June 4, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Railways and Canals)


Hon. Mr. REID:

Just a word in reply to the several members who have spoken. With reference to the remarks of the hon. member for Westmoreland (Mr. Copp), I was present in the Committee when President Hanna made the statement that the only criticism of the Canadian National Railways came from east of Montreal. I was Sorry that he made the statement; I think it would have been better if it had not been made, because it does not promote good feeling to make remarks of that kind. I was also present when the very large and influential delegation were here a few days ago in connection with the Intercolonial Railway. The hon. member will recollect that among other things they objected to the head office of the Canadian National Railways being in Toronto, or at all events, they objected that complaints had to be taken to Toronto for redress, instead of to Moncton, as in the past. They also complained very much about the high freight rates, and about not having a manager at Moncton, as in the past. They also objected to the Railway Commission having control over rates, as they have of course, over all

the other railways. They also brought up the question of the Government taking over the St. John Valley railway. Several other matters also came up. I must say that I was very much impressed by the statements made by several members of that delegation. The Prime Minister also stated that he was very much impressed with the representations that had been made, and that the matters asked for by the delegation would be considered by the Government in the near future. I think the hon. member, therefore, will not expect me to say anything further on these matters to-day, but I can assure him that the several requests of the delegation will be considered by the Government at the earliest possible moment.
Now I wish to refer to what the hon. members from Prince Edward Island have said with regard to the closing of Bear River station, the daily service on that line being changed, and one part of the line being served with a tri-weekly service, instead of a weekly service, as those are matters of operation I shall bring them to the attention of the management immediately, with the request that they look into the matter and, if possible, reconsider the action that has been taken or is about to be taken.
With reference to the narrow gauge, I am sorry that this year the Government could not see its way clear to make the change from the narrow to the standard gauge system, but it was felt that financial conditions were such that we could not undertake that this year. However, next year when we are considering the estimates we will take that matter up and deal with it then. I hope that we may be able to consider it favourably and proceed, if not with all the work, with part of it.
In conclusion, I would say that these matters will be looked into and given the attention of my department and of the Government at the earliest possible moment.

Full View