages are not evident. The Minister of Finance should, therefore, take advantage of the Ontario act, and the Dominion should contribute a sum sufficient to put this enterprise upon a satisfactory basis.
It is a striking commentary on Canadian industry that the number of men employed in blast furnaces in 1913 was 1,589 and that in 1925 the number had been reduced to 656 and is still less at this date. There are now only three furnaces in operation in Canada, and their total output is only 21 per cent of the total capacity of such furnaces.
Iron ore, coal and steel are the three main roots that give life to and support the trunk of the iron trades tree. No matter how wide-spreading and fruitful its branches, if this tree has its roots outside of Canada it is not a Canadian possession. It is time now to establish, in cooperation with the province of Ontario, this industry on a permanent and successful commercial basis. The time to begin is now, in order that it may be fairly established within the next ten years.
There are many iron ore deposits in northern Ontario that would be developed if this legislation should receive approval, and I know of no legislation of a constructive character that would be of greater advantage to Canada as a whole.
Mr. 'SPEAKER: Is the house ready for the question?