February 22, 1933

LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER (for Mr. Dubois):

For a copy of all telegrams, letters, petitions and other documents exchanged between the Department of Public Works and Mr. Maurice Carbonneau of St. Angele de Laval, county of Nieolet, respecting improvements and repairs carried out at the wharf in that locality during 1932.

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J. E. LANDRY

LIB

Joseph-Fernand Fafard

Liberal

Mr. FAFARD:

For a copy of all letters, requests, correspondence, complaints and other documents exchanged between the national revenue department and any individual, with respect to the dismissal of J. E. Landry, subcollector of national revenue at Matane, Quebec, in 1928.

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C.G.S. ARRAS

LIB

Alfred Edgar MacLean

Liberal

Mr. MacLEAN:

For a copy of all correspondence, telegrams and other documents, which passed between the Department of Fisheries or any member of the government, or any department thereof, regard-* ing the firing of a live shell by the C.G.S. Arras, at Cape Wolfe, Prince Edward Island, last summer; also a full report of the investigation held at Halifax, Nova Scotia, into this matter, giving a copy of all evidence taken, together with the names of all parties examined in connection with the said investigation.

Peace River Railway Outlet

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PEACE RIVER RAILWAY OUTLET

UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. D. M. KENNEDY (Peace River) moved:

older settled districts because of adverse weather conditions and have settled in this new country. These people have left the southern districts because of dry weather or because their land was blown out and they have endeavoured to establish themselves in this new country. I ask the government and the house: In view of the courage these people have shown in going out to start over again, can we say to them that we cannot afford to build the necessary railway? I do not think we can afford to say that, and I do not think we ought to say that to these new settlers.

I was reading the February number of the National Revenue Review a few days ago and I noticed the following on page 18:

A Sense of Humour Left

A prairie farmer questioned by an income tax inspector regarding his income over a period of years, wrote as follows:-"You asked about my crops for the last five years; well I'll tell you. In 1924 I was dried out; in 1925 I was hailed out; in 1926 I was frozen out; in 1927 I was blown out, and in 1928 I just walked out and I'm still out."

There are many people in the Peace River Country who went through similar experiences. They have settled in the park areas of the Peace River district in an effort to reestablish themselves, and I do not think that we should say to them that they must wait an indefinite time before they can get railway connection.

Many people will say that this will cost $10,000,000 and we cannot afford it. I ask the government to decide definitely what the outlet will be and then build it as rapidly as we can afford. There are many settlers sixty and seventy miles from a railroad and they have done everything humanly possible to prevent their becoming a charge upon the dominion, the provincial or the municipal authorities. In spite of all their efforts some of them have been forced to take relief, and I submit that if we had a plan, if we could decide upon an outlet and go at it gradually, we could give these people such relief as would permit them to become definitely established in this new country.

There may have been difficulty in the years gone by in bringing about railway development in the new districts of the north owing to the fact that because of weather conditions the settlers might leave the southern districts of Alberta and Saskatchewan where railways and roads were already established and go into the north. But I think the period of intensive development in the southern areas of Saskatchewan and Alberta is past and in the future will be in the sections of those provinces that are most like Ontario and Quebec where there are many trees and

enough shelter so that the rain when it comes will stay there and do good, rather than be drawn off by the wind; at least this will be the case until such time as tree planting can so advance on the southern areas of those provinces that we may have some protection against the wind. Because of that additional fact I submit that we can reasonably expect this development will be justified.

It may be rather difficult for hon. members who live in the older sections, and who can hardly travel twenty miles in any direction without crossing two or three railway tracks, to realize the position of settlers who have gone out into a new district sixty or seventy miles from a railway. It may be easy enough to pass the matter off by saying: "It is no concern of ours," but as a national duty the time has come when we ought definitely to deal with the situation'.

Some of the settlers in Peace River and a number of boards of trade have been passing resolutions calling for a bonus on grain for export out of Peace River. Possibly the fact that I was anxious for the continuation of the bonus on wheat caused some of them to think this was a good thing to ask for until such time as the outlet was built. They are asking that Edmonton and Peace River be put on the grain export freight basis. There is a difference of about ten cents a hundred in the grain freight rate from some portions of Peace River, for instance, Dawson Creek in the constituency of the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser), and a difference of about six cents in the central portion in my constituency. This would of course cost a few hundred thousand dollars a year, but I wish to bring to the attention of the government the fact that, pending the construction of the outlet, they are asking for this very thing. To-day the price of wheat in Peace River is twenty-four cents or less; it has been down below twenty cents. Before the adjournment last November I submitted to the house figures from government publications showing that on the best possible basis it cost about fifty cents to produce a bushel of wheat. Yet the farmers in Peace River are to-day getting about twenty to twenty-five cents a bushel even for No. 1 northern -and it is not all No. 1 northern, although I am pleased to say that a great proportion of it is. Even if Peace River were to be put on the same basis as Edmonton, this would not meet the situation in the newer districts. Therefore I want to bring the matter to the attention of the government again and to urge action with all the earnestness of which I am capable. I am not asking them to launch out on a huge program of

