September 5, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)

CON

Ferdinand Joseph Robidoux

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROBIDOUX:

I trust the minister
will not treat too seriously the abuse which has been heaped on the Government telephone lines by hon. gentlemen opposite. I happen to know about that part of the line to which my hon. friend refers. It extends from Chatham to Point Sapin, part iu Northumberland county, and part in Kent county. It i's about 50 or GO miles in length, and the proposition is now t-*. extend it from Point Sapin to the Kouchibouguac river, following the shore, through districts spars-ley settled, and altogether out of communication with the rest of the world. The people who live along the shore are engaged in fishing and the telephone service is their only means of communication with the outside world. The hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Carvell) referred to the New Brunswick Telephone Company, and the readiness of that company to do anything they could to give telephone facilities to the people of New Brunswick. I do not know how telephone companies act in other parts of the Dominion. But I want to say that in New Brunswick, so far as telephones are concerned, we have one of the worst monopolies in the Dominion of Canada. We formerly had two companies in New Brunswick, the Central 'Telephone Company and the New Brunswick Telephone Company. I do not know to which company the hon, gentleman belongs, but today competition has been absolutely abolished by the absorption of the Central Telephone Company by the New Brunswick Telephone Company. The hon. gentleman has stated that the New Brunswick Telephone Company was always ready to come to the rescue of people who desired telephone communication and I desire to say that that is not so. I know a number of irstances where applications were made to the New Brunswick Telephone Company to extend their lines to different localities

and They would n-ot give the people these facilities. The New Brunswick Telephone Company was generous enough to say to the people: You put up the poles, we will put up the wire, and the line will belong to us. That was the basis upon which they were prepared to give telephone communication to these people. The proposed line will end at Kouchibouguac beach. It does not connect in any way with the New Brunswick Telephone line at Kouchibouguac; it connects with the main line at Chatham, and gives very valuable service to the people of that section of the country; the government will be well advised, if they extend the system further whenever needed. Reference has been made to the amount paid for rental om these lines, and the $4.50 rate has been considered ridiculous by gentlemen opposite. Well, $4.50 at first sight is ridiculous, but it is not quite so ridiculous when you take into consideration the fact that by paying $4.50 you merely get communication with Chatham, and the localities along that line, which I say are sparsely settled.

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