September 23, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Robert Johnston

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. JOHNSTON (Cardwell).

go when it left the elevator. The elevator man will choose the route which will save him the most money. I had hoped that the government would postpone the building of the eastern part of this road until they had secured proper information as to where and how it is to be built, and what it will cost. The hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) has told us that the road must have certain grades and certain curvatures or it would he absolutely useless. I do not know what he would call a short curvature on a railway, but I do know what is a short curvature in a man's judgment. It takes him but a few days to curve himself into another frame of mind and to talk in a teetotally different manner from the way in which he had talked a few days before. If he is allowing as short curves in the railway as he permits in himself, I think it will be a mighty twisty Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. I would earnestly ask the government to adopt the amendment offered by the member for Bothwell (Mr. Clancy). That would at least show to the opposition and to the country that they do not intend to bind the country to this enormous expenditure without knowing anything as to where the railway is to be built or what it will cost. There is not a farmer, or a municipality, or any other institution in Canada, except the Dominion government that would propose such a scheme without knowing what it would cost, where it would go, or whether it could be built or not. They talk about wasting the time of this House. It is the government who are wasting the time by bringing down a measure about which they know nothing. The hon. member for South Brant (Mr. Heyd) who, I think, wants to be fair, yesterday acknowledged that he did not know anything about it. I am in the samt boat with my hon. friend ; I do not know anything about where this railway is to go, and I am willing and anxious to know about it because I will be questioned about it when I go home, and I want to be able to answer intelligently. If I cannot answer intelligently I will have to say that the government could not do so. The government cannot say within 40 or 60 millions, what it will cost, and they do not know within 40 or 50 miles where it is to run. They have a starting point and a finishing point and that Is all that I know of it yet.

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