Peace River Railway Outlet

expenditure. I want the route settled and sufficient of it built in the near future to meet the needs of the present settlers with completion of it as soon as possible; but it is necessary that sufficient be built to meet the requirements of the actual settlement areas where people have come from the rest of the prairie provinces where they have been dried out or hailed out, and are anxious to establish themselves in new homes and to keep themselves from being relief charges on the Dominion of Canada.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Minister of Railways) :

Mr. Speaker, in replying to the hon.

member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) I shall not take up much of the time of the house, although I assure him it is not my desire to give him a short answer. I should like very heartily to congratulate him on his activity in this regard. I have been in this house for a number of years and, indeed, for some years before he became a member, but since he has been in the house he has been persistent and consistent in his advocacy of the building of this railway. He deserves great credit for the active way in which he has worked for his great section of country, a new empire in the far northwest, and I say in all sincerity that I trust he will be long enough in the house to see his ambitions in that regard fulfilled.

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LIB
CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

That is quite possible,

although I am afraid if he waits that long he will be a centenarian. I hope some day, possibly in the years to come, this government may be able to have this railway built, but at the present time, owing to the financial situation not only of the dominion but of the railways, this is not at all likely during the present year.

Last year, speaking on this question in reply to my hon. friend, I reviewed the situation pretty thoroughly, so that it is not necessary to go into it in detail to-day. I shall, however, just read the report which I put on Hansard of the three engineers who made the most recent investigation into the whole project. Their opinion is explicit; it is that of the Canadian Pacific engineer, the Canadian National engineer, and the third engineer who was appointed, I think, as chairman, so that it is authoritative. The three engineers were J. M. R. Fairbairn, chief engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway; C. S. Gzowski, chief engineer of construction of the Canadian National Railways, and C. R. Crysdale, consulting engineer of British Columbia, a man who apparently was acceptable to all parties to the question at the time. The final summing up of their report is as follows:

In view of the above-

They had reviewed the whole situation.

-our conclusions are:

1. No western outlet is justified for the present, as the existing railway furnishes the most economical route. It will take many times the present traffic to justify another railway outlet.

2. The Obed route for western outlet is the most favourable from a railway economic standpoint, considering the present phase of the railway situation.

3. We recommend that the matter of a final route be decided when the question is a practical one, believing that by the time the volume of traffic has reached a point where a western outlet is justified, general and possible local conditions may have materially changed. When the decision is imperative, the whole situation should be reviewed, in order to appraise all the contributing factors, including the potential traffic which may accrue from the lands beyond the definite areas included in this report.

These are the final conclusions of the three engineers who made the investigation, late in 1931, and whose report was submitted to us and to the house early last year. May I add that Mr. Beatty and Sir Henry Thornton at the time endorsed the report as it was submitted to the government and to the house.

As to my hon. friend's suggestion that it might have been better to build the Peace River outlet than some of the hotels and other unnecessary structures that were undertaken in connection with the railways, I would entirely agree with him. The total amount of money that was spent unnecessarily on duplication of hotels, the purchase of lines that were losers from the beginning, and the building of unnecessary steamships and the like, probably would easily have built the Peace River railway outlet which would at least have been no greater a loser than have been these unnecessary capital exenditures for the railways. That, however, is water that has flowed under the bridge and we cannot change the situation. Therefore with both railways at the present time earning about half the amount they did during the peak year, it is obvious that they will not change their minds in regard to the report which their engineers and Mr. Crysdale submitted last year. The best I can say to my hon. friend-and I say it in all sincerity-is that the day may come in the near future when world and Canadian conditions will so improve that this matter may be given consideration. I am afraid that I cannot go even to the formal extent of promising consideration at the present moment of any proposal

Peace River Railway Outlet

involving the expenditure of many millions of dollars upon a new railway, much as I should like to oblige one who has been a persistent advocate of what is from his standpoint at least a very worthy object. I appreciate, as I am sure the house does, his courage and persistence, but I am afraid that the best I can say in reply to his remarks to-day is that the matter will have to be given consideration when conditions improve; for the present, as I said last year, the question will have to stand in abeyance.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. FRASER (Cariboo):

I am sorry that the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) has been unable to give a more satisfactory answer to the hon. member for Peace River ' (Mr. Kennedy). I quite understand the situation so far as the railways and the finances of the country are concerned, but I think a ferv words can be usefully added to what my hon. friend from Peace River has said with regard to the situation in the Peace River country.

