February 1, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)


A question was asked in the House a few days ago in regard to the commandeering of coal by the Dominion Atlantic Railway. In answer to the hon. gentleman who sought information upon the subject, I stated that it would be taken up by the Board of Railway Commis-

sion-ers, and I am to-day in receipt of a letter, dated yesterday, which is as follows:
January 31, 1917.
Dear Sir Robert Borden,-As the question of commandeering of coal by the Dominion Atlantic railway came to me through you, for your information, I beg to advise that the company makes the following explanations as to the situation.
Your telegram yesterday re coal for Nova Scotia Underwear Company. This coal was taken at Truro. Action made necessary in order to keep traffic moving. On night of 23rd Dominion Atlantic took three cars, one consigned to the Underwear Company and two to F. W. Dimock, local coal dealer, Windsor, who was under contract to supply Underwear Company with one car a week. Railway Company returned one of these cars to Dimock on the 25th and one on the 24th and three will be replaced to-day under arrangement with local coal dealer Wolfville and Mr. Ballantyne, Manager Underwear Company with whom company have been in constant touch. Am advised coal was not taken without first making sure that Underwear Company would be in no way inconvenienced. On account of very heavy demand for munition plants, etc., mines have been unable to meet requirements. Effective February first Railway Company is making heavy reductions its passenger trains in order to save coal and enable it to move overseas traffic. It is purchasing coal from whatever source possible at prohibitive prices in order to keep situation 1rt hand.
The coal shortage is, of course, severe, and our troubles many. On the one hand, train i have to move; but, on the other, factories have to be kept going.
Yours faithfully,
H. L. Drayton,
Chief Commissioner. The Right Honourable the Premier,
Ottawa Ont.

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