August 25, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Mr. W. A.@

Wier, a member of the legislative assembly of Quebec, addressing the members of the Manufacturers' Association of Montreal on the resources of northern

Quebec, took occasion to quote, with respect to the wood and clay belt north of the height of land, the very reports now being quoted in defence of the Quebec-Winnipeg project. Mr. Weir made this remarkable citation from the meteorological records :
The average temperature Irom May to October, inclusive, is one degree warmer at Moose Factory on James bay, than- at Dalhousie, in. New Brunswick, and twenty-one degrees warmer than at Rimouski, on the lower St. Lawrence. Abitibi, the centre of the clay j>elt, is seven degrees warmer still. In the matter of snowfall Abitibi has 105'5 inches in the year, Montreal 139:2 inches.
Mr. Weir quoted from the reports of Mr. O'Sullivan, the Quebec explorer, this description of the Hudson's Bay factor's garden at Wasanipi in the clay belt:
I never saw better cabbage, carrots and turnips, and he gave me samples of wheat which compare favourably with wheat grown in any other part of the province. The surrounding country is all level, rich clay land. At Moose river, Mr. O'Sullivan found in Bishop Newn-ham's garden, * splendid celery, tomatoes, vegetable-marrow' weighing 15 to 40 pounds each, kohi-rabi, carrots, parsnips, turnips beets, pease, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, rhubarb, red and black currants, lettuce, radishes, herbs, all a good size, some not to be beaten anywhere.
Mr. Weir also quoted the following information furnished by the hon. the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Sifton) as to the extent of this country.
Proceeding westward from Quebec, one comes across, according to reports made to the Geological Survey, 3,000,000 acres of agricultural land fit for settlement in the St. Maurice river section. In the Upper Gatineau district the country is generally level, with occasional rocky hills, sandy loam soil, timber abundant. The whole country is a flat undulating plain, with good flats of farming land. And again, further West, back of the rocky land through which the Lake Superior division of the Canadian Pacific now runs, there is a belt of fine agricultural land, clay and sandy loam, which forms part of the great clay basin of Moose river, and its numerous tributaries, which take their rise near the Canadian Pacific line, north of Lakes Huron and Superior. The headwaters of the rivers are well timbered, and the country is described as an undulating plain, gently sloping towards James bay. Soil is good for farming throughout the greater portion of the country.
I think enough has been said to prove that this railroad is going to pass, not through a scrubby, bare country, full of muskegs, morasses and swamps, but through a rich, cultivable tract. The hon. member for South Lanark (Hon. Mr. Haggart), in describing the condition of the country, reminded me of the spies sent out to spy out the land. They came back with an evil report; but when the honest, truthful spies were sent out they found very different conditions; they came with a branch of the grapes of Eschol. so large that they had to be carried on a pole, on the shoulders of two other men, which showed the character of the country they were to occupy.

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