I am speaking particularly of the British Columbia portion of the Peace River country, because after all it is a substantial part of the Peace River country containing the largest area of contiguous farm lands that there is in British Columbia, and the construction of a western outlet is very important to their development and the prosperity of our province.

I went through that area last fall, travelling a thousand miles in a motor car over roads where three years before there were no roads at all. The British Columbia government is entitled to a great deal of credit for the construction of the roads which they have built in that area, and of course that is their responsibility. I found scattered over the area through which these roads had been built a population in the British Columbia portion of the Peace River area of some 10,000 people, where in the year 1915 there were only about

1,000. They are settled on both sides of the river, and the difficulty in crossing it is certainly a very great one. North of the Peace river itself there are about 4,000 people, located sixty-five miles from the present end of steel, and they have to transport their wheat by trucks over that sixty-five miles to reach the end of steel at Dawson Creek. At the time I was there, for No. 1 Northern wheat they were receiving only 24) cents a bushel. Since then the price has declined, so it can be easily imagined what the farmer on the north side of the Peace river, who has to haul his grain at least sixty-five miles, was receiving in return for his labour in planting and harvesting his crop.

I found in that area on the north side of the Peace river a class of people such as have been described by the hon. member for Peace River, farmers who had been dried out or hailed out in the prairie provinces and had moved in there. A great many of them had taken in what effects they had left, and you will find settlers there now with a couple of cows, some chickens and hogs,, and implements of one kind and another to carry on their operations. They are men who have been accustomed to all kinds of railway construction work, and as the hon. member has mentioned they are anxious to get work instead of relief. They have not been in the country long enough to bring their farms into production, and practically all of them are at present on relief, and there is no better prospect than that they will remain on relief unless work of some kind is provided for them.

As I said, these men are accustomed to construction work of all kinds. I spoke to numbers of them who had done all kinds of railway construction work. They are capable of doing it, and are anxious to engage in that work. I think that there is in that country a sufficient number of men, or nearly sufficient, without bringing in any help from outside, to construct the western outlet. When you have that situation, with the men there able and anxious to do this work, and when you find the government under the necessity of providing them with Telief for which the country gets nothing in return, it does seem peculiar that this railway construction work should not be provided during these times. I am speaking not only of this government but of all governments when I say that.

The engineers, as the Minister of Railways has stated, said that the question of the construction of a western outlet would be further reviewed when it was a practical one. Well, Mr. Speaker, I do not know when it ever will be a practical question if it is not one at the present time. You have a population there who are capable of doing this work, people who are anxious to work and who at the present time are receiving relief. Then as to the cost of construction, I do not know a time in the history of this country when materials of all kinds were at lower prices than they are now. These people, I repeat, have to be provided with relief in order to keep them from starving to death, and in these circumstances it does seem to me that some government should be able to take some step towards starting the construction of a western outlet from the Peace River country.

Peace River Railway Outlet

It is not as if this construction has not been promised to these people. It has been promised many times by all parties in this house and by the whole country. It is a very necessary work and some day will have to be undertaken. Notwithstanding the fact that the engineers have reported to the government that it is not a practical question at the present time, in my opinion it is one of the most practical projects there is in the Dominion of Canada to-day.

I have not much more to add. I regret very much that the government cannot find a solution of this problem, that they cannot, under the conditions in that area which I have outlined, bend their energies to providing for the construction of a western outlet for the Peace River country.

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LIB

Olof Hanson

Liberal

Mr. OLOF HANSON (Skeena):

This is

the third time, Mr. Speaker, that I have had the honour of supporting a motion in favour of this worthy undertaking. I was sorry to hear the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) say that the construction of a western outlet for the Peace River country cannot be given consideration at this time. I fully concur in the description which the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) has given of the population in that area, and of its possibilities and resources. Undoubtedly the work can be done, and most certainly it should be done. As the mover of the motion (Mr. Kennedy) said, I feel that the present time, when we are doling out good Canadian money to feed people who have no work to do, would be opportune to start a useful work of this kind, not by any means as a matter of charity, but to provide an asset for the Canadian nation at large. I therefore urge upon the government that most earnest consideration be given to this worthy undertaking and that if it is not possible to go ahead and complete the project at the present time, at least a start should be made and the work proceeded with as fast as possible. I know the resources of that country and its possibilities, and I do not think any part of this dominion has greater possibilities and more undeveloped natural resources than the Peace River district. We hear complaints at this time that people are rushing to the cities because they cannot find work. What we want is home builders. It has been explained by the hon. member for Peace River, and also by the hon. member for Cariboo, that many of the people there are people who met with misfortune in Other parts of the country, and seeing the possibilities, established themselves in a new district, and I think every assistance

should be given them. As the hon. member for Cariboo has explained, it is not a political matter, because these promises were made by both parties. I for one, representing a constituency that is interested, say that I will support any party that will give justice to these people, who have been promised consideration not by any one political party but by the Canadian people. This whole question has been so well outlined by the former speakers that I am not going to take up any more time, but I wish to associate myself again with the mover of the motion.

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LIB

Wilfred Hanbury

Liberal

Mr. WILFRED HANBURY (Vancouver-Burrard):

Like my hon. friend the member for Skeena (Mr. Hanson) who wishes to have the traffic from the Peace River country diverted to his constituency, the port of Prince Rupert, I must put in a word for Vancouver, because naturally we expect great benefit if and when this road is constructed. One thing on which I wish to congratulate the hon. Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) is in having at last acquired the courage to cease his dissimulation and the dissimulation of the government on this question. It is a peculiar thing that in respect to a policy on which all the people of the country agree so completely one of the ministers says that because of some peculiar condition that exists at the present time-which we admit, but which makes this particular object especially desirable-the government have decided definitely against the project. At any rate they are not camouflaging any further. It is almost useless to refer again to the many promises that have been made to these people. We all know they have been made, not by one party but by all; not only by the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) when he was Prime Minister, or when he hoped to be Prime Minister again, not only by the present leader of the government (Mr. Bennett) when he was leader of the opposition and hoping to be Prime Minister, but by all.

Now the people want work, and they want that outlet. There is only one conclusion that we can come to. It is not simply that the government do not want to spend money on constructing the railway, because the expenditure can be justified; the question is whether the government wish to discourage the growing of further quantities of grain. If the government would come out openly and say that is their policy, and that they do not want more people to go into that country, we might see more reason in what they say. But, as regards construction, we

Peace River Railway Outlet

have to-day thousands of people on the dole, doing nothing to earn what it is costing the country to provide for them. We have manufacturing plants eager for work to supply the requirements for the construction of that road; everyone in the country is demanding expenditure of some kind, and if there ever was such a thing as a self-liquidating enterprise, this is one. Having all these considerations in mind, the minister is to be congratulated upon ceasing further dissimulation. I urge very strongly that the house should not take the statement of the hon. Minister of Railways as conclusive in this regard. I think it is a matter that we should seriously consider, and I hope the government will reconsider the decision which evidently they have reached.

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ALFRED SPEARMAN (Red Deer):

Having entered the house some years ago at the same time as the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy), I have naturally heard him present his case a good many times in a good many successive years, but I have never heard him present it in a more masterly manner. I congratulate him sincerely upon his pertinacity, upon his determined activity on behalf of his people, and upon the logical and convincing arguments with which he supported his request. I do not live in that part of the country, nor are my people directly affected by the proposed railway, but as a matter of public policy it does seem to me that every argument is in favour of its construction; there is no sound argument against it.

Ten years ago this matter was considered. During the last ten years conditions have materially changed. At the time of the census before the last one there was a population of possibly 40,000 in that great area. To-day in considering redistribution we find that the population has practically doubled, that we have almost 80,000 people there. The conditions laid down ten years ago as being essential before the construction of this outlet should be undertaken have been more than fulfilled. The potential freight then suggested as essential before a railway should be considered has been reached and more than reached; the freight is now available. The people who have gone there, as has been said, thousands of them-yes, you might almost say tens of thousands of them-have made their last stand there. They were confronted with natural difficulties and handicaps year after year, and finally left the district in which they originally settled and moved out to a country where they know that as far as nature is concerned they will have their chance. They have made their last stand there, have driven

in their last stake, pinned their last hope upon building their homes and developing their farms and doing their part to build up their country.

I am not going to speak at length; I simply suggest that there is only one objection which can be or has been offered to the building of this outlet. So far as decision regarding the route the line should follow is concerned, I can only say that if that has not been decided upon by now, it is a grave reflection upon the skill, the intelligence and wisdom of those concerned; because, as the hon. member for Peace River has said, never have I known of any piece of proposed railway construction being considered so long, surveyed so frequently, taken under consideration so definitely and so persistently as this one. Surely every relevant fact must be known, every consideration must have been given weight to; and if the engineers have not by this time made up their minds, then it is about time we had other engineers. The only real argument brought against it is the financial question: Can we at this time afford to do this thing? Mr. Speaker, although I stand for every reasonable economy-I say reasonable economy-I believe we have here an investment which is more than justified, not only for the sake of the people of that country, not only for the sake of its future development; we have a situation where governments are straining every nerve to provide sustenance for the people, with 800,000 to 1.000,000 on direct relief, and everyone agrees that from the point of view of morale as well as from the point of view of investment it is much better to provide work for these people than to give them direct relief. Here we have a project which would meet all these conditions, which would at once provide work and sustenance for the people, and a means of keeping up their morale, would develop the country, fulfil a promise, and enable tens of thousands of people to build their homes and realize their ambitions. It does seem to me that at no time and for no project would a further addition to our national debt be more completely justified than in accepting this proposal and placing that part of this great country upon a parity with the rest of the dominion.

Mr. CAMERON R. McINTOSH (North Battleford): Mr. Speaker, coming from a

northern riding in Saskatchewan, I rise to support the resolution moved by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) and spoken to by the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. Fraser) and members on this side of the house. It would appear to me that this

Peace River Railway Outlet

railway requirement for the Peace River country is important, because those supporting it desire a transportation outlet to the Pacific coast, and having in mind the development of northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan during the last few years, I believe the importance of that outlet is assuming a value in a national way that it has not assumed previously.

I listened to the hon. members who have taken part in this discussion, and I also listened to the review of the situation by the Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion). If I understood him correctly his policy is one of doing nothing for the present time, and he presented a very vague hope of action in the days to come. I do not know when something will be done with regard to an outlet from the Peace River district, but I should like to present very briefly the viewpoint of the people living in northwestern Saskatchewan who desire some line of communication into that great country. North BattLeford, Prince Albert and Edmonton look upon themselves as gateways to that area, and any question that concerns the development of the transportation facilities of the Peace River country certainly concerns the future of those three cities and of the increasing population in the great area northwestward to the Pacific ocean.

In that regard I should like to direct the attention of the Minister of Railways and the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) to the pledge given by the Conservative party in 1930 when they appealed to the people of Canada, and I want to know why their transportation policy has not been carried out. I should like to read pledge No. 5 in their platform as it was presented to the people some three years ago:

We pledge ourselves to the improvement of the whole scheme of Canadian transportation northward by the completion of the Hudson Bay route, and the construction of such branches as may be necessary to render it most readily available to every part of Canada; to the Pacific slope by a Peace river outlet, and east and west by the development of the St. Lawrence waterways, and we pledge ourselves to aid existing traffic channels, and to increase port facilities on the great lakes, Hudson bay and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and to the establishment of a national highway system.

That is the pledge, definite and clear as crystal, made by the Conservative party three years ago, and I should like to know where they stand to-day with regard to it.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Has my hon. friend heard of the pledge made by his own leader in 1924?

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LIB

Cameron Ross McIntosh

Liberal

Mr. McINTOSH:

I may deal with that a little later; I am dealing with your pledge now. If I did deal with the other pledge it

would not save the Minister of Railways at all. Never mind the other fellow; get down to business yourself and do something. The question is what the Prime Minister and the Minister of Railways are going to do about it.

I should like to come now to & phase of the question which concerns, directly, the development of northwestern Saskatchewan. In the northern part of my riding we have the remains of a railway which was projected by the Liberal government in 1930, and sanctioned by this house, and which should have been finished in 1932. That railway has been practically scrapped by the present government. I refer to the line running from St. Walburg across the Beaver river. We have sixty-nine miles of a grade for which this country has paid and which is crumbling to pieces. For the last three years practically nothing has been done; not a mile of steel has been laid. That line passes through a country containing thousands of people who came from southern Alberta, southern Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan; they are farmers who are really farming, and last year there was at least 150,000 bushels of grain produced in that district, yet nothing has been done to finish that line. The ties are there, rotting; the grade is there, and as we have said it is falling to pieces. I maintain that this is one of the greatest pieces of railroad bungling perpetrated by this government. These people are left high and dry without railroad facilities. The argument cannot be advanced that the line would not pay; every mile of line in northwestern Saskatchewan will pay, and therefore I say something should be done immediately with regard to that road.

The grade from St. Walburg runs through a fine mixed farming area. It goes from St. Walburg to Red Cross; from Red Cross to Loon Lake; from Loon Lake it crosses the Beaver river to Plat Valley and from Plat Valley to Goodsoil. Before it reaches Good-soil it crosses the Beaver river and runs northwest towards the Pacific ocean. This ought to be a very good time to have something done, while labour is cheap. The grade is there and the ties are lying beside the grade. All that we should have to do would be to purchase secondhand steel and lay it on that road; but even with this slight cost nothing has been done and thousands of farmers as well as hundreds of business men are without railway service into that country, notwithstanding the fact that they wrent there three or four years ago with the distinct promise of railway transportation for the purpose of bringing about the agricultural and

Peace River Railway Outlet

business development of that part of the province.

The steel could have been puit on this road a year or two ago very cheaply. There was relief camp after relief camp in the northern part of that countiy where men were sent to cut highways when in my estimation they would have been a great deal better employed had they been captained by two or three experts to lay the steel on the road. The steel could have been procured cheaply and that sixty-nine miles of road could have been completed. Instead of (that they were sent to do highway work wThich in a year or two will be useless, because the second growth of timber will render the work that they have done of no effect.

The Minister of Railways, in my opinion, should give the house a statement with respect to his policy on this road. He has stated a do nothing policy regarding the Peace River outlet and I understand there is not to be a dollar this year of capital expenditure on Canadian National railway construction in northwestern Saskatchewan. This means that if the Minister of Railways does not find the money the road cannot be built, consequently there is no use "passing the buck" to the Canadian National. We might as well know now where we stand. I should like to know, before this session concludes, from the minister just what the attitude of the government and of his department is, and whether they intend to provide money for laying the steel on this road, which otherwise will very soon deteriorate and become absolutely useless. I am satisfied that a statement one way or the other would clear the air, and the people of that northern area would know exactly where they stand in this matter. What has the Minister of Railways to say about it?

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LIB

Albert Edward Munn

Liberal

Mr. A. E. MUNN (Vancouver North):

I

wish to say just a few words in support of the resolution. For many years I have been advocating a Pacific outlet from the Peace River country. At the special session of 1930 I suggested that a good deal of work could be done in the form of relief, and the same situation exists at the present time. In British Columbia alone there are several hundred men in camps on relief doing practically nothing, and there are, I am told, also men in this condition in the Peace River country and in Alberta. I do not suggest that the government should spend a great deal of money in the way of capital expenditure, but these men have to be taken care of and I do not see any reason why they could not be put to work in the way I propose. The average man would rather do a little work than

sit around doing nothing and taking the dole.

I leave that suggestion with the government.

The people in that country must have an outlet some day or other, and they have been promised it. The late Liberal government as well as the present Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) promised this outlet, and there are good reasons why the road has not been built.

I suggest, however, that the government should take into consideration these hundreds of idle men who might be working on the road at no additional expense. The government must take care of them in any event, and I leave this practical suggestion with the government. A good deal of work which must be done some day could now be gone on with.

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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. D. M. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Usually we have been promised consideration of this question when it has come up, but on this occasion, if I understood the minister's words rightly, we are to receive no consideration.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I said that the matter

would be considered when conditions changed and finances would permit it.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER RAILWAY OUTLET
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Peace River):

Well,

possibly that is better, but I think that we shall have to undertake to change conditions; that is the point. I do not believe that the engineers are at all right when they say that the work will be proceeded with when it is practicable. I venture to say that no engineer has ever made a report that was not known beforehand to be acceptable to the government and to the two railways. I submit that the engineers have never in the last ten years taken a stand on this question which -has been justified by subsequent events; not one that I know of. They have been right in certain details but they have never been right in a large way.

I know of no reason why the Peace River country should have to wait until there is a guarantee that from the outset this railway will be a profitable venture. No railways have been built in Canada on that basis. Under the circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I cannot see my way to withdraw the motion. If the government wants to bury it, let them bury it right, and let the Peace River people know it. But if you want to go ahead and do anything, then the time is ripe for action.

Topic:   PEACE RIVER RAILWAY OUTLET
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February 22, 1933